All the decisions we make are the right decisions

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Summer is here, unlike in the Game of Thrones season 6 finale. Summer means things like summer vacation in which we’ve a lots of time in our hands. This often times leads to a bit crisis about what to do with our time.

For me it’s mainly exhausting to think what kinds of commitments and claims I’ve made of what I am going to do and I am already feeling bad for everything that I am not being able to do. Cycle of suffering indeed.

Then to add some more spice of suffering here, I also managed to make some decisions: I bought the computer I have been promising myself for the past year. Yay. And of course I am now doubting the decision.

Thankfully, today I decided finally to stop doubting and started enjoying. I watched the TEDx talk by Robin Esrock, where I found this thought about all the decisions we make are right decisions. This is really comforting.

With this, I think I’ll get my writing done during the summer; as well as enjoy some of the mindless gaming I’ve been looking forward to quite a while. Best things in life come in weird combinations. If we do not pursue things that really matters to us, nothing is going to feel really satisfactory.

What is success all about?

strawberry-1459569_1920Success is the desired result of an attempt [1]. Often times we deem success only that which has taking years, or decades worth of effort. We are being too harsh.

For each one of us success in indeed different, we have to define what is the desired result, what is the success for us. What is the key for achieving success, achieving the desired result? Energy.

I like the physics definition of energy: the capacity of a body or system to do work. What is work? Simply productive activity. Or in other words ability to deliver the desired results via exertion of energy.

Thinking this about systemic way, it seems to be obvious that success comes from results, that come from work. If we all know this, why only so few are satisfied with their level of success?

I am experiencing unsatisfactory level of success and I have a tendency to analyze things and that’s what I am doing now. On my own part I’ve noticed that most of the suffering is because of the lack of willingness to work very well ahead and on the other hand desiring too much in advance. Energy part crucial, and is the bottleneck.

Energy in human should be pretty simple. Our bodies essentially turns what we eat magically into energy. Then our unconscious runs on the background without any mark and then when we switch our consciousness on that really show on the energy consumption. Our brain consumes up to fifth of our calories and sometimes it is really just a belief that causes this mental exhaustion [2]. I wrote an article while back about our peak performance. However, now I am already in the different paths of thinking, what if the only bottleneck isn’t the physical energy or our ability to produce energy, but a mental one? What if the our beliefs limit us from using our energy?

Success is result(s). Results come from an ability to harness physical and mental energy attempt create the desired results and to shape as well as direct that process.

Next question is that can we consciously shape our mental habits to such direction, which creates both consciously and unconsciously more attempts at work?

 

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/success

[2] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/thinking-hard-calories/

What exactly limits our achievement?

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This is a topic that of course I just started pursuing and I have no answer. Yet sometimes the questions are as interesting as answers so allow me to elaborate a bit.

In a life there is the daily grind: doing what we need to do to survive.

However, that’s not our best at all. Then the next question is what would be our best and why aren’t we doing it?

First things to come to my mind were fear and habits on an individual level. And why not to change them, because we believe in something? Why do we believe, because of our experience and knowledge so far. So how to start changing the beliefs then? The same way they were acquired in the first place: by testing them, acquiring knowledge and experience, then keeping the ones that work and ditching the ones that don’t.

So in that sense pretty much anyone who has the will to do something differently in the present than in the past already knows this and is here. Yet, something is lacking, what exactly it is that limits us? It’s not the conscious limitations, as much as it is the unconscious possibilities. We do not leverage the unconscious well enough. In fact even so few believe in that which is not conscious. We can consciously compare it in any way we want and yet we cannot grasp what would it be in the action. Difference is between description and actual experience.

We all have unconscious which we are not conscious of. We could start to achieve more, if we would first acknowledge that unconscious could help us.

Looks could be helpful for success

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Today as I was visiting Tallinn for a day trip from Helsinki, I got to observe quite a bunch of interesting people. One troubadour in particular who entertained us on the way there and also on the way back made me think the lifelong question of success and skills.

My girlfriend made some remarks that the looks could be helpful in this particular journey to the success, and that is indeed an important aspect. Trying to think about this purely in objective terms, good looks are great advantage in marketing yourself in many ways. Likable looks generate effortlessly following, where as recognizable looks become very well known. Many forms of good looks certainly help.

However, when it comes to looks, there are different tastes making it quite subjective. Also a lot of the looks and outer expression is also what I would maybe even call “manufactured”, because it is the conscious process of building style.

Real question is however how to combine, whatever looks you’ve to serve the higher purpose of breaking out with what skills you’ve? I guess in this age this would be called personal branding. What kind of brand strategy to choose? Is it indifferent or active?

Also what to do when the looks or the skills are not with you? I don’t have answers, yet as I said: both are somewhat conscious process. Systemic way to go about it would be to discover some strengths and utilize those!

Just something to think about before going bed, leave comment below to tell your thoughts on the topic.

Janne

 

Sometimes distraction is the solution

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As I am proceeding on reading the Originals by Adam Grant I also happen to personally experienced the statement in the topic.

Today I finally decided to upgrade my computer, on a whim of course. It has been actually discovered that all of our decision making is emotional. If our emotions weren’t functioning properly we could hardly make any decisions at all.

So now I upgraded my old 7,5 years old desktop with a bit more recent one and I better make use of it, or otherwise I’ll regret.

This is a decision that I’ve been postponing for a long time. Last year as I finished my thesis I already promised myself a new computer as a prize. Yet only now I happen to purchase it.

The needs that aren’t basic needs aren’t really needs at all. I’ve been wanting focus more to the stuff that has mattered to me rather than the means. In a sense I’ve been really successful in this attempt and I can praise myself for this.

However, this morning as I woke up I started to wonder, since when it was that I felt such a reluctance to do the writing that I usually so happily do. Then I realized that I need to loosen up a bit and change my focus. So I also loosened up my standards just a bit which allowed me finally to find satisfactory computer and get it right away. This was really satisfactory.

Although I don’t have any acute needs for the faster computer, it’s still a tool and tool that I probably most proficient with, so now even after a purchase I feel satisfied and assured that I will find the use for it.

Decision making process was mostly emotional, backed up by month’s worth of rational comparing and delaying the decision. Now the time felt ripe and I am happy.

Now it also turns out that it is quite easy to return to the work of writing as well. Reluctance I experienced in the morning is gone and the experience of the day is always a nice spice for the writing.

As a conclusion sometimes it’s better to just see how the day plays out and then return to the work of art.

Living a life that matters

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I like to think and observe what kind of causal relations decisions have. These systems thinking observations have been inside me quite a while and are the basis for this article.

How to make sure we are living a life that matters? What matters? Time is a thing, we cannot get more of. Therefore there are decisions and priorities that must be respected.

Life isn’t easy at all. Therefore there are not easy solutions. We’ve a lots of potential in ourselves, if we are able to develop and focus our energy.

Conscious thought energy is very limited, yet through it we can program ourselves in a new ways. Doing this requires patience and practice and once acquired the new level in incomparable, because the once hard things become effortless.

As an example, I would advise to identify the most important things in life. Is that people who are dear to you? Your passion?

As a next step, then it would involve recognizing what are the really important things to maximize these things in life? For example if it is people who are very dear to you i.e. your children or spouse, then taking care of your own health should come as a top priority as well in order to be in a good shape and also to be able to spend more time with those people. Our own health should come off as a top priority, because it is simple related to whatever we want to contribute to world with our life.

Since the health is our health is such a critical priority, I would like to point out that recognizing that is the first step. Second is that, we should avoid just setting shallow goals like ”getting fit for summer” or ”losing X amount of weight” and instead connect these goals with the top priority: your health and especially what are you gonna do with it.

Keeping the clear and simple vision of the has been future helpful for me. I’ve learned the importance of my own health the hard way, by living in a decedent manner and coming to conclusion this could not go on anymore. Once I made the decision to revamp my life for a grander purpose giving up many bad habits became relatively relatively easy task and I started slowly adopting new ones as well.

Important thing to note at this point, as we often get started and passionate about a changing our life with something, I would like to hold the horses there a bit. Big mistake we make with the changes, is that once we start learning deeply about something, we get so excited and end up with a skewed world view. Therefore the middle way would be good to keep in mind here and as I wrote about yesterday as well: it might be good to learn from both extreme points of view and dance around there.

Systemic thinking applied is really powerful way to start thinking about what is important in life and keeping that vision in mind every time we are doing decisions. Our first priorities might be very clear, however the next ones might be sometimes more difficult to rank. Experience with pay a role here and if we have none, it’s good to get some and adjust then based on that.

In the end that matters, through which we can make the things happen that matters most to us. Some of this requires figuring out, some of it might be very clear for us already.

As a one more personal example, for me creating a some sort of legacy of wisdom is important. It’s my way of seeking immortality that has no guarantees, what is yours?

 

Janne

To become knowledgeable we must first be aware of the knowledge

books-768426_1920Originally as I realized how little I know, I decided it was time to start some serious context building. Mostly this happened through coaching, discussions and reading. It was autumn 2014, and at the end of my studies I decided I need to begin my study for real. I had just attended the first coaching by Jari Sarasvuo and I had been left out mostly clueless what did he just talk about. I could not really follow at all.

As I started then a bit later to work at Trainers’ House and attended more to the coachings, that already provided me with more context as well. However, I still felt unsatisfied. I decided when I thesis in done, I shall build some serious framework of thought, some serious context around all this. So now for the past few months, I’ve been seriously crossing off some books that get recommended in the coachings. This has been amazing for my understanding and incredibly rewarding to discover these thoughts in their original context as well.

One key component in human mind makes learning quite challenging: it is the minds’ tendency to reject new ideas. It takes quite a bit of repetition to get the mind to accept some kind of new thinking. For this reason I recommend taking really good notes and also revisiting those notes in order to internalize as much as possible.

Also our minds tend to be lazy and they’ll easily fixate knowledge with one domain. Therefore it is really useful to talk and think about what we’ve learned in many kinds of places and contexts. This creates much stronger connections.

Going one more level deeper: we do not even know what we are supposed to be learning. We are not aware. So comibing the two steps above, we should take really good notes of everything and try to use or recall the knowledge in all kinds of settings – it’s a powerful way to create whole new connections.

Just as an example, my reading habit would’ve not been taken off unless I started to find out interesting books for me. How did this happen? Actually lets say when I started attending to the coahcing sessions at Trainers’ House, there was a lots of book names flying around. When I had written those down and started to read about the books and build a bit more understanding about them, only then finally I started to make some others connections as well: many of these authors were also the same ones who had spoken on TED and whose videos I had already seen. So I already had some kind of connection and even online one way relation and yet I did not make the connection before.

Since then I’ve been actively seeking new things to learn and read about as I know it takes for my mind sometime to accept the idea. Even though there might be something new right now, it might be in a few weeks or months until I become aware of it.

Middle way is great for creativity

water-263054_1920Creativity is ability to produce ideas and bring them to reality. Creativity is the result of effort, usually long before the actual creation happens. All and any experience are useful for creativity.

Yesterday I wrote about human mind how it has enables creativity and thus also rapid cultural evolution.  Building more on top of this idea I want to explore the topic of creativity abilities of human mind a little bit further.

Power of the human mind comes from the power of making connections and associations really efficiently. Just to give some picture human brain can calculate about 10 quadrillion operations per second, where as world’s fastest super computer Tianhe-2 about 55 quadrillion. The difference comes of course in energy usage where human brain only requires about 20 watts of power, where as the Tianhe-2 requires about times 900 000 more or 17,8 megawatts. [1]

It’s this thought networking ability that makes us brilliant, that’s also what makes us creative. Essentially the ability to connect two seemingly separate ideas is our power and the power of creativity.

So, how to use this knowledge to be more creative?

The process to use this is about to learn about differences and then to ponder how the topic seemingly disparate topics are actually simiilar and beneficial. World’s most flourishing cities have always been that which tolerate differences [2].

We hugely benefit by learning about opposite points of views and then calmly apply it to our own lives as the middle way or the dance within middle way as aI prefer.

I prefer the dance in the middle ways, because sometimes I do feel the urge and necessity to dive deeper in a particular topic only to emerge from that depth to continue on a more balanced approach, yet daringly combining everything I’ve learned so far.

As a recent example I am starting to see both, science and spirituality as a great tools to increase human understanding.

Human mind attempts to make sense of the world by polarizing things as a good or bad. Yet if we are mindful about it, we can keep our minds open and we can keep on learning both sides of the story. This is huge boost for our creativity as well as our understanding.

For a scientific mind it would be foolish not challenge world views as much as it would be foolish it would be foolish not to seek oneness for a spiritual person. Both approaches are necessary for the deepest possible understanding.

If we walk the middle way, we don’t get stuck to either side for too long. Instead we leverage the progress in both sides for all our advantage.

 

[1] Scientific American 2016. Avaialble at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/artificial-synapses-could-let-supercomputers-mimic-the-human-brain/

[2] Maailmanhistoriankukoistavimmat kaupungit. Ari Turunen, Into 2015

What is the evolutionary purpose of creativity?

saturn-341379_1280Evolutionary perspective to the topic to creativity is interesting, because it is exactly creativity that allows humans to have another form of rapid evolution, this is called culture.

So there is the actual biological evolution, that has come to the conclusion of the human body and mind. The evolutionary decision to leave the mind more open to learn new things has a huge disadvantage at first: humans take a long time to grow up and they are really helpless as a children. On the flip side, as a children we can grow and get into the existing group culture really quickly by learning facial recognition, language and behavior. In other words we learn very quickly as a children and our ability to learn and adapt is still maintained as adults. Thanks to the human mind, we are the most adapted species out there out of any: in a very short time we’ve come to habit this planet and as a first species we’ve flung ourselves out of this earth as well.

It is obvious that the biological evolution got us up to only to a certain point. According to the Yuval Noah Harari in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, essentially our starting point was on a Savannah in the middle of the food chain. We did not eat after the lions, we waited for the scavengers like hyenas and such to get to the carcass and only after that we would go and crush some bones with the stones and such. Our minds allowed us to somehow survive, then it allowed us to survive and finally thrive.

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What made the transition of just surviving to thriving? Most importantly it is creativity and culture.

Culture is the collective way to do things: it is all the agreements and also the silent agreements to do things. People who would be living in Savannah that would be the usual routine of the group. Track down some carcass, wait and wait until our turn and then finally eat what’s left.

Most of us are willing to change the proven track if we are faced with hunger. However, what makes human societies especially special is this creativity which is essentially bringing new ideas into the culture. Essentially how this happens is story telling, which is the tool of the leaders.

The creative ability facilitated by human mind has allowed as time and time again to renew our culture, way of doing things. First we got from the middle parts of the food chain to the top thanks to the fire and bunch of other innovations. Then we essentially settled every corner of the world and even the orbit. It is the flexibility of the human mind and the culture, collective way of doing things that has allowed us to get here, so there is some evolutionary advantage in not having to have always a plan what to fill the minds with.

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Resistance to the new ideas

Yet the road to this point wasn’t straightforward and without resistance. Culture itself as a way of doing things is kind of status quo, so to challenge that with new ideas requires a lots of effort. To be successful in this effort, one needs courage as well as the story telling skill to persuade others about the new way of action. Stories are often rejected on the first time we hear them. Actually our minds are hardwired to reject anything unfamiliar. Our minds love things that are familiar. This kind of thinking process belongs to the automatic and quick thinking group, we automatically rejects unfamiliar things without being at all rational about it. And even consciously we probably just want to show of our power by rejecting the new idea once or twice.

So how do new ideas become familiar then, if that is the requirement? Simply: repetition. Today there are even some more sophisticated strategies to get peoples attention and it’s what we call marketing. The new becomes familiar through repetition and once people have got their chance to reject it, will they reject it the second time? What about third time? Through my own experience as a marketer it’s just amazing how people change their minds after a few conversations over the years about a idea.

Why some creatives die before their ideas are accepted by wide audience?

Well the ideas they’ve presented have been ahead of their time and on the other hand societies have not been ready to accept these ideas yet. Essentially their ideas have been in the rejection zone during their lifetimes, but later on as their work continued to whisper their story and their ideas, people became to accept those as well.

 

If you are more interested about the human mind I really suggest to read Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow if you are more interested about this topic.

Learning our place in this world via feedback  

 

no-988481_1920One particularly important thing on our path of life comes to how do we relate to others. In order to get a ahead professionally, or personally we need others. When dealing with people, we may feel somehow offended. These are all kinds of ego protection mechanisms on both sides working hard to keep our identities and egos intact.

Only way to start acting differently in this socially constructed world is of course information and especially feedback. There is a golden ratio of feedback for us, positive feedback should outnumber constructive 2:1. This means we are not gonna change our mishaps anytime soon, so we might as well accept those as well as others.

What we can control and develop is our own ability to deal with feedback. How much and how often we can receive feedback. And of course one particularly good habit is actually to ask for feedback.

Feedback or improvement are not THE answers, they are just answers. As I wrote yesterday, sometimes even the improvement is not the answer, we’ve to consider carefully when it is. Overall I think that the listening and receiving feedback are wonderful qualities in a person. Ability to ask for feedback and process that, gives us wonderful something we wouldn’t otherwise know about ourselves. Then we can calmly consider all of it and also form a more accurate view of ourselves in this world.