Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

Planning – Is It The Right Way To Go?

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Well the short answer to the title of this post is ‘it depends’ but what is an interesting scenario to look at more deeply is ‘what happens when everything goes according to plan?’

And I don’t mean at a task or project level but at a long-term personal goal level. Say in recent history you’ve obtained your university degree, landed a fairly decent job at a reputable company, built up a portfolio of some sort and are on your way to securing what ever awaits for you at the finish line – a new home, marriage and/or promotion. It’s a rather rosy picture and I believe it is one that many would like to or have painted. And I can only imagine the feelings at the end: relief, pride, happiness.

But I ask you to think back at some of your most memorable and cherished memories. Were they planned occurrences? Was there a sense of excitement? For a brief passage of time where the variables are just right you can experience something very special. But they don’t need to be confined to just moments. The winds of passion can set you on course to discoveries about yourself you may never have experienced if you did things ‘according to plan’.

So while ‘it depends’ on whether to plan or not, just remember about the alternative. It’s not all that scary.

Reactivate Your Curiosity

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

The world is such a rich and vibrant place filled with hundreds of cultures, landmarks, foods and people yet we only get to sample the most minute fraction of it in our lives. However, while we typically sample only a droplet of what the ocean of the human race and planet offer we’re not too far from having the capacity to be curious again.

Once upon a time you viewed the world with open eyes and absorbed so many wonders, and maybe even tragedies, yet as an adult that drive is depressed. This is natural to some extent – our life expectancy has rapidly overtaken the time it takes for the brain to fully develop (approximately 21 years). So it’s no wonder that 60-odd years of life is spent where the brain is simply…on idle. Sure, we continue to learn bits and pieces that come our way but it can be all too passive. With so many marketing efforts bombarding us with ads and expectations of the 9-5 grind it’s too easy to just give up and be consumed.

So don’t forget to question. ‘Why?’ is a remarkably powerful tool. It may lead you to new passions, people and love. It can lead you to new directions, exciting adventures or even a fresh view of the past. Don’t be afraid. The rabbit hole is there to fall into.

Research Findings in Social Psychology: Normality

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Studies have shown that approximately 65% of people suffer from normality. This disturbing evidence has failed to ignite action within the population with most choosing to go about their daily mundane lives as per usual.

It is believed several mechanisms in western society are at play towards this epidemic. Examples include excessive comfort, ego-tripping, mortgage payments and materialistic pursuits.

If left unchecked it is possible that the moral, emotional and spiritual elements of human nature will stagnate, leaving human existence irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

To combat this dilemma it is suggested individuals look within and to each other and then proceed to change something.

It Pays The Bills and Keeps You Busy

Monday, April 5th, 2010

“As long as you’re enjoying it”

I often find myself and others say this when someone talks about their job. But when I say it, I lie.

Think of it this way – imagine if everyone in the world only did their 40 hour weeks for their own enjoyment. Where would our Mother Teresas, Nelson Mandelas, Martin Luther King Jrs and Mahatma Gandhis be? While it can’t be expected that everyone and anyone rise up and be humanitarians I don’t think it’s unreasonable for each of us to think for a moment about what we are doing to help our fellow man, woman and child. Even if it is something small.

“As long as we enjoy it”

The Currency Of Time

Monday, February 8th, 2010

If there is ever a phrase that irks me it’s “I’m going to spend time with/doing <blah>”

‘Spend’ time? Since when has time been equivalent of a currency? Not only has consumerism have us obsessed with wanting more stuff it also has warped our concept of time – as if it were a commodity we knew we were going to run out of.

And now there seems to be some underlying necessity to cram our lives as a sequence of events, scheduled to maximise our return on investment – cashing in time in calculated increments in the hope to make us feel ‘balanced’.

My theory on being ‘balanced’ – it’s pedestrian. All you really end up doing is juggling one part of your life with another. Hardly anything extraordinary comes out of a juggling act. Unless you are juggling flaming chainsaws with puppies.

So don’t be afraid to take your work/family/friends/leisure ‘balance’ and change it up a bit – go with the flow; do what comes naturally; focus on something extraordinary or turn something ordinary into something extraordinary. And don’t worry about any downtime – daydreaming is good for you. After all there is no hurry.

How To Multitask – The GenY Way

Monday, February 1st, 2010

With the sheer amount of information and relationships we have to deal with I’d say ‘hyperactive’ be a very appropriate word to describe our generation. And with hyperactivity comes a great deal to juggle in our life – so how to handle it?

By redefining the word “multitasking”. Instead of doing multiple tasks at once, do multiple tasks sequentially. Think about it this way:

We have two eyes to focus on an object;

We have two ears to place a voice;

We have two feet to take one step forward;

And We have two hands to hold our child.

Just because we like to think we can do more things at once in reality it’s not in our nature.

So next time you feel overwhelmed remember only one thing is ever at the top of a list of priorities. Others will remember a job well done long after the wait.

Perception is Reality

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Something happens. You go forth at the best of your ability with the best intentions. Things seem to pan out alright – you did what you had to do according to plan. Then you turn around to find that others around you respond in ways you didn’t anticipate. It may even be the case the response was undesirable.

What went wrong? You trace back through your steps – nope, everything occurred as intended. Except the response.

Well, being as unpredictable and illogical as we are it is no surprise the ‘human factor’ is at play here. While you may understand your own actions very well, it’s not in our nature to put in the effort to try and understand other people’s circumstances. At least off first impressions. We lean towards simplicity and the ‘easy way’ – no one has time or patience for explanations.

And to me, that itself is a tragedy of human nature.

The New New Years Resolution

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

The end of the year is approaching and for many this sparks the time to put together New Years resolutions. Whether it’s to shed a few kilosbranch out into self-employment or to travel, there are endless objectives people can set their sights on.

But it got me wondering why we do this.

The simple explanation is that we want to improve ourselves; to get out of our bad habits. But to be compelled to change only once every 365 days just spells doom for the resolution. An unpleasant assumption to make but they’re not exactly known for being successful.

Perhaps it’s time to take a different approach.

In moving forward, it pays to look back at where you came from. Reminiscing has a way of giving perspective, which is a key ingredient of motivation. And one way we reconnect with our past is to listen to music, the type that carries the weight of particular times our lives. Songs where the lyrics spoke our mind and the melody resonated with us.

So make a playlist of the songs that represent the moments that made who you are – a soundtrack of your life, so to speak.

And for the bold move… share it with others. Let them see where you came from. Let them hear your story.

Now your resolution has greater meaning.

[List] A selection of elemental motives for career development

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

After writing up my previous post I’ve had a thought more about what sort of outcomes people can come across when breaking down their motivation for the current or intended careers. So here is a list of what I have come up with. Feel free to add your own in the comments :)

  • Teach others about the world
  • Teach others about themselves
  • Motivate the unmotivated
  • Lead the unfortunate out of crisis
  • Lead the capable to victory
  • Create something beautiful
  • Establish and promote freedom
  • Accomplish fairness and balance
  • Discover the world
  • Discover the universe
  • Bring people together
  • Protect the important
  • Protect the weak
  • Make life easier
  • Make life liveable
  • Entertain
  • Clean the planet
  • Be a beacon for faith
  • Be a mother
  • Be a father
  • Forge alliances
  • Build a community
  • Save lives

What do you *really* want to do with your life?

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The VCE results have come in for 2009 and for year 12s around Australia I’m sure it was a moment of relief, joy, disappointment or even indifference.

Reliving my own experience I recall the apparent gravity of the situation – being handed a number that will steer a young adult towards a university degree which in turn has an almost direct impact on what he/she will be doing for a career (or two…or three…)

And while I didn’t acknowledge it at the time, it was so…unnatural.

It’s easy to say you want to be an accountant, teacher or microbiologist specialising in infectious diseases of diabetic foot ulcers. The proliferation of specialised university courses makes this easy to pigeonhole ourselves in such a way. But they’re just job titles / skill sets; labels to place upon ourselves to give us a sense of belonging and social rank.

Despite the past successes most of us have achieved such as scoring a degree of choice and landing a decent job I sense an air incertitude among our generation. Reality has hit after reaching the other end of a system that was conveniently pushing us along to where we are now. Though resolving it is really quite simple.

So as an exercise, whether you’re feeling unsettled about where you are or are absolutely certain you know what you’re doing, it pays to step back and ask yourself: “what do I really want to do with my life?”. And when answering it, I mean really completely deconstructing the very notion of what your current, or ‘to-be’ career is.

For instance, say you want to be a criminal lawyer. You don’t really want to be acriminal lawyer, thats just a job title. Instead, see it for what core moral, ethical or emotional values it entails, and see if that resonates with you. As a criminal lawyer you probably want things to be fair, establish a sense of balance and justice. Or you want to defend the weak to give you a sense of pride. Or perhaps you want security and comfort.

What ever it is, it’s these core values that drive us. And finding the right ones gives much more meaning than what any job title can provide.