November 24, 2015

Is Failure Good?

Here is a refreshing take on failure, from an article by James Altucher. I like his approach, it appears unconventional at first but makes perfect sense by the end.


Failure is the worst possible thing. There is nothing good about it, and there's nothing you can pretend to learn from it. However, failure has many cousins - better things to learn from:
  1. Curiosity. When Something happens and you don't understand why, ask questions. Keep asking until you find answers.
  2. Experiment. It is normal in a lab to experiment with many materials before coming up with the right one. Didn't work? Change something and try a new experiment.
  3. Persistence. The best way to get better (and more well-known) is to simply do it again.
  4. Forgiveness. "Failure" is a word used to label a past event. When you label a past event as a failure, it prevents you from moving beyond the past. Learn to forgive, and move back to the present.
  5. Study. A good student doesn't call it a failure when he gets a question wrong on a test. It's just a wrong answer. Understand and study and remember the correct answers.
  6. Hard Problems. The key to success is to solve hard problems. Failure is not a hard problem - it is a label. Failure is in the past, hard problems can be solved now.
  7. Don't Care. When you fail, are you truly just worried that others will think you a failure? Don't worry about what others think. Don't care. Good things will happen.

November 17, 2015

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

I haven't posted a good "definition" in a while now. Every now and again I run across some interesting idea or concept - usually something to help me recognize issues within myself and take corrective action. Today, I have a new definition to present:
Dunning-Kruger Effect
The less competent an individual is at a specific task, the more likely they are to inflate their self-appraised competence in relationship to that task.
I have noticed this in my own life, on occasion. Have you? Just because we think we are good at something does not necessarily mean we are. Watch the opening rounds of American Idol some time. You will see many would-be contestants trot out on stage as if they are God's gift to music, and yet they are absolutely atrocious performers. That's the Dunning-Kruger Effect in action!

November 10, 2015

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

November 3, 2015

Getting to Yes With Yourself and Other Worthy Opponents by William Ury

One of the very first things I posted about was "Getting Past NO" by William Ury. It is an invaluable resource for anyone who needs to negotiate, or at the very least, try to understand the intentions of others.

On the flipside is "Getting To Yes With Yourself...", which teaches us how to overcome our biggest obstacle in negotiating our lives - our own natural tendency to poorly react to people and situations.

Here is my summary!
  1. Put yourself in your shoes.
    • Before negotiating with anyone else, identify your own needs. This will help you stay focused on options that work for everyone.
      • See yourself from the "balcony" - Look at yourself and the situation from a distance.
      • Listen with empathy - Accept yourself as you are and try to understand any negative feelings you have about yourself.
      • Uncover your needs - We tend to know what we want, but forget why.
  2. Develop your inner BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement).
    • Assign accountability where it belongs.
    • You can't always control what happens to you, but you cant control your reaction.
    • Don't look to others to give you what you need - this only gives them power and makes you dependent.
  3. Reframe your picture.
    • You can either see negotiations as a battle or an opportunity to collaboratively solve a problem.
    • Remember the big picture, and make your interactions positive.
  4. Stay in the zone
    • Paying heightened attention to the present makes you more likely to spot potential openings and tap into your natural creativity.
    • Staying in this "zone" optimizes performance and heightens inner satisfaction.
  5. Respect them, even if they reject you.
    • Even if they don't treat you respectfully, your attempts at respect can transform a negotiation.
    • Stay cool, courteous, and patient in the face of attacks.
  6. Give for mutual gain.
    • When you and your opponent seek mutual win-win solutions, you positively affect each other and the world around you. You move from "taking" to "giving" and create value for others.