How you describe your estimates is important. The units that you use can imply a certain level of accuracy.
Time to read: 3 minutes
*This statement is not always applicable; as an example the character Christine suffered from a mental illness.
- Why =The battery is dead
- Why = The interior lights were left on for several days
- Why = The door sensor stopped working
- Technology that we control and
- those the we don’t.
When using these types of technologies we are confident that the information is real and that because information is in plain sight; you can identify street names and recognise building on a map. You can see and understand the logic behind a calculator and control the formulas on a excel spreadsheet.
Time to read: 3 mins
Some of the hardest goals that we set for ourselves are those that are long term. Long term goals require consistent action, over an extended period of time. With long term goals the element of time is unavoidable. In these scenarios time can be used to learn, grow and mature.
In other circumstances time is avoidable, when you are clear on what you want to achieve and the steps that need to be followed; there is no need to wait or procrastinate.
So what can you do with your idle time while you are:
Learn, grow and mature
As I mentioned earlier learning, growing and maturing as a person are associated with long term goals. You might be completing a degree or saving for your first home or training for a marathon. Seeing the end is hard, especially when it is so far away. Imagining what it means to achieve your goals may give you enough motivation and momentum to keep yourself going and stay focused. If you have a long term goal in mind, take some time to think about how:
The small steps you take are leading to-> The lifelong habits you are developing-> How these habit are needed to -> Reach long term goals.
If we are in the latter (b.) we most likely don’t have clarity on what we have to do (i.e. the next action) and there is a deeper reason why we haven’t taken action (usually around fear), but it hasn’t surfaced. A combination of the two is used to make up excuses.
The definition of an excuse is: A justification for not doing something; but it’s not a reason, it’s more of a revision of the facts that you use to make yourself feel better. It’s an alteration of reality.
I recently read The 10x Rule by Grant Cardone and one of my favorite chapters was on excuses. Everybody has excuses and we all have a few that we employ over and over again. So rather than ignore them it’s better that you confront right now.
There is a third way we spend idle time that hasn’t been mentioned up until now.
We need idle time for our mind to be creative, inventive and find solutions to existing problems.
For most of us, when the words ‘solution’, ‘problem’ and even ‘invention’ is mentioned we naturally try to return to a model, or process that exists within our domain. This is not what I am talking about here. In fact, anytime where we are repeating something that we already know; this is not creative.
In its purest form, creative work has no purpose and no outcome; idle time is used to allow your mind to be silent and do nothing. We just need the time and space to let out minds moodle. Now, few of us have this luxury, because we live in an environment where results, productivity and outcomes are king. But think about this…
Capital isn’t so important in business, experience isn’t so important, you can get both these things. What is important is ideas, if you have ideas you have the main assets that you need and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life – Harvey Firestone
Understanding how our idle time is spent helps us to identify where our time is being used and what to do. When we are learning, growing and maturing; reflecting upon your goals will help to keep you motivated and focused.
When our time is being wasted on procrastination, identify the next action and drop the excuses to be more productive.
Finally (although it is less understood) allowing our minds the space and silence provides us with an opportunity to generate original ideas and thinking. This act may have greatest value and impact not only in our own lives but the lives of those around us.
Time to read: 2 mins
A few months ago I had an idea of writing a blog post on the topic of clutter and distraction. But then I got distracted…
I also had another thought; those that are able to spend more of their time in direct reflection and purposely choosing what to absorb, are more focused and driven towards their goals.
With each passing moment, they are able to decide what’s most important to them and stay focus on its pursuit.
Distraction and Clutter
Distraction is defined as a thing that prevents someone from concentrating on something. Clutter, on the other hand is to cover or fill something (like your mind) with an untidy collection of things.
Sometimes you can have so much clutter that it becomes a distraction from what you are trying to focus on. I then started to think about what it means to have focus; is focus just a matter of removing all of the clutter so that we don’t have any distractions?
I remember reading an article after Kobe Bryant’s last game in Boston. As much as I dislike Mr.Bryant (being a Celtics fan), interviews with his team mates, coaches and his opponents have reveal a common theme.
When it comes to winning, this guy is really really focused. At times (ironic as it sound) it has even come at the detriment of his own team mates. He has been known to walk out of team practices because other weren’t trying hard enough. He has called out his own team mates, asking them to ‘put your big-boy pants on‘ . All in the name winning. If players are not willing to come along on the journey, then he is dragging you along with him.
Nothing conveys his mindset better than a conversation he had with an opposing player, Isaiah Thomas where he shared a rare piece of advice.
Be a Lion.
From Isaiah perspective, this is how the conversation went:
He told me this story about how a lion seeks food, whatever he’s gonna kill and eat.
You know how many bugs are on the lion’s eyes and gnats on his body?
He’s so locked in on that zebra that he doesn’t get distracted by anything else”
If you get distracted by little things, then you’re not as locked in as you think you are.
He said for me to be a lion, and that’s gonna stick with me the rest of my life.
To put this into context, it helps to understand what Kobe had achieved and where Isaiah was in his career.
|Kobe Bryant (age 38)||Isaiah Thomas (age 27)|
|NBA Finals MVP||2||0|
|NBA Most Valuable Player||1||0|
|All-NBA First Team||11||0|
|NBA All-Defensive Team||9||0|
|NBA scoring Champion||2||0|
|NBA Slam Dunk Champion||1||0|
Clutter can be controlled, we just need to be a little wiser with what we absorb and when. Distractions are sometime unavoidable because they can come from an external source, but a lion can conquer both.
Assuming that you have determined what your focus is (i.e. the zebra) and if the focus has enough significance and importance to you. Isn’t it time you ignore the distractions (i.e. the gnats) and looked pass all of the clutter (i.e. the bugs).
Lock in. Go for the kill. Be a Lion.
Time to read: 2 mins
I have been building on the habit of writing daily. Not only to write, but to write with risk.
It’s easy enough to first learn about a topic and then write about it, but there is very little risk in that. You know that it won’t fail, because the ideas that you are presenting have worked before (for the previous author). When you are regurgitating ideas that are not your own, chances are no one will say that you are wrong.
What’s harder to do is to think and reflect and come up with your own idea, link that to other ideas, examine the reality of the world and then challenge them.
To come up with your own conclusions and not look for something that has already been done and proven is a risk… In essence, this is what it means to lead.
When we do anything to stand out and introduce something that is different from the norm, we stray from the herd and become vulnerable and an easy target. This is not only true of writing but for any other endeavours that we choose to follow.
Followers and leaders
When we follow, there is no fear of being rejected or being called a fraud and there is some comfort in that. Leaders, on the other hand, are constantly fighting off the lizard brain. They work along the edge and try to push the boundaries.
The boundaries are around what is perceived to be our ‘safety zone’ (i.e. what is good enough’) and our ‘comfort zone’ (what we are willing to do). Think about that last sentence for a minute before reading on.
The amazing Cynthia Carroll
I recently finished reading Seth Godin’s book The Icarus Deception. In the appendix, Seth told the story of Cynthia Carroll, the first female CEO and the first non-South African to head the 100 year old company, Anglo American, a multibillion dollar major mining company that employs over 150,000 staff. As one of her first act as CEO, she visited the Rustenburg mine.
Cynthia found out about the dangerous work conditions (where on average 40 employees die a year) and opted to shut down the mine for 9 weeks; a mine that was the most profitable platinum mine in the world. After a multiyear battle with unions, government and other mining companies, a year later, fatalities dropped by half.
Cynthia (illustrated above) did something that no other CEO before her had ever done, she shared stats, provided options and made herself vulnerable. She pushed the boundaries of what is good enough and what she and Anglo America were willing to do.
When to lead
It’s important to understand that we don’t need to be a leader in every aspect of our lives (nor should you try). But there are times and places when you should:
- When you have the passion
- When you have the expertise on a particular subject and
- When it’s your duty to do so.
Leading is risky, it’s sometimes scary and can be painful, but as we have seen in Cynthia’s case, anything that is worthwhile, anything that will make a real difference and anything that creates a lasting change will involve some level of risk (most of the time, it’s on a personal level).
But when we have a noble enough cause, trying and failing is not such a big deal and the risks that were once seen as obstacles, after moving forward, are now viewed as trivial.
Time to read: 2 mins.
After spending the entire weekend alone with my son, I not only realised how much he has changed and grown but how adults are also in a constant state of change and growth.
The habits that a 4 year old adopts are no different to the habits that adults adopt, in that they both change our behaviour and who we are as people.
As parents, we view children as our responsibility. It is our responsibility to set up the right routines, habits and instil morals that we believe are essential for them to succeed in life.
We sometimes battle with our children and diligently try to explain to them the importance of listening, cleaning up after themselves, going to bed on time and other important skills, tasks and rituals that can sometimes seem a little trivial (especially at the age of four).
In our minds, the same battles occur, only they are happening within ourselves. We try to explain why we need to look after our health, work out more often, eat better, complete a particular certification or qualification, get promoted and network more efficiently.
But what happened to our parents? Once we became adults, did they just concede and say ‘well we did all that we could’. Do they assume that we just won’t listen anymore and stop giving advice? Do they assume that we know the world better than they do?
Kids need parenting, once a kid becomes an adult, it is assumed that they can parent themselves and from that point, the parents are no longer responsible…
The question is, are we grown up enough to parent ourselves into being a better human being in the same way that we instruct our kids?
Selecting the right words and techniques to motivate children is a skill. Even more a skill is knowing the right words and techniques to use on ourselves. After a while, it’s easy to see the patterns in behaviour in a child, but we fail to see them in ourselves.
Correcting patterns of behaviour that we see in our kids is sometimes difficult. We sometimes choose to defer taking any action and wait for them to ‘grow up’ so that they are more attentive, are able to concentrate, process more complex information and make better decisions.
Unfortunately, adults don’t have same luxury.
Measures of Success
When we see good or even great kids, a significant factor is parenting. The parents have mastered ‘the skill’ that we discussed earlier.
They have put in enough time with their kids and know the right words to say and which techniques to use. The measure of success is how their kids have turned out.
Correspondingly, when we see good or great success in other adults (or even ourselves), they too have mastered ‘the skill’. Adults who devote enough time to themselves know the right words to say and the technique to use to move them into action.
How they live their lives (all aspects of it) and the legacy they leave behind is a measure of their success.