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  • David Bloomfield

#21 Sharing some things that I’ve Read, Heard & Seen

What I’ve read

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant - A much anticipated read and it didn’t disappoint!

Sheryl’s personal story following the sudden death of her husband Dave Goldberg provides an empowering set of steps, much inspiration and source of strength to help respond to life-shattering experiences. From when it seems like there is no way back to a path of rediscovering joy. It offers heaps of practical things that can also help when wishing to comfort others who are going through hardships. Whilst intellectually we realise we can’t “fix” the situation, it makes us feel overwhelmed and helpless, which holds us back from truly giving the love, connection and care for others.

A few things that I highlighted and found helpful:

Psychologist Martin Seligman found the 3 P’s that can stunt recovery

  • Personalisation - the belief that we are at fault

  • Pervasiveness - the belief that an event will affect all areas of our lives

  • Permanence - the belief that the after-shocks of an event will last forever

Recognising that events are not personal, pervasive or permanent is a critical aspect of being able to cope

People hesitate to ask questions out of concern of probing, whilst survivors of trauma have an opportunity to teach. Surround yourself with openers that ask a lot of questions and that you feel connected with. After undergoing hardship, people have new knowledge to offer those who go through similar experiences. It is a unique source of meaning because it does not just give our lives purpose it gives our suffering a purpose. People help where they have been hurt so that their wounds aren’t in vain.

Being there for people is so important and some good examples of messages that have such a powerful impact.

“I know that you don’t know yet what will happen and neither do I. But you won't go through this alone. I will be with you every step of the way”

“Sometimes life cannot be fixed, it can only be carried” Megan Devine

Two weeks after losing her husband, Sheryl was preparing for a father-child activity at her daughters school, “I want Dave she cried”, her friend replied “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B”

Klassen time - part of the Danish school curriculum, students come together to discuss problems and help one another. When they present their problems they feel listened to and when they help others they feel like they can make a difference and as a result are more open

What I’ve heard

A fascinating topic which I found really provocative and pre-ordered his new book (The Infinite Game: How Great Businesses Achieve Long-Lasting Success) straight away!

The basis of the theory and conclusions of his research is that many if not in the majority of aspects of life we play with a finite mindset (to win) in a bigger infinite game (there are no winners in life) but our mindset is traditionally focused on achieving and outcomes. Making an important distinction between your dominant preference, either infinite or finitely minded will help to remove conflict and play the right game that fits your preferences.

This is particularly relevant in business where everything is largely about being number one and winning, companies get to choose all sorts of arbitrary measures and time frames. There is no winner in business and no winner in a career - we get to choose the measure.

Somethings that I noted and found of particular interest

Milton Freidman’s Nobel prize winning economic theory in the late 1970’s which drove shareholder supremacy that was popularised in the 80’s and 90’s, leading to the what has become in many cases a blind focus on maximising profitability. Focusing on how this has been taken too far in some examples and how focusing on profitability within the arbitrary time frame of a fiscal year becomes all about hitting financial targets, whilst loosing connection with their employees - becoming disengaged and disloyal; if the company misses it arbitrary projections at the end of the year an employee's entire livelihood could be wiped away... There are many examples of corporations playing a finite game whilst talking about purpose and vision - their actions are all about financial results and appeasing shareholders - the essence of this book is to call for honesty on the game that they are playing...

What I've seen

The Netflix documentary series - The Kindness Diaries

Following Leon Logothetis trip around the world without any money. He calls on the generosity of strangers to provide food, fuel and accommodation and offers various random acts of kindness in return. In a heartwarming series where he meets Tony - a homeless guy in Pittsburgh who shared the very little that he had without hesitation or expectation of anything in return , a must watch!

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