To Be Still…

A photo by Mathias Reed. unsplash.com/photos/wEoRDzrgmT8

We are all on the move. The pace of life seems to be forever increasing. Life is fast, work is busy. Too much to do in too little time.

Our lives are a frenetic ball of activities bouncing from day to week, week to month, month to year. And it doesn’t ever seem to stop.

When was the last time you had a moment of pure stillness? A time when you didn’t need to be somewhere, do something, speak to someone? When you could just be still? Is it even possible to be truly still?

Continue reading “To Be Still…”

Unplugged…

stocksnap_6kkr2x9mgv

I’m sure many of you will have encountered this situation: you leave the house without your mobile phone. For many this induces a palpable sense of panic and fear. Many people will turn around, even if it makes them late for work, to go back and get their phone.

How could we get through the day without it? Our mobile devices have become much more than just a phone. In fact the phone ‘application’ on your mobile device is the part that most use the least.

Our mobiles help us feel connected to the world, help us get our work done, help us record and document our lives. It’s amazing how, in conjunction with social media apps, they allow us to connect with old friends, discover unknown connections that make the world seem smaller, more joined up. Somehow friendlier.

Our mobiles are also a portal to the collective knowledge of the human race. Our history, our humour, our desires are all just a few clicks away and can be carried around in the palm of our hands. They contain so much information for us and about us.

They have literally transformed our lives.

So it’s understandable that we feel panicked when we leave them behind, or when we can’t put our hands on them immediately. But there is also a darker more uncomfortable relationship we have with these devices…

Continue reading “Unplugged…”

The Hidden Cost Of Simplicity

qtq80-J0UNgN

We used to think the earth was flat. We thought that the sun rotated around it. We used to believe that it was uneccessary for surgeons to wash their hands before they began operating – it was pointless, they were about to get covered in blood!

Our minds have progressed, our knowledge has expanded, our understanding has grown. And still the questions keep on coming; our minds are clearly built with a need to learn, to develop, to discover.

Yet as the world around us becomes more and more complex, we are also driving for simplicity, which is a good thing, especially as consumers. We want things to be simple, and straightforward, easy to interface and use. We want to pick up and use without the need of an instruction manual. We want service that is easy to access, simple to understand and that delivers it right.

There is a hidden cost to such simplicity. Human’s require a degree of complexity in their work for it to be engaging, and yet, as the world becomes increasingly complex we are finding new ways to outsource that complexity to tech solutions.

Continue reading “The Hidden Cost Of Simplicity”

We Are All Gamblers

al0uo6fvis

I’m sure some of you will disagree with the statement in this blog title. Many of you will maintain that you have never gambled in your life; and by gambling you mean putting down some money on a bet or the outcome of a game. Many people consider it morally wrong. Others consider it a silly way to throw away money.

Some people, only a few, manage to make a healthy living from it. Casinos certainly do well out of it.

But what is gambling? Most of us think of gambling as an activity which involves exchanging cash, placing a bet, putting money on a prediction of what will happen next.

And, in reality, we all do that a great deal of the time. We all have a sense of what will happen tomorrow, and based on these assumptions we build our lives. We build our sense of who we are, of where we are going on an assumption that we are pretty certain what will happen tomorrow, and next week and even next year.

This is not a bad thing; we buy houses, take loans, plan holidays. Like gamblers in a casino, we sometimes lose. Things go wrong that we didn’t expect, and sometimes these things can have far reaching consequences.

Like gamblers in a casino we are subject to ‘gamblers fallacy’. This is the notion that the odds change over time: if your number hasn’t come up in the last hour, maybe that means it’s ‘due’. It is the primary reason many people play the same lottery numbers each week; it’s the belief that over time the odds will mean that their selection of numbers is ‘due’, when in fact there is no increase in odds compared to playing completely random numbers every week.

In life, with our goals and dreams, it’s easy to fall into the trap that given enough time you are ‘due’ a win, a breakthrough. Surely you’re bound to achieve what you want, given enough time. And as more time passes, as those goals and dreams continue to grow, a sense of urgency develops that a bigger win is needed.

It’s like trying to lose weight in time for the holiday of a lifetime – when you’ve got 12 months to lose 40 pounds it’s perfectly achievable. As time passes it becomes less and less achievable, but the desire for that goal doesn’t dissipate. In many circumstances it increases, with the insane belief that 6 weeks before the holiday you can drop 40 pounds!

In just the same way that the gambler in the casino needs a bigger win the more time that passes.

One of the problems many of us face in our lives is falling into a trap of thinking that ‘time’ actually does something. When in fact time does nothing, other than relentlessly march on. The only thing that will move you forward is action – doing more.

The wins are small, and sometimes barely seem worth the effort, but the compound impact of the regular actions make the big difference. No one will notice if you’ve lost a pound in weight over 2 weeks, you won’t feel a difference in your clothes and may still be unhappy with what you see in the mirror, but the pounds over the course of 12 months will be noticed.

A gambler in a casino puts down cash that they will more than likely lose, with nothing they can do to influence the outcome of their bet. By contrast, you’re gambling with something worth far more than money – your goals and dreams, the very purpose of your existence. But the great thing is, you can do something to influence the outcome, through the actions you undertake every single day.

You have no choice on whether you place a bet, you’re already doing it, every day. But you do have a choice about whether you win or lose, through the actions you choose.


Image credit: Michal Parzuchowski | stocksnap.io

Mind Monopoly

monopoly go

Nearly all businesses wish they had a monopoly in their field, to be the only provider. To not just lead the market, to be the market. It would provide a business with limitless profit potential, even if it didn’t generate advocacy from the customers it extracted profit from.

Because whilst businesses want to monopolise, customers generally hate it when they do. Customers want choice, and choice is good for price. Different providers in the same market create variations to meet individual needs, which generally drives prices down.

And businesses today have to fight harder than ever to catch the customer’s attention, to be heard above the competition, to engage them in “why choose us?”

So perhaps the goal now is to hold a monopoly of the consumer’s mind, rather than on the market. If you think about it, some businesses may have already achieved this with you…

Continue reading “Mind Monopoly”

I Don’t Know If I Like It Or Not…

 

SWRREC0K3A

We all have a tendency to play it safe. We don’t want to take risks. We only go to restaurants we know we will like. We only going to the cinema if we are absolutely certain we will like the film. We prefer to engage with like-minded individuals with whom we share similar views or experiences.

If we think there is a risk we might not like something, all too often we don’t take the risk.

In many respects it makes sense to avoid things that you don’t like. But the problem is that when we don’t even try, all we risk is that we might not like something. Perhaps the cost of a meal or a cinema ticket, but in the scheme of your life that’s not a huge expense.

By not doing something because we think we might not like it we could wind up leading a very bland life…

Continue reading “I Don’t Know If I Like It Or Not…”

Inter-Goal Extinction

Interstellar extinction is the term used when objects in space are not visible to us because matter such as gas, particles and space dust get in the way and block our view. Consequently, there are objects in our own galaxy that we’ve never seen, because the concentrations of gas and dust are greater inside the galaxy than they are between the galaxies.

As a result, it is easier for us to see other distant galaxies than objects that are in our own galaxy. When you stand inside your house, you can look out of a window and see distant clouds more easily than you can see what’s going on next door; it might only be a few feet away but the wall in between obstructs your view.

In the same way, we can often see our long-term goals more readily than our immediate goals.

Continue reading “Inter-Goal Extinction”

Shuffle and Skip

4TQPZU18NA

The music industry has transformed at an inconceivable rate over the course of the last few decades. The MP3 player, the iPod / iPhone and all manner of streaming music services have completely changed how we listen to and consume music.

Gone are the days of buying an album and listening to it all the way through, carefully listening to every new note and nuance by an artist you loved. It would sometimes take several listens for you to appreciate an album; you might not have liked some tracks at first, but through an investment of repeated listenings they would grow on you in time.

Now we live in a world where everything is on constant shuffle. We are all too quick to skip a track, hoping something better will come along. Quick! If a song hasn’t grabbed you in the first ten seconds, skip and move on.

The advent of music streaming services exposes us to music that we wouldn’t previously have committed to purchasing. It presents opportunities to easily discover and explore different performers and genres. But for the artist it also becomes a tougher world. As listeners and consumers we can all sit like judges on a talent show panel, ready and able to dismiss with one click of a button if we’re not instantly impressed. What if this mentality seeps into other aspects of our lives?

Continue reading “Shuffle and Skip”

Choosing The Right Container

SKT4GSYZMJ

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion”

– Parkinsons Law

When you consider Parkinson’s Law, it makes work tasks sound like gas, which expand to fill whatever container you put it in. Essentially our work, our tasks and activities will take as much time as we give them. This is the power of having a deadline and it is a deadline that turns a dream into a goal.

In the same why that it’s hard to capture gas, it can be hard to capture the tasks and activities that we have to do to turn our dreams into tangible outcomes. When trying to capture gas, the thing you have greatest control over is the vessel in which you intend to store it. When it comes to the tasks for our goals, the vessel is time, so it’s crucial we choose the right sized container.

If you allow too much time the task will expand to fill the time given. But this could lead you to a sense that the task is bigger than expected, or that it will take more time and effort to complete. This can generate a feeling that your dreams are too big; the work that lies ahead seems overwhelming. The years will roll by whilst you feel as though you’ve made little or no progress to living a fulfilled life.

Continue reading “Choosing The Right Container”

Can You Hear The Music?

FRMYNQBRB2

The other day on a flight home I saw a man reading. But rather than a book, magazine or newspaper he was reading sheet music. I’ve never seen someone read music like that. As his eyes moved across the notes on the page, he moved his hand to the rhythm of the music and hummed along. He hummed to the music that he could hear in his head from what he saw on the page.

As someone without any musical training I found this fascinating. Physically there was no orchestra playing, and yet he could hear the music.

An experienced chef can read ingredients and almost taste what the flavours of the dish will be like. An accomplished mountaineer can read coordinates on a map and understand the challenges of the climb, long before their hands touch the rock face. Sheet music, recipes and maps can all have complex, sense-related information encoded within them, which can be read and experienced.

We live life through our senses. What we hear, see, touch, taste and smell tells us what we need to know about the world. These amazing senses help us survive – there’s a reason we react so quickly when we touch something hot: our senses are helping us to stay alive.

But they do so much more than that. When you taste an amazing meal, or get lost in a beautiful symphony our senses are helping us feel something that goes beyond just the need to survive. They are helping us thrive. They are enabling us to live enriched and fulfilled lives. The same senses that steer us away from danger also allow us to experience the view from the top of the mountain.

But to be successful we have to learn to read the code. We can then unlock the information contained in the notation, recipes and maps that surround us. If you wait passively for your senses to be engaged, then maybe you won’t be in the best position to succeed in your endeavours. Your senses have the ability to visualise the climb, to anticipate the taste of the meal before you’ve made it, to hear the music before it starts playing.

A successful mountaineer climbs the mountain before he reaches it.

Whatever your goals, visualise them, make them real in your mind before you start out. Feel them, hear them, see them, touch them and taste them in your mind. Making it real in your mind gives you more chance of making it real in your life.

Climb your mountain, hear your music, taste your success.


Image credit:  Dayne Topkin | stocksnap.io