Monthly Archives: January 2010

Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks 2

29 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

Coming in from part 1:

You can use the blockage (pun intended) to learn more about yourself.

In the long view, everything can be used — we can re-frame the mistakes as lessons — ones on learning about the world, about yourself, about how to handle life as it comes…

Hopefully then, you can release the illusion of control over everything in your life (“I’m the King of The World!”), and strive towards making the best of what you’ve got and been given.

You can also use the stumbling blocks as course corrections, reconsidering which way you want to go. Remember Pong (the computer game)?

You play it by positioning the slider so that the ball can bounce off it. In this case, you use the block to bounce off of, making it a starting block. Continue reading Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks 2

Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks

27 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

Writing an article is like assembling a jig-saw puzzle with words.

You have a central idea, and then all the little ideas get pieced together in an orderly pattern — words to a sentence, then sentences to a paragraph — making the connections until the pieces (which make little sense on their own) form into an image of the whole and show you the big picture.

In doing the research for this article, somehow the jigsaw pieces became blocks.

This is mainly because life rarely gives us the top of the puzzle box to guide us even as we try to connect the pieces we’re given. If we stick with the puzzle analogy, some pieces don’t make any sense, some come in from out of the blue, and some disappear just when we need them the most.

We don’t always get the big picture, and in the process the puzzle image failed, so, being more appropriate for what comes next, the blocks took over.

Picture it, a child’s set of blocks. Depending on who’s using them, and where they are, these blocks can do a lot of things.

The kids can build things with them when they’re playing. Blocks can hurt when thrown across a room, or trip you up when they’re left on the floor. They can also prop up your laptop when you’re too cheap to buy a proper laptop stand (Hey, it if works, why not?) Continue reading Stumbling Blocks, Building Blocks, Starting Blocks

Sharpening Your Instincts

25 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

If you mean to succeed by using your instincts, hone them first.

The shiny lures of instant success and internet fame will set you up for disappointment when you actually follow through in the hard light of day, but when you’re truly determined to succeed, ignore the dazzle and the hype.

Know what you want, know your capabilities, and learn to read the signs in the environment you’re moving in.

How do you hone your instincts?

1) Get experience. Lots of experience. Get out there.

Don’t get bogged in the research stage. Many good ideas die here, strangled by data or drowned in the just-one-more-byte disorder, when you confuse the amount of information you have with the probability of success.

Hint: the two things have no direct correlation. All the data in the world won’t make up for inaction.

A Chinese proverb explains this aptly: “Walk on two feet.” Learn while you apply what you’re learning, study while you work.

This way, you (1) actually commence past the planning to the action stage, even if it is in small steps, and (2) you apply what you learn immediately, you see what works, what didn’t, and get to try something else. Continue reading Sharpening Your Instincts

Are You On Track?

22 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

Spot check! So….how have you been?

Check your calendar. Whether it’s the 3rd week of the first month of the not-so-new-anymore-year, or the last semester before graduation, or two weeks before your unemployment benefits run out, or that dark hour before the deadline, you are always included in a cycle of sorts.

As some things begin, some things end, and in-between you do your things.

Checking in with yourself using our first question (in bold, see? Look up.) is basic.

Asking yourself this is a self-check, a way to step back and assess your progress. Check your calendar again. At this point, have you made any concrete steps towards your goals?

Are you checking your progress? You should, because how will you know how far you’ve come if you don’t keep track — or get to see how far you’ve yet to go? Continue reading Are You On Track?

Minding The Gap

20 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

The previous article, Bridging the Gap (Parts 1, 2) was all about making a real and sustainable connection between your dreams and your reality. This article is all about dealing with the stress of doing so.

Now, this may come as a shock to you, but mental stress can be much harder on the body than physical stress, especially if it’s sustained.

It’s true, and for a large part of the time we do it to ourselves, unconsciously.

There’s already a lot of evidence out there proving the mind-body link is real and very important, it’s just that in our hurry to Get Somewhere, to Make Things Happen and Get Things Done, we tend to forget that link.

What happens then is we split our selves in two, Mind and Body, paying much more attention to the Mind (and what happens inside it) and treating the Body as just another object to take care of and control.

Don’t just take my word for it, look at the statistics and news.

Check around at your workplace and your own health and see for yourself how stress manifests itself, physically as well as mentally. Insomnia, weakened immune systems, back pain, the list goes on and on. Continue reading Minding The Gap

Bridging The Gap 2

18 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

In part 1 we identified the Gap. Today we’re taking a deeper look behind the assumptions that people use to fill the gap, and then we’ll recommend a few things you can do to deal with these assumptions.

At the very heart of it, the most common root that leaves you despairing in the gap is: Your standards are set to unrealistic levels.

Your reluctance to adjust these levels just draws out the discomfort. The real-life results can leave you still dissatisfied.

 

Now, dissatisfaction is actually good. Dissatisfaction can spur us on to greater effort to change things. Dissatisfaction helps change the status quo, starts revolutions, makes improvements, pushes progress.

The dark side happens when you marinate in it, seething because the world will not fit itself to your ideals of how things should be.

Quick hint 1: The world came first, and it’ll still be here long after you’re gone. Stop beating your head against the wall. Continue reading Bridging The Gap 2

Bridging The Gap

15 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

What with all the advances in modern technology, cultural and social shifts, and the many freedoms that we have the luxury of taking for granted, with everything that we can do with these resources — why do so many people feel they’re not living the life they’re supposed to be living by now?

The answer lies in the gap between all your plans and your reality.

  • “This wasn’t part of the plan, dammit.”
  • “I coulda been a contender!” — Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, On the Waterfront, 1954
  • “This isn’t what I wanted. I had so many plans, I never expected things to turn out the way they have….”

There is an inevitable gap between the Real and the Ideal, precisely because of what they are. Ideals live in a purely theoretical state. See the definitions we yanked from Wiktionary under ‘Ideal’ (More on this later.):

  • Optimal; being the best possibility.
  • Perfect, flawless, having no defects.
  • Existing only in the mind; conceptual, imaginary.

Real is sweaty, tiring and smelly. It is not a 3-D iMax full Sensurround experience you can walk away from.

It’s being here, all the time. And the realm of the Ideal is where we run to escape from the Real.

“When I loss weight, get promoted, get married, get divorced, graduate, see my name up in lights…then I’ll be happy.”

And when you do get those things, you experience a few moments of happiness…followed by a teeny voice that only pipes up when you take a moment alone in your head.

“That didn’t feel as good as I thought it would…or last as long.” Continue reading Bridging The Gap

Work While You Work 2

13 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

While the goal tracker mentioned in part one teaches you to focus on the activities that are directly linked to your most important, vital outcomes (the actions that will bring you the most bang for your buck) the method mentioned in this second part is a concentration aid.

The Pomodoro technique teaches you to manage your mental environment, a difficult thing to do in these split-focus, multi-tasking modern days.

To move in this time we are taught to dart our attention all over the place, looking at the shiny, the relentless, the most strident, the terribly, terribly IN-terr-esting.

The long-term effect? We keep needing more and more stimulation to push through our desensitized filters, and this drains us even as we develop a craving to the speed at which the stimuli comes at us, leading to a vicious circle.

To practice the Pomodoro technique then, would be quite uncomfortable until you get used to what it demands of you. It may take a while to realize the value of this mental training, but the results will pay out, as soon as you truly get it, and over a life-time. Continue reading Work While You Work 2

Work While You Work 1

11 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

How much work do you accomplish while you work?

For anyone who has ever worked in a company where the majority of the labor is done in an area full of cubicles, the answer can swing either way.

You can be so busy you never gopher up from your little nest, or you can use everybody else’s business to hide your uninterrupted winning streak — 212 (and counting) — in Spider Solitaire.

Work is usually plopped down into two piles: busywork, which deals with the Urgent and Petty, and grunt-work, which deals with the backlog of Important and Mind-draining.

At this point, may we suggest a different point of view to help you with your productivity? Thank you. Continue reading Work While You Work 1

8 Signs You Should Diversify 2

08 January 2010, by A. Cedilla

In part one, we shared four indicators that you need to diversify in you business dealings. In this, the last half, we invite you to take a closer look at how need,passion, and surprise can help you and your business on to greater heights.

5) When you need to make more money.

In order to expand, to go beyond past a plateau, you need accessible resources, and that usually means money, not just imagination.

You need money to make money. So think of what changes you can do with your product line, your services, to tailor them to the changing and emerging markets.

See, diversification, in the most literal sense of the word, means to make in different ways.

In financial circles, diversification means spreading your investment around to lessen the risks of over-reliance in any one product, helping you grow your money.  In marketing, its aim is to make more money by creating new products and venturing into new markets. Continue reading 8 Signs You Should Diversify 2