9.2.17

Knowing what you know vs. knowing what you don't know

It's always easy to point out the things you know. Soundwave travel in vibration, sea tasted salty, Donald Trump is the president of United State, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook, if you eat too much Lychee with an empty stomach you could kill yourself... and the list goes on. 

How about things that you don't know? Give a moment to think about it and try to give at least 10 things that you don't know. You probably wouldn't give a second to think about it because since you "don't know" it, how suppose you could come up with a list of the things you don't know?

Let me ask you some questions: Why is the sky blue? If I used string-telephone in outer space, will I be able to hear the sound? Why eating too much Lychee with an empty stomach could kill?

I bet you will start typing the questions into Google and search for the quick answer.

Well, searching on the Internet is just a way of learning and that's not my point of discussion here. What I'm curious is why "knowing what you don't know" is way more important than "knowing what you know"?

It gives you a direction to go.

Yes, it is that simple. Knowing the things that you don't know give you a sense of urgency to learn it, to seek the answers. Charles Dughigg, the author of "Smarter Faster Better; the Secret of Being Productive in Life and Business" illustrate the importance of knowing what you don't know with a story Annie, a poker game player.

I have another thought about knowing what you know can help in learning. I got this insight when I was looking at a map for emergency exits at a hotel room a few months ago. When looking at the emergency exits, I figured out that didn't help me to put the direction as I couldn't draw a visualized version of the map in my mind. But when I found the "YOU ARE HERE" label, it all made sense to me.

From knowing my current position, I could easily figure out which direction to go when I step out from my hotel room, to turn left and walk straight until the end of the corridor, the exit will be on my right.

So, it will be similar in learning. Knowing the position of you now provide you a direction to work on. For example, I know I have basic knowledge of using Microsoft Words so if I'm looking for a tutorial on the Internet, I could probably start at the "Intermediate level". Combining with knowing what I don't know - the mail merge function - provide me a clear direction to look for a tutorial on this particular lesson.

Have you spent a moment today to figure out what you don't know?
“True wisdom is knowing what you don't know”--- Confucius


19.12.16

Do nothing and you'll end up with nothing in hands.

We all had a moment like this:

         "You were sitting with a friend or few friends. They were talking about their year spent in building career or self-improvement. They were talking about their 5-years plan. You see the spark in their eyes. Suddenly, you felt... empty, and all your friends, they were just, awesome. "

It wasn't long until you figured out that you were actually feeling "incompetent", and the spark you saw in the eyes of your friends, it is "sense of accomplishment" and "enthusiasm".

Put it in short, you felt "negative" while others felt "positive".

Why? have you wondered about this?

I had been in that situation years ago. I had a feeling to run away from the crowd, hide and never get out from there. Luckily I didn't.

I didn't run away because I finally figured out what cause the feeling of incompetent. Why do I feel like I can't do anything right while others seem to be able to do it without effort?

"Because I didn't do anything"

Yes, it is right. The feeling of incompetent actually is a "self-inflicted wound" for not doing things that I should have done in order to feel the positiveness.

The sense of accomplishment comes from after you get something done, not before it. Enthusiasm comes after you tried something and you actually love it.

For most of the time, if not all, we choose not to do something to avoid making mistakes. Yet, it was the biggest mistake one can make in one's life. Mistakes are precious lessons in life that make us improve and become the better self.

Now, stop thinking about the fear of making mistakes, ask yourself instead, what is the opposite side of fear. Next, make up an action plan and execute it!

Soon, you will be the one with sparks in eyes.





7.12.16

Effort Count Twice

I have just finished reading Angela Duckworth's Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance.

Mind blown.

Yes, it is by far the greatest book I ever read (okay, I didn't read many books before!). I first watched Dr. Angela Duckworth's TED talks on Youtube, then I found her book in the bookstore, wrapped in plastic and the price tag said RM80.

I'm not quite sure about the worthiness of it, so I quietly put it down and walked away. There is, somehow, a seedling got planted into my mind about this word "grit".

I remembered the things she said in the TED talk video and watch it again and again for past few months. Not long ago, I found her book again in another bookstore while the bookstore having sales. So I grabbed the book and walked to the cashier, paid, and went home to start reading the book.

Mind blown.

I couldn't stop reading it. As an adult, I wish I learned about this earlier, that "when talent count, effort always count twice"; as a teacher, I know I need to stop praising students on their talent but their effort to motivate continuous learning; as a learner, I know I could be grittier.

Effort count twice. When I first read the phrase, it struck me like lighting. Then I realized for whatever I set upon to achieve and failed to achieve, it was because of the effort I put in isn't enough to enable me in gaining those achievements.

I have thought of being a lawyer, yet, I didn't study hard enough; I have thought of being a psychologist, yet, I didn't what it takes to be one; I have thought of being a successful entrepreneur, yet I lost hope in becoming one before finding a direction to  start my journey.

I failed, because I wasn't putting in effort, not enough.

Get to know more about Angela Duckworth from her website: http://angeladuckworth.com/.

Whoever you are, whatever you are doing or plan to do, I recommend you to read this book.

30.11.16

How writing & drawing on notebook helps getting good ideas?


I have read dozens of articles promoting the benefits of writing and drawing, especially on generating and organizing ideas. 

Yet, I have great confident in my memory. As most people, I find writing troublesome as I think I wasn't a writer who is good at putting words together. Furthermore, carrying a notebook and a pen has no longer a must for me after graduating from school. 

After I started a business and I found that most of the time, my memory betrayed me by forgetting some really important things, such as appointments, projections, ideas for expansion and the list goes on. 

So I wanted to change thing around. I first start by browsing the Internet for some cool ideas about note taking for grown-ups. I found Bullet Journal and think it might fit me perfectly. I went on to buy a good notebook and few pens, watch the video for starting bullet journal and start my own journal. 

It's almost two years I'm using the bullet journal and I'm glad I started it.

Starting the journal is not difficult, but maintaining it is. Making writing a habit can be quite a challenge, especially when I had the firm belief that I wasn't good at writing. Stephen Guise wrote in his book "Mini Habit" pointed out exactly why most people failed at becoming a better self. They always started with a big goal, which in turn, create mental stress to us and eventually we lost the motivation to continue what we started. 

"Break it to mini bite size" is what this book all about, and I couldn't agree more. Of course, knowing and doing is two different things, knowing is not enough, said Johann Wolfgang, we must apply. So I apply it into my life and start breaking this "writing activity" into smallest pieces that required almost no effort from me to continue. 

2016 is a fruitful year for me after I started my bullet journal and writing thoughts down  By writing my ideas, it helps me to retain it and later shape and put it into actions. Ideas could pop up at any moment throughout a day, I even had the experience of having an idea for effective learning in dream, so I forced myself to get up and write the idea down (although I had trouble recognizing some of my writing in the morning, yet, I still can figure it out and expand the idea). 


17.11.16

Failures are good for you, actually.

I have more failure to share than to success. I even will stutter if you want me to share my success story.

I have failed in management, in leadership, in finance, in lots of areas where an entrepreneur should have excel if he/she wants to be successful.

Or should I said I have not yet success, instead of being "failed at"? Nobody shall be proud to be at failing, failure is what shame us.

That's what the society taught us, that failure is shameful. I hold a different view, after I read John Maxwell's book on "Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn". He said failure is only feedback, a chance to learn from mistakes and to never repeat it again.

Yes, indeed, I kept my mind open for failure since then. I grab hard on each time I failed and learn it through so that I would not repeat the same mistake the very next time before I let them go. Yes, I don't beat myself up for failing either.

I only going after the one biggest success in life, that is, to get up one more time than falling.


14.11.16

Nomadic Working Style

I have given up my office space a few months ago. The reasons are because of expansion of business and I'd been sick of trying so hard to get organise and failed after a while.

So, I gave up my work space and get on the nomadic working style. It simply means that I started packing all my tools necessary to do my work in a bag and plan my temporary workstation every day.

In the night before, I will plan my schedule and see where should I go, sit down and work for couples of hours. Sometimes, I ended up working in my favourite coffee shop, sometimes in my partner's office or get back to my company, find a spot, sit, and work.

It has been about 5 months I'm working like this, and the result is: I get more done than ever. I'd observed the reasons on the increase in productivity after working like a nomad.

First, no comfort zone. By moving out from my office space, it simply eliminated a familiar spot that provides a sense of comfort to me. No comfort zone simply make me more alert to what's on hands and what to avoid. Sitting in the coffee shop with strangers around me can keep me on focus mode and make me accomplish more important stuff.

Yet, there are traps to avoid. Security is one, higher expenses is another. Most coffee shops offered free wifi, but it makes you vulnerable on the line. So I packed with myself a mobile online Mifi (mini wifi). Free wifi doesn't come free, it comes with an over-priced beverage sometimes. To control the expenses, I seldom work in coffee shops, once in every 2 weeks, perhaps.

Another benefits I get from this nomadic working style is that I create less burden and gets real on the things that really matter to me or to my work. I used to keep a big mug filled with pens and pencils on my office desk, two big file organisers because I convinced myself that I will need them, some souvenirs, some documents to review and etc. And I admit that I wasn't good at organising things, so I always have a messy table and my partner always need to clean up after me (or at the very least, remind me to keep it clean).

After I work nomadic style, I realised that I will need to get simplified with my belonging. I can't pack a lot of things. In my working bag, I packed along with my laptop, a notebook, some stationery,
office/home keys, a box for small objects like cable and paper clip, a folder to keep documents I needed to review, tissue and hand lotion. It is still sound like a long list but definitely much lesser than when I owned a spot in the office.

I need to plan ahead every night before to ensure that I got the productivity I'm looking for, it helps me to improve my planning and thus made me accomplish more in the very next day. As an entrepreneur with multiple roles, I had struggled to get things done while keeping myself busy for almost nothing. Now, I could control myself better to focus and stayed productive for about 4-5 hours per day and really get things done. After that, I could really enjoy my life, I read more, exercise more and spend more time with family.

Says goodbye to my desk make me a whole lot better.