Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Confident Future - New Possibilities

Well this past weekend, snow notwithstanding, we had our second ITS 25th anniversary Celebration Day and I was really struck with how celebration is also about moving forward in time and celebrating possibilities for the future. One of the themes of the day was very much about confidence and how important it is to understand what kind is needed, where and when, and how there are different kinds. I’m particularly struck by this because later next month I’m going to be talking to about 400 independent financial advisors who have a one day conference put on by MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table) which is an organisation specifically for financial advisors. 

The theme of the day is ‘A Confident Future’ and in the present economic circumstances it is a particularly interesting theme because it is of course rather important to know how to boost confidence, whether it is your own, or indeed clients’ confidence in you. Arguably it is one of the most important business skills you will ever develop and the interesting thing is that by using some of the more recent discoveries in the neurosciences, harnessing those with some of the techniques developed with NLP it is perfectly possible to say that whether you want to boost your own confidence or clients’ confidence in you this is now a learnable skill there is no two ways about it. But actually that wouldn’t be enough because if you want to enjoy a confident future you will also need to know what to do when things don’t quite go the way you'd imagined and this is a time when people experience a loss of confidence or even a crisis of confidence. So I think in a funny sort of way the real test of confidence is when it is in some way challenged.

Nobody is just confident all the time. Part of the art of being able to have that resilience, that capacity to bounce back is recognising how important innovation is to being able to be confident about the future; your own and others. This shows up in a mind-set, it is not just about trying very hard but it is a way of thinking. Again, it is learnable. 

Here is an example, there are so many I use when I am talking but here is one: Pretty much everyone I know uses a microwave and you take it for granted but a microwave has a very curious history. It actually came out of the Second World War not by design at all, it was the direct result of one man having an understanding of possibilities. Specifically what happened was there was a man called Percy LeBaron Spencer and he was involved in designing combat radar equipment. At the time, the heart of radar equipment was a magnetron which was a huge piece of equipment, very precision made and consequently very few were made in any given working day which was a bit of a problem for the allies. For instance, in 1941 the production line was about 17 a day and by the end of that year the US had entered the war and a different way of doing it had developed so it went up to 100 a day but that is still very little. By 1945 they had figured out a way of generating 2800 of these a day. While all of that is going on at the same time in 1945, Spencer just happens to be standing in front of one of these operating magnetrons and he has got a bar of chocolate in his pocket and blow me down he finds that it has melted. For a lot of people that would just be a source of aggravation, but of course what happened for him was he became curious and begin to think about possibilities. He went to get a bag of popcorn, puts is close to magnetron and low and behold a few moments later it begins popping. He then goes to get a pale of water, an egg and starts boiling this egg which dually explodes and splats itself all over one of his colleagues. So then he realises this huge potential here and he focuses on how this could be used for cooking. No one had thought of this. The first microwave ovens based on this principle were six feet tall weighing 350 kilograms, so huge they had to be cooled with water and it was not until 1955 that the first domestic microwaves pop up.

But you see there is a mind-set, a way of thinking. It is innovative, it is confident and it creates new  possibilities and that is so much of what we need. That is partly what I’ll be doing with these independent financial advisors but it is also what we’re going to be doing with ITS throughout this coming year. New possibilities, I’ll tell you more soon.

Also listen to Ian's blog here:

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

New Year…Some Truly New Possibilities!

Here we are at the start of a new year. Already half way through January. How are those new year’s resolutions by the way? It is around this time that many of them seem to evaporate or don’t quite happen in the way that you imagined. I hope that yours are still with you  because I know that for most people when they make them they are real aspirations, they are things that would make a big difference if you can make them happen. If you’re wanting some assistance to be able to achieve this then this Sunday is a special time for me because it will be a time of real celebration as we start the second 25th anniversary celebration day for ITS and one of the things we will be doing is looking at what neuroscience can do to help us make resolutions that actually work. Gosh, what a concept. I think I said in the last update, that this was the year of neuroscience and it most certainly is because I am delighted to say that we now have got  to a point where Professor Patricia Riddell and myself have been able to draw together the many strands that comprise the field of research that is neuroscience and apply it to ways of working that are going to be useful to people in ordinary everyday life. We have a certificate in Applied Neuroscience which will be happening later in the year, but before that just a happy day together with people, some of whom I have not seen for years and I gather loads of people are coming this Sunday.

We are actually going to kick off with what I think is one of the most important topics in pretty much anybody’s life, namely confidence and how to have it and experience it. I had not really appreciated how important it was until I wrote the book on it and it became a really fundamental insight for me as it is so pervasive to be able to have confidence. I have just recently been asked by MDRT (Million Dollar Round table) which is an organisation for financial advisors if I would speak in their very prestigious  London conference in February  called ‘A Confident Future’. I shall be talking about the business of confidence because I think it is so important for each of us in our own personal lives but also in our business lives. That will, therefore, be part of what I want to share by way of a thank you during the celebration day. I have some very particular tools I want to offer people because I think confidence is something people really don’t understand, they often think they want a lot of it or more of it but in fact we are already confident in some areas and not in others. Understanding the difference and how we can build on what we’ve got and supplement where it’s needed is a skill and it is easy to learn.

I also want to start the year, not just focusing on neuroscience but also discussing how can people build their own dreams which is why I shall be working with Adrian Baker who has much experience in working with people to help bring things into being, be they full-scale businesses or aspirations that could potentially change people’s lives. They may involve generating revenue, they may not but together we’ve been speaking about this for years and we are now ready to roll with it so I see this as an excellent opportunity to make new dreams possible. It is absolutely independent of whatever the economic circumstances of the larger nation’s state may be and we’ve done this in different ways at different times. So all in all I’m really looking forward to a day of celebrating by giving new things to whoever chooses to be there and there will be lots of people from very varied backgrounds.

If you’re interested in how to have those resolutions come to fruition and be part of your life in an on-going way then I shall I be delighted to tell you the basics of success and we will also have a look at the neuroscience that supports it and gives a new understanding for how some things work much better than others. That is all to come, but in the meantime the year is well under-way, it seems to be racing along already and I trust that yours will be a fulfilling and rewarding one in which you will not just be successful but also enjoy the experience of being happy. I look forward to assisting you in that should you be interested. 

Also listen to Ian's blog here:

What I did on my Holidays

On my travels I’ve certainly seen some different parts of the world and this past Christmas, Paulette and I were in a place that neither of us had ever spent a festive season in before. If I was to tell you that in that particular part of the world you can walk down the street cast your eye to one side and see a very non-descript parking lot with a sign affixed to a broken down brick wall which says ‘parking lot available for film hire’ with a phone contact number, I guess you could probably figure out what part of the world we were in. Yes, only in LA.

We had a good time and we happened to be there at a rather interesting time because the end of the world was supposed to be happening  according to some people given the complete
misunderstanding of the Mayan calendar which a number of people had
decided to take upon themselves. On the particular day in question we were actually at the Griffiths Observatory which is a wonderful observatory that also has a newly re-conditioned beautiful planetarium. When you walk in the observatory main doors there was a great big design above the doors about the Mayan calendar saying that the end of the world was not happening and that the show inside the planetarium consisted initially of the apparent end of the world. Somebody then says ‘Stop, hold it all!’ and walks down and begins to say ‘no it isn’t ending’. It was a splendid show and we got down to some real science. By the way, the thing about the Mayan calendar, which I find so fascinating, is that it is very striking to me how people often are of an apocalyptic disposition and have a very linear mind set in that it is always going to be a complete end. There is no conception of a cyclical process because of course the Mayan calendar is just going through a process of ratcheting up numbers to come to the end of a cycle; very much as a milometer does on a clock where it gets to 999 and then goes to 000 which of course does not mean the car no longer exists.

I had a very pleasant opportunity while I was there to kick back with Albert Einstein, unfortunately he was only there in brass form but nevertheless a memorable meeting. We then went on to a very extraordinary part of the world, the La Brea tar pits which are quite remarkable. They are pits which are in the land close to the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art and they have an amazing number of animal specimens, about three and a half million in fact at the last count and there are far more than that now. They are the result of fossil fuels that have become liquefied and bubbled up because of the extraordinary environment that is part of the fault in LA, faults that are in the earth. They were absolute death traps for animals who got stuck in them rather like you would in tar and have produced amazing fossil remains that go back 10 to 30 thousand years. You can actually see the excavation taking place, all of this with traffic going by on the highway nearby. So, a very interesting experience and they also have some animals that you can be photographed with if you wish.
A different kind of Christmas which was absolutely in order. I recommend it , getting away and being somewhere different in another world. We had a great time but I am now back and looking forward to a different kind of year as we are moving in to new opportunities. We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of ITS by preparing for new ventures some of which we will be talking about very soon on the celebration day. You will hear about them I’m sure, if you’re interested, because the world of neuroscience beckons making it something approachable, useable and understandable in a practical way. That’s where we’re going next, tell you all about that soon. Until the next time. 

You can also listen to Ians Blog here: