Saturday, April 23, 2011

What has luck got to do with it?

Adam Dachis has an interesting post about luck

[Wiseman] gave both the "lucky" and the "unlucky" people a newspaper and asked them to look through it and tell him how many photographs were inside. He found that on average the unlucky people took two minutes to count all the photographs, whereas the lucky ones determined the number in a few seconds.
How could the "lucky" people do this? Because they found a message on the second page that read, "Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper." So why didn't the unlucky people see it? Because they were so intent on counting all the photographs that they missed the message.
So what does this mean? From the article:
"Unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner, and so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through the newspaper determined to find certain job advertisements and, as a result, miss other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed and open, and therefore see what is there, rather than just what they are looking for."
People who we often consider lucky are more relaxed and open to what's going on around them. They're not focused on a single task, blocking out everything else so much that they miss something important and unexpected. What this experiment demonstrates is that luck may not so much be luck, but whether or not our mindset leaves us open to opportunities we would otherwise miss because we're so absolutely sure of what we want.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Go big or go home

Steve is confident that slow and steady does not win the race.

I’ve always been more of a “go big or go home” kind of guy.

Well, for better or worse, the real world isn’t like that. It’s chaotic, competitive, and full of people. All of which are, by nature, unpredictable. 
But it did happen. And because it happened, things didn’t work out as planned. I had to do things differently. I had to retool. Well, the business world is very much like that. And the longer you’re in it, the more you realize that success is defined by how well you’re prepared for bumps in the road and how fast you react to the breakneck rate of change.

But that’s so you’re ready to take a hairpin turn, sprint ahead, or even slam on the breaks when life throws big obstacles in your path or the you-know-what hits the fan

Look, there are most definitely times when it’s important to just put one foot in front of the other and execute. But that’s not what will define your career, create breakthrough products, or take a company to the top of its market. That’s not what defines a winner. And that’s why, in your career and in the business world, “slow and steady” does not win the race.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Raise your luck quotient

Jessica Stillman explains,

Maximize Chance Opportunities Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.

Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches. Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.

Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune. Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.

Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to Good. Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

You might be thinking that Wiseman’s principles are all well and good, but that people’s ability to adopt them is basically a function of their personality and difficult to change. If you’re a worrywart by nature, for instance, can you really teach yourself not to dwell on bad fortune? Can control freaks learn to break their routines and embrace chance encounters?

Yes, says Wiseman in an article for Skeptical Inquirer (download the long, fascinating read here). In it he described operating “luck school” that actually had an impact on increasing participants’ good fortune:

I explained how lucky people… create good fortune in their lives, and described simple techniques designed to help them think and behave like a lucky person. For example… without realizing it, lucky people tend to use various techniques to create chance opportunities that surround them, how to break daily routines, and also how to deal more effectively with bad luck by imagining how things could have been worse. I asked my volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises and then return and describe what had happened. The results were dramatic. 80 percent of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives, and, perhaps most important of all, luckier.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Life is a game of inches


The transition between the breakfast and lunch shifts or the lunch and dinner shifts is always difficult. I would go as far as advising just to close down. The hand off is never smooth and the customer service always suffers.

If you are going to stay open during the transition than make sure that there is no downgrade in the service.

The need to sleep.

No one really knows why we need to sleep or how we wake up, however the when we miss sleep the results are startling. Tony Schwartz explains

So why is sleep one of the first things we're willing to sacrifice as the demands in our lives keep rising? We continue to live by a remarkably durable myth: sleeping one hour less will give us one more hour of productivity. In reality, the research suggests that even small amounts of sleep deprivation take a significant toll on our health, our mood, our cognitive capacity and our productivity.
Many of the effects we suffer are invisible. Insufficient sleep, for example, deeply impairs our ability to consolidate and stabilize learning that occurs during the waking day. In other words, it wreaks havoc on our memory.
What I've learned about those days is that I'd rather work at 100 percent for 5 or 6 hours, than at 60 percent for 8 or 9 hours.
With sufficient sleep, I feel better, I work with more focus, and I manage my emotions better, which is good for everyone around me. I dislike having even a single day where I haven't gotten enough sleep, because the impact is immediate and unavoidable. On the rare days that I don't get enough, I try hard to get at least a 20-30 minute nap in the afternoon. That's a big help.

Here are three other tips to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep:
  • Go to bed earlier — and at a set time. Sounds obvious right? The problem is there's no alternative. You're already waking up at the latest possible time you think is acceptable. If you don't ritualize a specific bedtime, you'll end up finding ways to stay up later, just the way you do now.
  • Start winding down at least 45 minutes before you turn out the light. You won't fall asleep if you're all wound up from answering email, or doing other work. Create a ritual around drinking a cup of herbal tea, or listening to music that helps you relax, or reading a dull book.
  • Write down what's on your mind — especially unfinished to-do's and unresolved issues — just before you go to bed. If you leave items in your working memory, they'll make it harder to fall asleep, and you'll end up ruminating about them if you should wake up during the night.