Buckley Blog Bits – March 15, 2017

Today’s articles that I read on Psychology Today pertained to humor in the workplace, and why we shouldn’t fear failure.  I’ll start with the article that discussed humor in the workplace (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201703/cracking-joke-work-can-have-surprising-payoff ).

I hadn’t really given much thought to humor in the workplace before reading this article, nor had I thought about how it can help to elevate your status within the organization.  I once had a supervisor several years ago comment on how he appreciated my ability to “bust his chops” on occasion and that it brought positive energy to the department, so I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that it doesn’t hurt to bring some humor to the workplace.

Personally, while I wouldn’t exactly promote or retain someone at my organization simply because of their ability to be humorous, I might be more likely to retain or promote them if they can demonstrate an ability to bring a positive energy to the workplace in addition to their quality skillset.

In my own work experiences, I’m only sarcastic or humorous with co-workers who have previously established that sort of communication style or relationship with me.  Personally, I think that humor in the workplace is just like humor anywhere else in life: there’s a time and place for it, so just exercise good caution when engaging in it.

In the second article (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201703/why-we-shouldn-t-fear-failure ), the author describes failure as “just bumps on the road to success.”  I recently accepted a promotion at work, and before I started my new boss told me “I expect you to fail at some point, but I won’t let you drown.”  There was a point in time where his remark would’ve pissed me off because I wouldn’t have understood why he expected me to fail, nor would I have understood why he would have promoted me if he felt that way.  But now I understand more how failure really is just a bump on the road to success.  It’s normal to “fail” or simply not be as successful as you want or expected to be the first time you try something.

But you can’t let the negative consequences of failure, such as losing the desire to try new things, to weigh you down.  The fear of failure can be pretty paralyzing, so that’s why it’s important to have the mindset that failure often leads to success because it allows you to learn what you need to learn along the way.

As Duke Roufus, the renowned MMA coach said on an episode of The Evolution of Punk, “if you’re not winning, you’re learning.”  In the end, it’s your resiliency and ability to persevere that determines how successful you’ll ultimately be.

Advertisements

Buckley Blog Bits – March 10, 2017

I was reading about how social media usage can make us perceive that we’re socially isolated, and that we’re disconnected from the world around us while I was perusing Psychology Today earlier this week.

Earlier this week I touched how I think that social media usage can lead you to feel an increased sense of boredom because you’re constantly exposing yourself to human highlight reels.  I also feel as though increased social media usage can lead to less authentic social interactions, or at the very least it can lead to a decrease in the quality of your social interactions.  Personally, I can tell you that I much prefer receiving texts and phone calls from friends rather than tweets or Twitter DMs.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own social circle that we miss out on the world around us.  In particular, the author discussed the time that world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell performed in an metro station in Washington, D.C. and that only 7 of the 1,097 people who passed by him stopped to listen to him over the course of his hour long performance.  It reminded me of when I took a recent day trip to Toronto last month, and I encountered a man playing the cello in the lobby of Brookfield Place on a late Friday afternoon.  Without my phone in hand, I stopped and took in the performance that I randomly stumbled upon and enjoyed the unexpected moment.

I do think that we need to be able to unitask as the author calls it.  I can’t tell you the last time that I drove to or from work without focusing on the upcoming work day, or just wishing that I’d just get to my destination already when I’d really prefer to just focus on the task at hand of driving, and enjoy the present moment fully.

Over the past several months, I’ve curtailed my social media usage and I feel a greater sense of life quality as a result than I did when I was using social media regularly and consistently.  That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with enjoying a lot of social media usage.  But there’s a lot of days where when I get home from work, I set my phone on my nightstand and don’t even look at it until just before I go to bed.  Social media is a great asset to have, don’t get me wrong, but for me I like to use it certain doses and for certain uses.  At this point, I really like to use Twitter for breaking news updates rather than for interacting with close friends of mine when I can just call or text them directly.

My main takeaways for you are as follows:

  • Enjoy your surroundings and the present moment
  • Be able to unitask instead of multitask
  • Use social media in appropriate dosages
  • Better understand your feelings and perceptions of boredom, social isolation, and disconnect
  • Put your phone away sometimes

 

In case you’re curious, here are links to the articles that I read about social media on Psychology Today.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201703/3-ways-social-media-exacerbates-perceived-social-isolation

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-right-balance/201703/are-we-growing-disconnected-in-age-connectivity

Narcissism and Leadership

I read an article on Psychology Today entitled “Do Narcissists Make Better Leaders?” (link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201610/do-narcissists-make-better-leaders), and while I don’t necessarily feel that narcissists do make better leaders, I wasn’t surprised by a few of the key points that I read in the article.

Your income and your ability to get promoted at work often come as a result of your self-promotional skills.  In my opinion, that’s why a narcissist would be promoted to a higher ranking position and/or makes more money than the average employee because of their ability to promote themselves (While it’s great to have quality self-promotional skills, I don’t recommend exaggerating your skillset, but rather I’d suggest putting your skillset in a valuable and positive light that highlights your strengths and value to the company).

One thing that I was happy to see was that the author pointed out that there’s no such thing as someone being a “complete narcissist” or a total “non-narcissist” and that there’s a narcissist continuum of sorts that exists.  It was nice to find this in writing somewhere, because I’ve felt that there’s a continuum for a lot of things in life, not just in regards to narcissism but for all sorts of personality traits.  Furthermore, someone’s personality is all based on your own individual perception.  For example, I’m sure that for the most part most those close to me would tell you I’m not narcissistic at all, but I’m sure I could find a handful of people out there who’ve taken my sarcasm out of context and think I’m actually a massive narcissist.

In the end, narcissists do have some traits that leaders should have, such as being sure of themselves and being persuasive (I use this term ambiguously…I don’t suggest having to persuade people into following your lead, but rather I suggest being able to properly sell them on your vision and ideas).  But where narcissists go wrong is that often times they’re not genuine, and their arrogance and lack of true confidence gets exposed.  I can speak from experience, as I’ve worked firsthand under several narcissists in the past.  While I appreciated their self-confidence at first, in the end I lost respect for their leadership once I recognized their arrogance and lack of true confidence in their own leadership abilities.

When it comes to leadership, you can’t “fake it til you make it,” but rather you actually have to acquire and earn the confidence necessary to lead others.  It sounds corny, but at the end of the day the best version of yourself is the most genuine and authentic version of yourself.

My Review of The Fighter’s Mind

I recently took a break from reading The Confidence Gap (not because I disliked it in the least, but because I like to mix up what I’m reading sometimes) so I decided to check out The Fighter’s Mind by Sam Sheridan.  I’m always interested in hearing someone tell a story from their perspective, so I figured this book could act as a sort of unofficial sports psychology book, which is something that interests me.

As someone who enjoys psychology, and specifically sports and work psychology, The Fighter’s Mind turned out to be an excellent book to read.  Sam Sheridan interviewed several people in the fighting world, asking them questions about what makes someone a good fighter.  But the qualities that he discovered aren’t limited to success only in fighting, but in all walks of life.

Here are a few takeaways from the book, as well as my reflection on my own life while reading the book, that I’d like you to keep in mind, whether you’re mentoring someone or you’re the one learning:

  • How you deal with and perceive failure/defeat/setbacks is important. Learn how to learn from these adversities.  You need practice and failure in order to improve
  • You become what you believe you are. Success is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and if you believe that you cannot do something then you’ve made yourself incapable of doing it
  • Coaches need to believe in their students; Students need to trust and respect their coaches
  • There’s no top limit or end; Regardless of how good you are right now, you can always improve and reach a new level
  • When you go up against higher competition, you get more out of yourself
  • Confidence, maturity, and feeling relaxed is something that comes from experience
  • Have a good social support system
  • Control your emotions, because anger and frustration take away your stamina
  • Be humble and open-minded enough that you can learn from everyone around you
  • Enjoy what you’re doing. Have fun, and remember why you’re doing it – because you enjoy it
  • Keep things in perspective, and when you need to create a new perspective
  • Everyone wants to feel important. Everyone wants to feel like what they do matters and has a purpose

While everyone I just listed is important, my absolute two major takeaways here are that how you perceive and believe in your abilities is absolutely vital to how successful you are at anything.  In addition, so is how you react to adversity.  So if you can focus on only two things here, I’d want you to train yourself on believing in yourself, and train yourself on embracing and overcoming adversity.