As I wrap up this eventful 2016, like every year, I make notes of all the great, positive people I have met and worked with, and of all the new learnings that I was able to take away from the past 12 months. Last May, as part of a work collaboration, I attended the annual Brainforum event in Lausanne, an outstanding conference where world leaders in science, technology, healthcare and business come together and discuss how to advance our understanding of how the brain works. I have written about my experience “in the sonic womb", shortly after the event, and today I will share another empowering meeting I had on that day.
One of the most outstanding speakers I met and listened to that day was Dr. Aki Hintsa, his speech was about ‘rethinking success’: how can you achieve optimal performance and productivity through better health and wellbeing? Dr. Hintsa was the creator of the “Logical Framework Approach of Human High Performance” philosophy, and has used this concept to help many Olympic athletes, top-level racing drivers and business executives around the world in their journeys.
The philosophy is based on a holistic and proactive approach, which integrates six key elements of health and well-being. These are physical activity, nutrition, sleep & recovery, biomechanics, mental energy, and general health. The foundation for our actions in each of these elements is rooted in our Core, which is Dr. Hintsa’s term for our individual self. The Core is explored through understanding the basis for our identity, discovering purpose and meaning in life, and taking control and responsibility of daily choices.
Achieving better health and performance is based on improving our status in each of the six elements. Living a better life however, requires us to rethink success and evaluate our goals in light of who we are and what is important for us.
Everything I learnt on that day has touched me profoundly. How can I re-set my “core” (my identity, purpose and control) and my goals to be able to have more energy for myself, my children, my family and my work, achieving better productivity and performance? The concepts I learnt have kept me thinking all these months and now, what better time than the end of the year to rethink and re-calibrate our lives?
“This is the time of the year when the constant flow of emails, messages and notifications is slowing down, and stopping. That time when people stop working and start focusing on others. The feeling of generosity and love is taking over, and we are able to be present. There is room for reflection and change. This is the perfect time to re-calibrate your life.
I am writing this blog on a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning. There’s no wind, the water in the bay has frozen, and there are wonderful ice artifacts shaped by nature in our pergola windows. I’m with my wife Sari, and our Labrador Jade, and we are listening to the Mary J. Blige Christmas album. It’s all so beautiful, but how often do I note this kind of beauty during a normal day?
Our lives are very busy nowadays. Constant news from the worldwide economic and political insecurity to jobs being replaced by robots raise worries in our mind. It is difficult to keep in control and stay positive. Yet it is crucial, because the human brain works best when it is in a state of hope.
Considering core motivation
For some reason it is difficult for us to stop, reflect and change proactively. It seems that we need to experience a serious difficulty in our life before we truly stop, and reflect where we are heading and whether that is what we really want and need.
Three areas of focus
Fundamentally it seems that we have three areas in our life we need to focus on:
1. Focus on yourself, but not in an egoistic and selfish way
Self-awareness and self-management should be the foundation of our life. Clarity of self and positive self-esteem will lead us to the right path, and will generate intrinsic motivation and perseverance to keep us on that path. Self-management is the skill of translating our positive vision of our life to real actions and impact.
2. Focus on your family and friends
Focus on those people, who give you unconditional love, who encourage you, who challenge you, and help you to learn in a constructive and balanced way – and vice versa. These are your core people, and are part of your solid foundation. They will stay with you what ever happens. You need these people, and they need you. Remind yourself who they are, and invest in those relationships.
3. Find your purpose
Everyone should have a purpose. There is an inbuilt urge in everyone to have a life which is meaningful, not only to ourselves, but also to others. Studies by “the father” of positive psychology Professor Martin Seligman, found that doing acts of kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise they tested. Your purpose needs to be aligned with who you are, your experience and personality. It should not be something forced, but something you have been dreaming of and what your life so far has been leading up to. It is something that you are capable of doing, but it will require courage to take those steps. There is a level of uncertainty and risk involved. It will not be an easy ride, but it will be rewarding.
The holiday season is approaching. Mary J. Blige is on in the background and singing about hope and joy. These do belong to everyone. It is possible to be content and happy, to enjoy life, and to have an impact in this world!
This is the perfect time to re-calibrate your life.” (Juha Äkräs)
Extract from Hintsa Performance Blog