Sunday, September 28, 2008

Clarity and other advertisements

Seagulls taking a bath to cool themselves down, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia.

Just some moments of clarity worth noting for myself during my yoga session.

What I learnt today:

1. You need to ask yourself the right questions.
e.g What would success mean for me? What would I be doing? Who would I be with?
How do I take what I learn and customise it to my unique story?

2. Focusing on one right thing gives you much more power than trying to juggle and be aware of 10 different strategies

3. If you are out of integrity with yourself, how do you expect to have integrity with others?
(e.g if you break little promises to yourself then you drain away confidence, faith and power in your intentions)

Today I had my best practice so far in yoga because of the realisation of how I shaped my thoughts during the postures and the presiding thoughts.

I focused on my breathing and also feeling how fast my heart was beating during rest.

The thought that was going through my mind was "draw strength from each breath" which helped me just focus on that 1 thing, rather than a multitude of distractions such as
- goddamn it's hot in here, I'm losing my balance, when is she gonna tell us to stop, so thirsty...etc

Also having a positive rapport and encouragement from the teacher got me to a good start.

Which brings me back to the main point.... what kind of thoughts get repeated during your times of distress? as opposed to moments of insight?
Can you actually write them down, do they make sense to your life? I think I appreciated these particular moments today because it had me asking the right questions about myself and how I viewed the world.

What does it all meant to mean?
What's the point of discovering truth and insight?
If it has worked for someone else, can it work for me?

If I want to be happy, one of the ways I can do that is meditate on compassion.... what does compassion actually mean to me?
How do I express it within my world? Is it alleviating suffering to those closest to me? Is it doing the dishes?

My point being is that even if we come across prescribed solutions that work and are popular, we need to cater it to our unique story, one's expression of love is anothers' version of hate. Firstly define what it really means to us, and endeavour to get a better picture of those around us so that when we go about doing things with the best intentions, that they are received as such.

Upon being able to focus on that one thought "draw strength form your thought" I realised how noisy my mind is normally. A typical day starts with me
- answering 10 conversations
- following 4 or 5 different tasks
- exposing my self to 20 websites in the search of 20 different topics that I think I might need to know for a rainy day
- working on 6 pieces of software on 2 different operating systems
- figuring out how to do one thing in one program with at least 150 options thanks Adobe can't live without it
- all the while listening to some groovy music and messaging 2 or 3 people

I'm an information junkie and really wonder where all my time goes and why I finish the day tired mentally and sometimes feeling like I've haven't achieved anything worth talking about. I'm collecting information and having conversations that have puts me away from sharing the space and moment with people. It is a daily challenge and one that I hope to get comfortable with somehow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Creativity and Rationality in business

Father's Day with my sister's kids

Notes from Marcus Powe's talk at the Innovation on Collins St

Innovation is the ability to deliver something (the key being the doing) and draws from a well of 'energy'

- good administration adds 10% to the bottom line profit of a business

- leaders must be at the start, middle and end of change in the workplace, where there is metrics to measure the before and after results.

- one of the hardest thing in being a consultant is the ability to listen, it is easy to prescribe templates, however each business has to create a culture that is a right fit for themselves and not to prescribe to one that may work for a fortune 100 company.

Identifying creativity blockers
Fear, Habit, Prejudice, Blind Acceptance, Stress

Innovation blockers
Poor communication, poor/no time allocation, no recognition, low/morale

more innovation blockers
Politics, tribalism, financial constraints, insecurity, change policy or lack of, no risk taking

Creativity occurs at every level of the workplace, one of the most creative activity happens in the mining industry.

'Ideas are worth nothing' find a way to detach emotion from idea as this has a habit of blocking commonsense and making you suffer.

Try and retain the ability / habit of daydreaming/playing around with ideas and concepts - have time to reflect and think properly.

Under the age of 10 we are more creative, after that we eventually get paid to be/act rational
This is a similar analogy to a young vs an established business, where eventually over-control saps away creativity.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chop Book Suey - Flip by Peter Sheehan

Nieces celebrating their birthdays

Excerpts I found useful from the book

Points :
Four Forces of change :
1.increasing compression of time and space
2.increasing complexity
3.increasing transparency and accountability
4.increasing expectations on the part of everyone for everything.

Fast Good Cheap pg 37
In today's demanding market of global oversupply, global underdemand and nonstop technological change business need to offer "fast,good,cheap" plus something above these three necessities to have a genuine competitive advantage.

- to sustain a competitive advantage, you must commit to a perpetual cycle of innovation.

Design as a competitive advantage in the case of Samsung which came from a commodity manufacturer 20 years ago to being recognised as a "poster child for using design to increase brand value and market share"

In every category of product and service, the winning providers who have the highest profit margins in their fees and prices, are the ones that create a distinctive mind blowing customer experience e.g Harley Davidson, Apple

Crowds don't create innovation, they validate them.
In the global market place, the crowd will recognise and celebrate the best innovations. However these innovations don't come from the centre of the crowd, they come from the fringe. From bold companies and individuals who are willing to risk doing something different from what competitors are doing and off erring something different from what the crowds are currently embracing.
The best way to differentiate your offerings from the competition is therefore always to take the route least travelled.

Case for lead-user development
BRW article cites that products using the lead-user approach generated returns that were on average eight times greater than products developed the conventional way.
Eric von Hippel from 3M "This is not about traditional market research - asking what customers want. This is identifying what your most advanced users are already doing and understanding what their innovations mean for the future of your business."

Business is personal pg 169
2 things that attract and retain talent
1. the work that you do
2. the relationships that you build with your people

Relationships are simple but not easy:
most important key is to shift your mindset in believing that building great relationships will truly get you the best results.

ensure competence, deliver on what you promise, build trust via three previous steps and also the ability to listen, attentive and tone of voice. Have good manners

Using Wikis to spread useful and up to-date information e.g Geek Squad
Wikinomic: How mass collaboration changes everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. William

Action Precedes Clarity pg273
When we delay our action we deny ourselves the intensely valuable feedback that comes from putting the product to the test in front of a real consumer (or employee), who spent real money and is using it in a real-life situation.
Life and business move and change so fast that we put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage the longer we procrastinate.

Your best work does not happen when you are planning. Your best work happens when you are in the flow.
What decision have you been putting off? Make a decision now! Trust your instincts and go with it.

Photography and the opportunity to be a partner and mentor for customers as they capture the memories of their lives. Traditional photography printers offering digital photography lessons, digital photo frames, online services and scrap book design.

pg 293 Ask yourself: what opportunities are open to me, my career, my life, my business that are potential 'if onlys' tomorrow? What path of action do you think is worth taking a bet on now? Take it!

You want to say 'if only' less and less, as you become smarter, more confident and more successful. And the only way to do that is by getting comfortable with risk.

'In the long run, people of every age and in every walk of life seem to regret not having done more things more than regret things that they did'

Look Listen and UnLearn
pg 309
1. Keep moving - look to what your competitors have done that has worked and not worked. Look to other industries for what they have done, can you do something similar.
2. Make up your own mind -
* Decisions leads to action
* Decisions create momentum - The action that follows your decision will give clarity that was preventing you from making another decision in the first place, and now you are off on a positive spiral. Action, clarity, confidence, decision, action, and so on.
* Decisions create confidence - The decision does not only just give you a sense of confidence but also those around you.

To be a flipster you will need some degree of delusional self-confidence, a willingness to believe in your opinions and ideas even if the whole world says you are crazy. An air of certainty must surround a leader.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcomings, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt

further reading "Blue Ocean Strategy"

Monday, September 01, 2008

art of contentment short list

Positive Psychology
3 Types of "Happiness"

1.Pleasant life (as much pleasure/good emotion as you can get)
- extremely social, romantic relationship and rich repertoire of friends

2.Good life (Life of engagement)
- being in "flow" what you do
- crafting your life to enhance your highest strengths

3.The Meaningful life
- contributing to causes greater than yourself

Pleasure Vs Flow (Raw Emotions vs Non-feeling)

Meditating on compassion

1. The mind can be trained
2. Emotions come and go, but your consciousness is deeper

My thoughts

I think it is good to be aware that there are different types of happiness, that it can be cultivated and most importantly, to distinguish pleasure and true happiness.

This seems to come up in both videos, and from experience, causes me the most questions. Not all of us can spend all day meditating on compassion, however it maybe useful for 10mins a day to give your mind a break from all that thinking; just like a car engine may need to sit on idle to prepare for the daily grind and run better.

And when was the last time you expressed gratitude for the most important people in your life?
Do we have time for it in this age of noise and entertainment that distracts us for our attention? I know I haven't and find it hard to open up like that face to face, hidden behind the protective social facades.

Is it necessary for us to share our wealth and skills for the greater good of strangers whom we may never meet?

At the end of the day how can we train the mind on compassion, to infuse it to the point where kindness pervades our thoughts, like an athlete trains his mindy/body to work without too much conscious thought..

the art of contentment

I've been thinking a lot about happiness, and so I happened to come across some web videos that offer what I think are very good summaries of it:

from a Western perspective -

and a Eastern perspective -