01 October 2016

Adjust Your Beliefs to Handle the Crappy Events In Your Life Better


Many of the bad events in our life are only as bad as we think they are. For example, a child might break down and cry over something as simple as a broken toy, but to them that toy is important. Likewise, even adults might feel like their life is over if someone breaks up with them. However, a slight perspective change can make a world of difference.

Obviously you can’t change your entire worldview every time you drop an ice cream cone (and some events will always be devastating), but some small tweaks to your belief system can help you manage the bad events better. For example, accepting that you’ll be okay if someone breaks up with you, or understanding that failure is necessary and not something you have to fear. Sometimes life sucks, but how you think about the bad times matters just as much as what you do about it.

16 September 2016


An oldie but a goodie, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/If%E2%80%94

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

04 August 2016

Use the AIM Method to Take Control of Your Happiness


The AIM method is designed less to help you achieve something that will make you happy, and more to help you learn how to be happy no matter what.

Attention: Where you focus your attention is where your emotional energy goes. If you’re constantly seeking out things that stress you out - like hate-reading bad reviews for a movie you like or negatives news stories about a person you can’t stand - then you’ll train yourself to be unhappy. Instead, spend your time and attention on the things that make you happy.

Interpretation: Contrary to how we think, most things are really up for interpretation. Maybe your partner left the dishes out because they don’t value you enough to care, or maybe they just forgot. You can’t choose what happens, but you can choose your interpretations.

Memory: You can also choose which memories you focus on most. Many unhappy people choose to relive the bad memories over and over, constantly thinking about what they’d say to the person that hurt them or relishing how bad their life is now. If you want to be happy instead, focus on the positive memories you have and let the bad ones go.

01 August 2016

Five Ways to Optimise Your Workspace for Productivity


Kill the Clutter Before It Kills You
That’s exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people’s task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.

Find Places That Inspire You
... look for a spot with natural light from a window or skylight, take a walk outside when you feel stuck, or simply explore a new location.

Use Different Places for Different Places of Mind
If you can set up multiple workspaces for different tasks you’ll also be able to force your mind into a certain flow, just by physically being somewhere.

Set Yourself Up for Success
We may think we have the willpower and control to push through harder tasks, but deep down we’re all lazy. But it’s not entirely our fault. Our brains have been taught to conserve energy at all costs and make subconscious decisions for us based entirely on how hard or easy it is. So if you want to create a workspace that’s productive, focus on making it easier to do the things you want to do, and harder to do the tasks you don’t.

Curate Your Senses
Beyond the physical layout and mental associations of your space, there are some auxiliary things you can also control. The sounds around you and the music you listen to can have a huge impact on your productivity. Studies show that of all things, intermittent speech—hearing small snippets of conversation, can have an incredibly negative impact on your ability to concentrate.

23 July 2016

The Scientific Argument for Mastering One Thing at a Time


If you want to master multiple habits and stick to them for good, then you need to figure out how to be consistent. It is best to focus on one specific habit, work on it until you master it, and make it an automatic part of your daily life. Then, repeat the process for the next habit.

Research has shown that you are two to three times more likely to stick with your habits if you make a specific plan for when, where, and how you will perform the behavior. Psychologists call these specific plans “implementation intentions” because they state when, where, and how you intend to implement a particular behavior.

However (and this is crucial to understand) follow-up research has discovered implementation intentions only work when you focus on one goal at a time. 

When you begin practicing a new habit it requires a lot of conscious effort to remember to do it. After awhile, however, the pattern of behavior becomes easier. Eventually, your new habit becomes a normal routine and the process is more or less mindless and automatic. Automaticity is the ability to perform a behavior without thinking about each step, which allows the pattern to become automatic and habitual. Automaticity only occurs as the result of lots of repetition and practice. The more reps you put in, the more automatic a behavior becomes.

19 July 2016

Ease Anxiety Around Stressful Situations By Saying 'I Am Excited'

When stress is high and anxiety has taken over, the hardest thing anyone can do is “calm down.” What if, instead, you capitalized on this negative, heightened emotion and turned it into a more positive one, like excitement. Start by telling yourself, “I am excited.”. The reason is that anxiety and excitement are both similar arousal state of emotions.

Change Someone's Mind

If you want to change someone’s mind on the topic, you probably feel like the only thing you really need is evidence. However, to really get through to someone, you need equal parts empathy and persistence in that equation.

The problem with convincing someone else to change their minds is that most of us are inherently resistant to admitting we’re wrong. Sometimes, that’s good! If we gave up our beliefs every time someone linked an article that sounded legit, we’d essentially have no beliefs at all. The downside to this is that it can take a while for us to change our minds about a topic.

What Great Listeners Actually Do

Good listening is much more than being silent while the other person talks. To the contrary, people perceive the best listeners to be those who periodically ask questions that promote discovery and insight. These questions gently challenge old assumptions, but do so in a constructive way. Sitting there silently nodding does not provide sure evidence that a person is listening, but asking a good question tells the speaker the listener has not only heard what was said, but that they comprehended it well enough to  want additional information. Good listening was consistently seen as a two-way dialog, rather than a one-way “speaker versus hearer” interaction. The best conversations were active.

Good listening included interactions that build a person’s self-esteem. The best listeners made the conversation a positive experience for the other party, which doesn’t happen when the listener is passive (or, for that matter, critical!). Good listeners made the other person feel supported and conveyed confidence in them. Good listening was characterized by the creation of a safe environment in which issues and differences could be discussed openly.

Good listening was seen as a cooperative conversation. In these interactions, feedback flowed smoothly in both directions with neither party becoming defensive about comments the other made. By contrast, poor listeners were seen as competitive — as listening only to identify errors in reasoning or logic, using their silence as a chance to prepare their next response. That might make you an excellent debater, but it doesn’t make you a good listener. Good listeners may challenge assumptions and disagree, but the person being listened to feels the listener is trying to help, not wanting to win an argument.

Good listeners tended to make suggestions. Good listening invariably included some feedback provided in a way others would accept and that opened up alternative paths to consider. This finding somewhat surprised us, since it’s not uncommon to hear complaints that “So-and-so didn’t listen, he just jumped in and tried to solve the problem.” Perhaps what the data is telling us is that making suggestions is not itself the problem; it may be the skill with which those suggestions are made. Another possibility is that we’re more likely to accept suggestions from people we already think are good listeners. (Someone who is silent for the whole conversation and then jumps in with a suggestion may not be seen as credible. Someone who seems combative or critical and then tries to give advice may not be seen as trustworthy.)

Level 1: The listener creates a safe environment in which difficult, complex, or emotional issues can be discussed.

Level 2: The listener clears away distractions like phones and laptops, focusing attention on the other person and making appropriate eye-contact.  (This  behavior not only affects how you are perceived as the listener; it immediately influences the listener’s own attitudes and inner feelings.  Acting the part changes how you feel inside. This in turn makes you a better listener.)

Level 3: The listener seeks to understand the substance of what the other person is saying.  They capture ideas, ask questions, and restate issues to confirm that their understanding is correct.

Level 4: The listener observes nonbverbal cues, such as facial expressions, perspiration, respiration rates, gestures, posture, and numerous other subtle body language signals.  It is estimated that 80% of what we communicate comes from these signals. It sounds strange to some, but you listen with your eyes as well as your ears.

Level 5: The listener increasingly understands the other person’s emotions and feelings about the topic at hand, and identifies and acknowledges them. The listener empathizes with and validates those feelings in a supportive, nonjudgmental way.

Level 6: The listener asks questions that clarify assumptions the other person holds and helps the other person to see the issue in a new light.  This could include the listener injecting some thoughts and ideas about the topic that could be useful to the other person.  However, good listeners never highjack the conversation so that they or their issues become the subject of the discussion.

16 July 2016

Six Tactics to Keep Your Kids From Becoming Too Materialistic


All parents want their children to grow up understanding that the best things in life are free, and that happiness has zilch to do with accumulating stuff. Getting kids to grasp these concepts, however, is more complicated than ever. That’s because many kids are raised with an expectation of entitlement when it comes to toys, clothes and other physical items.

The blame for this “I need it and deserve it” belief may also rest on exhausted parents giving in to their children’s desires. “Parents are tired and they do not want to spend the time they have with their kids fighting, so when children want things, they often don’t say no.”.

Show Them You Can Have Fun on the Cheap
Make Gratitude a Habit
Reward Kids With Special One-on-One Time
Be Careful With Your Own Materialistic Desires
Teach Kids to Pay It Forward
Spell Out Family Values

08 February 2016

Heisenberg Developers

A very interesting article that highlights the importance of ensuring that management processes and culture are not so rigid that they prevent upward feedback during system development.