Archive for May, 2014

To Thine Own Self Be True

May 12, 2014

Nothing to do with Shakespeare here. Carry on if that’s what you seek.

I know this a bit outside the realm of “Journey Through Music”, but life isn’t always so straight forward. =] What is a personal blog, though, if I can’t write about whatever the heck I want to write about? Whimsical as it may be. Here’s something I found interesting in my life today.

I was listening to a book called “Expert Political Judgment” by Philip Tetlock. I forgot how I decided I should get it. But I did (on audible). 4 hours into the book, and 6 hours left to go, I decided to can it.

The book was monotonous. I thought it would be more story-like, and instead, it was so pedantic in validating the methodology and venturing into the minutiae of statistics that I could no longer endure it.

I removed it, and began to remove other books from my audible library. “The Unwinding” by George Packer was next. It too was a bit lengthy, but there were some interesting stories of famous people that kept my attention from waning so much that I would put it down.

Anyway, it isn’t a book I’d keep on my bookshelf, but I always check the books I listen to for bookmarks, in case I found anything of importance that I wish to reflect on again. And there was one bookmark in “The Unwinding” regarding an advisor working for John McCain.

This advisor was advised himself that when he needed to bring a deep issue before the senator, that he must realize that a senator can really have no more than 2-3 issues in their boat at once. And that if you wish to load that boat with a new issue, something has to be removed from the boat to keep the total load balanced.

So there is the strategy I need to live my life by.

Just today, I had opened about 10 tabs in my browser, full of various articles I needed to read. Some were about the healthcare industry. Some were questions of interest on Quora. And others were total asides, some of those articles of interest you see in the sidebar when you’re reading an article, in this case regarding the new privacy policy of ‘Moves’ app after their Facebook merger (and probably something I didn’t need to be reading anyway but did so since I use the app).

So there could have gone 30 minutes of my day on utterly useless stuff, and then since some of the links led me to very interesting sites, albeit nothing that pertains to me or my immediate needs, I could have very well lost another 30 minutes or even an hour. And don’t ever get linked to a video site… you’ll be lost for hours!!!

Sometimes it’s hard. The serendipity of finding a cool site. But you have to manage this urge. The world is full of well-intentioned people and never-quite-got-there ambitious folks. If you can’t control this information overload, you get lost with your purpose.

Anyway… no doubt, we’ve heard this strategy before… to weed out all the things that are not “adding value” (oh how I hate that phrase!) to your life. Businesses have done it. Southwest Airlines was great. Their mission to be the lowest cost airline in the industry (or something like that) was always used as the bar by which new initiatives were measured. You want to add meals for passengers during the flight? How does that help make you the lowest cost airline?

I don’t know what my drivers are just yet. Certainly I have more than 2-3 issues that I can drive simultaneously (unlike our US Senators!). But that is how I need to go about things…figuring out those mission-critical parts to my life.

The strategy is clear. The tactics aren’t always.

For my reading habit, however, I can look to (I want to say) Tim Ferriss. The rule employed was “how does this reading material help my immediate needs”. If it’s not worthy of what you are doing currently or in the very near future, put it down forever. If it’s something you might need for a future project, save it for later. But do not read it now. Save that time for yourself.

That is the tactic I employed today. Saved me enough time that I could write up this post today. =] And for that, I’m sure I’ll be ever so grateful. Because (1) writing things down helps to solidify the concepts, (2) sharing it on my blog might expand the conversation and give me the opportunity to learn more, (3) posterity… one day, the little Marks of the work just might learn something from my experiences.