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Mediocrity, Never!

by Diego Nascimento
I am an observer of human reactions inside and outside the workplace. One of the elements I most treasure is politeness. Forget the educational degrees for a moment and just focus on the “kind way about them” type of people. This is the kind of politeness I am talking about.

Have you had a chance to live with people facing outside problems who see you as a real lightning rod to take on bitterness, moodiness and indecision? Amazingly, this is more common than you might imagine. Some people think that a lack of kindness and politeness are a sign of authority or superiority. That’s a sad mistake. Contrary to what many may think, attitudes like that reflect individuals who have dealt with some longstanding annoyances. The worst thing is, it alienates people, whether it is at home, at work or even while buying something at the store. I call it mediocrity.

Often I am asked to refer people who would be good in positions in different companies. In addition to qualities such as attitudes, communication skills and being proactive, relationship skills is a key factor. Emotional intelligence is invaluable and will never be proven through a resume. Living and/or working together is the only option for an accurate diagnosis.

I recently read a scientific paper produced by Professor Jean-François Chanlat, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales of Montreal, Canada. Although it was published in 1992, the study substantiates the claim that remains real today in our everyday human relations:  “The world turns into a reflection of themselves. The relationships they develop with others are impregnated with coldness, detachment and instrumentality. Such attitudes have a lot in common with the characteristics of university’s techno- bureaucrats where being impersonal, functional and calculating reign as masters.”

Being polite, especially at work, contributes significantly to harmony over hours and hours of activities. Try to be remembered for being a bridge between people and never a barrier or someone who makes people anxious.  Whatever your position, salary or time at home, I suggest the following:  Smile! Escaping from a mediocre lifestyle is a matter of choice!


The Big Lie

by Diego Nascimento

The first thing I do when I’m waiting for a departure at the airport or bus station is look for a bookstore. My eyes wandering over the shelf displays brings a sense of well-being that is uniquely without equal. Among magazines and books are the traditional “motivational courses” that promise to cure your blues and provide answers to the questions that bother you every day. I want to talk about how to find motivation without creating the expectations of these seemingly miraculous publications.

I work with management every day. All the time I see happiness, sadness, excitement and frustration in people. Even if they do not talk about it, their facial expression (body language) gives it away. Some people compare life to a kitchen cabinet: for every situation you have to open the right drawer. That’s not how life works. Your brain is an amazing machine which produces reactions and feelings, and even with advances in technology we have not reached 10% of what the brain is capable of doing.

I’m sorry to say you will never find “motivation” available for purchase on the shelves in the supermarket, bookstores, pharmacies or clothing stores. What about in the apps list on my tablet or cell phone?  No way. Motivation is behavior. It comes from within you. It is there, waiting to be awakened. I know people who have invested a ton ​​in lectures and courses and returned home the same way they went in: apathetic and uncaring. I want to make it very clear that I admire the work of professionals who deal with this area. They don’t just give out “motivation,” but they explain how you will be able to find motivation for yourself.

There are several studies on how our body reacts to impulses when it is motivated or unmotivated. The Brazilian Journal of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, which is available in the virtual library of the University of São Paulo (USP), is one of several publications that has articles about this very subject (go there if you want to expand your knowledge on the subject).David Crech and Richard S. Crutchfield once said that motivation is connected to the reason for doing something: “One reason is a need or desire coupled with the intention to achieve an appropriate goal.”

Practically speaking, what do you want to see happen in your life today? Do you want to move forward or stand still just watching the cars go by? You could be given a few nights at the best hotel in the world, have several million dollars in your bank account and the trip of your dreams and, at the end of the week, wake up with the same lack of motivation you had the month before.  The reason is simple: the subject of today’s article has nothing to do with material gains (which are a result of your work), but with your efforts to stand up and follow the journey of life regardless of your resources.

If you want to talk about motivation, I’m ready to listen.  Share and seek advice with people who sincerely want to discuss these things. If you need the professional help, do not be ashamed. At certain times we need help. Do something soon. Escape from just settling.  This attitude can turn you into a big lie!


Do Something for Someone

by Diego Nascimento

In my lectures and classes in college I have shared that life, in fact, is a book filled with chapters. Some striking, others less so. The desire to soar to greater heights in our professional careers is commonplace, but few people understand that success is not necessarily linked to the “stuffed” bank account statement. Good success is also measured by the way you act, speak and devote your time to tasks, projects and your community.

The story I am going to tell you is true, and my family was and remains an eyewitness to an incredible example of balance, sacrifice and sensitivity. I’ve always like the opportunity to tell this story to reinforce the idea that “donating your time to others” can revolutionize lives.

Once there was a boy between the ages of 5 and 7 who lived in an orphanage. Frightened by so many people around him, that boy (who did not know his family roots or parents) was transferred to another children’s home where he was educated by a team of missionaries committed to planting hope. Years passed and the boy was adopted by a family living outside of Brazil in North America. There he continued to receive the principles of truth, graduated from high school and started working. It wasn’t enough for him to be on this new path; this young man knew that he could go farther.  Reevaluating his personal goals, he boarded a plane and spent some of his precious youth as a volunteer at the small Brazilian orphanage that cared for him for years. It was after this interval, newly married, that the young man made a big decision: “I was adopted. Maybe I should do the same?” After a major bureaucratic battle, the foreign country that embraced him now received another child, and the story was repeated. Decades passed, and the little boy at the beginning of this story is now a grown man, father of five, grandfather of three, exemplary spouse, faithful friend and a professional whose career is worthy of a book, literally. But this saga does not end there: even living abroad, the entire family continues to donate their time for the sake of other children living at the same orphanage that for over 50 years has revolutionized generations.

Now bear with me: besides work, work and work what do you dedicate to others? You may not have the purpose or even the chance to participate in an adoption in the traditional sense, but in your spare time you can “adopt” someone by spending time with them who needs a few minutes of conversation and human warmth. There are many ways to add to your “life resume” through simple steps, and you are able to make a huge, huge difference.

Sometimes you can reach the end of your story without seeing results from your efforts. Do not worry about it. The biggest fruits do not always need advertising. What’s more, if today I have English as a Second Language (ESL) – Inglês como Segundo Idioma – and I have translated texts and conversations, speeches, etc., it just shows that the seed was planted before I was born. That’s right:  the journey of this kid, as you just read, continues to also influence my present and my future; and he knows it!

Before you go to bed today, may I suggest:  Do something for someone!


I Am Running Out of Time

by Diego Nascimento

Who has not said or heard this famous phrase:  “I’m running out of time”?   I believe that 99.9% of the population has had a chance to use this expression. Sometimes I feel that 24 hours is not enough for so many daily tasks (and you agreed with me, ha ha…).  I want to make it clear that in our talk today we will not blame a lack of space on our calendars. On the contrary, I would like to invite you to consider whether, in fact, the precious minutes from the clock have been utilized in the most intelligent way.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with a group of young people. I was amazed at how many meaningless thingsconsume a considerable portion of each day. They began to complain about the lack of opportunities in the workplace. We began to discuss this, and I want to share some of our conclusions of this journey:

They say “I’m running out of time” to devote to their studies, when, involuntary or purposefully, they waste several hours by sliding their fingers on the screen of a cell phone to share funny posts on social network that are really meaningless and almost ridiculous.

They say “I’m running out of time” to improve their vocabulary and writing through reading, when they are fully ready to take advantage of the night hours at a barbecue and beer party. They cannot see the value, for example, in acquiring a book that, on average, costs less than 40% of what they spend on the party mentioned above.

They report “I’m running out of time” to be aware of what is happening in Brazil and in the world, when at the end of the day they are able to quote all the details of the soap operas and intimate details of reality TV participants who at times are a real disservice to society.

The list is long and I will not take any more of your TIME. After all this is a topic for all families and a concern among parents, educators and entrepreneurs. This is a generation who has been driven by relativism, that is: “Everything is normal. Relax, it’s just like that.”  As a professional in Communication and Education I worry about the quality indices in customer service and in the various areas that drive the economy of Brazil and our pocketbooks.

Someone once told me:  “Blame it on television, the Internet.”  I’m sorry to say this, but these two media cannot be singly responsible for this daily trial. The problem is not the TV monitor, tablet, phone or laptop; if we evaluate carefully, the fault is with the user, who is behind such equipment. We can discern between right and wrong, and yet still there are people who choose to walk down a dead end street, just for a momentary and artificial happiness.

I conclude by making a request:  Join the movement of those who, somehow, swim against the tide of “Everything is normal” which is shaking our society. There is nothing wrong with rest; go out, enjoy life and interact with friends and family through the internet. You just need to know the limits and have a healthy lifestyle. In the end there are great benefits for you and me! You can be sure that the workplace will be grateful to you, a lot!


Shock

by Diego Nascimento

Did you know that worldwide there are over 6900 languages ​​still spoken? So says the Ethnologue compendium, published by a North American publisher which organizes through surveys, maps and charts the verbal communication on this planet that is home to more than 7 billion people. Amid so many words I would draw your attention to a number of letters and vowels that can leave you in “shock” depending on the approach.

Professor Antonio Novoa, a professor teaching at the Institute of Education, University of Lisbon, Portugal, recently shared the results of his research on the word gratitude. In the video, Anthony tells about the preparation of a master class at the University of Brasilia, where he decided to speak of The Virtue of Gratitude written by Thomas Aquinas. The document, written in the Middle Ages, cites three levels / stages of being thankful. It works like this: the first phase is shallow and the focus is on intellectual recognition. The second is intermediate and corresponds to thanking someone for something done repetitively, on a daily basis. The third is considered the most profound: it is when we create an emotional bond with the person or group and literally thank them from the heart. Professor Nóvoa closed the presentation by saying that the term ‘Thank you’ (Obrigado) in Portuguese, is able to express clearly the essence of the third level of gratitude.

My life experience, which so far comes down to only 30 years, shows that gratitude can even be broken down into degrees, but, regardless of linguistic origin, is a staple for human relationships. I’ve had the chance to thank and receive thanks in multiple languages ​​and I can say one thing: the sincerity of this expression lies with the person who, without expecting something in return, expresses gratitude for seemingly insignificant things. Scenes like this can be seen in events within our own families and even individuals who can barely write their own name.

It is with this in mind that I would like to give my sincere thanks for the chance to, every 15 days, visit with you through my articles that are shared via e-mail and website. In many cases this partnership has been for a full five years and already has loyal readers in over 20 countries, distributed in every continent of this planet surrounded by oceans so blue and with a wide cultural diversity. The site www.diegonascimento.com.br, sent out in Portuguese and English, has shown a positive connection between different peoples at a time when the ability to sit and share is dissipating.

I will close this text “piggybacking” on the third level of gratitude proposed by Thomas Aquinas and expressing in the most sincere and direct way imaginable my “Thank you!” (Obrigado)


The Most Valuable Brand in the World

by Diego Nascimento

It was designed with great care, but it is clear that in some cases it came as a surprise.  It received investments and for years was the object of sacrifice. Several people knew its history; the majority were a friend of this endeavor; others only heard about it. The years passed and the need to improve and anticipate trends arrived. Even though resources were slim, large seeds were planted. Today, some years later, this company has the most valuable brand of all time:  YOU!

That’s right: if your life feels like you are just a product of some company, realize that you are the most valuable design. You are unique. The way the details of your life/brand came together can be compared to the creation of a family, which includes the qualities ​​of honesty, truth and respect.  Team building is similar to the time spent in school: basic education, technical, professional or any other type of improvement. Gaining clients is nothing more than our networking: the network of relationships that we have built throughout our existence. Brand reputation is synonymous with all efforts focused on the interests of transparency and harmony in everything we do.

I guarantee you never made that comparison, right? I know people who spend a lot of money on accessories, and let me just say that I am not against acquisitions. We live in a capitalistic society and a world that offers many good things.  We are on the same journey. What is at stake here is the priority. If we separate a particular resource for material items, why not invest in professional training, for example? Or buying a book or any other action that may in the short or long-term contribute to your personal journey or professional career?

Let’s be happy! Let’s live life within limits. Let’s make our dreams come true! But it is important to remember that what is your name will be immortalized. Although the beginning of this article is in the past, remember that education is a constant and right now you can make a decision that can change your destiny.

Do the best for the most valuable brand ever created: YOU!


The interpreter

by Diego Nascimento

In 2005 I had the chance to start my ongoing journey as a translator.  I was still taking my first steps in improving my English as a Second Language, but the opportunity made me aware of communication as the main element in human relations. Since then translation of meetings, lectures, classes and even speeches is a part of my life.

Regardless of the number of people present in the audience, my obligation is to be as faithful as possible to convey the message. The task is challenging. I need quick thinking to hear the phrase in English, adapt the content to Portuguese, decode the best meaning for the audience and finally be the voice for that information. All of this in just a matter of seconds. Without a doubt it is a big responsibility. Imagine now professional translators working in international meetings and summits. A slip of information could lead to World War III (ha, ha).

It is in this spirit of “being understood” that I am evaluating how I speak with people throughout the day, especially in my mother tongue. We all know that your tone can cause someone to be drawn to you or to be put off. But for some time I have become aware that our “tone” in written communication has the same effect. Even if we are not using inappropriate or rude words, the way we address a subject can cause people to misunderstand what they are reading.  Be careful when sending text messages or emails, using social networks or cell phones. They are electronic devices that do not have the ability to “speak” for you. None of them have any feelings. I have seen cases in which a simple written message caused big relationship problems.

We are lifelong interpreters; our excitement levels can create/build on opportunities or cause us do dive down deep off of cliffs that cannot be scaled. This can occur in the home, at work, at school, in traffic, in the supermarket line. If you think that a message you might sent will result in some discomfort to the recipient or to the sender, I suggest you talk face-to-face or at least talk over the phone (voice). We are human beings, and our heart is moved with emotions.

Technology exists to be used. You are reading this written message (now) exactly for this reason. It is the subject content and/or the way we use tools that can cause a “fire” of major proportions. Wherever you are, remember one thing: “There are words that pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  Proverbs 12:18.


Secret Revealed

by Diego Nascimento

It was amid the cornfields that the young Clark grew up. The adopted son of Jonathan and Martha Kent, the boy literally fell from heaven and received care from a couple of farmers living in the US state of Kansas. Throughout his youth Clark was a shy boy who spoke little and was a homebody.  In the transition to adult life he discovered his mission and, from water to wine, out of the silence came one of the best known heroes of the planet. In his lifetime he ascended podiums of justice and spoke for peace in humanity.

That’s right, you’re thinking; this is a brief summary of the life of Superman, the hero created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933. If we were to take all the alien powers from Clark, we would find an ordinary man of humble origins who came out of the countryside to face life as a journalist for the Daily Planet. In the movies we have an image of a bumbling reporter who after donning his blue and red uniform is able to break paradigms and face the worst enemies.

I know people who see public speaking as a terrifying monster. The simple invitation to present a school project, discuss a report on the company or read a poem in public causes despair. They begin to feel itchy, dizzy and almost on the verge of a heart attack. If you fit this profile, I want to tell you a secret:  there is a cure!

Public speaking goes beyond formal events such as lectures or sermons. It involves conversations indoors and even casual chats with friends. No doubt there are people who are born with this ability to speak easily; others need to get the right training to develop their oral expression, body language and quick thinking.  Just like the young Clark Kent, we need to face our “enemies” who, for some reason, keep us from reaching greater heights in our professional career.  I wrote down a few steps to make public speaking your daily partner:

  •  Leave fear outside: have an attitude.
    • Assume responsibilityfor your limitations and ask for help.
    • Seek out trainingin this area. We live in the information age and have avenues for self-help.
    • Read: the more knowledge you have, the more power you have to persuade.
    • Get out of your comfort zone: take the first step!

Now it is important to note Superman always had to transform to appear in public. When everything seemed to be in order, Clark returned back to his normal routine as a reporter. This is not necessary for you: just ​​be yourself! Run after perfection, but keep the values ​​and principles that govern your life. Remember: Public speaking is not just having a commanding voice. It’s being able to communicate with those who collect diplomas as well as those who never had the chance to attend school.


Farewell Letter

by Diego Nascimento

It seems like only yesterday we met. We celebrated our joys and shared periods of sadness.  We were faithful companions in study, work and even in fun. I made sure to stay close to you whether it was day or night. Somehow years together have ended like this:  like the flame of a candle.  But life is like this: a beginning, a middle and an end. Forgiveness is very important, but I will understand if it is not possible.  I will go forward and seek someone else who can fill this space in my heart.  I will conclude these brief lines with my goodbye. Signed: Complacent

What a farewell letter, right? It could easily be the reality in the lives of many people around the world.   Complacency is responsible for the delay or stalling of projects in both young people and adults, regardless of culture or geographic location. It is natural for human being, at times, to make the excuse of “letting it go.” I agree that we all need time to breathe at times, but this cannot be become the rule. The clock is ticking, and the minutes are lost.

I want to make a quick invitation:  How about stopping for a moment and thinking of something that you could have achieved but did not because of laziness? If this moment of self-reflection shows that there is still time to complete something, do it. If not, I suggest you reflect and not let that happen again. The Bible itself teaches in Colossians 3:23 that, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as unto the Lord, not for men.” A quote attributed to Peter Druker says, “We cannot predict the future, but we can create it.”

I will conclude by saying that large plans come from small actions.  If complacency is knocking at your door, do not let it come in. It will not be a good visit no matter how pleasant it may try to appear. Keep moving forward!


Steal this Idea

by Diego Nascimento
Leadership is a seemingly simple characteristic, but it requires a carefulness from those who practice it. Observation, concentration, teamwork and ethics are part of the basic list of requirements. Throughout life you will find two groups of people: the first think that leadership is a big deal; the second sees that word as a chance to makes things better, always.

Now what do you think? Are human beings born with the ability to lead or do they develop it over many years? If we search for an answer to this on Google, we will find different opinions. But I still say (and I know some colleagues agree with me) that people are born with what I call a seed of leadership. Many choose to water and fertilize this ability while others prefer to keep it dormant, either because of discomfort or fear. The truth is that, at some point in life, we need to put leadership into action. This happens at home, at work, in choosing a place to live, purchasing a car or in emergencies.

A few weeks ago I witnessed something at a student meeting. My friend was assigned to give a speech and explain the way a conversational activity was going to happen. The audience included people from many countries. Even with the cultural and linguistic diversity, she gave a great example of mastering the information, balancing her tone, proper body posture and compliance with the rules. I made sure to watch every detail. I was seeing a great leader. While she is still working towards graduation, I’m sure that soon she will assume positions where decision making is the rule of thumb, and I know she will do an excellent job, as she has already done.

My goal today is to invite you to read this article and understand that leadership is a necessity. Regardless of the position you occupy, remember that, at some point, you have to make a choice. Never leave undone opportunities to help or facilitate a group. Attitudes like this may surprise those who are around you.

I would like to conclude by saying:  I did not write the title of this text to encourage something illegal; on the contrary, if you have found something worthwhile in these lines, take it with you.  Good ideas need to be shared. Selfishness is far from the characteristics of a good leader.