Good relationships matter!

This TED-talk turned up in my Facebook stream today. It’s a great presentation about what really makes a good life. The video is well worth an investment of 13 minutes.

Watch it and consider what YOU might want to change and improve in your own life.

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

Video: What makes a good life?

Watch the video below or at TED: Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

The Tail End (decide what matters)

Wait But Why is a great blog with lots of interesting posts, many of the very long. The Tail End is fairly short and to the point. I usually dislike the angle “Time is running out so…” but this post is very well done with a brilliant use of graphics.

It’s a reminder that we need to prioritize what we do. Being busy isn’t what matters, the question is what’s keeping you busy. Two of his three ending points are generic (comments are mine):
Priorities matter. (in everything)
Quality time matters. (in relationships as well as in everything else)

The text for priorities (in relationships of any kind) is this:

Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you — not by unconscious inertia.

Instead of spreading yourself thin, decide who really matters in your life and spend more face time with them.

The Real Law of Attraction

The word attraction ends with action. That’s a hint to what’s needed to achieve what you want.

The Real Law of Attraction

Attraction + Action = Result

Step one is to define what you want. Be precise and phrase it positively.

Whether you use The Secret, The Law of Attraction, Cosmic ordering, positive thinking or SMART goals is up to you. Pick a concept that works for you, you can even pick and mix.

The next step is action. Sitting on your butt waiting yields no result. It’s up to you to do your part of the work. Action is required in order to achieve what you want.

Be agile

Keep in mind that you might have to adjust your plans.

Plans are nothing; planning is everything. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Questions for you

What do you want to attract/achieve?

What do you have to do in order to get it?

When will you start?

The Real Law of Attraction

Chopsticks and Writing

Chopsticks and penChopsticks and writing are both about attitude.

I have a book project, That elusive book of mine. Every other week my writing partner and I have lunch in an Asian restaurant. When we started with our lunch sessions I used fork and knife. Last Friday I used chopsticks, not like a pro but good enough to manage with them. She of course got curious about the change.

The story behind it is that a month ago I should go out and have sushi with my youngest son and his girlfriend. They teased me in advance and told me that sushi is supposed to be eaten with chopsticks. I used to cheat and use either fingers or fork and knife. That time I decided it was time for a change and to their surprise (and my own) I did eat my sushi with chopsticks.

I have problems getting started with my writing. My writing partner´s question was quite obvious. “Why don’t you get the same attitude about writing as you now have about chopsticks. Just do it!” I still owe her an answer to that. It’s all in my mind, I need to clear out some obstacles I have created myself.

Question for you.

Do you have anything you say “I can not” to that can be changed to “I can”?

The key to success? Grit

Angela Lee Duckworth holds a short (6 minutes) presentation about what’s required for success. A high IQ isn’t enough, it takes stamina and grit. She ends up with mentioning the inetresting topic of the growth mindset.

Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

Video: The key to success? Grit

Watch the video below or at Ted Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit

Strides, Habits and Goals

Keys to creating and maintaining habits is to be accountable and to be persistent. There are apps that help us be accountable, persistence is up to us.

I have used Habit List for more than two years in order to keep track of my habits and it works really well. Now I want an app that helps me keep track of both goals and habits. I found Strides: Goals & Habits Tracker which seems to match what I want. It has several options (Target, Average, Milestones & Habit) that makes it easy to define what we want to track. I love the dashboard and its graphic overview, it’s very easy to see current status.

What do I track?

As an example, here are the goals and habits I have at present in Strides.

  • Plank (exercise), once a day or more.
  • Pushups (exercise), 25 or more a day.
  • Squats (exercise), 50 or more a day.
  • Situps (exercise), 75 or more a day.
  • Walk at least 30 minutes, daily.
  • Yoga, daily.
  • Meditation, daily.
  • Enjoy and gratitude (mindset), daily.
  • Interact and connect, daily.
  • Eat healthier (health and mindset), daily.
  • Write, an average of 200 words a day.

It’s the goals (how many a day) that made me decide to test out Strides. For my exercises it fairly simple, I want at least a certain number each day. My writing will vary a lot from day to day, that’s why I go for an average instead of a fix number of words per day.

Know your limits. Then crush them.

Everybody get stuck from time to time, even us professionals. I was stuck on two issues and then I got this image:
Know your limits. Then crush them.

Know your limits. Then crush them.

Our obstacles are often more mental than real. Our minds are great at creating stuff, not always to our advantage. When we ge stuck we have problems to on our own see the obstacles from another perspective.

It’s hard to coach yourself even when you know how to coach others. I took help from a friend, we had a conversation that focused on me and my two issues. A conversation with someone that really listens and who helps you find your solution to the problems makes a huge difference.

One of my issues was my writing. My obstacle was the idea that if I couldn’t write well from start then it was better to not write at all. That wasn’t exactly productive. The conversation helped me see things in a proper perspective and the next day I was reminded that Bad writing precedes good writing. In other words, sit down and write without judging what you write. Editing can be done later.

My other issue has to do with my personal spiritual development. I was locked in the concept that what how it worked in the past was how it still should work. The conversation helped me open up and realize (again…) that since I have changed so have how things work for me.

Questions for you

Are you stuck on something? If so, how can you get a new perspective on it?

Who can help you change your perspective?

Who can help you change according to your new view?

What is best, a clean or a messy desk?

When I advise people on how to best get things done I often suggest that they get a clean desk. After reading Is A Messy Desk Really Better For Creativity? I will modify that advice. It’s about removing clutter and distractions, not about a clean desk. What distracts us vary, figure out what works best for you and find your own level of neatness.

The part “Change Your Definition Of Clutter” contains this gem (bolding is mine), a great definition of clutter:

Clutter isn’t necessarily piles and items that appear disorderly. Instead, clutter is made up of items we keep that do not serve us—that book you’re never going to read, the papers you think you need to hang onto because you have to, etc. If you need it and it’s giving you something positive, it’s not clutter.

My advice now on clean or messy desk is this:

  • Get rid of clutter, things that no longer serve you.
  • Create a for you distraction free work zone.
  • Focus on one thing at a time.

Are You You?

Fast Company has a section called How I Get It Done with interesting and useful articles. I just read Business Models For A Modern Artist about Shantell Martin and how she created a business model that suits her. I especially love the following parts of the article.

Martin, who has more than 130,000 Instagram followers, often uses the hashtag #AREYOUYOU. When she first arrived in New York, she had to recalibrate her approach to art. And to keep herself from being drowned in influences from those around her, she began to plaster the surfaces of her new loft with Post-Its marked with, “Who Are You?”

This an important thing for all of us to ponder.

‘Who are you? Are you being you? What’s your goal?'” Martin says. “We’re all trying to just find our way in life. I’m trying to find my way through this language of words and lines and drawings.”

The ending text is brilliant (in my opinion) – simply try to be a better human being.

My focus is on simply trying to be a better human being: try and eat better, drink better, think better. Just try, and try, and try. The more that you try to be a better human being, the more you want to do what you love to do. And for me, that’s drawing

You can read more about her and her work at Shantell Martin.

Unplug and Disconnect to Connect!

This video is a great reminder of the value of actually being present. That’s always important, even outside festive seasons.

Electronic distractions have found their way at every meal time which hinders quality time and bonding among family members and friends. This festive season, ‘Unplug’ and disconnect to reconnect with your loved ones!

Video: Unplug and Disconnect to Connect!

Watch it below or on YouTube at Unplug and Disconnect to Connect!