Category Archives: Change

The PRACTICE of ADAPTING to CHANGE

Things change faster than ever before and building your capacity to adapt is essential to surviving and prospering in today’s world.

A better alternative to facts

A better alternative to facts

Fact-checking is hard work. It’s a lot easier to pass along that email about the Australian PM threatening Muslims to integrate or get out of the country, or about an aircraft carrier attempting to bully a lighthouse into changing course, than to check if it’s true.

People often pass along stories that reinforce their worst fears and beliefs, and we reflexively accept them as true simply because of who passed them along or how it’s presented. And many of these stories are not as easily falsifiable as the ones the current U.S. President tells. So what should an optimist do?

To share or not to share: an easy test

Here’s an easy test—maybe not for truth—but for what to spread. Ask yourself the following questions:

Does this interpretation, fact or narrative promote

  • Fear
  • Hate
  • Division

Yes? Then disregard it. Don’t like it, comment and definitely don’t share it. Even if it’s true, anything that causes fearful and hateful reactions will divide us into opposing groups.

Focus on what builds and unites

It’s easier to kick a sandcastle them to build one, and this is a great metaphor for life. It’s easy to destroy a city, business, relationship or life than to build one, and surprise surprise, sometimes the truth can be as destructive as a lie, which is why when it comes to deciding what to focus on, or pass around, I think a better criteria than truth are kindness, helpfulness and compassion.

How to tell

If you’re wondering how to tell if a narrative, belief, fat or opinion is not helpful here are some follow-up questions you can use to assess whether it makes sense to not comment or hit the share button.

  • Does the story, belief, fact or opinion
  • Paint an entire nation, gender, ethnic or religious group in one stereotype.
  • Give one explanation as THE reason for the behaviour of a person, group or country.
  • Make you or the group you belong to feel stronger, better, morally superior to another?

Look to the agenda of the person telling the story.

Is the person pushing this position guilty of a double standard e.g. being for it now that his party is in power, but against it when an opposing party is. Shows like The Daily show, A Closer look and Last week are valuable because they expose this hypocrisy.

Share what is helpful rather than truthful

Mandela was great because he focussed on what was more important for his country than his being right about apartheid’s evil. He could have focussed on the truth about apartheid and the rightness about punishing its perps, but instead he chose to focus on what was more important: a future S.Africa that worked for all races.

This meant letting go of the hurt, anger and injustice of what was done to him and his people. Focusing on the truth about what happened would have led to thoughts and acts of vengeance, but then what?

He didn’t want to switch places with the Afrikaners, he wanted to include them in a new S. Africa that worked for everyone. This didn’t mean denying or ignoring the truth but simply placing attention on the stories of a new bright future.

I think a bright future for mankind depends on more and more of us making a similar choice…every single day.

Ignoring that little orange light

Ignoring that little orange light

Most of us resist change, not by any conscious decision, but by telling ourselves we don’t need to act now, that we can delay tough actions and continue with life as usual. It’s like looking at your gas gauge, seeing it approach empty and deciding you’ll get gas tomorrow, and tomorrow. The story of theContinue Reading

What if I don’t want to do anything big with my life?

What if I don’t want to do anything big with my life?

Why don’t more of us take on the tough questions like, “What do you want to leave behind?”, or “What difference do you want your life to make?” One reason is mainstream education was specifically designed to train us for factory-type work for the top 1%, and the last thing the one percenters want isContinue Reading

What kind of person are you?

What kind of person are you?

When directed at yourself, this is perhaps the most profound questions you can ask.  “What kind of person am I? It’s a question that has no answer like 2 + 2 has an answer; we either create our own, or adopt one given to us by society or religion. Then it’s up to us toContinue Reading

The moon-shot speech of our time

The moon-shot speech of our time

For sheer audacity, nothing beats Kennedy’s speech to “…land a man on the moon and bring him safely back to the earth.” He could have said, “We will make the biggest pizza pie the world has ever seen and have every American eat a slice with the Soviet Union watching on live TV,” but thatContinue Reading

What is the “I have a dream” speech of today?

What is the “I have a dream” speech of today?

What is the inspiring, galvanizing speech of our time? What is the “I have a dream” (King), Gettysburg address (Lincoln), the “We shall fight on the beaches” (Churchill) of today? Did I miss it? I think great speeches are out there, but no single speech is having the lasting mass movement effect of any ofContinue Reading

The problem with “Back in the day” thinking

The problem with “Back in the day” thinking

Boy do we love the good old days. When life was sweeter and had meaning. Now everyone’s fond of saying “back in the day” (BITD). “BITD” really works to glorify the past doesn’t it? Perhaps because it implies that we’re not “in the day” now; that now we’re in the night or some cloudy, overcastContinue Reading

Admitting mistakes

Admitting mistakes

We live with a curious irony: everyone makes mistakes, but no one admits to making them.  OK, maybe you’re one of the few that admits theirs, but most people are as unwilling to admit their mistakes as they are to draw attention to the piece of lettuce stuck between their teeth. That’s curious isn’t it?Continue Reading

Dispelling regret

Dispelling regret

The biggest problem with regret is that it keeps your attention on the past where you re-play your favourite beat-yourself-up stories, or you play out different scenarios of how your life would have turned out better if only you hadn’t insulted your boss, or chose what was behind door 2 instead of door 3. MostContinue Reading

Regret is like dogshit

Regret is like dogshit

Most of us wrestle with regret from time to time and it’s interesting to notice how often we do. For many of us, we never seem to win our regret re-matches and we seem to be locked in an ongoing conflict between how things are and how things might have been…if only. What is regretContinue Reading

Why it’s so hard to improve work engagement

Why it’s so hard to improve work engagement

Work engagement numbers haven’t changed much since 2011. Gallup’s State of the American workplace update has the percentage of disengaged workers in 2015 as 68% down from 71% in 2011. Not stellar progress given the focus Gallup and others have given the problem. More importantly though, I think the idea that 68% of the AmericanContinue Reading

Awakening from indoctrination

Awakening from indoctrination

No one likes to think of themselves as indoctrinated, but you would be the rare person indeed who wasn’t indoctrinated into something: religion, patriotism, or (insert favourite sports team here). A profound sign of your own personal growth is noticing where you’ve been indoctrinated and choosing what parts of your indoctrination—if any—are worth keeping. IndoctrinationContinue Reading

Are you changing the world?

Are you changing the world?

Are you working on something that can change the world?  That’s the simple metric Larry Page uses according to Richard Diamonds and Steven Koller in their book “Abundance: the future is better than you think.” What Page uses this metric for they didn’t say, but I’ll guess it’s for assessing whether projects (and maybe people)Continue Reading

Why you should start handwriting again

Why you should start handwriting again

We’re used to technology growing up to eat its parents and that’s OK because new technology is always better.  Right?  We certainly don’t lament rotary phones, wind up car windows, or drive-in movies; yet there does still seem to be a place for film, vinyl and mail. So I think it is with handwriting. CursiveContinue Reading

Paragons of ageing

Paragons of ageing

Last week’s post was about how we age; our choice to either hold on to youth’s veneer or let ourselves fall gracefully into old age through the way we live now.  It was about embracing ageing through practicing wisdom, compassion and contribution before we are old so that we can use these capacities to continueContinue Reading

You have a choice about ageing

You have a choice about ageing

One reason no one wants to age is that we have so few examples of people thriving in old age. Old age narratives are of loss; loss of beauty, mobility, strength, flexibility, independence, intellect, memory, relationships etc.  Old age narratives are of separation from the flock, of weakness, sickness, depression, decline and … death. TalkContinue Reading

Slavery 2.0

Slavery 2.0

Slavery didn’t end. But of course you know that.  The news still features human trafficking and children sold into the same cruel millenia-old slavery.  Likened to software or web development, this legacy slavery would be slavery 1.0 or maybe 1.1 But I think there’s a new pervasive form of slavery around today that I callContinue Reading

The good thing about a bad boss

The good thing about a bad boss

If you work, sooner or later, you’ll have a bad boss.  It’s just like if you drive long enough you’ll have a flat tyre and get pulled over by the cops, but while these last two can be over in a few minutes, a bad boss can last for years. A bad boss can costContinue Reading

The real reason to forgive

The real reason to forgive

When people talk about forgiveness it’s often in a religious context—as heaven’s admission price. But forgiveness is not only for the deeply religious, it’s a fundamental human capacity—like capacities to think, work and create —that we either develop or it withers.  And before we can even talk about how to develop one’s capacity to forgive,Continue Reading

What we can all learn from Bruce Jenner

What we can all learn from Bruce Jenner

I watched the Bruce Jenner Dianne Sawyer’s interview, not out of any curiosity, but because I couldn’t get the clicker away from my mother as I was having a late dinner. I neither expected to like Bruce, nor to find personal relevance to my life in his story, but through Sawyer’s brilliantly compassionate interview IContinue Reading

Do you do important work?

Do you do important work?

There was a scene in “The Imitation Game” when the protagonist  —as baddies started to destroy his work—exclaimed, “You will never understand the importance of what I am creating here.” And as they continued wreaking havoc around him it was clear they didn’t.   Poor sap. But it made me think of the main reasonContinue Reading

What are you failing at?

What are you failing at?

Failure is nature’s way of preparing you for success.  And thank her for that, because life would be numbingly boring if you immediately succeeded at everything you tried. Unfortunately this isn’t widely taught and so millions of us grow up imprisoned by a few bad outcomes, or worse failing at something important and not knowingContinue Reading

Freedom at Work

Freedom at Work

How’d you like to take as much vacation as you like, whenever you like, and not have to worry about anybody at work counting the days you’ve taken? Well my hero Richard Branson announced on Wednesday that this is the new vacation policy.  It’s in fact a “no vacation policy” policy. What’s the catch?  HeContinue Reading

Why we fail at making people change

Why we fail at making people change

People always seem to do or believe things that are destructive, inconsiderate, inefficient, ineffective, short-sighted, annoying, exasperating, etc., etc. Those of us who know better (ahem),… would like them to stop. But annoyingly, our efforts to cause change don’t work. Why won’t they change dammit! We make people wrong Because we make people feel stupid,badContinue Reading

Dictation makes a comeback

Dictation makes a comeback

Dictation and the technology that made it possible—short-hand—died because typing your own thoughts on a computer was far more efficient and cost-effective than dictating to a secretary—even a sexy one like Mad Men’s Christine Hendricks.  Dictation may make a comeback though; ironically due to the same technology that killed it in the first place: computers.Continue Reading

Your power to choose

Your power to choose

We couldn’t possibly remain conscious to every choice we have in any given minute, hour or day so we invent routines, rituals, traditions, standard practices and jobs to relieve us of the effort of continually making conscious choices. This is helpful but has one major drawback: namely, getting so used to our automatic-pilot default choices thatContinue Reading

You could lose your job tomorrow

You could lose your job tomorrow

If you’ve ever lived in New York city you’ll be familiar with the concierge/doorman service in many buildings. These exist for not only businesses but for many of the upscale high-rises in mid-town and the upper west and east sides of Manhattan. Doormen are well-paid These doormen (and they usually are men) pull in aContinue Reading

Productivity tips right under your nose

Productivity tips right under your nose

I often help my mother navigate and use very basic (to me) computer technology. As great as the technology for cutting and pasting is, it’s a pain to highlight, right-click, select ‘cut’, then place the cursor where you want, right-click and then select ‘paste’. Thank God for the keyboard shortcuts ctrl-C/ctrl-V (command-C/command-V on the Mac); savesContinue Reading

The end of book stores?

I shouted for joy when I read (actually heard on my audible.com NYT subscription) that the U.S. Justice dept. was suing Apple and five major publishing houses over price fixing. Why so happy? Because they were price fixing, and because of it I was paying +$14 for digital copies that cost publishers nothing to distributeContinue Reading

And you thought you’d grown

The other night I was having a drink with two friends who, like me, had spent most of their lives away from home. One of them expressed surprise and some disgust at how he still had those old, familiar, and un-evolved reactions to people who exhibited the same small mindedness and prejudice he experienced asContinue Reading

What if there are no mistakes?

What if there are no mistakes?

In life we’re consumed by the need to avoid making mistakes. We indoctrinate our kids in one right way of doing things. Kids learn quickly that love and approval comes from getting things right, and that ridicule and separation comes from making mistakes. Mistakes as the means to show superiority The focus on being right makes it into ourContinue Reading

Knowing is not enough

In the last few weeks of Oprah’s show, I heard her say several times, “When you know better, you do better.” Catchy, makes sense, yet I couldn’t help thinking, “So what’s my problem?  “Why do I keep eating these cheese balls, and watching stupid movies I’ve seen before?  Why do I find myself doing thingsContinue Reading

Learning Good, University Bad

That’s an almost quote from Peter Thiel, the Stanford University educated billionaire who started Paypal and went on to invest in other internet successes like YouTube and Facebook. I jazzed it up a little; the actual quote is “Learning is good, credentialing and debt is very bad.”  (Click here for the actual ABC interview withContinue Reading

Why I don’t recommend DVORAK

On April 5th, 2011 I ended a 17month affair with the DVORAK system of typing. It really was more than an affair as I officially stopped using QWERTY (after some three decades of cold hard typing) and began my first tentative and clumsy keystrokes on a DVORAK keyboard. I quit QWERTY because DVORAK seemed muchContinue Reading

Thoughts on my dad’s passing

I haven’t posted for a while. My dad—stepdad actually—Geddes Phillips died. Pancreatic cancer. He was diagnosed in mid-December and he took his last breath at 8:30 on April 8th, 2011. He was a great guy and I loved him dearly.  He fought valiantly right up to the end, but it was too much for him.Continue Reading

A computer that will change the world

Answer:  Who is Watson? Something happened on Wednesday night that will have a tremendous impact on the lives of you and your children, and if you saw it, I hope you didn’t miss the significance of it. A computer named Watson outperformed Jeopardy Grand Champions If you’ve ever been frustrated by a Google search, orContinue Reading

Must everything change?

Ever marvel at how fast the world is changing?  Consider the following: Kids today have never used far less seen a rotary telephone. Microsoft is now an underdog. Google now looks vulnerable Facebook is the new big brother The ipod is old news, and the iPad soon will be too. If ever there was aContinue Reading

Oh, please don’t you rock my boat

… cause I don’t want my boat to be rocking.”  (Bob Marley) I love this song (Don’t Rock the boat) and everytime I hear this refrain, “Please don’t you rock my boat,” I smile.  How’s that for an anti-change mantra? I smile because it’s simple and yet profound.  It brings up such satisfaction with life;Continue Reading

Maybe it really sucks to be you

Your life might actually suck. Yep, how’s that for some powerful coaching? Feel better? No? I don’t hear the phone ringing; oh all right then. What I mean to say is … Your life might suck – right now It might actually suck to be you … right now …. not like a life sentence.Continue Reading

And the young shall lead the old

And the young shall lead the old

It used to be that seniority was the basis for advancement; ostensibly because age is expected to confer experience and wisdom. Unfortunately, an honest and sober reality check will reveal that there’s no guarantee that age and seniority equate to greater competence, knowledge or wisdom. Seniority cannot be the basis for advancement Promotion and advancementContinue Reading

3 Noteworthy Developments to the Practice of Your Career

Here are three noteworthy developments that are relevant to your practice of career and/or your practice for adapting to/anticipating change. Game Crush What it is Online Video Game meets Online Dating meets Porn GamesBeat reported on a new online service called GameCrush that offers young hard-core video-game-playing males, the opportunity to indulge their addiction withoutContinue Reading

Farewell to a Master – Choco 1967 to 2009

I would have preferred my first post of the new year to have been forward looking, but I’m compelled to have it be about my friend Choco who passed away on Dec 31, 2009 at the vital age of 42. The exact timing of his leaving us on that day is not clear to meContinue Reading

Re-learning to type – the DVORAK Typing System

Let’s see … what could I do to make it even more difficult to get things done.  Oh, I know.  I could work with one hand tied behind my back, or I could switch over to the Dvorak system.   In case you hadn’t heard, the QWERTY system was designed to slow down typing speedsContinue Reading

Why didn’t you think of this?

Back in 2006 Joshua Crandall observed his fellow commuters on the New Jersey Manhattan route only peering into the screens of their smart phones and not communicating with each other. Frustrated by delays and the inability of the transit authorities to supply up-to-the-second updates to their commuters, it occurred to Joshua that their was anContinue Reading

Ever considered using Facebook to “Cultivate” your relationships?

I’m paying more attention to Facebook (FB) these days as I realize it’s an essential ingredient in not only staying connected with the people I’m close to, but also building an exploring all sorts of new relationships that could not exist without a medium like Facebook. I now have 413 “friends” on FB.  Impressive huh?Continue Reading

Thoughts about thoughts about Michael

Interesting to see how there seems to be nothing but love for Michael Jackson now that he’s gone.  Jay Leno’s late night joke that the reason we were all so so curious about Michael Jackson is because he’s like the ultimate car accident.  You just have to slow down and look.   Ha,ha.  Doesn’t seemContinue Reading

What we can learn from Bing vs. Google

I was reading an article recently about Bing vs. Google Search by David Pogue where he gives a very clear summary of how Bing is better.  Bing by the way is Microsoft’s answer to Google search which has become the closest connection most of us have to God. You can get an answer, or ratherContinue Reading

Cherry Bombs

My brother passed along a very inspiring PDF document called “Cherry Bombs – A Supplemental Guide to Radical Careering” by Sally Hogshead.   Knowing my passion for re-invention and having people live lives of passion and fulfillment he was right on the mark in sending this my way. Cherry Bombs is an explosive, entertaining lookContinue Reading

News at the speed of light

“My dad didn’t wake up this morning. I’m sure you’ll all hear about it. It hasn’t yet hit me but it’s about to.” This was a tweet from Billy Mays’ Jr. breaking the news of the death of his father, legendary pitch man Billy Mays on Sunday June 28th 2009. Just to get a senseContinue Reading

Move over email and Twitter, Google Wave is coming

Recently, I was reading “Why Twitter Will Soon Become Obsolete” by Jason Clark .  Very well written and insightful piece that was another reminder of how rapidly change is coming at us. Jason makes the case that while micro-blogging – the 140 character limit of posts (tweets) that Twitter pioneered – is here to stay,Continue Reading