Moments That Move You

Have you ever thought about keeping some sort of record of the moments that move you?

Want to take it to the next level?

Next time you feel a rush of emotion come over you – for the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly – take a minute to write.

What are you feeling?

What was the trigger?

How did those feelings/emotions manifest themselves?

Now what?

So what do these moments that move us actually mean?

How do we understand and figure this out?

Then what?

Managing Measurement – Just a Numbers Game?

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You’ve heard people tell you this before – you may have even told yourself this before: you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

So what’s so different about this mantra today over any other day?

Nick Ganju, that’s what’s different.

Over the past few months I’ve developed a taste for the podcast world. And while I still need to write about the podcast that has made me into a semi-rabid fan of the medium (thank you Alex Blumberg, Startup Podcast, Matt Lieber, and Gimlet Media!), I have my buddy Hsu to thank for introducing me to Tim Ferriss‘s experimental podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, at a time where there were a few episodes out there with things that I needed to hear.

This morning I listened to two excellent inbetweenisodes and then happened upon the Nick Ganju conversation.

I’ve been intimidated by math, numbers, stats, etc. for as long as I can remember. Unlike Tim, while I had some a great teacher in 10th grade (and beyond), I just always had a tough time getting my head around that stuff. And I completely gave it up when I got to college.

These days, even though I’ve come to be a believer in data-driven approaches to decision-making, that doesn’t mean I’ve always been equipped to determine what should be measured on the way to reaching goals and supporting dreams to come true.

Because if there’s one thing that should accompany the mantra, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”, its that, “Not all data is created equal.”

These are the kind of things I appreciate talking through with others. It’s not only for the purpose of bouncing ideas and getting to a better place as a team, but also to move beyond my own numerical insecurities. Sometimes we all just need a little hand-holding.

Although there are many great things within this conversation including a note on the probability of one sharing a birthday with another (if interested in this, see below), it was two lines that encouraged me to immediately write this reflection.

“The big secret of mathematicians is that everyone started from 1 + 1 = 2 and built their way up. Each step is not a big step once you understand the previous step.”

How often do we make things much more complicated than they need to be?

How often do we take steps without truly understanding the previous step?

And how often do we measure things that actually don’t matter in the context of what we’re looking or aiming for?

Let’s go a bit further on this.

You’ve heard of SMART goals, yes? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely goals.

But do we take the time to make projected assumptions based on specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely criteria? (Or should I have asked if we make any type of project assumption?)

Do we follow-up to compare assumptions with the actual results? When and if we do, do we explore how they compare and seek to understand why we’ve arrived at the results we have today?

For all the time we put into the things we believe matter, why do so many of us not put in the due diligence and/or the right structure for a more appropriate framework by which we can judge whether we succeeded or not?

“Lose weight” vs. “Lose 10 pounds in 100 days” is a very simple version of this. We have these “goals” without anything to hold us accountable – be it to ourselves or others.

But generally speaking, in business and in life, many of us just decide on “goals” (myself included). We haven’t done the underlying math. Or really enough structured thinking about it.

It’s great to have goal, but then you need a plan to execute. And the follow-up, the accountability piece, might be just as important than the original goal.

Besides, how do we know if we get there / don’t get there? How do we choose if it’s a good idea to keep going or stop?

So I’m a perfect example of someone who has fallen into this lack of specificity and due diligence in setting goals.

Actually, it’s only been recently that I’ve finally felt the confidence to even set and articulate these goals to myself.

It got me to thinking, how can we articulate out-loud and to others if we can’t even tell ourselves?

Even more dangerous, what happens when what we tell ourselves is not honest?

Though this is tricky.

Because even when we think we’re being honest with ourselves, sometimes, we’ve elected to not do the due diligence in thinking about what really matters.

Do we know what motivates us to do what we do, on the road to going where we want to be?

One last quote from Nick, “The mark of intelligence is to learn from your mistakes and change your attitude about things.”

I thought I was quite good at this before. But maybe that was my problem.

At my most unsuccessful, it was usually because I knew the problem and solution rather than seeing myself as part of the problem and the solution.

I recognized a need for a change in my attitude on certain things. This has taken space. This has taken time set aside for active thought and reflection.

Only by taking a step or two (or three or more) back have I been able to move forward with a renewed sense of confidence.

You know what it was, I was afraid of “the wrong answer” before. Of “making a mistake.” While this wasn’t with everything, it was with the biggest most important things in my life.

Intelligence for me started to become less about knowing the answer and more about finding the answer with the people interested in the same or similar questions.

Besides, if I believed there was only one answer or way of doing things, then I’d just be deceiving myself.

How about you, what mistakes have you learned from lately?

And beyond just knowing these mistakes, did you give yourself the space to reflect and allow for your attitude to change?

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Hear more from Nick and Tim’s conversation here.

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Happy-Birthday

Interested in the birthday vignette mentioned above? You came to the right place.

At around 21:00 minutes Tim brings up the birthday problem / paradox as a part of their discussion of probability.

When there are 367 people in a group there is 100% probability that 2 people will have the same birthday. Easy, right?

More surprising, though, might be that in a group of  23 people there is actually a 50% probability.

Nick pointed out that it’s not that one of those 23 people could walk around and ask the other 22 if they have the same birthday and likely find a match, it’s that any two of those 23 people could have the same birthday.

What happens when data is presented a bit differently? And how do we start to see the world, the issues around us, and ourselves differently?

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Today’s images –

Numbers – from designer and animator giada_ghw, which I found on the Continuous Business Planning site. giada_ghw has some other fun cartoons on there, as well.

Happy Birthday – from the Soylet blog of all places. Posted by user gambit.

Google image searches sometimes take me to the most unexpected places.

Honest Liars and the Psychology of Self-Deception

We all know that honesty is the best policy. So when was the last time you were honest with yourself?

It’s a rare moment when I don’t feel like talking or engaging with anyone or anything.

Today was a bit too full-on. I came home thinking I was ready to call it a day.

And so, I thought I’d watch a short video as I headed towards dreamland.

Best mistake I made this week.

Honest Liars – the psychology of self-deception a TEDxUNLV talk by Dr. Cortney S. Warren was 13 minutes well spent, that really got me thinking for the better part of an hour.

Dr. Warren flawlessly delivers content that is not so easy to hear.

And if we’re willing to engage with what she has to say, rather than assume she’s talking about people other than ourselves, there are some powerful messages to consider and grapple with.

I might go back to list all the great lines at some point down the road, but in the interim, here are two good ones:

“Not changing when confronted with the truth is a choice.”

“When we admit who we really are, we have the opportunity to change.”

Don’t wait another moment. Watch this yourself.

And then, if time allows, I’d take a spin through Dr. Warren’s website choosehonesty.com.

Meaning through Movement

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Two months to the day of starting this blog, I came to the realization that I had a great run of three posts for the first three days of July with nothing since. Why?

After pushing myself onto the road of daily writing, I quickly derailed. Why?

While I don’t put myself in the category of people who need to be sure of their destination before they begin, I would put myself in the perfectionist category. So, as long as I’m committing myself to do something, it might as well be perfect, no?

Falling back into the desire to produce perfection, I told myself things like, “No one will read if it is not a masterpiece.”

But let’s be honest, aside from a few family and friends I’ve shared the link with, nobody is reading anyways. So what is my problem?

One the one hand, I don’t know exactly where I’m going, and I’m okay with that. On the other hand, I’m somehow trying to control this unknown outcome.

What I need to do is just let the process unfold.

Many of us do this quite a lot. We ask questions of ourselves and the others around us, “Where is this going? What does it mean?”

But how can we find the end goal or the answer when we’re not moving at all? Standing still, pondering the meaning of life, won’t help us get anywhere. And the thing is, we don’t know, we won’t know, and we can’t know, unless we get over ourselves and take action.

At the end of the day, things have meaning because we give them meaning. Questions and their answers are a means to move, to get to a better place, rather than a means to merely acquire knowledge. Because once you have that knowledge, what do you do with it? What meaning will you attach to it? The answer – for better or worse – is up to ourselves.

Today I’ve decided to get over myself, get back on the horse, and start writing again. I will commit to writing each day because finding my voice is about exploration and the continued search for meaning, not perfection before I even start.

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Credit for the image above goes to Dan Cassaro, a Young Jerk (http://youngjerks.com/). I originally found this through a google images search “movement” that took me to some work of his featured on FormFiftyFive. Shortly after I found my way to his Tumblr.