Archive for the ‘Idea / Mind Hack’ Category

Positive Countdown

Summary – The Positive Countdown Technique
Tick Tock Tick Tock

Everyone knows the importance of time. It is so important that time is one of the most discussed subject since well, the beginning of time. Brilliant people have actually come up with a lot of time management tips to maximize the usage of time. A few that immediately come to mind is the use of scheduling, 80/20 Rule, etc.

Personally, I don’t think it matters how much time we have, what matters is what we do with the time we have. You can be 1000 years old (like some of the fictional characters in movies) but if all you did was watching television all day long, you are then no better than a 30 years old who has make his first million.

I’m sure by now we can all agree that time is very important to us. But why is it that what we do everyday doesn’t show that we truly value time? We still wake up very late every weekend just to “recover some lost sleep” (which by the way we never lost). We still don’t know what to achieve with our life and we are already 30 years old.

The Positive Countdown

We have to admit that we are not really giving time the appreciation it deserve. In this desperate time, I have to resort to an ancient technique that may help us appreciate time better. A technique I personally call “The Positive Countdown”.

Assuming you are 30 years old. And assuming you will live until you are 75 years old. That means you only have about 45 years to do everything you want to do, and accomplish everything you can accomplish. That’s 16,425 days.

Now convert that days to Dollar. You are now left with $16,425 to spend. That’s not much money, don’t you agree? We really can’t do much with it.

The next step is to write that amount of money on your whiteboard and every day when you wake up just minus one from the board. Memorize the amount and think how will you spend your $1 of the day.

Anything you do that day must be worthy and that you will have no regret losing one day of your life to it.

The Idea Behind This Technique

  • We will usually get our boost of motivation when we know that the deadline is near.
  • We can see money, we can’t see time. We appreciate money, we apparently don’t appreciate time. So by thinking of time in term of money, hopefully we will be able to associate that feeling of losing money to losing time.
  • The technique is named Positive Countdown because, there are two ways to observe death, positive and negative way. A negative person will look at death in such a way, that there’s no point of doing anything since we are all going to die anyway. A positive person will look at it differently by planning the best way to live his life.
  • For the technique to work, you must constantly be reminded of how much money you now have, and what you are going to do with your $1 of the day.

– I wonder –
Any other techniques to make us value time more?

———– Personal Note ———–
I wrote an article as a guest contributor to Lifehack.org. Tell me what do you think :)

Photo Credit – Michael Fillion

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Creating A Shortcut In Your Thinking Process

Summary – When the mind thinks too much, choose the best obvious solution.
A common sense question, two guys were in Malaysia. Both of them need to go to Japan. The first guy took a flight to the west, making stops at India, Africa, USA and finally crosssed the Pacific Ocean to Japan. Another took a flight straight to Japan. Assuming both of them departed at the same time, who will reach Japan first?

Obvious isn’t it? Of course it’s the guy who took the flight straight to Japan. We don’t even need to explain why. We are actually more curious as to why the first guy travelled around the world to reach Japan..

Taking the longer way to reach a destination easily reached via another way is laughable. But why are we doing the same thing with our mind?

If we are told to take out the garbage. Why are we making so much effort to procrastinate it, or to avoid doing it. We told ourselves that we are going to do it when we are going out later, but when it’s time to go out, we tried to forget the task. After a week, the garbage was starting to smell and then only we took it out.

In the end, we still need to do it because nobody else is living with us. Why can’t we just take it out when the task first appear.

However, this article is NOT about procrastination. It’s about our way of thinking that we need to review. We tend to think the more complex way in every situation. Allow me to elaborate via these examples :

Example 1 – You miss your boyfriend. You want to hear his voice.

  • The complex mind will say – If I call him, he will think I’m desperate. But if I didn’t call him, he may think that I’m no longer interested with him. When is the last time I call him? Oh my God, it’s only yesterday. Am I calling him every day now? What’s wrong with me?
  • The simple mind will say – I know that in the end, I just want to hear his voice. (kring kring Hi I miss you.)

Example 2 – A teacher is asking a question. You think you know the answer.

  • The complex mind will say – What if I’m wrong? people will laugh at me, thinking I’m stupid. What if from that time on, when people look at me, they will start laughing. I will ruin my whole school life if I answered the question. But if I didn’t answer the question, how can I learn? Hm If I did answer it, and it turns out I’m correct, people will see I’m not just a pretty face. Or maybe they will think of me as a show off.
  • The simple mind will say – I know the answer, I should then answer the question. (The answer is D sir.)

Example 3 – Your supervisor just resigned. And you really want his position.

  • The complex mind will say – Should I apply? Isn’t this kind of promotion is internal, and the human resource will make their own decision on who will be qualified. I have been an assistant for some time, they should know that the best person for the job is me. But.. I wonder if my fellow colleague will think of me as self promoting if I applied for the position.
  • The simple mind will say – There’s a vacancy, I’m qualified and I want it. What am I still doing here (Hello, I have an appointment with the manager of human resource)

/end examples

The mind is naturally that way. You can’t change this. It will always wander around aimlessly. It’s your job though to know how to control it. Never try to stop thinking either. That will bring you more harm than good. It’s just that sometimes, when we notice that we are thinking too much, stop everything and just choose the best obvious solution.

Just like the guy flying to Japan. It’s so obvious, it can’t be wrong.

– I wonder –
Which are you? The complex mind or the simple mind?

———– Personal Note ————
It was my anniversary last Monday. Happy anniversary my dear mrs. :) Thank you for the gift

Photo Credit – tetraconz

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Question

Summary – A question that will change your life if answered properly
Once upon a time, there was a wise man. He was a very popular person then. Not popular for his wisdom, but because he was known to go to a village and single-handedly brought out the best of every person in the village. Everyone suddenly became more productive, more focus and happier.

All he did was only asking one simple question. One of the most powerful question ever created. The question is this

Is what you are doing right now, making your life any better?

/end story

I just made up the story. There was no wise man, no village. There is the question though. A very powerful question and I truly believe that this question is one of the most influential question ever. Just think about it.

If you are window shopping at the mall, ask that question. Is this activity making your life any better. If you were actually thinking of buying a computer and you need to survey which gives out the best price, then it is definitely will make your life better.

But if you are just killing time, you will immediately know that what you’re doing is just pointless. So why are you still there loitering?

Be honest. You are not answering the question to anyone. You are answering for yourself.

There will be two type of respond to the question. Both have opposite effect but equally life-changing and if we are not careful we may fall into the negative type. So identifying these two types is very important.

Type 1 – The one that actually become better.
These are the type of people whom the question is designed for. When they know that what they are doing is pointless, The first thing that will come to their mind is “why bother doing it”. They will immediately renovate their activity to achieve something from it.

One example is when you are spending time chatting on the net 10 hours a day. Yes, it is bringing you closer to so many people, but you are losing on so much more like real relationship, or socializing with neighbour. What you should do is to maybe limit the time of chatting to about half, and adjust from there.

Type 2 – The one that will feel more depressed with the question.
These are the pessimist approach. They will answer the question by saying that nothing they do can make their life better. When they study and they fail, they just assume that the whole studying is not making them any better. This is of course wrong. The failure itself is making them better. They should study what is wrong in the first place. Maybe their study method is ineffective, or they are friends to the wrong crowd.

Conclusion – Such a powerful question can bring so many different result if used wrongly. We are all smart people. Decide how you are going to benefit from the question :)

– I wonder –
What other question that you think can change a person?

———- Personal Note ———–
I once chat with a friend about self development in general. He has an interesting view. According to him, self development is rubbish. We are who we are and we should not change it.

I of course disagree. If we are who we are, we should be lying on the bed, naked, crying to be fed like a baby :)

p.s. Thank you Glen Allsop for the correction.

Photo Credit – Jamuraa

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Broom

Summary – Sometimes the mind requires tools

“To the man who only has a hammer, everything he encounters begins to look like a nail. — Abraham Maslow”

I remember this quote today while at work. I was walking around with a torchlight in my hand. Don’t ask why I’m carrying one in a bright daylight. I’m actually using it to see the inside of a troubled gearbox.

Suddenly, just like established by the quote, everything I see seems to be a bit dark and I need to use the torchlight to have a better view. Almost everything. And that’s when I remember the quote. How true..

You can try yourself, take one item and hold it in your hand. It can be a broom, or a book, anything. Hold it for 10 – 15 minutes and walk around the house. You will understand what I’m talking about. If you are holding the broom, you will start seeing a lot of dust on your floor. If you hold a book, you will want to read it after a while.

There are only two rules you must abide

  • You must forget that you’re doing an experiment. Just act normal but with an item in your hand.
  • Hold the items for at least 10-15 minutes. It will only have effect then.

Reading what I just wrote, one question come up to my mind. “What can I possibly achieve by doing this?”. Aha! There’s actually quite a few positive effect of applying this.

1) You will never forget what you’re going to do.
This sometimes happened to me. I walk into my room and I saw an empty bottle that need to be thrown away into the rubbish bin. I continue with my other things-to-do, and not long after that, I forget that bottle totally. I will only remember it when I enter the room again.

If only I take that bottle and hold it all the time while I’m inside the room. I’m sure I will never forget the task.

2) It makes you more alert and notice things.
If you are holding a broom, you will notice all the mess in your house more clearly. The same goes to if you’re holding a pen. You will start getting inspiration on what to write. For some children, they will redesign the whole room with cartoon character on the wall. :)

Conclusion – our mind is an amazing thing. You want something from it, just give it a tool to work on, and you will get it.

  • You want a painting, hold a pen with a blank paper in front of you. Draw away.
  • You want idea for your blog, just put your fingers on the keyboard and type.
  • You want to cook something, open up that fridge and see what’s inside.

The thing we do will not be a masterpiece immediately. The painting will not be another Monet, the blog post may not be noticed at all and the food may not be featured in Food Channel, but you are already stimulating your mind to work towards what you want

That’s a very very good start :)

– I wonder –
What do you like to hold today?

———- Personal Note ———–
Holding the broom can be tricky sometimes. One can easily replace the idea of the broom to a holding a guitar. * Guilty :)

Photo Credit – Jam343

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