2016 Fall


11.21.16

Hi,

I was crossing the Atlantic last Friday and marveled at Greenland’s landscape:

You may wonder: where is the “green” in Greenland?

Apparently Erik the Red named it so 1000 years ago to lure potential settlers.

Today, it is still the least populated country in the planet.

So I told myself: don’t be like Erik.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a concept that turns personal goal-setting on its head: optimizing for states of being. I’ve been applying it myself with promising results. I wanted to share it with you… but I won’t yet. The more I wrote the more I realized the insight is still half cooked.

So instead of claiming I’ve found a new land worth settling in, I will continue exploring if that land is green. I share below other learnings in the meantime.

Warm wishes,

Miguel

PS: if this is the first time you receive my seasonal update, see here why I do this.

Insight

I was offered the opportunity to undergo a 2 day training to become a MasterMC hosting big auditorium events. Fun stuff. The trainer had worked with Disney’s Chief Imagination Officer and had plenty real-world tips, but one stuck out:

A profound question to ask while on the stage of life – it immediately refocuses attention on how to serve others.

At the Oxford Mindfulness Centre a similar lesson arised: Chris Cullen shared the story where a student asks the teacher: “what is the result of a lifetime of (meditation) practice?” and the teacher answered: “an appropriate response”. It is this moment to moment yielding that allows action with integrity to arise, that is, action in harmony with the totality.

With the founders of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, brilliant academic minds well connected to their hearts: Segal, Williams & Teasdale

McKinsey invited me to their Young Leaders Forum near Stuttgart. Two days focused on how to lead in a VUCA world. The one line answer: maintain a radical focus on what you can control.


A stronger bonding arises from immersion in multi-day workshops vs lectures.

Finally, this week I had the incredible good fortune of finishing the teacher training to facilitate Search Inside Yourself at Google: a Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence training for leaders, supported by science. Our teachers were a Stanford neuroscientist and a Zen priest. Pinch me. l’m truly grateful to Google for this opportunity and look forward to sharing these profound tools starting next year. SearchInsideYourself is now available outside Google through SIYLI, so if you think your organization could benefit just let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

Creativity

The International Arts & Culture Group (TIAC) invited me to Florence to run a workshop on entrepreneurial skills for artists. If you’re interested in mastering the flow between creativity (being) & execution (doing) let me know. Given the strong response I may offer more in the future.


The audience were professional artists juggling the paintbrush & the laptop.

A decade ago I had the fortune of spending a summer painting in Florence, so although I didn’t get to paint this time, let me share one from memory lane:


Florentine afternoon, oil on canvas, 2005, private collection

I was commissioned an artwork by a group of friends who wanted to portrait the Irish pub where a soon-to-be-married couple had met. Since I’m based in Dublin I accepted the mission… it turns out the pub is in London! It was only once I saw it in real life that I was able to deliver:


Sketching in London’s Chinatown


O’neills pub, comte pencil on paper, private collection

Learning from others

“A Guide to the good life: the ancient art of stoic joy” by William Irvine

As a long time fan of stoic philosophy, I had discarded reading this book for the mainstream. I was wrong. Chapter four contains a jewel:

“…the easiest way for us to gain happiness is to learn how to want the things we already have. This advice is easy to state and is doubtless true; the trick is in putting it into practice in our life … The stoics…  recommended that we spend time imagining that we have lost the things we value—that our wife has left us, our car was stolen, or we lost our job. Doing this … will make us value our wife, our car, and our job more than we otherwise would. This technique—let us refer to it as negative visualization—… is, I think, the single most valuable technique in the Stoics’ psychological tool kit.”

“Hedonic adaptation has the power to extinguish our enjoyment of the world. Because of adaptation, we take our life and what we have for granted rather than delighting in them. Negative visualization, though, is a powerful antidote to hedonic adaptation. By consciously thinking about the loss of what we have, we can regain our appreciation of it, and with this regained appreciation we can revitalize our capacity for joy”

I invite you to give it a go!

Next

I will be traveling in the coming months to:

– Madrid
– London
– Nairobi
– Granada
– Avila
– Buenos Aires
– Iguazu

Please do drop me a line if we can meet for enlivening conversation.



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