Every reality, every problem and every opportunity, is a composite of facts and your own view of them. The experience is a result of your perception.

Your umpteenth bicycle has been stolen, your partner has left, you have to wait in front of a counter, you forgot your file in a meeting, your 18-year-old son can’t get ahead and your parents are asking for more and more care. These are the facts, the content of our lives. And the accompanying standard reactions, such as anger, sadness, annoyance, impotence or even panic then hit you around the ears. 

However, all those automatic reactions are not a result of the actual situation, but of your perception of the actual situation! So you can say that it is not the CONTENT, but the CONTEXT that determines our experience. If you assume that this is the case, it immediately raises a number of difficult questions….. You are suddenly responsible for what you feel? You can no longer blame anyone for your misery? Yes but…!

The now 90-year-old Edith Eger, who survived the Auschwitz camp as a young girl, recently described her most important survival forces in her book ‘The choice’. When you read the facts, it’s hard to believe that Edith survived the camp. Her strength was that she learned to transform her own perceptions of the facts. She kept making her own choices and freed herself from the prison of her own thoughts… and she kept dancing! She did all this in the camp, and in the more than seventy years that followed. Edith gives lectures all over the world, and always concludes them with a dance, inviting her audience to dance along. With that, she created and creates flow and positive energy.

But how?

How do I create a context that ensures that I experience the same reality differently? The answer is flow… Have you ever discovered that when you are in flow, everything seems to go easier and more pleasantly? What was a problem yesterday is embraced with a smile today! We can create flow. Flow can be made. Flow is a result of your conscious choices. Flow occurs when we have our focus clear, create momentum for the things we want, and let go in time so that we don’t cramp.

Call it an attitude, a mental muscle. You can train that mental muscle at any time and in any situation. Put it to the test. Name something or someone that seriously bothers you. Change your view on this by decoupling facts and perceptions. Can you manage that? Train your mental muscle even harder by not having to have an opinion at all about what bothers you. How does that feel?

By training yourself in this way, you develop a sustainable, self-sustaining flow. Edith Eger thus saved her life and built a vibrant future. Edith has trained her mental muscle to transform her perceptions and make her own choices. The choice to dance, for example…. keep dancing!

Leadership in the new reality, and will, more than ever before, require flow. New generations are growing up in an environment where creating your own reality is becoming more and more normal. Self-organizing and personal leadership 2.0. Our responsibility as leaders will move more than ever from directing and managing time and tasks to facilitating and supporting flow and accountability.


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