Change Your Algorithms

All around the news, we are hearing about algorithms built into our social media.  It directs what we see and hear. It is how all social media decides what to feed you next.  If you like this video, then you might like this one.  If you know this person, then you may know this person.  If you respond to this ad, then you might respond to this one.  The task?  To keep you on the app or the website.  Because that is the thing about social media:  they want your attention and your time.  

But guess what?  You have algorithms that are running inside of you.  They are your “Personal Algorithms.”  They are your habits that run your daily life.  And they don’t really function that differently than what the tech companies use.

In essence, algorithms are simply If/Then formulas.  “If” this happens, “then” you do this.  In life, they represent your own daily habits and reactions.  The “If” is a trigger.  Something happens.  And when it does, you “then” do something.  If your stomach growls, then you grab a bite to eat.  If you are walking by the cookie jar, then you grab one and eat it.  If the alarm goes off, then you hit the snooze several times.  If/Then.

Those algorithms can keep you stuck or free you up, depending on how you use them.

Michael Balchan, CEO of Heroic.My guest this week is Michael Balchan.  He is the CEO of Heroic.us, an app based approach to thriving more in life.  Listen in as we discuss your habits, your life, your algorithms, and how to be on your own “heroic journey.”

Throughout his adulthood, Michael has been trying to not just “punch the clock,” but to thrive.  And over the years, he immersed himself in learning and executing.  He sought wisdom from others, then worked to apply it into his life.

Along the way, he moved from finance professional to professional coach.  And on that path, he realized his own mission was to help the world to thrive.

On this episode, we talk about ways to thrive, and a new resource to help you thrive.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Heroic.us
Thrive Principles Simplified
The Habits Series

Start Here

YouAreHere“Where should I start?”, my client asked.

Lots of times, we want to make changes, we want things to be different.  And sometimes, we want things to be different before we make any changes.

We want a different starting point.

If you’ve ever been at a park or mall, looking at the map to figure out where to go, you might notice that one very important feature, “You Are Here.”  It points to the spot where you are now.

Not where you want to go.  Not where you want to be.

But where you are.

If you are at the mall and see the store you want… on the other side of the mall, you might wish you were standing nearby, near the destination store.  Not all the way across the mall.

But if you are on the other side of the mall, that is where you are.  Navigating to the destination from a closer point — a point where you are NOT — is not likely to be effective.

You start where you are.

And you might just find… it is a pretty good place to start.

Listen to this podcast episode for how to start where you are, and why where you are is a pretty good place to start.

RELATED RESOURCES
Accepting What Is
Limiting Beliefs
Making Changes
Book:  The Immutable Laws of Living

Contribution

The Thrive Code

What are you giving (versus what you are getting)?  And why contributing to leave the world better leads to thriving.When I talk about Thriveology, many people say, “Oh, that is more of that ‘being happy’ stuff, isn’t it?”

My response:  No. Well, not just that.  Sure, being happy is fine.  No need to avoid being happy! But that is only one dimension of life.

It IS the dimension of life that hedonism celebrates and pursues.  If it feels good, do it.  Enjoy life.  Have a good time.  Seek out pleasure and avoid pain.

Except that doesn’t lead much to thriving. It posits your satisfaction with life externally to you.  It is THAT thing that makes you happy, brings you pleasure, makes life worthwhile.

Eudaimonia was the counterpoint in greek thought.  This is the pursuit of life satisfaction by what things mean to you internally. It is how you bring meaning, enjoyment, and satisfaction into your life from within.

And there is a cornerstone of that:  Contribution.  What we GIVE to the world, versus what we GET from the world. Giving versus Taking.

Research has long pointed out the power of giving and contributing to the mental health, wellbeing, meaning/purpose, and satisfaction of people to their lives.  Which is why it is part of The Thrive Code.

Listen below to learn why contribution matters and some principles of doing it.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Challenge
Control
Community
Lee’s Books

Redux: Merry Stressness!

Merry Stress-ness and Happy Holi-daze! Dealing with holiday stress this Christmas season.And just like that, the Holiday season is upon us! All the hustle and bustle. All the events. All the demands… in the midst of a time that you want to be enjoyable, meaningful, and manageable!

Why the stress?

In a repeat of last year’s podcast (since we still have that holiday stress!), I discuss the causes of holiday stress. But more importantly, I cover the ways to cope with holiday stress.

Don’t let stress rob you of the deeper meanings and connections of this holiday season.

RELATED RESOURCES
Why We Stress
5 Ways to Shift from Stressful to Restful
Deepening the  Holidays
Book: Thrive Principles

Does Gratitude Matter?

Be thankful. Be grateful. Shift mindsets and thrive. 4 ways to focus on gratitude.If you are in the States, we are on the cusp of the Holiday season, kicking off with Thanksgiving in just a few days.

For me, the Holidays throughout the year are moments to step into gratitude.  Not just in a little “thank you for that gift,” but in a gratitude for being alive.  For being here.  For experiencing life.

Each morning, while walking the neighborhood with my dogs, Ziggy and Clementine, I reflect on 5 things for which I am grateful.  That starts my day with an attempt to shift my attention to thankfulness, to gratitude.

Granted, some days, that feeling quickly evaporates when the work piles up.

But I try to remember to be grateful on a daily basis.

How about you?

Did you know that research shows how simple gratitude habits can re-wire the brain… away from fear and threat?  Away from depression and anxiety?  Just by thinking with gratitude.  Just by focusing on things for which you are grateful.

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, I discuss the power of gratitude to shift your thinking and re-wire your brain… just in time for a day we set aside to be particularly Thankful.

Know that I am thankful for you, my reader/listener.  Wishing you the best of Thanksgivings!

RELATED RESOURCES
Gratitude & Appreciation
Two Targets To Thrive
The Appreciation Approach
Stop Trying To Change The Past
Thrive Principles Books

Change in the Shadow of Terror

Surviving 9/11 and Finding Meaning

Kushal Choksi survived 9/11 and found his purpose.Sometimes, success comes from being at the right place at the right time.  Sometimes, tragedy comes from being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  But what happens when you are at the right place at the wrong time?

For Kushal  Choksi, it saved his life.  It was September 11, 2001.  Kushal was running late, and rushing to get to a meeting in the World Trade Towers.  He was racing through the mezzanine when a horrific impact jarred him and threw the world into chaos.  What had happened?  What should they do?

Some people were frozen in place.  Others were fleeing the building.  Still others were simply trying to get back to their day, oblivious to the danger that was mounting.  Choksi headed for the door, but was met by a security guard who was imploring people to return to the building.  Given the debris raining down, that made some sense.

But before he could turn, another voice and a strong hand on his shoulder said, “No, get out!”  Kushal did.  That decision saved his life.

And that day completely reordered Choksi’s life.  He was lost for some time after.  What seemed like the recipe for success was floundering.  It was not just about being wealthy and powerful.  Somehow, the “American Dream” no longer seemed the goal.

What then?

After much seeking, Kushal found his way forward with new tools for dealing with his anxiety and fears.  And that led him to another path of success.

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, as we approach the 20th anniversary of that horrific attack, I had a chance to sit down with Kushal and talk about meaning, purpose, breath, and mindfulness.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Kushal Choksi’s Website
Amazon Link to Kushal’s book, On A Wing And A Prayer
Free of Fear Series
Breathe
Order, Disorder, Reorder

5 Lessons from 55 Trips Around the Sun

5 lessons I’ve learned from my 55 years on earth. Another year has passed.  I added a year to when I answer, “How old are you?”  Well, at least in theory.  I am an unreliable narrator for reporting my age.  By accident.  But on a repeated basis.

That said, as I recorded this episode of the podcast, and write these words, I am celebrating 55 trips around the sun (and I complain I don’t get to travel much!).

I’m not sure about claiming wisdom, but I do claim some lessons from those years.  Lessons I keep learning and relearning.  Lessons I must remind myself about.  But lessons that matter to my life.

While there are quite a few, 5 seemed to be appropriate for 55 years.  5 lessons from 55 years on this earth!

I’d love to hear the lessons you’ve learned!  And I’d love to hear any questions or thoughts you might have about thriving.  But until then, listen in on the 5 lessons I have learned (and keep learning), and let me know if they are lessons you share.

Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Do Things Happen for a Reason?
We Aren’t Getting Out Alive!
Your Purpose
Thrive Principles Book

What A Year!

Coping with COVID Series

What a year it has been!  The effects of COVID on all of us.What a year!  It was one year ago this week that I was on my last business trip.  I was at an event with my publisher.  Already, we knew COVID was out, and knew it was gaining steam.  Other countries had already gone into lockdown… and the US was on the precipice.

While I was away, my wife and I were coordinating with our adult children, trying to make sure we could get them to our home before travel was locked down.  That weekend, both came home.

We thought it might be a number of weeks.  They were thinking two to three.  I was thinking a month or a bit more.

That ended up being months on end.  They spent more of 2020 in our home than in their own places.

The economy screeched to a halt, trips were canceled, schools were closed.  And our medical system started to strain, faltering under the weight of one illness closing off some areas, while filling others.

It seemed like every day, there was some new shift, new discovery, new point of vulnerability.  And in its wake, we, as a country and a world, strained to cope.  The grief poured out in anger and despair.  Some continued their grief in the world of denial.

And still, the numbers climbed.  Families lost loved ones.  Spouses lost partners.  The world lost citizens.  To the point that we could no longer truly comprehend the numbers.  Some people recalculated by throwing caution to the wind.  Others recalibrated to a life in isolation, hoping that was safe.

One year later.  What a year!

Oh, and it isn’t over!  Although there are plenty of places and people trying to move on, we are still in the midst of a crisis.  While there is a place, in the not-so-distant future, where we get back to a life much more similar to a bit more than a year ago, we aren’t there yet.

And we are also now seeing that the pandemic will not end equally.  It hasn’t impacted citizens equally, and the end will come just as unequally.  But it will come.  How do we get there?  I hope together, and I hope a bit wiser.

In this week’s Thriveology Podcast, I think about the shifts and impacts of this past year.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Coping with COVID Series
Finding or Building Hope
Moving Through Grief

Your Heaven on Earth

It is so easy to get pulled into threats and dangers, mishaps and mistakes.  It is wired into our brain to have a focus on the negative.  Which is too bad.  That means we are more likely to miss the good moments, the highlights of life, in favor of the down moments.  We clearly see the negative, but can miss the positive.

Unless, of course, we nurture a focus on the positive.  Unless we look for those moments of “heaven on earth.”

What are your moments of heaven?

Martin Rutte, Project Heaven On EarthMartin Rutte spent his career helping companies enter into dialogue for transformation.  He led difficult discussions so that company cultures could transform.  Dialogue is a powerful tool of exploration.  Which, unfortunately, is often replaced by debate in our culture.  That is what happens when we stop listening, demanding our own viewpoint.  Martin has worked to shift from the hell of debate to the heaven of dialogue.

And that led him to wonder what we might be able to do to shift our world in a better direction.  So, he started wondering about those moments of heaven people have.  What were the moments?  What was common to those moments?  How might those moments become a more intentional part of life?  What if that process starts expanding those moments for more people?  Might culture and society transform?

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, Martin gets me to discuss my moment of heaven on earth… and how I might bring that moment more into my own life.  We discuss the power of three simple questions, the power of dialogue, and the need for cultural transformation right now.  In this moment.  Perhaps a shift to a moment of heaven on earth?

Listen to the episode below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Project Heaven On Earth Website
Finding Hope or Building Hope
Hope in Difficult Times
Doing Your Part
Your Purpose

You Are Built for Impact
MPI Triad

From the Projects to Ping Pong

Profile in Thriving

Wally Green, world class table tennisHow does a young man from the projects end up playing table tennis in North Korea… on a diplomacy mission?

How he ended up there is not much different than how Wally Green ended up in Germany, becoming a world-class ping pong player, after leaving his gang past behind.

I “met” Wally on a Zoom call with lots of others and knew I needed to have him on Thriveology.  I wanted to talk with him because he had a  handle on thriving.  Not because he was making life look easy.  But because he was taking life on.

As a child, Wally was faced with domestic violence at home and gang violence outside.  Even though he threw himself into sports as an escape, he didn’t escape gang life.  As he noted, it was a matter of survival.

But guess was really saved Wally’s life?  Table tennis.

How did he get there?  Because he broke a stolen pool cue.  And he took out his frustration on someone playing table tennis.  One thing led to another… and there he was in North Korea.

Really, Wally is the one who needs to tell the story.  And he does, as I interview him in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  You can listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Wally Green’s Website
Your Resilience Muscle
Damaged, Resilient, or Thriving?