If you’re a puzzle, what pieces are missing?

25 02 2010

Here are some thoughts I read this morning on “Life Beyond Code” by Rajesh Setty.

Enjoy.

– Quinton

***

You may have very little use of a single puzzle piece. I can’t argue with that. But let’s explore that a little further…

· Being likable alone may not be an asset but not being likable may be a liability

· Having long term relationships alone may not be an asset but not having them may be a liability.

· Good communication skills alone may not be an asset but not having good communication skills may be a liability.

I can go on but the point is really simple: any one puzzle piece may not be an asset.. but NOT having that puzzle piece can be a big liability (especially when you’re almost ready to complete the puzzle).

Every puzzle piece is important when viewed in conjunction with other puzzle pieces in the puzzle.

View a single puzzle piece independently and its easy to dismiss its importance. View the same puzzle piece in conjunction with other puzzle pieces and you will find the very same puzzle piece invaluable.

Really, it’s not the puzzle piece but your ability to see that puzzle piece in the right context that makes a world of difference.

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Stuck? 6 Keys to Breakthrough..

23 02 2010

How many times have you faced a situation or a time in your life where you just felt STUCK. In a rut, as it were. Here are some quick keys to breakthrough..

1. Get some direction. Ask yourself what you actually want – “what would you do if you knew you could not fail?” You’ll never get momentum without a sense of direction.

2. Realise you have a choice! You may not be able to control you circumstances, but you can control your response. There is a difference between responding and reacting. The difference lies in the seat of control – are you occupying it, or your circumstances?

3. Acknowledge the things that block you from responding. Fear of taking responsibility, fear of failure, fear of others’ opinions, fear….. The first step to beat any problem is to recognise its existence. “Know your enemy to defeat it”.

4. Share your goals with someone else (who will support you)! Accountability yields commitment. I was talking with some friends recently about why we don’t do this, and realised that either:

a. We fear falling short of others expectations (what-if-I-fail?) and so try to play down our goals or keep them private, or

b. We fear that the goal itself may be seen as too small (a bit silly or easy) – or too big (who do you think you are?) – in the eyes of others when we share it.

In short, we fear people’s reactions to the actual goal, and then we fear their potential reaction should we fail to achieve it. If it’s too small, they’ll laugh at us. If it’s too big, we might fail and expose ourselves to ridicule. Solution is in the next point…

5. Don’t let other people hold you back with the same reasoning and negativity that they hold their own lives back with! Realise that everyone has hopes and goals, but most people fail to achieve them – for lack of courage and lack of proactiveness. So don’t fear the critics! US President Theodore Roosevelt once said:

“…the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic – the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done.”

6. And finally, realise that the times where you are most held back from doing something (by fear, lack of faith etc), will often be the times where if you push through, you will experience the greatest reward and success!





Great Quotes From Great Thinkers..

23 02 2010

Some of my favourite quotes from Robin Sharma, business leadership coach, author and speaker. Along with a few thought-provoking quotes from other great minds.

Read, and be inspired!

Quinton

***

As you reflect back over your life, ask this powerful question: “Could i have done more?” If yes, do more now. Too many people die at 30 and are buried at 80

What makes genius isn’t just the big idea but the brilliant execution to advance it

A key trait of greatness is to never lose your lust for learning.

You can’t create an outer life that’s more excellent than the quality of your inner life – outer leadership begins with self-leadership. Life doesn’t give you what you want – life gives you who you are. For things to change, we must change. for our lives to become exceptional, we must first become exceptional. The starting point of it all: to change the world, transform yourself.

What would do today if you had a deep knowing that it was impossible to fail? A secret of greatness is to do the things that make you feel uncomfortable and play out on the jagged edges of your life. If you’re not really growing, you’re not truly living.

Winston Churchill said “The price of greatness is responsibility.” Either you set your goals and, in doing so, have your life governed by choice or you do nothing and have your life governed by chance. You can live your life by chance or by choice. It’s really up to you.

Lead without a title. Leadership isn’t about the size of your position. Real leadership is about the depth of your commitment. Your job as a Leader Without a Title? To stay “couraged” in a world that dis-courages you from being awesome

Life’s greatest longing is for the fullest expression of your best self. Aim for brilliance. If you miss, at least you’ll end up at excellence.

Goals matter. They are your hopes seeking expression. And without hope, life is dead.

Life is fair. The amount of wealth you experience will be a function of how much value you create for others. What a great paradox: the more you share your talents and gifts with others, the bigger the gift you give yourself

The heart knows what the mind cannot understand [trust your gut]

Treat everyone you meet as if they might die tomorrow.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a greater understanding of ourselves. – Carl Jung

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. – Aldous Huxley

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” – Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop”

A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.” – Warren Buffett





A short film: Mankind Is No Island

22 02 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrDxe9gK8Gk





‘Average’ vs ‘Wow’: The Extra 10%

19 02 2010

Very often it would surprise us to know what other people think of us – how we are perceived by the world around us (colleagues, for instance) is often quite different to how we perceive ourselves, and what our own intentions are. Intentions are all very good, but people don’t see our intentions – they experience our actions and behaviours.

This morning I read a fantastic article called “The Business of Relationships” by Robin Sharma. It set out 9 key actions we need to practice consistently, to foster great relationships – and success – in the workplace. What surprised me was how simple these points were, and how little extra effort they require to do. An example:

We tend to value that which is scarce. We put a premium on objects and experiences we believe will run out: a Limited edition Gucci Ronson sneaker, a two week showing of Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Reserve wine. We are impacted and motivated most by that which we don’t come across everyday or that which comes in a limited supply. If you are seeking to create long term loyalty in your business relationships, ask yourself what is noticeably scarce? Is it generosity? Authenticity? Encouragement? Spot the scarcity and rock it.”

Obvious when you think about it, right? And really, how much extra effort would it take to leverage the strengths you have and allow yourself to stand out? Very little, I suggest. And that’s the point – it doesn’t take much. Whether in work, personal goals, fitness, or anything else it’s that extra 10% that differentiates YOU from the mass of average people around you. Yet so much of the time, it is so much easier not to do them – not to put that extra 10% of effort in.

In the 2008 Summer Olympics, swimmer Michael Phelps brought home eight gold medals and came home a sporting hero. Looking at the statistics of his races is amazing:

· Michael won the Men’s 100m Butterfly by only 0.01 seconds.

· That’s one hundredth of a second.

· The average blink of a human eye is one tenth of a second.

· Michael’s victory in this race was by a margin that was ten times faster than the average blink of a human eye!

· The average margin of victory in all five of his individual medal races was 1.436 seconds.

That is the difference between silver and gold – and also the difference between a few endorsements and an extra $40-odd million a year.

Develop the habit of applying consistent extra effort, vision, and focus in everything you do. Once it becomes a habit, it will be second nature. Imagine if your attitude, your focus, your engagement with other people, and your perseverance were all just a little better. Ask yourself what that would be worth. Bang for your buck, anyone?

– Quinton





Facebook vs Friends: Losing Ourselves in the Info Age

17 02 2010

Excerpt from “The End of Solitude”, a paper by William Deresiewicz,  associate professor of English at Yale University.

Originally published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington, D.C

With the social-networking sites of the new century—Friendster and MySpace were launched in 2003, Facebook in 2004—the friendship circle has expanded to engulf the whole of the social world, and in so doing, destroyed both its own nature and that of the individual friendship itself. Facebook’s very premise—and promise—is that it makes our friendship circles visible. There they are, my friends, all in the same place. Except, of course, they’re not in the same place, or, rather, they’re not my friends. They’re simulacra of my friends, little dehydrated packets of images and information, no more my friends than a set of baseball cards is the New York Mets.

I remember realizing a few years ago that most of the members of what I thought of as my “circle” didn’t actually know one another. One I’d met in graduate school, another at a job, one in Boston, another in Brooklyn, one lived in Minneapolis now, another in Israel, so that I was ultimately able to enumerate some 14 people, none of whom had ever met any of the others. To imagine that they added up to a circle, an embracing and encircling structure, was a belief, I realized, that violated the laws of feeling as well as geometry. They were a set of points, and I was wandering somewhere among them. Facebook seduces us, however, into exactly that illusion, inviting us to believe that by assembling a list, we have conjured a group. Visual juxtaposition creates the mirage of emotional proximity. “It’s like they’re all having a conversation,” a woman I know once said about her Facebook page, full of posts and comments from friends and friends of friends. “Except they’re not.”

Friendship is devolving, in other words, from a relationship to a feeling—from something people share to something each of us hugs privately to ourselves in the loneliness of our electronic caves, rearranging the tokens of connection like a lonely child playing with dolls. The same path was long ago trodden by community. As the traditional face-to-face community disappeared, we held on to what we had lost—the closeness, the rootedness—by clinging to the word, no matter how much we had to water down its meaning. Now we speak of the Jewish “community” and the medical “community” and the “community” of readers, even though none of them actually is one. What we have, instead of community, is, if we’re lucky, a “sense” of community—the feeling without the structure; a private emotion, not a collective experience. And now friendship, which arose to its present importance as a replacement for community, is going the same way. We have “friends,” just as we belong to “communities.” Scanning my Facebook page gives me, precisely, a “sense” of connection. Not an actual connection, just a sense.

What purpose do all those wall posts and status updates serve? On the first beautiful weekend of spring this year, a friend posted this update from Central Park: “[So-and-so] is in the Park with the rest of the City.” The first question that comes to mind is, if you’re enjoying a beautiful day in the park, why don’t you give your iPhone a rest? But the more important one is, why did you need to tell us that? We have always shared our little private observations and moments of feeling—it’s part of what friendship’s about, part of the way we remain present in one another’s lives—but things are different now. Until a few years ago, you could share your thoughts with only one friend at a time (on the phone, say), or maybe with a small group, later, in person. And when you did, you were talking to specific people, and you tailored what you said, and how you said it, to who they were—their interests, their personalities, most of all, your degree of mutual intimacy. “Reach out and touch someone” meant someone in particular, someone you were actually thinking about. It meant having a conversation. Now we’re just broadcasting our stream of consciousness, live from Central Park, to all 500 of our friends at once, hoping that someone, anyone, will confirm our existence by answering back. We haven’t just stopped talking to our friends as individuals, at such moments, we have stopped thinking of them as individuals. We have turned them into an indiscriminate mass, a kind of audience or faceless public. We address ourselves not to a circle, but to a cloud.

It’s amazing how fast things have changed. Not only don’t we have Wordsworth and Coleridge anymore, we don’t even have Jerry and George. Today, Ross and Chandler would be writing on each other’s walls. Carrie and the girls would be posting status updates, and if they did manage to find the time for lunch, they’d be too busy checking their BlackBerrys to have a real conversation. Sex and Friends went off the air just five years ago, and already we live in a different world. Friendship (like activism) has been smoothly integrated into our new electronic lifestyles. We’re too busy to spare our friends more time than it takes to send a text. We’re too busy, sending texts. And what happens when we do find the time to get together? I asked a woman I know whether her teenage daughters and their friends still have the kind of intense friendships that kids once did. Yes, she said, but they go about them differently. They still stay up talking in their rooms, but they’re also online with three other friends, and texting with another three. Video chatting is more intimate, in theory, than speaking on the phone, but not if you’re doing it with four people at once. And teenagers are just an early version of the rest of us. A study found that one American in four reported having no close confidants, up from one in 10 in 1985. The figures date from 2004, and there’s little doubt that Facebook and texting and all the rest of it have already exacerbated the situation. The more people we know, the lonelier we get.

The new group friendship, already vitiated itself, is cannibalizing our individual friendships as the boundaries between the two blur. The most disturbing thing about Facebook is the extent to which people are willing—are eager—to conduct their private lives in public. “hola cutie-pie! i’m in town on wednesday. lunch?” “Julie, I’m so glad we’re back in touch. xoxox.” “Sorry for not calling, am going through a tough time right now.” Have these people forgotten how to use e-mail, or do they actually prefer to stage the emotional equivalent of a public grope? I can understand “[So-and-so] is in the Park with the rest of the City,” but I am incapable of comprehending this kind of exhibitionism. Perhaps I need to surrender the idea that the value of friendship lies precisely in the space of privacy it creates: not the secrets that two people exchange so much as the unique and inviolate world they build up between them, the spider web of shared discovery they spin out, slowly and carefully, together. There’s something faintly obscene about performing that intimacy in front of everyone you know, as if its real purpose were to show what a deep person you are. Are we really so hungry for validation? So desperate to prove we have friends?

But surely Facebook has its benefits. Long-lost friends can reconnect, far-flung ones can stay in touch. I wonder, though. Having recently moved across the country, I thought that Facebook would help me feel connected to the friends I’d left behind. But now I find the opposite is true. Reading about the mundane details of their lives, a steady stream of trivia and ephemera, leaves me feeling both empty and unpleasantly full, as if I had just binged on junk food, and precisely because it reminds me of the real sustenance, the real knowledge, we exchange by e-mail or phone or face-to-face. And the whole theatrical quality of the business, the sense that my friends are doing their best to impersonate themselves, only makes it worse. The person I read about, I cannot help feeling, is not quite the person I know.

As for getting back in touch with old friends—yes, when they’re people you really love, it’s a miracle. But most of the time, they’re not. They’re someone you knew for a summer in camp, or a midlevel friend from high school. They don’t matter to you as individuals anymore, certainly not the individuals they are now, they matter because they made up the texture of your experience at a certain moment in your life, in conjunction with all the other people you knew. Tear them out of that texture—read about their brats, look at pictures of their vacation—and they mean nothing. Tear out enough of them and you ruin the texture itself, replace a matrix of feeling and memory, the deep subsoil of experience, with a spurious sense of familiarity. Your 16-year-old self knows them. Your 28-year-old self should not know them.

Facebook holds out a utopian possibility: What once was lost will now be found. But the heaven of the past is a promised land destroyed in the reaching. Facebook, here, becomes the anti-madeleine, an eraser of memory. Carlton Fisk has remarked that he’s watched the videotape of his famous World Series home run only a few times, lest it overwrite his own recollection of the event. Proust knew that memory is a skittish creature that peeks from its hole only when it isn’t being sought. Mementos, snapshots, reunions, and now this—all of them modes of amnesia, foes of true remembering. The past should stay in the heart, where it belongs.

Finally, the new social-networking Web sites have falsified our understanding of intimacy itself, and with it, our understanding of ourselves. The absurd idea, bruited about in the media, that a MySpace profile or “25 Random Things About Me” can tell us more about someone than even a good friend might be aware of is based on desiccated notions about what knowing another person means: First, that intimacy is confessional—an idea both peculiarly American and peculiarly young, perhaps because both types of people tend to travel among strangers, and so believe in the instant disgorging of the self as the quickest route to familiarity. Second, that identity is reducible to information: the name of your cat, your favorite Beatle, the stupid thing you did in seventh grade. Third, that it is reducible, in particular, to the kind of information that social-networking Web sites are most interested in eliciting, consumer preferences. Forget that we’re all conducting market research on ourselves. Far worse is that Facebook amplifies our longstanding tendency to see ourselves (“I’m a Skin Bracer man!”) in just those terms. We wear T-shirts that proclaim our brand loyalty, pique ourselves on owning a Mac, and now put up lists of our favorite songs. “15 movies in 15 minutes. Rule: Don’t take too long to think about it.”

So information replaces experience, as it has throughout our culture. But when I think about my friends, what makes them who they are, and why I love them, it is not the names of their siblings that come to mind, or their fear of spiders. It is their qualities of character. This one’s emotional generosity, that one’s moral seriousness, the dark humor of a third. Yet even those are just descriptions, and no more specify the individuals uniquely than to say that one has red hair, another is tall. To understand what they really look like, you would have to see a picture. And to understand who they really are, you would have to hear about the things they’ve done. Character, revealed through action: the two eternal elements of narrative. In order to know people, you have to listen to their stories.

But that is precisely what the Facebook page does not leave room for, or 500 friends, time for. Literally does not leave room for. E-mail, with its rapid-fire etiquette and scrolling format, already trimmed the letter down to a certain acceptable maximum, perhaps a thousand words. Now, with Facebook, the box is shrinking even more, leaving perhaps a third of that length as the conventional limit for a message, far less for a comment. (And we all know the deal on Twitter.) The 10-page missive has gone the way of the buggy whip, soon to be followed, it seems, by the three-hour conversation. Each evolved as a space for telling stories, an act that cannot usefully be accomplished in much less. Posting information is like pornography, a slick, impersonal exhibition. Exchanging stories is like making love: probing, questing, questioning, caressing. It is mutual. It is intimate. It takes patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill—and it teaches them all, too.

They call them social-networking sites for a reason. Networking once meant something specific: climbing the jungle gym of professional contacts in order to advance your career. The truth is that Hume and Smith were not completely right. Commercial society did not eliminate the self-interested aspects of making friends and influencing people, it just changed the way we went about it. Now, in the age of the entrepreneurial self, even our closest relationships are being pressed onto this template. A recent book on the sociology of modern science describes a networking event at a West Coast university: “There do not seem to be any singletons—disconsolately lurking at the margins—nor do dyads appear, except fleetingly.” No solitude, no friendship, no space for refusal—the exact contemporary paradigm. At the same time, the author assures us, “face time” is valued in this “community” as a “high-bandwidth interaction,” offering “unusual capacity for interruption, repair, feedback and learning.” Actual human contact, rendered “unusual” and weighed by the values of a systems engineer. We have given our hearts to machines, and now we are turning into machines. The face of friendship in the new century.

Excerpt from “The End of Solitude”, a paper by Socioligist William Deresiewicz.

Originally published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Washington, D.C.

Source http://chronicle.com/section/Opinion-Ideas/40/





Love – Not “Like”

16 02 2010