Forgiveness: The Forgotten Skill

to-forgive

Forgiveness isn’t usually thought as a life skill, except in religious traditions, but it should be. It is important in all walks of life including at work. We spend most of our waking hours there, increasing our chances for conflict, anger and hurt feelings.

Forgiveness isn’t just a virtuous thing to do. It’s a smart thing to do. Here are some thoughts on forgiveness:

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
– Louis B. Smedes

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
– Paul Boese

“It is the act of forgiveness that opens up the only possible way to think creatively about the future at all.”
– Father Desmond Wilson

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness is an act of courage. There is no guarantee that it will lead another person to change. The only guarantee is you will live the life of your choosing, a life of greater happiness and effectiveness.

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love what you do, the money will follow

There is an old saying, which is usually true: if you do what you love, the money will come. But let’s be realists too, there is no point chasing a career that no one will pay you for.

I hate this advice, not just because the word “passion”, but also because it’s a terrible life plan.

Reason No. 1: Not everyone has a passion.
Reason No. 2: It’s a total lie that you’re bound to make money if you love what you do, particularly if that thing is in the arts – which, let’s face it, it usually is.

We also find people quoting the opposite like Steve Jobs who said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

So, which one should we follow: doing what we love or loving what we do?

The answer is relatively easy if we dig a little deeper. First let’s not confuse with hobby/interest with passion for work which makes money. I love browsing internet and chatting in social networking sites but that doesn’t pay me. Finding a financially viable career passion is very rare. We may love something very much as a hobby but making a career, gaining respect for it, turning it into a business opportunity is extremely difficult.

We find doing what we love a myth only if we confuse hobby/interest with passion gained through hard work.

Here’s a plan how we can chase this mystery. Think of all the things you are passionate about or were passionate about during childhood/high school and then answer this question:

“Can I make money out of it?” If the answer is no, it’s simply a hobby you can do it in your spare time.

“Today, however, job seekers are now in the driver’s seat to search for and find a job they love. They are more in control to ramp up their job search to find more opportunities that better align with their degree, personal goals and interests, or family needs.” — Tara Sinclair, chief economist at Indeed Hiring Lab

When you found a job you love or find interesting and financially viable work hard, improve you skills required for that business. Use small achievements to keep motivated. As warren Buffet said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Don’t worry if you can’t find it in a single attempt, after all it is the passion of your life.

Lifelong Learning

We need to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed. It’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” — Richard Feynman, Nobel-prize winning physicist

Abraham Lincoln said, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” This opens the premise that learning is a daily adventure and doesn’t stop just because school does. Highly effective people are always focused on continuous learning and competing against themselves to grow and learn day by day.

As professional careers or working lives become extended, workplaces become more age and culturally diverse. On top of this many hard skills will need updating.

Today, with the demands made on us from every angle and attention spans decreasing,  even those who understand well the need for lifelong learning, can find it challenging to stay the course.

Peter-Drunker-quote-continuous-learning

In this video Bill Clinton answers the question “What is the most important thing you have learned?” at the Global Education and Skills Forum 2014:

I think the most important thing that I have learned is that there’s more to learn. That we should — that we should all be hungry for a lifetime.

Click here to watch the full video.

Very often, especially those who have had lengthy and rigorous training, take their foot off the gas once they have qualified, or reached a certain level of seniority.

You don’t want to go there – especially mid-career.  Make learning a priority.

Read more at:

Warnings: If you get good at learning and find that you know more than most people around you, be careful that you don’t turn into a know-it-all.

Knowledge and skills are the currency of 21st century

“Skills have become the currency of 21st Century economies.” — Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Vice President

Once someone asked Thomas Friedman, author of World is Flat, “What’s your favorite country, other than your own?”

“Taiwan? Why Taiwan?” he replied, “Because Taiwan is a barren rock in a typhoon-laden sea with no natural resources to live off of yet it has the fourth-largest financial reserves in the world.

Because rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence — men and women.

skills-knowledgeAccording to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, “There is a significant negative relationship between the money countries extract from national resources and the knowledge and skills of their high school population, this is a global pattern that holds across 65 countries that took part in the latest PISA assessment.”

According to the latest PISA results, students in Singapore, Finland, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan stand out as having high PISA scores and few natural resources, while Qatar and Kazakhstan stand out as having the highest oil rents and the lowest PISA scores.

So hold the oil, and pass the books.

Knowledge and skills have become the global currency of 21st-century economies, but there is no central bank that prints this currency. Everyone has to decide on their own how much they will print.

Read more:

 

Benefits of writing short emails

While in the last post the focus on was that we write a novel worth of email an email and how making our emails five sentences or less can solve this problem. In the same blog I quoted Guy Kawasaki, author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, “proper email is a balance between politeness and succinctness, less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time.”

I’m intrigued by this bit of advice from Guy Kawasaki on effective email writing, therefore I am going to focus on benefits of writing short emails.

When writing to recipients, keep your responses as short as possible, but no shorter. Even more important, if an email needs a response that’s going to take more than five sentences or more than 3 minutes of work, then you shouldn’t just automatically reply. If an email requires substantial effort to handle, it should be addressed in order of priority rather than being addressed now just because it arrived in an email.

The advantages to writing short emails:

  • It helps you focus on the purpose of your response
  • Your emails are clearer and shorter, which reduces miscommunication
  • Your emails are faster to create and proof-read, which reduces time spent composing email
  • It sets the expectation that short emails are okay, which can result in faster communication.
  • If you are worried about offending people, don’t be. A short, quick reply is more appreciated than a long, but delayed, response.

Final Thoughts: Plus, if your recipients are suffering from the email overload problem, your short but sweet emails will be a breath of fresh air. Most replies shouldn’t require more than five sentences. If you can respond to a message in less than 3 minutes, you should do so immediately, then archive.

Email Writing: Five Sentences Philosophy

One thing we need to know while writing email. If your message is too short you’ll sound abrupt. If it’s too long no one will read it.

The purpose of this post is to focus on length of emails we write everyday, yes I mean the emails we write everyday, not the emails we read or delete or dump into a folder.

Due to remote and geographically distributed teams, emails have became most widely used medium for daily communication, replacing phones calls and face-to-face meetings. Therefore we spend a lot of time writing emails, the average worker spends 28 percent of office time (11 hours a week) on email.

Given the fact that we all write a novel’s worth of email every year, did you see that, a novel worth of email, some us might have become an author if we spend that much of typing energy on writing actual books or articles.

Does writing long email helps in resolving the issue, entrepreneur-investor-author Guy Kawasaki tells

Long emails are either unread or, if they are read, they are unanswered … Right now I have 600 read but unanswered emails in my inbox.

Therefore in order to find the ideal length for an email, I found the website five.sentenc.es which suggests that an ideal length for an email to be fewer than five sentences. They outline the approach as such:

The Problem: E-mail takes too long to respond to, resulting in continuous inbox overflow for those who receive a lot of it.
The SolutionEmail Writing - Five Sentences Philosophy: Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.

This is the easiest solution to essay type of email writing problem, by making our emails really really easy to reply by making them simple.

Since people are both busy and lazy, they’re “more likely to respond to information requests—whether important or trivial—if they’re easy to address,” as Quartz recently reported.

Proper email is a balance between politeness and succinctness, Less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time. – Author Guy Kawasaki

ProTip: Before you fire an email off, take an extra 30 seconds and read it over. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a clear, easy-to-understand point to this email?
  • Is there anything I can take out that doesn’t add to the main point?
  • Can anything be simplified?

Now to conclude this long blog, about writing short email:

The ability to write a short email is a skill in itself. Writing short emails shows confidence in what you have to say.