Powerful beliefs, better leadership

The world is not moved by ideas but by convictions, beliefs. The difference is subtle but real. 

Convictions are the cornerstone of the mind with which we operate. That which we don’t want to mistrust, which makes sense, which has been proven to work and besides, which we want emotionally to be true. 

Ideas themselves don’t have all these attributes. At best they are intellectual states of mind with a certain logic, but they lack the strength of the will for them to be true and of having “seen” they work.

The great battle of leadership lies in the convictions with which their managers operate. If these convictions are healthy, they increase the probability of good management. If these convictions are poor, management is weakened. One can also apply to businesses the principle that leaders become what they think.

Over time, I have observed the convictions of the managers with whom I have worked and I have been keeping a record of those I considered to be the best. The following is a summary of these convictions.

1. The macro (what happens in the world) and the micro (what happens inside everyone) are different things. The micro can go well even if the macro doesn’t. And the other way round. Do they influence each other? Yes. Which one has the greatest impact? Whatever is stronger. A strong micro is the hope that the macro will improve.

2. The world is as it is but, for each of us, the world is as our mind interprets it. The interpretation is what triggers the feelings one lives and the quality of decisions made. Poor interpretation leads to poor emotions, poor choices. No matter what the world is like. And the other way round. He who controls his own interpretation, controls his world as well.

3. Repetition in the way of interpreting things creates mental habits that, over time, determine the way of looking at them. There are worse habits: pessimism, passivity, playing the know-it-all and egocentricity. There are better ones: optimism, pro-activeness, enthusiasm for learning and a teamwork culture. One can choose.  

4. Strong emotions, a result of “strong” interpretations, kidnap intelligence, especially when these emotions are negative. It is also important to be careful with euphoria as it is the beginning of all economic bubbles. Intelligence works best when one lives in positive emotions of middle intensity.

5. Change is inevitable and will definitely occur. Tolerance of uncertainty favors openness to change. More insecurity means more resistance to change. Resistance is painful and useless.

6. Change, when positive, is called improvement. When it is negative, it is called regression. There may be no greatest failure in life as evolving professionally and regressing personally.  There are many ways to grow professionally which inevitably entail a personal regression.

7. The most important business in our lives is ourselves. The more we develop our potential, the better our future prospects will be.

8. The brain is plastic. We are all sculptors of our brain. Inside the brain, the subconscious has 30.000 times more neurons than the conscious. Unless we master the subconscious, it will boycott our conscious projects.  The subconscious is shaped with what has emotional intensity and is repetitive. The subconscious is also shaped by what one says to oneself. We’d better control the subconscious or it will boycott our projects.

9. People are powerful but fragile. Around 30% of the adult population has behavior disorders and many managers have “the illness of power”. Maladjustments tend to be more likely the more toxic our work environment is, the less our personal abilities are compensated and, above all, the worse the emotional diet to feed our basic desires is.

10. Complexity activates in people the so-called defense mechanisms. Its duty is to dissociate external “pressure” from the somatic answer to those issues. All these defense mechanisms play their short-term role as they “buffer” the impact of the environment. But we need to distinguish defense mechanisms favoring personal development from those that hinder it.

11. Among the former, there is good humor, the ability to dissect the problem in several pieces or knowing how to unwind with a healthy leisure. Among the latter, there is blaming others, aggressiveness or rejecting to see reality as it is.

12. Gratitude is the most valuable and useful feeling in professional life. Gratitude “cleans” one’s head and heart of toxic contents. It significantly reduces cortisol, the bad-stress hormone.

The best tribute to an idea is to copy it… and to turn that idea into a firm conviction.