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Month: August 2009

Keep Moving

Keep Moving

Competition nowadays involves one key attitude:

Not stopping.

It’s up to you how to keep moving constantly, what matters is that you do it.

Seven random choices:

  • Improve economically valuable skills.
  • Start new projects consistently.
  • Learn all about one thing.
  • Learn a little about a lot of things (this makes you more interesting too).
  • Travel and grow your vision of the world.
  • Physical exercise. Remember, body and mind are one.
  • Build more meaningful relationships.

Things like going to college or working your ass off at your job, while valuable, are standard. You need an edge. That’s what constant movement outside the regular paths will give you.

Placebo Education

Placebo Education

Tyler Cowen on the education and the placebo effect:

Placebo effects can be very powerful and many supposedly effective medicines do not in fact outperform the placebo. The sorry truth is that no one has compared modern education to a placebo. What if we just gave people lots of face-to-face contact and told them they were being educated?

Seth Says

Seth Says

Some extracts of many posts from Seth Godin:

  • The #1 cause of an idea that’s not spreading or a business that’s not growing is that they don’t have a committed group of people spreading the word about them. If you treat everyone the same, you’re not increasing the odds that some people will step up on your behalf.
    This is the first question to ask someone who is frustrated at the rate their idea is spreading. “Who are you hoping will talk about you?” If you don’t know, it’s unlikely to happen all by itself. On the other hand, if a marketer is smart about finding, courting and delighting the group most likely to spread the idea, it’s time well spent.
  • If it’s worth doing, it’s probably worth paying to do it very well. If you’re going to do a presentation or write an eBook, spend the money to do it right. If you can’t be there in person (with an eBook, for example), the energy you get from great design really matters.
  • It’s very difficult to improve your performance on the downhills. I look forward to the uphill parts, because that’s where the work is, the fun is, the improvement is. On the uphills, I have a reasonable shot at a gain over last time. The downhills are already maxed out by the laws of physics and safety.
    The best time to do great customer service is when a customer is upset.The moment you earn your keep as a public speaker is when the room isn’t just right or the plane is late or the projector doesn’t work or the audience is tired or distracted. The best time to engage with an employee is when everything falls apart, not when you’re hitting every milestone. And everyone now knows that the best time to start a project is when the economy is lousy.
  • I have no patience for bureaucracies that proclaim that they are unable to innovate. It’s not that they are unable to do so, it’s that they don’t want to do so. Go ahead, do something impossible.
  • Often, we’ll decide that something is full, stuffed, untouchable but then some Jello shows up, and suddenly there’s room.
    Think about your schedule… is there room for an emergency, an SEC investigation, a server crash? If you took a day off because of the flu, is your business going to go bankrupt? Probably not.
    So, if there’s time for an emergency (Jello), why isn’t there time for brilliance, generosity or learning?
Alain de Botton at TED

Alain de Botton at TED

Notes:

  • Career crisis hit generally on a Sunday evening.
  • It’s easier now than ever before to make a good living. It’s harder than ever before, to stay calm, to be free of career anxiety.
  • We are surrounded by snobs. A snob is anybody who takes a small part of you and uses that to come to a complete vision of who your are. the dominant snobbery nowadays is job snobbery. Therefore the iconic question: “What do you do?” The opposite of a snob is your mother: someone who doesn’t care about your achievements.
  • We are not materialistic per se, we just want the emotional rewards pegged to those things. It’s not the material goods we want, it’s the rewards we want. “The next time you see someone driving a Ferrari, don’t think this is somebody who’s greedy, think this is somebody who is incredibly vulnerable and in need of love.”
  • Never before have expectations been so high about what humans can achieve within their lifespan. Anyone can do anything (wrong).
  • We are all basically equal. The problem with this is envy. The closer people are, the more there’s a sense of envy. Modern society has turned the whole world into a school: everyone’s the same, which makes it very stressful. It’s very unlikely that you’ll reach the position bill Gates reached, but it doesn’t “feel” that way.
  • There are two self-help books today. One tells you that “you can do it”. The other one deals with low self-esteem. Quite a correlation here.
  • We like to believe in meritocracy. The problem is that if you really believe in a society that those with merit to get to the top, get to the top, then you also believe by implication that those who deserve to get to the bottom, also get to the bottom, and stay there. Your position in life comes merited and deserved, which makes failure seem much more crushing.
  • In the middle ages, a poor person was unfortunate. Nowadays, a poor person is a loser.
  • There are more suicides in individualistic countries that in the rest of the world. This happens because people take what happens to them extremely personal. They own their success, but they also own their failure.
  • Meritocracy is an impossible dream. There are simply too many random factors. Hold your horses when it comes to judging people, you don’t necessarily know what someone’s true value is.
  • We fear failure because of the judgment and ridicule of others. The number one organ of judgment nowadays is the newspaper, full of people who has messed up their lives.
  • One alternative is tragedy, tragic arts. We should learn sympathy from tragic arts. It would be insane to call Hamlet a loser.
  • We have nothing that it’s centered that it’s not human. We worship ourselves.
  • We think we know what success means. You can’t be successful at everything. Work-life balance is nonsense, you can’t have it all. Any vision of success has to admit what is losing out on.
  • Our ideas of success are not our own. We are highly open to suggestion. We should not give up on our ideas of success, but we should make sure they are our own.
  • It’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want, and find out at the end of the journey, that it isn’t in fact what you wanted all along.
Family conversational skills

Family conversational skills

I believe that people with big families, used to big meetings, are better at having an engaged conversation in any topic. This may happen because politeness and looking like you’re interested in what others are saying is a must in these gatherings. Even if you don’t know them, or have nothing in common, one learns as a kid to shut up and listen a lot, even if you find boring what they are saying. Everyone puts an act. Not all family members “love” each other, but we act as we do.

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