About habits

The problem: Unwanted habits are to be changed which often turns out to be a very long and stony way.
As the new year is coming near at a lot of places I read about new years resolutions and habit changes. I don't want to write about new years resolutions because (not only) in my opinion changes are not only to be performed when the year in the date changes. There are a lot of opportunities and as it usually takes a long time and mostly also several attempts to change a habit it is not clever to limit personal improvement to happen only once in a year.

Reading lifehack and other blogs you can read several hints on how to change habits and for example you can read that it takes approximately a month to change a habit. I found several very useful posts out there but while collecting them I recognized that I very seldom thought of changing a particular habit. So I began to think why.

The reason: Habits are often only the visible side effects of the philosophies you are living.
You do live habits not because they happened to you as an accident. You live them because of "good" reasons according to your life experiences - or shocks respectively. As I wrote in "Find the root problem" several different personal (development) problems often have some common "parent problem". And so in my opinion a habit is just a leaf at the tree of problems.

The solution: Change your way of thinking and your philosophy.
First identify the reasons why you are running into the same habits again and again. The reason is usually not just a trigger, but your view of the world and the way you are interpreting your experiences with people and several event types occurring in your life. Reflecting your view of the world and the philosophies your are living and changing the general intentions will remove a lot of unwanted habits automatically, at once and without further big effort - and that is the advantage of grabbing problems at the root.

To give an example: There might be several reasons why you may not be able to communicate with people you do not know well. There might be several fears that prevent you from speaking free out what you want. There might be the fear of making a bad first impression or the fear of getting hurt by sarcastic responses. A root problem perhaps is a big dependency of foreign affirmation. There can be a lot of such discouragements that prevent you from starting a communication. Liberating yourself from this dependency can resolve communication problems automatically because you withdraw the culture medium of the problems arising because of such a basic dependency or fear.

Related post: Primary motivator.

The things in your jacket

Ever returned because you forgot your wallet, your mobile phone, tissues - or perhaps either the keys because they were just in the other jacket? - To me this happened often.

I used to use the same jacket the whole week and then when by accident or because of a little temperature change I changed the jacket and then I was not used to check all pockets and move the things to the other jacket.

What I did to solve this issue: I changed the jacket every day for a week or so and so I got used to check the pockets every day. No it got a new habit for me to check all things if they are in their pockets. A few hints regarding all those little things you have to carry with you:
  • When buying a jacket try out loading it with all the things you need to carry with you so you are sure you get a good, practical jacket.
  • In each jacket each thing should have its fixed pocket. Newer jackets for example all have a separate pocket dedicated for the mobile phone. I have a jacket where the pockets are either labeled with a picture for mobile phone, wallet, glasses and so on.
  • Learn all the things by heart that you have to carry with you.
  • Have a place outside jackets for all your things. Maybe a drawer or so where you can put all the things for example when you unload a jacket completely before loading another.


Many hands

Today I had a very good experience while hosting a family guest now for a few days. She gives us a great helping hand and I have seen the benefit of additional two hands in household and occupying of our baby.

Things can be a lot more efficient if more people help together.

Try it doing things alone and with more people together and you will see how inefficient it is working anyone alone on his own. Nowadays unfortunately it often happens that people are concentrated on their own and and see others more as enemies than potential friends.

Give it a try and group together to achieve more in less time. Another hand - quicker end.

Related posts: The family.

Hands free

A common mistake I often did is the following:

While trying to do a lot of things I often had a lot of things in hands while leaving the apartment, porting things upstairs from the car and so on. Often I did not want to go a second time the way from the car to the apartment and therefore I tried to pack everything on me. This often lead to the problem that things fall down while trying to open doors for example and either sometimes I have to pay attention not to throw the keys together with the waste into the container.

Another big disadvantage is that it gets heavy to carry all the things and you get cramped. So bad thing for your backbone.

Since a few days I definitely try to put everything away - for example:
  • I pack everything into bags and not carry every piece freely. So I have one or a few bags to carry instead of a tower of single pieces.
  • I put the keys in my jacket to have the hands free for the bags to carry.
  • I do not try to carry too many things at once because I move a lot slower and it takes a lot longer to open doors (especially when locked) so the time gained going only once is lost during the difficulties because you have no hand free to open doors or because you have to move slower.
Another sample I practiced already before it got a law in our country: Use a headset on the mobile phone while driving. I still see - although it is forbidden now - a lot of people holding the mobile phone in one hand while driving. It is a lot more comfortable using the headset that I would never miss it again.

So get your hands free!

About Religions

The problem: A lot of conflicts and even wars happen having the religion as a main trigger.
In the history a lot of wars were fought in the name of god and faith. And this although they are all talking about peace and charity.

The reason: There are multiple reasons causing wrong usage of religions.
  • There are a few people misunderstanding the religion they practice.
    In addition to that some are misusing and manipulating the faith of other people practicing the same religion.
  • People are uncertain about themselves and other religions cause anxiety to them.
    This mostly leads to arguing about other religions trying to decry them.
  • People are too certain about themselves and therefore only their way must be the correct one.
    They forget that different people need different medicines for healing their different illnesses. This does not mean that the final goal is the same for everybody - personal happiness.

The solution: We must understand that the intention of the religions are all the same: They are systems of rules and world-view to assist people living together in peace to support the surviving.
Single individuals are in the very most cases not able to live independently from other people. We all depend from other people supporting us with clothes, food and so on. The conjunction let us understand that if other people stay well and be happy will have affect also on our own happiness.
We should respect the fact that different ways may lead to the same final destination - a world full of peace and love. We should therefore pay respect to all religions. You should accept that the religion you practice is not the only possible way and there are different interpretations. Even people not practicing any religion may follow similar rules or at least have the same intention of living together in peace and love with the others - and maybe those people have chosen to practice none of the religions only because they would have liked to join all of them...

When you go to a land or location where other religions are practiced then treat them with respect. Maybe it is not doing harm to you trying one or the other practice of that religion. Celebrating with others improves the understanding the others but does not mean that you cannot have your own view of the world. It is a matter of respect and empathy.


LTO - Letting things open

The problem: You hurry to finish all uncompleted work to have your mind free but this never happens.
To get your mind free of all the things that need to be done usually the best choice is to finish as much as possible. When everything is done one can enjoy the spare time a lot better. Unfortunately we often do feel bad because our mind is full of tasks that need to be completed. GTD - Getting things done is our focus but as soon as our inbox is empty it gets refilled.

The reason: We learned that first the work and then the fun.
Be got taught that first the work must be finished until we can - or let's say - until we have the permission to focus on our hobbies and the other things we enjoy more. Therefore we try to get our work done. This may work for a child having only the homework to be done. As growing up the to-do lists get more and never empty.

The solution: LTO - Let things open - or - LTF - Let things flow
Accept that life is full of open issues. Focus on the important ones that definitely needs to be addressed. But more important: Get yourself some timeout - some time and location to relax - even if there is not everything solved. In your life there will always remain some open issues for the next day, for the next week, for the next month or at least for the next year. Accept it and remember: You may be happy even if there is not all done.

Related post: All Done Status.


An eye for an eye

Marco posted a video with war pictures on his blog. At the end there is fading in a quote from Mahatma Ghandi:
An eye for an eye will make us all blind.
I recall now the audio book I am currently listening when driving by car where the Dalai Lama puts emphasis on the importance to see every creature as an individual very similar to ourselves with the same desire to be happy and avoid suffering.

He states that sometimes it is necessary to use forces to avoid bigger suffering but it is very important to use the forces only against violent actions and never against the creature in general.

Creatures may be disoriented and several occurrences may have caused unhealthy actions. But everyone has the potential to change and we should try to contribute so that positive intentions can grow.

Hate and anger usually aims at a person and not at an unwanted action. The harm and injury we cause on the person will produce desire of revenge and again hate as well as anger. We should stop with hate and anger and clear our spirit. And we should look at and judge actions and not whole persons.

Related posts: How to be happy, When to criticize, The power of intention, Ethic economy, Importance of collaboration. Stop war by stopping defense, Dissolved aggressiveness, Best defense, The resource problem.


Blog post lengths or how to write

Now and then I read blog posts or discussions about the right length of a blog post. Some say that the correct length is about 300 to 470 words other ones tell such numbers depend on the blog general focus (news vs how-to-blog for example).

I cannot understand these discussions. In my opinion a blog post is like every other documentation. News is documentation and a project concept is also documentation. Sure, that depending on the character or type of the documentation there may be a tendency of shorter or longer size.

As many others I got taught in school often for specific home- or teamworks that those documents must be at least n words. Although the basic reason might have been to develop the skill of writing in many cases it caused me to let flow the creativity and inventing sentences that filled up the sheet.

It is a lot more difficult to collect more knowledge and write that information in a compact but still good understandable form. Because of plenty sentences added to text unnecessarily there come up needs of fast reading techniques eliminating the "polystyrene" in text.

A news article, project documentation, blog post or whatever piece of written text should be no more and no less than necessary to transfer the knowledge or the intended condition of the spirit. So don't intend to produce a certain length of text. Focus on the main intention of the text and write as much as needed to achieve that - no more, no less.

Certainly this is not an easy job and actually I am not sure if I got it right. ;-)

Related posts: How many posts must I write?
, Tell not more and not less.


Social constraints

Not all friends create an environment in which you feel free of social constraints.

Watch out for the people who do not have big expectations and judge everything do say and do - watch out for the people who are interested and open minded, humble, ready to experience something new and have fun with it.

World is complicated enough and hanging around with people that make it even more complicated is double taxation.


Productivity and fun

Are you are productivity freak?

While in the process of optimizing performance and cutting down all unnecessary actions I found out that certain distractions and chats with colleagues - and also with the boss - are important to keep the fun and good climate although the particular topics do not seem to improve productivity.

Analyzing, I found an assumption I made: Knowing well what are useful actions to improve productivity and what not.

But in the real what is important for productivity in long term view is not always easy to know.

The factors that optimize the overall productivity might not be always that easy to measure.

So while optimizing productivity keep the following in mind:
There might be several elements at work or in your private life that do not seem to be a contribution or even seem to be useless distraction but when cutting them off in the long term you and your colleagues loose motivation and power.

It is important to do things "just for fun" because although the particular sense and benefit cannot be seen immediately it does not mean that there is no.

Fun affects motivation, climate, communication and creativity so it affects also productivity. But when you think only the productivity aspect you loose the fun. It's like not seeing the forest because getting distracted by looking at so many trees.

There must be space and time for fun - at work and at home - to keep the long term overall productivity.


Imagine the missing

The problem: Someone is gone and you suddenly can see the true values of that person.
We usually do criticize more than we esteem. And we often do contribute more to putting people off than motivating them. Only when they are gone we find more good characteristics then ever before.

The reason: The persons we see nearly every day or at least very often we do forget their transiency.
We tend to assume that people entering our life frequently will be there forever and even if not very comprehensible we do appreciate them less as "normal" they get for us. The negative effect that might occur then is reduced motivation and a reduced climate in the relationships to other people.

The solution: Imagine the missing of those people around you and get aware that it is not "normal".
Try to meet people each day for new appreciating their contributions to your work or life and thank them for their contribution and being. Get aware of the value they are for you and contribute to a good climate and motivation to be value for them also.


Positivity barricades

The problem: You think you should be a more positive person but somehow you can't.
On personal development blogs (one of my favorites in this area is "The Positivity Blog" at http://www.positivityblog.com) I read a lot of calls to be more positive. You can read there a lot about reasons and advantages for being more positive. However, when trying to think positive something is hitting the brakes. Thoughts like the following come up:
  • Thinking positive is not being realistic
  • Thinking positive is to blandish the world although there is so much pain
  • Thinking positive stops the motivation for improvement as everything will seem ok.
  • ...

The reason: Being positive is behaviour and action but not a view limited to positive aspects.
Negative persons are usually driven by
  • Negative interpretations of everything around them
  • Negative expectations for the future
  • Negative recalls of the past
So the problem is that even the negative person is not realistic and realizing only a part of the world's properties.

The solution: For being positive focus on your being and not on your view of the world.
Being positive means to trust in your power to
  • improve the things around you
  • love yourself and other people
  • accept with gratitude what life brings to you
It does not mean to see only the positive aspects of life but to see them also.
But stick to the facts!
  • Drop interpretations
  • Drop expectations
If you see somebody smiling in your direction being negative may cause the interpretation that it is not you the person is smiling at (but somebody behind you). Being positive gives you the possibility to verify or/and smile anyway. It does not mean that you should expect that the person fell in love with you. ;-)

Related posts: How to be happy, When to criticize, Success with optimism AND pessimism, The power of intention, Optimist meeting pessimist.


Let 'em wait

The problem: A lot of people come to ask you although not necessary.
A problem that usually only a few people in a company have - but these few know it very well: They are known to have good knowledge in a lot of areas or have good knowledge about the company and it's organization or environment. And so they get asked often and therefore get interrupted very often in their main work.

What often surprises most is that a lot of answers could have been easily found online (Google, Wikipedia, company intranet sites, e-mail inboxes or archives and so on).

The reason: You are the most efficient way to solve their problems.
When they lookup the information somewhere else they have to think more and it takes longer. And maybe they at first have to think first where to lookup (first). As they usually know already your phone extension or have their chair next to you it is the easiest, fastest, most efficient - and maybe also most reliable way to ask you.

Although this might be part of your daily job and might be a good motivation being such an esteemed person it may grow to a level where you cannot do your main job efficiently because you have too many other "little problems" to solve or "little questions" to answer.

The solution: Let them wait.
If you let them wait a little for answers you are not the most efficient way for those little questions and problems that interrupt you more often. When they have to wait they will maybe "in the meantime" get an idea where to look up the information themselves getting there solution faster. - And the problem get solved without you.

If there are questions coming often not so easy to look up for them then write a documentation and publish it (on the internet or intranet or some whereever your company usually stores such information). When these questions come again you simply tell them to look it up. If your standard answer is "Look it up in our repository" it is even less attractive for them to call you because they could have looked up immediately without calling you.

Related post: How to rebuff somebody.


The highlander

The problem: You hand over a task or job to your team, to your employees and later you find out that nobody cared.
When appealing for something to be done too often nobody feels to act upon. Your team is simply ignoring your calls for action.

The reason: You did not define a responsible person.
Shared responsibility is the problem. If more than one person are called for responsibility regarding an issue each of them feels the security that there are coworkers who also think about the issue and now or then nobody will take action.

The solution: Define a single responsible person and define well the issue.
It is important that only a single person is responsible for a specific realm, project (or part of it) that can be clearly confined. There can only be one - like the story with the highlanders. There will be one or none responsible.


Focus on strengths

In the last time I read often that one should focus on his strengths.
But when I look back at my life the I focused also a lot on my weaknesses.

I can see two tendencies which vary in the value:
  1. Specialization
  2. Broadening
While specializing I focused on my strengths and while broadening I focused on my weaknesses.

When you find out your strengths or develop them motivation is around you while doing that what you are interested in. But as much as you focus on very special parts of life you are missing to develop other things that are important for being a person of integrity. There are many aspects of life which have to be mastered to live in peace and without fears.

To give an example: For years I focused mostly on computers not developing social and communication skills. Only after experiencing more and more problems in my daily life I began to focus on these missing skills and tried to develop them.

Sometimes in life you feel good. You are willing and full of power to collect a big amount of knowledge and/or producing something great. On the other hand there are phases where things do not run so well and these are the times to learn some lesson from your mistakes or erase some weakness.

When we are down and maybe even depressive all the people around us try to tell us to look at the good and positive but in my opinion especially when we are down we should focus our power to erase the weaknesses and overcome the hurdles in our life! Because they are the reason why we are down and do not have success!

Seems paradox but looking back in my life I always did it that way. When I didn't achieve my goals I tried to find out the reasons for my failure and I found a lot. And guess what: Breaking the own barriers is one of the greatest success and produces motivation immediately!