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Do You Know What WhatsApp Did for Me?

By Diego Nascimento*

Freedom! This is the word that sums up the 30 days I decided to stay away from WhatsApp, one of the most famous communication applications these days. Did you frown when you read the opening of this article? I’m saying this as a professional who works with messages, texts and also uses interaction as a tool. I chose to be the guinea pig in this controversial experiment. Stick with me and let’s dig deeper into my observations.

I have many contacts on my smartphone and without a doubt a huge part of this list is from WhatsApp. Every minute I get alerts that address the arrival of a question, maybe a warning, links, audios or videos. On the other hand, I know people and companies that make the application a customer service channel. In an age where instantaneousness has become routine, nothing beats a tool that sends messages in real time and for free. In my case, I use the App* to be in certain chat groups and share links of the texts I produce. But the mere fact of disconnecting my mind from this marvel of technology in the last few weeks has caused me to rethink this experience, and I would like to make a point of listing each of them to consider together. Get ready:

1.Headaches and posture: The incidence of sudden onset of headaches was almost zero. Discomforts at the base of my neck also decreased. They always popped up when I stayed for too long “looking down” to respond to all the demands coming from WhatsApp.

2.Time management: I was able to organize chapters to read, produce texts, projects and everyday tasks.

3.Real face time:  Without the “responsibility” of being glued to my cell to answer calls I was able to offer more face-to-face conversations with my family and friends.

4.Planning: As a result of the better time management, I was able to plan my daily activities much more carefully and without the agony of chasing after the notifications and needing to dive into the application.

Under no circumstances am I campaigning to abandon this app. Just so you know, I have begun using it again, a little at a time. I am already enjoying the benefits of this incredibly revolutionary form of communication. My experience allowed me to see that we cannot just pick back up our lives on the screen of a smartphone, tablet or computer. In that 30-day off-line journey I evaluated my departure from WhatsApp, but it could have been with any other software made available by competing companies. A case in point, when the government blocks the application in a matter of seconds a giant migration happens to other similar services. I think of this phenomenon as a result of the postmodern era, and if we look carefully, we have invented things to gain time, but, in fact, we are running out of this precious resource every day. I guarantee you that at some point you will say that 24 hours are not enough to do everything you need. So I ask you: Will a strategic analysis of your commitments show you an accumulation of tasks (and I know this is reality for some) or the misuse of time?

Here’s a controversial opinion for the 21st century: we have the privilege of witnessing and accessing the ease of technology, but we do not have the maturity to deal with so much innovation. It’s surprising how much we value the machine and forget to be human beings, no matter the age. My warning is not against the arrival of computerization, but about the way we receive and live with them. It’s a matter of priority. If you make use of this “new wave” for work, congratulations! Use and abuse what you can and minimize your costs and increase customer acquisition, but I recommend you set aside a time to live life. If you are in the group of those who get plugged in daily, wasting time reading, watching and listening to things that trivialize family values, watch out. I know clinics that in addition to receiving narcotic addicts take care of dependents of the web and this includes the more than abnormal use of tools linked to the internet. A quick search on Google will display journalistic material dealing with this subject on all continents, without exception.

I never hid my admiration for Biblical teachings. About three thousand years ago the great King Solomon, inspired by God, recorded that there is the right time for everything. This famous passage is in the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 1 through 8. It is a message so appropriate that I made use of it in other texts. I recommend the re-reading, reflection and practice.

Do you want to be a person that makes a difference in the lives of others? Understand that there is a world of opportunities that extrapolates the distance between your eyes and the screen of a cell phone. Anything in excess is bad. Think about it!

App *: Acronym for the word Application.

Dual Citizenship

Por Diego Nascimento

The history of my family is full of many adventures, and one of them involves the immigration of one of my ancestors from Europe to Brazil. Because of these circumstances I, some cousins and uncles can have dual citizenship. Before arriving at the Consulate it was necessary to gather documents that revealed this saga worthy of a film. It is interesting to see how today’s actions can literally influence tomorrow’s outcomes. This is what I want to talk about.

Despite my youth I am close to two decades of professional life, and I have many memories of leaders and co-workers I have and have had.  This journey increasingly reinforces an extremely insightful phrase: people come and go, but institutions stay. Considering this, I ask you:  What have you and I been doing so that their memories of us are memorable, so that we can offer as little regret as possible? You have two options:  Decide that the answer to this question is pointless and stop reading this text, or go on with me to understand the importance of a legacy.

There is no doubt that the Holy Bible offers great leadership teaching, and I make every effort to take advantage of them all. The apostle Paul once decided to write a letter to some people who applied for a position.  In one of the excerpts from the epistle, I Timothy, chapter 3, verse 7 to be exact, one of the requirements for those who wanted the job was recorded:  “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he does not fall into disrepute.”  That recommendation was made two millennia ago.

At the beginning of this text I talked about family, a true place where legends are made. Beyond the condition of dual nationality, I received something priceless: examples of determination, good testimonies, meekness and self-control.  These will never be found on supermarket shelves because they are passed from father to son. Maybe you will never grace the cover of a magazine. Maybe you will never get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Do not worry about that. If your heritage to those around you is unspoken but able to positively influence people, congratulations! That’s what I’m talking about. Your name is very valuable, and through it a great deal can happen. I earnestly ask you:  Do not waste any time

A Mediocre Feeling

By Diego Nascimento
Mastering English as a second language has allowed me to talk with professionals from various countries. In the midst of this cultural diversity I have discovered that there is a common feeling in this postmodern world, and it concerns my work colleagues regardless of nationality or geographical position: envy. This characteristic is more common than one might think. While we should have maturity in our speech and attitudes, we seem to be heading toward the abyss of doom. And you do not have to go far to prove it, I can assure you.

Mediocrity: That’s the word I use to characterize those who make envy a daily ally. This characteristic corrodes the soul, hurts the body. It celebrates disagreements and builds the most sordid scenarios at work and even at home. I wonder what fuels this emotion; we spend our lives running after the wind and are never satisfied with anything. The good news is that there is healing for this evil that has gone throughout the ages in human history and has guaranteed space in unimaginable places.

Envy is accompanied by pride, that sense of dominance that lamentably some professionals have. The great book of Proverbs, which I never tire of saying is part of the faithful and sacred basis of teachings for human relationships, records in chapter 14, verse 30, a profound warning: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” As I said, emotional health can point the way to success or failure. The cure for “professional illnesses” is in humility, meekness and the search for examples in those who have given the greatest proof of love to others.

Do you know anyone with these symptoms? Although I know your answer, I suggest you act with mercy in such cases. But know that no one is innocent enough to be an occasional practitioner of this feeling who has destroyed careers and even families. If there is an opening, talk about it. Otherwise, just watch. With each passing day the job market closes for people who like to be mediocre.

I’ll Only Tell You

By Diego Nascimento

I have a habit of saying that the word Communication is in my DNA sequence. In the last fifteen years I have studied various segments of this vast science. One of them deals with customer interaction through e-mail. A well-written e-mail is capable of offering unimaginable opportunities. With this in mind, I will offer five tips for success to be a defining feature when using this tool.

What comes before @:  I always get resumes with nicknames before @. Do not do this. Derogatory or superficial words impoverish your image and are outside the bounds of good practices of Personal Marketing. I suggest you use your first and last name and, in the case of companies, a short, easy-to-remember sequence.

Title: Be objective. Depending on what you enter in the Subject field, your message will be a priority or “something for later.”

Spelling/grammar: Always correct. It does not matter if the recipient is your brother or your boss. Remember that reading is the only exercise to perfect your writing.

Signature: Enter your full name, email address and phone number (preferably a working number). In the corporate world, the ease of responding is more than necessary for the “closure” of the deal.

And now last but not least:

 Respond to your emails. Let it be a “confirmed, received …” Don’t leave the sender in suspense to know if the message has arrived correctly. Information traffic on the network is very high and, believe me, congestion and detours can happen. Moreover, the response to e-mail is a clear example of respect even if it results in a face-to-face conversation.

Make a difference! Be aware of the small details!

He Did No More Than His Obligation

By Diego Nascimento

Throughout my life I have been practicing being thankful. Okay, I know this is a basic rule of life to have good everyday interpersonal relationships. At least in theory. I know people who are associated with a group who say, “He did no more than his obligation.”  I would like to challenge this kind of thinking. Whether it be in the line of kindness or part of the daily schedule of activities at work, a “Thank you” is the bridge to the much-needed sense of welcome in the postmodern era.

I would like to relate two experiences: one old and one recent. The first is an afternoon of conversation I had with former goalkeeper Taffarel. That’s right. Taffarel was the athlete who defended the penalties at the 1994 World Cup and was a member of the four-time national team in soccer. I remember, as if it were yesterday, the attitude of companionship and leadership he displayed. This was fundamental to the teamwork that resulted in one more title for Brazil. Years later, at a certain point in our conversation, I expressed my “Thank you” to the man who saw first-hand the Italian player Roberto Baggio miss a historic kick that would renumber the collection of stars on the left side of the shirt of the Brazilian National Soccer Team.

The second experience involves something unheard of. At seven years of age I suffered a fall in between classes. Like every kid I enjoyed running around the yard. But on that day I hit my left knee violently against the ground and instantly tears and a lot of pain became my companions. With complete maternal instinct, one of the canteen employees led me to a quieter place and, with homemade remedies prepared a refreshing drink that contributed significantly to calming me down and beginning to heal. This scene is etched in my mind. I changed schools and I never saw that lady again. Twenty-three years later, as I was walking down the street in my city, I recognized a face in her old age at the bus stop. This worker was waiting to be driven home. I did not think twice. I went to her and said, “You probably don’t remember who I am. Two decades ago your efforts brought peace to the heart of a little boy who was crying nonstop after a fall at school. That boy grew up and is here now to give you a heartfelt “Thank you very much. ” It was an emotional moment for both of us.

If in the workplace sincere kindness can make a difference, how much more when the Bible teaches us to always be thankful? The book of Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 18, begins with a direct and profound “In everything give thanks …”.I think this kind of attitude makes good sense for the people we are around on a daily basis.  Want a tip that is worth something? Make people around you aware of the benefits of being thankful. The rewards will be unimaginable. Put this into practice!

The School’s Example

By Diego Nascimento

I recently made a boat trip to visit a protected forest area; the only form of access was through a broad and deep river. In addition to the safety equipment available on the vessel there was sonar that displayed in detail the movement of anything that was submerged. I was perplexed to see the high number of schools of fish that moved under us performing a series of synchronized swimming cadences. Although I was not actually diving, that equipment gave a clear view of the number of fish that were in that region and, in addition, it brought the confirmation that even nature has practical examples of the teamwork.

Without a doubt, biology has studies that detail the effects of schools for the survival of certain marine communities. Applying this principle to the daily professional life, we can reflect on what is our role in the “school”. Does our team work together in the pursuit of good results for the company? Or are there those who insist on isolating themselves from the group’s efforts under the excuse of “I work alone”…? Imagine what would be the outcome of certain historical battles if the platoons chose to act individually. Would Brazil get five World Cup titles if the players were only playing for themselves? Would a medical team succeed in a complex surgery if there was no conversation between them? Is there a union or an unnecessary dispute in your company that makes people “walk softly?”

The multifunctional worker has great chances of progressing in his/her career by observing a number of characteristics. One of them is the ability to share knowledge, instructions and make the team the practical outworking of being in sync. From this point of view, I would like to suggest the following:

– Listen.Learning to listen is a baseline approach to offering guidance.
– Speak. Share your knowledge by having humility as a balance for every word you say.
– Feel. We all have feelings, and we need to be tactful when dealing with our neighbor.
– Review your potential. You have a lot to offer, and a heartfelt assessment can reveal skills you never imagined.

Jesus is another great example of team leadership. His team performed such an extraordinary work that even after two thousand years we have much to learn from Christ’s disciples. The book of Luke, chapter 6, verses 12 through 16, gives information on how He called them.

Let this be a year where individualism draws from the past, but teamwork is increasingly present and visible in our lives. We are counting on you on this journey.

Free Fall

By Diego Nascimento

No. I am not going to talk about parachute jumps or bungee jumping. My latest concern is about what you did earlier: enjoying a post on social media. Through a laptop, personal computer, cell phone or tablet, this action contributed to changes in the meaning of the word relationship. The instantaneousness of the information and the glimpse on the screens come at a very high price.

Every minute more and more people lose the ability to talk face-to-face. I have made this observation through lectures with students, recruitment interviews and constant scientific and journalistic articles that provide evidence that this is reality. Already I have seen surly behavior not be the result of shyness, but of individualism. How many times have you tried to talk to someone who is divided between the person and the smartphone screen? Does this truly demonstrate a multifunctional person? I disagree. The way things are going the next generation will read in history books that, in the old days, society had the habit of meeting to chat, to have ice cream or even to sip a delicious coffee.

On the other hand, I have to be honest: I use the technological tools. The Internet has connected me to readers, clients, facilitated intercontinental meetings, publicized my work (the example of this article) and offered serious information in real time. The difference is that I seek to balance need with priority and, in the latter case, human relations come first. The corporate world has felt this firsthand. It is increasingly difficult to find candidates willing to donate to the company, who have balanced writing and speech and are fit for teamwork and leadership.

The tide of connectivity has come to stay, and we are navigating through it. The secret is how we conduct our “journey” in this sea so bumpy and with waves so sudden. Artificiality cannot take the place of common sense. The traditional model of establishing relationships is in free fall, and I do not doubt it. Job interviews that follow a serious benchmark measurethe candidates’ interaction skills in depth. The good news is that we already have at least two people who can strike a balance between technology and real life: you and me. Think about it!

Step on the Brakes

By Diego Nascimento

I need to confess something: I really like driving. Whether in the city or highway, taking control of a car gives me a fantastic feeling of pleasure. On the other hand, guiding a machine on four wheels that with the slightest carelessness can hurt other people is a big responsibility. I have lost count of how many times I had to brake because of the recklessness of some or the daring of others. It’s the famous defensive driving.

A professional life reflects the same intensity of traffic, and in order to ensure that you have ample time to make decisions, there is a right time to step on the gas or the brake pedals. During a phase of my career I reached high speeds in my duties, to the point of closing my eyes to simple things around me. After much reflection I realized that I was a workaholic, that is, someone addicted to working.

Anyone who thinks I am writing this article sitting in a beach chair by the sea is mistaken. I still work hard. I perform new tasks, and, every day, I receive many challenges as a journalist, manager, teacher, consultant and speaker. The only difference is that I have learned to take my journey with a controlled speed where I have been able to pay attention to the small details of my existence. My body gave me a resounding “Thank You” through test results that said everything was “in order.”

Having the opportunity to practice the verb “to work” is an honor. Do you know that feeling of pleasure that you feel when you are eating chocolate? It happens to me, but when I’m working. The difference is that I have learned to “step on the brakes” and maintain a healthy, safe and steady direction in my daily profession. Most important of all is that I continue to chase after my dreams, projects and create opportunities that I hope to have a chance to tell my grandchildren.

The Bible, in the book of Proverbs 16:32 says, “It is better to control your spirit than to conquer a city.”Ambition (in the positive sense of the word) is my companion and encourages me to take great strides. But having balance is the key to a successful career and a healthy life. Are you conducting your daily life at high speed, to the point of not noticing who is around you? I have one great recommendation for you:  Take it easy!

Flight Plan: Organize your Life, Studies and Career

By Diego Nascimento

I have been part of the air club in my city since I was 22 years old. I have lost count of how many times I have flown over the region and observed every detail seen from above. I confess that I need to return to this practice that I love so much, especially since it was on board a single-engine Cessna model that I learned one of the greatest lessons in entrepreneurship and communication: the higher the altitude, the wider the vision. Although I did not become a pilot, I needed to put into practice a series of processes that would guarantee a smooth flight on one of the most interesting flight route I have ever known: my own life. It is in this trajectory that I invite you to think with me.

We make decisions in every moment. Some are involuntary; others are totally conscious thoughts. I would like to compare these moments to the takeoff of an aircraft. Any calculation failure can have serious consequences and threaten the safety of the pilot and passengers. Could it be that on impulse or in the heat of the moment you said or did something that in the short or long-term will bring headaches to your family, clients or co-workers? Individual attitudes affect others in ways you cannot even imagine.

Even with so much equipment in the cockpit, every pilot will encounter turbulence. It is a phenomenon that nature explains. Even if the plane is in perfect condition, the skill of the pilot makes all the difference so that the flight is, let’s say, imperceptible in some cases. Have you had any turbulence? Did you argue at work or at home? Did you recognize your mistakes? What have you done to regain your equilibrium and common sense?

Lastly, the landing occurs, one of the most challenging moments in the art of flying. I always see people clinging to their armrests with the purest expression of fear. Before they even realize it, they are already on the runway. But this apparently simple procedure is the result of a series of processes that make the cockpit a huge center of operations, perception and intelligence. Along with this idea, I want to ask two questions:
1. Did that decision you made have a “successful landing,” i.e., brought the results you expected?
2. Are you ready to “land” your dreams and goals smoothly? Do you need help or are you up to it?

I created this scenario to show how our journey as a university student, professional in the workplace, retiree, etc., requires prudence, wisdom and limits. At the beginning of the text I said that “the higher the altitude, the greater the view.” Although I have experience in certain situations, I always ask help from the ONE who has the widest vision, even when airplanes were nothing more than a draft in the notebook of scientists. The Bible teaches that God is “knower” of all things and knows you and me since we were in the womb of our mothers. It is in Him that I place my trust and confidence when I have to prepare an article as a journalist, a teacher/lecturer/consultant, when I have to make a decision as a manager or simply when I have to forgive and love someone else as a human being.

Whatever your position, area of activity, age or station, know that in the flight of life turbulence will come. Many will be the fruit of missteps we ourselves make. If today’s text touched your heart and mind, I urge you to reevaluate your attitudes and fly high. But remember to prepare your Flight Plan according to what is written in the book of Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 31 (Holy Bible): “But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall not walk, and shall not faint.”

Do you want to rethink something you’ve done in the heat of the moment? Do it! It may still be reparable.

Intelligence Starts with Your Words

by Diego Nascimento

Last week I went to the pharmacy. What should have been a simple errand became, in seconds, a tragedy for those who work with sales and customer service. Follow along with my story and do not be afraid to let the tears start rolling down your face. It’s really sad. Passionate people usually get excited (ha, ha…).

I parked the car and under a heavenly carport, filled with stars and an unforgettable moon, walked through the city center until I reached the front door of that “healing establishment.” The shelves were filled with drugs, shampoos, cosmetics and promotional cards distributed at various points. I got to the counter and asked for my prescription; as luck would have it, they had it in stock. It was at that exact moment the bomb was armed. I realized that one of the employees, whom I will call X, was very excited about other people’s affairs and spoke with his coworkers as if he was in a bar. My observation was interrupted by the clerk who asked, “Sir, do you have a pharmacy discount card?” Meanwhile X provisionally closed the counter and walked to the front of the store. I did the same, after all, that’s where the boxes were. When I reached the line I realized that X was talking with another coworker about a possible day off.  Exultantly X swore in such a way as to hurt the ears, words which will never belong in the business vocabulary, much less the human vocabulary.  My pupils dilated and I felt my heart rate increase considerably. Soon after I heard the call “Next!”. I could not resist and said to the clerk at the counter, “Your colleague doesn’t have much common sense.” Visibly embarrassed by the whole scene, the girl replied, “Do not worry about it. She’s just excited.” I replied, “That’s fine, but if you were working for me, you would be fired immediately.” I thanked her for the service and left.

I want to clarify that irritant situations are normal for any human being; however, self-control is a recommendation from the Bible, and it applies to any area of our lives. In the above story, I showed my bewilderment as client. Imagine if I were a partner/owner of the chain, and I was just passing through town. She would be fired for sure.  How many people lose a sale or “ruin the good name” of a company, a brand and or the rest of the team because of a lack of propriety? And do not be surprised: even though it is 2016, the so-called post-modern era, you will find in the county and even in the big cities people with this “ability” to damage their resume without even taking the time to understand that politeness and calmness are Part and Parcel of the Workplace Obligations.

Sales and service go together, either through products or through providing services. I have worked in this area a long time, and believe me, you have no idea how much the world needs to be improved on. Want a tip to start thinking about that can change lives and retain your customers? Start with your words; assess what you say and what you do not say. Will it benefit me to say touch on this subject or that?

One of the first signs of intelligence begins with your words! Think about it!