You may have heard the old proverb “Want to make God laugh? Show Him your plans.” It's a nod to the well-known fact that the future often unfolds very differently to how we envisage or plan it.
We, almost certainly, all know the experience of something that didn’t go as planned. Project hampered by unforeseen problems and delays, exceeding time and cost budget several-folds, and never delivering the expected result.
But here is the kicker: Many times when our plans don’t work out, it’s not because we fall on some unexpected curveball, it’s due to an error of how our minds processes information. …
A piece of common advice hammers on applying what you read. As the advice goes, don’t read another book or article until you apply the lessons of the last one.
The theory is that you’ll learn more by applying what you’ve read than picking up the next book or article.
Which is all fine and wonderful. Only that, even for very practical advice, not every practical information you read must be practised by you.
In fact, I’ll go as far as saying if you can apply everything you read, then you’re simply not reading enough.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll only be able to practice maybe 5% or less of what you read, if you read enough. That’s about one in every twenty practical idea or information you consume that make it to the application stage. …
On the evening of 17th September 2018, manager Mauricio Pochettino and players of Tottenham football club arrived in Milan for the start of their Champions League campaign against Inter Milan.
As Mauricio Pochettino sat at the pre-match press conference shortly after arrival, he was asked whether he felt confident given the experience he and his group of players have gathered in the competition over the previous two seasons.
His reply took the press officials by surprise. It was intriguing as it was instructive.
“It’s like a cow that every single day during ten years, sees the train crossing in the front at the same time,” he said. “If you ask the cow what time is the train going to come, it’s not going to have the right answer. …
It feels great when it seems you have all under control. You’re cruising, making good progress, you know what you are doing and you’re even having fun.
Then after a while you suddenly arrive at that place where you have no clue, you’re not sure what to do.
It isn’t fun when you don’t know what to do.
That’s why being a beginner at anything is hard. In those stages when you’re just taking the first few wobbly steps like a toddler learning to walk, it might seem like you’re the very definition of clueless.
“I’m not sure what to do here”, you say as your lips tremble, wondering if you’re about to be found out. …
Productivity is a crucial part of personal development and its easy to see why: most of the resources we have to work with – time, energy, attention – are limited, thus, doing more with less is crucial.
You won’t have enough time to do everything you want to do. Therefore, the productivity question with respect to time is: how can I make the best use of it?
Energy is another crucial resource that we don’t have infinitely, thus the productivity question in this regard is: what is the best thing to put my limited energy into?
Also in an increasingly busy world, attention is another resource whose allocation is crucial. What deserves my attention at this present moment? is become an increasingly important question. …
What’s the one key to success?
Hard work? Patience? Grit? Network? Consistency? Showing up every day?
Your answer is most likely different to mine, so, what’s the lesson in that?
There’s no one key to success — in anything.
Whatever the objective you’re trying to achieve, it hardly ever happens that one and only one factor can predict whether you’ll be successful or not.
Although, the limitation of our minds would prefer to hear, “do this one thing and you will be successful”, the reality of the world we live in is that usually many “causes” come together to produce the “effect” or objective you seek. …
You’re just a tiny drop in the ocean of a vast universe. What you have no clue about swallows what you know by a ratio of several quadrillions to one.
Being so ‘blinded’, it’s amazing how we sometimes expect to be right about everything.
Being right about everything should never be the goal. Some of your assumptions are wrong. Some of your beliefs are wrong. Some of what you’re “absolutely sure” of is dead wrong. Being always right is an unachievable state.
Here’s a rule of thumb: you’ll always be wrong about something. …
Sally had a free hour and decided to use the time to design a study for her dissertation. The next evening, she once again had a free hour and another study to design.
However, this time her hour had a scheduled endpoint: at the end of the hour, she needed to leave the office and meet a friend for a drink. She had the full hour before the meeting available and had nothing to do to prepare for the meeting.
However, unlike the evening before, she found herself reluctant to design her study and instead worked on a few small tasks, and answered a few quick emails. …
Whether your goal is to optimize your understanding of your study materials or to earn the best grade possible, following simple steps can help you achieve this in the best possible way.
Not everything you’re assigned to read is equally important. You have to figure out your purpose in reading a piece of text in order to be able to decide what kind of technique and effort you should apply.
You will read a book differently depending on whether you will have to participate in a class discussion on it, write a review of it, pass a multiple-choice quiz or answer broad essay questions in a final exam. …
Failure is not palatable, and why we don’t need a rocket scientist to explain why nobody loves to fail and most of us even avoid it.
But most people that go out and do what they have to do even in the face of failure usually have understood one thing:
Failure hurts a lot in the present — when it’s just happened — but regret at what might have been had you take action, hurts more and for longer.
I recently came across the inspirational story of Florence Foster Jenkins, in the eponymous movie which reinforced this message.
It’s a true life story of a socialite and music lover in 1940s New York, who took her music career as an amateur soprano to several concert halls across the US and ultimately to Carnegie Hall despite being an atrocious singer. …