The subject of my previous blog post was Napoleon Hill. Knowing how Napoleon Hill got to his outlook on life is a remarkable study of how religion can impact business. The thread of Napoleon Hill comes from the New Thought Movement in America. New Thought suggested that there was a high power than humans, but this higher power was more universal than the God of the Christian Bible.
While at first blush this sounds a bit like transcendentalism, it was influenced but did not stop here. Instead it pulled in thoughts that all animals had a magnetism or common spiritual pull, called mesmerism after Franz Mesmer. One thought was that you could use this power for healing. This thought influenced many a person, although we don’t talk about it today. There is a straight line from mesmerism to Phineas Quimby, and then to New Thought.
Most people know this philosophy best today through the shrinking Christian Science sect. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, was extremely influenced by Quimby and New Thought. The power of thought is celebrated as being able to change what is our reality. This thought of “mind over matter” is more than a nice saying. To those that were in this movement, they truly believed that thought would cause reality to change. To the Christian Scientist, they dispense with reality all together thinking that we live in an illusion.
However, there is a flip side to this way of thinking of simply saying that our thoughts do have an incredible impact on our life. Maybe there is no telepathy or mesmerism. However, thinking in a right fashion has a large impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. Out of this line of thought, we have Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be very helpful in people recovering from psychological disorders.
I do believe that an understanding of CBT is the the most critical thing for us to grow as adults. Your core beliefs about yourself, others and the future are driven by you behavior, thoughts and feelings. However, there is no end of this circle.
What do I mean?
Most people assume that we have bad behaviors because we don’t get what we want. In reality, CBT shows us that we can change our behaviors by thinking differently about the circumstances around these behaviors.
The steps of CBT is recognizing when you are doing bad stuff, then examining what thought process brought you to that bad stuff, and then seeing how you can eliminate or lower these bad thought processes. If you can grasp the shell of this idea, you should be able to see why this belief is very similar to the New Thought movement, only with no spiritualism behind it. If you want to change something, you need to start thinking differently.
Now this is a very long preamble to introduce Marshall Goldsmith.
I have read a couple of Goldsmith’s books: “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” and “Mojo: How To Keep It,” and I can strongly recommend both of them. Basically, Marshall is a business coach with a very particular promise. He’ll work with you, and if you don’t think he is worth it, you’ll get your money back. “Satisfaction or you service is free,” is what he chants.
And he gets paid all the time, so it isn’t an empty promise.
Goldsmith sets up conversations with his clients. In reality, he calls out that he is not psychologist, but in reality, he is a practical psychologist without the training. He strives to bring insight into his client life. The overall name for this is called metacognition. I have read a bunch of business books, and all of the truly great leaders have some type of metacognition or “self awareness.”
There are a variety of traps that we can all fall into in our business lives. One major flaw that Goldsmith points out is not really understanding why we succeed. I know this in my own life. I don’t want to say that I don’t have talent, as this would be dishonest. I have been fortunately enough to be blessed here. The issue is that many people have talent, but don’t have the chance to succeed. I was fortunate in my life that I happened to be in the right place at the right time.
However, last night in his sermon to us, our Pastor Rick Warren said this little bit of wisdom:
“Being humble is not denying your strengths. Being humble is recognizing your weaknesses.”
Quite frankly, this statement is one that we could mull for weeks and think about. However, I think most people will recognize the strength of this statement. When we start experiencing success, we often have a difficult time distinguishing our success from our behaviors. For instance, I have had, and still have a problem with being arrogant. As you might be able to tell from this blog, I read and think more than many of my peers. However, whenever I become arrogant and let people know that I know more than them, it destroys my ability to have them change. However, I might not recognize this, and I may actually associate my arrogance with success. I have made false linkage between success and a behavior.
I had a supervisor once that had an anger problem. I remember talking to them, and it turned out that they thought that this anger was actually a benefit and not a problem to be fixed. They thought that by turning on this anger, it kept other people sharp, focused and going. However, I was not in his head, and I could clearly see that the anger did nothing but destroy people’'
In the book “What Got You Here,” Goldsmith calls out 20 bad he sees all the time.
Winning too much
Adding too much value
Making destructive comments
Starting with “no”, “but” or “however”
Telling the world how smart we are
Speaking when angry
Negativity or “let me explain why that won’t work”
Failing to give proper recognition
Claiming credit we don’t deserve
Clinging to the past
Refusing to express regret
Failing to express gratitude
Punishing the messenger
Passing the buck
An excessive need to be me
Goldsmith goes through each of these and calls out how to deal with these issues.
The key behind all of Goldsmith ideas is we need to find somebody outside of yourself to get feedback. If somebody is ready to listen to others, then you will find out that this person will make a massive change in the ability to solve these 20 bad habits.
Goldsmith has a variety of ideas of how we get this feedback. But this blog post is not a book. It is to lead you to good books.
And if you’ll listen to the feedback, I think this is book you should get.