We have created an achievement-oriented society. Achievements are important. They serve as goals and benchmarks, mile-markers and victories. But think about it: If your goal is to achieve a successful life, how will you know when you’ve succeeded?
Success Strategy # 33 – “Realize that achievement is not success.” — Joe Caruso
You see, success is not a destination. In order for us to see ourselves as successful human beings and to strive to create success, we have to stop framing everything we do as an achievement. Read more »
Joe uncovers Success Strategy #23 – Understand the difference between acceptance and resignation.
Acceptance literally means taking things as they come. It implies that one has the understanding and perspective that what happens or is happening is acceptable to them.
In my development work with leaders and organizations on managing change and transition, I teach that acceptance is the first step to overcoming any adversity. One who accepts is one who is firmly grounded in reality, while one who refuses to accept is one who is flirting with insanity. To refuse to accept is to invite crippling and debilitating feelings such as frustration, futility and hopelessness.
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“One measure of effective leadership? When you hear your words and contexts coming from the mouths of others.” — @JosephACaruso
More of Joe’s Success Strategies Overhead in Mainstream Dialogue
For those familiar with Joe Caruso’s books, success strategies, philosophies and aphorisms, it may come as no surprise that the concepts that Joe has been teaching for the past twenty years are coming through in mainstream dialogue.
Here are just a few examples that clients and friends have brought to Joe’s attention of late.
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How we use data to validate our stories and draw bad conclusions.
Today, our every move and whim has the potential to be tracked and analyzed through technology we carry with us, or through security cameras. (See blog on the trade-offs of ‘big data’) That means that anyone with something to market or sell has never been in a more powerful position to influence others’ opinions, actions, and decisions.
But as we know, data can be manipulated. The manipulation of data is not inherently a bad thing. At the core, it simply means organizing data in a way that is more meaningful or easier to understand. For example, alphabetizing data is an example of data manipulation. However, data manipulation can often carry a negative connotation, whereby someone knowingly alters the data or results to fit his study, his story, or the conclusion he hypothesized. This might seem relatively harmless when a 6th-grader alters her science fair data to match her hypothesis. But in the science of medical research, data manipulation can have devastating effects. We see this in the recent measles outbreak. A now discredited study linking vaccinations to autism is arguably partially to blame for creating enough fear, uncertainty and doubt among parents with no medical training to decide to skip the vaccinations for their children. And now we are faced with the resurgence of a disease we thought was largely eradicated in 2000.
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Shopping for the Perfect Dress
Years ago, shopping for the perfect dress may have meant grabbing a few girlfriends, going to your favorite stores, and with the help of a sales associate, modeling different styles as your friends weigh in with their impressions. The Internet, of course, changed all that. You can now browse for different styles and comparison-shop for the best price without leaving your desk or couch. Sites like Zappos offer free shipping and such a convenient return process that they make it easy for you to order two sizes, try on both as soon as the next day, and return the one that doesn’t fit (or both if they don’t look like they did on the model in the picture).
Many of the most successful retailers, like Zappos and Nordstrom, have made it all about us to make sure we benefit from the conveniences they offer. This leaves many of us consumers blissfully (and sometimes willfully) unaware of the fact that our browsing and shopping habits leave a data trail, one which marketers salivate over to devise products, pitches, and promotions designed specifically to appeal to our personal tastes and proclivities. They not only track our online activities, but also our offline ones, like how long we linger in which departments of certain stores.
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Joe uncovers more about Success Strategy # 7 – “Define Yourself” using the Allegory of the Wizard of Oz
The tin man longed for a heart, the lion wanted courage and the scarecrow would have been happy if he only had a brain.
Along with their new friend Dorothy, they ventured out on a dangerous journey looking for that missing element that would complete their lives and bring them happiness.
Of course, we all know how this beloved movie-classic ended. They all learned (even the Wizard himself) that true happiness doesn’t lie in anything external, but rather in understanding, accepting and managing oneself. The biggest lesson of this life’s journey is learning to be true to your heart. There really is no place like home.
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Wherever you are right now may not be ideal, but it is always perfect, because it is perfect reality. For you to be where you are right now, everything in the past had to have happened exactly as it did. Any reality at any point in time is always the culmination of everything that has transpired up to that point.
Problems Come When We Associate What is Perfect With What is Ideal
Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines perfect as “having all the properties that naturally belong to it.” And the perfect tense of a verb expresses “the action or state as completed at a time denoted.” As humans, we tend to have problems when we begin to associate what is perfect with what is ideal. The ideal is a projection of our desire, based on our definitions of ourselves, but that ideal is not always (not even usually) what’s occurring in the present. And since as sentient human beings we are always in the process of growing and changing, there can be nothing more perfect in the future than what is right now.
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Uncovering Success Strategies – Success Strategy # 24
“Know that love has nothing to do with being wanted or needed…that’s insecurity.” – Joe Caruso
The ultimate relationship does not consist of two people who “need” each other. Whether between two lovers, a parent and a child or a teacher and a student, successful relationships are not and never will be based on need. Need is based in dependency. Dependency on anything other than yourself and your faith is unhealthy. The best thing anyone can do for someone they love is to strive for success and happiness in their own life and to encourage their partner or loved one to do the same. Show me a relationship that is based on need and I’ll show you a relationship that breeds and nurtures insecurity. And, as you know, insecurity is based on fear, and fear is the opposite of love. As insecure and fearful humans, we tend to find comfort in the feeling that someone needs us, or that someone will take care of us, but I must stress that this is an unhealthy basis for a relationship–for both parties.
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Success Strategy # 12 – Realize that egocentricity is your biggest enemy.
We have a tendency to look at the world only in terms of how it affects us directly. This egocentricity is detrimental to our success. The more selfish we are, the less we get out of life. The more we realize we are here to help care for, nurture and support others, the more positive and powerful we can become. Almost all forms of depression are a form of egocentricity and selfishness. You can’t be successful and happy and be egocentric. Egocentricity is a major cause in depression, unhappiness and most other forms of self-destructive behavior.
When the famous psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger was speaking at an event, he was asked what advice he would give to a person on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He was expected to reply, “Consult a psychiatrist.” To the astonishment of all in attendance, he instead replied, “Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.”
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Uncovering Success Strategies – More About Success Strategy #6
“Admit that your thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and actions determine who’s in your life and how they treat you.” — Joe Caruso
Our attitudes about ourselves will determine whom we attract. I know that this is a pretty bold statement, but let’s examine it. Have you ever known someone who left an abusive or unhealthy relationship, only to find himself or herself in another one? It’s not magic. It’s not coincidence. It’s due to the fact that the attitudes these people have about themselves are that they deserve abusive relationships. At the same time, the abuser is actually looking for someone with just this attitude. They attract each other.
How is this so?
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