This video produced by the National Geographic shows two different basketball players reaction while blind-folded.

The first lady was an amateur and made to believe that she had good shots while blind-folded, while previously, she missed all 10 shots.

Second time around, when blind-fold was removed, she was able to get 4 out of 10 shots with positive encouragement.

The second guy was a keen basketball player, and able to get 9/10 shots in. While he was blind-folded, he could not get any shots in. When blind-fold was removed, and he played again, and crowd’s negative reinforcement made him miss his shots.

Wow.

What will you do differently today having watched that video?

Is there anyone you will affirm? How about start affirming yourself?

Bloom where you are planted, and other gardening myths.

Sun loving Vanda Ms Joaquim

Some orchids love shade, some like the Vanda Ms Joaquim love the sun. Sun and rain.

Are you sun loving or shade loving? Are you a houseplant or you grow better on turfs like the Japanese rose? Introvert vs Extrovert.

Knowing your personality tendencies is not an excuse for your behaviour but understanding how you tick and not try to be like someone else!

#orchids, #vanda #preference #personality #types #typology #Jung #introvert

Today, I read with great sadness of the passing of Prince Philip.

Not a British citizen, my source was the Wikipedia, instead of the BBC or the tabloids, which are more balanced accounts.

How could a man, used to commanding ships, known to drive his officers hard, accept being recognised mainly as a consort “amoeba”, supporter of his wife, ie working in her family business, as the royal family is known. His wife is the boss.

Yet, I am filled with admiration, that the most outstanding of all his duties, making speeches etc, the one I give him credit for was that of being a guide to his wife and his grandsons.

What his life taught me is, a title, being King, but a bad one is nothing to lust for. Being clear about your roles and not be offended by what tabloids claim, even untruthful comments that he interfered or gave people unwanted advice into their love lives. (He did not.)

Despite the hardships of his early life, how as a baby he was smuggled out of Greece in a fruitbox when his family was exiled due to the Greco-Turkish war. Being seperated from his family, (his mother was sent to an asylum), Prince Philip, by today’s definition, had a challenging childhood. Yet, I’m surprised at how he managed his “gremlins/shadows” rather than “meltdowns”. Perhaps it also speaks of the tolerance of Queen Elizabeth and her clear sense of duty.

He had a clear soldier’s mission. I surprised myself today by my admission that I would put Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip in my list of heroes.

Steadfastness is a virtue I intend to cultivate. Carve your own role.

What’s a virtue you have, despite challenges?

I have been told that visualisation and relaxing is very important. To encourage more coaches and group facilitators to try, Ive posted my script here. If you can attribute my post as a source, feel free to use it. Share your experience in comments below. My inspiration was the book of Ezkiel 47.

Start to feel comfortable. Sit comfortably. Take a nice breath in, and as you exhale, feel the muscles on your face and jaw relax. Now let your breadth take you down to your legs, feet and toes. Check that there is nothing blocking, in front of you.

Picture yourself in a peaceful park. It can be somewhere you’ve been before or from your imagination. Picture yourself there. You feel the gentle sunshine on your face. You feel the calm of the space around you. You hear gentle running water. As you do so, you come to a river, with running fresh water. Its a beautiful crystal clear river.

(i) Ankle deep

You walk into the water. It is ankle deep. Feel the coolness of the water without getting wet. Refreshing. Now, take a deep breathe in and a deep breathe out. You feel the sunshine gently caressing your face, the wind enveloping you, a feeling of warmth/ kisses from the gentle sun. Calm space, gentle running water.

Something catches your toes. It is a pebble, it is smooth and oval shaped. The pebble represent stress or worry in your life. You place the stone in your hands and throw it back into the water. Notice how the pebble hits the water and creates a ripple effect. You let it go, and notice how the ripples become still. How does it feels like? Take a deep breathe in and a deep breathe out. Let the pebble and stress drop to the bottom of the river. You start to explore, and find your place.

(ii) Waist Deep

Take another step deeper into the water, you feel your feet firmly on the ground. The water is waist deep. Movement is more difficult. Take a deep breathe in and a deep breathe out. You notice your thoughts. Others have returned to the ankle depth level where there is more fun and freedom. You notice leaves on the water. You pin your thoughts on the leaves let them go. There are beautiful fishes in the water. You want to discover more. You struggle. As you struggle, your muscles become stronger like a butterfly’s wings trying to emerge from the chrysalis.

(iii) Over your head

You’re now one step deeper in the river. The water is over your head. “The water here is beyond your control – it’s all
around you. You don’t fight against it – you calmly go with the flow. Breathe in breathe out. You let go of the firm ground. You notice your thoughts coming and letting go. Where is the river taking me? You notice the beautiful fruit trees on the riverbank. Fishes in the clean river, colored stones at the bottom. The old has gone, and the new has come.

You are letting the river carry you to a new place, going with the flow. Notice your thoughts and letting go. Breathe in and breathe out. Place your right hand on your belly, feel it rise and fall. Feel your feet on the ground, and being present at this moment. You have arrived. Prepare to open your eyes at the sound of the bell. Breathe in, breathe out.

Check in:

  1. How was the visualisation experience?
  2. What are your thoughts? What did you discover?
  3. One thing that’s better today?

NB: What is this river? This river can be lovingkindness, peace, hope for a better future. Often we’re full of stress, anxiety about what we cannot control, given the negative news around us. Just like we need to resist the temptation to rescue a butterfly trying to emerge from a chrysalis, as its muscles get stronger in the struggle.

Go slow.

#river #visualisation #Ezkiel47 #script #coach #coaching

I am appreciating how conversations can be nourishing. Often, I’m hopeful for solution focused futures. Having started my career in the diplomatic service and later venturing into headhunting and the human capital field, I’ve learnt that choice of words can make or break conversations.

Unhelpful comments, unintentional or otherwise, can prevent conversations from moving forward:

Accusing: “You need to ask yourself if the problem is you?….

Blaming: “I did this for you..” or “because I was helping you… [negative event happened]

Globalising: “You always …. ” “You never …”

Interrogating (tone): “Why did you do this?...”

Demeaning: “You are not joking...” “Good luck to you…”

Preaching: “You should…” “When I was your age….” “When I was [doing this job],...”

Threatening: “You better ...”

Judging: “You are not interested in making this work..” “You don’t care about...”

Excusing: “Dont worry, things will get better“.

Instigating: “He said you disrespected him

Tone of voice including sarcasm or anger. Non-verbal cues like rolling of eyes or twitching of mouth or sniggering, “humph”, interrupting the flow.

“What in the world were you thinking of?”

Joanne Koo

Director, Centre for Solution Focused Futures

To nourish dreams for a sustainable future

Today I threw away 30 years of namecards in my rolodex. I struggled as I contemplated if they will be useful.

30 years of contacts in your network if not kept in touch are not assets. Most are no longer in positions stated on the namecards.

On the way to the rubbish chute, surprisingly I felt lighter. Grateful for #Linkedin, a better way to keep in touch.

Let go of past hurts. Fixed mindsets. Old patterns of thinking for breathing space.

Is there anything you need to reinvest or let go?

If life (or your mom) gives you sour pomelo (pamplemousse), make pomelo salad with lime and mint leaves or leftovers (chicken) from your fridge.

Serve salad using the thick pomelo skin as bowl. Or …

Wring the pomelo skin like a stress ball and be tantalised by the exotic citrusy refreshing fragrance of far away sun-sea lands like Thailand or Vietnam.

Constraints such as sustainability force us to be creative

Pomelo or 柚子 sounds like abundance in Chinese, making it a festive gift. Ipoh pomelo are light and sweet costing $10 but cheaper less sweet pomelo go for a third the price.

Quote from Steve Jobs in Wired (1996):

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

https://www.wired.com/1996/02/jobs-2/

I grew up in an Asian family, where one believes in fate.  Born at a certain time, day, month, year, preferably “Year of the dragon” – you’ll sail towards the golden sea, without hard work.  I was not born under such lucky stars – and hence embraced American style motivational thinking with open arms.  You can be what you put your heart too.  Is this true?

As a Myers Briggs Type Indicator facilitator and career coach, I am now inclined that nature, nurture and “will” or adaptation through self awareness can help us modify our behaviors.

In “Quiet, the power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking” (Ch 5),  author Susan Cain, interviewed Dr Carl Schwartz, Director of the Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Research Lab, using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines if introverts and extroverts behave differently.  Specifically, through measuring the activity of the amygdala – in shaping the personalities of introverts and extroverts.

In an experiment using a slideshow projecting a crowded room of strangers or some familiar faces, Schwartz found that the amydalae of high reactives (introverts) reacted more to the photos of strangers than low reactives (extroverts). Using a longitudinal study, found that the footprint of a high or low reactive temperament never disappeared in adulthood (what Carl Jung assumed all these while).  Susan Cain calls this the “rubber band theory” of personality.  “We are like rubber bands at rest.  We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much.”  Nature and nurture. Bill Gates is never going to be Bill Clinton.

What’s being processed in the Introvert’s brain in a cocktail party?

A lot.

1. When we greet a stranger in a party, the amygdala (the ancient part of the brain), goes into overdrive.

2. For those relatively skilled in social situations, the neofrontal cortex kicks in to tell you to calm down, and what to do next – shake hands, smile. But conditioning and learning only suppresses the activity of the amygdala, not erase the fear.

3. During times of stress, unwarranted fears came go haywire,  – “when the cortex has other things to do than soothe an excitable amygdala”.  => Solitude and time for meditation works for both introverts and extroverts as you don’t want your amygdala to spin out of control on you.

What should we do:

To conquer fear of public speaking, small talk with strangers etc.

1. Desensitise yourself (and your amygdala) in small doses, over and over again – in a safe environment.

Reassuring. Something I’ve known intuitively.  Don’t just jump into the deep end. Bad advice.  As Japanese say, “Kaizen” or small improvements daily is better. A case in point was when I learnt to ride a bicycle “in one hour” in my forties at the harassment of my husband.  Instead of buying a beautifully crafted bicycle meant for racers as my first bike, so that it can still be used 3 years later and not out-grow it, as he put it, I bought a safe one which I would put my feet on the ground “safely”, to minimise my fear of falling.  Also, I took to “Youtube” and watched many, many bicycle training videos to desensitise myself.

A “one hour miracle”, was actually hours of practice soothing my amygdala which cannot tell the difference between real practice and what the eye sees.

2.  Find your sweet spot.

Once you discover your preferences, organise your life around “optimal levels of arousal“, what Susan Cain calls “sweet spots”.   If you’re happily reading your book in a quiet place, and after 30 mins find yourself re-reading a sentence 5 times, you’re understimulated.  Call a friend, go out for tea.  Now you’re back into your sweet-spot.  But if your extroverted friend who needs a higher level of stimulation, persuades you to follow her to a party after this tea, you may find yourself having to make small talk with strangers, and soon, find yourself “overstimulated“.

What next?  Pair off with someone for in-depth conversation, or go back to your book. Understanding your sweet spot, can increase satisfaction in every area of your life and more.

Ask: How much time does your work require you to behave out of your sweet spot? Too much time in a research lab, and not enough time interacting with people? Or too much time socialising and schmoozing and not enough time to research in your cubicle.

3. Find out what’s meaningful for you

Can we act out of character? How then do famous strong introverts speak in public effectively?  Susan Cain introduces us to the Free Traits theory, created by Professor Brian Little, former Havard University psychology lecturer. “According to the Free Traits theory, we are able to act out of character in the service of core personal projects. ” Introverts can behave like extroverts to accomplish work/causes they regard as important, people/ projects they value highly.

To thine own self be true. – Shakespeare

How to identify core personal projects?

4. Pay attention to your actions

Can you fake it till you make it? Yes, to a certain extent according to studies by research psychologist, Richard Lippa comparing introverts who pretend and act like extroverts, with actual extroverts. Some psuedo-extroverts are surprisingly convincing.

Pay attention to how your face and body arrange themselves when you’re feeling confident and adopt the same position when it comes time to fake it. Studies have shown that behavior can lead to emotions. Smiling makes you feel stronger and happier and frowning makes you feel angry.

There is a limit to the control of self-presentation – beware of behavioral leakage. When you act out of character for a project you don’t care about, your discomfort can come across strongly and detected by the other party, sometimes as “freudian slips”.

5. Restore

Professor Little advises, find as many restorative niches as possible in your daily life, recommended by “The Introvert Advantage” – a quick read, practical guide. Surprisingly for a sedentary person like myself, going for a walk in the park, or jogging in the gym is a restorative process. After a day of lecturing, I recharge with a 20 min treadmill time, then off to a dinner with my husband’s colleagues and then supper with his friends.

While some of the recommendations are not new, it has given credibility that I am not abnormal, and allowed me to negotiate with my husband, an extrovert, who wants me to go everywhere. Professor Little calls it “Free Trait Agreement”,

Read more about this inspiring book, Quiet by Susan Cain.

There are more nuggets in this book not covered by my blog. Watch Susan Cain’s TED introduction, but she’s too modest in promoting her book.

Photo: Coffee at Pottery Tsuboya, Naha, Okinawa, 2017

Topics:

  • Art/ Apps
  • Business/ Books
  • Current Affairs/ Charities
  • Disruptive Tech/ Dream Destinations
  • Family/ Fun
  • Good food – Cooking/ Restaurant
  • Family
  • Here and Now/ Host/ Hobbies/ Holidays
  • Internet of Things
  • Job
  1. How are you related to the host? Are you related from the bride’s side or groom’s side? (At a wedding)
  2. Does your family have any “secret” or famous recipes?
  3. What’s your favorite restaurant that others don’t know about?
  4. How’s the family?
  5. What do you usually do on weekends?
  6. I am starting a book club, any good books you recommend?
  7. Any books you recommend to get into your field?
  8. Do you prefer city vacations or relaxing on the beach?

Job

I am/ My (niece/son) is interested to get into this [profession]. Do you have any advice for me/ I should pass on?”

“ How did you decide to get into [X field]?”

“I read about +++++ [Y detail about job] in +++++. Has that held true in your experience?”

“Which skill do you use the most in your work? Was that what you expected?”

“What’s the stereotype of a [job title]? Does it hold up?”

“Is there anything you didn’t anticipate about this role starting out? Do you like or dislike that?”

“What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? How about the worst?”

More tips on small talk or ice breakers for your next event:

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/small-talk-guide