Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Why do people stay in boring jobs?

Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.  - John F. Kennedy

I'm reading  Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection) by Robert Greene,  a great book on how to become successful in your career.  
The book focuses on getting a purpose, cultivating desire and a doing a job which you are passionate about.
how do we end up in boring jobs?
As children we did things we enjoyed, spent hours on activities we loved doing, never tiring of them.
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Collecting things
  • drawing
  • writing
  • etc
As children progress through school they are funneled into recommended jobs, safe jobs, jobs with careers and job security.  Parents, teachers and friends will offer advice to children on potential careers.
Career advice doesn't take consider the passions or interests of the childand steers them towards a safe career choice,.
The next step is to attend university, narrowing down the choice of jobs to smaller standard selection, the jobs recommended by degree course.
Most job recommendations are office jobs, after a few years they are thinking how did I end up in this job.  They complain to their parents and friends their job is boring , telling them to get enjoyment and excitement outside of work.
They ask themselves these question
  • How did they I end up here?
  • What happened to my passion and purpose?
  • Can I do this until retirement?

Why do people stay in boring jobs?

Most jobs are 8 hours a day, one third of your time is spent at work, half of your waking hours are spent at work.  
Why do people stay in boring jobs, going in day after day, doing something they find boring.
A habit is common repeatable action, which the brain can do on autopilot due to the frequency.  A Boring job is a classic bad habit, it's easier to go to work than to take action and change it.
The brain instinct is to take the easiest path with the lowest potential problems.  Changing jobs could mean doing something difficult which you are not good at, staying with your boring job is the safe choice.

What is purpose?

“No one is really going to help you or give you direction. In fact, the odds are against you.”
― Robert GreeneMastery 
No one can tell you what will give you purpose or what job you will have passion expect yourself.  Purpose might not come from your job but can be found in your pastime, doing things such as writing, creating music, exercise, creating something original.  convert your pastime into a career.

How do I view purpose

“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.” ― Frank Zappa
You need to active and contributing your thoughts, ideas and energy into a project.  Only when you put effort, mental and physical energy into your work/project will you take something out.
Purpose is to be challenged, to learn, to be involved in a challenging project which push you beyond your comfort zone.  If you aren't pushing yourself, making mistakes, failing then you are going to easy on yourself and not growing.
“We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. Get a degree, get a job, get a thisget a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.” ― Terence McKenna

Make a difference

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Are you making a difference at work? are you contributing to the success or failure of company or project?
Don't waste time in a job you don't enjoy, you could be creating amazing things, leading projects.  If you aren't being challenged by your job, you aren't learning and growing.  

Opportunities are everywhere

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.”
― Robert GreeneMastery
People prefer complaining to doing, have you heard these comments

  • It's not fair I didn't get new job/promotion
  • I hate my job
  • My job is boring
  • would move jobs but the pay is good
  • I will wait for my pension and then start enjoying life
People with a passive view of life don't have purpose because they feel life happens to them and not they happen to life.  
If you don't like something, what is stopping you from changing it?  If you don't enjoy your job, find a job you will enjoy.
Opportunities are only seen by people actively looking and who are ready to act.  Think of  your dream job and work out how to get there.
  • What skills do you need
  • Who can help you get there
  • what experience will help
  • Build your online brand/portfolio
  • Read about it, write about it
Work hard to get that job, focus your effort on it and every day move towards it.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso
The picture was from here

Monday, 16 November 2015

10 Simple tips to improve your writing

"Easy reading is damned hard writing." Nathaniel Hawthorne
Office workers use written communication daily,  but few devote time to improving it.
Clear writing can amplify the thoughts of the writer, careless writing confuses the reader.
Good writing happens when you understand the goal of their writing. Know what you want to say before you can create and edit your writing.  Readers have a limited bandwidth, you risk losing readers if your writing isn't focused, keep your writing simple and get to the point.
1.  Create an attention-grabbing title
The title of your writing should grab the attention of your reader, the first paragraph interests them, the quality of the article will make them come back.
If the title isn't interesting people won't read your work.  Create multiple titles and pick the best..
2.  Start strong
The first paragraph should keep the reader's attention, explaining why they must read your article.
3.  Ideas
You need ideas before you can create a draft.  Generate ideas, thoughts, insights for the topic.  Generate lots of ideas, good, bad, some not yours, ideas a different topic.  To create a few good ideas you often need to create a bunch of rubbish ones.
Ask yourself questions
  • Why is the this important
  • Why, When, What, Where, Who
  • Personal stories
  • Quotes
  • Links
  • A list of ideas
4.  Create an Outline
Read your article notes, create sub-headings for your article.  Clarify your thoughts, create a logical flow to your article and keep it focused
5.  Write don't edit
Writing and editing are different processes, don't do them together.  Write your first draft knowing it must be edited.
Stephen King has great advice in his autobiography/writing book On Writing.
”Write the first draft with the door closed, and the second with the door open.”
The first draft is a mess, it includes sentences and paragraphs which will be cut, the writing will be sloppy, but the article exists.
Write the first draft, don't stop to edit, editing slows you down.
Editing is shaping, cutting, organizing, clarifying.  You need to create an initial draft before you can shape it.


I didn't appreciate editing until I read books and writing tips.  Without editing my articles were slow, unfocused confused.  The insights were lost amongst the noise of poor writing.
6.  Remove as many words as possible but still keep the meaning
The first draft gets thoughts down on the page, editing revises those thoughts, removing superfluous words.  Most adverbs are not needed and should be removed.
7.   Remove cliches
Don't use cliches, create original thoughts.  Replace cliches by describing what you mean.
8.  Use short words and short sentences.  
Get to the point fast, replace complex words with a simple ones, don't slow the reader down.
9.  Question the purpose of each sentence, do you need it
If a sentence doesn't add value or is on a different topic take it out of this one.
If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out. Kurt Vonnegut
10.  Always edit your work.  The first revision may be rubbish, it's the starting point for you to revise, remove and polish your thoughts.
Writing should quality not quantity.  It's better to have a shorter well written focused article than a long rambling article.  Readers have short attention spans, make every line count.

Books to improve your writing

This book helped me focus on the what and the why of writing.  The book highlighted the importance of planning and helped me create a blog template.
George Orwell's Essay Politics and the English Language (Penguin Modern Classics) has 6 rules for writing.  Keep your meaning clear and your writing simple.
  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Writing tools gives grammar advice using a list of concise tools.  The writing is interesting and memorable.
Great tips on writing to help writers think about the writing process

Monday, 13 April 2015

Why do people dislike Mondays?

How did you approach Monday morning at work today, was it with a skip in your stride or did you slowly shuffle into the office, slump into your chair and brace yourself for another long week.
I'm sure most of you will hear someone making a cup of tea bemoaning that it's "Monday" and there is a big long week a head.

Why do people dislike Monday so much?

My daughter who is 2 and a half, she doesn't fully understand the days of the week but every day she runs excitedly into my room "get up daddy, get up daddy".
She is excited the day has begun, she can see the day can be full of possibilities and fun
This is the feeling we should have for Monday morning.
You have a choice how you view the start of the week either view
start of the week focusing on all the possibilities and the things you can achieve this week
start of the week as a long time with lots of tasks you have to do and five days until the weekend.
As a person with a positive outlook, I don't understand why people like to moan about it being Monday, I think we have had a rest from working, you are charged up and ready to rock
if your only aim this week is to get through the week, all the way to Friday then that is all you are going to archive but why are you aiming so low! If you aim low you hit low targets, if you aim higher then you could hit those high targets but if you come a little bit short you will still have done a lot better than aiming low.
Set yourself some targets that you want to achieve this week. Once you have your targets, the next step is to create a plan to achieve those targets.
The targets can be linked to your normal work and include other things like read a number of articles, start learning a new skill/technology and read a chapter/number of pages.
if you trudge into the office, feeling sorry for yourself, feeling there is a big long week a head, you are going to have bad posture and you are going to persuade yourself into feeling tired.
If you view a task or in this case a weeks worth of work as a big task, which is going to be a slog, it's going to drain the energy out of you and make it more difficult, this attitude is contributing to the likelihood of it becoming true.
Bound into the office, Give out some hearty Good Mornings
If you are unsure about how your body language shapes you actions then watch the this Great TED talk from Amy Cuddy - Your body language shapes who you are

Come on it's Monday, you have things to archive, work to do

You have
all week to show what an asset you are
all week to better last weeks output
all week to sell/do more than last week
all week to meet people you have met and increase you network
all week to learn skills to help you in your job
This could be your best work week ever and why not, what's holding you back
Go get em tiger
frog picture used from Mathew T Rader
tiger picture from Christina Saint Marche