Challenge 73: Knowledge Isn’t Power

Every week we begin with inspirational words to elicit the proactive realization of the greatest version of ourselves.  A new perspective that allows us to see what we already know in a different light, or evoke a new-found confidence, can become powerful enough to spark revolutions.  Indeed, it has.  Francis Bacon famously remarked that “knowledge is power,” but pure knowledge is merely half the equation.  If each week we were to unveil the true source of personal fulfillment and self-actualization, the words in and of themselves, not acted upon, are worthless.  This is just as a student who has read every medical book in existence is not a doctor.  If, then, knowledge that has been utilized beneficially is power, then power is ability, which is success.  Our words can only provide half of the power equation.  The other half, action, is entirely up to you.

If you read our words every week and they seem logical, motivational, even obvious, and absolute power and command over your life seems impossible, then it’s time to act.

The Challenges
For our seventy-third weekly challenge, please choose one of the following. Use the provided link to register your challenge selection.

Challenge One (register)
This week, monitor your internal dialogue.  Catch yourself in moments of negative feedback, and re-frame the voice in a positive way.

You make a mistake at work and you slap your forehead… “so stupid!”  Every day we assess ourselves hundreds of times without giving it much though.  Do I look good?  Was that a bad decision?  Do I deserve this?  Shouldn’t I be doing something else?  These little conversations happen in an instant, and the answers are often overly critical and occasionally self-deprecating.  Why is this?  What if this voice were one of a compassionate onlooker who desperately wanted you to succeed and be completely happy?  Can you imagine what this voice might sound like?  This week, as you’re motivating yourself, try to use as much positive reinforcement as possible.  For example, when you’re at the gym and digging for extra strength, give yourself words of encouragement and maintain focused on the positive outcome of your hard work.  Here’s an exercise to try: spend a few moments looking at your face in the mirror.  Try to lose your sense of judgement, and look on as though you were observing the face of another.  This might be more difficult than you think, and possibly more profound as well.

Challenge Two (register)
Practice any form of meditation, schedule yourself at least three sessions that are 15-20 minutes in length.

It’s possible to gain the greatest joy from the simplest things in life.  We can spend time at the gym pushing ourselves to become stronger, faster, and sharper… but we should keep in mind that often the correct path involves slowing down, and simplifying.  Meditation is simply an activity that  focuses your mind completely on the moment at hand and enables you to be purely present.  Regularly practicing meditation can infuse your daily life with rejuvenating energy and help you keep a clear head during times of turmoil.  Set a timer to prevent your mind from lingering on how much time has passed. We have provided several meditations here, if you haven’t tried the Orange meditation, give it a try this week!

Challenge Three (register)
Take a single trait you don’t like about yourself and correct it.

Many of the challenges we attempt each week aim at refining the foundation contained deep within ourselves.  Much of it takes time, patience, and self-discipline to tap into this foundation, but once we do these changes manifest themselves into greater personal achievements as excellence simply becomes our habit.  But focusing on becoming our “best selves” as a whole can definitely be overwhelming and even seem futile.  Don’t strive for personal perfection with every self improvement technique you set upon yourself.  Luckily, there’s another method we’ve yet to touch on: focusing on simple character flaws we find in ourselves and bringing about change incrementally.  This week, simply choose a character flaw you dislike about yourself and work toward correcting only that all week.  There is strength and confidence to be gained from focusing on correcting simple character flaws, which can be the catalyst that sparks the confidence needed for greater achievements.

Selected Quote
“Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This Week: You Should Know

Christine Lagarde Courts Top IMF Spot

It’s been quite a month for the International Monetary Fund.  Its Managing Director, Dominique-Strauss Kahn, has been engulfed in a sexual assault scandal that has tarnished the organization’s already-beleaguered reputation, all while trying to maintain a sense of legitimacy in its day-to-day operations in a volatile global economy.  This week, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde announced her candidacy for the top spot at the IMF, and has begun touring member nations to gain support for her bid.

Lagarde, 55, was nominated for Minister of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry in 2007 by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and has since become a dominant and influential figure in France and throughout the global economy.  She was named the 17th most influential woman by Forbes Magazine in 2007, namely for her outspoken approach to handling the 2008 Financial Crisis, challenging the supremacy of the U.S. dollar and advocating the expansion of G-8 talks to include more countries.

Lagarde would be the first woman to head either the IMF or World Bank Group, but the controversy involves her nationality.  The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund were both created at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1945, in effort to rebuild the war-torn nations involved in World War 2.  The dominance of Western Europe and the United States at the time made sure that the leader of the IMF would be a European, while the President of the World Bank would always be an American. While an unwritten agreement, this has historically been the case.  However, different borrower nations, services provided, and raising importance of each organization, many now feel that their conventional leadership cannot adequately represent the needs of developing nations.  In other words, a leader from a developing nation is more attune to the needs of the IMF’s beneficiaries, as opposed to a French finance minister like Lagarde.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently endorsed Lagarde for the position over Agustin Carstens, of Mexico.  But as Bloomberg News argues, he may have to.  Breaking the unwritten tradition of the IMF’s leadership may compromise the United States’ ability to retain its great influence over the World Bank Group.  Nevertheless, Lagarde remains the front-runner for the position, and is widely respected even in within many developing nations. The debate has not so much reflected Lagarde as it has the changing nature and mission of global financial institutions, and how best to govern across national boundaries.

Original Content Provided by BestMe 2011.

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