October 26, 2010 Edition #43

Revitalizing Senior Citizens

By Zig Ziglar

In an exciting article in U.S. News & World Report, Joannie M. Schrof shares some encouraging information with the Senior Citizens of America.  She cites numerous studies on aging which I find very promising.  She quotes from Harvard psychologist Douglas Powell's book, Profiles in Cognitive Aging.  He says that a quarter to a third of subjects in their eighties performed as well as younger counterparts.  Even the lowest scorers suffered only modest declines.

Research indicates that exercise is the factor that seems most likely to benefit the brainpower of the healthy, sick, young and old alike.  Moderate exercise, such as thirty minutes of walking a day, is very beneficial.  Perhaps the best news is that even if you lose part of your mental capacity you might be able to get it back again.  An old brain retains an astonishing ability to rejuvenate itself.  Stanley Rapoport, Chief of the neuro science lab at the National Institute on Aging, compares the brains of younger and older people engaged in the same efforts with amazing results.  He finds that older brains literally rewire themselves to compensate for losses.  If one neuron isn't up to the job, neighboring brain cells help pick up the slack.

One intriguing study by Harvard's Ellen Langer and Rebecca Levy suggests that cultural norms may be self-fulfilling prophecies.  In China, where age carries no connotation of stupor, the elderly perform much higher on tests than their American counterparts.  In short, your attitude and expectations are determining factors in your capacity as you grow older.  Another exciting plus is that older people consistently outshine younger people on all measures of wisdom, offering more thoughtful, sophisticated advice.

But the best news of all is that there are things you can do to enliven your brain, such as: 1) Be flexible.  2) Find peace.  3) Eat right.  4) Get lots of stimulation.  5) Stay in school.  6) Seek new horizons.  7) Engage the world.  8)  Take a daily walk.  9) Finally, keep control.  So take the active, positive approach and I'll SEE YOU AT THE TOP! 

Zig Ziglar is known as America’s motivator.  He is the author of 29 books and numerous audio and video recordings.  He brings his message of hope to thousands on the stages at the Get Motivated Seminars.  See him in action!

Quote

If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.       ~Zig Ziglar

What We Can Learn About Leadership from the Chilean Miners

By Scott Elbin

Some days it seems like you have to look long and hard to find examples of inspirational leadership lessons in the news. Today is not one of those days. If you haven’t already done so, you must read the front page article by Alexei Barrionuevo  in the New York Times on how the 33 Chilean miners trapped in the copper mine organized themselves to survive. In an era where lots of people claim to be leaders but don’t deliver, here is a whole group of leaders doing what needs to be done to facilitate their own rescue. 

You’ve probably heard the story by now, but, in case you haven’t, here’s the quick recap. The miners were trapped in a collapse a few montsh ago. They were presumed dead for 17 days until rescue crews on the surface pulled back a drilling tube to find a plastic bag with a note in it that said, “We are fine in the refuge, the 33.”  Since then, rescuers have been able to send necessities and communicate with the miners through a very small shaft running into the half mile deep space. The miners know that it will be between two and four months before they can be dug out.

What they’ve done for themselves since the collapse has been both simple and astounding.  Simple because it makes so much sense.  Astounding because of the grace and discipline they’ve shown under pressure. Through multiple acts of leadership they have organized themselves to take care of their bodies, minds and spirits. The way they’ve done it is instructive and humbling for all of us leading in much less challenging situations.

Here’s some of what we can learn from the miners:

Leaders share the role:  You might assume that the miners’ shift supervisor would take over the sole leadership role. Yes, Luis Urzua organized work assignments for the crew, assisted with the plan to get out of the mine and ensured that no one eat a meal until everyone’s food had been sent down the shaft. He did not, however, take on every leadership responsibility for himself.  The oldest miner on the crew, Mario Gomez, took the leadership role of attending to the spiritual and mental health of the men. He consulted with psychologists on the surface to monitor the psychic health of his comrades.  Yonny Barrios took the lead on ensuring the physical health of the crew by drawing on six months of nursing training he took 15 years ago. Barrios administered tests and health screenings to his friends on behalf of the doctors monitoring the situation above ground. What a beautiful and impressive example these men are of leaders who share the work of leadership.

Leaders leverage their gifts:  Each of these three miners along with others on the crew were drawing on the gifts of their life experience and interests to ensure the well-being of the unit. Someone I respect recently pointed out to me that you know you’re in the right leadership role when your heart and body and not just your head tell you it’s the right way for you to contribute. That’s more likely to happen when you’re leveraging your gifts. My guess is that Urzua, Gomez and Barrios felt that kind of alignment with the leadership roles they assumed.

Leaders keep the whole person in mind:  Every organization has a bottom line. In the case of a mine rescue, the bottom line is getting the miners out alive. It’s one thing, though, to bring the men out in relatively good physical health. It’s another to bring them out with their mental, spiritual and emotional health intact. How fortunate they are to be led by men who recognize those needs and have organized everyone to consistently attend to them. What difference would it make to the health of our organizations and the people in them if every leader approached their work with such attention and care to the whole person? It’s pretty breathtaking to consider, isn’t it?

What’s inspired you about the Chilean miners, their families and the people who worked to rescue them?  What other leadership lessons can we learn from these brave and resourceful souls? 

With more than 20 years’ experience as a business leader, executive coach and author, Scott Elbin shares what insiders know about success at the next level.  Find out more or buy his latest book now!
 

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Word of the Week

Hypnagogic
Adjective
“hip-nuh-GOJ-ik; -GOH-jik”
1.  Of, pertaining to, or occurring in the state of drowsiness preceding sleep.
Listening to his never ending complaints put me in a hypnagogic state.

Zingers

By Croft M. Pentz

So live that when people get to know you, they will want to know Christ.
 
We cannot all be apostles; but we can all be living epistles.
 
Where we go and what we do advertises what we are.
 
You cannot become a saint by comparing yourself with a sinner.
 
Blessed are they who attend strictly to their own business.

Republished with permission by Tyndale House Publishing

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