Self Improvement


Vacations Are Out Of Fashion
  • Vacations aren’t what they used to be.
  • Social media, email and business communication services like Slack make it harder for working professionals to be disconnected even outside of working hours.
  • Apart from Blackberry phones which started this always-connected trend, we have ourselves to blame as we don’t understand or realize how important a sabbatical, or a purposeful, year-long disconnection from work to do something else, is to our health and productivity.
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Self Improvement

  1. Write a book and publish it for free on Amazon Kindle.
  2. Start a consulting side-hustle, provided the work does not clash with your current job profile.
  3. Do volunteer work.
  4. Seek higher education, like an accelerated MBA program or an e-course. You could even listen to podcasts and set up your own, going wherever your curiosity takes you.
  5. Pick an unreachable goal that you could never have done due to lack of time or resources. Get out of your comfort zone and grow taller.
  6. Pick a contractual working assignment outside your field that requires travelling to different cities or countries.

A sabbatical is no longer just logging off from work or taking a vacation. Instead of being absent from work, sabbaticals are now an active pursuit of purpose.

Modern-day sabbaticals have the employee taking time off on company expenses to do something for social welfare (like helping an environmental company), pursue a skill development course, or travel the world to gain perspective.

Democritus and the existence of atoms

We know about atoms because of scientists and electron microscopes, but the idea goes back to the ancient Greeks.

Democritus first articulated the idea of atoms. He argued that it must exist. If we continually halved something, there would be no endpoint. Therefore, there must be a fundamental unit to the world from which everything else is made.

One of Democritus' question was how atoms made objects. He noticed that the world is constantly changing, dying, growing. The worlds flow, therefore atoms must flow. They can't just be still.

Democritus reasoned that atoms join into various combinations, then emit eidôla (composite blobs of atoms) outward, like ripples in water. This atomic radiation is then picked up by us and translated into ideas or sensations.

  1. The world as we know it doesn't really exist. It is just incomprehensible atoms, and our minds create a reality out of these atoms.
  2. The world is entirely made up of atoms.

Democritus was then the first "determinist" in that he stated that there could be no free will or choice - we are just moving to the laws of physics. His conclusions about atoms could only be proven millennia later.

A study was done by a Harvard researcher on bomb-disposal operatives and split them into two groups: those who have been decorated for their work and those who hadn't. Their study showed that the operatives who've been decorated, when placed in the danger zone, entered a state of cold, meditative focus, where their heart rates went down as compared to the other group.

The confidence that they had with themselves is what made them calm and have a mezzanine level of consciousness.

While constructive feedback can be very valuable, we need to learn to ignore destructive feedback. When you are in a leadership position, everyone will have an opinion on how you could work better. However, not everyone's opinion is useful.

Instead of considering irrelevant feedback, label these comments as opinions and noise. Instead of reacting, hear the feedback, acknowledge it politely, and sift between the useful and the noise.

To help you overcome excessive self-consciousness, intentionally think about yourself from someone else's perspective.

Another person may think you've got nothing to fear, that you're great. Seeing it from that point of view can clear your mind of self-doubt and help you perform at your best.

When Weakness Turns To Self-Doubt

No matter what job you have, your success depends on understanding your shortcomings as well as your strengths.

Without an awareness of where you've got room for growth, it's very difficult to improve your performance. But, too much focus on your weaknesses can make you doubt yourself and make you unable to take the risks needed to move forward. There are strategies you can use to overcome self-doubt.

Self-talk is often extremely negative, keeping us in doubt.

Learn to identify these negative internal voices and replace them with a more productive and positive narrative. Instead of telling yourself that you can't, tell yourself that you like to step up to a discussion. Over time, you will gain more confidence.

Being too focused on our own limitations can prevent us from moving past them. When this happens, it's helpful to gain some distance from ourselves by channelling the alter ego.

Taking on a persona of someone more confident can help you gain perspective and let you see your challenges without letting them overwhelm you.

  • Thirty years ago, just 3 percent of Americans were online. Most of them were academics.
  • Before the web was invented, early adopters spent less than an hour a week online (mostly email.)
  • The Internet was designed to connect people with shared interests and ideas and produce more durable offline relationships. However, research on empathy shows a 40 percent decline over thirty years.
Living in an online age
  • The Internet has redefined the way we work. It has improved our lives and broadened our perspective of the world.
  • But in some cases, the digital age hasn't been as kind to workers. Some employers may use it to exploit their employees, demanding more work or longer days without paying overtime.
  • By blurring the lines between work and home life, the Internet also changed our cultural conception of patience, demanding immediate answers, or same-day delivery.
  • Antisocial behaviour existed well before the Internet. The same argument was used about the telephone - that it would reduce social encounters. But it really facilitated more of them.
  • An attempt to separate the Internet from everyday life is useless. The only credible post-Internet visions are tied to civilizational collapses, such as the zombie apocalypse, global pandemics, or nuclear catastrophes.
  • If the only way to imagine a world without an Internet is to think of a world without civilization, then the Internet has become our civilization.

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