Saturday, April 30, 2022

3 Actionable Takeaways from this weeks transforming into creative ways

 3 Actionable Takeaways from this weeks transforming into creative ways:

  1. How can you transform pain and suffering into creativity, connection, and transcendence in your daily life?
    A large part of the creative process is transforming imperfection and pain. The act of turning pain into something beautiful is where creative magic happens. There are three ways we can achieve this powerful transformation in our daily lives:
    • Appreciate the Journey
      Embrace the fact that you are here for the journey, not the outcome. Life is about the act of trying to create a pearl and not the pearl itself. What is the great act for which you live? Even when we experience the joy of achieving our goals, we very quickly return to our baseline state. But if the joy is instead the act of trying to create something amazing, beautiful, or powerful, that will positively impact us the most. Always remember that the journey itself is the end result.
    • Engage with Art and Beauty, Intentionally and Regularly
      Research has shown that interacting with art stimulates creativity and well-being, which can be catalysts for more positive change in our lives. This can be as simple as looking at an image that inspires you every morning. We can also apply this in our business lives. Ask people to bring something beautiful, something that moves them, and have them share it with their colleagues. This activity will put everyone into an imaginative frame of mind, connect them with beauty, and encourage them to seek out sources of inspiration. Communal acts of engaging with beauty are very transforming. 
    • Write Down and Rip Up Negative Thoughts and Feelings 
      Writing down any negative thoughts on your mind, whether it’s fear, anxiety, or just a difficult decision you have to make, is a powerful experience. First, write it down, and then rip it up. This simple act improves our health and productivity to an astonishing degree. This can be done in two minutes every morning, either by ourselves, with our family, or with our teams.
  2. How can you create a workplace culture that both transforms and embraces personal and collective pain?
    Leaders need to set the tone that it's okay to bring more of your full emotional range into the workplace. The best way to operationalize that message is for leaders to share what they themselves are going through or feeling. We know from Google's Project Aristotle experiment that the best performing teams are the ones in which people felt psychologically safe to share. In this experiment, one team leader even shared that he was diagnosed with stage four cancer. This act of opening up in such a personal way not only made people see this leader as human but also signaled to everyone else that they too can show up as humans. There's a negative cognitive and psychological cost to showing up day in and day out without sharing your truth.
  3. How can you embrace the practice of memento mori, remembering death, in order to fully experience life?
    This practice is as simple as remembering you may not be here tomorrow. Thousands of years ago, Stoic philosophers talked about memento mori, which is the idea that we should always remember death, and that death might come anytime. Before bed, Buddhist monks turn over their water glasses on their bedside table to remind themselves that they might not be there in the morning to need the water. The main idea is not to wallow in morbidity, but to help us remember exactly how precious life is and to take every moment as a gift. There are documented psychological benefits to this practice, and it’s a good one to get in the habit of daily.

    Research shows that older people tend to be more attuned to gratitude and the meaning of life because they have acquired awareness of life’s fragility. It’s precisely the opposite of what our culture tells us is accurate. Our culture tells us that we'll be happy if we pretend death will never happen. That’s precisely upside down. Once you embrace the idea of impermanence, you can completely reorient your mindset towards appreciating the preciousness of every instance, and become better at living in that truth.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Hubris on Predicting the future

 If you've read my random thoughts you will see that statistics and predictions about the future are incredibly difficult. Even the prognisticators who claim to be predicting whats in store for the future tend to have no idea. That's even when they have all the stats and data in front of them. If they did then why would Tom Brady have been picked 199 in the NFL draft instead of number 1?

The New York Times newsletter discusses the NFL Draft and our hubris for predicting the future. The piece from the is below: 

Five-dimensional chess

What is the broader lesson here? The world is frequently messier and harder to understand than people acknowledge. We tell ourselves artificially tidy stories about why something happened and what will happen next.

The stock market rises or falls, and analysts proclaim a cause; in truth, they are often just guessing, as Paul Krugman, the economist and Times columnist, likes to point out.

On the subject of Covid, both experts and journalists have imagined it to be more predictable than it is. When schools reopened or certain states lifted mask mandates, you heard confident predictions that cases would rise. Often, they didn’t. The invisible, mysterious ebbs and flows of virus transmission overwhelmed every other factor.

In her latest column, The Times’s Zeynep Tufekci argues that public health officials have given flawed Covid guidance based on a paternalistic belief that they could see into the future. Zeynep’s main example is the F.D.A.’s refusal to allow young children to be vaccinated, based on what she calls a “five-dimensional chess” prediction that allowing childhood vaccinations will undermine vaccine confidence.

The most direct analogy to the N.F.L. draft is the hiring process elsewhere. Most employers still put a lot of weight on job interviews, believing that managers can accurately predict a candidate’s performance from a brief conversation. Research suggests otherwise.

Interviews can help people figure out whether they will like another person — which has some value — but not how effective that person will be at a job. If you think you’re a clairvoyant exception, you are probably making the same mistake the Jets did.

To be clear, the implication is not that nobody knows anything. Structured job interviews, which mimic the tasks that a job involves, can be helpful. And at the draft tonight, N.F.L. teams won’t be totally clueless: Higher draft picks have historically performed better than lower picks, but only somewhat.

The trouble is that human beings tend to overstate their ability to predict events. People who can resist that hubris — who can mix knowledge with humility — are often at a competitive advantage.

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Invisible Extinction is a movie im excited about

 As a semi-health nut who's optimizing his health from taking drugs recommended by Dr. David Sinclair's Harvard research to Wheatgrass & Probiotics on the daily it was funny to get an email about a movie called The Great Extinction. It's a movie about bacteria and not a pandemic related one but our gut bacteria and probiotics.

Here's the synopsis from their official website:

Two globetrotting microbiologists, Gloria Dominguez-Bello and Marty Blaser, race to save our vanishing microbes before it's too late.The Invisible Extinction joins them on this urgent quest from the USA to Venezuela, China, Israel, and Switzerland, showing us how the overuse of antibiotics, elective C-sections, and processed foods are driving the destruction of our inner ecology, which is happening even faster than climate change.

At the same time, the film tells the stories of three patients, in the USA and China, who suffer from life-threatening diseases triggered by microbial loss and are trying experimental treatments that hold hope. As theCovid-19 pandemic hits, Marty pivots to focus on how our microbes may help protect us from the virus and future pandemics, while Gloria spearheads the creation of an international microbe vault to safeguard precious specimens.

So the lesson for now is stay healthy and a good gut bacteria can help stave off diseases.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Key Learnings from This Weeks Talks

 Here are the lessons on strong leadership who are motivated for the right reasons from this weeks talk. The notes from the email are below:


  1. Strong Leaders are Motivated for the Right Reasons
    Zelensky is in it for the right reasons. He’s been incredibly effective in rallying the Ukrainian people. What we see in the US a lot these days is the opposite. We see people who are good at the politics of subtraction, doubling down on extreme bases within polar-opposite wings of various political parties. I hope that the Ukrainian people help us cherish and appreciate the freedoms we take for granted in the US. We get better as a nation by criticizing ourselves, but we should take a moment to cherish the freedoms we enjoy and appreciate the gift that we have living in free and open societies.
  2. National Defense Recommendations for the Coming Decade
    What’s really important when you’re advising a US President on foreign affairs and national security issues is to have in mind a framework to frame complex challenges, apply design thinking, and then agree on overarching goals and objectives. When you do that, you can make specific decisions. Should we provide big fighters to Ukraine? Should we provide medium-range air defense? What more should we do diplomatically? In Washington, you have discussions about specific, discrete actions, and the tendency then is to confuse activity for progress. There should be four objectives for a framework for Ukraine: 
    • Ensure Russia Fails
      If Russia doesn’t fail in Ukraine, it will not be over. Russia has to fail in Ukraine. 
    • Mitigate the Humanitarian Catastrophe in Ukraine
      Do everything you can to alleviate the suffering of the Ukrainian people. There’s a military dimension of that in terms of what capabilities to give them so that Russia no longer can commit mass murder by the indiscriminate bombardment of cities.
    • Prevent Escalation to Nuclear War
      Aim for this as an explicit objective because when you look at each action, you can evaluate, “Are these contributing to or detracting from this key objective?” 
    • Shift the Balance
      Bend the situation to shift the balance in favor of our free and open societies against closed authoritarian systems
  3. Our Holiday From History is Over
    Major war has returned to the European continent after almost 80 years. What is clear from the horror being experienced by Ukrainian people is that our assumptions about the post-Cold War world are now demonstrably false. Among these false perceptions is the idea that an arc of history had guaranteed the primacy of our free and open societies over closed authoritarian systems.
  4. Hard Power Matters
    When people ask if Putin has gone crazy, my answer is this is consistent for Putin. The renewed assault on Ukraine was not a Black Swan event; it was a Pink Flamingo. What we should have learned is that hard power matters. In retrospect, there’s a lot more we could have done to provide Ukraine with more defensive capabilities that could have convinced Putin that he couldn’t accomplish these objectives in Ukraine at an acceptable cost. It was Putin’s perception of his chances of success that led to the invasion. 
  5. Putin’s Four False Assumptions
    We remember Putin as the great strategist who plays his weak hand better than anybody. That’s all nonsense. Putin has set himself and the people around him up for failure in Ukraine based on these four false assumptions:
    • Ukraine Is a Powerless Nation
      Putin thought Ukraine would collapse, that It was weak. He thought Zelensky was a joke. He counted him and the Ukrainians out. 
    • The Ukrainian Military Would Fold
      Putin thought Ukraine didn’t have the national will to resist enemy forces.
    • Russia's Military Would Get the Job Done Efficiently Because of Their Prowess
      They turned out to be pretty inept because of the rampant corruption across all the institutions within Russia.
    • Global Disunity Would be Created
      Putin got unity instead. We’ve seen a sea change in Europe. It’s a fundamental shift and attitude toward Russia far beyond what people imagined. 


Sunday, April 17, 2022

Key Learnings & Advice

 From the leading educational series the Ivy's newsletter here are some of the top take aways from March 2022 - April 2022 video education series:

  1. A Radical New Way to Negotiate with Barry Nalebuff
    I think a lot of people think of negotiation like Listerine. I hate it, but I use it. And it doesn't have to be that way. There's two activities in negotiation. You want to create value and you want to capture value, war and peace. In Tolstoy it's seven years of war, seven years of peace. Here, it's simultaneous war and peace. How do you figure out how to cooperate with somebody while at the same time being careful that you don't get taken advantage of? So that's the trick and ultimately that's the new way of negotiating, which is to agree up front to split the pie fairly by splitting the surplus value generated by the deal equally. Now we can focus our attention on how to make the pie bigger.
  2. Converted: The Data-Driven Way to Win Customers' Hearts with Neil Hoyne
    The biggest limitation companies set on themselves is that they don’t allow their employees to learn more about their customers. What you really want to focus on is not only what questions you want answered, but how you empower people in your organization to ask more of those questions. If you have a hypothesis, how many steps do you have to go through to ask questions about it to your customers? How can you reduce the number of steps required to ask such questions, so that your colleagues can ask your customers more questions, and get more insights to elevate your business?
  3. How to Master Conflict Resolution in High-Stakes Relationships with Jayson Gaddis
    Becoming a better listener is one of the biggest factors in cultivating successful relationships, both business and personal. My acronym for that is LUFU: listen until they feel understood. With LUFU, people feel seen, heard, understood, supported and they feel like you know them. In the most stressful moments, all of our tools and resources go out the window. If you can triple down on listening until people feel understood, it’s going to go a long way to not only avoid conflict but to prepare you better for the future when it does happen.
  4. How to Create a Transformative Culture of Belonging at work with Ruchika Tulshyan
    Research shows purpose, belonging, values, and aligning with an organization's mission could even be enough to have millennials take a pay cut, just to find an organization where they belong, feel like they're valued, and their values align with the organization's mission. What's at stake is that when we do not have that, we see a great resignation taking place, the great realignment. We're seeing people leave the workforce in droves and create a different future for themselves.
  5. How to Break Through Inertia to Find Your Path Forward with Britt Frank
    Your sense of smell goes offline when your brain perceives danger. For a simple cue to let your brain know you’re okay, smell something. I carry with me these little essential oil bottles everywhere I go. Logically I know that I'm safe, but we often discount that even when we know we are safe, parts of our brains are going, ah, danger, danger, with every stressor and change of scenery. So smell something, touch something, fidget with something. I would make sure that there are things to fidget with at every desk of every employee at your company. You will maximize productivity when you can kind of calm down the survival brain with physical sensations. 
  6. How Women of Color Can Redefine Corporate Power with Deepa Purushothaman
    Women of color are in a moment when we are questioning if we want to stay in these corporate structures and workplaces in general. Many of us are leaving to create businesses that have cultures that see and recognize us. We need to stay in these structures and make them better, because the data shows as the workplace becomes more diverse, it becomes stronger. What’s at stake for leaders is that if you don’t find ways to keep us, you’re going to lose our insights and innovation.
  7. How to Do Hard Things the Human Way with Jacqueline Carter
    Hard conversations require time. Giving people feedback and then having to leave immediately afterwards without giving them a chance to respond will not get you positive results. Make sure that your schedule isn’t booked back to back, and create space for that person to respond.
  8. Full Out: Leadership Lessons with Global Netflix Sensation Monica Aldama
    When people feel noticed, heard, and appreciated, you can get a lot more out of them than people even realize. We all want to feel appreciated and feel seen. The way that you treat people will ultimately lead to what you're able to get out of them. Respect cannot be demanded, no matter how much you yell or criticize, and if you think those power words are making you more powerful, they're not. They're just disconnecting you from the people that you're trying to lead.
  9. How to Unlock Strategic Innovation by Reimagining Design with Kevin G. Bethune
    Play, creativity, and willingness to fail is imperative for today’s business owners. Have the creative courage to take a step forward, experiment, workshop, and rewire your organization to create a little bit more capacity for strategic innovation conversations. Invite more voices around the table. Look at the team makeup and ensure that you’re championing diversity, equity, inclusion. Take creative, optimistic actions that you might not have considered doing in previous circumstances, and see what comes about.
  10. How Big Ethical Questions Can Supercharge Your Relationships with Susan Liautaud
    No CEO can know everything that's going on in a workplace, but they can be responsible for the ethics infrastructure and culture that is put in place. Choose one particular ethics objective for every team and manager's performance evaluation. This will allow the CEO to be responsible for oversight, making sure there's proper auditing in place, and doing everything possible to create a culture where people feel free to speak up if they have concerns. Organizational ethics work is about trying to deter and trying to detect early.
  11. How to Master Superior Management with Roger L. Martin
    The population in general is asking more of corporations today. The era of having winners and losers is over. For example, Walmart is now doing a much better job than it was 10 or 15 years ago in this. It used to be, if we can win, even though many of our employees are living below the poverty line doing precarious work, that’s fine. That’s gone. You can’t get away with that as a corporation anymore. Over the next five to ten years there will be more regulations to stop them from behaving that way, and corporations need to prepare for that.
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