Languishing is a ‘thing’, and so is positive mindset
This month has been huge for us at the Juno Institute. A truly remarkable milestone in our evolution as an organisation was reached when we launched our first Global Adaptive Leaders Program. The Program includes participants from India and Singapore. We have other Adaptive Programs in flight, we’ve had Graduations, and we also ran a Strengths in Action Workshop too. However, I have been languishing.
Tells us that languishing is definitely a ‘thing’. Languishing sits in the space between flourishing and depression. Languishing rarely requires a clinical type intervention, but it’s quite a common human condition, left unchecked it might progress in the wrong direction.
Husband, Father, Leader, Manager, Coach, Business Director, lots in there for me to be thankful for in my life. Pandemic, Melbourne, 2020, 2021, 250 plus days of lockdown, and 6 lockdowns in total. It’s been tough, really tough. I know I am not alone in saying that. I know I am not sitting alone in the languishing space either.
When I look back at the past 20 months, each of them has been by and large okay. In total though it’s been an absolute grind, well worthy of the label ground-hog-day. When I realised way back that the Global Pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon, survival became my main goal. Juno simply had to survive the pandemic. And we have survived.
Deliberate positive mindset practice…
Has helped me wrestle the languishing demon of late. Some of the key principles of positive mindset practice include:
Finding your routine: establishing personal purpose and observing daily / weekly routine in times of challenge.
Deliberate mindfulness: connecting to a peaceful space and place through simple breath and meditation exercises.
Lifestyle and diet: looking intently at daily choices, and noticing the big impact that small changes can make.
In response to…
What our corporate clients and community partners are telling us, we have developed a short series of modules on positive mindset practice. Designed as a non-clinical intervention to tackle languishing, aimed to help challenge the internal narrative, embrace hope, ‘lift up’, reset and focus. The modules have the classic Juno Institute hallmarks of simple, practical and immediately useful, and draw on our extensive program design expertise.
For me personally, facing my state of overwhelm is a work-in-progress, but I am absolutely excited about closing out 2021 strongly and resetting for an amazing 2022.
– Paul Lacey, Director
Let’s talk about HOPE
Inspired by Paul’s mention of embracing hope in his Jotting this month, I parked my intended Muse, and figured I’d focus on HOPE.
I may have mentioned in a previous Muse the quote I use quite regularly, that I lifted from Manfred Kets de Vries (Professor of Leadership and Organisational Change at INSEAD), that ‘leaders are merchants of hope’. A piece of trivia for you, Napoleon Bonaparte is attributed with what I think must have been the inspo for Kets de Vries, ‘leaders are dealers in hope’.
Merchant or Dealer, no matter in my view. Hope is Hope, and it’s squarely the terrain of the Leader. That said, how often do we blurt out a quote without pausing to really think about it though?
What is HOPE?
There’s HOPE the noun ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen’. There’s HOPE the verb ‘want something to happen or be the case’. There’s HOPE the uncountable noun. (What’s an uncountable noun you ask? Substances or concepts that we cannot count or divide into separate elements). We cannot count HOPE ‘a feeling of desire and expectation that things will go well in the future’.
HOPE = A feeling of desire and expectation that things will go well in the future
My work on Character Strengths at Juno is based on Seligman and Peterson Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification (2004). HOPE is one of the 24 ubiquitous Character Strengths identified by the authors. HOPE along with humour, gratitude, spirituality and appreciation of beauty and excellence are the path to the virtue of Transcendence. HOPE in the Seligman and Peterson construct has the essential elements of optimism and future focus.
What does it mean to be a merchant of HOPE or a dealer in HOPE?
Beyond the scope of this Muse to explore the answer to the question fully, but for me Seligman and Peterson (p 570) help to light the way:
“Hope optimism, future mindedness, and future orientation represent a cognitive emotional and motivational stance toward the future. Thinking about the future, expecting that desired events and outcomes will occur, acting in ways believed to make them more likely, and feeling confident that these will ensue given that appropriate efforts sustain good cheer in the here and now and galvanise goal-directed actions.”
So the next time I belt out that ‘leaders are merchants of HOPE’ the real message is that it is on me, you, we, us as Leaders to instill feelings of expectation that things will go well in the future, to be confident, to set goals, and to act in ways that bring about the desired and imagined future state.
I HOPE I am up to the challenge.
– Peter Godfrey ‘PG’
In curating content for the Juno Journal I know that your time is precious and I know that the information superhighway is awash with content, and just a little hyper-reality. Selective and minimalist is the goal, aiming for stuff that is fresh (or refreshed), provokes a thought, causes you to pause and ponder, is interesting, and I’ll add something-completely-different now and again.
FLOW FLOW FLOW FLOW FLOW
I thought it appropriate this month to dedicate our Curated Content section of the Juno Journal to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who passed away on 20 October 2021 aged 87.
Csikszentmihalyi was a Hungarian-American psychologist, scholar and teacher. He recognised and named the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity.
It’s been written that Csikszentmihalyi was deeply affected by the Second World War. Stripped from his family and friends as a child, put in an Italian prison where he had his first idea of working with flow and optimal experience. He had an affinity for painting, noting that the act of creating was sometimes more important than the finished work itself. This led to his fascination with what he called the flow state, and he made it his life’s work to scientifically identify the different methods through which one could achieve such a state.
I am certain many of you reading here will have used the term Flow in your life and work. Similarly I am confident that you know intuitively when you are in Flow, and when you are not in Flow. Something about Skills and Challenges being in alignment, where the activity feels effortless.
Csikszentmihalyi describes eight characteristics of flow:
- Complete concentration on the task;
- Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback;
- Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down);
- The experience is intrinsically rewarding;
- Effortlessness and ease;
- There is a balance between challenge and skills;
- Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination;
- There is a feeling of control over the task.
So, just the one link this month on Flow. It will take you to an article. There’s two videos embedded in the article including a TED TALK by the man himself: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1934 – 2021. Vale).
Watch them here
Random (or perhaps not so random) ‘Quote’ of the Month
Definitely not random this month. Wisdom from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi…
“A joyful life is an individual creation that cannot be copied from a recipe.”
“…It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.”
Here’s to achieving and maintaining effortless spontaneous ‘Flow’.
Speaking of all things Flow, here’s a snap of a bunch of Adaptive Leaders Program Graduates from Racing Queensland. A blistering success of a Program conducted virtually across two state borders.
Thank you for reading Juno Institute’s Journal