Tread softly #quotes

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)
“He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven”
from the Collected Works of W.B. Yeats


This is Water. David Foster Wallace Commencement Speech

In this moving and inspirational talk, David Foster Wallace puts forward that the freedom awareness provides is the freedom to decide how to interpret your surroundings. The freedom not to be a slave to the default settings forced on us by what is around us.

This is water. I am learning.

David Foster Wallace Speech – This Is Water.

2005 graduating class of Kenyon College.

What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work

Dan Ariely gave a TED talk on the effects of motivation and rejection and the effect that this has on how we feel about the work we do.

It turns out that people feel a sense of ownership over pretty much anything they do, regardless of how menial the task is. Using some interesting experiments, Ariely is able to provide some very easy to understand insight on how people work and the value they assign to the things they do.

Here is the Youtube link to the talk:

Dan Ariely – What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work

Another interesting take-away is that when something is too simple or easy, people have no sense of ownership. An example he provides dates back to the invention of cake mix, or what he calls the Ikea Effect.

“It turns out, they were very unpopular.[…] What they figured out was there was not enough effort involved. It was so easy nobody could serve cake to their guest and say ‘here is my cake.’ […] It didn’t really feel like their own.

So they took out the eggs and the milk. Now it was their cake.”

If you enjoy this talk, you should read Predictably Irrational, a book by Dan Ariely.

Gandhi on the power of positive thinking

I’m fascinated by habits and how to build them and break them. The most interesting books I’ve read on the subject (so far) are “The Power Of Habit” by Charles Duhig and “Your Brain At Work” by David Rock.

Below is a timeless quotes on the power that our thoughts and habits have in our lives.

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

– Mahatma Gandhi


Keeping busy keeps you from being bored and makes you happier

I found this interesting post on the topic of personal happiness. It turns out the happiest people are those people who are busy but not rushed.

A study published last year entitled “Social Indications Research” has this to say in the subject of being bored:

Who among us are the most happy? Newly published research suggests it is those fortunate folks who have little or no excess time, and yet seldom feel rushed.

The kicker

So, feeling less rushed does not automatically increase happiness; if it did, those numbers would be moving in tandem, rather than in opposite directions. Rather, Robinson writes, surveys “continue to show the least happy group to be those who quite often have excess time.”

You can read the full study here:

Source: Farmam Street


There Are Different Ways To Pay Attention

It turns out there are different ways to pay attention. Like me, you probably knew this all along, based on your own anecdotal evidence.

Last week,a paper released by a researcher at Duke University posited two different kinds of attention (amongst other things)- Deep Attention and Hyper Attention.

Deep Attention and Hyper Attention

Deep attention … is characterized by concentrating on a single object for long periods (say, a novel by Dickens), ignoring outside stimuli while so engaged, preferring a single information stream, and having a high tolerance for long focus times. Hyper attention is characterized by switching focus rapidly among different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom.

Deep attention is superb for solving complex problems represented in a single medium, but it comes at the price of environmental alertness and flexibility of response. Hyper attention excels at negotiating rapidly changing environments in which multiple foci compete for attention; its disadvantage is impatience with focusing for long periods on a noninteractive object such as a Victorian novel or complicated math problem.

In an evolutionary context, hyper attention no doubt developed first; deep attention is a relative luxury, requiring group cooperation to create a secure environment in which one does not have to be constantly alert to danger. Developed societies, of course, have long been able to create the kind of environments conducive to deep attention.

Educational institutions have specialized in these environments, combining such resources as quiet with an assigned task that demands deep attention to complete successfully. So standard has deep attention become in educational settings that it is the de facto norm, with hyper attention regarded as defective behavior that scarcely qualifies as a cognitive mode at all.



Risk/ Reward

Being risk averse to avoid finite problems means losing out on infinite possibilities.

Not taking a chance to jump in and do something comes at the cost of not reaping the rewards that the doing would bring.

Create A Personal Knowledge Base To Save Time When Solving Problems

I love to tinker with my tech, and many times I’ll end up either breaking something or setting it up incorrectly. At this point it’s usually off to Google to find a solution to my problem.

Some problems I run in to repeatedly and I have to dig around to find the results again which is a waste of time. Problems I run in to repeatedly include trouble when rooting an Android phone, how to fix a WordPress site that fails an update, installing php on a new server and how to reboot my Cisco Router; to name but a few.

With this in mind, I started a personal knowledge base to store all of the solutions I’ve found. So far, it’s been very useful and saved me lots of time. The internet is great for looking up things – it has all sorts of information available. The problem is often sifting through the tons of crap in order to find the one quality solution that actually works. This is where a Knowledge Base is very useful – you can save the information that is valuable to you in a way that is easily accessible.

Create a Personal Knowledge base in Bento

Right now my KB is stored inside Bento, but I’ve also tried a WordPress wiki and some free knowledge base software. I switched over to Bento because the others seemed like more work to maintain that in was worth. I can also easily access Bento on my iPad. In addition to this, I also have a bunch of text files with step by step instructions for complex tasks that I need to repeat often. I usually keep this on my desktop for the sake of easy access.

Personal Knowledge Base

It doesn’t matter how simple or complex your system is, having information you use often easily at hand is a great time-saver. Keeping a personal Knowledge Base is a good way to not only store your solutions, but also to understand them better; after all, when you write/ type something you have a better shot at retaining the information you’re dealing with.

Why are people so scared of working from home?

I know a lot of people who hate the concept of working from home or letting their staff work from home.

If you’re worried about your staff slacking off when they work from home, that probably means that those are the people you need to measure, monitor and babysit when they work from the office. In other words, those people are already a time sink, but not just of their time – it’s your time too.

It’s probably likely that the people opposed to working from home have never actually done it.

Why Are People To Work From Home

Ultimately, it comes down to being able to trust the abilities of your staff. If you trust them to do a good job and make smart calls, there’s no reason to be in the same office. Those things can all be done from somewhere else. If you don’t trust them to do a good job if they’re not in the office, I’ll bet you don’t trust them to do a good job in the office.

Working hours is often thrown in to the argument – people who work long hours are often thought to be working harder. I’ve found that this is very seldom the case. Those people usually just work slower or screw around in the office just to make themselves look busy. That’s not to say that there are no hard workers putting in long hours, they’re just not the norm.

Working from home removes the perception of ‘slogging it out’ and leaves only the work as a yard stick. Either it’s done or not. It’s either good or bad. All the crap about how long you’ve been at the office (watching Youtube no doubt) disappears if the work is not done or not up to scratch.

There are many other factors that must be considered, things like the nature of the work, access, technlogy and company culture, but I think the argument that working from home is a ‘bad idea’ or ‘just doesn’t work’ seems to me like a lack of trust, understanding or just plain fear.

Keep essential meds, tabs and capsules handy in an Altoids tin

I work in an office with a busted aircon. And I have a high stress job. And I love spicy food.

All of this means that at any point in my day I may need either some flu meds, some painkillers for my headache or an Alka seltzer to counter the Tabasco sauce I had with my chili.

I’ve found that an easy for me to keep these items handy, is to use an Altoids tin. The small size and the ability to snap nicely shut and stay out of way, make it perfect for me.  And if I’m honest, I love little Altoids tin projects in any way shape or form.

Store Your Meds in an Altoids Tin

Use an Altoids tin to keep meds handy

Here’s what I have inside my little tin:

  • 2 x Alka Seltzer
  • 2 x Tabcin cold and flu caps
  • 2 x Panadol painkillers
  • 1 x Panadol PM (useful when travelling)
  • 2 x Hydroxycut caps (in case of gym)
  • 1 x Centrum

It’s hand to stick a post-it on the inside of the tin with a list of what you keep inside. This makes it easy to refill your little kit, since you’ll always know what to put in your Altoids tin project.

Summertime Sadness (Monsieur Adi Remix) – Lana Del Rey – Tune Of The Week

Ever since Kat tuned me in to Lana Del Rey I’ve been digging her James Dean era faux deepness. Now Monsieur Adi delivers a funked up (or should that be dubbed down?) remix of Summertime Sadness. The remix takes the seriousness and melancholy that make a Lana Del Rey track, well a Lana Del Rey track and it turns the tune all fun and angsty. This tune of the week definitely sounds like a record Justice would put out. And that is a very good thing indeed.

Lana Del Rey Summertime Sadness Remix

Lana Del Rey Summertime Sadness Monsieur Adi Remix

Hat tip to uberHype for the info on the remix.

The thing about gut calls…

As someone who obsesses over detail and checks multiple angles before being able to make a decision, I have a lot of respect for people who can go ahead and make a call from their gut.

Your gut takes in raw, unprocessed elements and helps you churn out ideas, innovation and more. Just try and remember that it also puts out a lot of shit.

The trick is to know which is which.

The Thinker Monkey
Image Credit: Slade Roberts

Will 2013 be the year that Google Play takes a stand against Amazon Music and Apple iTunes?

Will 2013 be the year that Google Play takes a stand against Amazon Music and Apple iTunes and finally make a mainstream surge?


With Android already on a strong footing against iOS, this year could be the tipping point.


The infographic below was supplied with the kind courtesy of the guys at Neo Mammalian Infographic Agency and shows the lay of the digital music land.

Google Play, Apple iTunes, Amazon Music Infographic

Source: Best Show Tickets Las Vegas