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Having listened to a variety of speakers at graduation ceremonies this year, I was especially taken with Robert Dilenschneider’s remarks at The University of New Haven. As CEO of The Dilenschneider Group, with headquarters in New York and Chicago, Bob has made more than his share of important decisions and next year will be publishing a book called Decisions. Not surprisingly his speech, “Making the Decisions That Will Shape Your Life” was right on point.
Dilenschneider contrasted the routine decisions that may have minimal consequences to the kind of personal decisions that are enormously significant in shaping the future — where you want to launch your career, the job you want to go for, how you want to spend money, and how you want to design your personal life.
Most of these decisions, he said, will be easy and obvious. But some – especially the ones that change your life – will not be.
Then, citing research for the upcoming book, he summarized the process that guided the decision-making of some of the world’s most influential people:
- Once you have decided and taken action, you should never look back.
- Always step forward and use your talent to underscore the importance of doing the right thing.
- Keep the decisions you need to make in perspective.
- Do not be afraid to dream and to let your imagination guide your actions.
- Make sure you listen to and take care of those who support you.
- Do your research and always be aware of the external conditions in which you operate.
- Think outside the box.
- Involve others in your efforts.
- And always, develop your conscience.
I love these guidelines and have sent them to the new graduates in my extended family. But, if I had been the following speaker at the commencement ceremony, I would have asked graduates to make this key decision right then: Put down your Smart Phone and connect with people “up close and personal.”
Here’s the payoff for all of you who make that choice . . .
When you engage in personal (rather than virtual) encounters, your brain processes the continual cascade of nonverbal cues that build trust and intimacy. So potent is the nonverbal link between individuals that, when you are in genuine rapport, you subconsciously match the other person’s body positions, movements, and even their breathing rhythms. Most interesting, your brain’s mirror neurons mimic not only behaviors, but sensations and feelings as well. That unconscious process is the foundation for empathy – a human quality that is sorely needed in the world.
Dilenschneider closed his remarks by quoting former president George W. Bush, who famously say, “I’m the decider.” And he reminded the graduates that now they are the deciders.
So – congratulations to all who graduated this year. You will create the future. Here’s hoping you make the right decisions.
May 30, 2019 at 12:47PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs