Tag Archives: Fulfillment

To be free requires freedom to learn

Thankful for another night being free to learn.

mathias-sager-freedom to learn

 

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The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. – Carl Rogers

10 takeaways from the 80% is Psychology session ‘Learning and motivation’. Tokyo, November 7, 2018.  

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Beyond the brain (Takeaways from 80% is Psychology)

Takeaways from our event on October 24th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. Please see also https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

Course 1 Session 4 Brain and Memory in Learning_v04_TAKEAWAYS

1.Know that the brain has different chemical processes for addictive pleasure experiences (neurotransmitter is dopamine) versus more long-term, empathic, and self-sufficient happiness-related behavior (neurotransmitter is serotonin).

2.Reduce distractions, especially to avoid over-dependence (addiction) to technology and social networks that interrupt your attention and learning.

3.Increase for how long you are able to stay offline and/or exclusively focused for better learning results.

4.Train your brain through exercising, diet, sleep, and alternative learning strategies.

5.Recognize how your consciousness requires the joint operation of brain, body, and the world. Brain activities may be necessary, but not sufficient preconditions for human behavior.

6.Experiment with stretching your sense of time and thinking of cyclical time. The soul/spirit wants to expand. As the earth is not a plate where you can fall off the edges, time may not be a simple line with birth and life ‘abysses.’

7.Do not fear the future. The brain takes even distantly thought threats for real and causes already now suffering, anxiety, and depression.

8.Do not fear loss. If we are only our physical brain, we don’t need to fear any regrets or pain after death. If there is something more permanent than our brain, death isn’t an existential threat to fear either.

9.Use intuition, imagination, and intention to ‘real-life check’ what really counts in everything you learn: Is it meaningful, unlimited, and purposeful? If not, it’s not worth it.

10.Read to activate your brain, increase the working memory’s capacity, and expand attention span.

 

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Social Learning & Developing a Growth Mindset (7 Takeaways from 80% is Psychology)

Takeaways from our event on October 24th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. Please see also https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

mathias sager psychology social learning growth mindset

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Philosophy of Learning TAKEAWAYS 2018/10/17 (80% is Psychology Series)

Takeaways from our event on October 17th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions. For photos, etc., please see https://www.facebook.com/colorfulgrowth/

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Philosophy of Learning (80% is Psychology Series)

Takeaways from our event on October 10th, 2018. Thanks for the discussions.

10 Takeaways Session 01 1.png

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Beyond happiness

I was looking for happiness and found meaning. When I accepted meaning, happiness became meaningless.

Compassionate leadership: If we all ‘lead,’ we don’t need ‘managers’ anymore

There are significant differences between leadership and management

In our contemporary world both leadership and management may be required and co-exist in different situations, but the identification and understanding of their distinguishing features is important if we want to use both of them effectively and eventually think about shifting the emphasis towards managers who are real leaders too.

Having been in diverse leadership and/or management positions in educational institutions and schools, business and consulting firms, military/public service organizations, media and communication practices, as well as leisure/sports clubs and civic movements over the last 20 years, I’ve reflected on the difference between leadership and management from many different angles. I’m always coming back to the conclusion that the concepts of leadership and management are not as related as the popular interchangeable use of the terms might suggest.

The ultimate market-participating organizational SMART goals versus dreams and visions

Like a path is leading to a different place, or a sheep can be led into a stable, human leadership can be defined as leading something or somebody towards a certain direction. It is said that leadership requires meaning; meaning that is represented and communicated through goals. Although managerial and leadership goals should always be believed to be achievable, the type of goal formation process and quality of goals themselves involved in leadership and management differs significantly [1].

A leader typically is self-guided by intuition and his intimate moral understanding, while a manager is hired by the board of directors pursuing shareholders interest for securing maximized return on their investments. In case of doubt or conflict, the financial interests always have to succeed over other values in a for-profit organization. Manager’s success is measured by how accurately they achieve the business goals. The more long-term, the less predictable the attainment of goals becomes. Leadership tolerates not directly measurable long-term results [1]. Managers, in contrast, for above reasons preferably are to set short-term goals. To ensure that goals are as clear and realistic as possible, so-called SMART goals are commonly used in the corporate world, which ought to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Leaders may not only not have SMART goals, but even allow more vague dreams and visions that are often requiring significant imagination.

There is a difference between the concept of power based on formal authority and influence through inspiration

One broad approach is to define leadership as the interpersonal dimension of management that comprises the “ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals” ([2], p. 5). Frequently leadership gets confused with authority, seeing power as being based on formal roles. The formal assignments of a manager or officer let people notice legitimacy and comply with instructions because of fear of negative consequences in case of non-compliance [3]. When saying that leadership requires power, it is, however, not this authoritarian capability of incurring costs (for example in the form of punishment) for the people who refuse to obey [1]. Authoritarian regimes as examples of tight leadership in the form of control and prescription are generating poor results for the people. Instead, it is the ability to inspire for a voluntary fellowship by unforceful means that is resulting in individual prosperity, well-being, and peace through personal self-determination and fulfillment. Real leadership allows people self-leadership.

Leadership goes beyond the leadership aspects practiced in business administration

When the sum of the leadership structures followed by society is called culture [1], then the sum of management structures of market-participating organizations can be seen as the economy. Leaders create culture through the leadership structures they leave behind ([1], p. 11), while managers build administrations through the organizational patterns they establish. This thinking is in line with the terminology used in managerial education, where the top courses for aspiring or acting executive officers award for the title of the Master of Business Administration. Increasing parts of businesses consist of technology and digital resources, whereas human aspects tend to be further pushed into the background. Emotional and organic elements are taken out from the management of resources in favor of optimal planning accuracy. Again, although there may (but doesn’t have to) be some deal of leadership involved as well in steering a business, a real leader would never be reduced to be an administrator in that sense.

The irrelevance of leadership in the management of expectations

As Rudy Giuliani once put it, leaders first figure out what’s right, and then explain it to people, as opposed to first having people explain it and then just saying what they want to hear ([2], p.3). Indeed, managers tend to behave in a manner more or less in line with the management style endorsed within their country, industry or organization [4]. Firms choose new executives whose values are consistent with their own. If an executive is not filling the role as expected, he will be replaced with somebody who adheres more closely to expectations. From that perspective it is essential to have a rider, to use this metaphor, who holds the reins of a horse put before a cart, but any other rider who follows the relatively simple rules how to guide a horse and carriage can carry them as well. You can even let a child play the carter. It can be observed that the horse’s, respectively the organization’s personality, to come back to the organizational context, is actually more important than the “leader” himself [2].

Leaders emerge when there is an urge for change or the need to resolve a crisis or conflict

Leadership creates change, often of dramatic dimensions, such as when completely new market dynamics are developed, societal perceptions are shifted, or more diverse cultures emerge. Management on the other hand often is concerned about maintaining predictability and order [2]. Let’s think about why and how changes are managed in organizations. A big part of organizational administration deals with tracking changes to protect the status quo of power balances and interests of stakeholders and resources that contribute most to the profitable business. Such times of contentedness and stability are not calling for leaders whose strength is to move towards widening the range of beneficiaries. It is the time of crisis, in which leaders emerge. Managers monitor operational excellence of their subordinates typically in periods of economic strain. Charisma arises when there are heightened levels of distress among an increasing number of people that can be of not only financial but also psychological nature, constituting an individual and collective crisis of meaning that demands answers. If the problem is sought to be solved by somebody else, the ground is fertile for people to follow a leader who convincingly directs toward a comforting solution [3]. It has to be carefully evaluated whether these promises are meaningful and serving the common good, or whether there is an overemphasis on leader-reliance for whatever reason. Leaders are also required in situations of conflict. Conflict as the opposite of leadership is characterized by the absence of a functioning leader-follower relationship, typically because of disagreements related to a common course of action [1].

There is little leadership required and even possible in corporations

Following the argumentation so far, it is conceivable to suggest, assuming a bit a black and white perspective, that in organizations, at ordinary times there is little leadership required and even possible. Instead, what is required is a disciplined management that administers an organization to stay on track without visioning any significant change that would require leadership. Abraham Maslow regarded leaders as self-actualizing individuals who are self-determined, independent of culture, and following their inner guidance to help their fellow humans. For a leader of such qualities a narrow corporate environment likely would be unsatisfying at least and possibly over longer or sooner and would also be ethically conflicting. Executives of big corporations have contributed to the mistrust in corporate ethics due to their perceived focus on self-promotion and excessive greed. What seems to be required is more compassionate leadership in the service of others respectively in the view of the broader society and humanity beyond an institutional context [5].

The difference between moral, ethics, and professionalism

Ninety-nine percent of the global wealth is controlled by the top one percent of richest people. The issue is that this causes, for example, the daily death of tens of thousands of innocent children who are left without the necessary means to survive, such as food or health care. Unfortunately, as long as it is a tolerated practice that the already highly concentrated wealth is invested almost exclusively in opportunities that further accentuate this income and wealth inequality, there is little hope that compassionate (moral) and ethical leadership will prevail. Corporate social responsibility struggles to demonstrate a positive impact on the single measure bottom-line of financial profit generation, why it remains not much more than an afterthought. On the one hand, public relations and marketing communications of organizations increasingly use language that includes terms like ‘sharing,’ ‘love,’ ‘community,’ and ‘better world for all,’ to brand themselves socially towards consumers who are willing to pay a premium for such labels. This is true even for industries such as tobacco and arms. On the other hand, corporate ethics training is poised to be mere professional instruction on how to operate within legal constraints without jeopardizing business performance. This may be diligent management to serve capital, but not leadership to improve the human condition.

Shaping the role of genuinely great managerial leadership

Again, in all kinds of organizational settings, there may be a necessary mix of administrative and leadership qualities at work, suggesting a combined role of a ‘managerial leader’ [2].

Maybe the understanding of managerial leadership as based on self-actualization could further evolve to increasingly focus the help of other people in the organizational context while also not losing sight of the fairness towards and the well-being of people in the broader national societal and even global humanitarian context. Importantly, we should not forget that such a broadening of the benefits of leadership requires courageous first-/early-moving followers, who lead others not to remain passive bystanders but to support change towards growth and development of all actively. Asking managerial questions for organizational survival is foundational, but without further questioning on what basis, to what extent, and at whose cost, it is difficult to see real leadership added to management. The more inclusive and compassionate questions get expanded to the scope of all humanity, the greater the leadership involved.

In the current economic and competitive context, cooperation may indeed risk losing some battles in the field of short-term inter-organizational rivalry. However, already today more than ever, genuinely great managerial leadership also can become a competitive advantage and an opportunity for priceless emotional rewards for our all well-being. I think we are on the way to return to a more overall life-relevant philosophical understanding of leadership in which everyone’s full human potential is embraced. In that sense, leadership beyond management is relevant and possible for all of us. If we all assume a managerial leadership role, we don’t need managers anymore. Let’s take the chance.

References

[1] Paschen, M., & Dihsmaier, E. (2013). The psychology of human leadership: How to develop charisma and authority. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

[2] DuBrin, A. J. (2015). Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

[3] Doyle, M. E., & Smith, M. K. (2001). Classical models of managerial leadership: Trait, behavioural, contingency and transformational theory. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional_leadership.htm

[4] Dorfman, P., Javidan, M., Hanges, P., Dastmalchian, A., & House, R. (2012). GLOBE: A twenty year journey into the intriguing world of culture and leadership. Journal of World Business, 47(4), 504–518.

[5] Soni, B., & Soni, R. (2016). Enhancing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Effective Leadership. Competition Forum, 14(2), 259-263.

Erroneous Scoping

mathias-sager-errnous-scoping-2.jpg

Most of us have heard about the misery existing in many parts of the globe. 3.5 billion people live at $2.5 a day. According to UNESCO, every day 22,000 children die because of poverty. Why is it so easy to forget that? Good people end up by concluding that we do our best we can, because “we have it good here,” and we must be given credit for the care we provide to our families, communities, parties, and regions. Really, is that it?

In our Western “developed” societies we enjoy global services, we read international news, and we travel to most distant places. We imagine danger lurking from other continents and from people of other races. Although popular media’s priority is not to educate us on real issues, we still get enough information between all the advertisement and distraction that gives us in minimum a clue how to complete the picture around our feeling that there may be something wrong. So why are we still ignoring or forgetting the overwhelming exploitation, destruction, and poverty in our earthly neighborhoods though?

I rarely hear overt statements trying to explain the suffering of people in poor environments with their individual laziness, stupidity, or own made weak education. So, it seems we are capable of understanding and caring, but with a rather narrow scope when it comes to admitting where help is needed most from our own side. But again, nobody would hustle to provide an already rich with even more unnecessary luxury when confronted with the decision whether to help a dying child instead, right? And yes, there were enough resources to keep all bellies sufficiently filled. The wealth of a couple of dozens of dynasties equaling the worth of around half of the world’s population indicates that it isn’t a natural law that we already lucky ones would need to starve too to feed the 1 billion children who live in severe poverty in our modern times.

I have found and tested over time a scoping model that clarifies what it means to be truly human(e) and how we can identify erroneous scoping and re-focus ourselves feasibly on the combinations of time-relational dimensions that are the ground for developing universal human clear-, fore-, and farsightedness.

The intra-past: In contrast to using history for legitimizing inter-personal (-national, etc.) conflicts, the past is where we can come to terms with ourselves, i.e., understanding your psychological and spiritual world. Take the lessons-learned, but forgive and move on.

The inter-present: ‘Living in the present’ is good advice for interdependent (vs. independent or dependent) relationships. Rather than relating to others in a transactional way as we are so much taught economically, don’t expect anything in return for your love and don’t sell your soul for what you don’t unconditionally mean.

The extra-future: If we define ourselves not just as how much we consume and amass regarding material and financial wealth but as what we intend to achieve for the next generations to come, we evolve from a liability to wise heroes. Sadly, many elderly are honored mainly for their economic status. There is never a better moment than now to sow the seeds for a healthy future for all by being guided by values of equity and sustainability.

If you scope your human being and becoming that way, you will inevitably get your view cleared up to a panoramic horizon that sets free your full human potential. Follow these ambitions and your doubts will vanish soon. We don’t need to abstain from the progress we were born in as some mean arguments of the sort of “Don’t complain about capitalism if you use it” want to impose guilt on us. However, we are only guilty at humanity if we are not constantly trying to innovate, change, and commit for a better future for all. Better conditions for even more people are possible. We might find a lot of such examples that we are enjoying right now, which our grandparents did not yet (i.e., achievements like advanced democracies, improved gender and racial equality, etc.).

What’s in for you when you engage in finding better solutions for all? What’s in for you if not material gain, especially not in the short-term? A deep satisfaction and fulfillment, motivation to get up and do important work, and compassion and love from being close to what really matters: service to humanity, including the well-being of our children and their children. The world needs every one of us! Now! Enjoy!

Shaping one’s life

#61 RGB II (Mathias Sager, Oil colors water mixable on wood board, 3 panels each 33.3 x 22.0 x 1.2 cm)

A life nicely centered between birth and death
As it is acting like knowing its symmetry around a peak
Assuming a ceiling point until which to invest
According to plans for success and wealth
Allowing a balanced ascension and decline
All forming the pyramid of life

OR

A life interestingly gone astray in chaos of time
As it is anticipating what was never expected to occur
Assuming abundance seen as a result of giving
According to teachings for personal growth
Allowing an adventurous dive in uncertainty
All forming the pot of life

OR JUST

A life
As it is
Assuming nothing
According to nature
Allowing
All forms of life

You’ll never arrive

mathias-sager-lost-city-painting-20161224
Lost city (Mathias Sager, oil on wood panel, P10 530 x 410)

Running till retirement
when you’ll change environment
Running till the end of the year
when you’ll forget all of your fear
Running till career promotion
when you’ll feel success emotion
Running till next vacation
when you’ll improve situation
Running till the weekend
when you’ll meet your friend
Running till tonight
when you’ll feel delight
Running till lunch time
when you’ll be fine
Running till a break
when you’ll awake
Running till next coffee
when you’ll be softly
Running till next cigarette
when you’ll make it forget
Running till …

… you’ll never arrive

Vision of a World Happy Colorful Growth  (WHCG) Movement

mathias-sager-COLORFUL-happy-colorful-growth-heart-logo

Destructive human behavior and problems on our planet earth come back to the “enslavement traps” of societal control, which are materialist attachment, self-centeredness, distraction from the truth, dependency, mutual exclusive values, and ruthless capitalism. Therefore the WHCG Movement sets out the necessary themes to be addressed locally and globally to realize change for a more peaceful and healthy world. As outlined below, the 3 pillars with the 6 principles can be understood as basic human qualities that prescribe nothing else than the good natural human capacities and motivations to be deliberated. Therefore it is the movement of systematically fostering genuine and universal human values and the removal of unnecessarily separating values. How is that possible? Materialist and ego-driven values are not guaranteeing (and even hindering) people’s happiness, fulfillment, and personal growth: The achievements that make human lives so worthwhile. It is the people’s choice to be free, and to pursue their self-determined journey for not only more wealth fairly shared, but for personal and collective happiness, fulfillment, and growth for this and the generations to come.

Continue reading Vision of a World Happy Colorful Growth  (WHCG) Movement

Being great

mathias-sager-kanji-II-painting-201602
#025 Kanji II, Happy Colorful Growth (Mathias Sager, water mixable oil colour on canvas board, 53x46x0.4 cm (20.8″x18.1″x0.16″))

How great is it to walk without the ability to run
How great is it to jump if flying isn’t in one’s might
How great is it to find pictures instead of searching words
How great is it to have courage without encouragement
How great is it to start simple when not mastering complexity
How great is it to believe what seems to be impossible

Authentic

mathias-sager-stand-up-II-painting-201603
Don’t compete for compensation
Study love, human equation
No wealth and however smart
Nothing’s like authentic art
.
That’s my honest advice
Having done it more than once
Whatever dreams you follow
Still must suffer but not hollow
.
So think to the end, be clever
Every step makes the endeavor
Deviations are meant to be lessons
Part of all for good reasons

Should happiness really be the goal? A Buddhist perspective

mathias-sager-volcano-lake-garden-painting-201605

The pursuit of happiness generally is considered to be the ultimate goal of a human journey, while economic wealth is expected to support that goal. However, there are many different and plausible ways of looking at quality of living.

“You could be well off, without being well.
You could be well, without being able to lead the life you wanted.
You could have got the life you wanted, without being happy.
You could be happy without having much freedom.
You could have a good deal of freedom, without achieving much.”

– A. Sen (1987)

Continue reading Should happiness really be the goal? A Buddhist perspective

Expect More. No human waste please.

Whether in a private, corporate or public context, we should always be aware of the effects of our approaches to human resource development. Are we really enabling learning experiences that promote personal growth for all?

It is highly irresponsible to invest only little in holistic personnel development processes – even if this is justified with low level expectation also in terms of Return on Invest. Low investment in people cannot be justified by anything though. I consider it as unethical to allow human potential (that is always available anyway) untapped. No human waste please.

The possibility of new experiences and personal growth is a basic need in the sense that these are the most important contributions to individual happiness and consequently collective peace. In order to continuously improve human / personal development processes, a structured improvement systematic is required as I have added to the ‘Happy Colofrul Growth’ framework and explained in this article.

mathias-sager-continuous personal development process improvement

For an introduction to the HCG Framework, please see post ‘Create to develop; develop to create. A framework.’

Continue reading Expect More. No human waste please.