40There is an abundance of ways to kill an idea. You can always mishandle the enthusiasm, assess all of the risks and none of the possibilities, scrutinize every flaw, dismantle self-confidence, level threat of failure, doubt every possible success, slice and grind down every belief and ambition.
 
But there is an always effective and evergreen shortcut to kill an idea, and this is to infuse fear. Fear of being criticized, renounced, rejected, humiliated, and feeling insignificant. That being the case, it seems imperative that the idea holder will withdraw, surrender, keep her mouth shut, and voice no more ideas to interrupt you with. This way you will weed out the entire process from the very root. Here you go.

39The pages of psychotherapy and criminology reports are rich with illustrations of how men first come into contact with crime, they abhor it. If they remain in contact with crime for a time, they become accustomed to it, and endure it. If they remain in contact with it long enough, they finally embrace it, and become influenced by it.
 
The same psychological mechanism fuels the best efforts and highest achievements. The subconscious mind, (the chemical laboratory in which all thought impulses are combined, and made ready for translation into physical reality), makes no distinction between constructive and destructive thought impulses. It works with the material we feed it with. The subconscious mind will translate into reality a thought driven by fear just as readily as it will translate into reality a thought driven by faith.

38If you have not seen this picture before, what do you see? Can you make sense of it?
 
If you're like me when I first saw it – then probably not...It was just some random blurred lines and noise...
 
Then I was told that there is a cow in there... I looked and looked and still didn't see it. So I was pointed out the features of the cow and finally it appeared in front of me.
 
For all those who still do not see – here are some pointers... I hope it has appeared in front of your eyes now.

37I always get sick and dizzy while riding in a car. So do many other people. All motion sickness results from your body sensing a discrepancy between what you see (in this case, the inside of a car, which tells your brain that you're sitting still) and what you feel (your body's vestibular system, which senses balance from your inner ear, tells your brain that you're moving). Normally, the eyes, inner ears (which contain fluid that sloshes around in reaction to movement), skin, and muscles send sensory information to the brain that allows it to determine the body's position in space and to track whether and in what direction you are moving. Motion sickness is believed to occur when this balancing system gets overwhelmed by contradictory messages sent from the eyes and inner ears.
 
The best solution to this inconvenient state is to focus on a steady distant objects ahead on the road, such as the horizon, and ignore the fast-moving buildings and landscapes rushing besides you and the road.
 
The thing is that our brains are searching for stable and meaningful purpose in everything we sense, hear and see, so that we can evaluate and decide what to do.
 
You never get motion sick when you are actually driving the car. Authentic leaders, and drivers, never lose sight of the desired destination and shared goal. There always will be fast-moving distractions and adverse circumstances, but the clear sense of purpose and common values are what build a stable emotional and intellectual landscape and capacity for accurate analysis and problem-solving.
 
Best regards,
Violeta

36All those talks about vision flying in and out our daily office life have become a bit played out so I fully realize my chances to coax you into another discussion of the kind are really slim. So instead, let me share some thoughts on how human brain works.
 
The major differentiator between humans and animals is the ability to exercise willpower – the self-control to make choices that are consistent with our highest goals and values even when we have competing desires and motivation. It is not a personality trait or something based on genetics, but a process and a skill that could be supported and trained.
 
The brain basis for willpower is a neural real estate called the prefrontal cortex, situated right behind our forehead and eyes. For most evolutionary history, the prefrontal cortex mainly controlled physical movements but as humans evolved, it got bigger and better connected to other areas of the brain, taking on new functions controlling what we pay attention to, what we think about, how we feel and what we do. Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford University neurobiologist, argues that the main job of the modern prefrontal cortex is to bias the brain – it makes us get up and exercise when it's easier to stay on the couch, and helps us open the laptop and dig into the spreadsheets when it's easier to put the project off until tomorrow.

35If you are like me and most of the people I know, you are convinced that high levels of stress might be really dangerous for you – you are convinced, because there were thousands of books, articles and researches in the past decades that demonize the stress and its effect on your mind and body. But what if we were to tell you that this is only true if you believe it is?
 
A research conducted with over 30,000 adults in USA in the period of 8 years showed that people, who regularly experienced intensive stress have a 43% increased risk of dying – but this only applies to those, who also believed that stress is harmful for them. In fact, people who experienced a lot of stress, but did not believe it's bad for them had the lowest risk of death from all groups in the study, including people with relatively little stress.

34As Apple's stock reached a record high on Tuesday this week, edging past $100 a share, the stock market excitement around the Cupertino, California company was a fresh reminder about something intrinsic to the iconic tablet and smartphone manufacturer. What financial analysts emphasize is that the incremental growth doesn't explain the step-up in stock price. What consumers and investors are banking on is Apple's ability to innovate in new, potentially hot areas. It is not about their "now" but about their "future". Apple constantly proves to be a company with tremendous focus on producing consistent promise for the future and reinventing the "tomorrow", shaping inspiring and bold expectations of what is yet to come.
 
Steven J.T., CEO at Johns Hopkins Medicine International, says: "What's happening in my organization today isn't even really all that interesting to me. Hey, someone's on top on that. As the leader of this organization, it's not my job to deal with what's going on today. I really need to tune all that out, so I can focus on what might happen tomorrow. The bigger risk of my trying to deal with today's problems is that it would require my taking my eye off of what's coming down the road, which is where a leader really needs to focus."
 
It has been a journey of 25 years but it's a stone cold fact now that a new business reality has taken place rocking the boat of what's been seen as steady, orderly and safe. Low risk and high stability are fading memory. In a world of constant change, in the face of competition and technology we need a shift of mindset that leverages talent more than obedience, innovation more than what's been tried, and future more than the past. And the people who will really make a difference, are inconvenient provocateurs and revolutionists searching for new errand, new dynamics and new way of getting things done. And if you read this, then you are ready for this shift. As you know you are on to something important, challenging, inspiring and new.
 
You are ready to be not a map but a compass.
 
So, what is your promise for your future?
 
Best regards,
Violeta

33NFF definition: A situation where an originally reported mode of failure can't be duplicated by the evaluating technician and therefore the potential defect can't be fixed.
 
However this is not an engineering page and I'll use the No Fault Found term in a different way and relate the term to People Management. I'll use it in relation to that special type of employee that no matter what you do, how much time and effort in coaching, motivation and feedback you provide can't see the fault in them, but rather in the surrounding environment. That can mean their colleagues, processes, Customers and Clients and of course – you.
 
At a certain point of your efforts with an NFF employee you need to realize that you can't spend endless hours in turning this employee around. In order to change, a person needs to realize that there is something that needs to be changed as the fault is admitted which is not the case here.

32We always strive for experiencing something other than the ordinary. Eat in the newly opened restaurant. Go to a new place for the next summer vacation. Read the most recent book. Have the state-of-the-art mobile phone. Watch the latest movie. Purchase the cutting edge laptop. Try a new cookie recipe. Buy new season collection shoes (or just new shoes, different than those we already have... and rarely wear).
 
So why not to adopt a new goal? New idea? New approach?
 
People are not afraid of change! They love it! A big portion of divorces and job changes comes about just because of this appetite for different interpersonal and career experiences. And there is a whole fashion industry scaling up on the pursuit of the ultimate novelty.
 
So please, let's stop labeling people being resistant to change. It's not about change itself. It's about what it comes to offer. It's about uncertainty, limited visibility on positives, losing what's important and what we trust now... But if this offer makes a difference and promises experience of something more than average, a positive, important and trustworthy alternative, then we are always ready to adopt it in an instant.

31In the last article from the series I promised to give you detailed information about what to eat and drink in order to manage stress. Well, there it is: eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, fish, maybe some dark chocolate and be careful with the caffeine intake - if you're interested, you can read a lot more here and here and here... and here.
 
But we don't want to waste your time with information that's already all around you....
 
Let's talk about something a lot more important!
 
There are hundreds of thousands of books and blogs and articles that give you useful tips on how to reduce your stress levels. Sounds logical, right? Yes, it is, however, as I mentioned earlier in the series, not all stress is bad – on the contrary, you absolutely NEED stress: it is the thing that keeps you from falling asleep at your desk, it is the thing that ensures your next accomplishment, it is one of your most powerful weapons in your path to success.