Tweaks of Opportunities

Open or closed is what makes all the difference.

We have all heard and read the quote that says, “When opportunity knocks, open the door.” But wait. Why the need to open the door? Why not just let the door be open? Maybe what it should say is “Always open the door so that opportunity walks in”.

I feel the former statement is one of responsiveness while the later is one of pro-activeness. Both are good but one is better than the other. This little tweak actually is critical in creating a new reality.

A slight tweak in how we see things makes a lot of difference in what happens to us. Just like adjusting the dial on the radio. At one frequency the voice is muddled but with a slight adjustment of even 0.1, the clarity of the voice is so much more; multifold, exponential even. So how can we today tweak our thoughts, POV, mood, language, story or even our body such that our result is multifold?

Let’s take for example the quote “When opportunity knocks, open the door.” The vision of this quote sees someone in a room waiting for something to happen. He might be doing something in the room to occupy his time while waiting for opportunity to knock so that he can open the door for opportunity. He is not passive. He is active; doing other things while waiting. We can even say he is actively waiting; get it actively waiting. At the same time, opportunity is out there wandering around trying to decide which door to knock because she doesn’t know who is in the rooms, what condition is the room in etc. She is fully aware that she need to do the extra effort of knocking, entering, scanning and deciding. Opportunity also wonders how many door she needs to knock before she can find someone worthy of her. Opportunity must be wondering if there is an easier or more effective way to do her job. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with this scene. The question is would we want to be in this scene or is there something we can do to make this scene more desirable?

Well, it so happens that what it needs is just a little tweak.

The tweak is to just open the door. There is no need for opportunity to knock, wait for the door to open, come in, scan the room and the person in the room and then decide. Now all she needs is to look inside, scan and decide. If she finds a worthy receiver, she will just need to now tap the person in the room. As the person in the room, I now just need to go about my business and be ready for the tap on the shoulder by opportunity. Isn’t this a better scene? Well, this scene is called “Always open the door so that opportunity walks in”.

Maybe this musing of mine will be be morsels of thoughts for you this weekend; what does it take to be able to keep the door open, the room and me ready to receive opportunity? My thoughts on that will be in another arty.

The Nature of Feedback and its relevancy

In essence, feedback is just information. This is the first nature of feedback. There is no such thing as good or bad feedback. It is just information about you at a particular point in time. Sometimes it takes the form of a result you achieved or someone’s point of view of you.

The second nature of feedback is that it represent just a slice of time. Therefore, it doesn’t define who you are. It can contribute to who you are but it doesn’t define you. Therefore, we shouldn’t be slighted by it. Most people that consider feedback as a personal attack or criticism, sadly forgot about the above fact. Now that you know, it is a choice by you to be hurt by it or not.

Once we can have the mindset of feedback is just information about you at a particular moment in time, we can now proceed to ‘listen’ to our feedback intently. We will consider all feedback. This doesn’t mean we have to take or accept all of it.

We still have a choice to choose which ones do we act on and which ones to put aside.

Now, in choosing which to act on and which to put aside, we once again can’t go back to what I like and what I don’t as a criteria. If the feedback hurts me or bathe me in a negative light, I shall put aside. If the feedback speaks well of me and I enjoy it, I shall pick it up. This is where we once again fall into the trap of good and bad feedback; negative and positive.

Again, there is no such thing as good or bad if we truly believe feedback is just information. If we truly believe feedback is just information, that means all feedbacks need to be considered.

If so, after we take in and consider all the feedback, the question that is still unanswered is “How do I decide which one to act on and which ones to put aside?” The answer lies in the third nature of feedback which is “Not all feedbacks are equal.”

The fidelity of a feedback is determined by two factors and these two components have to be present for the feedback to be considered.

The first factor is whether the feedback is qualified or not. In order for a feedback to be qualified, it must come from a source that holds the same context and distinction as the subject of the feedback. For example, if I am a trainer, the feedback of another trainer about my training is more qualified than if the feedback came from a chef. It is important that the feedback is given in consideration of a particular context.

The second factor is the frequency of the feedback. If I am receiving the same feedback from a few different sources that are qualified, then that particular feedback has more fidelity than others that I am not getting any or less frequency. Therefore, seek as may qualified feedback as you can to increase the fidelity of your feedback.

The gist list of this article:

  1. Feedback is only information about a moment of your life
  2. It doesn’t define who you are
  3. Take in every feedback
  4. Take action on those feedback that is high in fidelity – qualified and frequent.

Theme of The Year; The Mood Compass for New Year Resolutions

Our Conscience and Our Consciousness are in tandem.

Today is the 1st day of a new year and it is even more special for us Malaysian because it is the year 2020; the year we are suppose to fulfil the Nation’s aspiration as a develop country via an agenda we grew up with – Vision 2020.

Over the 10 years since we started, neOOne have practiced without fail a year end ritual called PTY Retreat (Plan The Year Retreat). It has become not only a culture in neOOne but also an offering that started in the early years as a way to support our associates in to being a full fledge public workshop to help other entrepreneurs plan for their year. This method has been proven successful, so much so that two regular graduates of our PTY have taken upon themselves to adopt it and run it for their own organisation.

What we do in it is not much different than what others do in their own planning sessions. We do similar stuff like reflection, ideation and action planning. Maybe what differs is the way we string along these phases by using facilitation processes. Even that is not rare; albeit not common.

However, in my opinion, there is one thing that is unique that we have incorporated which we call Theme of The Year. Usually, it is an acronym that we can easily remember and sets the mood of the year.

Why do we do this? Why not just do the typical and settle for a list of actions to be done to fulfil a predetermined desired objective? Simple enough, right?

Well yes it is simple enough but yet not enough!

We found out that a To Do list often loses its soul very quickly. It doesn’t motivate us emotionally. Yes, it provides us with an effective roadmap but it feels dry and unfriendly. It is only inspiring because you want to have a sense of achievement by ticking off the items. It becomes mechanical.

If that is the case, why not marry the To Do list with the objectives of the year so that we can be reminded and motivated throughout the year. Well, that can be done yet we find the objective is too far away to be useful on a day-to-day basis. It is great to remind us of the end but not motivating enough for practical daily use.

In addition to all that, the other major aspect that a To Do list and a stated objective lack is the element of decision making. This is where Theme of The Year helps; as a decision making tool as well as a daily motivator and mood custodian.

Before that, let me first explain how we come up with the Theme of The Year.

As any planning session worth its salt does, it starts off with reflecting on past and current results. We next synthesise these reflections into insights we can learn from. Next we ideate on how we can improve and these can be part of the objective of the coming year. We also look at what we have not achieved and decide if we still want to achieve them. These also will contribute to the objective of the coming year. We also look at our achievements and decide if we want to achieve more or not. Once again, these becomes part of the objective of the coming years. Next we look at aspirations for the coming year and this is no connected to anything of the past. This is an unbounded creation time. This can be inspired by trends or just plain desire. We then decides on the objectives of the coming year. Typically, the next phase is ideating on the actions needed to achieve these goals and action planning them.

We add another step after the objectives are set. We look at all the objectives and come up (or allow to come up) with the theme that strings all these objectives together.

Without fail, when the theme is revealed and then agreed upon, the energy of the group shifts upwards. Have fun with the theme and try to come up with an acronym or abbreviation that is exciting.

The Theme of The Year allows us to feel the objectives and provides the mood for the coming year. The theme also allows us to assess opportunities that come our way through out the coming year. If the opportunities falls within The Theme of The Year, then it is an easy decision to take it on. If it doesn’t, more often than not, we let it go or modify it to meet our theme. With a theme, it is also easy to be reminded what the year is all about and it keeps us motivated through out. It also allows us to set new goals once set goals are achieved.

These three things makes us see The Theme of The Year as a compass; constantly reminding and directing our true north.

So, go look at all your objectives of the year and let the theme of the year pop out; making achieving goals less mechanical and more emotional., less depressing and more motivating.