Archive

Happiness

image

Designing the ideal chair for your partner client

Empathy, understand your client.

What I found designing for my partner (client), is that I was actually designing for myself. My ideal chair.

Her ideal, well, my client was not very forthcoming was, a Japanese style tatami chair.

What a surprise.

Ask, draw, check, and if possible, ask them to draw it out.

In career coaching, its the same. You may think you know the ideal job for your client,  it can be entirely different from what your client has in mind.

Advertisements

After a week in Kagoshima and Yakushima, known for its agriculture, I want to pay tribute to Japanese mastery and continuoius improvement.

Kagoshima is famous for its black Kurobuta pork perfected from the black Berkshire pig gifted by the UK.

Despite what you hear about over-worked Japanese office workers, a culture that coined the term Karoshi or death by over-work, it does not apply to farm animals. Pigs do get depression. Farmers know that unhappy pigs do not produce good meat. So they keep pigs happy with exercise and clean food.

image

This month while some are on holiday, Alibaba founder, Jack Ma made headlines advising young people the need to work 996, 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week.

Shortly after, he made an about turn when he drew a lot of negativity.

In a sense Jack Ma is not wrong. Malcolm Gladwell popularised the concept of “deliberate practice” or 10,000 hours rule that to achieve excellence, deliberate practice is needed. There is no true genius without hard work.

What is the difference between an overworked employee or a workaholic and a high performer?

Mastery
Autonomy and
Sense of Purpose or Meaning.

Research abounds that working long hours with high stress is unproductive and harmful to the body. Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/332234

Hours do not translate to high stress.

Stress is caused by interpretation of the work, whether it is aligned to the individual’s motivation, sense of control and purpose.

Giving an individual more autonomy can ironically create more stress, if the individual has a low sense of self efficacy and external locus of control, ie they do not believe they have power to change their circumstances and are helpless victims of fate.

Some organisations have moved to using personality profiling to detect similarities in their top performers and recruit employees with a better fit.

Employees who link work to skills mastery, and career purpose are more engaged. (Daniel Pink).

To my 3rd year student who is wondering why he should bring home over the weekend for his internship:

Questions to reflect:

Mastery and Personal Excellence
1. Do the long hours contribute to personal mastery or deep skills?

Or

2. Are the long hours the result of inefficiency, wasting time waiting for inputs or misguided attention?

3. How much of work can be automated?

4. Does personality differences make a difference in an ideal employee?

5. Is your boss abusing her authorities or is hard work the norm?

6. Do you believe you can make changes to your work and a personal difference? Self efficacy. Do you have an internal locus of control.

How will you know?
Keep a personal scoreboard. Track your activities. Do they match personal, department, organisation or community goals?

As they say, if you enjoy your work, you never need to work a single day.

Jack Ma to his employees:
“Don’t make me happy, don’t love me. Make your customer happy, make your customer love you, and I will love you any minute.‘”

Jack Ma U-turns on 996 work culture, says companies ‘foolish’ to force overtime

Studies show that 40% of the anxiety felt by people in the world is focused on things that will never happen.

Apparently 30% is related to the past which we cannot change, 12% to other people’s criticism and 10% to health.

It is a very curious reality that only 8% of the time do we really worry about concerns that need to be faced in the here and now.

Dr. Amy Orr-Ewing
Festival of Thought, Singapore

Ive had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened
Mark Twain

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time
Amen.
Reinhold Niebuhr

image

Photo credit: himself of the sunbird at our balcony

Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? 
Jesus quoted in Matthew 6: 27

What are you anxious about?

image

Photo credit: himself in Tokyo, 2 April 2019

image

image

What cause sakura to blossom?
Change in temperature. Ironically, the shock provokes the plant to give out its best bloosoms.

Citrus growers too understand this science of winterisation. Without the sudden drop and rise in temperature, there will be no lemons and oranges which need warm summers and mild winters.

Winterisation is to be feared and appreciated.

Why do we fear change? Should we?
Farmers know that plants need preconditioning and acclimatisation to the change or extreme shock will kill it.

In this season of exteme winds of AI, blockchain and machine learning, are you helping your employees acclimatise to the new environment.

Farmers sometimes water the soil of citrus plants during winter to help them tide over.

Your efforts will be rewarded. With beautiful blooms in Spring.

image

image

image

A friend who is holidaying in Northern Spain sent us photos of Bilbao’s sights and sensory experience. Truffle, wine, Iberian ham.

Google “Bilbao effect” – a phenomenon where cultural investment and iconic architecture provided an economic uplift for industrial cities in decline.

Is one building sufficient? Unlikely. Not just the Guggenheim museum alone. But it is a significant anchor point.

Are you thinking of reinventing yourself?

What is an iconic project to anchor your new narrative?
A new skill?
A new habit?
A new hope?

How is 2019 going to be different from 2018? Not just a new dress or a new car.

Dont pin on something physical. But on the intangible.

A new energy, a belief, a beginning.

image

This morning, I visited Gardens by the Bay Flower Dome. I bought a one year pass which will expire in June 2019 and have yet to use it.

image

Here I am, having a mini holiday in Japan, right here in Singapore. Sakuras are fresh and in full bloom. I came at 9am, no queue and was out by 930am.

The drive was just 10 mins from my home and enroute to work. When I texted my envious friends, they could not believe it.

Weakness can be a strength

Yes, Singapore is that small. Its tiny size is a weakness as well as a strength. All attractions are accessible. Just a mindset change away.

What resources are you underutilising?

🍍Just like my one year membership at Gardens by the Bay which I bought at $45 during a promotion.

🍍My “close distance” to the displays which are refreshed every month.

🍍Treating my Asian tiger mom as my best feedback coach. Undeniably she often has my interest at heart. (Her coaching fees are free.)