Posts Tagged ‘Self Development’

Picasso: Lessons for a working life

July 11, 2008

Picasso in thoughtI went to the Picasso exhibition at Brisbane Modern Art Gallery last week. It was an exhibition of lesser known drawings, prints and some of his own personal collection of paintings as well as photos of him in his various studios.

It was a welcome cultural fix but I also learnt some lessons that can influence our working lives.

  • You don’t have to be perfect. Not everything Picasso did was a masterpiece. There were sketches and doodles displayed that he could have dashed off in no time at all when he was clearly just playing. We should be more like this. Don’t expect everything you do to be a masterpiece first time. Don’t expect to walk into your perfect job tomorrow. But play…try things out…ask your friends…relax…and in time one of the things you do will be a masterpiece.
  • Be authentic. Many of the pieces Picasso collected were from friends or by friends, people he admired, phases he went through. Each tells of something he saw in them that wasn’t necessarily obvious. Some of the pieces are rough and basic, some of great artistic importance. He just collected what he liked. The sketches were of real people, with bulbous noses, or real stomachs. Naked people with no airbrushing. Sex without the porn. All of these images are authentic and untouched by media worship. Stop trying to be what others want you to be. Stop trying to like what you think others want you to like. Just be authentic. Get to know yourself and investigate the original you. What makes you light up with enthusiasm?
  • Don’t put yourself in a box. You can be many people. Don’t constrain what talents you have. Did you know that Picasso also wrote poetry? He was not just a visual artist. He expressed himself in many ways. You don’t have to define yourself by your job alone.
  • Let inspiration guide you. One of Picasso’s most famous paintings is Guernica, a copy of which is displayed in the United Nations headquarters. He was inspired to paint it after the Nazi bombing of this little Spanish town and it has continued to inspire people with it’s anti-war message. We need to allow ourselves to be moved, and when we are inspired, to act. Don’t let the day in-day out working life kill inspiration and passion. You can still be someone who is moved and who acts powerfully. You are still someone important.

It is necessary to get out of your normal head space sometimes, in order to see beyond your current situation. The lessons we need to learn can sometimes come from surprising places.
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iTunes U: Get your self-development here!

July 7, 2008

This is a momentous event in the world of self-development!

iTunes has launched iTunesU – a portal for education, featuring online lectures in audio and video format. You can download these for FREE making learning accessible and easy whenever you can spare some time.

I am a huge fan of self-development and devote an entire chapter on it in my book “How to Enjoy Your Job” . I recommend using your commute to develop your brain, and your spare time to expand your opportunities by learning new things. Here is a brilliant (and free) way to do it!

Here are some of the available lectures for FREE at iTunesU that sounded pretty cool to me. You may think these are wierd and not for you – but check out the selection on line as there is something for everyone.

  • The psychology of blink: Understanding how our mind works unconsciously: Allen Edwards Psychology lectures
  • Money 101: Buzzwords: Clear the confusion with simple, direct discussions of key economic jargon
  • Ben Franklin and the world of the enlightenment
  • A holiday in France: Language lectures
  • Ask a Biologist: cool lectures such as Nanobiology
  • Einstein and the Mind of God
  • Really achieving your childhood dreams – Randy Pausch (Carnegie Mellon)
  • Oprah Winfrey’s 2008 Commencement Address at Stanford University
  • The Persistance of memory: Salvador Dali

To find these and so many more – go to iTunes store, and choose the iTunesU link.

Happy learning! and Post here if you find some cool lectures you want to share!
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Jack Canfield “The Success Principles”

June 22, 2008

“Formal education will earn you a living. Self education will earn you a fortune.” Jim Rohn

I am a huge believer in self-development and continuing education.
This is the first in the series of video reviews for books I recommend in “How To Enjoy Your Job”. 
These are books that have been important for my own development, and I also believe you will gain a lot from them.  
Let me know what you think – or if there is a specific book you want reviewed…

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7 ways to use your commute to develop your brain

May 11, 2008

The majority of city workers have to commute to their jobs daily, many for up to two hours by car, bus, train or metro. The commute is often used for catching up on lost sleep, listening to music/ radio or reading depressing news. But is there a better way to use your commuting time?

For these tips, you will need a notebook to write in and a MP3 player for audio. If you drive, consider using a voice recorder instead of a notebook to record your thoughts. Use your notebook to write down what is on your mind, and also to use as an ideas base and knowledge archive. It does not have to be a traditional diary on what you do every day. Use a quality notebook like Moleskine ( ) as you are going to fill it with quality material.   


On Day 1, rate your life in these categories: health, relationships, work, finances, spirituality, travel/experiences. Give yourself a score out of 10 for each, where 10 means perfect. Which of these areas do you need to improve? Write down all the questions you have in this area. This will guide what you focus on next.


2)    Download free audio or podcasts on the topic you have decided to focus on. Try or the iTunes store. There are plenty of free podcasts on all topics. You can also buy audio products online. If you want to save money, consider buying old tapes and a player from eBay.


3)    Get three books from the library on the area you want to improve. Read them on your commute, even if you only manage a couple of pages a day. Learn actively by making notes as you read. Record your new ideas.


4)    Start a correspondence course on the subject you want to improve. Perhaps you want to change your job? You can study on your commute and manage 10 hours per week of extra learning.



Actively read the newspaper, instead of passively absorbing negative news. As you read the paper, search for any articles that you can apply to your life or your business. Don’t forget to record new ideas into your notebook. Start tuning your mind into opportunity and active processing. For example, read about other people’s jobs. Think about how they apply to your own. Or read about a different country and plan an adventure.



Start actively dreaming. Write your perfect day in your notebook. Make it tangible by describing what you can see out of your window, the people who are there and what you are doing. If you are unhappy with where you are now, think where you want to be. The dreaming process is a great place to start. From here, you can identify the steps to get to where you want to be.


7)    Reread your old notebooks. Pick up on the ideas you have had and not yet implemented and take action on them now. Remember where you were and where you are now. Celebrate how far you’ve come.      

Boredom shifts your brain into neutral – 3 ways to kickstart it again

April 27, 2008


A study published last week indicates that the brain shifts into a resting pattern when doing monotonous or boring tasks.



The focus of the study was to see whether they could predict when the subject would make a mistake, with implications for workplace safety. They found that blood flows to the “rest” area of the brain about 30 seconds prior to making a mistake. The application of this is suggested to be a device placed on the head that would monitor for this shift of blood and then “give feedback to the user” to prevent mistakes.


This little snippet made me laugh as the brain is a clever thing. Instead of doing something boring, it decides to have a rest and maybe focus on something else while the body is stuck at this dull job.

Now we are inventing devices that will stop us going into this escape state whilst engaged in boring jobs.


There is a better way!

Get out of your boring job and into something that engages your brain.

Then you will not need a little hat that shocks you back to life every time you get drowsy!


The best way to tackle boredom is self-development. Here are 3 ways you can engage your brain.


·        Plug yourself into your ipod – but play audios for learning and development, instead of music.  There are free podcasts on every subject, including university lectures on diverse topics. You can learn a language, listen to debates or learn about wealth and money. You may not be able to do this AT work, but you can do it on the commute.


·        Get some books from the library. Go to the non-fiction section and start browsing. Pick something you are interested in, and have a read. Turn off the TV and focus on exciting your brain.


·        Look for other opportunities for work – within your company, or outside. Start looking at the qualifications you might need to have in order to escape the boredom you are stuck in now.


For further ideas, see Chapter 3 of “How to Enjoy Your Job”

Australia 2020: Turning knowledge into wealth

April 21, 2008

Increase wealth with innovation


One of the focuses of the  Australia 2020 Summit is the productivity agenda. This link contains an overview and also a downloadable PDF.


This agenda targets the changing nature of the workforce and the economy and how ‘innovation’ systems can be used to improve productivity across these areas. The economy needs to adapt to an aging population, the problems of climate change and a new economic landscape which focuses more on China and not just the US.


One of the innovation messages is to “turn knowledge into wealth” and improve commercialisation of science and research. This productivity agenda also features improvements in early childhood education. These two are intertwined if education and the economy are considered as whole.


People exist on the continuum – starting in education and ending up in the economy.  


Currently the education system is focussed around modules of knowledge that don’t necessarily relate to real world situations.  They do not apply directly to turning that knowledge into wealth.

One of the major missing components is teaching children and young people  about money, entrepreneurship and creative innovation

Science is taught in a vacuum, likewise literature and other areas of knowledge. I am not suggesting that these lessons are left behind – but that there are also modules that help students to turn their passions into profits. The commercialisation of science, or the arts can also be taught alongside how to use the internet to build a business, how to sell and how to account for the profits legally. The expansion of programs like Young Entrepreneur are needed. There could be more competitions that encourage participation and innovation, rather than viewing from the sidelines like a reality TV show. Seed money for young start-up ventures could be sought from angel investors. This should be encouraged as part of mainstream schooling and not just for the geeks or the super intelligent. Young people need to understand that they will need to earn a living so being taught the value and reality of money early on will help them later. If this had been encouraged for my generation, the credit crisis may well have never happened.


Some might say that it should not just be all about the money, and I agree that learning should also be undertaken purely for the pleasure in learning. But the practicality of what children are taught and how this will be used in the workplace must be examined. One of the graphs in the PDF shows how the number of people in management, admin and professionals has increased and the number of tradespeople has decreased. This means a huge number of people who work in offices, and not enough tradies to fix their plumbing or do their roof. I know, as I am one of the office workers who finds IKEA furniture difficult to put together!


To address this, education needs to start valuing real world skills as important to learn from an early age. Indulge children who want to bang nails into wood – maybe they will turn into builders instead of IT consultants – and probably make more money that way. Has the exit of male teachers from early learning meant that these more ‘male’ skills have been neglected in favour of softer skills? Teaching needs more innovation, less blame and a better PR job. It is often not portrayed in a way that encourages young people to enter teacher training currently.


For the rest of us, increasing wealth with innovation is exactly what we need to do. Changing the paradigm from one job or one career to multiple streams of income, investments, and self education for life.


Jim Rohn says “Formal education will make you a living; self education will make you a fortune.”

Individuals needs to embrace this attitude and start learning about the new economy and the impacts of technology, China and climate change.

Stop complaining about the oil decline and invest in sustainable energy stocks. Buy property on the outskirts of the city and save the change for your investments. Read books instead of watching TV. Listen to audios on self development instead of music all the time. Learn a language (Mandarin?) on your commute. Learn some practical skills. Take some evening classes.

And then turn this knowledge into your own wealth.