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Transcending

Escher got it right.
Men step down and yet rise up,
the hand is drawn by the hand it draws,
and a woman is poised
on her very own shoulders.

Escher

Without you and me this universe is simple,
run with the regularity of a prison.
Galaxies spin along stipulated arcs,
stars collapse at the specified hour,
crows u-turn south and monkeys rut on schedule.
But we, whom the cosmos shaped for a billion years
to fit this place, we know it failed.
For we can reshape,
reach an arm through the bars
and, Escher-like, pull ourselves out.
And while whales feeding on mackerel
are confined forever in the sea,
we climb the waves,
look down from clouds.

~From Look Down From Clouds (Marvin Levine, 1997)

I first chanced upon this poem on Martin Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness”

Do you find that 1hr just flew past and you were scrolling on social media sites/ newsworthy rabbitholes reading (almost anything aimlessly).

If you are like me, I was going site to site reading the same news about President Trump testing positive.

“Brainwash” by David Perlmutter, MD has quick tips to share, using TIME as a checklist.

Whether you are Social Media or TV bingeing, might I add (Korean soap operas), we need to take back the power to control our time usage and avoid tech addiction.

Time restricted – set a timer say 1hr or 10 min to accomplish your goal if you are doing online shopping to restrict the time spent. Tweak the timing until you arrive at one which you can comfortably honour.

Intentional – does it truly benefit you? Is it a good use of your time, be it to relax or do research.

Mindfulness – awareness of how you are using it and being conscious of the way it is making you feel. Incorporate pauses where you question the way you are using the tech and the way it is making you feel. Does it make you feel angry, envious or self conscious?

Enriching – is it a waste of time or helps you understand your world. Does it better you and make you feel more rested and optimistic or just distracted.

David Perlmutter has more advice on understanding our brain.

What do you think about his TIME checklist?

You know the conversation. The Great Man theory proposed by likes in history and research. Leaders follow a mold.

Im reading Jacob Morgan’s “Future Leader”. Leaders decide they want to be leaders. (Steven Covey)

We can choose to exercise situational leadership. Small things we do.

When you see someone exercise a selfless act, affirm them for choosing to do that. Leadership is a choice.

Whats one habit you choose to develop today?

Mastering Adulthood” by Lara Fielding, PsyD.

Mind Warps: Can our brains distort reality or as Dr Fielding calls them “thinking errors”.

Do you trust your thoughts? One of my clients is going through a “Nobody cares! Im alone in the world” moment. Dr Fielding recommends a Mindful Mastery practice to Validate, Check and Change.

Skill 1: Notice: mind warps (examples below), catastrophizing.

Skill 2: Ask: is the thought 100% true?

Skill 3: Compassionately reframe.

1. All or none, black and white thinking – She always gets all the rewards.

2. Blaming – Hold others responsible for something that went wrong. If not for you, I would have… its all your fault. You screwed up my life. My mom wont let me…

3. Catastrophizing – assume the worst that can happen. I recall a client who thinks the plane will crash when he’s queuing at the visa office.

4. Emotional reasoning – mistake feelings for facts. If I feel nervous, it must be bad.

5. Mind reading – assuming others are upset about you when you see them frowning. She thinks Im stupid.

6. Minimization or Magnification – That doesnt count. My parents taught me not to boast or show off. Afterawhile every time I get a “compliment” or positive feedback from a student, I think they want something out of me. I disregard all the compliments I get from my students. Result – burnout. I magnify all the negative comments from 1 student of a class of 45 or a cohort of 120 students each semester. Lol.

7. Overgeneralizing and time travelling – if it happened in the past, it will happen again. One of my clients who is in her 70s talks about being bullied by her mother in law who died 20 years ago. She talks about this everyday if she has nothing dramatic to complain.

8. Personalizing – why is this happening to me? Eg. When something breaks and needs repair. Rather than thinking, all things break.

Any of these mind warps are common traps for you?

Do pick up this very practical book. Dr Fielding has QR codes for more videos on the topic.

Reflect + Reset + Results

https://qz.com/1712239/a-childrens-book-about-the-global-economy-and-the-future-of-work/

A children’s book about the global economy and the future of work — Quartz

Quartz’s Dan Kopf and Bárbara Abbês, Alphabet for the Next Global Economy

A is for Automation,
That great destroyer of jobs,
In the olden days,
It brought out the mobs
It can also be great,
Something people can dig,
The agricultural revolution for example,
Farming was a really hard gig
The effect is complicated,
It creates and it ends,
Is it going to hurt you?
Hard to know, it depends

This is what I call creativity. Combining two simple ideas and creating a fabulous and essential product. References to American companies like Uber which may confuse some.

Whats better, the words rhyme and comes as an audiobook. Three simple ideas into another outstanding product.

Im definitely trying to buy some as gifts for Christmas. Useful not only for children but for most of us trying to learn the vocabulary of the new normal.

A will be Agile or Adapt to the changing trends. With change, we certainly see no end.

If you were to recreate your own alphabet set, what’s A for you?

“Virtues and vices – like carpets and hats – obey the law of fashion, and at different times, society with infuriating inconsistency punishes or rewards the same trait.

What characteristic in Churchill, won him adulation and honors? The same characteristic that earned him censure: his love of war. He never changed, but the values of the world did.

And if the years before 1940 were a prelude, the years after the war were a long decline. In the 1945 election, even before Japan surrendered, Churchill was ejected from office. The public sensed in him the permanent relish for battle, and they wanted no more of it.

Ch13 Churchill’s Bellligerence, His Defining Characteristic from “Forty ways of looking at Churchill” by Gretchen Rubin.

Can our weakness be our strengths?

Is there such a thing as strength or weakness? Gretchen Rubin concluded Ch 12 with this observation “Churchill didn’t care what anyone else thought. He never shut up, he was rude, he was undignified. Churchill’s greatest fault was the fault of his greatest virtue. His disdain for other’s opinions gave him his own clear vision, and he saw what others missed. Willingness to consider all points of view can be a source of weakness as well as strength; in 1940, Churchill knew the true course and led the way without listening to anyone.”

Forty ways of looking at Churchill” by Gretchen Rubin.

My initial reaction to the PM’s announcement that the “circuit breaker” will be extended till 1 June 2020, was one of despondence. Failing to queue for my favourite bubble tea, I went to Chinatown to buy a box of plum wine roast chicken and Chinese roast duck. The food surprisingly tasted bland. The mind plays tricks on our desires.

Instead of mopping if an L shaped or W shaped recession awaits round the corner, what if I use the next 10 days as entering a meditative retreat, in my own home. Minus tv or news. Minus noise. Minus activity. Just deep breathing. Simple food. But

allowed to read and write.

allowed to walk.

allowed to listen

to me

Not judge.

  1. Always make your future bigger than your past.
  2. Always make your learning greater than your experience.
  3. Always make your contribution bigger than your reward.
  4. Always make your performance greater than your applause.
  5. Always make your gratitude greater than your success.
  6. Always make your enjoyment greater than your effort.
  7. Always make your cooperation greater than your status.
  8. Always make your confidence greater than your comfort.
  9. Always make your purpose greater than your money.
  10. Always make your questions bigger than your answers.

I recently chanced upon the writings of strategic coach Dan Sullivan whose 10 laws of growth are so inspiring if you, like me struggle with how opportunistic networking can be.

If we know that networking is necessary, whats holding us back? Fear of rejection.

1. Courage to step out. Curiosity to acquire diversity of experiences.

2. Commitment to change

3. Capability – deep work

4. Confidence

Adapted fron the 4Cs of Dan Sullivan.

Source: https://resources.strategiccoach.com/the-multiplier-mindset-blog/the-laws-of-lifetime-growth

In this digital age of selfies where narcissism is all time high, it is critical for self and employers to sieve through who is a real asset, and those who have a sense of self entitlement. 

Coupled with a talent to tell a good story, the blur becomes greater. It is not unusual for someone who is only a novice, yet feel s/he is entitled. Or someone who has more experience and yet feel that they are not as competent. 

Just sifting through the amount of “self-help” materials on resume writing and career coaching by people who have not much success themselves in searching for a job, the Dunning-Kruger effect becomes a good depiction. 

Everyone can give career advice. Check the credentials of the person giving you his.

But are you getting advice from a mentor who has broad exposure to all industries, especially yours? Someone who is constantly being in touch with understanding the different professions? Or someone who has great success in a very narrow scope?

Referring to advice given by Financial analysts in banks, Warren Buffet once commented, “Wall Street is the only place where people who ride to work in a Rolls Royce take advice from someone who takes a subway”.

 

Measure how much time you talk about:
(a) how smart, special or wonderful you are – or listening while someone does this, plus
(b) how stupid, inept, or bad someone else is – or listening while someone does this

From Marshall Goldsmith, “MOJO – How to get it, How to Keep it, How to Get it Back if you lose it”.

Actually, its Tool#11 in his book. But I like it so much, I put it as #1.

Goldsmith asked his research subjects to guess. Some people estimate 100%, because they believe that all workplace communication serve only these two purposes.

In his view, whether we’re boasting about ourselves or criticizing someone else, such chatter is pointless. We learn nothing and its not good for your MOJO.

Measure yourself and Reduce this number.