Rajo is for the rajoless?

In high school we were taught that hope is for the hopeless by a somewhat arrogant, but oddly popular, philosophy teacher.

How often do any of us use the word hope? When you’re hoping the waiter didn’t screw up your order? When you’re hoping that the homeless guy ate something today? When you hear politicians hoping for peace?

Every day since hearing the words, “Hope is for the hopeless” I believe it less and less. Hope is as prevalent in our lives, just as much as the air we breathe.

Hope was the major theme around Amanda Lindhout’s A House in the Sky. The story of a woman who grew up in tough times and eventually grows up to live to travel fueled by the articles she loved to read in Readers Digest as a child . As she traveled she ended up working in the media, which lead her to Somalia where she and her travel partner, Nigel, are kidnapped and are held at ranson for a grueling 15 months. Amanda’s retelling of the horrors she went through was brutally honest, from the physical abuse she suffered to the swings in her mental and emotional state.

This book is one for any one who needs to truly understand what it is to hope.

Rajo. That is the Somalian term for hope.

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Amanda Lindhout has created a foundation to help the woman of Somalia , if you’d like to help visit
http://www.globalenrichmentfoundation.org/

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Beam me up Cupid

Its Valentines Day 2016, and being single really reminds of one important fact. Regardless of your relationship status now or ever, just remember this:

You’re never really alone.

Why?

ALIENS

*Cue X-Files music*

 

Happy Valentines Day!

Book related blogs coming soon!

The 3 stages to your next great idea

Creativity. Is it just for the artists, singers and clever marketing agencies?

Not at all. Even the most drab of accountants can have a burst of creative ideas. No offense to any accountants out there.

Your next great idea dose not require a liberal arts degree or a real existing problem to solve. Follow these three steps and see where your amazing, creative mind takes you.

  1. Not all who wander are lost.
    • Let your mind wonder and write down any idea that comes to mind. Forget money, physical limitations, whether there is an existing need or even if its actually a good idea. Let your mind go crazy with visions and see how many ideas you get. Don’t put an actual time limit on this stage. Any limitations can hinder your thought process and limit your creative process. If any thing let yourself get to the point where you start daydreaming!
  2. Filter out what is do-able
    • Now we take reality into account. Go through all the ideas you created and figure out the steps you need to take to make the ideas you thought of happen. Resources, information, existing infrastructure. At this point its good to take inventory on fields that you know inside-out and how you can associate your knowledge with your idea.
  3. Take that first step
    • Now that you know what you can do, what what you have available to you, it’s time to start making that vision a reality! Taking the first step may be as simple as buying a website domain or more demanding like hiring a team, but either way ,one thing to keep in mind is that your vision will not become reality overnight. Patience is a virtue. Its important to surround yourself with positive ,like-minded people to help keep you motivated and focused.

Regardless of who you are, what you do and how old you are, creativity is something that can be learned and become an extremely valuable weapon.

5 reasons you should read Fight Club

Chuck Palahniuks Fight Club is the closest thing I have to a Bible. I can quote lines out of the book and the movie as automatically as breathing.

Haven’t read or seen it? Here’s why need to:

1) Tyler Durden will automatically become your now mentor and role model

2) Get a true understanding of the real world

3) You may not find out who you are, but you will find out who you arn’t and believe me it’s not what your employer says you are

4) Learn the real difference between
what you need and what you want

5) You are not special. These words will be the most motivational words you’ll ever hear.

Hope that peaked your interest. Oh one more:

6) You do not talk about

Monkey neurons see, monkey neurons do

Okay they aren’t called monkey neurons ,no one has those.

Well maybe Tarzan.

As I’ve read more and more business psychology books one subject seems to repeat itself over and over again. Mirror Neurons.

What are mirror neurons? Well basically they are the neurons that are responsible for turning  something you see or experience and translating that into an action or behavior that you can imitate or even feel.

You can easily test this, simply by imagining or recalling something you saw someone do on t.v. and reenact the exact movements.

You may have never used a Bow and Arrow before but I can assure you that you could easily imitate that exact actions an archer will go through when firing a bow out of an arrow.

That is your Mirror Neurons in action right there. Mirror neurons are not limited to giving us the ability to quickly pick up physical motions, they are even involved in emotions. Studies have shown that peoples ability to feel empathy , and are even involved in the act of introspection and self awareness as well. Ever get hungry just watching someone eat, even to the point where you can taste the food they are eating? Mirror Neurons!

The way a baby imitates the faces you make at it? Mirror Neurons!

How did Tarzan learn to swing on vines and climb trees like the other monkeys? Mirror neurons!

So next time you’re getting a sudden craving while watching people eat or feeling like you can pull of a parkour move you saw on Youtube, remember that this is your mirror neurons in action!

Thin Slice. No thinner that th-opps too thin.

Some time ago I read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, a guy I consider to be a modern day philosopher, like our modern equivalent to Socrates in his time. Anyone who has been to a college or uni class has probably seen at least one of his TED Talks. The one about spaghetti sauce may never leave my mind.

In Blink Malcolm Gladwell explores the power of the unconscious. The power of thinking without thinking, the way our minds process tons of information in milli-seconds and spit out whats relevant in an instant.

 The book opens with a story of The Kouros. The Kouros is a statue that was purchased by the Getty Museum. The Getty Museum convinced that this rare statue was authentic, enthusiastically made plans to purchase the statue for a cool Ten million, as a way of getting more visitors in the museum and to make a name for themselves. Going through proper due diligence the museum had the statue examined and tested by scientists to prove that it was the real deal. All tests came out positive!

After 14 months of testing, the statue went up for the public to see. But their was a problem with it. As more and more art historians and professionals came to see the statue, they immediately spotted something wrong. One said it was “fresh” ,another noted something amiss with it fingernails. After more and more doubts about the Kouros’ authenticity it was shipped over to Athens for further observation, only to be met with more criticism.

Eventually after more testing and tracing the Kurous’ roots it was discovered that it was indeed a fake.

So what did the art dealers and professionals see that the scientists didn’t?

Its what Malcolm Gladwell calls Thin Slicing. Using previous experience and knowledge on a certain subject, task or event to look at a similar task, subject and event and make conclusions based on something as simple as a glance.

We do this all the time without realizing it. We can create a full predicted profile on someone based on a glance at them. Their occupations, income levels, friendliness, ethnic background and so much more in split seconds. If you watch someone practicing shots on a basketball court eventually you’ll be able to predict whether they’ll go in or not. You can look at a movie poster and decide if you’ll like it or not without knowing what the movies about. You can walk into a absolute strangers bedroom and get a pretty good idea of what they are like using thin slicing.

Thin Slicing is your mind constantly learning and making predictions based off experience and knowledge.

Check out Blink here : http://gladwell.com/blink/

It’s my first day

“Its my first day”

I think The Simpsons captured how important that line is to the new guys in the office is. How many times have you used it? You probably didn’t take a navy submarine into international waters (well if you did, nice bro) but we’ve all been in those awkward moments on our first days when you’re pestering your co-worker every two minutes because you accidentally released a cage full of birds into a crowded mall on a shift at the pet store.

No?

Well maybe something like that. Reading Robert Greene’s Mastery, Robert Greene sums up the three stages we all go through when adjusting to a new job, country, process or any change to your external environment. I’ve been through enough part time jobs to be able to vouch for his writing so I thought I’d share them here.

Its basically three stages. First we start in the Passive mode, then the Practice mode and finally the Active mode.

Passive Mode

The Passive mode is kind of like the beginning of a party where you don’t know anyone. You’re taking in whats going on, who each of the participants are, getting the lay of the land before you make your first move. In the work environment the Passive mode is your first few weeks or months on the job. What you should be looking for and learning, on top of your basic job duties, is the culture of your new workplace. Who are the influencers, how the flow of communication works, the underlying pecking order and a potential niche where you can stand out. Getting a solid understanding of the lay of the land and how things are done in your new environment will help you go about making bigger moves in the future when you reach the Active mode.

Practice Mode

In the Practice mode you are working towards becoming good at what your core job is. The Practice mode and Passive mode can be done simultaneously, but neither is more important than the other. In the Practice mode your aim is to know how to do your job so well that it becomes habitual or tactic knowledge- you’ve become so skilled at your job that you find it difficult to teach it ,but have no problem demonstrating it.

Active Mode

At this point you will have a solid handle on your core tasks and responsibilities and you know the lay of the land. You understand the system and all its components and how its parts interact.  Now you can start experimenting with system, like modding your car. This is a shorter phase ,but a crucial one if you want to prove your value to your company or yourself. Here you have the legitimacy to propose new processes, a new project, or solutions to problems. As you pursue these experiments your ability to take criticism and possibly face heat from co-workers/partners/management will be put to the test, so it’s important to keep the knowledge you gained from the Passive mode in mind.

The importance of office politics will be something that will be debated for years to come, or at least until the robots take over, so its important to look at your environment subjectively and make smart moves if you want to achieve success.

The Crooked Heart of Misery. You should get that checked by ,like, a doctor.

Billie Livingston’s The Crooked Heart of Misery was given to a bunch of us booksellers with a special cover that said ,”The Writer You Need To Read Right Now”.

I don’t usually take up corporate sponsored recommendations, but I decided to take a chance on this one and I didn’t regret a moment of it. The first paragraph in which Bens thoughts wonder on the whiteness of a room he’s in is enough to pull you in.

The story focuses around two characters, Ben who wakes up one day with a hole in his head after an accident during his work as a limo driver, and Maggie ,Ben’s Ex, who is trying to put herself together after her ex husbands accident.

Francis, Maggie’s brother whom she trys to confide in, is a Catholic priest , who is not only gay but is a wild drunk (or was just filled with the blood of Christ) faces public embarrassment after a video of his behavior goes viral.

The writing is fantastic and the chaotic story makes this a book you’ll definitely want to read.

Bro’s don’t let the cheesy title scare you off, this one isn’t in the romance section.