Attention: Apply urgently.

 

distraction
pic: credit

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing, knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

~ Leonardo Da Vinci

I’m surprised about how much busy we are. No one seems to have time. Parents don’t have time for their kids. Managers don’t have time for their staff. And yet what happened to that promise of technology will make our lives much easier, speedier and better ?

Da Vinci’s statement above is a paradox in modern times. He mentions urgency, and applying. Well we all are busy, ain’t we ?

Working at office with inbox, whatsapp, facebook, instagram and twitter open is not urgency nor applying. It is simply distraction. What Da Vinci wants us to apply urgently is our attention. Reading about the maestro himself, I found how immersed he had been about his work. Nothing in the world – absolutely nothing would distract him from the work he had on his mind. He used to lock him self in his lab for hours, sometimes few days until he came up with a solution. Good that there was no social media back then.

Social media is great. Create your own work, show it to the world, get people to see you, your work and your dedication. Then, of course, social media can be an amazing platform for you.

Are we using our finite attention well ? Are you addicted to distractions to an extent you cannot control ?

A great book to read is ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport. Or search youtube to see his TED talk. You will be blown away.

When to startup

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pic credit: Dialog

After the #ngage session, after the food ran out, few young people (age 20-30) asked me questions. I could distill them to this question.

” I want to do a startup on something I love, but cannot find time with my current job. Should I quit? “

My answer is A BIG NO.

I’m 37.  If you have asked me the same question when I was 30, I’d have said yes.

I remember, back then, when a uni undergrad pitched his prototype during a hackathon, I asked him, “are you gonna do a job, or continue this prototype after graduation?” He said he’d do a job, but would improve prototype as a side kick. I laughed saying “you are not serious. Hence you will not make it.’

I don’t know what happened to him or his side kick. But I do know, what I said to him was wrong. I am sorry. I have seen more of  the world since.  Hence I beg to differ.

Here’s the reality I witnessed that changed my answer from yes to NO!

 1) Work is work

Work is work, either when you are employed, or running your own thing. Actually work is very much harder when it is your thing. In both cases, you’ll be judged by the quality of the work you do- the ownership you take to improve things in you, and around you. So get good actual work experience. Take back something that you can share in interviews with a gleam in your eye.

The HR managers I talk to, say “I’ll hire anyone ( no need of certificates) who’s willing to work hard”. Because most of the educated young people today, are sitting on their certificates, and have taken advise from entrepreneurial gurus to ‘work smart’. Work smart has been tactically reduced to ” just get by doing the easiest and laziest”. ( Logic: If I am paid the same salary, why should I work harder than them)

 2) A Good boss

At young age, a good foundation is equivalent to work a good few years under a good boss. A good boss is someone who uses your strengths and improves your potential. Who instills discipline in you. Makes you go get. Inspires you.

This is so important if you want to start on your own. Many lose this opportunity for the sake of next best opportunity- usually an improved benefits package. 2 years is now considered way too long a time to spend at one place.

 3) Why start from scratch?

when you startup on your own, let’s imagine, with out work experience, you may have to learn everything from scratch. You go through the process alone. It’s a time killer, an emotional black hole.

In a job, you see the processes, you can observe. You learn from many. Your risk is low. Learning is high. Of course you have to be ultra curious  and hungry to learn and be proactive. No body gives you opportunities. You create them, or you get none.

4) You do have extra time to do a side kick.

Yes, you definitely have time while doing a full time job.

Cut down your TV time, movie time, Facebook time, Weddings ( a colossal Sri Lankan time waster) etc. etc.

5) Be stable. Learn to save. Learn to minimise risk.

Read the above point few times. Forced will power only lasts until you run out of cash to put food on the table.

6) Build a Network of people who can help you.

If you have done good work at your job, if you have helped people to do better, you can use their blessings. They’ll introduce you to people who can help you. World is full of good people.

When you have above 6 things under your belt, you are on a good launching pad. Side kicks can well be full time work, gradually.

P.S: There are many people who have taken the leap of faith and have become super stars. We hear about them on media. But we do not hear about the people who did not make it. We do not hear each of their stories. There are many. Try to take the middle path, not veering in to extremes of high risk adrenaline or lethargy. 

Is giving tabs/smartphones an answer ?

Someone asked me “Do you think giving smartphones and tabs to school teachers , students and government officials, a good answer ?”

My answer was ” It depends on the answer you are seeking ”

Yes, you may solve the accessibility problem. May be that will help the receiver be more connected. But with out training on content and tools ( let’s say apps) most of them will drift off to the vast ocean of interesting stuff like social media. Desired things like productivity and creativity doesn’t come easy. Internet is full of easy stuff.

Judgment and knowledge on hygiene while on internet are crucial. May be we all need it.

Breaking point

Every single human being has a breaking point.

Whatever the situation, hygiene of the mind is important. Whatever we put in to our mind, it takes hold of us as the reality, if we feed too much of the same.

If you scroll through FaceBook, every moment you get a chance to look in to your phone, you will be very much conditioned by your feed. Your ability to be in the moment will be compromised.

If you watch too much crime/war drama, your ability to see humans as peace loving will be very low.

If you have abusive, bullying friends, your ability to treat other people with goodness will be less likely.

If you have low trust with in your team, your next action better be trustworthy. Every action you take otherwise will be another step towards the breaking point. Everyone has a breaking point for everything.

Gossip brewed in news channels, pushes audience to their breakpoint of critical thinking. May be that’s what media channels want, yet hygienically not good for our minds. It makes us to be caustic and skeptical about even good things, even good people. People will start doubting the ability of humans to be human. They will stop believing that a human can help another human with no expectation of a return. People will love gadgets more, and would want robots to get things done. Singularity* seems a great tipping point in human evolution. May also be the breaking point.

Singularity * – The technological singularity is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial super intelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilizations (Wikipedia)