Wednesday, April 27, 2011

i-TFTD #316: Timely Tips

This bonus edition of i-TFTD with quotes related to time was triggered by the recently concluded World Cup cricket when over a billion people spent hours and days watching a dozen or so men playing with a stick and a ball!

#316-1. Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness.
-Jean de La Bruysre

#316-2. Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.
-Jim Rohn

#316-3. Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.
-Leonardo Da Vinci

#316-4. Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too s! hort for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
-Henry Van Dyke

#316-5. One realizes the full importance of time only when there is little left of it. Every man's greatest capital asset is his unexpired years of productive life.
-P.W. Litchfield

#316-6. Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn't spend half our time wishing.
-Alexander Woollcott

#316-7. Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.
-Stephen Swid

(Thanks to Prashant Varekar who shared three of the above quotes.)

Time is one of the few things that we perceive to be available in fixed quantity, non-stretchable and experience it moving in one direction always. I say ‘perceive’ because both from a scientific (Einsteinian) viewpoint and in a spiritual sense, time is not absolute. Ultimately time management is life management because it is either conscious or unthinking prioritization.

Most people have some paper-based or electronic To Do lists. A popular suggestion these days is to also have a Not To Do list (some call it To Don’t list or Stop Doing list). Feeling “crazy-busy” is a modern epidemic fueled by an always-connected, information-flooded environment. A couple of years ago I decided to stop regular watching of TV including CNBC and news channels. It turned out to be much easier than I thought and obviously freed up valuable minutes every day to spend with family, to read more or just relax without mental clutter.

Part of the trick of feeling in control is to accept that what we do spend time on every day or week is probably we do really care for at the moment. One needs to periodically balance between this basic self-acceptance and aspiring to do more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

i-TFTD #315: Strong, Positive Effort

#315-1. There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.
-R. Buckminster Fuller

#315-2. Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

#315-3. Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it--in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.
-John C. Maxwell

Good leaders must believe in the existence of unique talents in their subordinates. We must avoid labeling individuals based on their past performance in a given situation.

We need to at least believe in our own untapped potential! I! t is easy and popular to blame those around us and our circumstances. It appears harder but is more useful to examine if we can do something to achieve better success, if there are great things in ourselves and our lives that we are not utilizing.

Of course, achieving anything of value requires our effort, a willingness to step up and forward.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

i-TFTD #314: On Criticism

#314-1. Whining is a reverse placebo. When you get good at whining, you start noticing evidence that makes your whining more true.
-Seth Godin, Marketer and Author (1960-)

#314-2. Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.
-Gene Fowler, journalist and author (1890-1960)

#314-3. Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain—and most fools do.
-Dale Carnegie, American self-improvement guru and author of 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' and other bestseller books (1888–1955)

Complaining about the right thing to the right person at the right time is neces! sary but whining is ineffective complaining. A related concept is escalation, an essential skill to possess in today’s system-driven, matrix-structured global organizations. Many people confuse the art of escalation with complaining. If you do not escalate a matter to your boss in time, you not only lose the defensive opportunity to protect your interest, but are shutting the door to obtaining a solution in a timely manner. If you escalate to someone else’s higher-ups you may temporarily make the person unhappy but you will generally find that in the long term it results in respect and responsiveness. This, of course, assumes that you have been fair and transparent in attempting to get a business objective met and resorted to escalation only when reasonable follow-ups did not yield timely response.

When we face criticism or opposition it is useful to consider what the other person wants instead of focusing on fighting the opposition per se.

One should guard ! against acquiring the reputation of being a whiner. A handy technique one manager I know uses to curb this tendency in his team is to tell them, “Come to me with any complaint or problem but state it and then give at least one possible solution or suggestion even if it requires someone else to do something.”

Friday, April 8, 2011

i-TFTD #313: Make Discomfort Your Friend

#313-1. Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
-Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and thinker (1875-1961)

#313-2. In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.
-John Kenneth Galbraith, economist (1908-2006)

#313-3. Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation.
-Susan B. Anthony, reformer and suffragist (1820-1906)

Modern psychologists explain many characteristics of the human brain in terms of evolution. Nature is the ultimate designer that drives the basic survival instinct through efficiency and shortcuts. Our constant attempts to achieve a feeling of comfort could be seen as an outcome of this. Of course we intelligent beings know that long-term sustained comfort is often achieved at the cost of temporary discomfort but our day-to-day actions do not align with this wisdom. Deliberately seeking discomfort is a habit highly successful individuals seem to cultivate. A lot of creativity also emerges with such an attitude of stepping beyond the familiarity zone. Even the irritability caused by another person can be usefully deployed to derive learning value in terms of improving self-awareness.

Friday, April 1, 2011

i-TFTD #312: Ideas Need Action

#312-1. What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do.
-John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

#312-2. I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That's not a career—it’s a life!
-Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple (1955-)

#312-3. You cannot plough a field by turning it over in your mind.

These quotes are especially aimed at those of us who are idea generators, love conceptual thinking or like to do thorough pros-and-cons analysis. Highly action-oriented people should review this along with earlier posts such as On Effectiveness and Thinking, Thoughts on Thinking, On Intelligent Thinking, Thinking Deep and Wide and Degrees of Positive Thinking.