Archive for March, 2012

Your place in your personal space

March 27, 2012

Respect the personal space!

Understanding what drives you helps to control your activity and time. It also provides you with a compass. This leads to personal freedom.

The single greatest obstacle to success is time. Mostly this is the time used to do all those things you are ‘supposed’ to do. Life can become a monolithically repetitive chore, which runs on auto pilot with little resistance original thought. Think of your standard day and notice how many things are pre-programmed and how many of these are a waste of time.

Understand what influences you and you will:

  • Learn how to keep focused on your own plans
  • Avoid diversions which drain your resources
  • Focus on the variables you can control.

So, become aware of the internal and external constraints that limit you. Apply knowledge gained from past experiences to present ones. Know yourself: when you are most creative, the people who inspire you, what makes you happy. And then become familiar with the opposite. To be comfortable with situations that are unpleasant provides benefit in equal proportions.

We’re often told to look inward but we must look out as well. We can’t avoid external influences, and many are beyond our control. We must operate in the world so we must balance both. Knowledge is power, which helps us deal with what life presents. The benefit? When we rely on our experience, rather than our autopilot, to deal with new situations we reduce anxiety and increase our flexibility to handle what comes our way.

This is part experience, part confidence but … mostly … responsibility for your own behaviour and outcomes. Freedom comes from knowing your needs, your effect on others and their effect on you. The better you understand, the easier it will be to focus your efforts on achieving success.



Where are you going?

March 13, 2012

Where will your journey take you?

Our pursuit of success is as much about significance as it is money, power or security.

To achieve success, we need to apply our talents and intellect to purposeful, goal-oriented actions.

Of course, you must know what that looks like if you plan to find it. Understanding what your success looks like and where you will find it has been the subject of earlier posts. In this post, we’re going to look at the ‘how’ of success.

The ‘who’ of success is you. The ‘what’ of success is how you define it. The ‘where’ of success is focusing your energies on the right elements of your life. The ‘when’ of success is always now. And, finally, the ‘why’ of success is when you’re ready to do what it takes to get what you want.

And that brings us to the ‘how’.

Many self-help books explain the who, what, where, when and why. Few explain the ‘how’.

The significance of developing action-oriented strategies for moving toward your goals rests on the realisation that life isn’t static. You don’t reach a point of enlightenment from which life progresses in a perfect flow.

If you seek perfection then you will be disappointed. Life doesn’t work that way. Short of renouncing the material world and meditating in a cave for the next 30 years, life will find you and events will overtake you!

Developing strategies to meet them means accepting change, and the realisation that your strategy must be fluid to adapt to changing circumstances. In any smooth water there are occasional ripples and it takes skill to negotiate these. When you are powering along, ripples soon give way to smooth water again.

You may wish to avoid change, maintain the status quo and ensure certainty. This ignores the inevitability of change and limits your ability to adapt. We say we wish to change … we often even say we must … but still we remain stationary as the world revolves around us.

Accept uncertainty. Look for positive change. Keep moving towards worthwhile goals. These are the action strategies that mark you as successful. That is the path to significance.

Every moment contains new possibilities. The choice is yours.

What do you have time for?

March 1, 2012

Time to listen?

A man entered the metro station in Washington DC one cold January morning in 2007 and started playing the violin. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time more than two thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle-aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the case and continued to walk.

A few minutes later a man leaned against the wall to listen, but soon looked at his watch and left.

The one who paid the most attention was a three-year-old boy. His mother hurried him along. Several other children also stopped to listen, but all the parents hurriedly moved them on.

In 45 minutes, only six people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave the musician money but continued to walk their normal pace. The man collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one applauded. The only person that spoke to him had recognised him.

The violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the top musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars handcrafted by Antonio Stradivari in 1713.

Two days before playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston, with ticket price of $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organised by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities.

In a common environment at an inappropriate hour:

Do we perceive beauty?

Do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognise the talent in an unexpected context?

Here’s the point: If we don’t have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?