Why I no longer call them goals

Calling your goals, “goals”, leaves you at a disadvantage. From now on, I suggest that you call them outcomes.

Let me tell you why. An article in the New York Times spells it out clearly: names have power. The way in which we speak about things affects our brains.

The term “goals”, has multiple meanings, depending on the context. In one way it means where you’d like to be, but in many other instances, it can mean, dreams, vision or desire. A wish, far off, into the future. Goals also have you thinking about the end result and not so much on how to get there.

Calling your goal an outcome, automatically implies that, for something to come out, something must go in. Your mind starts to wonder about how, and as research has shown, we solve problems in our sleep. The more you think about your outcomes the more you are likely to work towards them.

I have made a decision. I will only put my dreams on my outcomes list if I have attached a new habit to it. Want to lose weight? Add the habits of a better diet and regular exercise. Want to earn more money? Attach the habit of developing your skills and reading. If the outcome is worth pursuing the habit is worth cultivating.

If what you are thinking about is truly a “goal”, try something more specific, like dream, vision or desire, but don’t call them goals.

Featured image by Andrey Larin https://unsplash.com/photos/Kodkas71tT8

Outstanding Advice from a tribe of mentors

This will be my final post covering tribe of mentors. If you are a little bit lost and not sure which direction to take you will find a lot of great advice and pointers from this book. It is a great reference book and I’d recommend it to all.

In a previous post, I wrote a quick review on the book Tribe of Mentors but I also wanted to give you some of the advice that stood out to me.

1- Personal Development and Routine

Discipline = Freedom. We are always between freedom and bondage. We move away from freedom when we lack discipline. Freedom to choose the life you want comes only by discipline. There are extreme cases where one really can’t choose, but for the average person, this is a fortunate choice to have.

To become the best you, you must work on your own weaknesses continuously.

2 – Learning

The best student wins. Make sure that you are a life long student, make sure you grow to become the best student.

All successful people read a lot. An example is Terry Cruise. He is a man of great depth who has an incredible reading list. You would think that comedians are just naturally good at telling stories that make people laugh. Now I know why some comedians make it in life: they read! See Trevor Noah’s favorite books as an example: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/11/t-magazine/entertainment/trevor-noah-favorite-books-list.html

Be in a hurry to learn, not to get validation. Embrace change and keep learning, the only way to stay relevant.

We arrive at certain destinations because of our decisions. Our choices are mostly a result of how we weighed our options. From Julia Galef’s interview, I learned that most advice is one size fits all but that the best advice helps one improve judgment.

Tom Peters stated, “The number one failings of CEOs: they don’t read enough”. I was so inspired by how much the mentors read and how many of them actually made time for reading in their schedule. Reading is absolutely critical. You can not avoid this if you desire growth. Reading is probably the most important career and life habit and is one strand that connects all the mentors. To be well prepared for all situations one must read a wide range of topics, even poetry.

3- Health.

In pursuit of success, you can’t ignore your health.  Resting is important, simply put: Uptime is as important as downtime and growth come from periods of rest.

Even if you don’t exercise you should at least make time to walk. Make it part of your life. Walk a little.

Eating healthy is critical and sugar is toxic. Avoid sugar especially soda and juice.

The important things in life must be done in parallel: relationships, health, religion, work.

4 – Success

No success came overnight. Even if that is what the media would like you to believe.

It is possible to out-prepare any competition.

To future proof yourself, focus on personal resilience and emotional intelligence.

Choose opportunities based on the people you get to work with. Skate to where the puck is going and remember persistence is greater than talent.

To reach success Tom Peters said: Become a superstar, all-pro listener, read up on it, work on it, have a mentor grade you on it.

Beware the “philosophologist”. Beware the one who has not been in the trenches. Seek wisdom from people who’ve done it, not the people who teach it.

5- People

On saying no: Have a yes list, for everything else say no.

Saying maybe, when you want to say no, is lying to yourself and others.

Say no to complaints, blame, and gossip.

Don’t underestimate languages. It is the doorway to another world.

There is so much to gain from being generous. Generosity elevates us all.

Avoid ego and embrace truth. Ego’s focus is: who is right. Truth focuses on what is right.

6 – Attitude and Personal Philosophy

Have a Gratitude Journal, write in it and read it. This gives you perspective.

Self-esteem, the reputation you have with yourself. Do not do things that erode that reputation.

Confidence is overrated and even irritating -try Courage. As you take courage and build up a track record of success, with yourself, genuine confidence grows.


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Strategies for not neglecting your blog

When we start a blog, we dream of many readers, followers, and online interactions. Our hope is that writing would open doors for us, you know make us a little more famous than we are currently. In most cases, what follows is the exact opposite. Our blog lies dormant, no articles, nor any comments and no changes since who knows when.

At the beginning of 2018, I started doing a few things very intentionally different, which helped me to do at least one post per month, and some months a little more. These ideas did not only lead to more articles but also, as you’ll discover, improved quality.

1 – Define consistency for yourself

We sometimes place subconscious pressure on ourselves. It affects our ability to think and write. The number one thing you can do for your blog is this: decide for yourself, based on the reality in your life, what the definition of an active blog is.

Defining this for yourself releases creativity and unblocks your thinking. Decide at minimum how many posts you want to put out for the period that you decide on, this has given me a way to maintain accountability. If your reality only allows for one post per quarter, do that! As you grow, so will the frequency. The aim here is not to post all the time, but mainly to get a good rhythm going.

2 – Forget quality

I use to think that the only thing that mattered was quality. Until I heard this story:

A teacher divided his art class into two groups. Each group will work on their year-end project. To the one, he said: “You will be marked based on the quality, bring me one top quality piece. The higher the quality, the better your grade.” and to the other, he said, “You will be marked based on quantity, bring me as many art pieces as you can. The more you bring, the higher your grade”. Both groups went off and came back at the end of the year with their art pieces.

You would think the group who focused on quality performed better, but the results were the opposite. The group who concentrated on quantity had better work than the group solely focused on quality. This deduction from this was simple:practice makes perfect! I believe the same applies to our ability to blog.

From this, I gather that the more you blog, the better your blog posts eventually become.

3 – Gather Ideas and move them to drafts

For a blogger, having nothing to write about is one of the worst situations to find yourself. Having the desire, but no content leaves one feeling paralyzed. To me, blogging is, starting with a basic idea and expanding on it. The wise Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the Sun”. I believe this to be true of ideas as well. There are no new ideas under the sun. There are; new ways to frame them, unique ways to express them and your own life experiences to incorporate into them.

Ideas come and go. Our job is to hold onto the good ones. You can write them down, make a video, graft it into a song. Just don’t leave them solely as thoughts -they will disappear. I’ve had many ideas that slid into forgetfulness. Now I write them in my journal; I email them to myself, I record voice notes. Whatever it takes, I make an effort to hold on to the good ones.

Read more. Reading exposes one to ideas and new ways to express them.

I currently have 20 drafts waiting to be fleshed out or polished. These may not sound like very much, but if I compare them to the time where my blog was a ghost town, I think they are a sign of my strategies working for me.

A strategy that I learned from writing is thinking is to start every blog post with a brain dump. Dump your idea and start creating small sentences as you explore the idea. Do this as a blog post draft so you can save it and have it ready for the next time you work on your drafts. The system of taking Ideas and fleshing them out into mind dumping drafts gives you something meaty to return to when you make time for your blog.

4 – Set out blog time every possible day

How much time should you set aside for blogging? How often? You decide. My method is to set time aside every working morning. I take 10-20 mins and work on my drafts. If you have more time, that’s even better! When you sit down to work on your drafts. Set a timer and stop when it runs out.

This method may mean that a blog post, like this one, takes you a few weeks to write. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are thinking as you are writing, which makes you a better thinker and a better writer. The result is a well thought out post every once in a while.

The more time you make per day, the more you can think and write, the more regular your blog posts may be. Remember you are getting better as you do this so 10 mins today and 10 mins 1 year from now is not the same 10 mins. A year from now, you are pouring more experience and knowledge into the 10 mins than what you are capable of today. This system helps you grow your capabilities.

5 – Remove the fear

I currently have about 21 drafts. I don’t work on all of them. I pick one; actually, I force myself to choose the one that’s closest to finish and try to push it forward. Some days, when my motivation is low, I allow myself to pick anyone I like and working on it until the timer runs out. This daily process has helped me with my consistency, which is the secret sauce of an active blog.

Don’t hit publish. I have touched on this before, but the most effective way for me to overcome fear is not to hit publish, but rather to set the date a week from today and then hit the schedule button.

Forget your readers (for now). If you care about who’s reading your posts, it puts even more fear on the table. Remember, we are not referring to a newspaper article that needs to go viral. We are talking about you developing your ability to communicate better by having a more active blog.

Forget the future. Focus on now and what you want to say now. How relevant that is tomorrow is not essential. One day you will write timeless classics, for now, focus on the habit of daily writing.

6 – Keep it short

If you only have a paragraph to share under a given topic, schedule that! If all you have is a sentence write that down. It’s your blog, if you want to come back in a few weeks and, in another post, elaborate on what you said, why not, you own it.

I have tried to use my blog as the primary outlet for social media rants and statuses. It is not as rewarding as my blog does not have many visitors, but I’ve gotten to a point where, growing my ability to communication and gathering skills in this area have become more important than likes, comments, and retweets. So the idea here is to blog first and share that on a post on other services you use. Pump your creativity into one platform, preferably one where the data belongs to you.

In Closing

I’ve experienced more confidence and a greater desire to blog. My blog is no longer something I dread; instead, I’m excited to write and make time for writing. Let this be your reality too.

Giving Advice Doesn’t Work, I found a better way

I was recently chatting to a friend. He mentioned some area where he was not succeeding . I had the perfect answer. If he’d only follow my advice.

I make this mistake all too often. I can see it in people’s response. They fell insulted or just irritated that I would try to give advice. I do it sincerely but it always backfires.

I realized that Giving People Advice Rarely Works.

I found this helpful, maybe you will too
— Read on www.google.co.za/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/do-the-right-thing/201407/giving-people-advice-rarely-works-does?amp

The most gifted books from the tribe of mentors

I read Tribe of Mentors, a year ago, and wrote down all the recommended books. I made notes on these books as I wanted to see if there are commonalities between the things highly successful people read. To no surprise, I found that many of the mentors recommended the same books.

I thought it would be helpful to create a list of the top ten recommended books. This list is in order of most occurrences and according to my naive method for counting and making notes.

Continue reading “The most gifted books from the tribe of mentors”

5 Quotes to ponder on from Tribe Mentors

I wrote a quick review on the book, A tribe of mentors, but wanted to go into more detail and give you some of the quotes that that really hit home for me. I chose 5 of them to share with you.

I truly found a lot of value in this book. If you are interested, go ahead and read my quick review here and then get a copy for yourself.

Continue reading “5 Quotes to ponder on from Tribe Mentors”

a brilliant talk on how to prepare for success

I watched this talk and it answered most of the questions I had about how to succeed and make an impact.

The talk is titled “You and your research/career”, implying your career is something to be studied.

You should watch it yourself, but for me, the main take away is: “Work on important things with important people”.

I hope you learn something that inspires you to take charge of your career. Where do you want to be, who do you want to work with and what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind.

I got this talk from: Must-See Tech Talks for Every Programmer

Take a Nap, Change your life Book Review

I used to ascribe to the phrase: “sleep when you die”, but to what benefit? Hustling? Working hard? That may seem like the best thing to do now, but it may take 3 times as long for you to reach your goals, if you are burnt out, as you make a lot of mistakes in this state.

The title of this book grabbed my attention. Who doesn’t what to change their lives for the better? I guess most of us do, so the things I take form this book was exactly what I expeceted: Working smart and sharpening your most valued tool, the mind, is simply one of the best things you can do for your better future.

The book teaches that napping has many benefits and encourages you to incorporate a nap into your daily routine. On regular days, a short nap will do, but on days when you feel more exhausted taking a longer one is perfectly fine.

The short 20-minute nap gives you a boost in energy and alertness, which is good for motor learning skills. The longer 90-minute nap gives you a full sleep cycle, improved emotional state, and procedural memory, this also helps with new connections in the brain. Source for more data.

What I didn’t like about the book. I was expecting a 5 pager to be honest. Give me all the good stuff and let me go to bed right now. The book focuses on education around sleep in general. It makes a short hit at the naps and how to do it. The main focus is on understanding how sleep works.

You should read this book, if you want to undrestand why napping is important and how your sleep cycles work.

This book may not change your life, but applying the principles may have an exponential impact on your health, happiness and possibly even bank account.