Six key takeouts from Wisdom 2.0 conference

We’ve never lived in a busier or more connected time.  It’s easy to think that the key to thriving is to do more, but the answer lies in acting and thinking smarter.  Advances in neuroscience are now proving that many traditional “wisdom” practices are indeed effective in living a more purposeful, balanced and successful personal and work life.

The Wisdom 2.0 event, founded by author Soren Gordhamer in 2010, explores the place of these traditional practices in our modern age. Attendees are always a unique mix of founders from the likes of LinkedIn, eBay and Paypal, execs from Google and Facebook, and experts in happiness, mindfulness and meditation, including a handful of curious Kiwis hoping to learn how to Downward Dog alongside Mark Zuckerberg!

Here’s our key takeouts: 

  1. Leadership by joining in
    Jef Weiner @jeffweiner and Fred Kofman, LinkedIn

Leadership is inspiring others to follow you to achieve shared objectives. Clarify your vision (which mountain to climb), find your courage to overcome adversity, and then effectively communicate this vision. Fred shared his analogy for Jeff’s leadership: “It isn’t Jeff rowing a boat and getting everyone rowing in the same direction, but catching a huge maverick wave on a surfboard and inspiring others to want to do the same.“ Once you’ve got vision, courage and resilience sorted, just choose the right objective and surround yourself with the best talent.

  1. Fear of missing out (FOMO) drives success
    Julia Hartz, Eventbrite @juliahartz

One in two people experience FOMO (fear of missing out) and this is driving spending around experiences and live events. Take Coachella Music Festival, for instance: When they decided to livestream this famous event, there were no shortage of detractors telling them their idea was business suicide and a license to lose money.  They did it anyway, and FOMO led to an explosion in their ticket sales.  Lets face it, there’s nothing surer to bring on FOMO than watching from your sofa the fun had by people like you. How can you utilise FOMO to drive success?

  1. Achieving more by doing less
    Christine Carter, Happiness Expert @raisinghappiness

Our brains are not computers designed to run multiple apps. The myth of multitasking is well and truly dead and buried – instead of multitasking our brains simply switch attention rapidly from one thing to another.  This creates less productivity.

Become more productive by single tasking:

  • Allow yourself to focus on one thing at a time. This avoids cognitive overload that hinders productivity, emotional regulation and decision making.
  • Find the minimum effective dose. For example, how little time can you spend on your email and still be effective; or on social media and still be connected?
  • Our brains benefit when we daydream. This allows us to access creative insight, which helps us make those big breakthroughs – anyone who has their best ideas in the shower instinctively knows this!

As Socrates said “beware the banality of a busy life”.

  1. Food for thought
    Byron Katie, Author

We are who we are because of our thoughts – these dictate our actions, our decisions, our beliefs.  Some of our thoughts are working for us, and lets face it, some of them simply are not.  The work of Byron Katie is a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause our unhappiness. She believes taking your “wild child” thoughts and putting them on the paper allows you to hold them still long enough so you can undo them. Katie advocates getting very still and looking for the barely there thoughts – like the princess and the pea, you know something is there, it may be tiny, but there is something there. Once you have your thoughts written down comes the real work, by asking the four questions below you can start to shift your beliefs and therefore the way you experience the world.

  1. Is your thought true? (No move to Q3)
  2. Are you sure? (Yes or No)
  3. How do you react? (What happens when you believe that thought?)
  4. What would you feel without that thought?
  1. Success follows passion
    Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York

Most of us have many voices in our ear telling us what we should do, and lets face it, living a conventional life is often the path of least resistance.  What Brandon and others attest to however is the success and satisfaction that is available to those who are prepared to follow their passion.  For Brandon this was a commitment to photography – simply for the joy of it – that has subsequently led to the wildly successful Humans of New York.  There is a choice available to each of us – to watch from the sidelines in envy at those who follow their passion in life; or take the first steps towards doing this ourselves.  What small decision can you take today to move you closer to your desired life?

  1. It’s all about people
    Simon D’Arcy, NextLevel Culture, 

An organisation’s success depends on its people.  And how those people behave at work depends on the organisational culture – or simply put ‘how we do things around here’.  Influence the culture and therefore the organisation’s success by following these six steps.

  1. Reveal what your default culture is and what it’s costing.
  2. Design a Culture Code that’s values-based, behaviourally-explicit and an expression of your highest possibilities.
  3. Activate a shared context of “culture as a daily practice”. Provide training for common language and behaviours.
  4. Embed your Culture Code through the organisation
  5. Amplify by finding the people already demonstrating the code and encourage and amplify their efforts.
  6. Iterate by tracking leading and lagging indicators to measure progress and continuously improve.

Life is busy and multifaceted, but success and happiness often lie in utilising the quiet moments – when we can take some time for daydreaming, to identify our passion, to extend our view from the detail to the vision.  Why not challenge yourself today to take something that resonates with you and think on it.  It could be the start of something beautiful.

Some of the full talks can still be viewed online And who knows, maybe we’ll see you in that yoga class next year? 

Mel Rowsell is Head of growing leadership & culture at Vend. She blogs at @melrowsell
Kath Knight is founder of Geyser, a B-2-E (employee) communication

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