Leaders Let It Go
Somehow this all threads together, I just haven’t figured out how yet
Today, via the Daily Stoic email that I just recently subscribed to, I learned about Pyrrhonism and phantasiai: pre-cognitive judgments originating from our previous experiences or our subconscious thinking.
Pyrrhonists maintain that phantasiai cannot be relied upon to represent reality.
Also today, from the daily email from the Center for Contemplation and Action, I learned the term transrational:
People are so afraid of being considered pre-rational that they avoid and deny the very possibility of the transrational. Others substitute mere pre-rational emotions for authentic religious experience, which is always transrational.
– Ken Wilber
I think I aspire to be a transrational Pyrrhonist.
Then I stumbled upon Stay SaaSy and it was like every post and every tweet was saying something I wished I had said, or at least put into words as well as they have.
To be optimistic…
- Have a never-ending well of persistence. You might feel like Sisyphus pushing that boulder up the hill day in and day out. Optimistic people understand that most of one’s work life is pushing boulders up hills and have a good attitude about it.
- Get over things. If you can’t reset your opinion on people, problems, slights, and all other things to an absolute neutral, you’ll be saddled with a distracting and deteriorating buildup of resentment. Learn to get over things completely.
- Commit. If you’re second guessing yourself every step of the way you’ll never be able to sustain optimism. Set some timeframe for re-evaluation–maybe 6 months or a year–and then forget about anything that sounds like “maybe”.
Optimism isn’t a feeling that puffs your lungs up with rejuvenating life and leads to transcendent moments of inspiration. It’s removing the friction that your ego and backbone want to instinctively introduce when faced with challenges. It’s a way to move forward.
My litmus test for effective leadership: any room that you enter should have more certainty and a firmer plan by the time that you leave it. Good leaders can walk into a situation where people have lost track of their goals and get everyone aligned on a clear path forward. They remove unimportant details, distill complex situations to their essence, and get the right decision-maker to make a call–even if it’s not them. They’re able to not only stop bad plans before it’s too late, but get them moving again in the right direction.
The fancier your title, the more you must avoid causing chaos. If Bob the Intern frantically flip-flops on the plan for his summer project, people will patiently help him towards a good path and perhaps make sure he has less caffeine tomorrow. If Bob the CEO flip-flops on his strategy, people will capsize the ship trying to enact his will.
And this tweet:
Take stock in what our great national parks teach us–we should be as proud of our restraint as we are of our action. The answer is just as often to let it be.
Finally, this quote from an another email–Ten Percent Happier’s–that a friend forwarded me:
Inhabiting a human nervous system is kind of like living in a house where the doorbell and the burglar alarm make exactly the same sound.