Monday, June 21, 2010

Why we put things off

  1. Change is difficult for us. Staying as we are is often easier.
  2. We don’t like the unknown. We prefer known comfort zones.
  3. We worry about failing. We imagine the risk more clearly than the reward.
  4. We are too busy. And we aren’t disciplined with our spare time.
  5. We look for excuses to make us feel better about not trying.
  6. Change needs a catalyst so the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same, and we tell ourselves it hasn’t happened yet.
  7. We talk about change but for some reason we are not prepared to give the words the action that they require.
  8. We let the scale of what we need to do prevent us from taking small steps towards change.
  9. We are not willing to sacrifice or go without in order to change something.
  10. The dream isn’t powerful enough in our heads to lead us to want to do something to make change happen.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The purpose of Education

“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one” - Michael Forbes

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

You Are Remarkable.

Remember your mum whispering in your ear at bedtime ‘how special you are’. And you thinking at the time, just how perceptive she was? Way before you knew what perceptive even meant.

Remember when you fell off your bike that time? Did you ever think about not getting back on? Nope, not for a nano second, right?

Remember running your first marathon? Of course, you wanted to quit. Like, really-really wanted to jack it in. But you didn’t, did you?

And remember all those times that you trusted people and they let you down, badly so. But you didn’t let that stop you believing in people. No way, you still think its better to trust than to be a cynic.

You’re made of tough, amazing, brilliant stuff. But even so, from time to time you can forget how remarkable you are.

Time can do that. Life can do that. Just being busy can do that.

So sometimes, you just need reminding of your utter specialness.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Dealing with haters - Tim Ferris

Tim Ferris, (Do Lectures talk back in 2008), author of The Four Hour Work Week went onstage at The Next Web 2010 event in Amsterdam and discussed how best to deal with haters. Originally blogged by Amy-Mae Elliott at Mashable, here are the 7 pieces of advice:

1. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do.

“It’s critical in social media, as in life, to have a clear objective and not to lose sight of that,” Ferriss says. He argues that if your objective is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people or to change the world in some small way (be it through a product or service), you only need to pick your first 1,000 fans — and carefully. “As long as you’re accomplishing your objectives, that 1,000 will lead to a cascading effect,” Ferriss explains. “The 10 million that don’t get it don’t matter.”

2. 10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it.

“People are least productive in reactive mode,” Ferriss states, before explaining that if you are expecting resistance and attackers, you can choose your response in advance, as opposed to reacting inappropriately. This, Ferriss says, will only multiply the problem. “Online I see people committing ’social media suicide’ all the time by one of two ways. Firstly by responding to all criticism, meaning you’re never going to find time to complete important milestones of your own, and by responding to things that don’t warrant a response.” This, says Ferriss, lends more credibility by driving traffic.

3. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” (Colin Powell)

“If you treat everyone the same and respond to everyone by apologizing or agreeing, you’re not going to be recognizing the best performers, and you’re not going to be improving the worst performers,” Ferriss says. “That guarantees you’ll get more behavior you don’t want and less you do.” That doesn’t mean never respond, Ferriss goes on to say, but be “tactical and strategic” when you do.

4. “If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative.” (Scott Boras)

“This principle goes hand-in-hand with number two,” Ferriss says. “I actually keep this quote in my wallet because it is a reminder that the best people in almost any field are almost always the people who get the most criticism.” The bigger your impact, explains Ferriss (whose book is a New York Times, WSJ and BusinessWeek bestseller), and the larger the ambition and scale of your project, the more negativity you’ll encounter. Ferriss jokes he has haters “in about 35 languages.”

5. “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” (Epictetus)

“Another way to phrase this is through a more recent quote from Elbert Hubbard,” Ferriss says. “‘To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” Ferriss, who holds a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive tango spins, says he has learned to enjoy criticism over the years. Ferriss, using Roman philosophy to expand on his point, says: “Cato, who Seneca believed to be the perfect stoic, practiced this by wearing darker robes than was customary and by wearing no tunic. He expected to be ridiculed and he was, he did this to train himself to only be ashamed of those things that are truly worth being ashamed of. To do anything remotely interesting you need to train yourself to be effective at dealing with, responding to, even enjoying criticism… In fact, I would take the quote a step further and encourage people to actively pursue being thought foolish and stupid.”

6. “Living well is the best revenge.” (George Herbert)

“The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you,” Ferriss advises. “That, and [show how much fun you’re having!” Ferriss goes on to say that the best revenge is letting haters continue to live with their own resentment and anger, which most of the time has nothing to do with you in particular. “If a vessel contains acid and you pour some on an object, it’s still the vessel that sustains the most damage,” Ferriss says. “Don’t get angry, don’t get even — focus on living well and that will eat at them more than anything you can do.”

7. Keep calm and carry on.

The slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” was originally produced by the British government during the Second World War as a propaganda message to comfort people in the face of Nazi invasion. Ferriss takes the message and applies it to today’s world. “Focus on impact, not approval. If you believe you can change the world, which I hope you do, do what you believe is right and expect resistance and expect attackers,” Ferriss concludes. “Keep calm and carry on!”

posted by David Hieatt (link)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Truth About What Motivates Us

Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.

What is Education for?

As kids, we walk into school with an open mind.

We are innocent and naïve.

It's a time where everything is new. And where everything is possible.

We are the human equivalent of a living-breathing-back-pack wearing sponge.

We are barely knee high and yet we have reached a pivotal time in our lives.

We are going to meet our first teacher.

Luckily most teachers are brilliant.

The brilliant ones are that way Œcos they love what they do.

And as kids even if we don't always listen to the words they say, we can feel the passion with which they say them.

And passion, like negativity, is contagious.

But all teachers, no matter how passionate, have to follow a curriculum born of the last century.

And then teach that to kids from this century.

At best, it's a struggle for the teacher.

At worst, kids can't relate to it. And switch off.

Our educational system still thinks we have to sit exams to show how smart we are. And yet a test of memory doesn't always show our ability to think.

An exam doesn't tell teachers how creative you are, or how determined you are, or how prone to stress you are.

Can we learn as much about Maths by making things as counting things? Probably. Can sport teach us more about ourselves than almost anything? Definitely.

But the big question is does our educational system want to learn about the kids in front of them? Does it want to ask them what they are interested in?

The reason to ask them is simple: we learn better when we are interested.

Now the next big question is can a school learn? Can it adapt? Can it make itself more relevant? Can it change? Can it give education that connects to the kids in front of them? Or will it carry on giving them what it has prepared from the last century, regardless of how relevant it is to today. So that brings to the last big question: Love. We are taught the importance of finding a career but not the importance of finding our love. We have to change education to find out what they are interested in. Find their interest and you will unlock the floodgates of their learning.

So interest is key. If you are interested in something, you will be willing to toil away at it. Put the hours in without feeling like it is a chore. If you are interested in it, it will become your passion. And in the end, it will become your love.

And as you walk out of school and into a job you love, then work will feel more like play, the clock will never go slow, and because you love what you do, the chance are you are going to pretty good at it. And it will be a bunch of fun too.

So I guess getting schools to come into this century is pretty important.

taken from Do Blog (link)

About me

I am an African living in Scotland. A son, a father, an ex-husband, a boyfriend, a teacher and friend trying to piece together the stories that my God, my parents, my ex-wife, my girlfriend, my pupils and my friends are telling me, so that I can tell my own story. Thanks to all for your support and advice. I still love good coffee and popcorn.

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