Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Stage, The Game, The Journey

If the world is your stage...
  • What are your costumes?

  • What is your appearance?

  • What is your role?

  • What is your background?

  • What is your motivation?

If life is a game...
  • What is the objective?

  • What are the rules?

  • What are the boundaries?

  • Are you having fun?

If life is a journey...
  • What are you packing?

  • What are you carrying?

  • Where is your destination?

  • Who are your companions?

  • Are you making progress?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Goals for Quarter 2, 2006 (Draft)

Mental Goals:
  1. Develop optimistic outlook to life.
  2. Action oriented habits.
    • daily to-do list prioritised

Social Goals:
  1. Relationship focused approach. Service and customer oriented.
  2. Meet someone for a meal everyday.

Physical Goals:
  1. Jog EVERYDAY. At least 3km
  2. Eat 2 servings of fruit a day

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Learned Helplessness

The concept of learned helplessness is a new idea of thought that started in the 60's. It was a breakthrough in psychology then as previously Skinner's school of behavioural psychology said that people's behaviour is the function of their environment, any behaviour they have was rewarded and any behaviour they did not have was somehow punished away.

However, Martin Seligman's theory came through an accident when he observed dogs that didn't do anything after Pavlovian conditioning to associate a tone with an electrical shock. The dogs in the preparation of an experiment didn't "work". They couldn't jump over a low wall in the experiment to easily avoid an electrical shock. The dogs just "gave up".

The behaviourists contended that the dogs were somehow rewarded for being passive.

The dogs didn't learn to be passive. Because in a counter experiment the pain was turned off when another group of dogs learned to stand still for 5 seconds. Yet when they were brought to the second box, the dogs stood still for 5 seconds, when that didn't work they tried other things and quickly learned to jump over the wall.

However, the dogs that learned from the first room that nothing they did seemed to work, they seemed to say to themselves "nothing I do will ever succeed". They learned to be helpless! Even more interesting were that the dogs exhibited signs of clinical depression.

This was later confirmed with Dr. Hiroto who performed experiments on humans who were subjected to an annoying noise. The subject group that learned that they could turn off one noise in one room could do so in a second room. But another group that were subjected to an uncontrollable noise no matter what they did, next just did nothing when they were put into the second room. The humans believed themselves to be helpless!

Links to experiment explanation here.

This leads to depression and a pessimistic outlook on life. Which leads me to think, how many students are there in this world learned to be helpless? How many people with so much potential are sitting in the "bad classes" because they think "Nothing I do will ever do anything." Or employees who don't do anything because they think "Nothing I do will get me a promotion."

This behaviour is summed up as "Learned Helplessness" + "Explanatory Style"

Explanatory style are the words, the thought patterns in your mind, which guide you. In Seligman's exact words: "It is the word in your heart which is either a 'Yes' or a 'No'"

This leads me to think of that song from "Touching Heaven, Changing Earth"

Yes and Amen
God says yes and I know
That I'm blessed
Yes got a heart that's at rest
Yes and a future that's sealed
Yes if I'm healed then I'm healed
I'm not afraid of circumstances
'Cos I, I've already found the answers
In Christ all of God's promises
Are yes, yes and amen
Now's the time to let faith win
God has placed His promises
In the centre of His will
Seek His kingdom and His ways
All the power of heaven
Is yours to call today
All God's promises
Are yes and amen
Celebrate God's promises
Yes and amen

Monday, March 27, 2006

Review of "What Color Is Your Parachute?"

Most job-hunters who fail to master the job-hunt or find their dream job, fail not because they lack information about the job-market, but because they lack information about themselves.

This is one of the books that has been chosen by the Library of Congress as one of the 25 books that have shaped readers' lives.

I quite agree with them about it. Richard Nelson Bolles writes from the viewpoint of the employee. He not only writes about getting a job, but there are sections devoted to finding meaning and purpose in life so that you actually understand what you truly want in life and what you need.

The way he writes the book is like he is on your side wanting to know exactly what you, the real you deep down wants and needs. Whereas most other career articles that I read like in the "Career" section of the Straits Times write as if you are an object, a product, an "IT" rather than a person. An "IT" becomes an object that is molded to suit the needs of a consumer which is the employer, but a person has talents, insights, knowledge, and a network of contacts to share. A person creates a relationship with another and both are changed because of the relationship. A person is not an "IT". (Which leads me to think of writing another post based on Martin Buber's "I and Thou" which divides relationships into I-It and I-Thou relationships. Most relationships in this world are I-It which makes people into objects not persons).

People who have read "Purpose-Driven Life" by Rick Warren should read this book after that for practical advice.

He has an entire section called "The Flower" that maps out what you are and who you are. Because we are like flowers and need to find the best place to bloom. Planting Durian Trees in Europe won't really work very well, neither do strawberries in Singapore.

The author's background is in engineering, physics, theology, and career counseling; he is an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in chemical engineering, a graduate of Harvard University in physics (where he graduated cum laude), and a graduate of the General Theological (Episcopal) Seminary in New York City from which he holds a Master's degree in New Testament studies.

He has an epilogue on finding our mission in life and unapologetically says that it is from a Christian perspective being formerly an Episcopalian minister. However, his 8 million readers have ranged from Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Bahai' and from all walks of faith.

Besides that, he has tips on salary negotiation and interviewing tips (listed below)

Interviewing Tips:
  • Ask for 20 minutes, no more, when you first set up the interview.

  • Research the organization, before you go in.

  • During the interview, determine to observe the 50-50 rule.

  • In answering the employer's questions, observe the 20 second to 2 minute rule.

  • Determine to be seen in an interview as a resource person, not a job beggar.

  • Determine to be seen as part of the solution not as part of the problem.

  • Realize that the employer thinks the way you are doing your job-hunt is the way you will do the job.

  • Bring evidence if you can.

  • Determine ahead of time not to bad-mouth your previous employer(s) during the interview.

  • Determine that the interview will be part of your ongoing research, and not just a sales pitch.

  • Many employers are as scared as you are during the hiring interview.

  • It will help if you mentally catalog, ahead of time, not your fears, but the employers.

  • You don't have to spend hours memorizing a lot of "good answers" to potential questions from the employer; there are only 5 questions that matter:
    • Why are you here?

    • What can you do for us?

    • What kind of person are you?

    • What distinguishes you from 19 other people who can do the same tasks that you can?

    • Can I afford you?

  • You need to find out the answers to the very same questions that the employer would like to ask you (see p 288)

  • Employers don't really care about your past; they only ask about it, in order to predict your future (behaviour).

  • As the interview proceeds, you want to quietly notice the time-frame of the questions the employer is asking.

  • Interviews are often lost to mosquitoes rather than to dragons, and lost within the first 2 minutes.

  • There are some questions you must ask before you let the interview close.

  • Always, send a thank-you note the same night, at the least.