Posts in LIFE
Safe problem. Quality problem.

You know that problem that’s been kicking around inside your head for the past 3+ months? C’mon… you know the one. It’s the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing in your head at night. Yea, that’s the one… that’s a Safe Problem.

Safe problems are lingering issues that are within our control such as: procrastination, hesitation, overeating, blaming others for your troubles, avoiding commitment to a relationship or avoiding making a decision.

On the other hand, a quality problem is much different - you’ve had plenty of those before as well.

Quality problems involve a risky forward-thinking decision such as: changing jobs, starting a business, committing to a relationship or leaving a relationship etc.,

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Have you heard about Fear-Setting?

When it comes to making big decisions that will have big consequences, we all get nervous. What happens if it doesn’t work? What happens if I fail? What happens if I can’t go back? These are all valid concerns and should be dealt with rather than avoided and left to ruminate in our heads.

There’s a great exercise by a bloggers named Tim Ferriss called Fear-Setting which he outlines in his Ted Talk below. Basically, it’s about breaking each fear into three steps:

  1. DEFINE - state exactly what the fear is

  2. PREVENT - outline how you could possibly prevent it from happening

  3. REPAIR - describe how you could deal with it even if it did come to pass

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How to destroy a working relationship: Ego

I recently read Ryan Holiday's book 'Ego is the Enemy', which I found very thought-provoking. If you're like me, you'd expect to understand the content of the book just by hearing the title, however, according to Ryan, that would be your ego talking.

Listing to all the stories of clients over the past few years, and thinking back over my own personal career challenges, disagreements with colleagues and growth struggles, I was struck by how much of it can relate back to ego being a central component. 

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Anti-fragile

"What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Well, while that’s not quite true, we all get the idea. That’s also the premise of Nassim Taleb’s book ‘Antifragiel’ which talks about how various stress on different systems (from the human body to the financial markets) actually benefit from temporary stress because it allows them to develop great resilience and long-term strength. For example, going to the gym to put your body under temporary stress will ‘weaken’ your muscles for the day but strengthen them overall. Dealing with challenging new situations in work is often stressful, but prepares us for doing that in the future.

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Wait for the pushback

Before I explain an interesting exercise, I have to say that it only makes sense if you actually do it as you're reading this. Otherwise, you know the outcome but not your outcome. Anyway, I'll leave it up to you...

Here's the exercise: Put your hands together in front of your body in a prayer position as seen below. Then start to push with your right hand for 3 seconds. What happens?

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Favourite quotes about money

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like. – Will Rogers

Do not value money for any more nor any less than its worth; it is a good servant but a bad master. – Alexander Dumas

Money can’t buy happiness, but neither can poverty. – Leo Rosten

It's nonsense to say money doesn't buy happiness, but people exaggerate the extent to which more money can buy more happiness. - Daniel Kahneman

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Visualise one fine day in 10 years time

Golfers, footballers and tennis players, amongst other professional sports stars have often talked about the benefits of visualisation. We’ve all heard the success stories, but how can visualisation really make a difference? Shouldn’t we just focus on learning, practising and working hard? These were some of the questions I had been pondering for years, until recently...

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The High Achiever's Achilles Heel

You love goal-setting and are exhilarated by goal-achievement. You’ve probably read all the articles, blogs and books on how to work better, live better, feel better and think better. You’re not always sure what you want, except for two things: more growth and more success. Do you also feel little pleasure in winning but great pain in losing? Congratulations, you are a high achiever...

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Coping strategies for dealing with stress

Stress is part of everyone’s life at some stage or another. I think of dealing with it in three different ways: avoiding it if feasible; reducing it where possible; and finding better, more elegant ways of coping with it.

If you don’t know your favourite and most effective ways of dealing with stress before it happens, you’ll find it difficult to come up with them at short notice; that’s why it’s important to have them prepared in advance. Different situations will call for different responses, so we need to have flexible solutions. Here are some strategies that I find useful:

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Failing continually is crucial

Firstly, let’s distinguish between failed and failure. If a project doesn’t achieve the desired result - we could say that it failed, whereas if we believe that it hasn’t gone well and nothing could be improved, then it’s a failure. ‘Failure’ doesn’t leave much room for hope; it sounds so terminal. So let’s consider the alternative - never failing. 

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Passing thoughts on criticism

Criticism can be valuable occasionally, so it's good to derive any potentially useful information from it. If there’s nothing of worth in it, just let it pass. Remember that the more criticism you get, the more you’ll get used to it, which will help you to desensitise and deal with it in the future.

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” - Aristotle

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To be brave, you have to show vulnerability; to be a leader, you have to go first

“Men don’t talk” - that’s what I’ve been told. The statement is not just harsh and unfair; it’s untrue. I’ve met lots of men who talk, about their feelings too. Many of them love it. I’ve also met female clients who would prefer not to talk about anything. Generalisations are always wrong and there’s always an exception to the rule...

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Quit defending and experience freedom

Defending yourself is tough - so tough. But there is something so beautiful, so liberating, so empowering when you quit defending. It’s a moment when everything changes. Suddenly, you don’t have to pretend that everything is alright; that you’re perfect; that you did a good job; that you never made mistakes or that you never will again. And when that happens, you open up a whole new world of possibilities, and a lot less pain.

The fear is 'people will say …

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Forget resolutions - Focus on habits

Learning new skills is a challenge for many of us. The very first hurdle is our belief system: fixed mindset or growth mindset. If we have a fixed mindset, it suggests that we cannot learn new skills and have to make do with what we have naturally. On the other hand, there is a lot more room for hope if we have a growth mindset - this suggests that we believe skills can be learnt and we can learn them.

The second challenge is creating habits that make learning a consistent practice.

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