Some of this week’s top stories sounded like we’ve had our head in the clouds—but really, working less, following your passions, and being more courageous are possible.
Daniel Boulud talks of opening a restaurant for the day like he’s asking the sun to rise. “How can we make the day different, every day?” he asks himself and his staff. “By having a good creative meeting, a good goal to set.” Short, productive meetings are the order.
Happening now! A live chat with the authors of Everything Connects, where we’re talking about what it means to be a great leader.
American culture places a premium on the ability to speak confidently before a crowd. Career counselors will tell you it’s a sure path to professional success. Compelling speakers can achieve positions of power and wealth.
"Think of it like a planned conversation. You know where the conversation’s going…but you’re loose enough in the moment to make it up a little bit as you go along. You want to have 80 percent of it prepared and allow 20 percent to be spontaneous.”
"I love how Focus is a sustained look at our addiction to screens and devices and the countless external distractions that threaten to take us further from ourselves and the people we love. His lesson—that ‘full attention is a form of love’—is something we can all learn from and take to heart." —Arianna Huffington
The film director lost it on stage at CES 2014, reminding us how not to handle a freeze-up.
Bay’s first mistake was that he didn’t seem to have any of his lines memorized, relying instead on a teleprompter, so when the teleprompter failed, he wasn’t prepared to bounce back. Only later did he take to his blog to explain, “I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down—then I walked off.”
Communication and behavior expert Deborah Grayson Riegel recommends memorizing at least the first three lines of your speech to “shift your brain out of panic mode and into memory-retrieval mode.”
“President Kennedy’s stunning candor following the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco seems quaint now that spinning, exaggerating, parsing words, and shading truths have become accepted parts of our nation’s political dialogue. But when leaders make mistakes, be they in the public or private sector, anything less than complete candor can empower rivals, the press, or, worst of all, law enforcement, to seize on a false statement, turning a speed bump into a full-blown scandal.”
“In this way we get “brain hubs,” places that contribute an outsized portion of the GDP and generate an unreasonable number of patents. This capital-ization has pretty far-reaching effects: the more high-tech, high-powered folks you have in a place, the more similarly gifted people will be attracted to moving there—and all these jobs actually generate more jobs. Moretti says that a high-tech job actually creates something like 10 service sector gigs.”
Capt. Jake Owens knew the Afghans often communicated through parables, and he had inherited a favorite from a mentor. He holds up an apple and asks, “How many apples do you see?” Most people answer, “One.” “How many seeds are in the apple?” asks Owens. Say you guess eight. “What happens if you plant those eight seeds?” You get eight trees and, of course, all the apples they produce. “So how many apples am I holding in my hand?” Owens asks again.
From “The World’s Hardest Consulting Gig,” part of Fast Company’s Startup: Afghanistan package.
E.B. Boyd, embedded reporter in Afghanistan, profiles the leadership transition from the Marines to the Afghan National Army, and the effort and innovation behind it.
Lt. Col. Phil Treglia shook up the way military advisers worked with their counterparts in the Afghan National Army.Read how he did it, and what it could mean for Afghanistan’s future, in Fast Company’s feature Lead or Die.
Here are a few tips to help you be happy and productive!
- Buddha had it right: Relax the mind and productivity will follow
- Slay the emotional vampires that are holding you back
- Borrow these 5 smart start up habits to maximize your productivity
Have a good one!
“Our generation admires people who are creating products and companies that do things to make the world a better place.”
“If you’re good at it, self-generated thought [mind wandering] can be life-affirmingly constructive.”
“If there’s a road that leads to perfect, the road that travels in the opposite direction leads to launching. Nothing will ever be perfect—not your product, service, messaging, etc. But the only real way to test it is by getting your work in front of people. Flaws can be adjusted, but the only way to find them is to get your work out there.”