Creativity, Leadership, Motivation, Personal Development, Perspective, Strategic planning

Are you, What if Negative or What if Positive?

If you’re like me you can easily fall into the trap of asking yourself, What if…… and then listing all of the negative consequences that might happen if you do what you are planning on doing. Your thinking causes a negative feedback loop and before you know it you have talked yourself out of bringing to life that “horrible” idea you’ve been pondering.

But, instead of asking, What if…… and then listing all of the possible negative consequences, you instead start thinking of all the possible positive things that might happen. Now what happens? Positive thoughts, even those you force yourself to think, release neurotransmitters in your brain that are associated with pleasure and feelings of happiness. This in turn creates a positive feedback loop. And, before you know it you’ve talked yourself into bringing to life that “terrific” idea you been dreaming of.

But let’s not stop there. How about combining the two? Pause. Take a deep breath and decide to go through both exercises; first the one and then the other. This is a concrete example of expecting the best and planning for the worst (see my post, Performance Enhancers – https://edbrownweb.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/performance-enhancers/ for more on this). Research indicates that by engaging in this kind of dual thinking we are much more likely to achieve our goals than by simply practicing solely positive or solely negative thinking.

Why not give it a try :-)?

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Thanks for reading everyone. This will be my last post (at least for a while). I’ve now achieved my goal of 100 posts in 100 days. I still think writing is a pain in the arse, but I’ve also learned that I can do things I don’t like over an extended period of time.

So a big thanks to all of you who have read these posts and especially to those who have taken time to write comments. They meant a lot to me :-). I’d be grateful for even more comments and concrete feedback; both, of the positive and of the, room for improvement, sort.

Thanks :-),

Ed           Yangon, Myanmar,         19 August 2016

Creativity, Leadership, Motivation, Personal Development, Perspective, Strategic planning

Productivity

Very short and to the point today.

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One thing at a time!

Most important thing first!

Start now!

Having trouble getting started? Take the smallest first step needed to get going!

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Once again inspired by, How to Have a Good Day: Think Bigger, Feel Better and Transform Your Working Life, by Caroline Webb.

 

 

 

Creativity, Leadership, Motivation, Personal Development, Perspective, Strategic planning

Avoiding Decision Fatigue

Most of us want to do our jobs well. Unfortunately a lot of us are putting ourselves in positions where we are forced to make decisions at times when we are not thinking as clearly as we should. We fall prey to Decision Fatigue. This happens when our deliberate brain system (see earlier posts on brain systems 1 and 2; Automatic and Deliberate) is tired and we then make poorer decisions than if our brains were well rested and fed.

Here are four strategies four combatting Decision Fatigue:

  1. Take regular breaks from tasks. Don’t go more than 90 minutes (and preferably shorter) working on a task before taking a break. Imagine you are a Formula One race car. You are speeding around the track and leading the pack, but if you don’t regularly make pit stops, you will literally run out of fuel and you risk damage to your parts. The same goes for your brain.
  2. Make decisions when your brain is at a peak. This means, don’t make decisions at the end of a grueling, long meeting. Rather, take a break in the meeting and make the decision after the break. The same holds true with your eating cycle. Make decisions when your blood sugar-level is stable, not when it is too high or low.
  3. Schedule breaks between meetings or tasks. In line with number one above, your brain needs rest. Going from one task to another to another is just asking for Decision Fatigue. Instead of scheduling back to back meetings that last 60 minutes each, why not try scheduling the meetings for 55, or even better 45 minutes. Be effective in the meeting, and then take a short breather before the next one.
  4. Allow time for reflection. Try using some of the time during your breaks, between meetings and, most importantly, at the end of the day to reflect on what you have just done. Try using the mnemonic DATE help you reflect on what you:
    1. Have Discovered
    2. Have Achieved
    3. Are Thankful for
    4. Have Experienced

Good luck and let me know how it works :-)!

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Inspired by, How to Have a Good Day: Think Bigger, Feel Better and Transform Your Working Life, by Caroline Webb.

Creativity, Personal Development, Personal meaning, Perspective

Change your proverb, change your perspective II

Check these out. A few twists on some old proverbs. Take a few minutes to ponder each. What do you think?

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  1. While some would say, Never change a winning team – It seems to me that the best Winning teams always change
  2. In our world of more, more, more, the day to day life for many has to do with, Keeping up with the Joneses – But perhaps we would be better served by, Slowing down with the Smiths
  3. Many are keen in The pursuit of happiness – Yet, many more could benefit from enjoying, The happiness of pursuit
  4. While it is certainly true that, Two wrongs don’t make a right – I would still wager that in our arrogance, Too much right, makes a wrong

 

Creativity, Motivation, Personal Development, Personal meaning, Perspective, Strategic planning

Mastering Mastery –Take care of your SMiT

Sorry for the delay. Am traveling again and long stretches in the air plus lack of access to the internet made it difficult to get yesterday’s post out in time. I did write it yesterday on the plane, but didn’t have access to the net until today :-).

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In an earlier post I wrote about how leaders (or employees themselves) could help employees to be better versions of themselves and experience more fulfillment in their work(https://edbrownweb.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/motivation-amp-it-up/ )In that post I used the acronym AMP as a tool tell help remember the most important elements; Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Today I’d like to take a closer look at what contributes to mastery. I propose that we could all benefit from taking care of our SMiT.

In addition to many hours of practice, the following can be of great help:

  • Play to your Strengths.
    • Look to engage in tasks that fit your skills and desires.
    • Too often we are told that we need to strengthen our weaknesses, but perhaps we should also work on strengthening what we are already good at.
    • Especially early on in your career, it can be wise to not jump on the best paying job, but rather take a job that will allow you to learn as much as possible

 

  • Get yourself a Mentor.
    • Follow in the path/steps other masters. Many of us are too proud to seek the advice and help of others, but most of us will learn better and faster if we are humble enough to allow ourselves to be mentored.
    • In addition to a concrete mentor you can also learn from masters by reading about those who have gone before. Learn from their successes as well as their mistakes.
    • Like seeking advice from a local when arriving in a new city, we should listen to the advice of those who have more experience.

 

  • Develop your own independent and creative ways of Thinking.
    • Be open to your inner child. Childlike curiosity asks lots and lots of questions.
    • As you begin to master new skills allow yourself to explore new ways of approaching or applying those skills, experimenting with your own special methods and techniques.
    • Teach what you know to others. The challenge of teaching requires an internalization of new knowledge and skills that will increase your own mastery.

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Inspired by the book Mastery, by Robert Greene.

Creativity, Cultural diversity, Leadership, Personal Development, Perspective, Strategic planning

Think the opposite

Do you have a problem that’s been bugging you for a while? Try one of these two creative thought experiments.

  1. Perspective: Sometimes seeing things from a different perspective can help. But, it can be difficult to envision this. Why not try imagining yourself as an inhabitant from another culture (or planet, if you have the fantasy to do it). You speak a different language, where different clothes, eat different food, have different habits, etc than what you normally do. Once you’ve gotten into the role, look at the problem anew. What insights do you draw? Is the problem still a problem? If so, is it the same problem as it was before? Are there any ways of addressing the problem that could be of benefit for your old and new self?
  2. Think the opposite: What is the most obvious solution? What does everyone else always do (with perhaps minor variations)? Now, what is the opposite? Is everyone in the business cutting costs to the bone, providing only the minimum necessary to sell their product or service? Try offer the opposite; offer more than is necessary. Or is it the opposite? Is everyone pre-occupied with adding more and more to their product line? What about making it simpler? Offer fewer choices. Sometimes counter-intuitive ideas are just what is needed.

Whatever you choose to solve the challenges in your life remember all the stakeholders in the process, not just the stockholder. You’ll still make enough to live on and have a much better conscience and time of it :-).

Creativity, Leadership, Motivation, Personal Development, Perspective, Strategic planning

Aim at a tude, Assume Attention

Have you ever struggled with being focused and effective at work? Sometimes it can be useful to be more intentional or purposeful. Caroline Webb, in her book How to Have a Good Day: Think Bigger, Feel Better and Transform Your Life, has a tactic that might be of help. She proposes that we intentionally adjust the filters we all use to see our environment with. In order to do this she suggests that we look at our day from different perspectives

  1. Aim – Before the day starts, think clearly about what exactly you want to accomplish. What is the main outcome you would like to see? Try to think in terms of positive goals; things you would like to accomplish rather that negative goals; things you’d like to avoid.
  2. Attitude – Take a mental check of your attitude; your attitude about work in general, about that bothersome co-worker, about that difficult customer or about the task you really would rather not do. Now, how can you change your attitude to be at least a little more positive?
  3. Assumptions – What negative assumptions are you carrying with you? Are they perhaps contributing toward confirmation bias? In other words, are you assumptions so strong that regardless of what positive evidence you are presented, you will continue to have a negative view of the situation?
  4. Attention – Be aware of what you will focus your attention on. We often see what we are looking for. Is what you are looking for in line with your aims? If not, shouldn’t it be?

This little exercise before the work day can help you to be more focused, intentional and effective. And, it is simple to use so that you can apply it , not only to your entire workday, but also before meetings or other interactions.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think :-).