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Tal Ben-Shahar - Positive Leadership

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What is antifragility? Tal Ben-Shahar, Global thought leader on Positive Psychology and Leadership An antifragile system is essentially a resilient system taken to the next level. It's what I've come to call resilience 2.0. What does this actually mean? So what is resilience? Well, resiliency is a term that comes from engineering. You have a certain material and you put pressure on it, you put stress on it, if it's resilient, it goes back to its original form, unaffected by the stress, by the pressure. You have a ball, you drop it and it bounces back up to where it was before. That's why we talk about bouncing back as a metaphor for resilience. Antifragility, antifragile systems, take this to the next level. And instead of simply being unaffected by stress, by pressure, they are positively affected by it. What we're going through as a society now... This pandemic, is a global trauma for most people. And we're at a crossroad where one road takes us towards disintegration at best, a status quo, at best, the other road takes us towards growth, towards development. And in order to increase their likelihood that we will develop that we will grow as a result of this pandemic or any other stress or difficulty or hardship that we go through organizationally, personally, interpersonally... We need to know that it's possible to grow from hardship A and B, we need to know what conditions we need to put in place. The first condition that I would like to talk about is what I've come to call the permission to be human. There are only two kinds of people who don't experience painful emotions such as sadness, anxiety... Frustration, envy, anger. Two kinds of people who don't experience painful emotions. The first kind of people who don't experience painful emotions are the psychopaths. Second kind of people who don't experience painful emotions are dead. So if you experience painful emotions at times, it's a good sign. It means you're not a psychopath and you're alive. Good place to start, we can build on that. The problem in today's culture, though, is that we do not give ourselves that permission to experience painful emotions. We reject painful emotions. Why? A lot of it is because of social media. You know, what do we see on social media? We see people having an amazing time even during these times where they're on vacation, or even if they are in quarantine, or lockdown with their families, they are learning how to cook and having, you know, getting closer to their family, everyone's doing great except for me. Now I don't want to be the only one to appear like I'm not doing great. So I also put similar posts on my social media contributing to the great deception that is largely responsible for the great depression. Depression levels, anxiety levels, skyrocketed even before the pandemic. They were at an all-time high at least since we started measuring those things. Today, they're even higher. One of the reasons is because we do not give ourselves the permission to be human because we reject painful emotions rather than embrace them. Let me share with you some of the research that my colleagues and I have done over the past 20 years around stress. The first thing that we found, and to my mind the most important thing that we discovered, was that actually, we have been looking in the wrong place. But actually, stress is not the problem that actually potentially stress is good for us. The problem in today's world is not the rising levels of stress. It's the diminishing rate of recovery. We're good at dealing with stress. We've always been good at dealing with stress. Only, you know, 5,000 years ago, the stress was from a lion chasing us, you know, 50 years ago, it was, you know, work stress. The difference, though... Is that 5,000 years ago, we had recovery... Whether it was around the fire or in our homes because it was dark outside, today we have light. We can work for as long as we want. More recently, we got the gadgets that allow us to be on 24/7... I.e., no recovery or not enough recovery in the modern world, and what healthy, happy, and successful people do. People who are antifragile at home, at work, personally, professionally, they experience stress just like we all do. That's part of being alive. Certainly part of being a manager's life. What they do differently is that they punctuate their crazy, busy lives with periods of recovery. And through that they energize, they grow stronger, they become antifragile or rather they realize their inherent potential for antifragility. Let me share with you some levels of recovery. The first level is the micro level of recovery, that is about taking, yeah, a 15-minute break every 90 minutes or 2 hours. That 15-minute break can be walking around, the 15-minute break can be meditation, having a cup of coffee with someone on your own, going to the gym. That's a great form of recovery from mental stress. Let me move on to mid-level recovery. There's a lot of research on the importance of sleep. The importance of sleep for psychological well-being, the importance of sleep or overall mood for creativity, productivity, for relationships, for teamwork. Sleep is a good investment. Now research coming out of Stanford, of UC, Berkeley, of the University of California, Riverside, Davis. You know, for some reason, all the research on sleep, much of it comes out of California. I don't know why, maybe it's a coincidence, but important research, good research. Now if you go to bed and you don't fall asleep, don't worry about it. Don't use that as another form of stress, just write down, open a book. Not your phone, a book. A phone will just drive sleep away. And when you fall asleep, you fall asleep or taking a day off. You know, even God needed a day off. I think there is an important message here for us mere mortals. And in fact, God turned out to be correct on this matter, and I guess many other matters too. Why? Because there's research showing that people who take a day off, at least a day off, the week are actually more productive, more creative, more successful than people who do not all other things being equal. And finally, macro level recovery. J.P. Morgan, Father of North American investment banking, once said, "I can do the work of a year in 9 months, but not in 12." I can do the work of a year in 9 months, but not in 12. Now most of us don't have the luxury of taking, you know, three months vacation, but even a week off here and there can go a long way in providing the recovery that we need and interning our system into an antifragile system. In other words, helping us grow as a result of the stress. So stress from being a silent killer when we have no recovery, it really is, to actually an intervention that prolongs life, that helps us be stronger, happier, better of antifragile. I want to move on now to the next topic... Relationships. It turns out that relationships reigns supreme in the research on post-traumatic growth, in the research on antifragility. Number one predictor of physical health across the lifespan... Relationships. Once again, it didn't matter what kind of relationships as long as they were real, authentic, intimate, supportive relationships. It could be with a best friend, it could be with a partner, it could be with colleagues, it could be with, you know, 100 people who make up your family or two people who do that. Number one predictor of happiness, number one predictor of health.

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Duration: 10 minutes and 1 second
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Posted by: wobi on May 5, 2021

Tal Ben-Shahar - Positive Leadership

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