December 3, 2018

Below is a lesson from Mark Crowley’s blog on three pieces of ancient wisdom that will challenge your personal views on how to excel in the world and shift your life into a positive direction, as well as our key learning.

The Blue Courage team is dedicated to continual learning and growth.  We have adopted a concept from Simon Sinek’s Start With Why team called “Learn, Share, Grow”.  We are constantly finding great articles, videos, and readings that have so much learning.  As we learn new and great things, this new knowledge should be shared for everyone to then grow from.


ANCIENT CHINESE PHILOSOPHERS TEACH HARVARD STUDENTS A MODERN WAY TO THINK

by 

One of the most popular classes at Harvard University today is a deep dive into the wisdom of the great Chinese philosophers, scholars who lived over 2,000 years ago.

We all know their names – Confucius, Mencius, Zhangzi and Lao Tzu – Eastern sages who devoted their lives to exploring what it takes to flourish in life, and who often landed on counter-intuitive conclusions that stand in stark contrast to traditional Western thinking.
“Your lives are about to be profoundly changed,” Michael Puett tells his students on the first day of class. The professor begins every new semester knowing that the time-tested and spiritually informed ideas of the Chinese scholars will likely fully transform how his students go on to operate in the world.

After taking Puett’s class as a Ph.D. student, Christine Gross-Loh astutely realized that far more people than Ivy League students needed an introduction to classical Chinese philosophy. And she urged Puett to collaborate with her on a book – and to effectively make his research available to us all.

Just recently, the pair published, “The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About The Good Life,“ and it’s become a New York Times best seller.

While nowhere is it clear in the title, many of the book’s most provocative ideas also have direct application to workplace leadership. After fully digesting The Path – and then spending considerable time discussing it with Gross-Loh, I’ve spotlighted three pieces of ancient wisdom that are not only likely to challenge your personal views on how best to excel in the world, they might just send your own life into a positive new trajectory…

Continue reading here.


Key Learnings:

  • Three pieces of ancient wisdom that are not only likely to challenge your personal views on how best to excel in the world, they might just send your own life into a positive new trajectory:
  • The World Is A Messy, Fragmented Place Filled With Messy, Fragmented People
    • We tend to behave as if the world is fully coherent and this assumption affects all our decisions. Consequently, we’re often taken by surprise whenever things don’t work out as we expected.
    • Once we accept that nothing is ever stable, we’re able to live far more expansive lives.
    • Our best-made decisions are never guaranteed against arbitrary, sometimes calamitous events.
    • Maturely anticipate that difficulties in life will occur, it also tells us to be open to windfalls – the unexpected, synchronistic opportunities that occur just as often in life.
  • We Make Our Best Choices When We Ask Our Hearts To Weigh In
    • Excluding the heart in decision-making is massively misinformed and self-defeating.
    • What truly distinguishes society’s most effective people is their determination to remain closely in touch with their emotional side. Human beings function as logical beings and intuitive beings, he asserted – and only when we use both can we maximize our effectiveness.
    • Our wisest choices cannot come from thinking things through rationally alone; they only can come from a complete understanding of what our “heart-mind” knows is the right thing to do.
  • Softness, Not Hardness Makes Leaders Infinitely More Influential
    • True strength never relies on domination over others. Leaders who rely on this kind of power build resentment, discontent, and have the inevitable effect of influencing people to work against them.
    • Oppressing and dishonoring the well-being of human beings inherently violates what nature intended. Helping others to thrive, all of the ancients were convinced, is the surest way of earning their support and commitment.
  • True leadership strength lies in what we instinctively judge today as being weakness:
    • Embracing the messiness and complexity of people.
    • Being sensitive and attuned to others and how they are feeling.
    • Investing time to learn what makes people tick, what subtleties affect them.
    • Cultivating an ability to sense what kind of support workers need – and to give that to them in the moment.
    • Discovering what kinds of responses and communication from you will bring out the best responses in them.
  • People instinctively reciprocate when they feel cared for and valued.

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