NEWSLETTER VOLUME 2, #6
Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,
Where change comes from...
Another spectacular July day in San Isidro - Costa Rica - started with little sign that the next hours would change so many lives. The Talamanca Mountains in the Southern zone are a major reason this country is called "Switzerland of the Americas", and at 700 meters altitude, the tiny, friendly and prosperous town at the entrance to Valle de El General is a busy economic hub.
On the main street west of the downtown core, I left the office, climbed into my Jeep and headed towards the Pacific, to Mayamu. I'd been trying to write since daybreak but a strange kind of energy - like a dense, damp, hot, stillness gripped everything. I knew that various micro-climates exist a scant few kilometers on any side of town so I was looking for a better work environment. I wanted a little inspiration.
After settling in for the gorgeous 20km ride out of town, I climbed the serpentine two-lane highway more than 2000 meters altitude before winding my way back down to 400 meters. The road continues to snake its way down to the beach only 13 kilometers further on but I had work to do.
When I reached the highest peak on the highway - Alto San Juan - I was startled to find that it was very cold there... winter-in-Canada cold. I closed the windows on the Jeep and even turned on the heat. I noted the sky was clear and there was no wind to speak of, so I continued my drive down the mountains and found tropical warmth only a few hundred meters below.
At Mayamu, I turned off the road onto a ridge and entered the primary rainforest. Inching along a trail on the mountain's side, I was glad for the jungle's lush, green and fragrant wrap. I parked where I could admire the ocean and the mystic valley Baru laid out below. Then, I focused on my notes and started to write. After a half-hour, I felt wind suddenly shake the Jeep and when I looked up, I saw near-black clouds rush over the mountains with stunning speed.
It was spectacular. And then rain came. I love tropical storms. I sat behind the wheel and watched a few large drops splat loudly here and there on the hood, saw it increase to in-your-face proportions and then become a driving torrent. I'd seen big rain before but this time was different... I can still remember how this rain looked and felt angry.
I started my engine and headed back. Just before I topped Alto San Juan, the rain stopped and soon everything was dry. When I reached town, it hadn't rained there yet. It quite suddenly started in early afternoon. Raindrops the size of a tennis ball fell and - in our windless town - they drove into the pavement in ceaseless perpendicular streams. Each of them bounced 30-40 inches feet in a explosion of wet before falling again with increased intensity. The rain fell so hard we couldn't see a school across the street, less than 50 feet away.
Deafened by the sound of water hitting our corrugated metal roof, we soon forgot about plugging our ears to plug leaks... and to build flood barriers. Hurricane Caesar stayed 15 hours.
The next morning, the disadvantage of life in a beautiful valley surrounded by high mountains was apparent. The mountains had acted like a funnel and, when the storm unleashed its fury, rivers roared down.
Whole slices of mountain collapsed like pieces of a rum-baba saturated with too much rum; countless acres of land washed away and 3600 homes were lost. People died. 80 avalanches blocked the Inter-American Highway north to San Jose, the capital. Bridges in every direction out of the town were lost.
We would be isolated for more than 5 weeks.
Everything suddenly changed for everyone. Later, I wrote that San Isidro is the best places on Earth where to survive a natural disaster but later still, I wondered about sudden change and what we can do about it.
Wisdom says forewarned is forearmed so I looked into three aspects of change - i.e. Where it comes from, Whether we can influence it and - if we can - How we can manage its intrusion in our life. Harvard Business Review reports there are 8 places where change generally originates.
It comes from...
We have a direct influence on 4 of these directions, while 4 others only offer a more indirect way to influence them.
1. We have direct influence on - and we can thus easily manage - change that comes from within, i.e. - if and when we decide we want something changed, we can change it. Or we can ignore our inner voice and not change.
2. Significant other people in our life also bring changes but we have some direct influence there as well. We can manage relationships with negotiation, compromise and TLC.
3. To realize how the marketplace affects our world, consider how the automobile changed the face of the Earth. We only have indirect influence on market conditions but we can somewhat manage them by focusing on the supply: We can get together with others and demand... or we can partner to fill a demand.
4. We have direct influence change that's forced on us by our competition and rivals. We can adapt by learning "best practices" or with other innovative ideas, products and services, and we can add value to our offer. We can also serve market niches that the competition doesn't serve or doesn't serve well.
5. Managing change is rather indirect when it imposed by government. The old adage that suggests we can't fight "City Hall" isn't 100% accurate, even if many folks have tried and failed, wasting their valuable time, energy and resources along the way. To influence change brought on by rules of law is to fight them - from within. Or switch games.
6. Even insurance companies won't buck against "Acts of God". Nature seems a lot more powerful when you're in the eye of a hurricane than when you're in some air-conditioned office signing a clear-cut logging bill. Indirect, the best way to influence changes that from the natural environment is to serve Nature's majesty and "re-green" the Earth. So far, we've savaged our home and we will have to pay the price but good husbandry is always needed and can only help.
7. Change comes from disparity and unfairness in the global community too. The sadness of the 09-11-01 tragedy is still fresh on my mind and the result of those probes into "why" did find one clue: When people live in despair, they commit desperate acts. Bob Dylan reminds us: "When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose."
And the macro-economy brings change - ex: The entire tourism industry has had to adjust to a downturn in their fortunes since Sept. 11 2001. Even if its indirect, the best way to influence global changes is by "doing the right thing" ...locally.
8. Change also comes from Cosmos. Ask the dinosaurs. But Cosmos is subtle and the latest realization suggests that the entire quantum universe is directly influenced by the way individuals think.
If changes from Cosmos are indeed "acts of God" than we can do more than merely "submit to them when they come". We can align ourselves with the creative forces in Nature and command a better future for ourselves. By recognizing that change is constant, we can learn to influence it in our favor - no matter where it comes from. Science and religion now both explain that each of us can establish the relationship we want with Cosmos.
Well you better consider how Infinity favors "tight" relationships because, in the Southern zone of Costa Rica, for weeks after hurricane Caesar, I heard stories of "miraculous" events that saved people from disaster. I even have one of my own. And every storyteller claimed a privileged relationship with Cosmos.
Ever have to convince your boss or a colleague about something? Ever get "blind-sided" by a decision that didn't go your way?
"Influential thinking" has to do with adjusting your arguments to the personality of the persons you are trying to persuade.
Experts have found that executives only have 5 "decision-making styles". Those deciders are -Followers, Charismatic-types, Skeptics, Thinkers or Controllers.
Understand how each of these types decides and then tailor your presentation accordingly. Click http://www.consult-IIDC.com/english/training/influential.htm and you'll find an at-a-glance chart to let you determine who's who. It has a brief description of each decision-making style, character traits to spot, who these deciders are, how to influence them and buzz words you could use.
This month we are featuring ideas on why our "educational adventures" in Costa Rica are such great incentives. Our packages are proven answers to firing up a team's creative juices... What results can you plan for?
We can help you reach your goals with our unique training and a once-in-a-lifetime magical mystery tours. We'll also show you how this can cost a lot less than you'd probably imagine.
Email us at info@consult-IIDC.com and we'll send you a free report that tells how educational theme tours and heuristic teaching techniques are sure ways of motivating, accelerating learning and increasing creative intelligence.
If you're not sure how "training-travel adventures" are a fantastic idea, click http://www.consult-IIDC.com/english/themetours/incentive.htm and read what the experts say.
Summertime and the living is easy. I'm staring at a deadline from my editor so I'll be in Montreal for the lazy, hazy, crazy days. In my town, there's nothing to do... but International Festivals: Fireworks and Jazz and Comedy and Cinema and Grand Prix and Folklore and Dance and Flowers and Food and Beer and so many more. Check into the Montreal scene by starting at city central: http//www.ville.montreal.qc.ca.
Staying close to your own home? Want to spice it up? Check out the BBQ grill recipes at http://www.johnsonville.com Then find everything you need to know about hot sauce at http://www.melindas.com and get ready to make Margaritas at http://www.itequilla.org.
Want to relax? Curl up with a good book but first browse through the wares of 10,000 used book dealers at http://abebooks.com. Or check out the baseball scores at http://www.thebaseballpage.com, see how the fish are biting at http://www.fish4fun.com or just veg-out with rerun TV - then impress your friends with comedy trivia from http://www.sitcomsonline.com.
But if you need to know what's what "in the real world", you'll find 18 newspapers, 80+ magazines, 14 news services and countless radio stations at http://www.aldaily.com. Ahhh sweet summer!!!
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln
"Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing, that we see too late the one that is open." - Alexander Graham Bell
"If you want to win anything - a race, yourself, your life - you have to go a little berserk." - George Sheehan
"Stay away from the garbage in life. Don't major in minor things." - Tony Robbins
"The elevator to success is out of order. You have to use the stairs... one step at a time." - Joe Girard
"I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it." - Pablo Picasso
A short training video we sometimes use has a great scene to demonstrate "the power of one".
Animated by futurologist Joel Barker on the subject of "Vision", the video has a scene of a man walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walks, he spots another person far in the distance who seems to be dancing or something.
When we near, we see another man, who - over and over and again - leans, picks something up and throws it into the ocean. Repeatedly, he tosses whatever he picks up as far as he can into the sea.
The camera gets even closer and we notice he's picking up Starfish that have washed up onto the beach and, one after another, he's tossing them back.
Approaching him, the walker asks him what he's doing.
"I'm throwing these Starfish back into the ocean." he replies, "They washed up onto shore and the tide is on its way out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die, dried in the Sun from a lack of water."
A voice-over tells us that thousands of Starfish are washed up on that beach every year and this " natural" phenomenon occurs on dozens of beaches up and down the Baja coast.
And - back in the video - the walker asks the thrower: "Don't you realize that you can't possibly make a difference by throwing a few miserable Starfish back into the ocean? It's an impossible task. There are just too many."
The man grins, bends to pick up another which he throws out into the sea as far as he can, before answering: "I just made a huge difference to that one!"
The video lets us realize that - no matter what the odds - one person with a vision... doing the right thing, i.e. applying the "idea of good", regardless of any statistics or odds, can make a big different to someone, somewhere, somehow.