Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Solving the Mojo Paradox

I once had a CEO client who had a penchant for making sarcastic remarks to his employees. In his case, I abbreviated the two questions into a four-word test. Before he opened his mouth and said something that he would regret, I told him to ask himself, “Is it worth it?” He was skeptical at first. I explained that the question was like closing his office door when he didn’t want to be interrupted. The door won’t keep everybody out, but it makes people think twice before they knock. After twelve months of using this tactic, he made the startling admission that half the things he was going to say were “not worth saying.” So he stopped saying them—and within a year was he perceived as a much more effective leader.
The global economy is highly uncertain. I always counsel my friends in major organizations, “This is not a great year to make ‘ego points’”. One simple questioning activity—that two of my friends swear has changed their lives—and led to major promotions- is to breathe before speaking and acting, then ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do in the best interest of myself and the people that I love?” If the answer is “no”, think hard before saying or doing it! 
This simple ‘two question’ discipline can be applied to any activity. Imagine that you’re about to attend a one-hour mandatory meeting. Your initial mind-set is that the meeting will be a boring waste of time. But on this occasion, you flash forward an hour into the future and ask yourself two questions: How much long-term benefit or meaning did I experience from this activity? How much short-term satisfaction or happiness did I experience in this activity? Remember, it’s your life. If the meeting makes you feel miserable and empty, it’s your misery and emptiness. So try to make the best of the situation rather than defaulting to the role of victim. You have two options. Option A is to attend the meeting and be miserable (and probably assist other attendees in being miserable too). Option B is to make the meeting more meaningful and enjoyable. You might be able to do this by observing your colleagues more closely than ever, or by challenging other attendees with questions that you’ve been dying to ask, or by creatively generating an idea that becomes the meeting’s center of attention. Your options are not as limited or limiting as you think, but you may never even consider these option without first posing the two questions.
All you’re doing is changing how you approach any activity. You’re no longer defaulting to inertia—i.e., continuing to do what you’ve been doing. You’re electing to be more mindful, more alert, and more awake. Remember this as you pursue the courses of action in MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back When You Lose It!. This is how we can overcome the pernicious effects of inertia, or mindless activity. This is how we solve the Mojo Paradox. This is how we can regain control of our future and create positive change. This is how Mojo begins.

Life is good.


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MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back When You Lose It!

What Got You Here Won't Get You There


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