Protected: Takeaways from “Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Human Behavior” by Geoffrey Miller

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The World’s Greatest Lie

alchemistToday I wanted to share 3 lessons I learned from reading “The Alchemist” by Paul Coelho. If you haven’t heard of this book before, it’s a novel about a shepherd boy who seeks the riches of the world and leaves his homeland only to find that he had all the riches he sought already within himself.

Reading this book made me think most prominently about the quote by Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

The rest of this post details three quotes from The Alchemist that remind the reader to stay true to himself, manifest his greatest talents through action, and understand that when you change everything else changes.

“When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry.” – Coelho

There will always be haters. It is up to you to manifest your truth through action. This book reminded me of some zen quote – By practicing your normal way of being you are encouraging others to be more themselves as well.

“What’s the greatest lie? That at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.” – Coelho

Pavlov the dog scientist is famous for showing that he could ring a bell and make the dogs salivate at the prospect of getting meat. What he’s less known for are his experiments in learned helplessness.

In another experiment to show how learned helplessness is developed, Pavlov would shock the dogs every time they got up when a person came to greet them.

Over time this group of dogs would simply stop getting up whenever someone came by to pet them. They feared getting shocked when they responded so excitedly to someone coming over to see them.

What a sad life when we give up on new opportunities because we’ve been so burned in the past.

In the Alchemist, when the king asks the boy go through the kingdom and see all the sights, the boy focuses too strongly on not dissipating himself and misses all the sights of the kingdom.

When the boy stops focusing so much on himself, he is able to focus on the world while still tending to his own needs, and he is happy. Never over-extend yourself. How are you meant to share with others when you have an empty cup?

“The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.” – Coelho

Thanks for sticking with me through this blog post. We’re almost finished.

“When something evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well.” – Coelho

Coelho is keenly minded. He foresees the stumbling blocks that might come up when you start to tune into yourself. Other people might get jealous. Other people might not understand your aims. Keep your best foot forward and stay on track.

What stuck for you? Contact me, I’d love to hear about it!

Proximity functions as a connective drug. Get close, and our tendency to connect lights up.

What’s your IQ? No, this is a serious question. Have you been asked that before? Probably not, because it’s quite a rude question. Almost as rude as asking someone what they do for a living at a party.

No one wants to talk about work at a party. No one wants to sum up their entire life by sharing their occupation. Share your interests. Share what’s got you fired up.

Let’s change it up. What is your emotional IQ? Did you even bat an eyelash? Doesn’t this question seems to be safer somehow?

Asking someone what their IQ is a status game. It’s a devilish question that leaves the person uneasy, unfairly come for, and treated poorly.

Asking someone about their emotional IQ leads to fun interactions, empathy building conversations, and opportunities to connect.

“Proximity functions as a connective drug. Get close, and our tendency to connect lights up.” – Coyle

The next time you’re at a party, share your interests. Be enthusiastic. Ask people about their interests. Build both your emotional IQs by being interested in other people’s lives.

“Collective intelligence is not that different in some ways than apes in a forest. One ape is enthusiastic, and that signal recruits others, and they jump in and start doing stuff together. That’s the way group intelligence works, and this is what people don’t get. Just hearing something said rarely results in a change in behavior. They’re just words. When we see people in our peer group play with an idea, our behavior changes. That’s how intelligence is created. That’s how culture is created.” – Coyle

Did this post make you think differently about how you conduct better conversations at parties? Think I’m full of hot air? Contact me, I’d love to hear about it!

The group succeeds not because they are smarter but because they are safer

51p0mziztfl._sx329_bo1204203200_Today I finished reading “The Culture Code” by Daniel Coyle. This is the third book I’ve read about prioritizing psychological safety to create a team that outperforms all others.

The other two books are “Radical Candor” and “The One Minute Manager.”

This book was well written and very easy to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who is leading a team that needs some feedback on how to successfully collaborate.

Coyle starts the book with this wonderful quote:

We are solidly connected. The group succeeds not because they are smarter but because they are safer. – Coyle

So how do you know if your team is safe? Luckily Coyle provides a list:

Team performance is driven by five measurable factors:

– Everyone in the group talks and listens in roughly equal measure, keeping contributions short.
– Members maintain high levels of eye contact, and their conversations and gesture are energetic
– Members communicate directly with one another, not just with the team leader
– Members carry on back-channel or side conversations within the team
– Members periodically break, go exploring outside the team, and bring information back to share with others

– Coyle

When I read this checklist I mentally checked my groups against it. Was I doing everything I could to make sure that everyone in my band talks and listens in equal measure? Was I making sure that the members in the Hawaii App Developers meetup communicate directly with one another? Can they carry back-channel or side conversations in the team?

I can say yes to a few items on this list but there’s a lot I need to work on. Going full circle, the only way to achieve this kind of idealized communication framework is to ensure the safety of the group.

As the leader, it is your responsibility to make your members feel safe. Only once they feel safe can you begin to expect the frequency and quality of communication required to establish the culture your team deserves.

Contact me if you have any questions!