Monday, December 31, 2012

I am so pleased for this 30th Year for these things


Pleased and not happy.  Because it is simple satisfying kind of happiness – satisfied and at peace with this year.

One important reason is definitely the few important books that entered my life this year:
  •         The Power of Less
  •         Steve Jobs Biography
  •         The Lazy way to Success
The first 2 books all points towards Focus.  
Looking back to yearly reflections, in 2010, I read NUDGE and then I thought that I need to trick myself to get things done.  It will be something along the lines of changing physical environment: Make the difficult easy, the averse pleasant, and the boring interesting. Or simply the concept of Propinquity.

As I wrote in my reflections:

The easiest way to exercise is to have fun doing so. The easiest way to get things that don’t have a deadline (or externally enforced deadline) is to have a bet - I need to start giving myself target/go for courses and rewards/punishments accordingly.  It is like controlling myself externally.

Yes, all these are true but this is only after you have chosen the projects to focus on.  One simply cannot have too many things going on in their life.

As Bruce Lee said: "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus."

Similarly, Pen Hadow in Maximising your Potential Max#11: at about 23:45, told a story where he wanted to climb a iceberg on a expedition to photograph polar bears.   His partner chided him and told him it was not relevent to their expedition. His takeaway lesson was if it is not relevant to the critical path, drop it. 

Focus. FOCUS. FOCUS

Lack of implementation:

Another of  my previous problem was this:
How many people do you know that read a lot of books and spend a lot of time attending courses, but never apply the knowledge they learn?

Maybe it is because I read too much, maybe because I simply don’t know how to reject and focus; I will get spurts of inspirations and motivations but never got down to implementing much of them.

Another genuine reason is of course the fear of failure.

Here the Bruce Lee master again:
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”  And …

Jack Ma feels that one does not measure success just by the results; instead he feels that the experience of doing something is a kind of success itself. “ You go out there and charge around…  and if it doesn't work, you can always bow out. But if you just think over thousands of things at night and in the morning keep on walking on the same path, you will never get anywhere.”

I am glad that this year of my life, one by one on the To Do list, I cleared my books reviews and perhaps most important of all, taken the first step to try and create a viable hobby business from coastal cleanup. 

At least now I know if it works or doesn’t work instead of reminiscing about it.

Thus focusing will allow you to drive your limited energy and resources into just a few projects so that you can decide if it is worth doing or just a random inspiration.

Of course, I took inspiration from “ Lazy way to success” who quoted Buckminister who said something along the lines of “If you are doing something natural to you and good for the world, the world will come around to help you”. So just try, if it is meaningful, it will happen.

And of course, Momento Mori is an additional remedy to the fear of failure.

Reaching Goals?

Yet now, also in contrast to the importance of goal reaching that is preached by society at large: 

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” Bruce Lee

And as Yvon Chouinard mentioned in his lecture at about 6:35 - "There are no dancing girls on top, after you scale that wall."

Summing it up:

Pen Hadow has this to say about focus and results at about 26:20:
"Follow a critical path and make informed choices of the side effects.
It is not that difficult to break the broad middle band of achievement, because most people with justification are just not willing to let certain things go. "

Then at 29:04:
"It may not be worth it in the end and hence it is about the journey, more about the process than the outcome." 

Pen Hadow sums it up as Relentless Intelligent Application to succeed.

Relentless: Invest time - also mentioned in "Road less travelled" when Scott Peck mentioned that he just wasn't good at fixing his car because he never invested time in it. 

Intelligent: Be mindful of the side effects of pursuing your goal and test what works.  It may be right to give up and always tighten your focus.

Application:  Just do - Jack Ma

If I could at this early stage of life try to put together what I learnt :

  • Focus. Choose the projects that you want to be involved and limit yourself. You got to invest the time to make it a success
  • On each project, you have to learn to enjoy the process and not simply be single minded on reaching the target.  At the end of the day, you may find that you may not like the side effects of that success. 
  • And because as put in " The lazy way to success"  - people who make it really big really enjoy  what they do. 
  • It is in a sense cyclic and mutually enhancing, because if you didn't invest the time through focusing, you may never get to the stage where you enjoy the process because you never got good enough. 
  • There is still a place for bets and other psychological tricks:  On things that you don't enjoy doing but are good for you - such as financial planning or exercising.  That is where "Make the difficult easy, the averse pleasant, and the boring interesting." comes in. 
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