Advertising
Advertising

Attaining Breakthrough

Attaining Breakthrough

It’s been a tough week. I’m trying to finish the draft of a book explaining the principles of Slow Leadership. There seems to come a point where ideas you once thought were clear and powerful start to look tired and superficial. Maybe it’s something like the point runners say they reach in a long race where it seems impossible to go on; a barrier you must break through to get anywhere near the winning line; the victory over yourself that must precede any other victory.

I began formulating the thoughts behind Slow Leadership in the fall of 2005. When I look back at some of the early articles I wrote on the topic, they seem almost naïve. It’s come a long way since then — a long way along a path that has added a good deal of depth and complexity to the starting idea.

Advertising

What began as a simple plea to slow down and take the time to think has become a contrarian style of leadership : one based on dropping the quick-fix, “just-get-it-done-somehow” style of leading, with its emphasis on short-term profits and “grab-and-go” ethics. Today’s textbook styles of leadership have dumbed-down the process into a series of rules-of-thumb and fashionable panaceas.

Breakthrough demands you push beyond the obvious and the conventional. It’s going places you don’t think you can reach. It’s getting to your limit — then going still further. We have a world of work populated with more MBAs than ever before. Yet there has been no appreciable improvement in management over the early part of the twentieth century — maybe even the latter part of the nineteenth.

Advertising

No one will find new ideas and better ways to run their working lives by focussing on the ideas of the past, which is what most business schools teach. Education is precious, but it’s not achieved through being able to repeat the details of ideas that now have only historical interest. It comes from the willingness to push into uncharted territories of the mind, seeking newer and better questions — and refusing to be fobbed off with those old, worn-out answers.

What holds you back from achieving breakthrough? Untested, old-fashioned assumptions certainly do. So do the false certainties of fashionably pseudo-scientific management techniques. Let them go. There’s only one way to break out of your current limits: challenging yourself to go deeper and further than you’ve ever gone before. The entry to breakthrough and mastery starts with being a learner — a person who knows only that he or she does not know what matters; at least, not yet. True learners give up all the established certainties and challenge every dogma. They risk everything in the search for knowledge.

Advertising

Are you willing to do what it takes to reach your own breakthrough?

Adrian Savage is an Englishman, a writer and a retired business executive. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for everyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

Advertising

More by this author

Seven Budget-Friendly Things to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico 6 Easy Ways to Treat Yourself A Random List of Unique Gifts 6 Things To Consider Before You Travel 18 Things You Need To Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo

Trending in Lifestyle

1How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine 28 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian 310 Amazing Health Benefits Of Beer 410 Surprising Benefits of Tequila You Never Knew 5Bonding With The Boys! 29 Memorable Guy Trip Ideas

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

Advertising

Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

Advertising

Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

Advertising

Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

Advertising

11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Read Next