Tag Archives | relationships

The Most Important Human Need Of All – Just Ask Those On Death Row

I learnt a vital lesson through adversity these past few weeks. It reminded me of something most of us need if we are to be at our best – at work, with relationships, in life. It’s so simple. And so devastating when not there. Here it is.

In Japan, inmates on death row were (maybe still are?) burdened with what ‘survivors’ reported as a fate worse than death. You see, in that system, you were told you were to die, but not when. In some cases, death row inmates sat out 20 years awaiting their fate. Whenever they heard footsteps approaching their cell, that could be the moment they would die. The footsteps passed your door- you lived another hour, another day. Imagine living that way- for 20 years!

And that’s the point of my story. I was reminded this week of the devastating power one simple state of being, and word, can have on our lives and ability to perform at our best. Here it is. Is it true for you too?

To Quit Or Not To Quit?- Here’s The Answer

The insight I share this week is about failure, and is a bit controversial. Some will love it; others, like me when I first saw it, might reject it out of hand. But with time, it grows on you. I now like it a lot. What about you?

Business is changing so fast that we don’t have time to stick with mistakes. We have to keep facing reality, trying new things, making sure we are putting our focus and energies behind what is delivering the returns…for our employers, clients, careers. It’s not an easy path to follow. It requires real discipline.

And it is with that in mind that I loved (on reflection) the quote from the crusty old Brigadier in Evelyn Waugh’s “The Sword of Honour Trilogy”, who said to his leaders this about the first rule of attack. It is a startling insight for each of us, every day. Here is it:

This Advice From An Indian Slum Dweller Is A Big Reality Check – What Does It Say To You?

I am a loner: an introvert (well masked by an Oscar quality extrovert façade). I have few deep friendships (but those I have I value greatly), and don’t seek out the company of others. This has never bothered me, until today, when I read something about bamboo that shocked and frightened me. Will it scare you too? Read on.

I just read an unsettling book, “Behind The Beautiful Forevers”. It won the Pulitzer Prize. I did not realize until the Author’s Note at the end that it is a true story, deeply researched. Written by Katherine Boo, it tells of life for a few families in a Mumbai slum. It’s a confronting story, but what shocked me most was one quiet sentence.

It describes advice a mother gives her children to illustrate the power of aligned ‘communities’ sticking together and supporting each other. Here it is. Read it. Read it again. (Oh- and then, if you have the courage, answer the one question I leave you with, and let me know how easy or hard it was for you). Back to that advice from the slum dweller:

The Secret To A Happier and More Successful Life- And It Is Very Simple

I don’t have many regrets. Not having travelled as a young man. Not going to a co-educational school. I regret not visiting my old Uncle Ernie in Sussex when I instead flew home to chase a Burlesque dancer. But most of all, I regret not having heard this advice 20 years ago. Here it is.

In my early adult days, success to me was all about girls, making money, sports cars, getting ‘power’, accumulating stuff. I struggled to ever be happy, always wanting more- the next big thing- striving for something just beyond my reach. In recent years, my friend Richard Sauerman’s writings about success have moved me. I have started to view success in a very different way.

And I was fortunate to receive a powerful new guiding message when listening to the keynote speaker at a conference I was speaking at a few months ago. Here is what that major business icon said: