“Boredom” is a goal, the antipode of mindless connectivity, constant stimulation, anger and dissatisfaction. I put “boredom” in quotes because the boredom I’m talking about fosters a heightened sense of presence. To be “bored” is to be free of distraction.
Focus. Disconnect. Do not be distracted.
If you master focus, you will be in control of your world. If you don’t, it will control you.
“So many of us fill every spare moment, whether we’re waiting in line for coffee or for the elevator, with a quick email, Slack update, or tweet. . . .But actually waiting in line and allowing yourself to get bored ignites a network in your brain called the default mode. This is where we can do our most original thinking, problem solving, and future planning.”
— Manoush Zomorodi - author of Bored and Brilliant.
We require a sense of “Boredom” to think, to be creative or mentally stimulated. Distractions are so common these days (smartphones) that we actively have to create boredom or stillness in our lives to be free from distraction.
“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same…”
The poem 'If' by the India-born British Nobel laureate poet Rudyard Kipling is a poem of ultimate inspiration that tells us how to deal with different situations in life. This is a poem about achieving great success and staying humble in the light of success.
Through this Stanza the poet explains life as a combination of success and failure, joy and sorrow, good times and bad times. We should accept both and face both situations with similar treatment. Don’t be too happy or too sad under any circumstances.
Kipling talks of ‘Triumph’ as an impostor — something that is fake and temporary, and he also says that we should ‘risk it all… And lose’, meaning that it’s good to risk and lose your winnings in life — either financially or otherwise. This may seem scary or stupid at first. However, the reason for saying this is that if we lose everything and then still manage to build it back up, we will have gained a lot of self knowledge and self respect.
Happiness comes from self-control — all of Kipling’s statements are about moderation and being in control of one’s own character at the very best and very worst of times.
Understanding and avoiding the extremes and creating a controlled, balanced and adaptable character seems to be the most important message that Kipling is trying to impart.
Kipling's poem “If” takes a Stoic reflection on life.
Stoicism is a philosophy that promotes balance, harmony and moderation. Stoics also use logic and rationality to navigate difficult situations.
Read the whole poem here.
The silver medal phenomenon
A quote by Jerry Seinfeld
The Olympics is really my favorite sporting event. Although, I think I have a problem with that silver medal. Because when you think about it, you win the gold - you feel good, you win the bronze - you think, "Well, at least I got something". But when you win that silver it's like, "Congratulations, you almost won. Of all the losers you came in first of that group. You're the number one loser. No one lost ahead of you!"
This phenomenon can be explained by counterfactual thinking. This means that people compare their objective achievements to what “might have been.”
counterfactual thinking was especially painful for silver medallists, who appeared visibly less happy than bronze medallists. The researchers speculated that this may have been because of the different counterfactual thinking they engaged in, with bronze medallists being happy that they didn’t come fourth while silver medallists felt sad that they didn’t win gold.
Counterfactual thinking is, as it states: "counter to the facts".
The theory explains why we often draw out how a particular event could have turned out rather than rely on the facts.
Wisdom/What I'm Reading...
Rookie Smarts - Liz Wiseman
Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work
Rookie Smarts brings a very fresh perspective into the working world, as it argues against experience and for hiring rookies, who seem to not know much – at first.
Rookies don’t cling to the status quo, enabling them to innovate and outperform experienced workers.
Rookies don’t have preconceived ideas about the way in which a certain task needs to be done, they are not constrained by the limited mindset of experience.
Liz says because rookies are incredible learners and not afraid to make mistakes, they actually have an edge over experienced workers, who might be too set in their ways to find creative solutions for uncommon problems.
Asking questions and seeking alternatives seems to be more valuable than knowledge.
The world’s knowledge content is changing so fast these days that it is almost essential to adopt Rookiehood.
Fact: Today the world's knowledge doubles every 18 months
It took 1500 years from Year 1 for our global knowledge to double. It then doubled in 250 years as a result of inventions like the printing press, Radio, Television and most recently the internet.
What’s even more ludicrous is that with nano technology around the corner, the combination of technology an artificial intelligence will result in the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours!
This means what we know now is highly likely going to be irrelevant very soon.
Being a Rookie is not a disposition it’s a mindset.
The most experienced senior executives can be Rookies if they chose to adopt the mindset of learning and constant discovery. They require humility to be taught.
Being a rookie is a mindset anyone can cultivate.
The first step to adopting a rookie mindset is switching to learning mode, which is defined by a readiness to learn. Open yourself to new ideas; forget old notions of arrogance and routine; and use every source of inspiration available to you.
Take on new responsibilities and challenge the status quo.
Approach yesterday’s tasks with a different view, ask questions and accept change.
Some insightful quotes from the book
To generate a big impact, pair someone who wants to change the world with someone who already knows how the world works.
Not knowing perceived limits enables rookies to score more often, and it also allows them to score bigger gains.
When the world is changing quickly, experience can become a curse, trapping us in old ways of doing and knowing, while inexperience can be a blessing, freeing us to improvise and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
Certainty is one of the weakest positions in life. Curiosity is one of the most powerful. Certainty prohibits learning, curiosity fuels change.