Mastering our Thoughts and Actions Is the Key to Happiness

Mastering our Thoughts and Actions Is the Key to Happiness

Mastering our Thoughts and Actions Is the Key to Happiness

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Society often defines success as fame, fortune, and achievement as perceived through the eyes of others. We convince ourselves that we will be happy when we finally make our fortune, find the perfect spouse, graduate college, or end up at the top of our business. But most people who define success in these terms are unhappy.

Happiness comes from within. There are some principles that can serve as a map that will lead us to true inner happiness. However, in life’s journey, our natural feelings of peace, love and joy frequently become clouded by negative misguided beliefs.

Our mind is constantly justifying why we create a feeling, and then because of our five senses we convince ourselves that it’s real. We become slaves to the feelings we create. We begin to believe our own mind chatter rooted in fears.

Built up stress and insecurity are often due to self-created thought systems, influenced by external inputs. For example, you are at the checkout line of your favorite food grocer, and your emotionally aware consciousness might allow you to let someone go in front of you, perhaps because he/she is in a hurry, and only has 2 items.

Conversely, the fear of being taken advantage of could take over. Perhaps as a child someone tricked you, or stole your favorite toy, and you created a belief system of distrust and a need to be guarded. You may reason with yourself: “I am in a hurry too, we are all in a hurry, he/she can wait like the rest of us.”

Now imagine you walk out of the store and strangely you get into some kind of accident that you might have avoided because you were in the store an extra 5 minutes.

Sometimes we are given opportunities to alter the outcome of our life in a positive way, but we let our fear-based thought system take over, and the actions we take as a result end up causing us chaos. We don’t often see the logic and perfection to an otherwise imperfect life, because the mind chatter is tuned into the station called “fear FM”.

We Build the House

Negative moods are created by acting on negative thoughts. We build the house we live in, and we often build with negative bricks. The secret is knowing that the moods we experience are a result of the actions we took or did not take.

A quiet mind allows us to choose our course of action on the thoughts coming in; our mood depends on this. This requires great discipline not to let fears and judgmental thoughts run their course; meaning they can happen — but we should not always act on them. This is where meditation and the practice of mindfulness come in very handy.

Sometimes the simple realization that it is just a thought that requires no action be taken will be enough to immediately raise your level of consciousness. Sometimes the thoughts cause people to act in an out of control fashion, and the resulting moods can be devastating.

If you find yourself having raging thoughts of anger, resentment, difficulty focusing, and the actions you take on those thoughts cause chaos in your life, don’t dismiss the possibility of neurotransmitters imbalance of the brain, and as such I am advocating taking properly prescribed medication or treatments by a professional.

In the past two decades there has been an increase of 400% in Bi-Polar Disorder, mostly because unlike years ago when it was demonized, science is beginning to find treatments for imbalances that cause people to act in ways that creates chaos in their lives.

These same people are often geniuses who lead extraordinary difficult lives. People like Sir Isaac Newton, Mark Twain, Galileo, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, President Lincoln, and countless others were all manic depressive; they made amazing contributions to the betterment of mankind, yet I side with how difficult it must have been to live in their own minds, and within themselves, yet still choosing to be value creators.

Most of us aren’t in need of medical medicine to manage our stress and fears. There is a free medicine that does wonders in altering a bad mood, it’s called gratitude. Just by appreciating your health, talents, children or simply a beautiful object, you begin to want to emanate happiness and love, rather than fear.

Let Go of Destructive Ideas

Most of the pain people endure have roots in relationships gone bad. Everything about life is about relationships, but we frequently hold false assumptions about relationships. Here are some false ideas:

Love is blind: Love is not blind. When in love, we notice differences and see them as interesting, and endearing rather than faults. We see things as we should every day. We see things without judgment. Imagine if we could do this in our relationships all the time. We would be in love all the time.

It is important to be compatible: The notion that people have to think about and enjoy doing the same things to be compatible is simply not true. It is another illusion our fears create. By respecting differences, we all have the ability to be compatible. When we remove judgment, and let go of our fears, our consciousness will find all kinds of ways to be happy in a relationship. This holds true even at work. The notion of hiring for cultural fit is limiting and lacks respect for true diversity, which includes beliefs and lifestyles.

We will be happy when circumstances change: You cannot experience happiness by focusing on circumstances or what isn’t there and probably never will be. Get rid of the should, and the should nots, and start seeing what is. It’s like the woman who complains about her husband snoring at night, and then wishes she could give anything to have him back when he has passed away.

Jealousy: This is my favorite; it took me 14 years to overcome this one. Jealousy is imagined fear, insecurity and possessiveness caused by unfounded assumptions or imagined ideas about how another person thinks or feels, which leads to distrust or blame. All barriers that limit clear, real, happy thinking.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well: Like many ideas we fabricate, this is just not so. If doing well simply meant putting your heart in it, or enjoying it, the saying would be a positive. But most often we define doing a thing well as executing it perfectly. It is always best to focus on excellence over perfection.

We are constantly judging everything. Where does judgment come from? Fears.

“The greatest life treasure — joy and happiness, only happens when we replace the need to judge.”

Happiness Matters

When happiness is more important to you than anything else, you will be happy. How is this possible? There will be no room for thoughts that can jeopardize your happiness.

Understanding this changes how we see things. Everything and everyone in our world looks different. It may often seem as though others have changed. However, it is our thoughts (our consciousness) and thus our reality and our feelings that have changed.

When we give love, we get love. Not necessarily because others give it back to us, but because love will emanate through us and within us. We experience what we channel through us and outward to others.

“What we act on is a manifestation of our thinking, and what we manifest is who we become. We are the thoughts we act on!”

All that having been said, sometimes we just need to rant. If you find the need to rant, I would like to invite you to contact me to be a guest on my new experimental podcast called Rant & Grow. You can check out what it’s all about and listen to the trailer below.

Business Innovation Brief

The ROI of Democracy at Work

The ROI of Democracy at Work

The ROI of Democracy at Work

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

I asked people at my company Nearsoft, what kind of topics might be of interest for me to write about. One of the comments came in the form of a question: “In a traditional hierarchical organization (i.e. not Nearsoft) as an individual contributor, what’s the best way to make a meaningful change to the culture? In a big organization, is it even worth it or is it just simpler to change jobs?”

Here is a quote I came across that really makes the point as to why companies need to break away from command and control operating systems, and adopt cultures that are co-managed, and co-owned.

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher … is to be able to say: The children are now working as if I did not exist.” ~ Maria Montessori

The same can be said about leadership. You know your organization is humming along just fine when leaders are no longer needed to lead. That’s when people are co-owning the vision, the goals, and the execution.

You don’t have to wait for a company to adopt freedom-based leadership principles in order to make your mark. As an individual you can begin to act as if you are the CEO, as if you are accountable to everyone. You can proactively do what needs to be done, instead of waiting for someone to come ask you.

For example, if you are in sales, proactively make your activity visible. Share you progress, update the CRM system without having to be asked to do it. Create success and progress metrics, measure them, and report them. Run yourself as if you are running the entire sales organization. Be proactive.

Evolving Towards Co-Ownership

I want to acknowledge that as an individual contributor in an environment that isn’t set up to run democratically, you’ll only get so far. I am not talking about political views here, but the real meaning of the word democracy.

de·moc·ra·cy /dəˈmäkrəsē/ a system of government by the whole population. Control of an organization or group by the majority of its members.

In order for an organization to evolve from a command and control structure to a co-managed, co-owned environment, you have to do away with the need for bosses. If you are a boss today, you’ll need to embrace being a servant to the organization, accountable to the organization, not the other way around.

Most importantly you’ll need to be ok with no longer being the boss. This isn’t an easy transition. There are egos involved, not just rationally good common-sense business reasons.

I can best equate this type of change to what happened in the late 90s when the vast majority of outsourcing initiatives failed. Companies were not ready to go from departments having their own teams, to suddenly working with some external third party to get things done.

I remember spending a considerable amount of time educating Fortune 200 companies on how to shift into decentralized models, like shared services.

By creating internal organizations that provided services to the various departments, companies began to get used to the idea of having to scope out work, do better planning, and having a third party deliver services. Albeit the third party was an internal services team. As soon as that became a natural way of doing things, it could just as well be an external team. That’s when outsourcing became more feasible and accessible.

That transition for most companies took time, in some cases it was a 2-year long process. It was a change in the operating system of a company. A significant change from kingdom owner mindsets to developing strategic alliances. Alliances work via enrollment, not commands.

It’s clear that for organizations to move to a more democratic work environment, there needs to be a bridge. More importantly there needs to be a mindset shift from training people to develop skills, to developing people’s emotional intelligence, with a major focus on self-awareness and leadership skills.

Self-Awareness Unlocks Greater Potential

Where there is great leadership, it feels more like a family who support each other through life. In an organization with not so great leadership the people talk about each other with a sense of judgment. It feels more like the current political landscape in America.

“Where there is great leadership, the people talk about the organization and about each other with a sense of pride.”

When employees (or citizen for that matter) are not positively engaged, the problem is with the leadership. The issue however doesn’t get solved by simply replacing the leadership. The issue is bigger, it’s systemic. It’s wide scope.

Rather than putting forward programs to increase employee engagement or trying to buy the employees affection with perks and toys, organizations would be best served to work on developing better leadership, and self-awareness skills with “everyone” in the organization.

With more self-awareness, comes more self-accountability, but more importantly comes more self-esteem and belief in one’s ability to affect change. In other words, the finger pointing stops, and the desire for resolution and mutual understanding begins.

People are Not Resources

Most organizations don’t invest enough on the health of people’s mindset. Mostly because people are treated like property. People are called human resources, human capital, and assets.

When shopping for a vehicle, we test it. When shopping for a home we test the appliances, and we have the home inspected. When we buy clothing, we try them on to test how they fit. We test potential “property” and we ask for warranties.

Sadly, without being consciously aware of it, we test employees and potential employees the same way … as if they are property. We give them literal tests to check competence, and cultural fit, and after we hire them, we test them some more during a probation period.

How do you feel about being property? Does that feeling encourage more engagement and loyalty?

“People are not resources. People are not property. People need to be treated with respect, with dignity. People are the highest expression of the generosity of the Universe.”

If things aren’t running so smoothly where you work, more than likely it’s a serious disconnect with how people are treated, vs. how they should be treated.

For decades this has been ok. Let me rephrase that, it’s never been ok to treat people like property, but companies have gotten away with it because we have family obligations, and “compliance” has been the mode of operations, instead of “reliance”.

Reliance means that you don’t need me, and I don’t need you, but we choose to rely on each other out of our mutual desire to achieve a goal, a purpose. Reliance is based on mutual respect. It’s based on inter-dependence, not co-dependency. Reliance is founded in human dignity.

“Companies need to move towards being more purpose driven tied to human values, and then set up operating environments that enable people to bring their very best and brightest selves freely into the success equation.”

The accountability needs to be moved from employee-to-boss, to co-owner-to-co-owner. This future of work operating model will ensure that anyone and everyone is free to make a difference, encouraged to do so, and develops a sense of responsibility that everyone is relying on each other to proactively be engaged towards everyone’s success.

“You simply can’t compete with a company where the people are united and committed to each other, founded on mutual respect.”

We are talking about conscious capitalism, where people come first, and genius comes out of a collective free people who are valued as co-owners, co-contributors, and co-leaders.

Worried this kind of people centered operating model will hurt your bottom-line? The facts show that companies operating this way have been outcompeting the growth of S&P 500 companies by a factor of 7X for the past 3 years.

This isn’t just a model good for people, it’s the most successful, profitable, competitive, and growth-oriented business operating model in production today. Period!

Business Innovation Brief

The Business Model of the Future Is People-to-People

The Business Model of the Future Is People-to-People

The Business Model of the Future Is People-to-People

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Before the development of the marketing concept as a management philosophy in the 1950s, marketing was defined essentially as selling. The traditional view of marketing up to that time was that marketing was responsible for creating demand for what farms, factories, forests, fishing, and mines could produce.

Marketing has also been viewed in the past as the function responsible for creating a satisfied customer and for keeping the entire organization focused on the customer.

Focusing attention on the company’s strategy for the delivery of superior value to customers is crucial. Superior marketing defined as customer-focused problem solving and the delivery of superior value to customers is a more sustainable source of competitive advantage than product technology per se.

In the final analysis, only the customer can decide whether the company has created value and whether it will survive in the hyper-competitive global marketplace.

More recently, the dominant business competence appears to be business flexibility. Significant competence is brought together within a flexible business network of inter-organizational arrangements. This is why the cloud is growing so fast, because it allows companies to be nimble in changing the moving parts sort of speak in an efficient way and with agility.

The conflict between the demands of the present and the requirements of the future lies at the heart of why a strategic shift in context and focus is needed. The environment in which tomorrow’s success will be earned is likely to be quite different from the environment that confronts organizations today.

To succeed in the new environment of tomorrow, the organization itself must undergo a significant and radical change from the traditional B2B, or B2C, or B2B2C, to become a people-to-people business.

By focusing on people, companies can outcompete and outperform everyone else because to serve people you have to know and own why you exist. Why you exist is tied to your values. The reasons that compel you to do what you do.

When you stand for something that matters, others with similar values want to be a part of it. Rather than just customers, you end up building an unshakable culture and community.

This is a key point of distinction. The most successful companies in the world build communities and serve those communities with focus and purpose.

Being everything to everyone is the quickest way to have the least loyal customers, employees, and relationships. It’s like being a business without a soul. A zombie business.

To be truly disruptive is to reshape your company so that others can’t compete with you. Today that requires a more radical approach, centered on people.

Build a Radical Brand

Why you exist trumps what you do and how you do it. Why you exist also ties to the purpose for your existence as a brand. If you exist simply to make money, then your value is making money. You would be best served by attracting people who only care about making money.

There is nothing wrong with that value, but it’s not heart based. What is the memorable experience you are creating for customers if your focus is only to make money? There is no relationship there. Everything is simply a transaction. Every day you have to start fresh and earn each customer — there is no stickiness in that business model.

The best way I can describe a heart base value is to share a recent dialogue I had with the CEO of a company seeking to get into the US marketplace from Europe.

I asked the CEO what business they are in, and he went on to describe his inventions and products for sustainable energy. I then proceeded to ask why he is in business, and he explained to me his desire to save the planet. Super noble cause, but everyone wants to save the planet or make the world a better place. 

You need to go deeper to understand the root of the why you exist.

In this case the company exists to save the planet. The next question I asked was to understand the values the founders hold near and dear to their heart, which prompted the desire to save the planet.

After several rounds of answers, and further digging in, it became clear that what he valued as the founder and CEO are respect for people, respect for the environment, and a moral obligation to future generation.

The company wants to save the planet, because it cares about people, it cares about the environment, and it feels a moral obligation to future generations. 

“Your values give more weight and meaning to the why you exist.”

In the case of this company, it does not matter if you care about sustainable energy or not. If you care about people, the planet, your children, and their children — you can connect to what this company is doing and will want to participate.

“Your values attract like-minded employees, partners, and customers, turning them into a community.”

This brings me to another important reason for understanding not only the why you exist as a business, but the values that pushed you into creating your business. Your focus becomes about enabling emotionally charged experiences, not selling a transaction.

Building your company as a people centric business culture will outlast, outcompete, and outperform anything else because you end up creating a community of interest with your employees, partners, vendors, investors and customers.

It’s a basic human need and desire to belong. Historically people looked to civic groups, religion, or other organized efforts to achieve this basic need to belong. Today, companies who understand the importance of creating community, understand that people still have a desire to belong and be part of something greater than themselves.

“When you shift your business mindset to people serving people, and instead of building a customer base you focus on building community, nothing can stop you.”

The future of work is people centric. In order to attract the right people, you have to be clear on your own values, and how those values compel you to do what you do, day in and day out. 

This self-awareness can further help you define the purpose for your business because the purpose or the why your business exists, becomes tied to your values. 

“The people centric approach to building a brand focused on values, guarantees you a strategic competitive advantage.”

You simply can’t compete long term with values like respect, integrity, honesty, abundance, acceptance, accountability, achievement, adventure, appreciation, autonomy, balance, benevolence, calmness, charity, cheerfulness, commitment, compassion, cooperation, collaboration, consistency, contribution, creativity, credibility, curiosity, decisiveness, dedication, dependability, diversity, empathy, encouragement, enthusiasm, ethics, excellence, fairness, family, friendship, flexibility, generosity, grace, flexibility, happiness, humility, inclusiveness, joy, kindness, leadership, love, loyalty, mindfulness, passion, proactivity professionalism, punctuality, recognition, relationships, reliability, resilience, resourcefulness, responsibility, responsiveness, security, stability, teamwork, thankfulness, thoughtfulness, trustworthiness, usefulness, wisdom, empowerment, and freedom.

The future of business is people focused based on values that create a lasting and fulfilling sense of community.

Business Innovation Brief

The Impact of Self-Awareness on Achieving Goals

The Impact of Self-Awareness on Achieving Goals

The Impact of Self-Awareness on Achieving Goals

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Remember as a kid when you purchased a puzzle and started putting it together? Some had 100s of pieces, some as many as a thousand. The more majestic the picture, the more complex the puzzle.

What came first, the puzzle or the picture? The picture of course.

The fun was putting the fragmented picture together so as to recreate it. You knew all the pieces fit together in a specific way, but you had to discover which way.

When it got really hard to put the puzzle together, it led me to give up on the puzzle till I was ready to try again. Sometimes I never tried again because I believed the pieces were wrong and gave up trying.

We can have the same experience in achieving our goals. We may have the end picture of what could be in mind, but in the process of assembling all the pieces of the puzzle together, we begin to have doubts and give up.

“The bigger the goal, the more majestic the outcome, the more complex the puzzle, requiring patience, perseverance and certainty.”

When doubt creeps in you can imagine a room wired with electricity. What happens when you flip the switch on? The electricity is there, the wiring is in place, the bulb works… you just take the action of flipping the switch and the room lights up.

The result of anything you wish to manifest in life is already in place. It is up to you to take the necessary steps, and actions to see it through.

“The outcome and process towards a goal exists before the thought, you just need to persevere in putting it all together.”

Focus Is Key

Before a problem comes up, so does the solution and the process to solve it. The same holds true with goals. The outcome and the process to achieving a goal exists before we even commit to it.

In a potential state, the process is fragmented like the pieces of a puzzle.

Focus plays an important role in achieving our goals. Without focus, actions don’t come together to form the end picture. Just like a puzzle, without focus actions towards a goal are like moving puzzle pieces around without purpose.

“To manifest life’s goals, we have to defragment all the pieces that go into it.”

Imagine what would happen if the order of the universe was off by even a nano-fraction of a second. If the Universe decided to stop focusing, it would be disastrous. With order and with the right focus we can create amazing values and achieve our goals.

Take something as simple as a chair. The chair was consciously designed out of the desire for something to sit on, but the composition of a chair required the conscious integration and use of nature’s resources (wood or metal), individual need (I want something to sit on), global benefits (everyone needs something to sit on), and business outcome (everyone will buy a chair).

What gave birth to the chair is the conscious integration of all four values: Personal, Business, Global, and Universal.


Life experiences can often shape how we perceive ourselves as a piece of the puzzle and how we fit in the bigger picture called humanity. We can’t see how all the pieces DO FIT TOGETHER, when we are fragmented within ourselves.

Fragmentation outside of us (chaos), is because of the fragmentation within ourselves (internal conflict).

How does one break free of internal conflicts that get in the way of achieving goals?

You have to be willing to see and re-trace where the fragmentation started. The purpose of becoming fully self-aware is so you can understand how to put the pieces together based on reality. It’s not work you can do alone.

Work with a friend, a mentor, a coach, a therapist… someone you trust to help you see aspects of yourself that are blocked.

“Stop for a moment focusing on being great and try to see the garbage you are holding on to that blocks you from being magnificent.”

A decade ago, I spent seven weeks with one of my mentors, teacher and friend retracing where I gave away sparks of my own magnificence. I listed 40 life events that had a profound negative impact on my life, dating back to as early as the age of two.

I wrote how they made me feel, and then one by one, I discussed them and relived them with the intention to understand any negative beliefs I created that shaped my future. In re-experiencing all those events, I began to see the sparks of my essence I gave away.

Using some neuroscience brain-hacking techniques, I took those sparks back. The benefit of retracing everything was in becoming more self-aware of the mental jail cell I had created for myself. I had replaced my sparks of magnificence with limiting beliefs in an effort to protect myself.

I often hear people talk about being afraid to be vulnerable as a defense mechanism. Often all we are doing is keeping ourselves locked into a mind prison.

“You can’t be bold and play life in a big way without being vulnerable.”

Being self-aware requires being able to see when we wear masks that manifest in a vicious cycle of self-sabotage. This isn’t work that can be done alone.

This kind of self-reflection is like removing arrows that have wounded you. It is dirty work requiring help from others who have already done the work or are willing to get into the weeds with you.

The theme that emerged at the end of those seven long weeks, was that to achieve my life goals I have to be willing to give more than I receive in life. That can’t be done if you are afraid to be vulnerable.

Give More

To achieve anything in life, you must be willing to give all you have to it and shift your narrative from being attached to the outcomes, to finding joy in the process.

“The fun of a puzzle is the challenge in putting together all the pieces.”

By detaching from the outcomes, we can focus on giving for the sake of giving. We can find joy in the state of giving more, and in the journey. This vulnerable state of being opens your heart.

An open heart allows the individual to see the puzzle pieces clearly, un-fragmented and that is one of the secrets to succeeding at anything.

Business Innovation Brief
The Impact of Self-Awareness on Relationships

The Impact of Self-Awareness on Relationships

The Impact of Self-Awareness on Relationships

Business Innovation Brief Best Article

Integrate or Suffer

“When you escape, you only get a momentary boost, and then you are worse off than when you started.”

“When we begin to integrate who we are in all we do, we begin to grow in self-confidence, in self-respect, and begin to live fully self-aware.”

Self-Awareness is Key

The Person in the Mirror

“Any disconnect we have with the relationship we have with ourselves, will cause a disconnect with the relationship we have with others.”

Business Innovation Brief

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