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What I’m reading

By Leela Cyd

Principles and Philosophy of Photographs in practical bite size.

Example: Shake things up

1. What is unexpected.

Taking bamboo shots straight on. From the ground up. Shoot directly above. Try varying perspective.

2. Start with one thing

Get started. Eg a fruit, the light, the way the item moves or interact with background colors. Dont stress. Get started, then simplify and move on.

Through lives of Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Marcel Proust, Mozart, Charles Darwin, Greene creates 48 laws of achieving Mastery.

My second time reading it after 10 years with fresh insights from self reflection. In my first reading, this book was too heavy. Now, with reflections, many of my challenges make so much more sense.

Seven deadly realities: Envy, Conformity, Rigidity, Self Obsessiveness, Rigidity, Laziness, Passive Agressiveness and Flightiness

Social Intelligence: Speak through your work. Craft your appropriate personna- if you are not careful others will attribute qualities of you that correspond to what they want to see, See yourself as others see you. Suffer fools gladly. It is part of human comedy, nothing to lose sleep over. Neutralise the harm they do by keeping steady eye on your goals.

Creative-Active: have the patience and discipline to endure an extended apprenticeship. Focus deeply on problems and ideas.

Although children are naturally creative, they never lead to inventions and substantial discoveries. Why so?

My 3 intentions:

1. Absorb as much as I can, from books and beings

2. Discipline and Diligence

3. Playfulness and experiment. Dont be defensive.

Beware of emotional pitfalls: complacency, boredom and arrogance

1. Connect to the Environment -primal powers

2. Play to your strengths – supreme focus

3. Transform yourself through practice – fingertip feel ( or 10,000 hrs of muscle memory)

4. Submit to the other – Inside/Out. Get inside the brain of the people we are trying to understand. Listen.

5. Synthesise all forms of knowledge – Jung’s Universal Man/Woman

Strictly Unauthorised. He didnt go to Washington to be feared; he did it so he could alchemise his experiences into the poems MAGA.

Here’s a sample:

(Sears, p 17)

I am the most fabulous whiner

I own the largest winery on the east coast

I do whine

We make the finest wine

Because I want to win

And Im not happy about not winning

And I am a whiner

Many different kind of wines

And Im a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win

And Im going to win.

#poem #satire #humor #aroundtheworld

I was at the library reading large photo books, Mutt but forgot to capture photo of the book.

Instead, I was mesmerised by sunset from the view of riverfront and managed to take a video. Today I decided to upload onto Youtube so you can enjoy. Did you know that previously this space was occupied by $2 Daiso and the view was sealed.

Coming to the library, well almost everyday and discovering pleasure of public space.

Why am I not coming everyday?

Rodial

Not another self help book.

For the entrepreneur in social media world with influencers like Kadarshians, MH is an entrepreneur and guides readers how to build a brand from product creation to personal branding.

Helpful How tos at the end of each chapter. Her recent books are now available as eBooks. She is certainly using her covid downtimes very efficiently.

#Rodial #entreprenuer #start up #career

Where are you going?

Going nowhere during quarantine? How about travelling inward.

Mindful of each breath. Mindful of each step. Mindful of each thought.

Today we have so many technologies, the mobile phone, whatsapp, zoom. But do we really connect? We forget that our mind and body are connected. “Our body is here but our mind is somewhere else. We easily get caught up in our work, our plans, our anxieties. Our breadth is the bridge connecting our body and our mind.”

Meditation can be taken out of the retreat and into the kitchen and the office. Thich ask “How can we practice in a way that removes the barrier between practice and non-practice.”

A friend does walking meditation between business appointments, walking mindfully between buildings and as a result his meetings are often pleasant and successful.

Meditations do not need to be around a mandala or even in a maze. They can be part of our daily life.

May I

May You

May They

May All Beings

“How to See”, “How to Walk”, “How to Connect”, Series by Thich Nhat Hanh

Work cures everything.

Can I reinvent myself the way Matisse did and yet maintain a signature style?

From La Danse to the cut outs, there remains a fluidity of design and vibrant colors.

Matisse paintings are not … things but energies. Are incentives to us to effect action. They represent nothing but impel us to create in the direction of the force, which they exercise.

This book has intrigued me to spend time imitating his line drawings and cut outs. As well as inspired me to travel and take in different sights to reinvent myself as he did. Absorbing energy from his travels.

Are you surrounded by what “radiates a rhythm through which energy flows.”

Recommend: ūü¶čūü¶č

Category: Famous Person

As I was walking to the neighbourhood stores, a thought struck me. What if I do the boring stuff, ie visit the same place 30 days in a row.

I started thinking, what if I visit the library, 10 mins walk away and borrow a different book every day.

And so my adventure begins, without taking a flight. Of course I can borrow eCopies from the digital library. But physical store has the pleasure of flipping through aisle by aisle.

Road less travelled, expand my mind. Books I normally will not pick up. Easy to read.

The first book I found using “coach” as key word was “Vladimir Putin: Life Coach”.

Seeing with new eyes

Except for what I read from American newsfeed, I do not know much about Russia. Granted, I studied history in school, have visited Siberia twice and been on trans-Siberian railway.

Written tongue in cheek, eg “Show your gentle side”. To win respect, you must be ruthless. To win love, you need to show a soft side. Putin’s approach is to help his country’s cutest animals at every opportunity.

He’s been photographed feeding a baby elk outside Moscow … and shaking hands with a walrus in Vladivostok.

Be more Vlad. If you’re known as a workplace meanie, show your colleagues you’re actually quite nice by booking a day off and hiring a professional photographer to join you on a trip to the petting zoo. Then share the photos far and wide with plenty og squidgy emoticons. Be sure to wait at least twenty minutes before returning to your hardass persona. (Sears, p119)

Rob Sears, the author, writes comedy. I cant wait to read his book on “The beautiful poetry of Donald Trump”. I can see how this experiment of picking up books I normally would not read, will help “re-imagine me” as Humour is not on my resume. If I were to teach “leadership topics”, this book will help inject a bit of humor on the complexity of leadership behavior.

#coach #humour #Russia #80books #TIME #Treasures #NLB #leadership

Highly recommend: ūü¶čūü¶čūü¶čūü¶čūü¶č

Category: Humour, Leadership

I grew up in an Asian family, where one believes in fate.¬† Born at a certain time, day, month, year, preferably “Year of the dragon” – you’ll sail towards the golden sea, without hard work. ¬†I was not born under such lucky stars – and hence embraced American style motivational thinking with open arms. ¬†You can be what you put your heart too.¬† Is this true?

As a Myers Briggs Type Indicator facilitator and career coach, I am now inclined that nature, nurture and “will” or adaptation through self awareness can help us modify our behaviors.

In “Quiet, the power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking” (Ch 5), ¬†author Susan Cain, interviewed Dr Carl Schwartz, Director of the Developmental Neuroimaging and Psychopathology Research Lab, using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines if introverts and extroverts behave differently. ¬†Specifically, through measuring the activity of the amygdala – in shaping the personalities of introverts and extroverts.

In an experiment using a slideshow projecting a crowded room of strangers or some familiar faces, Schwartz found that the amydalae of high reactives (introverts) reacted more to the photos of strangers than low reactives (extroverts). Using a longitudinal study, found that the footprint of a high or low reactive temperament never disappeared in adulthood (what Carl Jung assumed all these while). ¬†Susan Cain calls this the “rubber band theory” of personality. ¬†“We are like rubber bands at rest. ¬†We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much.” ¬†Nature and nurture. Bill Gates is never going to be Bill Clinton.

What’s being processed in the Introvert’s brain in a cocktail party?

A lot.

1. When we greet a stranger in a party, the amygdala (the ancient part of the brain), goes into overdrive.

2. For those relatively skilled in social situations, the neofrontal cortex kicks in to tell you to calm down, and what to do next – shake hands, smile. But conditioning and learning only suppresses the activity of the amygdala, not erase the fear.

3. During times of stress, unwarranted fears came go haywire, ¬†– “when the cortex has other things to do than soothe an excitable amygdala”. ¬†=> Solitude and time for meditation works for both introverts and extroverts as you don’t want your amygdala to spin out of control on you.

What should we do:

To conquer fear of public speaking, small talk with strangers etc.

1. Desensitise yourself (and your amygdala) in small doses, over and over again – in a safe environment.

Reassuring. Something I’ve known intuitively.¬† Don’t just jump into the deep end. Bad advice.¬† As Japanese say, “Kaizen” or small improvements daily is better. A case in point was when I learnt to ride a bicycle “in one hour” in my forties at the harassment of my husband.¬† Instead of buying a beautifully crafted bicycle meant for racers as my first bike, so that it can still be used 3 years later and not out-grow it, as he put it, I bought a safe one which I would put my feet on the ground “safely”, to minimise my fear of falling. ¬†Also, I took to “Youtube” and watched many, many bicycle training videos to desensitise myself.

A “one hour miracle”, was actually hours of practice soothing my amygdala which cannot tell the difference between real practice and what the eye sees.

2.  Find your sweet spot.

Once you discover your preferences, organise your life around “optimal levels of arousal“, what Susan Cain calls “sweet spots”.¬†¬† If you’re happily reading your book in a quiet place, and after 30 mins find yourself re-reading a sentence 5 times, you’re understimulated.¬† Call a friend, go out for tea.¬† Now you’re back into your sweet-spot.¬† But if your extroverted friend who needs a higher level of stimulation, persuades you to follow her to a party after this tea, you may find yourself having to make small talk with strangers, and soon, find yourself “overstimulated“.

What next?  Pair off with someone for in-depth conversation, or go back to your book. Understanding your sweet spot, can increase satisfaction in every area of your life and more.

Ask: How much time does your work require you to behave out of your sweet spot? Too much time in a research lab, and not enough time interacting with people? Or too much time socialising and schmoozing and not enough time to research in your cubicle.

3. Find out what’s meaningful for you

Can we act out of character? How then do famous strong¬†introverts speak in public effectively?¬† Susan Cain introduces us to the Free Traits theory, created by Professor Brian Little, former Havard University psychology lecturer. “According to the Free Traits¬†theory, we¬†are able to act out of character¬†in¬†the service of core personal projects.¬†” Introverts¬†can behave like extroverts to accomplish work/causes they¬†regard as important, people/ projects¬†they value highly.

To thine own self be true. – Shakespeare

How to identify core personal projects?

4. Pay attention to your actions

Can you fake it till you make it? Yes, to a certain extent according to studies by research psychologist, Richard Lippa comparing introverts who pretend and act like extroverts, with actual extroverts. Some psuedo-extroverts are surprisingly convincing.

Pay attention to how your face and body arrange themselves when you’re feeling confident and adopt the same position when it comes time to fake it. Studies have shown that behavior can lead to emotions. Smiling makes you feel stronger and happier and frowning makes you feel angry.

There is a limit to the control of self-presentation – beware of behavioral leakage. When you act out of character for a project you don’t care about, your discomfort can come across strongly and detected by the other party, sometimes as “freudian slips”.

5. Restore

Professor Little advises, find as many restorative niches as possible in your daily life, recommended by “The Introvert Advantage” – a quick read, practical guide. Surprisingly for a sedentary person like myself, going for a walk in the park, or jogging in the gym is a restorative process. After a day of lecturing, I recharge with a 20 min treadmill time, then off to a dinner with my husband’s colleagues and then supper with his friends.

While some of the recommendations are not new, it has given credibility that I am not abnormal, and allowed me to negotiate with my husband, an extrovert, who wants me to go everywhere. Professor Little calls it “Free Trait Agreement”,

Read more about this inspiring book, Quiet by Susan Cain.

There are more nuggets in this book not covered by my blog. Watch Susan Cain’s TED introduction, but she’s too modest in promoting her book.

“Its not only the desire for wealth and position that debases and subjugates, but also the desire for peace, leisure, travel and learning. It doesnt matter what the external thing is, the value we place on it subjugates us to another … where our heart is set, there our impediment lies.”

– Epictetus, Discourses, 4.4.1-2; 15 (from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman).

Ryan Holiday asks “surely Epictetus is not saying that peace and travel are bad, is he?” No, he explains. But ceaseless, ardent desire is filled with “potential complications”.

I am reminded of a verse in Bible that money is not the root of all evil. The love of money is.

When we pine for something, we set ourselves for disappointment. We can lose our self control in response.

Authors suggest that a good goal, like “love or a noble cause” can set you up just as well.

My self reflection: this verse jumps out at me and helps explain something Im going through, have been going through, esp with manipulative family members.

Coaching question of the day

Are you in control of your desires, or are they in control of you?