By Vishen Lakhiani
About the book
I had thoroughly enjoyed “the code of the extraordinary mind” by Vishen Lakhiani. This is the second book by the same author. It provides some fabulous insights and tools to built the right ethos within team members in a company. But I wouldn’t shy away from taking some techniques from the book for myself too.
The rich experience of the author from the varied kinds of people he has met and interacted with, reflects in the pages of the book. Its not a heavy read by any standard. In fact, it is structured like a textbook for you to be able to guide yourself through systematically towards your growth.
Who is it for ?
Primarily for leaders, entrepreneurs, team managers. But even as an individual, I found plenty of tools that would facilitate better personal growth.
- Uncovering your soul print
The author talks about structured steps to guide you to unravel your soul print.
A. What’s your seed — none of us are clones. Everyone is unique with deeply ingrained core values. Your seed will produce, what it is meant to produce and what you want it to produce.
B. Identify your foundational values: Chart your peaks through life — the highs and the lows; extract the values that matter; group the similar ones together and lastly, name those values. VOILA — you have your foundational values that make you, YOU.
This is intended for companies to be able to zero in on their foundational values. But it doesn’t harm to do the exercise for yourself either! I think the exercise in itself , is a great way to become aware of ‘who you really are’ and ‘who you wish to eventually become’.
2. PQ — Positive Intelligence Quotient
The desire or unrealistic aim to be happy all the time, hinders authentic existence. Instead aim for positive optimism. During a negative emotional state, a positively optimistic person will see a bright future ahead. They accept negative emotions like sadness in the moment and view it as what it is — a temporary state.
A person with high PQ means they have a higher ratio of positive feelings to overall feelings. Higher PQ leads to higher salary and greater success in the arenas of work, marriage, health, sociability, friendship and creativity.
It is the best indicator of a teams success.
3. Five tactics for a connected culture at work
A. Friendships at work:
(i) Gallup’s Q 12 employee engagement survey showed that co-workers who report a best friend at work are 7 times more engaged at work than their disconnected counterparts.
(ii) Daily rituals: Starting the day at work with a gratitude ritual amongst team members. It could be a cup of coffee with their spouse or a hug from a child or work victory.
(iii) Weekly rituals: of getting to know what is happening in the lives of your colleagues on a personal level.
(iv) Costume parties: a great equalizer. When you can be anyone you want to be; it somehow gives people more social fluidity.
B. Create an environment of safety and support: Create virtual groups amongst team members to share personal matters and aspects of their lives.
C. Practice vulnerability: Professionally or personally make it a point to tell your team if you are going through a bad patch. Share your pain, your worry, your sufferings, your anxiety. It normalizes leaders, makes them easier to be perceived as more humane. Plus, trying to hide your pain may inadvertently cause you to act in a manner that may end up inflicting more pain on others unknowingly.
D. Positive contagions: Moods go viral in a similar way as the flu. Its called emotional contagion. So spread your energy around visibly.
E. Compete at kindness: Celebrating ‘love week’ for 5 straight days where co-workers spread love and appreciation for each other. A handwritten note, a bouquet of flowers, well brewed cup of coffee. It can be as small or big a gesture as you like. It doesn’t have to be romantically motivated at all. In the new virtual world, one can try to be even more creative.
It’s not enough for you to assume people know that you care, you need to show it.
4. Master unfuckwithability
A favorite word of the author. It means when you are truly at peace and in touch with yourself. Nothing anyone says or does bothers you and no negativity touches you.
A. Start by feeling that you are enough: Stand in front of the mirror, every morning while brushing and tell yourself “I love you”. This is an eye gazing exercise that is considered immensely powerful.
B. Practice self gratitude
C. Two minute appreciation technique: Every morning, ask team members to spend 2 minutes to send a brief email praising or thanking one person at their work place, continually for 21 days. Shawn Achor wrote this technique in his book the “happiness advantage” and also mentioned this in his TED talk on happiness which is also listed as amongst the 25 most popular talks with more than 20 million views online. This 2 minute technique has a reverberating effect. It has been tried in various companies with raging success. One of them was Nationwide Insurance. They went from 650 million dollars to 950 million dollars in a single year with no new hires after making this small change in their company.
The power of spreading positivity, happiness and gratitude can never be under estimated.
In a certain school in U.S.A, bus drivers wrote handwritten ‘thank you notes’ to the kids on the bus. The standardized test scores of the children rose by 22%.
5. Create your life as a unique masterpiece
Have the wisdom to be the artist of your own life. Too many people don’t create lives that feel like original art. Rather they create lives that feel like photocopies of the world around them.
An astute observation by the author is that as human beings we tend to overestimate what we can do in one year and tend to underestimate what we are capable of in 3 years. So visualize your life 3 years ahead and push that limit and dream bigger.
6. Start Co visioning
Co-visioning is when a company or person takes an active interest in an employee’s vision. It means you’re not just focused on the company’s vision, but you also want to support team members in attaining their respective goals, personal and professional.
7. Make growth the ultimate goal
The most important thing that a business schools need to teach is that ‘work is not about your work; rather your work is nothing more than the ultimate vehicle for your personal growth’. If your business fails, it doesn’t matter. The question is, how did you grow? If your business becomes a $1 billion business, it doesn’t matter. The question is, how did you grow ?
The simple formula to reclaim happiness is growth. The only point of life is to grow. Pain can lead to growth. Success can lead to growth. Look at it this way and pain seizes to exist. Growth = success.
Ken Honda, a personal growth writer in Japan, did a survey of some 12,000 millionaires in Japan. He interviewed a guy who had $1 million in the bank. He asked him, do you feel rich? and he said No, because he didn’t yet have $10 million.
Ken then interviewed a guy who had $10 million and he didn’t feel rich because he didn’t yet have a private jet.
He further went on to interview a man with a private jet and he didn’t feel rich either because he only had a six seater.
These people were effectively trying to catch the horizon and as you get closer to the horizon, it moves away. It is an illusion of tying your goal to a specific wealth marker. Growth should be the goal in itself.
8. Choose your mission wisely
A. Identify a massive transformational purpose for your organization that people can relate to.
B. Take a stand for the values by which you are inspired. The state of inspiration is magnetic. Don’t be a bystander of life. Your Stand is your Brand.
C. Delve into whether you are a Humanity plus or a Humanity minus company ?
9. Activate your inner visionary
A. Conceive a vision by disengaging from logic: This helps you escape any constraints that may already be programmed into you.
B. Give the permission to fail: 50% of your goals should have a 50% rate of failure. It allows visionary leaders to experiment and set bold goals.
C. Be audacious but not fluffy: Your goals should be audacious but also actionable. If they are not actionable then you are probably an indefinite optimist that has no idea how to achieve the goals set by you.
10. Operate as one unified brain
A. Break hierarchy: Ideas have the same effect on the brain as happy drugs. When the brain is in a state of inspiration it releases a surge of dopamine and serotonin. Break hierarchy and let the ideas flow freely despite hierarchy.
B. Introduce OODA: Observe Orient Decide Act. Originally, this was a military strategy for pilots. This suggests that you win by moving fast. Over thinking something can actually be a competitive disadvantage. It is to avoid paralysis by analysis and to allow you to make as many decisions as possible in a given time frame. Failing is okay but being slow is not. By moving fast, we learn to orient, adapt and innovate faster than the competition. Act with imperfect knowledge and pivot on the way.
In my view, this technique may not apply to all kinds of businesses but it may be worth pondering over.