26 Good Little Things in 26 days

17 12 2012

This from the creators of the spectacular Facebook page “Amazing Things in the World”:

We tend to forget to do all the good things in our busy lives such that the bad has gotten so much bigger. Here is a small start to remind us all about the responsibility of doing the good and spreading it too.

’26 Good Little Things in 26 days’ – thats the challenge, Brandon Ornoski, one of our fans on the page, has started after the disheartening shooting lately which killed 26 people.

All of us in this community, lets do it and also involve all our friends and see what magic these good “little” things can bring to our character and the society 🙂

Random Acts of Kindness... what will YOU do?

Random Acts of Kindness… what will YOU do?





What are your relationships worth, in dollars?

19 11 2012

Found this fantastic and very interesting article this morning, by Eric Barker, author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Want to improve your happiness and life satisfaction? Then check these stats out…

–          Quinton

Having a better social life can be worth as much as an additional $131,232 a year in terms of life satisfaction:

There is substantial evidence in the psychology and sociology literature that social relationships promote happiness for the individual. This paper explores the use of shadow pricing method to estimate the monetary values of the satisfaction with life gained by an increase in the frequency of interaction with friends, relatives, and neighbours. Using the British Household Panel Survey, an increase in the level of social involvements is worth up to an extra £85,000 a year in terms of life satisfaction. Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.

A happy marriage is worth $105,000 a year: economists have been able to show using happiness surveys that marriage (compared to being single) is worth around £70,000 (or $105,000) a year for a representative person in Great Britain.

Separation, on the other hand, is equivalent to around minus £170,000 (or $255,000) a year (see Clark and Oswald, 2002).

Seeing friends and family regularly is worth $97,265: So, an individual who only sees his or her friends or relatives less than once a month to never at all would require around an extra £63,000 a year to be just as satisfied with life as an individual who sees his or her friends or relatives on most days.

By comparison, your health is worth $463,170: Improvement in health has one of the largest effects on life satisfaction; a move from having a very poor health to having an excellent health is worth around an extra £300,000 a year.

Unemployment takes a big happiness toll. You’d need as much as an extra $114,248 a year to make up for the life satisfaction you lose: There is a large psychic cost associated with joblessness. The cross-sectional estimates suggest that a pay package around £66,000 to £74,000 a year is required to compensate for being unemployed (compared to being employed full-time).

Divorce seems like a bargain, costing the equivalent of only $34,000 a year. Why so low? By the time people get the divorce they are happy to be moving on with their lives: This finding is consistent with the recent conclusion made by Gardner and Oswald (2006) that divorced couples tend to gain happiness from the dissolution of their marriage.

Death of a spouse, on the other hand, is equivalent to a drop in income of around $308,780 a year.

By comparison, your life is worth about $6 million to $9 million dollars, according to various government agencies:

–          $9.1 million (Environmental Protection Agency)

–          $7.9 million (Food and Drug Administration)

–          $6 million (Transportation Department)

–          $7 million (median value for prime aged workers)

What’s the best bet? Agreeing with Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert, more time with friends and family, say the researchers: By allowing unobserved individual fixed effects to be factored out from the life satisfaction equation, an increase in the level of social interaction with friends and relatives is estimated to be worth up to an extra £85,000 a year. In terms of statistical significance, this is strikingly large. The estimated figure is even larger than that of getting married (which is worth approximately £50,000). It can compensate for nearly two-third in the loss of the happiness from going through a separation (minus £139,000) or unemployment (minus £143,000). It is also roughly nine times larger than the average real household income per capita in the dataset, which is around £9,800 a year. So if you want to play real life Monopoly (Life value = $6-9million):

–          Health: +$463,170

–          Better social life: +$131,232

–          Marriage: +$105,000

–          Seeing friends and family regularly: +$97,265

–          Divorce: -$34,000

–          Unemployment: -$114,248

–          Separation: -$255,000

–          Death of a spouse: -$308,780





How to really LIVE

18 05 2012





Fame without the right Foundation

29 03 2012

“Did you hear about the story where 11,000 children gathered in a park in Manila to brush their teeth simultaneously in an attempt to make it into the Guinness book of World Records?

“How about a man trying to watch TV continuously for 60+ hours? The story made it to the home page of CNN.

“I can find hundreds of examples of people trying to do ridiculous things to become famous. The media supports them very well too. Hundreds and thousands of people follow such stories, spread them, follow ongoing conversations regarding them and ultimately creating a vicious cycle of more people wanting such fame.

“What we need is more people who are getting famous for doing things that will leave the world to be a better place.”

– Rajesh Setty, Entrepreneur, Author & Speaker





Perseverance: Keep on Keeping On

21 11 2011





Choose Your Own Adventure: The Underrated Power of Personal Choice

18 11 2011

If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s and read any books, you’ll probably remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels you could get from the school library. You would start reading, and after the first three or four pages, you would get to a point where YOU could decide how the main character in the story would react to an event or choice he had. If you decide to follow the shady man with the grey hat, turn to page 12. If you decide to stay at the bar and keep an eye on the mysterious waitress, turn to page 16. Once you made that choice, you would read another few pages then have to make another choice. Each book had 10-20 different endings, depending on the choices you made for the main character! How cool were those books.

Life is very much the same. We all start on pretty much the same first 2-3 pages (years?), with the exception of the extremely underprivileged. It’s then not too long before we start having to make choices – about the things we do, what we say, and the way we respond to our people and circumstances. All of those choices out together, have made you the person you are today, and created the circumstances you are in.

The downside of this can be recognising the significance of your own responsibility for the negatives in your life right now. The upside however is realising that you have had a huge part to play in most of the good things in your life right now.

 

Most of us have a tendency to lean too far to one extreme in our views of our own responsibility for our circumstances. Half of us blame ourselves for all the bad things, but fail to recognise the good things we’ve achieved. The other half of us blame everything negative on our circumstances or other people, and give ourselves complete credit for everything good that’s happened. Neither of these are correct or healthy. The key is to recognise that life and people around us DO throw us plenty of opportunities as well as difficulties; yet the challenge lies in making the most of the opportunities, and overcoming the difficulties. Some things are beyond our control, but what we DO have control over is our own response and the choices we make. And in the long run, the choices WE make have much more impact than external factors, in creating the life we end up with.

In  the incredible book Man’s Search for Meaning, Nazi concentration camp survivor Victor Frankl talks of this responsibility being one of the deep realisations he experienced while enduring some of the worst circumstances known to mankind. This quote from his book sums it up better than anything I could say:

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way…  And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”

 So where does all this leave us?

1. You are ultimately responsible for where you are – and WHO you are, today. Circumstance has its part, but your responses & choices have led you to the good & bad in your life today.

2. That realisation can be tough, but it’s also liberating, because it opens up the realisation that the shape of your future is up to nothing else and no-one else but YOU. What are you going to decide?

YOU create your life every day. In the small things… YOU decide whether or not you’re going to get up when the alarm goes off, what to wear, what to eat for breakfast, and how to get to work. And as YOU run into people throughout the day, YOU decide how to respond to them, how to treat them, and who to avoid. YOUR intentions for the day affect what YOU do, what YOU experience, and how YOU experience it. In the same way, on a bigger scale, the whole trajectory of YOUR life is created by YOUR choices.

“All I have are the choices that I make.” – Matt Damon, The Adjustment Bureau

“If you only had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted …one moment.. Would you capture it or just let it slip?” – Eminem





Planning vs ACTION: The Challenge of Implementing Change

11 11 2011

I have just read a fascinating (if not a bit confronting) piece written by Martin Osborn, a London-based entrepreneur and writer of the popular Marketing blog Finch Sells. The article reminds me of two quotes:

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519

“Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.” – Chamfort (French playwright, 1741-1794)

The key point I take from the article is not that planning is bad – because nothing significant or worthwhile ever happens without being intentional and planning to do it (and working out how). But planning without acting on it and implementing it, is far too easy to do.

Usually when we reach a point when we realise something needs to change, we have a kind of internal frustration at the way something is happening in our lives. It’s built into our psychology that we need to DO something in response to it. Almost like an animal’s “fight or flight” response to an unwanted situation (a lion turning up at the water hole).

The problem lies in the fact that our brains often fail to differentiate between the action of writing out a to-do (or to-change) list, and the action of actually IMPLEMENTING it. You’ve been frustrated at your poor state of health & fitness; or your bad financial situation; so you sit down and write a plan to fix it. You feel better having got it off your chest. Your brain then registers it as having been ‘dealt with’ and emotionally you feel better about the situation. Two weeks later you find yourself facing the same situation (and feelings) again, when your brain finally realises that nothing actually ocurred to solve the problem.

The solution? Don’t just express your desire to change and then feel better for a while and forget about it; when you want to change something, start doing it NOW. Do ONE thing, no matter how small, to begin momentum and get things moving. If you’ve ever roll-started a car with  a dead battery, you’ll know that it’s far easier to keep pushing a car that is already rolling, than to start it moving from standstill.

Read the article below, and let it challenge you. Remember: knowledge in itself is not power; knowledge gives us the POTENTIAL for power. The power is in the actions we take.

– Quinton

 

SETTING TARGETS FOR THE FUTURE is pointless if you can’t fulfill your targets for today. The only way to achieve something great is to stop daydreaming about it over Starbucks and start taking action when it matters. Now. This is a belief that defines how I set my goals. We have a habit of overestimating what we can achieve in a day, and underestimating what we can achieve in a year. It’s an unfortunate trait, and one that has scuppered many perfectly realisable ambitions.

How often have you found that your short term doing is no match for the long term planning? Are your notepads full of projections for the life you’ll be living in six months? Is there a plan that fits around your schedule to get you there? Notepads are a trademark accessory of the daydreamer who likes to look busy. It’s easier to scribble our intentions than to take the first step towards realising them. How many trees have been hacked down for you reiterate the same objectives over and over again? Writing them down does not bring them to fruition. The next time you commit your masterplan to pen and paper, make sure the last thing you write is the first step you will be taking. Better yet, make sure that first step is crossed off your list before you go to bed. Sleep is the great killer of plans that haven’t been put in to action.

Some people have their futures mapped to the finest detail. They decide one day that enough is enough, and promptly draw up manifestos of change that leave no part of their lives untouched. This approach to achieving big is well-intentioned, but likely to fail. We simply don’t respond well to snap re-programming unless it’s triggered by truly life changing events. And I hope you’ll agree, a moody trip to Starbucks with journal in hand doesn’t quite fit that bill for most individuals.

I have to come back to the concept of overestimating what we can achieve in a day. There’s no doubt. We can achieve a lot in 24 hours, in the literal sense. However, most of the long-term goals we set hinge on our ability to make lifestyle changes. You can’t alter your behavioural traits in 24 hours. I’ve never known a smoking addict to give up the drug on Day One, and to have forgotten about his commitment by Day Two – unless he’s failed the task!

The trouble with overestimating what can be achieved in a day is that it typically deflates our hunger to keep going. There’s no greater thievery of motivation than waking up to yesterday’s failure. It makes your goals seem further and further away. In reality, they’re still perfectly attainable. It’s equally true, and even more important to remember, that we chronically underestimate what can be achieved with sustained effort over time. We may fail in 24 hours, it’s quite likely. However, this is where your character needs to shine through. Sustained action is the big brother to your hopes and ambitions. Many of the world’s greatest inventors and innovators only succeeded on the back of a thousand failures. I doubt they needed many notepads telling them what they needed to do, just lots of hours spent actually doing.

It’s better to set yourself a million baby steps than one goal that you’ll do everything in your power to put off for another day. The real secret to long term planning is a simple acknowledgement that the time for taking action is always now. This is what separates the achievers from the believers, and those who do, from those who plan to.