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.

Recognising your addictions

Recognising your addictions

A good friend sent me a link to a 90-minute video on becoming super productive that essentially boils down to this: focus only on the things that matter and stop doing the million other things that don’t.

That’s not the rocket science thankfully, it’s the separating what matters from what doesn’t, and the speaker, Darren Hardy, talks about the things that to him don’t matter—like playing golf, following sports, and being the handyman around the house. He literally won’t spend any time doing things that he’s not exceptionally good at, and he’s become exceptionally good at those things because he won’t give his time to anything else.

But we’re not like that.  We give up our time and attention easily. The “Do you have a moment?”, or “Do you have a minute?” (I call the DYHMs), or “Is now a good time?” (INGTs) are almost never met with “No!” or, “No, I’m doing stuff that really matters,” and then there are the “requests” from superiors (hate that word),

  • “Can you come to a meeting?”
  • “Will you be on the call?”
  • “Can you double-check this report John did, before I send it?”
  • “The CEO said … today and I thought you’d be just the person to get on that.”

These “requests” pull you away from the commitments you already made to this same bozo, who complained about your “productivity” and “time-management skills” in your last performance review.

Been there? I have. But what’s interesting is our tendency to deal with the stress from these “requests” and our unwillingness to say no, with more diversions like social media, YouTube videos, and the News. We make the situation even worse by giving away our limited time to stupid distractions.

But what’s interesting is our tendency to deal with the stress from these “requests” (and our unwillingness to say no), with more diversions like social media, YouTube videos, and the News. We make the situation even worse by giving away our limited time to stupid distractions.

For many it’s social media: twenty, thirty, ninety minutes a day searching through news feeds and chasing links, posting stuff you hope at least thirty of your closest five-hundred friends will “like”, and feeling hurt when they don’t.

For some, it’s sports, others it’s reality TV, or binge-watching The Walking Dead. For me, it’s the news. I can’t seem to help checking what’s happening internationally and I also have this morbid fascination with Trump. I know I’m not alone and I haven’t discerned why, but I get a strange entertainment in getting fresh updates on his rants, ramblings and twitter torpedoes into truth, decency, morality, justice, science, common sense, respect and integrity.

While he was running, the possibility of a popcorn presidency grew increasingly entertaining as unlikelihood became a real probability; and now as a reality, I’m sure I would really be reaching for popcorn if his weekly or even daily disasters could be contained and released in one evening segment.

But no, we keep getting distracted with the insanities as they happen; we get daily drips of him and everything else that’s happening in the world, and 99% of it is bad. And each drip pulls our attention away from what really matters to us e.g. building our relationships, increasing our skills, or fulfilling our ambitions.

The news organizations learned a long time ago that our brains are wired to pay attention to disaster. We want to know who died and from what, we slow down to watch the wreck on the other side of the highway, and we will consume any news that shows, death, disaster, war, famine, crime, horrible crime, corruption, and fall from grace.

We can’t get enough of it.

My girlfriend reminds me of this all the time, and while I have reduced my intake from the local newspapers, I can’t wean myself from Trump. Not yet, but I think I’m getting better.

At least I’ve taken the first of the twelve steps. I acknowledge I’m addicted to Trump news and that’s at least 50% of the battle. If you can’t acknowledge that you have a problem you can’t do anything about it.

Darren is right, if you want to be more productive you need to focus on what really matters, and even if you don’t yet know, you can recognize the distractions you’re addicted to and get rid of them.

What distractions are you addicted to?

The video’s below and it’s called “Insane Productivity”.

 

Preparing for battle

Preparing for battle

About four minutes into Gladiator—my favorite Russel Crowe movie—the Roman General, Maximus Decimus Meridius (Crowe), introduces a ritual he would repeat several times in the film: just before battle begins he kneels on one knee, grabs a handful of earth, rubs it between his hands, and then deeply inhales as he cups his soiled handsContinue Reading

How a calculator can help you solve for stress and low productivity

How a calculator can help you solve for stress and low productivity

How often do you apologize for being pre-occupied, reacting inappropriately, or being unnecessarily harsh with someone? How often do you notice yourself stressing? Would you prefer to be more peaceful and productive? Surprisingly, an ordinary everyday calculator provides a useful analogy for what’s causing your stress, as well as what you can do to solveContinue Reading

The investment stock metaphor for your integrity

The investment stock metaphor for your integrity

Perhaps an investment stock is a great metaphor for your integrity—one day up, the next day down and over time trending in one direction, and then another.  People buy the stocks consistently trending up, and sell the ones trending down.  They do the same with you based on the trend of your integrity. Your integrity—asContinue Reading

Do you care who you disrespect?

Do you care who you disrespect?

Everyone is disrespectful. Some more than others. Most are unintentionally disrespectful, some intentionally. These last are usually powerful people whose disrespect is tolerated or perversely, even appreciated. But grand examples of disrespectful leaders like Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, don’t drive the small, and sometimes grossly, disrespectful acts ordinary people perpetrate every day. Yes, thereContinue Reading

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 worstContinue Reading

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