Deliberate Practice - Growth and Potential

Have you ever wanted to get better at something and don't want to admit it to yourself? One of those things for me is math. I find I have a mental block to even approaching it at this point. Then I went to a workshop this week that talked about something called deliberate practice. 

Deliberate practice is a method that uses focused attention, a coach, and constant feedback to improve.

The part of the workshop that really stuck out to me was the Ted talk the presenter showed that explained different mindsets. In it Carol Dweck explains the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

After watching this video, I realized I had a fixed mindset for math. This is pretty normal and now that I recognize it, I can change it. I think recognition is a good first step in transitioning from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Are there areas in your life where you have a fixed mindset?

Assessing Ourselves and Measuring Success

During a workshop today, the presenter asked the question, "What is interpretation?" to a room full of interpreters. He split the room into groups of people who have been working 1 - 5 years, 6 - 10 years, 11 - 24 years, and 25+ years.

Each group discussed among themselves then gave an answer to the question. Each answer was different.

The point he made was that assessment is pointless if we don't know what we are assessing. If we can't define it and agree on the definition, we cannot develop metrics to measure it.

The same goes for the more personal question, "What is my purpose?"

If I don't have an answer to that question, I cannot assess if I am indeed living my life according to its purpose.

Now, I am not saying we need to know what we will be doing for the rest of our lives, but in the moment, in the today, What is your purpose?

It is only by understanding ourselves and our design that we can begin to assess if we are indeed living up to it. Once we can answer the question, "what is my purpose?" then the goals that we set, and the measurement of those goals, will help us develop further into who we are, instead of possibly leading us away from our purpose and design. 

What are thoughts on purpose and assessment?

Understanding Personal Preference

A couple friend of ours came over this afternoon and, during the course of dinner, the idea of personal preferences came up. Specifically, personal preferences for beverages, food, and style. 

This really got me thinking about how, by understanding our personal preferences we get to know ourselves better. I assume this is why question tags are so popular on the internet, the act of introspection.

Drink preferences may seem arbitrary, but they can really tell us a lot about ourselves. Do we drink coffee or tea? Does our drink order contain more words than this blog post? Do we drink anything with our meals or wait until after? The answers to these questions come from our own personal interaction with the world. They are a glimpse of how we view the world and what is normal for us.

Food preference can tell a story as well. Do we rush to salt our food? Do we eat with a knife and fork in hand or just a fork? Do we know what all the forks at fancy place settings are used for?

When we understand our preferences, a sense of style emerges that is uniquely our own.

What do your preferences tell you about yourself?

The Bullet Journal - Analog Organization for the Creative Mind

I have been trying to find more creative ways to keep track of my thoughts and ideas. Several ideas on how to do this have been floating around in my brain for a while, but I was having a hard time picking one.

Then I came across a website that explains how to setup a journal in a way that combines a system with creativity to give the most flexibility. The website is called Bullet Journal and it was developed by Ryder Carroll. On his website you will find detailed descriptions on how to set up your own Bullet Journal.

Here is a brief video explaining how to use a Bullet Journal:

I am looking forward to trying this system out for myself. I just set up a new Hobbit Moleskine journal and look forward to using it as my portable second brain.

Also, several of the Moleskine journals and other products are half off until January 31, 2015 

Do you use an organizational system like this one?

Advice to New Dads

I am now the father of a one year old and as I reflect on the past year, a few tips for new dads came to mind. 

1. Always put a diaper under the diaper you are changing.
This can save your clothes and every surface near you.

2. Hold the baby so mom can shower.
Basically, do this as often as possible.

3. Invest in snacks for dad and mom.
Sometimes at 2:00 AM a little bit of protein can go a long way.

4. Get baby clothes with snaps and zippers.
Normal buttons are from the devil.

5. Enjoy every second.
Time has a whole new meaning when you have a kid. It only goes by faster.

Remember, kids are awesome and you can do this!

Do you have any suggestions for new fathers? What is one thing that you wish you would have known before having kids?

The Perception of Others at Work

How do other people perceive me? That is the question that came to mind while I was attending a workshop at work this week about professionalism. 

When seeing an individual for the first time, people do, in fact, perform Sherlockesque deductions and form an impression of them in their subconscious. It is an impression that is hard to dispel once imprinted, even when presented evidence to the contrary.

How many times have you met someone and immediately known the type of person they are? I am guessing quite often. 

The ability to make snap judgements about a person makes me wonder, should I spend more time crafting my appearance? I usually take the typical guy approach of, if-it-is-clean-wear-it which is probably not for the best.

The difficulty for me is in not knowing what to wear. Apparently there is something called men's fashion, go figure. I sometimes get advice from my wife and sister-in-law, but it is something that I have almost actively avoided. Maybe it is time I open up the dialog with them and log into my unused Pinterest account. 

Learning My Voice

At work today, I attended a workshop that probably will change how I view the rest of my life. It focused on the way we perceive ourselves and what it means to have a strong voice.

The presenter described the term voice as the confidence we have in our decisions, competencies, and authority. Trusting our voice allows us to make decisions with confidence while owning the consequences because we are confident in our abilities and authority. 

The discussion of developing a strong voice helped me realize how I have been letting fear rule my personal and professional life. I have been doubting my competencies and authority.

In the workshop I learned that being confident in my voice is a choice. I can choose to recognize my competencies and authority given to me or not.

So I choose to be confident. I choose to recognize my competencies and authority. This is going to be a process a constant process of choosing over and over again to be confident in my voice, but if this workshop taught me anything, it taught me that it is possible.

We don't have to live in fear of making choices.