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What Would You Do on a Desert Island?

What Would You Do on a Desert Island?


    Lost

    has been off the air for a while now, but getting stranded on a desert island still looms large in most people’s imaginations. If your woebegone plane happened upon some sun-kissed atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, would you live or would you die? Who do you hope would be with you? What belongings would be most useful?

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    As a career and workplace writer, my thoughts naturally stray to what one would have to offer in terms of skills or traits that would aid survival and assist in the group’s society-building efforts. And because being on a desert island does bear some metaphorical resemblance to life in a modern office, let’s reflect on the characteristics that would make one successful and why.

    Essential #1:  Adaptability

    The circumstances of life on a desert island can be different from one moment to the next. Whether you need shelter from a violent rainstorm or a first-aid remedy for a cut foot, you have to be able to role with the punches and do what you need to do to manage whatever crisis is paramount. You have to be able to sleep on the ground and eat raw fish. To a less dramatic degree, life in a rapidly evolving business world is similar.

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    Essential #2: Ability to Assimilate

    You might not get to choose your desert compatriots, but you’ll want to do your best to fit in with the group and be one of the most likeable castaways. It’s important that you have a good sense of the civilization that’s developing on the island and support it rather than railing against it. Likewise, in today’s companies, those who are able to effectively assimilate into an already-established culture are much more successful than those who aren’t.

    Essential #3: Positive Attitude

    Inevitably, you will be faced with unpleasant situations while stranded, but complaining won’t get you anywhere. An optimistic and empowered voice will help the group stay on the right track and in the right frame of mind to withstand environmental stressors. Plus, it will make you – and everyone else around you – feel better.  In the business world, too, negativity will kill your career even if you’re smart and competent, but a smile will go far in terms of gaining cooperation.

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    Essential #4:  Focus on the Big Picture

    Details like how many pieces of kindling you need to collect or what to do with the plane’s debris are important, but these minutiae should not be allowed to overshadow the group’s primary objectives, which are to eat, drink, and stay out of the elements. Castaways – and employees – who stay focused on what really matters and concentrate on acquiring skills that will allow them to meet their goals will be rewarded for their efforts.

    Essential #5:  Leadership

    The effective leader who emerges among the castaways will not just jump in and seize power with no context or credibility. Rather, he/she will first strive to develop meaningful relationships and will make suggestions designed to leverage every person’s skillset and experience in a way that will benefit the group as a whole. In the corporate world, great leaders also forget strong bonds and draw on the collective wisdom of the group.

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    What other traits are most prized in the literal or figurative jungle?

    (Photo credit: Maldivian Desert Island via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on December 2, 2019

      10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

      10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

      Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

      In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

      These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

      1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

      Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

      But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

      Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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      2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

      You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

      The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

      3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

      If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

      Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

      If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

      4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

      Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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      To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

      In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

      5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

      We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

      If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

      Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

      “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

      6. Give for the Joy of Giving

      When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

      One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

      So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

      7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

      Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

      Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

      When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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      So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

      9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

      Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

      It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

      It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

      10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

      There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

      But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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      Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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      Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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