Synergy is the victorious keyword

We are all facing a once in a lifetime challenge – in the face of a pandemic, our combined future will depend on the choices we make individually and as a society about how to deal with the circumstances we are faced with.

The two main strategies we can choose to adopt to deal with the present circumstances can be summarized in two keywords: Synergy and Individualism.

Individualism is the fear-based strategy. It will be seen by many as the most appealing option in the beginning, because it produces immediate “protection” regardless of the outcome. However, fear-based individualism will ultimately lead to isolation in many forms:

  • Isolation: social isolation, social distancing, seclusion, confinement, segregation, quarantine, detention, lock-down, restricted access, blockade, standstill, paralysis, stagnation, loss;
  • Separation: estrangement, discord, separateness, partition, division, disconnection, induced coma, stigmatization, removal, withdrawal;
  • Hatred: antagonism, aversion, dislike, rancor, crime, violence;
  • Disbelief: agnosticism, atheism, disbelief, lack of faith;
  • Disinformation: propaganda, toxic use of mass media.

Synergy is the higher conscience strategy. It will require combined effort now, and a common intention to overcome together, because it implies that we act in unity and compliance with the common good, and in observance of natural law, but it is most supportive strategy for a best possible outcome. Synergy will ultimately lead to unity in many forms:

  • Cooperation: teamwork, symbiosis, joint-efforts, joint-leadership, coordination, reciprocity, interaction, coalition, compliance with rules and adherence to best practices;
  • Bipartisanship: joint political efforts, coalition, confederation, political union;
  • Assistance: mutual assistance, interdependence, coadjuvancy, ecology;
  • Faith: spiritual communion, ecumenic dialogue, spiritual comfort through belief, regardless of religion;
  • Truth: absence of fear, factual data, scientific method, factual reporting, supportive information that enhances the quality of decision making.

Synergy is the victorious keyword.

As you consider your decisions over the coming period of time, you can choose a higher level of conscience, knowing that by doing so you are resisting the temptation of falling for the fear-based reaction.

The consequences of your decisions as you execute the strategy you have chosen will positively impact how we will all emerge from this together.

Choose synergy.

António Belo Santos

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Are you time affluent?

Time affluence is a measure of the amount of time that you are able to allocate to the projects, activities and relationships that make you happy.

Why do we forget this simple notion?

All of us have fallen for the trap of over investing generous, scarce personal time in pursuit of financial compensation, and there in nothing wrong with that… except that the marginal utility of another unit of earned currency decreases quickly after our basic needs are met.

As you well know, above a certain threshold more money per se does not make you happy. 

And if we give up pursuing our time affluence, we can really mess up our inner balance, regardless of how much financial wealth we can accumulate.

Unfortunately we were not brought up to have the sense that we should invest in time affluence. School curricula are overburdening children with work, leaving them with ever decreasing time to play, interact and above all create. 

But it turns out that investing in time affluence can actually make you much happier than you think.

Here are 4 simple reasons why time affluence will make you happier, and consequently financially more affluent too:

  • Prioritizing based on time and quality of time helps you make wiser, more balanced investment choices, which are more likely to outperform.
  • The more time affluent you are, the healthier your relationship with financial wealth is, because you understand at an deep inner level that you can enjoy your wealth, and hence the more resources you will naturally attract to yourself.
  • People who prioritize time affluence focus on purpose, principles and happiness, not so much on revenue. Obviously they end up being more sensitive to the needs of Partners and Clients, which ultimately generates…. more revenue!
  • Time affluent people tend to live longer, be happier and dedicate more of their lives into giving back to society, which brings them much higher levels of personal happiness and social integration over time.

So what can you do today to increase your time affluence? Here are 3 easy steps:

  • Delegate fearlessly. The world worked perfectly fine before you came in, and it will continue working splendidly after you leave. Trust others and empower them whenever you can. They will be happy, you will be happy.
  • Prioritize. Then prioritize again. And after doing so, prioritize once more.
  • As you begin to feel gradually more time affluent, and hence more empowered, use your precious time purposefully towards what makes you happy and brings happiness to the world around you.

Enjoy your time, it is the scarcest resource at your disposal.

António Belo Santos

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Stuff is a thing, it is not dynamic – it will not make you as happy as you think – mostly because it sticks around, and that means you get bored of all that stuff. In fact, a really bad part in buying awesome stuff is that it will stay around to disappoint you!

As an investor, a winning strategy is to avoid investing in stuff, instead choosing to invest in things that will not stick around, all that is dynamic and has a limit in time.

Experiences – all that has a beginning, a fruition and an end – do not give you time to adapt to them. A trip to a new place is thrilling and exciting while you are at it, but is completely over when you get back. It evaporates, and you are left with nothing but a memory, a wonderful experience, and that is dynamic.

We get more happiness out of experiences than we get from stuff.

Make a test right now – think about getting some cool stuff and then think about enjoying an experience. I bet you felt happier when you focused on an experience, not so happy when you thought about a getting some awesome stuff.

However, our nagging little egos keep whispering behind our ears that awesome stuff is… awesome, right? Well…. wrong! In fact, our petty little egos make it harder for us to realize that experiences make us happier. That little nagging voice keeps pushing us to get the awesome, cool stuff, regardless of the fact that you know and I know and literally everyone knows that, after consumption, when all is said and done, we are all much happier after the experience than with the purchase, and that is the Truth.

The strategy is pretty straight forward – invest in experiences that will make people happier than stuff, especially if the experience is new to them.

Understanding this and applying this into your portfolio management strategy is actually one of the most powerful techniques you will ever deploy to enhance your happiness, and your profits. 

But there is more – it turns out experiences are actually better happiness providers than awesome stuff for other reasons too:

  • When you tell people about your experiences, it is just way more fun for both you and everybody else. Forget about the new shiny object du jour – nobody cares. We all want to hear about the swimming with sharks expedition!
  • Experiences make you happy because they help other people resonate with you, which has the effect of boosting your group integration and social life. 
  • Others think higher of you when you share experiences, not when you talk about the awesome shiny stuff you got. You make people think you’re twice as humorous by investing in experiences. They see you as adventurous, and there is coolness in that. People just dig you better if you’re the kind of person that invest in experiences.
  • Experiences are less subject to social comparison. It’s harder to compare your summer trip versus somebody else’s trip. And so instead, people try to get knowledge from your experience, so they can plan their own. And that means that if we’re the type of people who invest in experiences, it is less likely that we are target of envy. 
  • The cool one is the last one – your experiences seem to make other people happy, either because they get to participate, or simply because when you tell people about your crazy experience, that makes them people happy to be around you. How cool is that? Awesome!

Consequently, as you consider your investment options, look for businesses that offer experiences, not stuff – everyone will come out happier.

António Belo Santos

Photo by Luke Bender on Unsplash

When undertaking networking efforts, so many people fall prey to the lower conscience temptation to try to connect with others with the barely hidden purpose of extracting some form of value from others that they imagine they could benefit from. 

Not surprisingly – as the universe gives back to you more of what you put into it – the consequence of networking with such limited, self-interested, perspective is that people end up attracting, and eventually become surrounded by, like-minded peers who are in the game just to try to reach some sort of immediate benefit through others. 

And that is, of course, ego-based networking, and people who indulge in it end up with lower-value, less powerful networks.

Ego-based networking is an incredible waste of opportunity and a disrespect for the singularity of others. 

Instead, consider networking for ideas. 

Go out in the world and meet people with the honest uninterested goal of hearing about their experiences, perspectives, insights.

Smart networkers understand that diversity is one of the most powerful sources of wealth, and hence they naturally network with others to learn, discover, reassess, while also taking time to help others benefit from their own perspectives. 

And again, not surprising, people who network for ideas build and develop richly diverse networks, which they deliberately populate with as many different kinds of people as they possibly can.

Feel like giving it a shot? 

Take these 3 simple steps:

  1. Seek to actively network with people who you would never think of even speaking with;
  2. Instead of trying to look special, make a conscious effort to learn through your network. 
  3. Be ready to share without expecting anything in return. 

Help others, forget about yourself, the universe will thank you for it.

António Belo Santos

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Spotting wise leadership where it factually exists really opens your eyes to the wonder of life and our role in the universe.

As you grow in life, eventually it dawns on you that true leaders are not necessarily those who have fought hard to be appointed to office – the reality is that wise inspired leadership can be found in the most surprising places, and in most cases comes from people who never really wanted to be leaders in the first place.

Wise leaders are not self declared, instead they are spotted by the community as they carry out their actions and consequently it is the community that pushes these people to their leadership role.

That is one of the reasons why wise leaders are keenly aware of the responsibility they carry, and consequently they become genuinely humble in the face of the enormity of their task.

In fact, it it this genuine, non-assuming humbleness that is a hallmark of a wise leader that makes these people so very hard to spot.

Here are some personality traits to look out for as you seek to identify a wise leader in your surroundings:

  • A person who is naturally willing, and innately focused, in effectively helping others, and who is endowed with the faith, energy and fearless persistence required to achieve and overcome;
  • A champion for others, a selfless hero, a very good negotiator and arbitrator, a tactful person, a very skilled planner, a patient personality who is diligent and leaves little to chance;
  • Someone who is responsible and honorable and is sufficiently detached from material desire to the point that has become objectively willing to die, but not kill, for the cause of helping others, and yet a person of peace;
  • Generous people, especially if they found themselves in situations that left them with little alternative than to face, and overcome, arduous circumstances.
  • Longevity in the sense of someone who has been able to honorably maintain relationships and roles for long periods of time, having moved on only when the calling for something new came naturally;

Keeping the above in mind, it suddenly becomes much easier to understand that wise leaders are forged in hardship, and their beautiful progressive ascent is a consequence of service and a steady, constant, predictable push to better conditions.

Open your eyes and spot a wise leader near you, and when you do you will naturally be inspired and grateful for seeing that the good in life is much more abundant and inspiring than you thought.

Photo by Tobias Mrzyk on Unsplash

For the sake of our own human potential, the quality of our relationships needs to be addressed.

Are you consciously choosing your relationships?

In a world full of networking opportunities and evermore-present social networks, human relationships are becoming commoditized, in the sense that we often do not give them the importance that they should have, we do not nourish them properly and we do not give them time to develop organically.

Everyday we are bombarded by pressure to meet up, socialize, get new acquaintances – be social!

And so we establish networks, often without properly assessing the quality of the relationships being formed, with the effect of growing unattended gardens.

There is a powerful secret reason why, throughout history, relationships were established with utmost care and kept with diligence, and we seem to be forgetting all about it.

The most powerful secret about relationships is that the company we keep directly influences the type of person we become.

Think about this for a second and let it sink in – even tough it is not an imminent case of life and death (at least in most cases), the fact is that your human development potential, your achievement level, your happiness and the overall quality of your experience in this precious and incredibly short life largely depends on who you associate with.

Making the right relationship choices can make your life incredibly rewarding, but making the wrong ones can make your life miserable.

In all fairness, everyone gets it when we simply say that minimum compatibility is necessary for relationships to function.

Are you satisfied with “minimums”?

It does not come as a surprise then that the people you work with have an enormous impact on your work ethic and your perception of value creation. Team up with the wrong guys and you are curtailing your personal development and creating for yourself an inferior potential.

Here is a mid-blowing fact that we often forget: well-founded, solid relationships transform into partnerships and can have many times much more power than each of the individuals participating in them.

All of this is to say that the most important choices we make in life are the ones where we determine which persons we become closest to: partners, friends, spouse, because from the moment we establish these relationships, our destinies become combined.

So what can we do about it?

If you start today with these 5 simple steps and walk the walk, over time things will evolve in ways you never dreamt of:

1.     Consciously choose who your key relationships are. Invest in the ones who bring you higher, and cut off the relationships that prey on your energy.

2.     Keep an open heart – do not judge, instead let life flow and be open to surprises.

3.     Simply refuse to even consider a job offer based on salary or brand – instead make sure you meet with the people and sense the vibe before taking any decisions.

4.     Tell the word who you are, not what you do.

5.     Demand better treatment from recruiters. Explain to executive recruiters who see you as a “function” that your ultimate potential will depend on the quality of the people in your environment, not on what you have done before, and that you will not be doing the same thing all your life.

Above all love yourself, and commit to relationships which will assist you in achieving your ultimate human potential.

We all hope for the best and regardless of differences deep inside we all wish the best to everyone around us. But beyond hope there are real, practical, concrete steps we can take today to invite the best, most fortunate outcome into our own lives and into our businesses.

Our egos love to claim ownership of whatever success we experience, but in fact often what happens is we just got fortunate and were able to ride that wave. Being humble enough to recognize that fortunate developments are not a direct result of our ego’s action is a constructive attitude for anyone seeking to invite fortune into their lives.

So the question is: how much good fortune could you attract into your life today if you knew there are objective strategies you can deploy to see more helpful circumstances, more helpful waves you can ride?

Is there a set of elements we can consider as the basis of good fortune?

We rarely stop and consider what are the elements of good fortune really are and how we can take steps to be well positioned to attract good fortune.

Here are the 5 basics:

1.    Good fortune emanates from practical wisdom.

Practical wisdom is being able to quietly read the signs and position yourself adequately before the wave comes, so you can ride it when the time is right.

2.    Practical wisdom comes form developing a sense of oneness with reality.

Clear your mind, shut down your ego permanent chatter and for your own sake please listen. Practical wisdom is not being the wise gal / guy – it is about quiet observation in such a way that what will happen next becomes effortlessly apparent to you.

3.    There is a deep connection between information, the news, good use of social media, up to date knowledge, R&D, innovation, and the ability to see reality for what it is.

This is why digital transformation is so important – more data, well treated, produces better knowledge that enhances your practical wisdom.

4.    Ethics matter – ethical approaches safeguard you from ego blindness, and open your eyes to Truth.

If you constantly focus on Truth, you will develop your inner ability to see reality for what it is, so you can get the practical wisdom to deal with it.

5.    The power of your practical wisdom depends on your level of conscience – You need to have a certain level of conscience to “get it”.

The higher your level of conscience is, the more awareness you can get. And because you are aware, you can position yourself correctly, align yourself with Truth, and that can be perceived as good fortune, when in reality it simply means that you are positioned correctly with what is.

This implies understanding that the most fundamental wall between you and Truth is your ego.

Ultimately, good fortune is the sweet spot where preparation meets opportunity. You simply “knew” when it was the right time to do something, and hence you acted timely to position yourself correctly – and the you get incredibly fortunate because you simply do just that.

Successful business leaders are passionately committed to truth. They realise that truth is the ultimate competitive edge in business, as in life, and that most of the leadership work they deliver is devoted to aligning the companies they oversee with truth.

Imagine you have been appointed to the job of CEO of a large company and consequently are experiencing an inflated ego for being “the chosen one to lead the way”.

After you stop massaging your ego and get back to earth, you may be in for the rude awakening that occurs when you find that the company is facing intense issues and a wide array of challenges that will require extreme efforts and flexibility to deal with.

Feeling like a “superstar”, you may come in with a plan that you have imagined to solve it all, but somehow the “difficult” people working in the company or the “imposing” Clients just do not seem to get along with what you have in mind.

The worst part of the entire ordeal of course is that there is really no escape from that burdening job after having taken the seat, which means that it could all become so less glamorous and appealing in the end than what you anticipated or had been led to believe initially. This happens every day, and many business leaders will only privately admit to this reality.

So how can you deal with it?

Are there any secrets to deal with the challenges posed by the many veils that separate you from the truth? Of course there are, and they emanate from business ethics.

One of the strategies that effective business leaders use to overcome their egos and see the truth is taking deliberate steps in the exact opposite direction of what their egos are telling them to do.

This is akin to saying that one of the secrets behind inspiring leadership is to consciously choose to take a professionally humble approach to whatever challenge is being presented.

Professional humbleness is about reducing the tone of the permanent chatter in your mind, lower the tone of your voice, actively listen and become a receiving antenna to what the universe is trying to tell you, sometimes even bluntly in your face, instead of childishly trying to implement some solution that is yet another brainchild of your ego. This is of course an ethical way of approaching business.

That is the moment when answers start becoming apparent and solutions, regardless of how difficult, emerge and a way forward is carved. That is the real moment of truth.

Another strategy to success that business leaders are well familiar with in their efforts to be aligned with the truth is to always inspire, support and uplift others and make sure that the corporate strategy is committed to these values.

Business ethics is rooted on the notion that you build what you stand for.

A third strategy that business leaders implement as they align with the truth is to quietly observe what the company has less resistance in doing, what comes natural to the company culture and is an inherent uniqueness that can be put to use if focused in the right direction. And of course natural law and natural cycles are fundamental elements of business ethics.

There is no competition to the level of success that can be achieved as a consequence of pursuing truth, because there is no opposing counterforce to it.

As business leaders start walking the path of alignment with truth and fostering an ethical way to approach business, success is increasingly more effortless, inevitable and overwhelming, simply because all success in life comes from truth.

Stars under water

Would you try to submerse a shining star?

Assuming you agree with the principle that there is possibly some form of peaceful natural order in the universe – even if we cannot understand it and it actually appears pretty chaotic – then you could admit the possibility that trying to submerse a shining star is, as a minimum, an unconventional idea.

Each and every person on this planet is a shining star. Every single one of us is endowed with individual innate abilities to use our creative genius and talent in ways that shine, seeking the highest possible beneficial outcomes to ourselves, to our communities and to society as a whole.

All of us are super talented in something – anything really – ranging from the more obvious talents, to more specific ways in which each of us is inspired and able to perform at the highest levels.

When we spot and develop such talents, any outputs that emerge are often incredibly ingenious, creative, inspired, and remarkably long lasting.

 One of the current mega trends hidden in plain sight is the factual observation that, across all markets, very large numbers of people are quickly moving away from single labour contractual relationships, instead developing their skills, focusing on their talents, and putting these to service in their communities in a wide variety of ways.

Traditional employment relationships where the stars would be drowned for the sake of standardization in the workplace are quickly being questioned by vast numbers of professionals who instead serve others as Clients, not as employees.

In today’s business world, most of us are no longer employees – we are entrepreneurs in whatever areas bring us the true sense of fulfilment that we all get from pursuing our personal direction and develop our talents and our skills.

Freedom from employment and wide spread entrepreneurship form yet another example of the wealth of opportunity that is being brought to us as a consequence of the widespread adoption of the principles of Cyber Economics.

The digital transformation the world is going through is shifting the traditional employment market into a much richer skills market, where highly talented people can integrate several different teams, participate in several different projects, across several different industries, in all of which contributing with their unique personal talent.

The world is quickly becoming a much better place. As the skills market replaces the employment relationship, our sense of security and material prosperity is no longer centred in one paying entity and is no longer limited by salary remuneration. Instead, each of us is developing a Client portfolio that focuses on all the things we are best at doing.

Ultimately, the transformation of the employment economy into a skills economy through the adoption of digital resources will allow each of us to deeply understand our unique strengths so intimately and completely that we shine like we never thought possible.

No longer will our sparkle be under water, no longer will any of us fear losing a job, no longer will any worker have to submit to toxic work environments.

Quite on the contrary, we are all becoming more optimistic towards life and then of course this optimism is one key driver of economic growth.

We are on the path to achieve the constant peace of mind that emanates from being personally reassured that our contribution to society is valued in such a way that we simply know that nothing can challenge our long-term wealth, happiness, peace and security.

Only sea stars live under water.

People are constantly looking for leaders, often in the wrong place, sometimes with tragic consequences. In fact, pervasive leadership stereotypes suggest that the ideal leader would be a sort of a mixture between the messianic visionary and the epitome of an affirmative personality.

Too many people crave opportunities to assume leadership roles without being true leaders often for unspeakable motives, which can range from their petty desire to acquire wealth to more obscure domination delusions, all of which are inherently unhealthy.

Let’s get over these poor leadership stereotypes once and for all. As a global community, we deserve true leadership, for the sake of our children, families, businesses and society. And of course this requires that we clearly define what we want from our leaders.

So what are we after?

Every leader has their personal leadership style but, curiously enough, inspiring true leaders are often professionally humble, unassuming individuals who never wanted to be in charge of anything or anyone in the first place. They simply never wanted to do it. These individuals take deliberate steps to keep a low profile, despite their personal strengths, diverse interdisciplinary skills and true wisdom.

As children, true leaders are incredibly curious, always wanting to learn more, understand further, question deeper. Sometimes they do poorly at school, because they are bored with the standardized curriculum, as their minds are busy investigating other more interesting things or pursuing creative projects. These children are intrigued by the world around them, which they seek to understand, and they tend to search that information by themselves. But one sign of their leadership potential is that they often do get involved in academic organizations and school life and you can find them spending significant amounts of time voluntarily serving their peers during their student life.

As young adults, true leaders naturally assume roles in society through which they are of service to others and their community, even if their contribution is not flashy and only generates meagre income, as they often put their personal interests second while continuing to feed their enormous curiosity and learning about the world around them.

After several years, true leaders mature as marvellously rich personalities, their profiles are quite open with very different, often hard to understand educational choices and professional experiences, in what can only be described as someone with a wide and apparently unspecialized path.

Most recruiters will pass true leaders by and in their quick hire-for-commission assignments prefer the apparent safety of highly technical and specialized people, who are easier to present to prospective employers. This executive recruiter’s tendency to reject open profiles effectively fuels the leadership and entrepreneurial characteristics of true leaders as they are left to fend for themselves.

This is of course an organic process, and there are no pre-set milestones for true leaders, they just naturally grow and mature. But when they do, something fabulous occurs.

Only then, when the time is right for them – and this can come sooner or much later in life – true leaders reach a point in their life when they simply decide to seek personal independence, declare freedom to pursue their personal agendas, and start solving the problems they were confronted with in their own personal, innovative way.

Then, as their curiosity-fed insatiable quest for knowledge is directed to serving others and solving concrete problems, true leaders come up with different ways of dealing with situations, and that is when the magic happens.

One of the sources of the unquestionable charisma and enigmatic appeal of true leaders is that they do not have a perfect background for the job and they do things differently, in a discreet, unassuming but very powerful way.

Suddenly, people start noticing that true leaders operate differently and with better outcomes, and that is when life effectively tells a true leader “Like it or not, it’s your time to lead”. True leaders never wanted to lead in the first place, they are simply thrust into leadership roles when people decide to follow them.

It is this element of commitment to exercise curiosity to find solutions to widespread problems that ultimately signals a charismatic individual who was thrust into the unwanted leadership position that makes true leaders magnetic and hard to resist, and that is one of the sources for their often hypnotic fame.