A few pieces of advice
Advice on time management, decision making and visions setting from Dr. Richard Feynman, C.N Parkinson, Denis Waitley and many more.
A bunch of advice on time management, decision making and vision setting, I noted from many various different sources. Remember, all advice is autobiographical. This advice is advice I would have given myself at some point of time, it may not always apply to you. Your Mileage May Vary: Take what you like best and leave the rest.
There once was a management professor who was giving a lecture. In front of him, he had a big glass jar, a pile of rocks, a bag of small pebbles, a tub of sand and a bottle of water.
He started off by filling up the jar with the big rocks and when they reached the rim of the jar he held it up to the students and asked them if the jar was full. They all agreed, there was no more room to put the rocks in, it was full. “Is it full?” he asked.
He then picked up the bag of small pebbles and poured these in jar. He shook the jar so that the pebbles filled the space around the big rocks. “Is the jar full now?” he asked. The group of students all looked at each other and agreed that the jar was now completely full. “Is it really full?” he asked.
The professor then picked up the tub of sand. He poured the sand in between the pebbles and the rocks and once again he held up the jar to his class and asked if it was full. Once again the students agreed that the jar was full. “Are you sure it’s full?” he asked.
He finally picked up a bottle of water and tipped the water into the jar until it soaked up in all the remaining space in the sand. The students laughed. The professor went on to explain that the jar of rocks, pebbles, sand and water represents the time we have.
The rocks refer to our big goals, our priorities. The pebbles refer to smaller intermediate goals. The sand are fillers like talking with our neighbors or watching sports. The water however refers to destructive fillers. It damps everything up. Think of it like back-talk about another person or complaining about things you can’t really change. Also social media, most of the times one feels inferior or jealous after using social media. Now it is up to us if we want to allow the water to enter our jar, if we keep it jam packed with stones, pebbles and some sand, water won’t enter. If you don’t prioritize your time, guess what do you make time for…
In this post modern era most of us tend to be confused mainly due to the number of options one has, or the lack of viable ones.
When asked to imagine where we would be in five years, or one, or even a month is a difficult task. This is where a comprehensive goal framework comes to use. The one which I am going to talk abut is the guiding problems framework.
Richard Feynman was a prolific physicist who pioneered the string theory who won a noble prize for physics in 1965. His interest however was not limited to physics, his contributions to chemistry(properties of crystal), biology(How ants follow each other?) and mathematics(Feynman Integration)
But none of the awards or accolades Feynman received can fully capture how stunningly diverse and wide-ranging his interests were. He refused to limit himself to one field, or even to science itself. He taught himself how to play the drums, pick lock safes, draw human figures, and decipher Mayan hieroglyphics. Dr. Feynman both went deep in the area where he could make a genuine contribution to society, while also embracing the full breadth of everything else life had to offer along the way.
How he did this? Feynman explained:
“You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, “How did he do it? He must be a genius!”
Such a list of problems can help serve as a guiding stone to one’s life and career. While their is no set way to choose 12 problems, sitting for a while with a blank paper should work. If you decide to give this a go, consider sharing you twelve problems in the comments, it might inspire someone else or maybe a good Samaritan ends up contributing to one of yours…
“Work expands to fill the time allotted to it.” - C.N. Parkinson
Parkinson’s law is a common adage in management. It is based on an on old experiment, a collage class was divided into two groups. One was given 10 days to prepare a project while the other was given 30 days.
In the end the average marks of the project were found to be approximately the same for both the groups.
So if I have to write a newsletter and I give myself a week to do it, inevitably I'll use all that time. But if I have just 1 day, I'll get it done much quicker. Advice: leverage artificial deadlines.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Pablo Picasso
The average (optimistic) life span is about 4576 weeks. Think about it, the average reader of my newsletter is 30 years old. That means the average reader would have spent 1560 weeks of their life and only have 3016 weeks left.
Time is the only resource we cannot make more of. It is limited by its very nature and we have to accept the fact that we cannot spend our days doing things that don’t make us happy.
A book I have referred to a lot of times is Top Five Regrets of Dying by Bonnie Ware. A common regret of dying is "I wish that I had let myself be happier." You only have 4000 weeks to make sure you don’t end up having that regret.
“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” - Paul Coholeo
What was a common theme with all great rulers and huge MNC’s? Their success is accredited to a expert board of advisors(aka council of ministers) to help them on every turn.
While, we can’t have a court of ministers, we can formulate a mental board of advisors. A mental board of advisors is a bunch of people who can be alive or dead, real or fictional whose thinking and advice you admire and are familiar with their work. An ideal mental board of advisor fills the following roles:
Oracle 🔮 - Someone who takes future opportunities in accounts
Monk 🗃 - Someone discipled who has good habits in their life.
The Expert🎖 - Someone who can advice me on things based on their knowledge and experience in that thing.
The Strategist 🗡 - Someone with an open-mind who often comes up with new ideas
My mental board of advisors includes: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Prashant Jain Sir, Nitin Vijay Sir Dr. Vikram Sarabai, Dr. Homi Jahangir Bhaba, Dr. Richard Feynman and Sir Isaac Newton.
The idea is most of us are very good at giving advice to others but terrible at giving it using it ourselves. Whenever we are in need of advice, we can simply consult our mental board of advisors by thinking about or writing down what each of them would say if you consulted them about the given problem.
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” -Denis Waitley
A common theme in decision making is the need to act. A company cannot risk waiting for the market to become more clear, they need to act or lose the opportunity.
All opportunities have a price associated with them, the price you’ll need to pay if you decide to not act.
Whenever, an opportunity strikes, we must ask ourselves two questions: Will I regret not taking this opportunity one year later? and What is the risk of doing nothing?
If you visit the page of huge firms, you’ll find that most of them have a defined vision statement. Having a vision statement helps direct actions towards a particular goal.
While goals need to be realistic, achievable and time bound and what not; vison statements can be anything. And you know the strange thing, I have seen my vison statements come more true than my goals.
Vision boards have really taken off in the last few years and you’ll find a lot of guides for the same. The easiest one is writing your vision statements on a piece of paper and sticking the paper at a place, where you’ll see it everyday at least twice.
A good example of success of vision boards can be the story of Simran Kaur of Girls That Invest. She also made a template for the same which you can acess here
The concept of vision board arises from the law of attraction. The law states that you receive what you think about. Basically your brain is a magnet for energies which resonate with it own thoughts, and this converts into actions causing that thought to turn into reality. If you keep on thinking about failing a test, you are going to fail it. However, if you think about acing the test, it will transform into actions and finally into results.
The board serves to guide you back to track shall you get distracted or demotivated, it will not cause the result to occur in itself.
And that is all I have to offer. Once in a while I end up opening my research files for the previous issues, and end up writing it all down into a issue such as this one. I wrote a similer post a few months back, you can check it out here.
Other than that, we are going to have a 2-3 posts more this year before we can call 2022 a close.
Thanks for reading,
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