Finally bought One by One, which is my favorite Foo’s recording. In particular I like Tired of you, which is a song that I’ve always felt is very Buddhist in sentiment. This is me talking, I’ve no idea what Dave Grohl thinks. It doesn’t matter what happens or how tired I become I will not quit on you; you being every sentient being. See, I’m putting my own sentiments on it. That’s one of the nice things about music – you can make it what you want. The stuff about diamonds in your fire is very Buddhist, at least very Tibettan Buddhist so …

All my life, I live in that space too and the last track Come Back is, to me a reprise of the sentiments about not abandoning people, keeping them in your heart where it matters. Their music is about uniting people and overcoming barriers most of the time. I’d forgotten how much I liked it. I also like they’ve had trees planted to cover the carbon cost of making the album.


Just been reading the very excellent Leadership and Self-Deception, I can’t recommend the book too highly. It’s central thesis is that we all live (at least some of the time) in “the box”, a place where we do selfish and self-centred things and then start justifying our behaviour by painting others behaviour badly, which puts them into a box also (assuming they choose to join in). Then you end up with a self-reinforcing structure where people just feed each other’s bias and nothing gets done, also, sadly, nobody gets what they want and it hurts. It takes some bravery to admit that you are doing this kind of thing though. You get better results when you turn away from yourself, honest, and it feels so much better. It’s just difficult.

In my own experiences I’ve characterised this as people saying now look what you’ve made me do all the time, which is what happened to me a lot in a relationship that failed badly and was very painful. Other people don’t make you do anything, you choose your response every time. It’s just that sometimes people find your hooks or buttons and catch you with them or press them and start the script running, some people press their own buttons and the best thing to do is keep well back. I remember years ago going on a course where people were taught to say I am not a fish, which meant you didn’t have to take the bait or rise to the trap that’s been set for you. This book explains this idea, using the box metaphor, very well and succintly as a simple story. Don’t be put off by the word leadership in the title. You have to lead yourself before you do anything anyway. I’m thinking of buying several copies through the mentorship system I’m part of (which is where the book came from) and giving copies to people I know who need it. I need it as much as anyone and need to make sure that people understand the gift is not criticism, but a genuine attempt at dialogue.

The next book is Success Acceleration, which is slightly problematic for me because I am not a Christian and there is a lot of God in the book. However this doesn’t devalue the book at all and the strong beliefs in it only show the author’s sincerity, which I can’t fault.

I haven’t finished it yet but it has given me some surprises. In order to set goals you need to know what part of your life they affect. He also reminded me of something from my coaching qualifications (that of course should apply everywhere but I had forgotten it, sigh …) which is how you learn new skills:

  • Unconsciously Incompetent. As in you don’t know what you don’t know. Not really even a beginner.
  • Consciously Incompetent. You know you need to work on something and are doing so. You are beginning to acquire the skill.
  • Consciously Competent. You have acquired the skill and know how to use it but still have to think about it.
  • Unconsciously Competent. You can just do whatever the skill is without conscious thought, for example if you were riding a bike you just thing I want to be over there and there you are.

He suggests that a a lot of us are unconsciously incompetent at goal setting. We think we know how but funnily enough our “goals” don’t come true. This has rung a number of very loud bells for me. I am going to go back and look at how I set goals.

He hasn’t mentioned (and may not) that there is a difference between tactical and strategic, tactical being what do I do now to reach my goals and strategic being the long term thing you are trying to achieve. So, for example, you might have a task which is go out and meet more people but the goal is build a big people-based business. So a daily tactical goal could be something like talk to 10 new people every day, but if you don’t know why you’ll probably stop doing it.

[[ Note 16-Apr-06 In fact the last section of the book is called tactics! So more fool me. ]]

Another important factor is persistence, just getting things done that you said you were going to do. Putting dates on your goals and tasks and ticking them off. This means getting the habit of listing and checking them all the time, which is what differentiates people who are good at getting things done.

I also like effective people:

  • Accept responsibility
  • Get results
  • are energetic
  • are competent
  • are willing to adjust their belief window

If you want to know what a belief window is I suggest you read the book!

An old classic that is just back in print is Your Greatest Power, which is of course the power to choose. Try saying to yourself I choose to be happy, I choose not to fight with people, I choose to be wealthy several times a day. You’ll see. Another point that the book makes is you should avoid things like I can’t afford x like the plague because you are choosing not to be able to afford it, ever. Instead say I will afford it and I will have it. This doens’t mean hitting the credit card, it means opening your mind to the opportunities that come along. My only slight criticism of the book is that the author obviously wrote it in the days before italic fonts and word processors so THERE IS A LOT OF SHOUTING IN CAPITALS, but hey, it’s a product of it’s time and still a classic. I read this book and re-read Keys to Positive Thinking at the same time; the compliment one another very well. I have summarised the summary from this book and stuck it on the toilet wall where I will read it often!