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Unleashed E57: Tom Morris - Turning Lemons into Lemonade

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Today we overvalue security and comfort. If we stay in our comfort-zones too much, we won’t grow, learn, and progress. Our organizations won’t innovate. We must get comfortable with discomfort.

Tom Morris is known as the World’s Happiest Philosopher. In this episode, Tom describes how our society has swung too far towards security and comfort, and how we must push ourselves to take more risks and get used to living in uncertainty.

Actions You Can Take Right Now

  1. Recognize that our society today overvalues security and comfort. To progress, “we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

  2. When faced with a sudden change or threat, you must exercise emotional control. Our judgement is impaired when we are panicked. Take the time to slow down and put things in perspective.

  3. In uncertain situations, build your own portable comfort-zone; have rituals and routines that keep you grounded, calm, and centered on your values. 
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View or listen to this and other past episodes on the Unleashed Podcast Library

Episode Highlights and Excerpts

  • Tom has always sought work that he loves and where he can make a distinct contribution. He has challenged the big questions in life and has become known fondly as the World’s Happiest Philosopher.
  • How human beings face uncertainty is a particular area of interest. Tom notes that humans want stability and naturally tend to avoid change and risk. To quote Mary Shelley, “nothing is more painful than sudden change.”
  • We have taken security, comfort, and safety too far. “In our society now, almost globally, we value those things too much.”  
  • Staying in comfort doesn’t release innovation and creativity. Life is creativity! “If we can embrace adventure more, and release the known for the unknown, we give ourselves the chance for creativity and innovation.”
  • There are two types of change: that which happens to us, and that which is caused by us.
  • Resiliency and grit have been popular, sought after traits in the past twenty years. Persistence in the face of change and chaos is valuable. But it’s not just about bearing adversity. We need to start leveraging it and turn it into an advantage. “Its somehow about turning difficulty into delight, and that’s much more transformative.”
  • A big part of resilience is emotional control. When faced with risk or threat, we need to learn how to control the fear and avoid panic and knee-jerk reaction.
  • Once our emotions are under control, we can then take positive action. This process includes knowing and governing our own attitudes, biases and predispositions, looking for the opportunities in any situation (even disasters), and then choosing to do something even if we don’t have complete clarity of the situation – “don’t analyze to death”
  • Self governance can be enhanced by having an accountability partner, someone we trust who can be a loving critic. Establish a regular rhythm of feedback with this person.
  • Tom has codified what he feels are the Seven Conditions for Success:
    • A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined.
    • A strong CONFIDENCE that we can attain that goal.
    • A focused CONCENTRATION on what it takes to reach our goal.
    • A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision.
    • An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we’re doing.
    • A good CHARACTER to guide us and keep us on a proper course.
    • A CAPACITY TO ENJOY the process along the way.
  • Having personal rituals and routines can provide us with a portable comfort-zone. Things like daily journaling, meditation, and reflection are things we can take with us on adventure.
  • We have entered the Era of the Individual at the expense of community. Individualism drives selfishness, hedonism, competition, and devalues cooperation and partnership. Tom hopes that the pendulum is swinging back towards community, a place where we value others more than self.

Take Your Business to the Next Level

At Results we care about your success, we understand how overwhelming it can feel to run a business, and we’re here to help. Reach out to Nicole through our contact form for ways to unleash the potential of your business. 

Visit the Unleashed Podcast Library where you’ll find exclusive conversations with world-class thought leaders, authors, and leadership experts. 

Each episode of Unleashed is hosted by Results’ CEO Jeff Tetz who spends most of his day exploring what makes high performers tick and helping build a community of leaders who want to learn and grow together. Follow Jeff (Twitter; LinkedIn; Instagram) for more great leadership insights.

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Tom Morris

Tom Morris Headshot

Dr. Tom Morris is a native of North Carolina, a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar, and the recipient of a double Ph.D. from Yale University. He has gone from being the most popular professor at The University of Notre Dame, where he taught for 15 years, to now serving as the world's most active public philosopher, authoring over 30 books, including national business bestsellers, while bringing the wisdom of the ages to many of the biggest and most successful companies in the world in over 1,200 public talks.   

His work has been covered by television networks like ABC, NBC, and CNN, and in most major newspapers and magazines around the world, including the New York Times and the Economist. His philosophical discoveries are changing lives and revolutionizing businesses all over the globe. He’s also been described as the world’s happiest philosopher.   

You can learn more at Tom’s website