Eleven Rings

Eleven Rings documents Phil Jackson’s unprecedented number of NBA championships. From his days as a player, through coaching the Bulls and Lakers, Jackson’s unique style is informative for anyone in a leadership position.

Basing much of his approach in the tenets of Zen Buddhism, the book is a pragmatic introduction to many of the concepts discussed in this blog (e.g., focus).

Among many leadership gems, one I particularly enjoyed was, “As a leader your job is to do everything in your power to create the perfect conditions for success by benching your ego and inspiring your team to play the game the right way” (p. 334).

For anyone interested in adding aspects of Zen philosophy into their leadership or personal life, wanting to diversify their understanding of leadership, or simply intrigued by one of the most successful modern coaches, Eleven Rings is a worthwhile read.

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The Joy of Discovery

My daughter is 8 months old and hasn’t yet seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted anything boring or uninteresting. Everything she is presented with, it is as if she is experiencing it for the first time. True, there are many firsts for her. Also true is that her favorite “toy” for the past two weeks has been the same toothbrush. Each time she finds it or is handed it, she checks it out anew. Seeing the colors. Running her fingers over the surfaces. Tasting the bristles (well, all of it actually). When is the last time you were fascinated (or even mildly interested) by a toothbrush?

And yet there is much to be interested in. Where do the bristles come from? What are they made of? Why bristles? How do I even know the word “bristles?” How do they get the bristles into the plastic? Why don’t they come out?

This is an example of the aptly named Zen teaching of “child’s mind” or “beginner’s mind.” It is something most of us experience far too seldom. Imagine the possibilities if everything was possible. Fresh. Novel. How much excitement, change, and creativity might this bring to your life?