Home OFFICIAL PARTNER COLUMNISTS TheGivingMachine: Wise Words

TheGivingMachine: Wise Words

Richard Morris – CEO & Founder TheGivingMachine

When you think about it, it is truly amazing that we can look at a collection of lines and squiggles on a piece of paper and they can be decoded by our brains into wisdom that can transform the way we see and interact with the world. This everyday phenomenon is a true wonder but like many amazing things, we just accept it as the norm. I thought that I would share some of the transformation writings I have experienced and would love to hear from others, the works that they would recommend and why.

1. First Things First by Stephen Covey

I forget why I picked up this book but I do remember that in my job I was not having a great time, was not performing that well and was working for my least favourite manager. I projected this problem onto my manager and the poor relationship I had with him but reading this book gave me a complete slap around the face.

It was where I first came across this quote: ‘Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.’ Viktor Frankl.

My behaviour was my choice and I could choose differently.

This book gave me a technique to apply that I still use today, some 25 years later, to be the ‘driver’ in my life rather than just a passenger. I still buy this book in batches to give to others as gifts if they are going through challenging times.

As for its impact on me, I changed my behaviour and life philosophy with the result that my career took a major positive change from that point for the better.  I look back on my manager at that time and am honestly grateful for the team leadership lessons I learned at that time. Sometimes you learn the most through adversity.

2. The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters

While I have read many books of course over the intervening years, I picked this one up a couple of years ago. It’s a great read and really funny when you see yourself as a part chimp and part human. Understanding that your primitive chimp brain is typically faster than your human brain along with the implications of that are profound in both personal and business environments.

Taking that bit of extra time, as I’ve already mentioned above, to choose your response is so important.  This book helped me understand my inner chimp and to laugh at myself at the same time. It also helps make sure that you see other people in the same light – are you talking to their chimp or their human?

In our world of instant communication and reaction to that communication, I am convinced that what we see is the loud screeching of chimps all communicating together and getting outraged with each other. When we see headlines that we class as clickbait – we should probably class them as ‘chimpbait’ as that is what they really are.

3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

I’ve had an interest in how our brains work for some time and I found this book a great read. Understanding how our brains typically learn habits and store them was a great follow-on to the Chimp Paradox I mentioned above. Typically habits are stored and run from the chimp brain while our human brain looks for repetitive activities to store as habits to conserve energy.

Being able to look at the habits we have and the habits we would like to develop objectively is also another great opportunity to learn more about how and why we do the things we do and how we can change them.

This has also helped our charity look at how best to look at what we do as helping our users to develop a lifestyle habit of giving and how can we improve the development and reinforcement of that habit.

I would add more books such as Black Box Thinking, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Who Moved My Cheese along with many others but there isn’t space here. We are amazing beings who can become self-aware of what we do, why we do what we do and the impact that has on us and the world around us. We can, therefore, choose and directly influence the reality we live in and make the world a better place for ourselves and others at the same time.

So what books were transformational for you and why?

Richard Morris – CEO & Founder TheGivingMachine