On Journaling

Recently I set out to strengthen a few habits in my day/week. All of these are to improve my health in various aspects. Amongst others, they include working out, reading daily in the evenings and journaling.

Journaling, I hear you ask. Yes indeed. What is often associated with teenage girls, is in fact a wonderful thing for your mind. Writing helps reduce the clutter that’s in our heads.

Interestingly enough, writing has some pretty neat effects. When we write something down we both remember it better and let go of it in our heads (simultaneously!), even if we never look at what we wrote again. Isn’t that fascinating?

Those two are the reasons why I have picked up writing a journal. While i know I should be doing it by hand with pen and paper (it’s much more effective), the convenience of the Day One apps have got me so far.

Every evening I sit down and think about the day. Actually I lie. I don’t have to think, my brain does it anyway, pushes me through everything that’s happened: Good and bad.

Journaling is a way for me to get all these spinning thoughts out of my head. It’s a way for me to collect myself and oddly enough, stop thinking about some things. In a way, one of the reasons why the brain won’t stop thinking about it, is because it doesn’t want to forget it. When I write it down, I’m tricking the brain into believing that it can store it deeper instead.

Plus, if you manage to be a little upbeat and positive in some of the writing in a given day, it is going to reflect your mood rather instantly.

Writing is pretty powerful. So let me suggest journaling to you. Whether digital or analog, try it for a while and let me know how you find it.

A few weeks back I wrote a post on being strong and alone, which many of you related to and appreciated. Today, I want to address the topic of projecting confidence which is closely related.

Confidence fascinates me for many reasons, especially because you can fake it, and projecting confidence gives you so much power.

Faking confidence seems odd, but it works. All you need to do (he says like it’s easy) is to believe it yourself. There are tons of techniques, from body language (staring with the way you sit, stand and walk) to what clothes you wear and how you behave in general that causes you to believe in your faked confidence.

If you sit upright in what are called power poses, you instantly feel stronger and more confident. Fake it til’ you make it. It works.

Why would you want to fake it then in the first place? Because it is so incredibly effective. We humans respond immediately to confidence and subconsciously gives it much weight. All these signals, from body languages to behavior and clothing are weighed together.

Someone will assess you simply by the way you walk. Subconsciously. And that’s why confidence is so magical and why it fascinates me. Pick up a few of the techniques so that next time you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t really that confident, you project it anyway. Then watch the amazing results.

Every once in a while, a business relationship goes sour. It sucks, but it happens. As usual, it’s probably nobody’s fault specifically, but a combination of things that over time doesn’t work—and no party is working hard enough to try and make it work.

A few times in my eleven years in the business, someone has come along and tried to force me to take on their project. I have always found this fascinating. If you say no, how is an angry tone supposed to convince me?

Why am I sharing this you wonder? Because it leads me directly to the most important factor in a business relationship. Or rather the two most important factors: Trust and joy/appreciation.

Both are interlinked. Just like any other relationship, in order for a business relationship to thrive, you need trust. If you don’t trust the other party to do their job, and a good job at that, it’s going to go south quick. Likewise, if you want to micromanage them, it’s a sign that you believe you know better. And that’s not a sign of trust, and it is going to cause the relationship to deteriorate quickly. It’s bad.

Joy and appreciation are also important. You need to be happy with the people you do business with. You need to appreciate them being there and be in a good mood when you are with them. If exchanges drain you of energy, it’s not a good sign. Consequently, if you don’t appreciate the person you do business with, you won’t be putting in any effort.

When we trust and appreciate each other and are happy together, we create an environment which fosters positive collaboration. We will go to great lengths to ensure that the other party is happy and satisfied, and they will do the same back. That’s a happy business relationship.

Given my line of work, I am in a lot of meetings. It might just be that meetings are the thing of the century to hate and want to dispense with. I disagree.

At least I partly disagree. I love meetings! I like meeting people, because talking to talented and smart people always makes me gain insights that I couldn’t do by myself.

But then there are the really bad meetings. You know those who drag out on end, where you just rehash a topic, never move on and never conclude anything useful. There is one, very simple, technique which will solve that for you forever. An agenda.

If you have an agenda for your meetings all attendees know in advance what will be covered and most crucially, what is expected of them. Attendees can make suitable preparation to discuss something, resulting in proper and informed discussions.

Better yet, an agenda should come with timing notes. How long you are allowed to spend on each subject. Keep to them religiously. If you need more time, schedule something new for it. Keeping to them respects people’s time and forces you to be brief, informed and effective, while still not rushing. The goal is to be effective, not careless and rushed.

I’m on a mission this year to make sure that no meeting I attend by the end of the year doesn’t have an agenda. There is no reason why I don’t know up front before a meeting exactly what is expected of me. If I can’t prepare and make an informed contribution, you are wasting everyone’s time.

Let’s make 2016 the year where all meetings have agendas. Finally.

I recently finished listening to the audiobook version of Mark Cuban’s “How to Win at the Sport of Business” last week and in it he articulates a philosophy that I have, in a very neat way.

Whining is so much better than not whining.

I’ve been thinking on an off about this, especially when I was in University. At my old University there were a lot of things that didn’t work as they should. We as students surprisingly often had to fight for some basic student rights. Of course I couldn’t let that go. Why should they get away with something just because few people know better, or because they make complaining almost a Sisyphus task.

So I complained. And complained. And complained. Factually. Most often friendly. But persistently and highly informed. A couple of times this complaining scored the entire class benefits. Yet, all along you hear: “Why complain about it?”.

I tell you why. Because I can’t just go along with things that I can change. If you give up that early, and don’t even bother to whine (as Mark Cuban neatly puts it), you believe that you cannot change something. That you are powerless. That because things are a certain way, they have to be that way.

Wrong. I often cite David Hume, the Scottish philosopher, who stated “Just because something is, doesn’t mean it ought to be.” (known as the is-ought problem, or Humes Law). It sums it up rather nicely.

Why did I bother complaining? Because I can’t put up with unjust behavior and even less, condescending behavior. I just can’t stand it. I’m allergic to it.

While you certainly have to choose your battles (let’s face it, you are probably the one who’s going to be most agitated during the process), don’t leave them all unfought. Make a difference.