Archive for September, 2009

Future Ghosts

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I was thinking about ghosts and haunted houses the other day. Let’s assume for the purposes of this blog post that ghosts do actually exist. So if you live in an old house then there may be a chance it has a ghost right?

Well if time is really non-linear and it’s only humans who perceive it linearly then who’s to say you can’t get ghosts FROM THE FUTURE. Your house may be new but could still be haunted from the future because it will stay standing for 100-200 years. It may even be haunted by YOUR OWN GHOST! :-O

So the only way to ensure you live in a non-haunted house is to a) buy it new and b) 100% make a promise to yourself that you will smash it up when you leave. This still doesn’t solve the problem of what happens if you die in it or a visitor does. OR if maybe ghosts don’t haunt houses but just the 3D space no matter what is there.

Any thoughts?

Do you give Feedback?

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

I like to give feedback to people about a whole bunch of stuff from professional to personal matters. However, I learned a while ago not to just give feedback without being asked because it just pisses most people off, and also to try to help the person see for themselves what you want them to see as then they will be more willing to learn and grow. It’s not that easy to bite your tongue sometimes and find a more subtle way when someone clearly needs some guidance :-)

I saw an interesting quote on the Steve Pavlina forums today:

“Loving someone doesn’t mean that you let them get away with bad behaviour. Real love is about seeing the best in other people and holding them up to being their best selves.”

This makes total sense to me. I wish it was just as simple as giving people direct feedback to help them grow (this is what we do in an Aikido lesson for example). I personally like this sort of feedback myself providing that it’s delivered constructively and without negative energy/emotion. Also, on a selfish level, if you are involved with that person in a personal or business relationship then probably helping them to improve and grow will make your life easier! That’s a win-win situation.

An alternative approach is to say nothing and lead by example and trust that people will find their own way. The problem I have is that some people just don’t “look” so they never see your example, they just carry on oblivious. What should you do in such a case? Start making subtle hints, or maybe just avoid the person altogether! (not always possible). Certainly it’s a conundrum that I’m still learning how to deal with.

Another approach is to alter myself so that I don’t need to “fix” everything and everyone :-) So basically I’d need to just accept things as they are and chill out a bit. Sounds great right? But it’s not easy at all. Do you just let your kids throw food on the floor, or do you ask them not too? (or do you get a wipe clean floor?) Do you let your partner/friend regularly insult you to your face or do you tell them it upsets you? (or maybe you just get a new one!) Do you ask your employee to become more productive or do you just hope that they will anyway naturally without any input from you? (again, getting a new one may apply here too). These are some questions that I struggle with on a daily basis, and I try out different approaches, with varying, and often inconsistent results. I’m hoping to get closer to the answers over time by experimenting, and by asking other people what works for them.

What is your approach?

Been reading some big ass books

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

No not books about big asses, but very large books.

First a couple of smaller books I read a couple of months back:

Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth

I finally got round to buying and reading this book (it’s not that old or anything but despite being an avid follower of www.StevePavlina.com I didn’t get the book straight away due to already having a large pile of books to read.)

Anyway, it started off almost a bit dry and technical (very logical, but Steve was a computer programmer, so maybe this is to be expected), then it got really good after the first chapter. Steve’s 7 Universal principles make a lot of sense and he is good at explaining how they relate to every area of your life. So in the end I found it to be a great book that I whizzed through, although it could have done with more real-life examples, which is what makes Dale Carnegie’s books so great. If you are into personal development in any shape or form, get it and see what you think of it.

Zen Bow, Zen Arrow: The Life and Teachings of Awa Kenzo, the Archery Master from “Zen in the Art of Archery”

My mum got me this and it turns out to have been a great choice. It’s both the story of a great Japanese archery master called Awa Kenzo, and his teachings in handy quote form. It’s a very quick read, but inspiring and motivational. Highly recommended.

Outliers: The Story of Success

This was really good fun. Malcolm Gladwell writes really great easy-to-read intriguing books. This one was about successful people that fall outside of the norm and why that might be – such as successful Canadian hockey players mostly having birthdays that fall in Jan and Feb because it meant they were the biggest boys in their year at school. There’s some good stuff about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs too. He also talks about the 10,000 hours required to become an expert theory which I blogged about a while back.

Code Complete: A Practical Handbook of Software Construction

This is the first of the big books I’ve been reading. It’s friggin’ awesome. A colleague recommended the original to me and then I discovered that there was a new edition that covers OOP stuff (which the original did not). It’s jam packed with great advice. Much of it I actually know already, and that is reassuring! But it’s a good kick up the arse to put it into action. It caused me to go back to my game and refactor lots of the code and make it easier to read etc. I’m still only 1/3rd into it because it’s huge. Anyway, 100% recommended!!

The Intelligent Investor

I wanted to find out more about the stock market and bonds and this book looked like it fitted the bill. Warren Buffet said it was “the best book on investing ever written”, and seeing as he is a billionaire though investing, I trust his judgement. This book was actually written ages ago in the 1950s or something by Benjamin Graham and then revised many times. The last revision was in 1973 I think, and then the author passed away. However, the revision I bought has a very insightful commentary by a Jason Zweig (a financial journalist) written in 2003 that brings it almost up-to-date (obviously since then we’ve had a global recession).

The original author’s writing is mostly dry and technical and I often have to re-read it to make sure I understand it, but the commentary is really well written and funny (I look forward to the commentary chapters). The advice in here seems very solid, it’s all about NOT taking risks and being literally an “intelligent investor” and not a “speculator”, which is in reality what a lot of people who call themselves investors really are!

Anyway, it’s long, and hard work in places, but sound, and it comes highly recommend on Amazon and by me.