urgent importantHere’s a small potpourri of helpful hints and links:

Increase your personal intellectual capital: Jay Cross at Internet Time has these suggestions for thinking and acting smarter:

  • Set out your goals for the rest of your life, and plan to acquire the knowledge you need to achieve them.
  • Write down and/or create an organized, meaningful database of important knowledge and learnings. “You don’t need to know something if you know where to find it.”
  • Learn how you learn. “Your brain hosts a continuous, internal dialogue”. If your dialogue is absent-minded, one-sided, incoherent or angry, change it.
  • After every experience, give yourself time for reflection. That’s when the real learning occurs.
  • Leave your comfort zone. Meet new people with different views from yours, or from different cultures. Read about things you normally wouldn’t. Try to understand why others could reasonably disagree strongly with you.
  • To learn something powerfully, teach it to someone else.
  • Allow time for things that are important but not urgent (quadrant II items in the chart above). Otherwise the urgent, unimportant (quadrant III) things will get done instead.
  • Be open to change your mind. Learn to compromise to move ahead. Collaboration and cooperation are always better than competition and confrontation.
  • Things are the way they are for a good reason. If you want to change something, you must first understand that reason.

Measure your ecological footprint: Phil Vassar points out this simple quiz to measure your personal ecological footprint from Redefining Progress (the folks that brought you the Genuine Progress Indicator to replace the outmoded and ill-conceived GDP). The quiz is not as sophisticated or precise as the one in Radical Simplicity, but it’s quick and quite accurate, and goes on to give you ideas on how to lessen your footprint.

Increase your emotional intelligence: While some people think EI is simply leadership ‘skill’ or the ability to motivate people, this article in Boss magazine gives some hints on how you can increase yours. Some highlights:

  • EI increases with age because it’s about understanding what makes people tick, and that comes from experience. But many experienced leaders have low EI. Good listening skills, and ability to ‘get over yourself’ and see the world from others’ viewpoints are key.
  • Self-awareness, optimism and tolerance can all increase your EI. If you understand how others see you, you’ll be better able to improve the flaws in your teaching, communicating, and persuading ability. Optimism is infectious, and cynicism may be clever and justified but after awhile it’s tiring and needlessly saps energy. And the most important tolerance is tolerance of failure, without which we can’t really learn.
  • Making your point factually and dispassionately is usually the best way. Unsubstantiated remarks will come back to haunt you, and the euphoria of a powerful emotional pitch rarely lasts long enough to get something done.
  • High EI requires that you genuinely care about, and be interested in, other people. If you lack that, and try to fake it, people will see right through you. Don’t try to be what you’re not.
  • People with high EI have developed a knack for reading between the lines, paying attention to body language, and appreciating that what is said is not necessarily what is meant.
  • Cult leaders and psychopaths often have developed very high EI. Emotional intelligence, if abused, can be terribly destructive. A good leader must have the courage to challenge old ideas and assumptions, to take unpopular steps, even if that boldness undermines some of the positive effects of their empathy.

What Joan said: Joan Armatrading was one of the most underappreciated musicians of the 1970s and 1980s. She was perhaps the progenitor of the flowering of women singer-songwriters in the last decade. Her lyrics were always powerful, at once vulnerable and courageous. Here’s what she said about helping yourself – a very moving, human and delightfully ambiguous song:

If you’re going to do it do it right – don’t leave it overnight
If you’re going to help me help me now – another ten minutes will be too late
Like a crying child I need comfort now
Don’t pick me up when the tears are dry on my face

I need someone to help me – but not you, you’re not ready
Seems you have trouble helping yourself
It takes time to notice but you don’t seem to know time keeps moving
What you’re doing is wasting my time
You would help me more, help me more if you helped yourself

You want to get yourself together, don’t you want to put yourself to right
I said get yourself together, don’t you want to put yourself to right
I said no, don’t apologise, you’ve done your best
Seems it still ain’t right, leave me alone, no more to be said
To get it right you got to do it yourself

I’m going out to help myself – Help Myself

If you’re going to say it say it now – don’t leave it overnight
If you’re going to hold me hold me tight – I don’t want to leave, not if it seems all right
You’ve got to govern the situation, but not you, you’re no, and anyway, hold up
Hold up, hold up, you’re trying to sort out your mind

You’ve got to get it together
It would help me more, help me more if you helped yourself.
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5 Responses to HELP YOURSELF

  1. Dave says:

    Could you please provide a link to the actual article on internettime? I’ve searched and searched, but am unable to find the article you quote from. Thanks.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Dave: Sure, it’s here.

  3. Wendy says:

    What a great post Dave …. great timing for me – I needed a review of the EI info – very trying times at the office at the moment. That helps.

  4. Paris says:

    “Things are the way they are for a good reason. If you want to change something, you must first understand that reason.”That’s the most scary part of it.REaslims is said to be the trait of those who are depressed. So maybe knwoing exactly what is the reason leads us to know we can’t change it.For example women are easier target of violence because of physical weakness due to lower testosterone levels. That’s a biological fact, it’s abrupt, cruel and we can’t change it. We can only pray never to be victim.

  5. Paris says:

    Thanks Dave for the link to the ecological footprint calculator, I discovered that if anyone was as poor and ecologically conscious as I am, we would only need 0.68 Earth for everyone!

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