The Great Adding of Value

It has been over 6 years since my last post.

There is a part of me that missed the exploration of ideas that came to mind and my attempts to figure things out based on my understanding of things at that time. Another part of me felt there were no ideas left that were worth exploring which was driven by fear, laziness, or simply stalled growth. Another part of me simply forgot. I really cannot remember why I stopped, and admittedly I am a bit shocked that the last post was in 2010, but here we are.

At the end of the day it all comes down to putting effort into where we feel, believe, think, we add the most value. Whether it be value to others, or ourselves, if we’re not adding value the thought of participating is abhorrent. I suspect in the last 6 years it wasn’t clear where value was being added. It wasn’t clear where it was adding to me personally (doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have – it just wasn’t clear), which is a primary driver before you can add value to others without feeling like a fraud.

Am I adding value now by firing this up again? Really, I have no idea. I believe there is value to me personally by getting back to writing and exploring concepts because it certainly has been missed. Much has been learned the last few years and perhaps there are some ideas lurking under the surface I really just need to get out of the brain to make room. I think for now I will start adding value to me, and see where we go. Consistency will be key, and I am OK with that.

Welcome back, I’ve missed you.

It’s almost 2011, right?

No I won’t go into the lamenting of the lack of jet-pack and flying cars. This is more of “What happened to the stuff we should have now?”. Not the unexpected advances in technology, but the things that should actually be making our lives easier.

Example 1:
Current technology in the personal, portable storage that can communicate with an insane number of other devices, is not good enough. Why is car insurance only valid if current and printed on a specific piece of paper?! Not just any PAPER – oddly-sized and PINK paper… Ok well it doesn’t have to be pink because I can use a photocopy, right? Actually, no. At least here in Ontario you must have an original insurance slip unless it is a temporary one that the insurance company has emailed you until your little pink pieces of deforestation arrive sometime in the future by mail. And yes, even though you have only one car, they are going to send you 12 little pieces of paper because clearly you are stupid. But can you have an incredibly hi-res image showing proof of insurance on a device which is back-lit and easier to read (eg. zoom in as necessary) for the cop who is on the final hours of his shift and just wants to go home because it’s been a long night, all the caffeine has worn off, and if someone hands him another photocopy of a pink piece of paper he just might drag them from their car and pistol-whip them for stupidity… Can you have an image on your phone? Nope – better have that special piece of paper.

Example2:

Life Technologies has announced a $7 million dollar competition to improve its new Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM) sequencer, which reads DNA using semiconductor technology. At $50,000, it costs about a tenth of other sequencing machines. – “Life Technologies $7 million competition for improved DNA sequencing“,  kurzweilai.net

Yet we are constantly hammered over the head to buy reusable coffee containers because it’s 2011 and we still can’t recycle a cardboard cup, some wax, and a plastic lid. The fact that a huge percentage of consumer packaging is STILL not recyclable is a bit disturbing. Yes there is the argument that is shouldn’t be produced in the first place and I get it, however there is a certain level of common sense in that not everything can travel or be stocked in a hemp bag…. We have been producing packaging products since before I was born, yet in 2011 not everything is recyclable, and not all regions will recycle it. Insane.

Example 3:
Your portable technology is still only as good as the life of your batteries. When you think about it, battery technology hasn’t really changed a whole lot over the years. Yes, packaging has improved, size has improved, and you can now actually recycle the little suckers, but really, it is still a chemical reaction happening to provide you with juice to power whatever you need and that juice only lasts a little while compared to the length of time you actually need. Sure, thinking back to the original cell phones where the battery would last 1-2 hours, and now your iphone lasts maybe 4h we’re talking at least a 100% improvement there, but that was more advancements in power-sucking technology than improvements to the actual power cell… Walking into a store tomorrow, you have roughly the same choices of batteries you did 10 years ago and if you’re buying Alkaline batteries – that technology has been around since 1950 when Canadian engineer Lewis Urry figured it out for the Eveready Battery company. It’s 2011 and I have to go plug in my iphone before I lose this post.

Lyrical Lessons – Part 2

Don’t you just love it when you come up with a great idea, drop a post about it, and then completely forget all about it? Well, this is one of them…

So we’re back with another fresh installment of Lyrical Lessons – but first – the lyrics:

don’t hold back…
cause you woke up in the mornin, with initiative to move, so why make it harder…
don’t hold back…
if you think about it, so many people do, be cool man, look smarter….
don’t hold back…
and you shouldn’t even care, bout those losers in the air, and their crooked stares…
don’t hold back…
cause there’s a party over here, so you might as well be here, where the people care…
don’t hold back…

world, my finger, is on the button…
my finger, is on the button…
my finger, is on the button…

push the button…

“Galvanize”, Push The Button, The Chemical Brothers

Change. Change who you are, what you do, your views, your opinions, your beliefs, and anything else you want to without a) yourself getting in the way, b) analysis paralysis, c) fear of what others might think, or d) fear of being alone. Push the button – your own button – and make it happen.

Change. You have 5 seconds.

Why change sucks

Ever read a post, a book, an article about why change is good, why it’s challenging, or how to dramatically engage your blah blah to be synchronized with your new mission of blah blah…? Yeah, we’ve all been there. My question is, how many times have you actually read something or heard someone flat out claim:

Change sucks because something is going to clobber you once you start and it’s up to you, and you alone to deal with it.

Well, if you haven’t before, you have now. Change, generally, is a good thing. Change for the sake of change? Bad thing. Small changes = good. Big changes = who the hell knows. The idea is good, doing it is hard, and if something screws up along the way, then it’s bad.

Change is a force, and if we remember anything from high school physics class it’s Newton’s 3rd law of motion (simplified):

“To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

This does explain why change is often de-railed once the process of change has begun. Take for example someone who wants to take control of their financial situation. They go out, buy some books, learn, and start reducing costs, saving, investing – yet what happens shortly there after? A sudden massive expense arrives out of the blue and all the hard work is suddenly dashed in a short period of time. Yes, they were further ahead, they have learned skills that can be duplicated again, and things can be gotten back on track – but it’s up to them. Life suddenly threw a curve-ball at them and future success or failure on their part will be up to them. Another example is when someone decides to take control of their un-healthy lifestyle and do something about it. So what do they do? They start to get up early and excercise, they begin to drink more water, and they start to track their food intake and make better choices. This works for a bit of time until either they suffer an injury or become ill (flu, cold, etc) which disrupts the schedule and takes them out of the game for a period of time. Take the smoker who finally decides to quit once and for all, yet during the same week something highly stressful happens and they’re right back to smoking again.

We can all look around and see this pattern happen for people over and over and over again. But why? Why is there always an equal and opposite reaction – especially when the change is significant? Does it always happen? No idea – but it does happen enough to notice it… Some would say that these are tests to see if you are truly committed to the change that you desire (god, universe, whatever), but why? What possible purpose does it serve? Why not a big challenge at the end of change so that which has changed can directly apply to, and effectively mange the challenge?

It has been said that you’re only supposed to change one thing at a time, for example, stop smoking, but don’t stop smoking, stop drinking, start running marathons, and start eating carrots all at once. Stop one thing for 21 days and develop the habit so that you can move onto the next thing requiring change and that which you have changed is now a habit. Kinda makes sense, however, the clobbering potential still applies regardless of whether or not it’s one change or 10. Changing 10 things at once is to say the least, challenging, however, it is entirely possible. Changing just one thing is also possible, yet depending on what it is can easily equal 10 things.

The point here is regardless of what, why, or how many things you decide to change, beware of the clobbering that is in your future. Yes, if you’re committed to the change(s) then it merely becomes an annoyance or a delay, yet if you happen to have insight as to why it happens (and it will) – do share. 😉

And yes, I’m currently battling a cold after a whole week of working out in the mornings and dramatically improving my intake… Clobbered.

The Power of Questions – Part 2

Let me ask you this: What question will you ask after the one you ask next?

Asking questions is easy – we do it all day long: Do you have the time? Have you seen so-and-so today? Where did we park the car? What are we having for dinner? Should we have one glass of wine each, or four? But even simple questions have the ability to mess with your belief system in a big way. Lets for example, all agree that taking the life of someone is bad. Ok – that’s a belief correct? We both believe that taking another person’s life is bad. Now what happens when you start to ask questions? Questions like:

  • Are there people that believe it is good?
  • Why would they believe this?
  • What other beliefs must you possess in order to believe that you are correct?
  • Where did those beliefs come from?
  • Is is there ever justification?
  • What about in situation X?
  • Why not? Is that belief valid?
  • and so on..

In context these simple questions provide us with the ability to explore things even if they are completely contrary to what we believe. No one ever said you have to agree with the answers, yet are you willing to ask the questions to actually get the answers? I’m not saying asking questions of a thesis/PhD-type where you’re dedicating your life to finding the answers, but what about just asking enough to learn something new? And what happens when you learn something true and correct that is contrary to what we believe?

Now if we take the list of questions from above out of context, take out the ‘personal/beliefs’ references, and then apply them to….. the economy? religion? technology? anthropology? linguistics? Every day we are continually marveling at the advances and decline of humanity, yet advancements come from the hands of people who ask questions – decline comes from the hands of those who stopped asking.

… to be continued