(Book) The Courage Solution

Some of major points in the book.

True To Yourself – Everybody Lies Especially to Ourselves

“Telling the truth” gets short shrift in corporations. Being honest requires courage and a willingness to be vulnerable to others, but it confers many surprising benefits.

First, your career success depends on your relationships: “with yourself, your boss, your peers and those you lead.” To move ahead, work to improve these relationships, especially your relationship with yourself.

Own It

Hold yourself accountable and take ownership of everything you do, say and accomplish – or don’t accomplish, as the case may be. Your relationship with yourself demands courage and “truth telling.” Accept the fact that you create your own reality.

Successful leadership depends on authenticity, which demands being honest with yourself. You will never be truthful with others if you can’t be truthful with the person in the mirror.

Face up to who you are and what you can become. See yourself as a work in progress. Everything comes down to the choices you make – today, tomorrow and in the days ahead. To see more on the choices I made, take a look at my #365 challenge. I am a work in progress.

Positive change starts with being willing to transform yourself.

Men have a tendency to avoid critical self-analysis. Many men are more comfortable with self-satisfaction than any kind of self-discovery. Women can be immensely self-critical.

For men generally, the most effective self-improvement tactic is to exhibit the humility typical of many women; the best plan for women generally is to adopt the bravado typical of many men.

Create Personal Declaration

Create a Personal Declaration, a written statement that distills important information about yourself and your priorities. This working document enables you to define yourself and develop natural, conversational talking points. You want to capture “what makes you tick.” Write down details about your parents and siblings, your spouse or partner and any children, your philosophy of life (in a sentence), your guiding principles and values, your strengths and weaknesses, what you would do if you had all the money you need, and your personal and professional goals.

I record it on my blog, although it is password protected.

Define in writing exactly what you want to accomplish, for instance, where you’d like to be in your family life and career in five or ten years. Revisit your personal declaration as you refine your self-awareness and goals.

As you build your self-portrait, consider these tips:

  • Mentors can be invaluable. Explain to your mentor the assistance you need.
  • Be conscious of the impression you make. Invest in quality clothing and personal tailoring to always look your best.
  • To operate at peak effectiveness, use the “Pomodoro Technique.” Your brain can maintain focus for only 25 minutes. Pomodoro calls for taking 5- to 15-minute breaks after 25 minutes of concentrated work. Try working on this schedule: “25-5-25-5-25-15.”
  • Also take time away from work to enjoy a “worry-free, unplugged vacation.”

Your Very Own Mastermind Group

Organize a mastermind group to assist you in life and work. A smaller group is best; limit your group to six people. Select people you trust, and spend time cultivating them. Help the members of your personal crew as you’d like them to help you.

Boss Management

I a bit worry that my boss might be reading this though. Nonetheless, the notes are quite great guide for everyone.

If your relationship with your boss is rocky, adjust the way you act to try to create a more positive, rewarding interaction. Understand that changing things for the better is your job. To transform this relationship, lead your boss. Share your information from your Personal Declaration during a scheduled one-on-one meeting, the earlier in your relationship the better.

Divulging personal details about your life requires courage, but courage often brings success.

“As long as you choose to work for your boss, your job is to get in sync with that person – not the other way around.”

Find out about your boss.

Consider his or her “greatest strengths, greatest weaknesses, pet peeves or hot buttons,” as well as how decision making processes and tactics for coping with conflict.

Examine the real person behind the facade. Learn what energizes him or her.

To get your boss on your side, think and act like a business owner. That means rigorously investigating your firm. “Why does your company exist?” How does it make money?

Learn about its customers; profit margins; and production, marketing and overhead costs. Learn how your department contributes to your company’s goals.

Study and embrace your firm’s culture.

Such investigative work helps you develop an “enterprise-wide mind-set” that will impress your boss. Treat your supervisor the way you want people on your team to treat you. Go out of your way to anticipate issues before they become problems. Deliver your work on time and according to specifications. Always give your boss the benefit of the doubt.

“No matter how direct your leader’s communication style, remember that just because they can dish it doesn’t mean they can take it.”

Note – I learnt this the hard way. I suggest none of you to try to do the same. I was simply, naive and dumb.

If you aren’t on your supervisor’s wavelength, get on it – quick. You may think your manager is a “jerk” and you might blame personality issues as the reason you don’t get along. Whether he or she is a jerk makes no difference.

Your boss isn’t going to be the one who changes; you will. It’s either that or try to move along to a new boss. Don’t bother your boss with what’s on your mind. Learn what’s on his or her mind instead.

You and your boss will disagree. Don’t post a challenge, at least not initially. First develop a positive working relationship. Once you establish goodwill, then you can disagree. Your boss won’t hear you if you haven’t first created a reservoir of amicable dealings.

Use these techniques to provide “genuine affirmation” of your boss’s daily actions:

  1. “Compliment in private” – For example, you might say, “It really inspired me when you stood up in front of the organization and delivered that tough message with such compassion and balance. Great job!”
  2. “Praise in public” – Compliment your boss to the next person up the ladder.
  3. “Say thank-you” – Whenever your manager does something nice on your behalf, show your appreciation with a hearty thank-you. Deliver this message in person if you can; if not, a “quick text message, email or phone call will work.

Lead Your Peers

“Leading your peers requires you to lead by example. One incredibly important way to do that is to ’fess up when you mess up.”

People who must work or live closely together develop tensions. Don’t let tensions build. Be forthright and deal honestly with whatever is happening. Speak up for yourself if a co-worker treats you poorly.

“Building a great team, just like cooking a great meal, takes planning, time and effort. When well done, the result is delicious.”

When you plan how to handle things this way, think carefully before you speak. Make sure you feel rested and psychologically prepared for your encounter. Dealing with the incident and your colleague in a straightforward and truthful manner usually forestalls future ill treatment.

Sometimes, the problem doesn’t spring from someone else’s actions, but from your own. When you’re at fault, don’t feel bad. Everyone makes mistakes. When you are at fault, recognize your mistake and apologize quickly. To make an effective apology, establish eye contact, include this phrasing: “I was wrong…but more importantly you were right,” and finish by asking, “How can I fix this?” The last question is essential. For an apology to be authentic, you must make an effort to fix the situation.

“There is nothing better than a well-timed, honest, positive statement of appreciation from another human being.”

Build lasting relationships with your peers by:

  1. Asking for their assistance – Demonstrate your vulnerability in areas where they have skills and abilities that you lack. Let your colleagues know you recognize their expertise.
  2. Giving them a platform – For instance, ask them to address a session you’re leading.
  3. Offering assistance – Ask if you can do anything to provide support.
  4. Endorsing and encouraging them – Assure your colleagues that they’d done a good job or suggest ideas that support their projects. This is a deposit in “your mutual relationship’s bank account.”

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I’m Not Infallible

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Infallible

As the title suggest, apparently I’m not infallible. As it is my habit to try to be the very best at what I do.

Apparently, still I’m not infallible. This fire me up to improve on my skills.

Although, for the past few months since I’ve read The Principles by Ray Dalio, I began to question myself.

“How do I know I’m right?”

It seems simple, although, questioning myself is a good idea. Apparently, something might went wrong in the reporting which I overseen for the last 6-months of 2018. It’s not anything major which could affect the official reports, but I pride myself on doing the right thing in the first place. In fact, the amendment made would have no effect whatsoever on the official reports, but again, my pride was hurt.

As Dan Ariely suggest in his book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty , we all lie / cheat up to certain extend, especially to ourselves. Maybe the lie which I told myself was, I can’t be wrong, especially when I’m rarely wrong in the first place. So, Ray Dalio has a point, a point which I intend to implement in my life, both personal and career wise, “How do I know I’m right?”.

So, maybe I shouldn’t be prideful in the first place.

I was wrong. I was not on top of things.

This will never happens again.

I will no longer accept anything (reports, stories, rumors) at face value.

It will never happens again.

It’s good to be confident, but over-confident can kill you!


Buy the book

1. Principles: Life and Work

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2. The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyon-Especially Ourselves

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Don’t keep this to yourself. Share it & Tell the world.

Also, checks these awesome pages

1. How to Lose Weight?
2. Book Review & Summary
3. Personal Development
4. Health & Fitness
5. Islam
6. Oil & Gas
7. Product Reviews
8. Downloadable
9. Privacy Policy & Disclaimer
10. Contact Info
11. Recommendation
12. Making Sense of Deals

(Career) It’s a Secret

Know your job well, do it well and be better than anyone else at doing it.

It’s that simple. Although not necessarily easy.

The secret part is to make sure nobody knows how hard you have to work in order to do job it so well.

You can do all your learning in secret, in private so that nobody know you do this.

The important thing is to look calm and efficient, and always look the part, looking like you stay on top of everything and totally in control. You should be able to glide through your daily work with ease and confidence.

“You are unflappable and unstoppable.”

The bottom line is you must be really good at your basic job!

#workrules


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Be Bold and Ready to Take Risks

ever become too comfortable in your job – If you feel that you’re in an easy rut, strive to find and take on new challenges. Remember this basic truth: “The status quo is your enemy.”

– Take the risk or lose the chance –

In order for us to build a satisfying, successful career and move ahead in life, we must create promising opportunities for ourselves.

This however would requires developing impressive expertise and cultivating meaningful relationships and a huge continuous effort from us. And we must be bold and ready to take risks. 

So, lets set out to accomplish these steps:

  1. Develop a career plan – Adapt it as needed. Have an A plan, a B plan and a Z plan.  I have a plan, do you? And if my plan A doesn’t work, I still have plan B to plan Z.
  2. Never become too comfortable in your job – If you feel that you’re in an easy rut, strive to find and take on new challenges. Remember this basic truth: “The status quo is our enemy and complacency is never bliss.”
  3. When it comes to your work, think big – Don’t see your job as just a job. Elevate your thinking. Make your job your mission.
  4. Work with full intention – Make a conscious degree of focus one of your defining personal characteristics. Operate so that your opportunities bump up against your interests and skills.
  5. You’re not perfect – Don’t try to be flawless. Messing up occasionally is human and acceptable. But learning from your mistakes is one of the most effective paths to growing professionally.
  6. Build new skills in “sprints” – To master new skills, engage in intense, distraction-free work-study sessions or sprints. Schedule regular breaks for temporary decompression.
  7. Seek challenges – It’s the “hard stuff,” not the “easy stuff” that challenges you and enables you to build new capabilities and skills.  
  8. Seek constructive feedback – Honest, perceptive insights fuel our growth.
  9. Build the right habits – You are more likely to excel when you make your positive behaviors automatic or habitual. Solidify one good, new habit every month. Classic conditioning is a great tool for changing your habits. It calls for being consistent in practicing new behaviors. 
  10. Maintain a journal – Maintaining a journal gives you an opportunity to reflect daily on your life and to learn from your actions and behaviors. I used my blog as my journal, easy to update, and easy to access. And I also have a hard cover journal which I loved. Your preference is yours, but the essence is, you need one, you need a journal.
  11. Seek help from people you trust – You don’t have to do everything alone.  There’s a saying, “if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.”
  12. Promote diversity – Diversity promotes cross-pollination of new ideas. It encourages original thinking and breeds creativity.
  13. Give your team members a chance to shine – As a leader, you don’t always have to shine, but you should make sure that the other members of your team shine. Build on their skills and ideas. Give team members credit for their accomplishments.
  14. Don’t let fear of failure paralyze you –  Always default to action.
  15. Make small bets, but make them – Be cautious when you begin new initiatives. Small bets make more sense than big one. The more bets you make, the better chance you have that one will hit. 
  16. You can’t avoid uncertainty – Uncertainty is a basic condition of life.  Regard uncertainty as a possibility, not a problem.
  17. Persist – To come out on top, persist regardless of obstacles.
  18. Be your own entrepreneur – Think of your career as a start-up and of yourself as the entrepreneur planning and managing this start-up.
  19. Become the “best-connected person” – When it comes to networking, strive to be the best-connected person, not the “most-connected person.” Possessing a fat address book with many names means nothing if the people listed aren’t real allies who will collaborate and help you when necessary.
  20. Learn to build new skills – The best possible skill is the ability to develop new skills.  
  21. Believe that you can  improve – If you don’t believe that you can move beyond your current abilities, you won’t. Avoid self-defeating, self-fulfilling doubts.
  22. Practice – You can’t master any skill without extensive practice. Leverage the “power of ritual” to manage your practice sessions. Practice at the same time each day so practicing becomes habitual.
  23. Rest – You can’t practice, learn or work if you don’t get enough rest. Sleep at least eight hours a night and nap for 20 to 30 minutes during the day.
  24. Do the jobs you delegate – Monsieur Pitard, the top chef of the Hotel Majestic in Paris,  cooked one dish a week himself instead of delegating it his staff. Do some of the work you assign to others to keep your skills fresh. 
  25. Always ask – You can learn a lot from other people and advance your career in the process. Don’t hesitate to ask questions to build your knowledge.   
  26. Build social contracts – Management expert Peter Block developed the concept of social contracting. That’s when you agree up front with your partners or collaborators on how you and they will work together. Get them to answer these questions: “What do you want?” “Where might you need help?” “When you had a really good working relationship in the past, what happened?” “When things go wrong – as they inevitably will – how shall we manage that?”

“Start any new project or endeavor by saying to yourself, ‘I may not get the hang of this right away. I’m going to make mistakes, and that’s okay’.”

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What Does Luck Have to Do with Career Success?

“Lucky people take advantage of chance occurrences that come their way.”

They don’t go through life “on cruise control,” according to Tina Seelig, executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. In her view, lucky people make their own luck unless of course if the ‘luck’ are from lucky draws, lottery, or even good looks. Since that aren’t actually something that we can control. But here are 2 essential ingredients of luck which we can control, (1) our preparation, (2) our focused and concentrated efforts, (3) our willingness to give our all when an opportunity presents itself. 

And so can you if you keep an open mind, recognize the opportunities in new experiences and stay ready to jump at promising openings when they present themselves. No one knows what the future holds, but even amid uncertainty, you can prepare for your future and develop your career. Just as clearly reminded by God Al-Mighty in his holy book,

Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow) [2:216]

Heed these tips:  

  • “Look beyond the job title, and focus on your mission” – Job titles can be cages which can be a prison for life, if we let it. Why confine yourself to a job and title that may be obsolete by next year? Instead, direct your attention to what you want to accomplish and put your energies into that. For example, you might tell yourself,  “I want to invent a new business model for online publishing,” and then focus on your ambition.  
  • “Explore new technologies with enthusiasm” – “If you are in school today the technologies you will use as an adult tomorrow have not been invented yet,” says Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly. Technology moves so fast that mastering the latest high-tech gizmo may not turn out to be a smart use of your time. Instead, become knowledgeable about technology on a macro level. Experiment with new technology to learn what works best for you right now. What counts most is remaining aware of all the amazing high-tech developments now underway.
  • “Make a habit of helping people whenever you can” – In a co-dependent world, where relationships count most, always be helpful. This is good for your career, and it’s the moral way to live. If you are generous with others, they will be generous with you.
  • “Be proactive about taking on additional responsibilities and pitching new projects” – According to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, employers want to hire those who can devise, mold and recreate their work every day. Become this type of employee by embracing and expressing your inspiration daily.
  • Always ask, “What’s next?” – Most people move to new jobs every few years. These inescapable changes require preparedness, an alert mind, an adaptive personality and a “what’s next?” attitude. 

“All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves, we were all self-employed…finding our food, feeding ourselves.”

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Skill over passion?

Remember the scene in the movie, Central Intelligence where Kevin Hart admits that, “I’m good at what I do, you love your job”, when his wife quizzed him on his job.

Now, lets consider a real world example . . .

Consider the impressive career of environmental journalist Bill McKibben. While at Harvard as an undergraduate, he began to write for The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper. By graduation, he was its editor. This brought McKibben to the attention of William Shawn, editor of the New Yorker magazine. Shawn hired him to contribute to the magazine’s up-front Talk of the Town section.

“The most important skill in the age of flux is the ability to get new skills. To constantly be open to new areas of learning.”

After five years, he quit the New Yorker and moved to the Adirondacks to live in a secluded cabin where he wrote The End of Nature, which is now considered as one of the crown jewels of environmental journalism. Since then, McKibben has written numerous books and has become a well-known environmental activist. Now that is an awesome achievements.

His work-life path offers two valuable lessons for plotting a career: 

  1. “What you do for a living matters less than you think” – McKibben enjoys his life as a writer. Nevertheless, as an environmentalist, he could have achieved similar job satisfaction as a professor or as the head of a non-profit educating others about the environment. Besides his calling as a writer, what seems to matter most to McKibben is having autonomy and contributing to improving the world. This aligns with the life experiences of many successful people. What makes them most happy are not the gritty details of their work, but the satisfying high-quality lifestyle they’ve been able to attain.  
  2. Skill precedes passion – McKibben began at Harvard without any experience in journalism. As a young writer, he would overwrite his pieces many times, a common failing among people learning the writer’s craft. While at Harvard, McKibben wrote upward of 400 articles for The Crimson. He used his years at Harvard and at the New Yorker to develop and polish his skills as a writer and journalist. People who fulfill their passion first must put in the time and effort to become experts at what they do. 

“By changing your habits, you reprogram the behaviors that control most of your life and ultimately determine your success.”

A strong passion about how you want to make a living can be a positive force. But making the ability to follow your passion your only job criteria isn’t a smart strategy. Achieving career satisfaction depends on many factors besides passion.  

“Focus means changing only one habit at a time…spend at least one month exclusively on one habit.”

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Winning Arguments (Book Review)

My reading notes on a book by Stanley Fish, entitled ‘Winning Arguments”, What works and doesn’t work in politics, the bedroom, the courtroom, and the classroom. 

Main points from my reading notes

Argument are quite a significant part of life.

Argument, not agreement, is humanity’s natural path.

We can’t escape it no matter how hard we try, therefore, we might as well learn to master it.

Words as we know have immense power. They can maim, hurt, and tear people and nations apart.

People naturally will argue, but without resolution, since “old arguments never die; they just get recycled.”

Resisting arguing takes monumental and often impossible effort.

Since we must argue, becoming better skilled in argument and rhetoric is a logical moves.

Argument determines facts not the other way around, especially in politics. As we can see, those who can present their arguments better, would be seen as factual. Therefore, fact checking a politician should be a mainstream event.

Four Categories of Arguments

Arguments come in four categories with varying limits and boundaries:

Those with no rules : We were can say anything

  • Political arguments
  • Domestic arguments

Those which have written rules and boundaries

  • Legal arguments

Those which have unwritten rules but might have firm boundaries

  • Academic arguments

Skilled debaters, writers, orators and artists, for instance usually move arguments beyond the boundaries meant to contain them. And  “Argumentation” exists everywhere and in everything: words, gestures, body language, images, clothes, furniture, and more.

Further details are to be discussed in future posts.