Number one (#1) Priority : Maximise Your Energy – Remain Fully Engaged in Day to day Life.

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The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal – By Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr. 

Excerpt from the Book:

“We live in digital time. Our rhythms are rushed, rapid fire and relentless, our days carved up into bits and bytes. We celebrate breadth rather than depth, quick reaction more than considered reflection. We skim across the surface, alighting for brief moments at dozens of destinations but rarely remaining for long at any one. We race through our lives without pausing to consider who we really want to be or where we really want to go. We’re wired up but we’re melting down.

Most of us are just trying to do the best that we can. When demand exceeds our capacity, we begin to make expedient choices that get us through our days and nights, but take a toll over time. We survive on too little sleep, wolf down fast foods on the run, fuel up with coffee and cool down with alcohol and sleeping pills. Faced with relentless demands at work, we become short-tempered and easily distracted. We return home from long days at work feeling exhausted and often experience our families not as a source of joy and renewal, but as one more demand in an already overburdened life.

We walk around with day planners and to-do lists, Palm Pilots and BlackBerries, instant pagers and pop-up reminders on our computers— all designed to help us manage our time better. We take pride in our ability to multitask, and we wear our willingness to put in long hours as a badge of honor. The term 24/ 7 describes a world in which work never ends.”

The Book was published in the year 2005, much before, Facebook/Linked In/ Whats app…I am amazed at the insight of the Authors…

So, what to do, in 24X7 connected world. Or what should be our priority.

Time Management.

Delegation.

Planning and Execution.

Digital detachment or no meeting days or such management none-sense.

According to Authors; Remain : Fully Engaged in Day to day life. Its not Time management

but Managing Energy should be the Top Priority.

Now a days people call it : Conscious Living or Mindfulness. However, no one knows, how to be mindful, or else its made so cliched; Think about what you are doing, enjoy the moment, live in present. For a layman, its easies said than done, just re read the excerpt. When you don’t have time even to reflect upon your day to day living, bringing mindfulness is like thinking about your breath, only when you are angry or you are doing Work out/Exercise, you know that you are breathing, else its consciously unconscious, because consciously we know we are Alive but Unconscious because we are not Living.

The authors, sums up the entire dichotomy and Answer to the Problem, very succulently. It reads, and I quote.

“To be fully engaged, we need to be fully present. To be fully present we must be “physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our own immediate self-interest.”

So, if you are

Physically Energised, by remaining little active.

Emotionally connected, with your family/friends and above all your vocation.

Mentally Focused, on the job/work in front of you. (I know thats the biggest problem..lack of focus)

Spiritually aligned, with some purpose or goals in your life.

These four corners, even acted in isolation or tandem, would certainly bring about consciousness into your living. Most importantly, it would create a mindset, to atleast think about all these, otherwise most of people, go from one motion to another even without realising. So if you are some one, who ponders over the questions about the purpose or meaning of life. Maximise your energy by focusing on these four quadrant, should be the priority.

You get more Energy, only if, you remain active in some way, scientifically, any form of physical exercise release a hormone called..endorphins..and it reduces stress…By remaining emotionally connected to your family, brings the purpose in your life, by becoming mentally focused, you achieve more in less time, it also begets a healthy mindset and resilience to get better at everything…And finally, spirituality means, you are connected to something more than you are…it could be god, it could be smallest pleasure in life..it has different connotion for every individual.

All these brings out more Energy…As scott adams, puts it, we Should develop a system that generates more energy. As we know, how a bad co-worker or unpleasent situation drains our energy out. Same way, lot of activites squeeze the energy out of us, every day, but if you focus on doing something which instead of depleting, increase your energy, you can accomplish more on any given day. This cannot be an action requiring mental focus else it will fall into trap of monotony, it needs to be conscious enough to be intervowen as habit into your life. In net result, it would keep your Energy Level through out day.

In nut shell, It is more important to maximise your Energy. Thats should be No-1 Priority. Every Single Day. Period.

Reference Courtesy : Farnamstreet Blog.

Question Everything.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Thinking

We as society, do not believe in questioning. We consider our Gods, Elders, Teachers, Public Figures as sacrosanct. Neither we are trained to question the Authority. We  follow heard mentality and do not like people in high places to be questioned about anything, considering them as Demi Gods.

Psychological survey over the years have concluded that mostly, we are less likely to consider a celebrity or authority to be indulged in some malpractice or fraud as compared to any other individual.

Every one knows about Lance Armstrong Case, and how he admitted to taking drugs to enhance the performance and yet, for years he was never caught pathologically untill he admitted on Oprah Winfrey Show. I doubt during all these years, people ever doubted him.

The journalist, Mr. David Walsh, Chief Sports Reporter, Sunday Times  was questioning the performance of Armstrong since last 13 years, and no one believed him. They were bullied, castigated all most sued by Lance Armstrong Team.

Recently, Sunday Times have come out with a 5 minutes video, highlighting the journey of  questioning the greats…Its worth watching. It also deals about a doctor who questioned the authenticity of MMR Vaccine. Its antidote to the Armstrong Case, where a so called researcher prevented thousands of kids from getting MMR vaccine by creating a false Allaram against the side effect. Though, we would generally welcome these kind of research more particularly when it deals with Children and long term effect. But in this case, the person ultimately proved to be wrong. Watch the Video…first before reading further..

Many times, in hind sight, we understand that all along, back of our mind, we knew that some thing was amiss or it was false or fraudulent, only we never had conviction or courage to ask right question. We must learn to ask right questions and should continue to believe in something, not based on what media projects or say but what we understand and believe. Though, now media controls our thoughts/perception, yet as Thinking Person, we should not accept everything fed to us.

It is equally intrigue for us, when we relate to the second case of MMR vaccine. We do not know, who to believe…Thats why we should adopt scientific thinking…Though it is equally confusing but atleast, its better to question something than to accept it blindly.

What I Learned Watching 150 Hours of TED Talks 500+ by Carmine Gallo

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Learning, Thinking

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What makes for a great presentation — the kind that compels people’s attention and calls them to action?  TED talks have certainly set a benchmark in recent years: HBR even asked Chris Anderson, the group’s founder, to offer lessons drawn from the three decades he’s run TED’s signature events in an article published last summer.

But experience and intuition are one thing; data and analysis are another. What could one learn by watching the most successful TED talks in recent years (150 hours’ worth), talking to many of the speakers, then running the findings by neuroscientists who study persuasion?  I did just that, and here’s what I learned:

Use emotion. Bryan Stevenson’s TED talk, “We need to talk about an injustice”, received the longest standing ovation in the event’s history. A civil rights attorney who successfully argued and won the Supreme Court case Miller v. Alabama, which prohibits mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles convicted of murder, this is a man who knows how to persuade people.

I divided the content of his talk into Aristotle’s three areas of persuasion. Only 10 percent fell under “ethos” (establishing credibility for the speaker); 25 percent fell into the “logos” category (data, statistics) and a full 65 percent was categorized as “pathos” (emotion, storytelling). In his 18-minute talk, Stevenson told three stories to support his argument. The first was about his grandmother, and when I asked him why he started with it, his answer was simple: “Because everyone has a grandmother.” The story was his way of making an immediate connection with the audience.

Stories that trigger emotion are the ones that best inform, illuminate, inspire, and move people to action. Most everyday workplace conversations are heavy on data and light on stories, yet you need the latter to reinforce your argument. So start incorporating more anecdotes – from your own experience or those about other people, stories and brands (both successes and failures) – into your pitches and presentations.

Be novel. We all like to see and hear something new. One guideline that TED gives its speakers is to avoid “trotting out the usual shtick.” In other words, deliver information that is unique, surprising, or unexpected—novel.

In his 2009 TED presentation on the impact of malaria in African countries, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates shocked his audience when he opened a jar of mosquitoes in the middle of his talk. “Malaria, of course, is transmitted by mosquitoes,” he said. “I brought some here so you can experience this. I’ll let these roam around the auditorium. There’s no reason why only poor people should have the experience.” He reassured his audience that the mosquitoes were not infected – but not until the stunt had grabbed their attention and drawn them into the conversation.

As neuroscientist Dr. A.K. Pradeep confirms, our brains can’t ignore novelty. “They are trained to look for something brilliant and new, something that stands out.” Pradeep should know. He’s a pioneer in the area of neuromarketing, studying advertisements, packaging, and design for major brands launching new products.

In the workplace your listener (boss, colleague, sales prospect) is asking him or herself one question: “Is this person teaching me something I don’t know?” So introduce material that’s unexpected, surprising or offers a new and novel solution to an old problem.

Emphasize the visual. Robert Ballard’s 2008 TED talk on his discovery of the Titanic, two and a half miles beneath the surface of the Atlantic, contained 57 slides with no words. He showed pictures, images, and animation of life beneath the sea, without one word of text, and the audience loved it. Why did you deliver an entire presentation in pictures? “Because I’m storytelling; not lecturing,” Ballard told me.

Research shows that most of us learn better when information is presented in pictures andtext instead of text alone. When ideas are delivered verbally—without pictures—the listener retains about 10% of the content. Add a picture and retention soars to 65%.

For your next PowerPoint presentation, abandon the text blocks and bullet points in favor of more visually intriguing design elements. Show pictures, animations, and images that reinforce your theme. Help people remember your message.

Source : HBR.org

Economic Theory to answer question on Love, Life and Sex.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Behavioral Economics, Podcast, Thinking

The social norms in western countries are beyond our understanding. Its fascinating to know how relationship are viewed by young and old in USA. Lot of fun is added by Economist Tim Harford, who used economic tools to answer the question on love, sex and life. NPR produces treasure trove of ideas, podcast are worth listening.

Disclaimer : its long, it may take 5 minutes for you to figure out, where its heading, trust me, its lot of fun. Normally, we do not get time or have patience to listen, oh… boy, it was really funny and intellectually very stimulating..

NPR Here is the Link.

 

Life is Luck, Here how to Plan Career Around It.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Behavioral Economics, Thinking

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Daniel Kahneman has claimed the following as his favorite equation:

Success = talent + luck

Great success = a little more talent + a lot of luck

Kahneman’s implication is that the difference between moderate and great success is mostly luck, not skill. Chance plays a much greater role in our careers than we might wish or even realize. Most of us can live with the upside of this observation: we tend to claim credit for good luck anyway. But the downside — the thought of our careers as the playthings of fate — is almost unbearable. Fortunately, we can make decisions that help minimize the influence of bad luck on our lives.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb argues that $1 million earned as a dentist is not the same as $1 million earned as a rockstar because success as an artist depends much more on chance. If you imagine a game of “career roulette,” you end up a starving artist 99 times for every time you end up a rockstar. If you want to minimize the chance of bad luck, he says, be a dentist. There are no “starving dentists.”

But our goal isn’t simply to minimize the influence of luck; it’s to minimize the chance that bad luck will lead to an unacceptable circumstances, be that starving, divorce, failing to achieve the autonomy you crave, etc. In other words, we want to minimize the risk associated with high uncertainty in our careers.

If minimizing the chance of an unacceptable outcome is our goal, what should we look for, when career decisions loom? Here are three answers.

The role of chance in determining performance 

The first question to answer is how much of the success in a given field, or for a given project, is due to chance. Domains with a lot of uncertainty – where cause and effect are not well understood, or the context is changing constantly, or factors over which you have no visibility or control play a large role in determining performance – have the highest likelihood of skilled people failing. Evidence of the role of chance often comes in the form of high variance of performance – a right-skewed distribution of project outcomes. We see high variance in investment performance, new product launches, startups, creative industries, and academia, all areas where luck plays an outsized role.

The number of tries you have before poor performance is attributed to skill 

Extreme uncertainty is only a problem if the organization holds you responsible for failure that has more to do with chance than with your skill. Well-run organizations will deal with high-variance projects by relying on process metrics and by judging you on diversified outcomes. Process metrics are easiest when the causal mechanism linking behavior and performance is well understood: driving down cycle time in software experiments allows for more experiments, which produces better results. Diversification is either concurrent (making a portfolio of many investments that are held over the same time horizon) or serial (making a series of investments that average out to a portfolio).

The startup world offers an example of serial diversification: everyone recognizes that, even entrepreneurs who “do everything right,” will fail more likely than not. But entrepreneurs can diversify over time by being involved in different ventures – dramatically increasing the chance that skill will pay off over time. While luck is the biggest factor in “home-run” successes, the ability to have investors say “call me when you’re starting your next company” can be achieved mostly through skill.

The degree to which early success causes subsequent success

If early success actually causes later success, the cream doesn’t always rise to the top. When success breeds success and initial success is largely random, the most successful people are those whose early luck compounded – skill doesn’t necessarily tell over time, because diversification is impossible. Sociologist Robert Merton first recognized this phenomenon in academic success and dubbed it “the Matthew Effect,” quoting a Bible passage in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Consider the case of two aspiring venture capitalists: both are very smart and good at what they do. One went to Stanford; the other, Harvard. If they begin investing in 1995, Stanford hears about and invests in Google and Harvard fails to get the early opportunity to invest; if they start in 2005, Harvard gets a chance to invest in Facebook, while Stanford is left out. In either case, early success leads to better dealflow, more opportunities for acquisition (selling new investments to Facebook or Google), more opportunities to recruit talent, stronger networks of advisors, and many other advantages. Instead of averaging out over time, the initial difference between the investors is compounded. While nearly every career provides reputational benefits for (often unearned) early success, few compound the benefits of early luck as strongly as venture capital.

Mitigating the risks of uncertainty in your career

Risk for our purposes is the chance of an outcome you can’t afford – so risk is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Often, skill can ensure that we meet the minimum economic or psychological thresholds we want from our work. But we can use an understanding of luck to pick strategies that minimize unnecessary career risk. Based on what we know about luck, here are some ways to avoid its downsides:

Avoid rigged games – Think hard about accepting a project that is highly uncertain if your performance will be compared to low-uncertainty projects.

Know what you care about – The more important relative performance is, the more you should avoid luck-dominated options, where the difference between good and great more likely results from luck than skill. Conversely, the more you care about “impact” – that the world look different as a result of your work – the more you should consider high-uncertainty choices. If you care most about certainty and social approbation, become a doctor; if you care about expected impact, start a healthcare company.

Reduce risk by smart timing – Pay attention to the order of decisions. Often reversing the order of two decisions can dramatically change their total risk. For example, starting a company as your first job out of college has very little downside – the worst case, you get interesting, valuable experiences that differentiates you among a field of bland candidates. Starting the same company after three years in your first job entails greater financial and career opportunity costs. (It often is still a good idea, but the potential downside is greater.)

Create portfolios – When operating in high-uncertainty environments, look for opportunities to diversify. As a product manager, you can run quick experiments to remove uncertainty from potential projects; as a middle manager, you can sponsor more than one project to increase the probability and magnitude of success on risky projects.

Reframe the risks you’re taking – Poker players think in terms of expectation – whether a given decision, on average, would make or lose money – as a way of avoiding decision regret and outcome bias. Often the most rewarding professional experiences have the most uncertainty. Instead of concentrating on the results of a decision, think about its expected value – both in financial and psychological terms.

Focus on what you can control: Some aspects of our lives are either highly predictable or naturally diversified. Relationships tend to be both: putting effort into friendships almost always strengthens them, and we have both many friends and many opportunities to strengthen each friendship. Invest in relationships, and they’ll pay a highly reliable dividend.

Source : Harvard Business Review

Thinking : Behavioural Economics & Irrationality

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Behavioral Economics, Thinking, Uncategorized

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We read many articles, concepts, have ideas and yet, while grappling with questions, normally principles does not surface in our mind that prompts us to deal with situations differently. We are driven by our emotions, experiences and various social norms. Our thinking as per System-1, as defined by Mr. Daniel Kahneman, a nobel winner in behavioural economics is erratic, impulsive while at best automatic. Secondary thinking a.k.a. System-2, which is deliberate, hardly comes to our consciousness.  Learning of behavioural economics can be applied in every facet of our life. Professor Dan Ariely is another proponent of thinking without irrationality. Some where irrationality and behavioural economics sub merges, and where we can consciously evolve our thinking. It help us to define the problem with a different context. Mr. Ariely writes a column in Wall Street Journal, where he answers seeming simple/complex problems with the tools of social psychology/ behavioural economics/ irrational et all.. One such question is below. This would make you understand, how to define problems with  a certain perspective…once; we know the problem…Answers are very easy..

Dear Dan,

I recently attended a lecture by a well-known academic, and I was amazed and baffled by his inability to communicate even the most basic concepts in his field of expertise. How can experts be so bad at explaining ideas to others? Is this a requirement of academia?

—Rachel 

Here’s a game I sometimes play with my students: I ask them to think about a song, not to tell anyone what it is and tap its beat on a table. Next I ask them to predict how many other students in the room will correctly guess the song’s name. They usually think that about half will get it. Then I ask the rest of the students for their predictions—and no one ever gets it right.

The point is that when we know something and know it well, it is hard for us to appreciate what other people understand. This problem is sometimes called “the curse of knowledge.” We all suffer from this affliction, but it’s particularly severe for my fellow academics. We study things until they seem entirely natural to us and then assume that everyone else easily understands them too. So maybe the type of clumsiness you heard is indeed something of a professional requirement.

See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.

Dlibert

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Books, Thinking

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The Passion is Bullshit.

The goals are for looser.

If you happen to follow the Dilbert Cartoon and loves the blog post of Mr. Scott Adams, you know about his book. How to fail at all most everything and still make it big….The books is very interesting read…Presently its not available in India, you may have to order thru Amazon.in or Flipkart.

Very intelligently book; written in humours way. The concepts and Ideas are very thought provoking.

You may enjoy the Teaser about his book on Slide Share.

Or

Follow him on dilbert.

 

 

How We Think…..!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Behavioral Economics, Thinking

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In the recent years; behavioural economist have focused on various bias in our thinking. Mostly, these are heuristic; developed over generation. If we follow the wisdom of ages, we can certainly stay away from it. Recently, book published by rolf dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly,  summarises all such biases very lucidly. For beginners, article published in fast company. com would provide healthy does of reality check.