Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.
Just the act of jotting something down is an act of discipline that affects how we think about our actions, and bolsters our resolve to modify our own behavior.
You’ve got to be audacious enough to set goals that make you stretch and give you clarity of vision and purpose. But you have to have the humility to know that this work is hard, and that you might not get there. If you start off talking about all the reasons that you’re not going to get there, you’re not going to get there. And so it’s holding that balance of not being reckless, but also having a huge element of fearlessness.
Take some small step today, and value each step you take. You never know which step will make a difference. This is much better than not trying to do anything.
Dr. Tamar E. Chansky, in Jane E. Brody’s NYT’s Well Blog post, When Daily Stress Gets in the Way of Life.
Dr. Chansky suggests taking a small step and acknowledging it as an effective way to deal with paralyzing anxiety.
“If you’re worrying about your work all the time, you won’t get your work done,” she explains. And don’t forget, every small step is itself powerfully motivating!
Happy Friday! Catch up with the best of what we’ve shared on the interwebs this week!
We wrote about Peter Thiel’s unorthodox management philosophy of extreme focus.
How important company culture is to Zappos.
Using better “behavior design” to motivate, because why we are all basically still four years old.
Happiness is like a butterfly.
What’s the secret to happiness at work? Recent studies show that it’s not how much money you make, but how much progress.
We’ve written before about the progress principle, an idea developed by Harvard Business School Professor Teresa Amabile and psychologist Steven Kramer, who found that the greatest indicator of happiness and motivation at work is incremental progress toward a meaningful goal.
Meaningful goals can be anything from the team’s stated objective, to a personal goal. It can be tangible and specific, like tackling the bugs in a program, or more general, like ensuring customer happiness.
We were curious about the progress principle in action, but meaningful goals are so personal and variable that we didn’t know where to begin. So we approached startups that served a social good. For these companies, their meaningful goal was collective, explicit and already built into the job description.
We asked each of these startup founders:
Your startup works towards a meaningful social good every day.
How does your goal motivate your team’s hard work and happiness daily?
Here are their responses:
“First, do no harm”—it’s a fundamental principle of medical ethics and constant reminder to every medical professional that intervention carries risks just as inaction does. In Latin, it’s Primum non nocere:
Another way to state it is that, “given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good”. It reminds the physician and other health care providers that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.
It’s something that’s easy to forget for doctors, because they view themselves as healers and they’re capable of tremendous good. But it’s an absolutely vital to check the behavioral tendency that Abraham Kaplan called the law of the instrument: “Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.” What’s important is the health of the patient, not the dilemma between intervention and inaction.
In The Progress Principle, Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile and psychologist Steven Kramer discovered a surprising fact about what motivates people at work that every manager should know. The most powerful positive motivator for people at work is making progress in meaningful work, but it pales in comparison with the negative impact of hitting dead ends and encountering setbacks which has the greatest effect on motivation.
Professor Amabile and Kramer analyzed the language used in nearly 12,000 employee diary entries for accounts of progress and setbacks, and they compared appearances of those events to self-reported emotional levels of happiness and frustration, and what they found was alarming. Setbacks were greater than three times as powerful in increasing frustration than the power of progress to diminish it.