Review frequency

I am already expecting the first posts on other blogs about new year posts basically about habits and new year resolutions. The new year is often taken as opportunity to implement big changes.

The problem: New year resolutions only last a short while.
Often we do plan big changes for the new year and try to convince ourselves that everything will turn out better then. Unfortunately often we fall back to our old habits.

The reason: Too much planned and missing persistence
We can only change a very few things from one day to the other. And there are either attributes of our character we might never be able to change. In most cases to get ourselves changed, it is hard work. Frequently review, re-check, re-analysis and retry is needed - and persistence. So if you do not implement frequently recurring actions to improve your personal development, you will hardly succeed.

The solution: Continuous planning of your personal development.
Only when working continuously on your personal development - not only once a year - then you can achieve sustained success in changing the habits you like to. This means hard work on a regular base with recurring review and retry as well as periodic analysis of the current situation more often that just once in a year.

Often advertisements promise us instant success but reality continuously shows that there is no magic pill for success or how to change bad habits. So you need to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work yourself. That's the bad news, but the good is: When continuously working on your personal development (continuously but not exaggerated) you will see improvement with lasting effects.

Related posts: About habits, New year...


Information and experience

Today I read two different newspapers in the morning. One mentioned that prices rise and the other said that they fall. I am already used to hear one day that economy gets better and the other day that it gets worse but reading two opposite news at the same day is an extreme that let me think of the quality of messages and articles in the news in general.

Thinking of the last months or especially yet before christmas I would say that (here in Austria)
  • some things (especially food) got more expensive in the last months,
  • electric devices got cheaper,
  • mobile phones got again cheaper, also the charges but they tend to urge you to make contracts for the next two years instead of one as in the past (maybe they expect prices to fall within the next two years),
  • Services got more expensive,
so far my impression.

And here is the difference between information and experience. Especially general statements, predictions, conclusions and assumptions have a good chance to be wrong.

So always have a higher trust in your personal opinion than in outside information when it comes to act.

Related posts: Hot air, Decision planning, Crappy guesswork, The value of experience.


Economy forecast

Today I read the article "Truth Will Out" at Slow Leadership to which I fully agree.

The article talks about lay-offs - on the way home I heard again in the radio of a big company planning to lay-off many employees.

I hardly think that this is a good general practice. Although I understand that economy has grown enormous during the last years so it seems clear that there must be coming a regression also to reduce everything to "normal". Big companies are like dinosaurs, they get slow and sedated in their movements. But when there is crisis the first thing is that they cut off their legs.

I have seen several companies where staff has been reduced and then they had to buy external know-how or invest more money in long searches to find again matching employees (certainly paying less and hence getting less quality).

From the article mentioned above:
Losing market share is typically a sign of one of three things: your product costs too much, your quality is too low, or your offering is out-of-date.
The problem: Your product costs too much (in relation to it's quality).
The reason: The company has grown too much and the administration overhead is bigger than the amount of workers actually creating the product or providing the service; production runs in outdated manners.
The solution: Optimizing the organization (GTD) and be creative for new ways to provide the same quality or service.

The problem: Your quality is too low.
The reason: Usually because product costs are reduced by using lesser and cheaper employees and cheaper ingredients for the product which means employees do have more stress getting less money being less motivated. What a wonder that the outcome is of low quality...
The solution: Quality costs money as do good, motivated workers do. Sorry, that's the truth.

The problem: The offering is out-of-date.
The reason: Poor flexibility and missing investment in research and development. In bad years budget for research and development is often cut down as well as investment for new infrastructure. Oh wonder, that then productivity is reduced and others perform better on the market.
The solution: Especially in bad times research and development is the most important thing to do - as well as investment into new technologies. In addition to that companies need the courage not following the masses and instead putting effort in doing something different.

Instead of being innovative and showing a serious interest in their customers the companies (their management) do
  • throw away every piece of value (employees, real estates or other properties) they have (in some sort of panic),
  • reduce their offers,
  • reduce quality and service,
  • charge their customers for every finger they move,
  • follow the masses.
So there is no wonder that the spiral of bad economy continues...

Related posts: Masked rot, Hot air, Crash course, Minimum effort.

No risk, no fun

No risk, no fun - people sometimes say that and I always found that a stupid phrase. I must revise my opinion but the point is that this phrase must be seen in a different light than most people do.

When people tell "no risk, no fun", they usually mean that when you start doing something you will not have fun if you are not going to risk something.

If we look at our life, in many cases it is full of attempts to assure our environment and ourselves. We pay for insurances for the car, for fire, for retirement - and even for "life insurances" (what a stupid name - but I think the name was chosen to attract more people).

We take risks by driving fast but then we drive cars with installed airbags to reduce the risk - to have the good feeling without taking the risk. In fact we want to have fun without taking the risk! I think you can have fun without taking particular risks!

There are several risks within whatever you do and several risks to loose whatever you have built or created. Usually we try to eliminate the highest risks to reduce our worries and anxiety. When we feel secure then we can relax and enjoy what we are doing.

The point or problem is: If do not know about the fact that whatever you are trying to enjoy can be temporary joy only then you will not valuate the situation accordingly.

Example: Two days ago I was going get my son to sleep. He was lying on my belly and for a while I hoped that he will fall asleep soon because then I can put him in his bed and do a lot of other things that I wanted to do. Then I realized that time will run fast and he will grow up and what if he gets very ill and dies? I decided to fully enjoy it lying there on the couch with soft music in the background and feeling my son there on my belly relaxed and breathing calmly. There was no risk at that particular moment - it was a very relaxed time and I could enjoy it.

It is not the risky situation that gives you fun!

But: Know about the transience of situations and things so you will set the priorities accordingly and enjoy every good thing that is NOW.

Related posts: Get focused with 3 questions, In the present moment.


Get focused with 3 Questions

In the last days I was angry in the end of the working day because I wasn't able to use the available time efficiently and somehow I felt continuously out of balance and focus.

This morning while walking to the train station by accident three questions came up and suddenly I felt better.

The questions that I do now ask myself while doing something or when about to do something:
  1. What for?
    What is the purpose of my doing? What is the desired outcome? Why do I want or why should I do this?
  2. What's dropped?
    What's cost of the action? What else do I miss in favor of this action?
  3. Who cares?
    Who are the people being affected by my decision? Who are the people interested in my work and doing? Who can gain something from my action or from the desired outcome?
Related posts: Who cares?, In the present moment, Crying for attention, Between short and long term goals, Know better and act on it, The productivity trap, 2 major mistakes, The value of rest and review, Considerations on decisions.


Scotty, beam me up...

...there is no intelligent life on this planet.

Some time ago I read an article at Zen Habits - "Want to Save the World? I'll Tell You How". It invites you to do less to save the world.

Jonathan Mead links in his article to another one - "Plastic Soup" at Oskar Lewis weblog.

Although I do not think that really every piece of plastic produced is still around - it is a huge amount. That article is shocking and there it says also:
"This planet is being destroyed by the the 'most intelligent being on
it'. I think we need to re-define intelligence."
Indeed, I fully agree to that. It is so automatically that humans think that they are more intelligent than all the animals only because they don't understand them. Maybe the the most other animals learned to integrate well with the nature and that's their most important intelligence. Also human learned that there are different types of intelligence. I think humans do focus too much on one or two types of intelligence. What is the big difference of the humans? - They have arms to "use" their intelligence to massive extension.

Again I cannot avoid thinking of the dinosaurs as I already mentioned in the previous article "Information Overflow":
What, if in those times it was just increasing the probability to survive if the creature was a little bigger? - I imagine that a rush in size could cause exhausting of the world resources and hence to the extinction of the dinosaurs. - I don't have any scientific proof for this theory. The phrase "size matters" can have two meanings here... ;-)
I think we also have to redefine how we measure economy and a lot of other core elements of our life. In many realms I think we do have a "mismatch problem".

My biggest respect goes to all the animals who learned to well integrate into the nature forming a harmonic whole. Maybe the single individual animals or races do not know, but that doesn't matter. What matters is the result!

Related posts: Information Overflow, The mismatch problem, Detect the weak point, The main purpose, The resource problem.


One-Way Ticket

While moving through your life you face several opportunities and in every situation you have a lot of choices. Often you want to leave choices open as long as possible.

Comparing a situation with a room you may see many open doors but you don't know what will happen when you go through. Those doors may be labeled and colored in a very attracting way and you feel hard to choose.

What then happens often is that you want to just do a few steps through at least the most attracting doors, lurking at what is in there (for you). You want to keep the opportunity to take another door. When you look back in the room you were in, you want the other doors to be kept open.

But the truth is, that the doors are not static, they do open and close dynamically. Depending on the situations doors may open and close slower or faster. I do think for instance for business strategies doors are opening and closing in weekly or monthly rhythms while during an emergency in the hospital it might be seconds. So you are not in static rooms, you are on a dynamic journey hoping on and off trains or planes.

Once you decided hoping on a train it does not make sense to jump off in the wildness between two stations. And you cannot expect that returning to the last station you will find the same opportunities you faced before.

And you cannot tell what would have happened if you would have taken another door or train because situations change and you may never face the same set of opportunities again. On the other hand when you move on you might arrive at points where you also would have arrived taking other paths. However, you never can really be sure how it would have been taking other routes.

What to learn is:
  1. Evaluate the opportunities (have a look which doors are open) and take yourself the appropriate time (depending on the speed the doors are opening and closing).
  2. Take a decision
  3. Don't waste time in trying to figure out if it wouldn't have been better taking another door/train/route because you cannot reproduce older situations.
Life is a one-way ticket!
Choo choo train
Tuckin' down the track
Gotta travel on it
Never comin' back

Related posts: Decision planning, Direction over goals, 2 major mistakes, Getting older.