Self awareness is crucial to life because you are here to first understand yourself, not to be understood. This is what Steven R. Covey discovered and wrote in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People …
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Joanne Lang shared a personal experience on huffingtonpost of how understanding the boss made a whole difference in understanding the boss’s decision. The lesson learnt, “… you need to listen so that you can understand. It’s important to get the facts from everyone involved, and (this sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people fail to do this) never make big decisions based on one half of a story — no matter who is telling it.” Read more.
Seeking First to Understand is not limited to communication, but includes discovering life and defining life, success, meaning etc.
This is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED presentation that already has over 4.2 million views on YouTube. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. She explains how our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Watch the Video.
Life and perspectives can depend on where you stand, where you are looking from (or at) or where you are coming from or going. No matter what, how you personally see things matters and where you are coming from matters and same for others.
Though we may differ in our opinion, views or perspective, we are all entitled to our opinions. Despite the fact that it may be difficult to experience life (or view things) from the other perspective, it is important to realise and appreciate that other perspectives needs to be heard, viewed and listened to as a lot about them (life experience, culture, knowledge etc) may differ from our own.
Hey! Don’t forget, it’s still first about you. Understanding the other side is to help you to continuously understand and find you. Okay, one more. And so you can be a better you that can live to have fun at work, through work and in life.
Featured Image Credit: Cliparts-Library
It’s easy to get so engrossed in the pressures of daily work that at age 50, it’s not unusual to still be asking the question, what is life in retirement all about? A really dedicated worker who gives his all to his duties can just realise at retirement that he or she left life behind. Retirement offers a unique freedom that can only be maximized if an individual is prepared.
“Don’t get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life”
“Anyone with a pension or retirement is an investor in the stock market” – Brad Katsuyama
“It’s nice to get out of the rat race, but you have to learn to get along with less cheese.”
— Gene Perret
I sat gloomily in the hall, fidgeting restlessly with my facilitator pen pointer as we all wait for the first person to speak. The local HR Director look up with a glance across the room, shifted uncomfortably in his chair, then look at the visiting Board of Directors from the company Group Headquarter in Europe.
“Do any of you have anything to say?“. Erik, the Group Executive CEO asked again in a mild voice, obviously trying to hide his growing agitation. No one moved. Pin drop silence that couldn’t even pick a few hesitant and dashing glances across the room.
“What will you want me to talk about? What question will you want to ask me?“. Erik continued, his voice now beginning to betray his growing frustration and impatience.
Feeling it was my responsibility as session facilitator to ‘manage’ the situation, not knowing it was my own inability to endure the silence, I stood up. I gestured to be given the microphone. I then began to speak. “Erik, thanks for the opportunity …”
Each time I look back at the session, I cannot but question myself, ‘why in the world did I speak up when others kept mute, did I speak up too early?’
Between espouse corporate steers and common sense
Back then, the reason was clear to me, business leaders had repeatedly said, feel free to speak up.
“A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”
― Winston S. Churchill
But why did others withheld using the same freedom to speak? It is usually believed and gossiped that employees get their ‘fingers burnt’ when they speak up, especially where their superiors are present. And even if superiors are not present, the fear that a colleague could give them away, even for saying what is right. But why should anyone be bullied or harassed for speaking after being encouraged to do so.
The Guardian online newspaper investigated and reported on the prevalence of bullying at work for a lot of different reasons. It stated that it’s a silent epidemic that is subtle, political and one that leaves employees unsure of where they stand, either to follow management’s espouse policy of speaking up, or use common sense and follow the in-use but unwritten management responses.
During the session I reported earlier, I may have spoken up too early or I may just have demonstrated the right level of confidence. I did not get any feedback, good or bad. But, I did not also feel it put any wind to my sail. I however learnt some good lessons from that event which I will chronicle later. But first, let me share the Four Simple Rules To Avoid Saying Something You’ll Regret that was written by Judith Humphrey (founder of The Humphrey Group) for the FastCompany and additional summarized two. One as shared by Susan Cain in an interview with Harvard Business review, and a second by Fran Hauser (author of The Myth of the Nice Girl) as shared on Oprah.
Speaking spontaneously encourages candor, but sometimes it’s at the expense of tact.
Finally, when you realize you have made a mistake in what you said, how you said it or when you said it, own up; make amends and do the right thing. Your error may even be that you did not speak up as much as you should! It’s a life of balance. Just as Pope Francis said in the handling of sexual abuse scandal in Chile, “I have made grave mistakes in the assessment and my perception of the situation, especially due to a lack of truthful and balanced information.”
“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Looking back, I am happy I stepped out and said what I said during the meeting I referred to at the start of this write up, which I facilitated. And that is without concern on the outcome and its impact on my career. However, remember that saying something you’ll regret can have more disastrous impact on lives and careers, either of your self or others.
If you need more speaking quotes, check out the following.
Photograph Credit: BlendImages/Alamy through TheGuardian (Guardian News and Media Limited)
Are good leaders just great investors like the ten most legendary investors who ever lived who invest in stocks and businesses; or are they first, investors in people?
The names that comes up includes, Warren Buffett, Julian Robertson, Thomas Rowe Price, Jr, James D. Slater, George Soros, Michael Steinhardt, John Templeton, … and Akin Adeleye.
To read more, go to;
Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Because perfectionists fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, they put it off as long as possible. This stems from the fear that not meeting the goal means that there is something bad, wrong or unworthy inside of them.
Quote by Denise Jacobs
Whaoh! Sixteen (16) days gone already. My last post was published sixteen days ago? It sure is a lot of work to write each post. But I flow so naturally and unstoppable once I start writing. Though I know it can be tasking, but am always unfettered and unruffled by the hard work involved. So, why did I stop for this long?
Not that I did not have a daily urge to write or at least a topic to write on. I have actually started a post and left it as a draft. But I could not just spare the time to write because I was not in the mood. I also seem to have a silent fear that I will not be able to deliver the kind of quality write up that I want without distractions from my other life pursuits.
But this gave me a sense of loss. Loss of productivity, loss of connection with my online friends and co-bloggers. And a loss of traction to the speed and momentum I was building up.
Wait a minute, sense of loss? Did I write that? 16 days of FAILING to write or 16 days of SUCCEEDING only in procrastination? Even in this, my cup is half full not half empty. This makes me to remember, I have Succeeded in Zero out of 3 Happiness and Confidence Test.
I will speak and write about succeeding and not failing. A failure is someone who has given up, who has not started, or taken a step. I only had a break. A failure will be the car maker stopping work in 1914, simply because he/she could get a futuristic glimpse of the fast cars of 2018. A failure can be likened to a snail that refuse to starts its journey simply because it sees ahead, a tortoise, then a turtle, then a cheetah.
Therefore today, I choose to direct just one deadly shot against procrastination. Just write! And guess what, I choose to write about that one thing that is holding me back, procrastination. I faced the elephant in the room.
I realize that I procrastinated on this very important journey because I allow it to drop in my order of priority. I allowed myself to be bugged down by the same old “other people’s very urgent and important businesses”, and things that are in my comfort zone, rather than push my limit in this one area of flow and joy. This seemingly unimportant and not so urgent area of my life, but where I want to start making the biggest changes and achieve the highest growth.
I understand your personal frustration as you too sit in the hall way of procrastination.
But you too can get up, dust off the lethargy, arm yourself with your clearly identified life goals, game changer ideas or pursuit and just go for it! Get on board that stimulating train or activity again. That one jolly train that was taking you on your journey of purpose and accomplishment.
So, what are you going to do, differently?
My one deadly shot against procrastination, was; just start, just do it.
To further assist your understanding and expand this beyond my usual simplistic solutions, I decided to search for additional guides. Let me start with a summary from two Forbes write ups; 10 Scientifically Proven Tips for Beating Procrastination and Why Being A Perfectionist Can Hold You Back
1. Pick your poison – this is about focus and choosing/ prioritizing on ONE thing.
2. Start today – taking immediate action.
3. Five Minute Miracle – taking a small doable chunk, or identified small action.
4. Do a Power Hour – put away all distractions and work in concentrated chunks of time.
5. Kill it With Kindness – forgive yourself for past procrastination.
6. Have a Procrastination Power Song – get a song that really gets you energized.
7. Get under the hood – understand exactly why you’ve been procrastinating a specific task.
8. Let It Go – decide if this item need to be dropped off the ‘to do list’.
9. Make a bet – have an accountability buddy and have a bet with the person.
10. Make it fun – create a reward for yourself if the procrastinated task is completed.
Finally, I have done it again. I have gone a long way writing another blog I can be proud of simply because I took the first steps.
Prior to now, I had finished some other “pressing” priorities. Yesterday, I had a very lively and stimulating conversation with a colleague about my blog. This spurred me into action and made me refocus to do just this ONE thing that I have procrastinated doing for so long. I had the conversation yesterday, failed again (did not succeed) to start yesterday even though it was on my ‘to do list’ for several days. But I took action today. At least, today is closer to immediately, more than tomorrow or never. I just wanted to kick start it. But I went more than 75% with the first shot. I did not just do a five minute miracle slot, I used a two hours online meeting to multitask.
Surely, according to the research referred to in the Forbes write up,
“… once you start something, you’re much more likely to finish it”…
This is a psychological phenomenon called, the Zeigarnik effect. With two hours spent now, I had moved from a five minute miracle to doing a power one hour. I have also forgiven myself (maybe not totally), for procrastinating this long. I also overcame the lethargy of not wanting to fail. My accountability buddy sent me a reminder email this morning, funny, just remembering. Did all these seemingly unconnected actions actually contributed to me writing this post today? Maybe.
What are you currently procrastinating doing? What will you do now, immediately, to make a difference? What can you advice to help someone stop procrastinating? Are you been daunted by procrastination triggers?
Chris Bailey’s Harvard Business Review write up on 5 Research-Based Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination listed Pychyl’s seven triggers that make a task seem more averse. They are, if the task is, boring, frustrating, difficult, ambiguous, unstructured, not intrinsically rewarding, or lacking in personal meaning.
SPARE ONE HOUR – For Additional Knowledge From Multiple Videos
I started with my ONE shot, 5 miracle minutes, 2 hours of multitasking doing this post, and ended up spending additional hours to learn more.
I realized from Robin Sharma (How I Beat Procrastination) 2WW, that my walking exercises over the weekend could also have aided my “readiness” to write today.
Rafeal Eliassen sounded so persuasive in Killing Procrastination – COMPLETELY Eliminate Putting Things Off, FOREVER. He talked about how most of us do to tap into our potential and talent. This is the same damning verdict I got yesterday when I finally made a so long procrastinated call to someone. Again, perhaps another unknown and seemingly unrelated shot that may have helped me to write this post.
Mel Robbins TEDxSF How to stop screwing yourself over came late, but made me realize that I stopped screwing myself when I pushed my ONE first shot and started to just write. I actually talked and opened up to a friend over the weekend. This is someone who had always harassed me that I don’t talk freely. Someone I can call a close stranger. I said I was not FINE! That I needed to do things differently. This is the same person who helped me get back to my exercise routine, just been an exercise buddy.
Mel Robbins piece in Retrain your Mind, and The Secret to Self-Motivation is also fantastic. The question, “why is it so hard to do the little things that will change my life”, struck a deep cord down my heart. The importance of the DECISIONS or INDECISIONS I make, daily, the 5 seconds rule, etc also corroborate the other advise from other writers or “coach”. Then comes again that powerful fact of, JUST DO IT NOW!
DON’T wait for TOMORROW before you ACT.
Infact, don’t wait for the 6th second after now.
Within 5 seconds from now, DO SOMETHING POSITIVE to move your life, task or project FORWARD.
Beat the procrastination triggers off this game.
PLEASE, don’t throw away tomorrow.
(By the way, that’s the title of a great book by Robert H. Schuller, you need to get one and read.)
Or, if we neglect today, can tomorrow be better?
I started in the morning with a first shot.
I have done several reviews and rewriting all day, actually dropping everything else.
It’s evening and am beginning to get a bit frustrated that I have not been able to finish the post. I feel like just publishing it as is. But I can’t. It’s not yet good enough. Is it my perfectionist self at play again? Now it will want me to procrastinate on publishing this for you to read. Why should there be so many obstacles and barriers towards a good cause? At every new turn, after one other victory, why is perfectionism and procrastination there, standing in the way of my tomorrow?
Starting is just the beginning. There should be no delusion that there is always a lot of hard work involve in delivering our goal.
See you tomorrow, with your yesterday’s goals achieved, as you fiercely progress towards your life purpose and as you brighten up the world around you with the smile of someone who has had fulfilling today.
Photocredits: Smallstarter Africa, Pinterest, motivationalreads
This initially started in my head as failing in zero out of three test. But thank goodness, something from my previous learnings refused to allow a “failure” connotation to stick. Cup half full than half empty!
Without going into the technicalities of the academia which has various school of thought on how to measure happiness [Oxford Happiness Inventory (Argyle and Hill), Subjective Happiness Scale (Lyubomirsky & Lepper), Satisfaction with Life Scale (Deiner, Emmons, Larsen and Griffin), Panas Scale (Watson, Clark, Tellegen), etc], let’s just use the three simple questions below that focus on the areas that impacts my well being now. Perhaps, yours too.
So I suggest you also check how you will perform on the three test questions below. It’s a measure of your level of confidence or happiness, at this very moment. Give each question a maximum score of 30 points.
What will you consider a good score out of 100? Can it be 65/100 or 65%? What is your total score? Add 10 to your total score for having the confidence to assess yourself.
Look out online for other test that may be more sophisticated and can possibly generate a report for you.
Finally, do you think it’s worth it assessing our level of happiness or confidence? Have you tried to identify the key issues that makes you feel less happy or confident? What actions have you identified that you will work on within defined timeline, to improve on your current level of happiness or confidence, and in those specific areas of your life you have identified need improvement?
Am happy you came around. Am confident you will drop a comment in the box below. Why wouldn’t you? Especially when your comment can make someone happy.
”I love making you laugh because for those few seconds, I made you happy and seeing you happy, it makes me happy too”