June 30, 2015

Small Move, Big Change by Caroline L. Arnold

One of the things I am interested in is actively changing my bad behaviors, poor ways of thinking, do better at work, etc. That's where "Small Move, Big Change" has been a fantastic resource. Caroline Arnold shows how making small steps over time can yield bigger and better (and more permanent) results than if we try to set huge goals right out of the gate.


If you want to make changes (and keep them going), specifically define how you plan to accomplish each change and start that plan by promising that you will take just one small step: a "microresolution."

Rather than attacking the whole problem, pick one or two small, realistic changes; and then follow these seven microresolution precepts:
  1. A Microresolution is Easy
    The more challenging your resolution, the less likely you are to accomplish it. Even slight changes to your routine require sustained focus, but achieving a small goal is easier and will give you confidence.
  2. A Microresolution is an Explicit and Measurable Action
    Specific cues trigger specific habits. If your cue and your behavior share a strong link, the resulting habit endures. Therefore, create explicit habits based on explicit cues.
  3. A Microresolution Pays Off Up-Front
    Accomplishing a microresolution provides and immediate positive effect.
  4. A Microresolution is Personal
    Create microresolutions based on observation of your own habits, attitude, and situation. Your success hinges on heeding your personal reactions.
  5. A Microresolution Resonates
    Some tasks are better suited to being done in small doses, so play around with the frequency of your microresolutions. Fram them positively, except when taking an action which could lead to (or keep you from) harm - then use zero-tolerance language.
  6. A Microresolution Fires on Cue
    The cue that will trigger your microresolution is already part of your behavior. All you have to do is figure out what it is. Don't be afraid to tweak your microresolution if the cue isn't working.
  7. Make Microresolutions Just Two at a Time
    Resist the temptation to make many at once. They won't seem natural until they become habit, and that takes time.

June 23, 2015

"It must not stop me."
Hank Rearden, Atlas Shrugged

I just want to take a minute to explain why this quote is so important to me. This is the first time I have done this (posted on a quote) and will most likely be the last, as I like the quotes to speak for themselves. But this particular quote is, to me, one of the most important in my life.

It occurs about 1/4 of the way through Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Hank, one of the novel's protagonists, has been suffering setback after setback by a failed government, infested with rampant socialism and cronyism. And yet he keeps on, in the face of overwhelming odds against him.

It is important to point out that the word is must, not will or can. This is on purpose - using will or can imparts a certain level of haughtiness that invites destruction. They are not "action" words, they are words of resolution. But must - that is an action word; it is active, it is Hank on his guard, it invites a fight, it dares the universe to stop him.

This line appears only once in the novel, but to me sums up Hank's character, drive, and resolve. Being a character who I strongly identify with, I try to keep the same approach. I may not like what life is throwing at me, but "it must not stop me" or I will never be all that I can be.

June 16, 2015

Two Minutes to Make You Happier at Work, in Life, and Over the Holidays

Laszlo Bock (the SVP of People Operations at Google), wrote this short article on LinkedIn just before Thanksgiving 2014, which I saw pop up in my LinkedIn feed. For so short an article, it really does give some pointed and relevant advice and information on what to do to bring happiness into your life, which I here summarize:
  • Expressing gratitude makes you happier.
  • Research shows that, when things happen, it makes us either sad or happy. That effect tends to attenuate over time and reverts to a baseline level of happiness or sadness.
  • Research also shows that those who identify as more grateful stay happier longer.
  • Take two minutes each day to write down three things for which you are grateful; or to thank or praise a person you know.

June 9, 2015

"There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all."

June 2, 2015

Practical Genius by Gina Amaro Rudan

This is a super small (but very helpful) summary of Practical Genius by Gina Amaro Rudan. I really recommend reading the whole book, but here is what I learned:


Your genius resides inside - bring it out! Many people wonder what happened to their potential as they get older.

Life "de-geniuses" people, and many adults live lives of compromise, sacrificing their passions to meet expectations. They have capability for genius but never realize it. Most people are capable of breath-taking accomplishments, if they connect to their Practical Genius - the "sweet spot" where your intellect and passion meet.

To reach your full potential, take the following 5 steps:
  1. Identify Your Genius
    • Think about the legacy you want to leave behind, focus on what truly moves you: on your skills, strengths, expertise, passion, creativity, and values.
    • Don't keep repeating the same routine: try something new. Study yourself, explore, experiment, and play!
  2. Express Your Genius
    • Tell everyone your personal story. You only get 2 minutes, so make every word count: say what matters most to you and explain how that shapes you.
    • Be sure to tell your story every time you introduce yourself to someone new.
  3. Surround Yourself With Genius
    • Become a "people collector" - a curator of new relationships.
    • Find people who are:
      • Yodas - Mentors and coaches.
      • Ambassadors - Those who believe in, and promote, you.
      • Tribesmen - The new and old faces who come and go.
  4. Sustain Your Genius
    • Take proper care to sustain your:
      • Mind - Use your time wisely, find time for things that matter.
      • Body - Sleep, eat, and play well.
      • Spirit - Attend a house of worship or use other non-traditional forms of spirituality.
  5. Market Your Genius
    • Proudly exhibit your own special contradictions.
    • Present yourself as the special genius you are.