The Power of Now: an insightful guide towards being more present in our own life

The Power of Now is one of those rare books that makes you stop and reconsider the way you live your life, over and over, with every step towards living more meaningfully you take. Why? Because it’s practical and spiritual at the same time. You’ll find different layers of meanings and varioua pieces of awareness around the concious way of living: with a deeper feeling and experience of present moments. The power of now has proven to be really helpful for someone like me, with an overactive mind that almost never shuts off and an overwhelmingly emotional spirit I struggled so much to train in the science of logic and rational facts.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment was written by Eckhart Tolle, a German-born author, probably „the most popular spiritual author in the United States.”

The book is a self-help guide that stresses the importance of living in the present moment and avoiding thoughts of the past or future thar we can never really influence. It is rich in ideas, thoughts and lessons, but also invitations to contemplating on how our actions, reasons and emotions impact our ease of mind and soul.

Here are 3 major ideas you’ll find explored in Eckhart Tolle’s book:

1. There is no such thing as too much time or lack of time: we are, in fact, powerful over our time, once we truthfully and deeply understand what really matters in our life.

2. The Past and Future don’t happen, It is always Now that is happening. We are only, always, living now. Except we don’t… how many times today you found yourself struggling because of past „what ifs”, daydreaming over future proffesional or personal scenarios or worring about „what happens next”, instead of spending every present moment making the best out of your journey towards your goals?

3. If you can stop thinking about the past and the future and be present in the Now you will feel better. Because Now is what we see, what we can touch, feel, hear, love, act on. „Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”

And here are my 3 favourite quotes from „The power of now”:

The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.”

„The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly—you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you.”

„Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.”

If these few paragraphs brought up some questions to your mind… you’re ready to read now. The book is written mostly in a Q&A format, based on the most common questions about this idea of mindfulness and the powere of here and now. So… there is a very good chance your questions will be covered while browsing the pages of this book.

My two closing cents, as one who now owns the English, Romanian, Practical Guide and audiobook versions of „The power of now”, are these:

Don’t build expectations and don’t wonder if your past discoveries and experiences are enough for you to have reach the inner growth stage where you’ll really be able to absorb all the knowledge. You are. Let go, trust yourself and your deep-hearted wisdom. Sometimes, „letting go is an act of greater power than defending or holding on.”

And ask yourself more often „Where am I, really? Am I here and now?” Because we cannot find our better selves by going into the past. We can find ourselves by „coming into the present”.

Anunțuri

Mapping human emotions in our body: where do we feel love, happiness, sadness, anger?

Close your eyes. And imagine the last time you fell madly in love or felt completely happy. Where did you feel the love? Perhaps you got butterflies in your stomach or your heart raced with excitement. Your mind was spinning or your eyes were sparkling.

Now think about the last time you were deeply sad or utterly angry at something or someone… in what parts of your body you could say the pain of these states of mind went? Perhaps you felt imobilized, shaky or dizzy.

A recent reaseaech shows how emotions impact our body: a team of scientists in Finland asked people to map out where they felt different emotions on their bodies and they found that the results were surprisingly consistent across cultures:

People reported that happiness and love sparked activity across nearly the entire body, while depression had the opposite effect: It dampened feelings in the arms, legs and head, and sometimes people have pain in their chest because of it.

Mapping emotions on the body showed that Love and Happiness have the energy to „make us warm all over. The team of scientists started with the analysis of basic emotions, such as happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, that form de building blocks for more complex feelings.

„Our emotional system in the brain sends signals to the body so we can deal with our situation,” says Lauri Nummenmaa, a psychologist at Aalto University who led the study.

„Say you see a snake and you feel fear. Your nervous system increases oxygen to your muscles and raises your heart rate so you can deal with the threat. It’s an automated system. We don’t have to think about it.”

So, emotions have to do with how we deal with the environment — threats and opportunities, as well as the other beings around us. We interact with all of these using both our body and our mind. Each emotion can activate a distinct set of body parts and the mind’s recognition of those patterns helps us understand what is happening to us. And, as we understand better, have more control over our mind and body and find the ways to feel better and more aware of what we are experiencing.

Find out more about the study here. To stay warm, do more of what makes you feel and share love and happiness.

The 5 levels of leadership explained: position, permission, results, people development and respect

They say one of the biggest challenges of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth, while knowing how to make the right choices: saying no to the good in order to say yes to the best, displaying emotions when it’s the time and delaying them when they might be in the way of progress. From this challenge only we understand that being a true leader is, firstly, not as easy as one may think, and secondly but equally important, that leaders can and should be trained, developed, regardless of their natural instincts, talents and charisma. You may be what they call „a natural born leader” but even then you have the responsibility of thriving to become a better you. There are these few words by J.K. Roling, from the famous and fabulous universe of Harry Potter, that brilliantly explain how, sometimes, we find our leadership powers when faced with the challenge of leading, without planning or even practice in advance:

“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.” 

When we are meant, in our proffesional or even personal activities, to lead groups and teams towards achieving their goals, learning about leadership and reaching leadership maturity comes in hand. One of the most sound & useful and books i have read on this subject is The five levels of Leadership, in which John Maxwell describes 5 levels of leadership maturity. From leadership based on position (level 1) to being a leader by developing other leaders (level 5), Maxwell explains why every organization, group, company needs more level 5 leaders and how every one of us can work towards getting there.

Briefly put, the five levels of leadership include:

  • Position – People follow because they have to.
  • Permission – People follow because they want to.
  • Production – People follow because of what you have done for the organization.
  • Person Development – People follow because of what you have done for them personally.
  • Pinnacle – People follow because of who you are and what you represent.


And each leadership level, the book describes how to recognize this type of leader and what you can do to grow to the next level of leadership. Interesting to note beforehand is, that the levels on which you act can differ per person you work with. You can be a level 3 leaders with one colleague, and a level 4 with another.

The five leveles of leadership explained and Maxwell’s compelling words about them 

LEVEL 1: Position 

„A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. A successful person finds the right place for himself. But a successful leader finds the right place for others.”  John C. Maxwell

The first level of leadership describes LEADERSHIP BASED ON POSITION and it is probably the clearest way to make the difference between a manager and a leader: managers work with processes whereas leaders work with the people. Once you’ve got this figured out, your ascension begins from the position your are in, towards becoming a true leader and making your way to people’s minds and hearts, using your skills, passions and charms. Leaders who act as this first level need and have their title to get things done and spend most of their time protecting their turf by playing political games. This type of leadership is the only one in which the leaders do not have any actual influence on their team members and should therefore not even be allowed to be called leadership. But from here, the leadership journey can start its challenging development.

The one-liner “it is lonely at the top” can according to Maxwell only be created by a level 1 leader, because people rather avoid working with them or even change their job rather than working with them. People who are working for a level 1 leader are usually not motivated to put in that little extra effort at work. They are simply not engaged. Surveys in 2006 show, that in the USA, 15% of people did not feel engaged with their manager or organization. In Germany, this was 50%!
The good news is, that you as a leader can grow out of level 1. Getting a title means the organization believes in you and that you have a chance to grow up to be a true leader. Getting your title is an invitation for personal growth and your first challenge will be to grow to a level 2 leader.

Leve 2: Permission 

„Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” John C. Maxwell

Level 2 leadership is about LEADERSHIP BASED ON PERMISSION. On this level, you find leaders that have learned that relationships are important to be able to get that little extra effort form your team members. People believe in the leader as a person, and because of that they follow your vision. The best is, that you don’t even need a title to be(come) a level 2 leader.
Good personal relationships within the organization create energy, trust, and it doesn’t hurt that people like you.
The easiest step to grow into this level of leadership is to show interest in your colleagues on a personal level. Every person is not only an employee at the firm, they also have a home, a family, their health struggles and personal traits.
Another tip Maxwell describes is to compliment your colleagues for their personal strengths. Get to know your colleagues in such a way, that you know what their strengths are so you can positively reinforce them whenever you see them using them.
The downside of level 2, is that having a great place to work not necessarily means you can lead to achieve results. This is why every leaders should grow to level 3.

Level 3: Results 

„A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. If you want to be the best leader you can possibly be, no matter how much or how little natural leadership talent you possess, you need to become a serving leader.” John C. Maxwell

The third level of leadership is LEADERSHIP BASED ON RESULTS. On this level, the leader achieves measurable results. An important reason why this is level 3 and not level 2, is because people cannot achieve positive results in the long run, when their personal needs are not taken care of. The people who achieve results, but are not looked after on personal level, are the ones who get burned-out.
Level 3 leaders are the ones who use their relationships (and therefore influence) to realize their vision. It is important that you as a leader define your vision and can explain why it is important for the organization.
To be able to achieve results, the leader has to be able to set priorities and help team members select the most important tasks. To help people grow, the kind of tasks that time should be spend on according to Maxwell is as follows:

  • 80% of the time on tasks within your strengths zone
  • 15% of your time on tasks within your learning zone
  • 5% on work outside your strengths zone
  • And 0% within your weakness zone

The level 3 leader is loved within the team and leads the team to measureable results. The downside of this level is however, that the results diminish after the leader leaves the team because they are dependent on the leader for achieving these results. Fortunately, every level 3 leader can grow into a level 4 leader, who’s task it is to develop his team members to be able to achieve results on their own.

Level 4: People development 

„Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John C. Maxwell

The fourth level of leadership is called LEADERSHIP BASED ON PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT. If you want a fun place to work, grow to level 2. If you would like to perform as an organization, grow to level 3. If you want to grow as an organization, make sure you have a lot of level 4 leaders.
Developing others means that you as a leader should always work on delegating your tasks to others.
Maxwell suggest to delegate your task when somebody else can do the same task in 80% or more of your efficiency.
A level 4 leader should spend about 80% of his time coaching colleagues, and 20% with productive work. This is a very difficult step for level 3 leaders who are used to achieving most of the results themselves.
It is however impossible to coach everybody in becoming the next generation of leaders. Level 4 leaders therefore focus on developing people with the highest potential, usually the top 20% of the population.
The biggest challenge of the level 4 leader is to put other people´s personal growth before your own.

Level 5: Respect 

„A leader who produces other leaders multiplies their influences. The higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.” John C. Maxwell

The fifth and final level of leadership is called LEADERSHIP BASED ON RESPECT. These are the leaders who are still mentioned long after they have left the organization. They are the ones who left a legacy. These are actually also the leaders who have spent their time creating leaders that create more leaders.
The most important long term goal for an organization is to continuously work on building the next generation of leaders who can succeed the current generation, which means, a level 5 leader should built more level 4 leaders.

Accompanied by lots of practical examples, one liners and insights from the author’s personal experience, The five levels of leadership describes a path of personal growth every leader experiences, from learning how to improve your personal relationships with your team members so that they believe in your vision, up to coaching more people to the level in which they also coach more people. And it explains, in a highly serviceable way, that this leadership pipeline is probably the most sustainable way to grow and nurture an organization in the long term, as much as it is a professionally and personally good wayof growing yourself as a leader. May this reading be useful to you as well!

The history of internet in 6 minutes

Once upon a time…there was no internet.  And then, the social media and digital interactivity became what they are today.

The internet as we know it, has a rich and eventful history. But how did it all begin? Here’s a brief history of the all mighty, all-present INTERNET, with fun times, epic times and most memorable launches of digital platforms and concepts. Enjoy the story or skip to the end of this article where you’ll find it in video!

1960s: The internet is born from a Pentagon military project.

1969: The first electronic message was sent: “LOG”. The user wanted to type LOGIN, but the network crashed.

1969: ARPANET was used to connect 4 American Universities and ease access to information.

1972: The rise of email. The first email sent was „something like QWERTYUIOP.”

1973: The actual term of “Internet” is born.

1976: Queen Elizabeth II hits the “send button” on her first email

1976: Apple Computer is founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

1979: The first emoticon smiles to the world 🙂

1987: The first GIF was created. No, it wasn’t a cat. It was an airplane.

1991: Tim Berners-Lee develops the HTML and creates the first live website, about the World Wide Web.

1991: The MP3 was invented.

1991: The first product to be sold online was…porn.

1998: The first music file-sharing service goes live and changes the way Internet is used, forever.

1992: The first audio and video files are distributed over the Internet.

1993: The launch of the first web browser, Mosaic.

1993: The White House and United Nations go online.

1994: Yahoo! is created. The first click-bait has a +44% success rate.

1995: Amazon.com, Craigslist and eBay go live.

1996: 3D animation dubbed „The Dancing Baby” becomes one of the first viral memes.

1997: Netflix is founded. Wireless App Protocol paves the way for Internet on phones.

1998: The Google search engine is born, changing the way users engage with the Internet.

1999: Apple spreads Wi-Fi to the masses by concealing it in its laptops.

2000: The dot-com bubble bursts in. The internet becomes vulnerable, prone to attacks.

2003: WordPress is launched and Skype is released.

2004: Facebook goes online and the era of social networking begins.

2005: YouTube.com launches.

2006: Twitter is live. The founder, Jack Dorsey, sends out the very first tweet: „just setting up my twttr.”

2007: iPhone introduces mobile web. The smartphone age begins.

2009: The Internet marks its 40th anniversary in.

2010: Facebook reaches 400 million active users. Pinterest and Instagram are launched.

2012: Barack Obama’s announces the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act.

2015: Instagram reaches 400 million users in, outpacing Twitter.

2016: Google unveils Google Assistant, marking the entry of the Internet giant into the „smart” computerized assistant marketplace.

The internet is now, in 2017, 10,000+ days old.  Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, social media bots, e-shopping and online experiences, they all keep rising. Consumers are now digital and mobile. The internet is our home, workspace, shopping mall, library, coach, friend, doctor, map.  Be there for them.  Be digital in all you do. This way, you’ll be the brand they want and need to meet and greet online.

Facing the new digital consumer: rules of engagement and conversion are changing

In line with the swifting changes and innovations in marketing channels, tactics and platforms, the consumer journey itself changes dramatically. Consumers today are using multiple devices to learn, compare, share, consume and make purchasing decisions. Increasingly, the journey spans a number of touchpoints, from websites to review sites and social media, with every single experience impacting a consumer’s decision.

Once upon a time, there was no internet. but the world generally and the world of marketing are changing with a faster pace than ever. The consumer no longer has patience & time for ordinary ads, commercial non-engagement and…well, too much offline brand related work.

Here are 5 Top Consumer Trends are making Digital Vital for the marketing mix & changing the Brand Engagement Rules:

1. “Virtual Reality is best than my reality”

Virtual reality (VR) is currently the fastest growing form of video traffic, with Cisco predicting that it will grow 61-fold between 2015 and 2020.2 When video literally means the world, computing power will be directed at our visual cortex rather than our fingertips. More than 40 percent of advanced internet users surveyed would like a computer with VR/AR as its main interface. This “new” reality means it’s time for 5G networks.

2.  “The Rise of Artificial Intelligence”

The idea that a man-made creature could gain awareness has been around for a very long time – it can be seen in folklore about anthropomorphic golems, and AI sci-fi stories, for example. In modern science, the idea of creating a digital brain was already around in the 1940s. Today, AI research and development is booming all over the world. In Bots that make customer care cost-efficient & practical, in complex machine learning and robots. Behind the recommendations that streamed media services make based on consumption habits, in the assistants in our phones. However, half of online active people interviewed by Ericsson ConsumerLab this year say that they are preoccupied by the AI takeover.

And, P.S. SOPHIA, the humaniod robot who just became a citizen of Saudi Arabia. She’ s coming to meet us at Brand Minds 2018, next spring.

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3.  “My Body is out of sync”

When trains started to appear in the late 1820s in England, prospective passengers worried that the human body was simply not built to withstand movement at such incredible speeds. Even with 200 years of motorized transportation, we still get car sick; in fact one in five feels nausea in cars or buses every week, even today. Consumers believe car sickness will become even worse with autonomous cars. Moreover, the digital inflation, social media crowded landscape and rise of digital interfaces makes the brain a lot more exposed to efforts. Medical studies, innovations, prevention platforms have a great growth space here to come and help.

4.  “Social media, social media everywhere”

In an increasingly globalized world, it feels good to know that there are many like-minded people around us and that we can have our dear ones close no matter the distances. These are the two main psychological wins of social media and why it is most certainly here to stay. Social media is creating so-called echo chambers where groups repeat and amplify similar ideas – the niche communities. You’ll want that for your brand so get attached to ones or build your own now. More than a quarter of people interviewed by Ericsson ConsumerLab in 2017 say that they are likely to count on their contacts’ opinion and advice rather than politicians, spokespeople or authorities.

5. “The smart device safety paradox ”

Nowadays, we take our phones everywhere we go. If we get lost we can call, text, look up information on the internet or navigate using Maps or Waze. More than half of smartphone users already use emergency alarms, tracking or notifications on their smartphones. Another three in five have emergency contacts stored in their phone. But here’s the paradox: three in five of those who say so take more risks because they rely on their phone to keep them safe. So digital wearables are now one of the most reliable and intimate source of information and live planning. Thus, your most valuable brand content must reach these devices.

By 2020, customer experience will be the deciding factor over price and product across all industries. Unique customer experiences are popping up all over. And our out of five users believe that in 5 years VR and AI will be hardly distinguishable from actual reality. And all marketing experiences are more and more digitally powered. No digital, no data, no growth.

We are growing towards virtual reality economy.

See more about this in my presentation from Internet & Mobile World 2017:

video: 

slideshare:

Look in the mirror find the truth about what really matters in your life

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I think the wisdom of reading is never about quantity. But about the impact writings have on our consciousness. And sometimes it takes a while for words to sink in. To make sense.

There days, I came across the overwhelming truth behind something a wise man once wrote about mirroring our life every morning and telling yourself: „If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today? If the answer has been, “no” for too many days in a row, I need to change something.” You can find out more about this here.

I have a great passion about reading and one of the cathegories of literature that touches me in a profound way is that of memoirs and storytelling of the Second World War. Anne Frank’s journal, The book thief, The boy in the stripped pijamas, All the light we cannot see, they all thell impactuful stories of people finding hope and strenght in what matters most to them, in the middle of horrifying life scenarios. Love, passion, belief, friendship, purpose, they are the pathway to a strong vision of our future that keeps us going. Just surving to see days go by is not enough. Not on the long run, anyways.

Start looking in the mirror everyday ans asking yourself how much of what you have to do today is part of your life vision.   If it all became a routine that keeps the time passing, the bills paid, other people safe or happy but it makes very little semse to you, stop. Otherwise, you will fade away.

 

#LaMultiAni World Wide Web și 10 #funfacts despre internetul de azi

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In anul 1991, 23 august a devenit Internaut International Day, aniversând celebrarea invenției World Wide Web-ului de către Tim Berners-Lee și echipa sa.

Denumirea conceptului de „internaut” a apărut din alaturarea cuvintelor internet și nauta (călător în limba greacă). Deci, practic, fiecare dintre noi care navigăm astăzi online, ne putem considera sărbătoriți 🙂 La multi ani! 

Inceputul internetului așa cum îl înțelegem astăzi i se datorează computer scientistului Tim Berners-Lee care a gandit un sistem global, hyperlinked de informatii, in anii ’80. Până la 1985, primul sistem de DNS era configurat în Europa iar în 1988, America și Europa se conectau prin internet. Până în 1991, a fost dezvoltat conceptul de world wide web, ca baza de date avand continut indexat si searchable si linkuri intre informatii, si făcut public pentru utilizatori.

25 de ani mai târziu, internetul este aproape peste tot. Iar dacă privim la utilizarea lui, avem în față indicatori cu multe zerouri. Sa cresti mare, rapid si din ce in ce mai relevant, WWW. Iată ce se întâmplă azi, cu ajutorul tău: 

  1. Cel putin 40 la suta din lume, are acces la internet
  2. Există 3,4 miliarde de internauti si conform datelor din iulie 2016, jumătate dintre acestia sunt pe Facebook.
  3. Există cel puțin 1 miliard de site-uri in WWW
  4. Internetul găzduiește aproximativ un zetabyte de date, în acest moment
  5. Viteza medie globală de conectare la internet este de 5,7 Mb / s
  6. Cel puțin 48,5% din traficul pe internet în 2015 a fost generat de roboții
  7. Transferăm și accesăm in medie 37.000 GB de date pe secundă
  8. Căutăm pe Google aproximativ 56,000 de keywords & phrases  pe secundă
  9. Ne uităm la aproximativ 129,000 de videoclipuri YouTube pe secundă
  10. Trimitem cam 2,5 milioane de email-uri pe secundă. Sursa.