Saturday, 28 January 2017

Learn how to be bored

Boredom is the new frontier
I was visiting my parents when we were celebrating my nephew’s birthday. Something struck me that I didn’t pay attention prior to. My nephews were distracted with their own imagination. I was thinking to myself; boys will be boys.
Then a topic of substance arose between my sister and the family.
Only until then did she announce that the boys were restricted to the use of their video games. I found this peculiar since I was observing the boys and they seemed to be occupied by their imagination and their Lego toys.
This topic intrigued me enough that I felt compelled to share it here. What I discovered was astounding at the same time not surprising.
Recent studies have concluded that in this ever so distracting environment our attention span has lessened to that of a goldfish.
Kevin McSpadden a contributor to TIME wrote in a neuroscience article in 2015;
Researchers in Canada surveyed 2,000 participants and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (EEGs). Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds.
In fact, this topic not only spawned in Time but also in every other business and science journal; Inc, Entrepreneur, Psychology Today, New York Times, IFLscience just to mention a few.
I suppose this is the new standard to which we measure ourselves up to.
The sad reality isn’t that goldfish have a greater attention alertness, but that the amount of attention we do have keeps decreasing.
I can spin this post into several ways;
On what basis is this occurring?
Why is your attention dropping and should you be worried?
Who or what can be blamed for this injustice?
How can you improve your attention awareness?
“How can you teach focus in a world that is constantly drawing our focus elsewhere?”
Or what my sister suggested and implemented with her children.
“The art of being bored.”
What does it mean to be bored?
It requires you to be aware and creative. To draw from imagination. To put aside distractive elements.
Okay, but isn’t everything a distraction? If you read a book instead of going on your iPhone to check how many likes you have on Facebook, doesn’t that cause a distraction?
Some will say, well this is a good distraction because you are stimulating your brain.
Isn’t all distraction stimulating?
I suppose the argument could be that you form a new neural connection by various applications.
For example, I just heard my phone ping and this is a distraction so I turn it on silent, but my mind is racing to find out who it was, what they wanted, and how could I serve them.
My best strategy that I implement and I think you should too, is; take control of the situation. How?
Turn all the notifications off. I was at one of my business partner’s studio and we were editing my latest Givers Group video. My partner and his business partner are working on a project, they are doing a Vlog, for those of you who don’t know what that is; video blog.
They asked me to subscribe and so without hesitation I did, then they asked me to turn on my notifications so I can be updated with their latest vlog releases, I refused. I wouldn’t turn my notifications on for anything because I watch it on my time.
Going back to my sister’s philosophy, and one I think we can all learn something from.
“I want them to learn how to be bored.”
This I found to be ever so powerful and it makes me proud to know that my sister implements full self-awareness into this topic.
Sometimes life just takes control of your actions, everything is predicated on speed and consistency.
I believe my sister wants to get rid of that zombie-like state that my nephews get into when they are playing video games.
There are benefits to playing video games, you can read about them here. Her fear is certainly not the benefits, it’s the lack of control that my nephews exhibit when they want to win another level in their episodic playing time.
Of course, the upside to being bored is tapping into the world of your imagination. It is only limited to your experience. Which means it has the resources to tap into unchartered territories.
I find myself in a rut when I apply my attention to social media, I always think to myself as did Oliver Twist in Charles Dickens production;
Please sir, I want some more.
Her solution; set a time once a week to play video games. This way the boys have something to look forward too. In the meantime, leave them to create their own distractions with physical toys, themselves, and each other.
It seems to be that anything digital is the enemy.
I would argue that it is the mind that is the enemy, and that needs to become a frenemy. Accept what is and deploy self-awareness.
Teaching young children self-awareness could possibly be the defining moment of their success in life.
The only blame that should be going on is not on the external surroundings but in the way that you think. In a nutshell; Change your thinking and you change your perception which changes your attitude and in turn changes your behavior.
Embrace boredom because that might be the last frontier to your creativethought and entry to your imagination.
To reinforce how bad it’s getting, Larry Rosen Ph.D. conducted a research study on 300 students to find where their attention was going when they studied their school work. Get the drum roll out; an average of 3 minutes of 15 minutes was going to their study, the rest, well, it was focused on nonschool work.
Of course, in his conclusion, he blames Steve Jobs for creating technology that is desirable to further manipulate and distract from our potential.
And of course, for all of you entrepreneurs, it isn’t as simple as putting your phone away and not having any distractions because your phone is the lifeblood of your business. Understand your limitations and understand that you need to put time aside to do deep work.
Any work that you do on your business is good work, and that doesn’t mean everything you do has to have an ROI. So, if it means for you to get bored in order to spark creativity without technology distractions then do so.
Thank you for reading this post on learning how and why boredom should be embraced.
To be continued….

Focus on your work and your employees will follow suit.

What does it mean having control over your employees?
There is no magic or secret formula or a 5-step manual on how to inspire your employees. There is only one thing to keep in mind, and that is; focus on your work.
Just to be clear I am not referring to mind control or the control of their behavior. What I am referring to is for your employees to complete the tasks you ask of them.
Your employees not completing what you ask them to do can be bothersome for some employers, and not only that but, it also leads to resentment and further negative emotions.
To put it bluntly, it ruins your day if you’re an employer.
I have felt this way many times. I begged, accused, assumed and fought to get the tasks that I felt had priority to be completed.
Once I came to the realization that it was only me who was getting frustrated, I got even more frustrated.
How could my employees not be bothered by this? Do they not understand how important this is? Why don’t they listen to me?
These are the thoughts that run through my mind.
How did I overcome this rut I was in?
It wasn’t that I started to care less. In fact, I cared more, but the difference was that I didn’t care more for what they weren’t doing and producing, but rather for what they were.
Okay, this may sound like the glass half full, or half empty analogy, it’s not the case and I’ll explain why.
And by the way, the glass is always half full and half empty.
I realized quickly that it wasn’t my words that were being ignored, but rather the actions I parlayed. My employees weren’t inspired by what I was saying, the inspiration came from my doing.
The more I performed, the more results I witnessed in my team.
As the adage goes, “Lead by example”, it hit me smack in my face when I started to work on myself and my work.
Your employees already look up to you, if you don’t think so then you need to check on your self-confidence.
When they come to you for help, guide them, don’t tell them how to solve their problem, ask them to come with solutions. They are more than capable of solving the problem, they just need a theory to go on.
A good theory doesn’t change the person’s mind, it’s a general statement of what causes why.” How to Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon
When I stopped complaining about why my employees would ignore me, I became focused on my own work and me not only inspired my employees but all the people around me as well.
Just do you, everything else will fall into place when you stop worrying about it.
Thank you for reading my post, Now I need to get back to work.
To be continued….

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

How a self evaluation has made me second guess my persona

I wear twelve different faces.
Who am I?
The more I think about this the more I realize I am not actually one face or one person. I mean yes, I reside in one body and I have one brain and two legs and one heart. But I have several different personas.
Let me ask you; when you interact with your parents, do you act and talk the same as you would with your peers or even your sister? Do you think the same?
Sometimes I think to myself; am I a fraud? Do I pretend to be someone I am not? If the answer is yes, then who am I?
I am the guy who tries to convince his friends to follow his wisdom, intellectually challenge my girlfriend, empathize with my sister’s growing pains of having children, behave as appropriately as possible to be seen as a poster child to my girlfriend’s parents, be seen as a giving selfless human being in my philanthropy projects (yet being as selfish as can be when it comes to my own wants).
Am I all of those things? Yes. Am I non-of those things? Yes. Sometimes I feel as though pretending is all I have to go with. Pretending that I am a good person, that I am perfect in the literal sense, that I love everybody and care about everybody. The truth is I care about myself too, maybe more, does that make me sinister?
I don’t know if this is wrong or right. I know that I haven’t met any person that portrays the same emotions and the same attitudes towards different persons.
Some of the people in my circle of friends (I can think of one in particular as I am writing this) personalities when they are with their girlfriend or parents. It’s almost like a Clark Kent and Superman, except they don’t save any lives or fight villains, aside from deceiving people from who they actually are.
But that’s it, is Clark Kent Superman or is Superman Clark Kent? Some will argue and say; he’s both, and they would be right.
That’s how I feel.
I seems as though I am being deceitful for all the right reasons, however, that silver line of distinguishing from right and wrong sometimes becomes a duality. I do it not to hurt people, I do it to be liked, to be understanding and understood.
So, I guess that would make me selfish? can find more about this story here.

What is culturally acceptable?

I know it isn’t culturally acceptable to think about a plane crash before boarding a plane. Or considering deadly food poisoning before trying a hole in the wall restaurant. Or telling someone the truth about themselves.
Why is that?
Is it because being risk averse makes you feel safe? Do you feel more comfortable living in a fictitious world? A made believe “perfect” world where nothing ‘should’ go wrong?
What if this reasoning is unreasonable? What if the ‘what could go wrong’ scenarios must be openly discussed in open dialogue?
Would this make you feel better? Probably not. But who is to say what is right to say culturally? Oh right, culture, society.
I am not trying to be anti-cultural or anti-establishment, I know it comes off this way. What I want is to have the freedom that we are scared off. The freedom to say things that are deemed as impolite or thoughtless, I know I have the freedom to think these things? But do I really?
It may seem as though you and I have the freedom to think what we want but the reality is culture and society tell us how to think along with the rules and in the box living/thinking.
So, I say where is the freedom that our culture so adamantly persists we have?
I mean I know that living in Canada, or North America we do have luxuries that people in developing countries do not, like a structured ‘democratic’ government system, running clean water for most parts of north America, electricity, opportunities and I am sure I am missing a whole host of other things I am ignoring simply because I want to keep this post short.
You and I both know that no two cultures are alike, there may be similarities, and that simply has to do with adaptive close proximity societies or societies that broke off into factions. So, I can only speak of my culture since that is all I know, the north American culture, Russian culture, and Jewish culture.
In all three of these cultures, I see many similarities. Love your neighbours, be kind, be polite, be ostentatious, okay maybe not that last part, just checking if yours paying attention, which if you have read this paragraph I’ll take into assumption that you are not just randomly skimming this article to find some useful hack or something that you can take away and say “I learned something from this article, wow Lev sure knows what he’s talking about.”
There really is no point to this article, I am simply writing because I figured out that I love writing. I love writing and conveying information that is useful and most importantly practical. But this post is actually quite the opposite.
I am not sure if you got that from the headline or the first paragraph that I wrote. And it may seem rather bizarre that I am talking about myself in a third person and about how meaningless this post is for the last 4 paragraphs.
My point is; find out my point

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Complainers are gatekeepers of influence

Originally published at
I analyze complaints first because I want to see why people don’t like certain things before I make my buying decision.
I have established that we are influenced by what other people say and how they rate products and services.
Specifically, in my last post we discussed the ratings of movies.
Now, I want to tell you my process of how I identify what’s good and worthy.
You will have your own opinion, both on my process and on by what you are influenced.
Mine is as follows; I judge both product and service based on the opinionated facts. I ask myself who is the person who is making the claim on a product I am looking to purchase. What is their claim? Their articulation and their complaint.
For some reason, I find it matters how well articulated the person is, because it displays subtleties of the way a person thinks, observes, and interacts with a product or service.
This does not mean that a person who cannot articulate a good complaint doesn’t hold a merit. It just means that the less thought a person puts into something, the less the person possibly gave the product or service a chance.
The truth is people are much louder who have something bad to say versus those who either like or are indifferent with the product or service.
Those people who I will call hate mongers are the loudest because they feel that they don’t want others to fall prey or be deceived by the company that has put out the product/service. The hate mongers feel they are doing a disservice if they do not speak up.
Next, I look to see if it is a reasonable and consistent complaint with other hate monger’s complaints.
Are they saying the same thing or is it something that is completely opposite of what other hate mongers have said?
Lastly, I look for validation in the complaint. What is their circumstance? Who are they? Why do they feel this way?
I put myself in their shoes and try to imagine the scenario they have gone through. To put it another way, I stereotype.
Doing my best to relate their circumstance to mine.
Neither you or I am in the same position in this world. You and I have different personalities, we like different things, we work and think differently, so my point here is that I look for relatedness in the hate monger.
How do we relate?
Coming from a business standpoint (before I delve into what a company should do when they hear complaints I want to say that the top part was from a consumer’s point of view) there are two ways you can look at complaints.
One, from a damaging position, the market is reacting to the product or service negatively. In other words, there is something that is functionally wrong.
Two, the market is interacting with the company.
No one likes complainers, but complainers aren’t all that bad. In fact, complainers or let’s stick to hate mongers since I like that term, are good.
They are engaging, they are starting conversations, they want to be heard.
Remember behind every hate monger is a person. The person wants to talk and be heard.
The companies job is to listen, respond appropriately, and resolve immediately.
Following this set of rules will not only turn a hate monger into leaving a positive review about the company, but it might also turn the hate monger into one of the company’s ambassadors.
What is an ambassador? Someone who advocates the company to their friends, acquaintances and family.
Remember hate mongers are the loudest and the most important source for communication for a company. Treat them with care and compassion.
This doesn’t mean that you should ignore the positive things people say about your company either. Everyone is equally important in the communication lines. Responsiveness is a must.
When people have something to say about you or your company, listen and respond, like you would if you were having a conversation with someone face to face or via telephone.
What do you do when someone is obscene with their comment?
You ignore it. Don’t add fuel to the fire. The hate monger is clearly not in the right state of mind if they post belligerent content.

Thank you for reading this post. The key takeaway is to always listen.

To be continued….
Image copyright by her campus