Challenge 69: Influences

Happy Mothers Day from the BestMe!  We all owe our lives to our mothers, we truly wouldn’t be the people we are today without them.  From the time of our first steps, our mothers have been there to help us up when we fall, and gently guide us on a path towards actualization.  When it comes to influential figures, our mothers have potentially played the largest role in our development.  We begin to establish our world views at an extremely young age, and our relationship with our parents can have a large affect on how we proceed into the world: from the goals we set, to the way in which we prioritize our lives.  Our continuous stream of conscious makes it difficult to observe the way in which we’re transformed by interactions with the central figures in our lives, and how this in turn influences the way in which we seek out and form new relationships.

Of course, just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done…  Take a moment now to think about a few of your closest friends and/or colleagues, what are some qualities that you deeply respect and admire in these people?  Of this group, pick one that stands our from the rest.  Can you remember the first time you met this person?  Can you remember a few key interactions that helped you form an initial impression?  Now… can you envision how this first impression evolved into the rich understanding of the dynamic individual you know today?  Stop reading for a minute and jot down what it is that has so impressed you about this person… seriously, find a piece of scrap paper or open a word document and make a short list.

Here’s the interesting part: this is not only a list of character traits that you’ve observed in another person, it’s also a list of the qualities that you deem to be extremely important in your own life.  This kind of self-knowledge can be an extremely powerful beacon in the process of setting goals and planning for the future.  Reversing this same process can be a powerful introspective tool, particularly when we find ourselves in a rut.  We can begin with a critical analysis of our current situation, and look for external factors which may have given rise to the struggle we’re currently facing.  We tend to blame ourselves when we feel stuck, confused, or uninspired.  However, this may be a sign that it’s time to begin looking for new influences, fresh perspectives, or greater challenges…

The Challenges

For our sixty-ninth weekly challenge, please choose one of the following. Use the provided link to register your challenge selection.

Challenge One (register)
Find something that motivates or inspires you and make it an integral part of your week.

Distractions, events out of our control or simply bad days can sometimes be enough to take our minds away from the larger picture and sap our motivation, almost inexplicably. A simple solution is: stay inspired. One look at some of the incredible acts of human achievement, generosity or creativity can often be enough to restore our sense of being and belief that even amongst the injustice and horrendous aspects of our world, great things are possible. Consider this: A website called I Am Young Detroit profiles the city’s future leaders who are making their mark on the city through their accomplishments and service to the community; a Wimbledon tennis match between John Isner of the United States and Nicolas Mahut of France lasted over 10 hours, an unprecedented act of human physical capability and athleticism; the Bill Clinton AIDS and HIV Initiative has helped bring AIDS care and treatment to over 750,000 people living with HIV/AIDS around the world; Grameen Bank has lent over $7.6 billion in microfinance loans to the poor in developing countries to promote entrepreneurship and economic growth. All around us, inspiration abounds. This week, read the good news in the newspaper, listen to a song that inspires you, or read a motivating speech. Find something that motivates or inspires you to focus and work harder toward greater achievement, and make it an integral part of your week.

Challenge Two (register)
Do the impossible. Set an “impossible” goal this week and turn it into reality.

We all have lofty daydreams from time to time… We scheme up grand ideas too fantastic to be possible, and we linger for a while in the realm of “what if?”  Well, what if this week you actually turned this dream onto a reality?  What would it take?  How many strings would you need to pull in order to make it happen?  What if you actually pulled it off!?  It could quite possibly be the single greatest thing you’ve ever done.  Simply attempting something so outlandish could shift your whole paradigm!  This week you’re going to set yourself an impossible goal, and you’re going to make it happen.

Challenge Three (register)
Always leave them smiling: Make at least 5 strangers laugh this week.

Every day the people among you go about their business, often by the force of inertia or necessity.  Every bit of enjoyment or happiness we can send their way not only comes back to us in the form of a brighter world, but makes progress in spreading the optimistic, relaxed BestMe perspective to others. Humor is a selfless concept: we make others laugh primarily for their enjoyment.  With so many people around us everyday, with their struggles with complacency, we’re able to (even if briefly) with leave them with the signal of defeat for the unhappy life: a smile. Humor also comes instinctively, and there’s certainly a cycle involved with it: the more relaxed and affable we become, the more humor flows naturally, while humor fuels that good-natured sense of being itself.  How much fun would it be if a random stranger walked up to you on the street and told you a knock-knock joke?  It wouldn’t even need to be very good, if it’s sufficiently random, it would most certainly put a smile on your face. This week, do just that: make at least 5 strangers laugh.

Selected Quote

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams

This Week: You Should Know

A Business Empire Challenged

This week, a Mexican Supreme Court ruling placed a sizable roadblock to the business dealings of the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim Helú.  The ruling stipulated that Slim’s telecom empire, Telcel, Mexico’s largest cellphone company, was unable to ignore a Mexican telecommunication agency’s interconnection rates while the company challenged those regulations in court.  The company has long used this tactic subvert compliance with government regulations.  Just weeks earlier, Telcel was levied a $1 billion fine for monopolistic practices by Mexico’s antitrust regulator, by far the largest in the country’s history.  At the end of March, the Mexican congress approved a new anti-monopoly law that “raises fines for monopolistic practices and permits prison terms for executives who have been found to engage in them”, according to the New York Times. The move also reflects a new effort on behalf of the Mexican government to crack down on monopolies, which the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have accused of directly stunting the country’s economic growth.

Carlos Slim Helu, 71, is President of América Móvil, which is the parent company of Telcel, a wireless services giant in Mexico that carries over 61 million customers.  Valued at $74 billion, Slim has long set atop Mexico’s business world by averting competitors and outmaneuvering regulators.  In 1990, Slim purchased Telmex, Mexico’s state-run phone company, and turned it around into a business conglomerate that controls 70 percent of the country’s wireless market.  Many feel the country’s President, Felipe Calderón, lacks the tenacity required to take on one of the world’s most powerful business magnates.  Robert Lacy, CEO of Marcatel, a Mexican phone company and competitor of Slim, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as comparing Mexico’s government to “the policeman who just doesn’t have the power to stop the bank from being robbed.”

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that Mexican consumers pay at least $6 billion in above-average telephone costs each year as a result of Telcel’s monopolistic business practices.  Monopolies distort the normal functioning of markets because such businesses have market power – the ability of a firm to alter the market price of a good or service.  Thus, a monopoly can raise its price without fear of losing customers to competitors.  A monopolist will sell a lower quantity and quality of goods under higher prices because of the absence of perfect competition (where no firm has the power to set the market price of a good or service).  Monopoly pricing creates what economists call a deadweight loss, referring to potential gains that go neither to the monopolist or to consumers.

It’s still early to tell whether or not the rulings will have any substantial effect on Slim’s companies.  Upcoming general elections in Mexico may press candidates for tougher regulations against monopolistic business practices like Telcel.  Even as Telcel engaged in a marketing scheme to repair its image, business competition has been viewed by many economists and international organizations as vital to Mexico’s economic future.  As the country’s economy grew 5 percent in the first quarter of 2011, Mexico threatens to become as one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America, and continues to remain a prominent trading partner of the United States.

Original Content Provided by BestMe 2011.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 8th, 2011 at 6:49 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.