As I lazily sink into the couch after Christmas lunch, my family and I choose to put on a movie called ‘The Book Thief’. I had watched it a couple of years ago and enjoyed it a lot. This time I am about to learn something, which makes watching it twice worthwhile.

In the story, set at the time of the Second World War, there is a young guy named Max who lives hidden in the basement of the Ubermann family’s house. Max befriends young Liesel who is also staying at the house.

In one of the scenes, Max teaches the young girl about the importance of words, while he hands over his Christmas gift, a self-made diary. He encourages her to start writing in it and says:

‘Where there are words, there is life’.

As I try to find a meaningful message to start the year, this scene makes me think about the billions of New Year’s blog posts and resolutions that cross the cyberspace and appear in your feeds.

This makes me wonder at times if there is anything left to be said.

Out of nowhere, the answer pops into my mind. The message is clear and it says… no matter how many words, feelings, notes of gratitude we all write or say to others… it is not just about the words, rather it is about our spirit coming to life every time we create a connection with another human being.

It is about our brains becoming joyful and motivated because of these connections, which can take us beyond our individualistic existence. Our brains are social entities that crave connection, validation and acknowledgement.

We now know that isolation and being wrapped too much in our internal world can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. Connecting with others is vital for our mental health.

So my 2016 wish for those who come across this post is to continue communicating and connecting with followers, colleagues, family and friends, with good intention, authenticity and love…because…as the young Max said in the movie: ‘words are life’, particularly when we use them well.

Originally posted on: 3 January 2016
Last updated on: 18 February 2024
Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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