The rose, thorn and bud

I heard a great example today which epitomizes a big project I’ve been working on.

The rose is the positive – it’s that everything is coming together and visible progress is clearly being made.

The thorn is the unknown – it’s the worry and the uncertainty as to what could go wrong or come up as an obstacle in our path.

Finally, the bud which is what we’ll persist through and the known challenges in our way, but we have a clear plan of action to get over these hurdles.

This is true for most things in life – we must be aware of the rose, keep an eye on the thorns and execute our plan on the bud to keep moving forward.

On staying positive

Working through tough challenges requires a positive mindset – while the task may not be pleasing and you’d wish for nothing but for it to finish, you still need to stay positive otherwise you’re at greater risk of not finishing at all.

One strategy I’ve found to be useful to stay positive is to start with something super small and complete it. By completing something minor, you build momentum to continue working on bigger tasks knowing you’ve already checked off a few things from your todo list.

Some of these can be as simple as “making your bed” or reading a <5 min article.

When you practice a positive mindset on the small stuff, we’ll all be better at dealing with the big stuff.

As Napoleon Hill said: “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

Inspired by this blog post on being positive by Darius Foroux.

Scientific Icons

There’s a show I’ve been watching called Icons which has showcased Icons in specific genres in the 20th century.

I think this is exactly what should be shown to the youth of our generation – everyone should be aware of the icons who’ve shaped this century and made the world a better place. You know there’s some good in a show like this, when after every Icon they showed (Marie Curie, Alan Turing, Albert Einstein and Tu Youyou), I thought: “They have to win, surely!”.

The last line of the show epitomises a show like this: It’s not rockstars or sports stars who are going to solve this century’s biggest challenges – it’s the scientists of today and tomorrow.

Extreme views for attention

There have been a number of reports of football commentators who are making some ridiculous claims this past weekend (IMHO).

Here’s a premier league manager launching into a pro-brexit rant after his side drew 0-0 – his exact comments were: “I think we’ll be far better out of the bloody thing. In every aspect. To hell with the rest of the world.”

Pretty odd, considering the whole club he manages is run by a multicultural group of entities (see tweet below).

There was also two others who made outlandish claims praising a Newcastle United’s owner called Mike Ashley for keeping the club in profit and afloat, whereas practically all the fans know that he’s put no money of his own into the club and has increased the club’s debt ratio.

I have no idea why these football parties are making these outlandish claims and it made me think why anyone (like the US president) makes claims such as these.

One reason I’ve leaned towards, is that it puts them in the spotlight – it leads to media organisations writing articles about them (and their unfortunate views) and it seems more and more people are embracing this approach, which is a concern. It’s a negative cycle of outlandishness, lacking any sort of intelligence or logic.

I would suggest not reporting on these at all to extinguish the fuel the media can unwittingly provide in the worst of scenarios, but I’m sure it’s never as easy as that.

The ritual of mattanza

I heard about an old ritual conducted by fishermen in Sicily, who cast a wide net (16km long) and waited for months and months until the wind started to blow in a certain direction and once enough fish fell into the entrapment.

The fishermen haul the 30m deep nets to the surface, against a backdrop of rhythmic chanting (the cialoma) that dates back to Arab times. As the frenzied mass of fish rise to the surface, the tuna is clubbed, speared and hooked amidst much blood and gore.

The act of waiting for just the right opportune moment takes skill and courage – it interested me so I thought I’d note it here.

Defining Clickbait

Good emails tend to have subject lines that invites curiosity and an intriguing benefit.

Clickbait on the other hand, uses misleading language to trick people into clicking content under a false premise. Buzzfeed’s “clickbait-y” titles don’t actually improve your life, no matter how many adorable cat photos you see.

That kind of content is very different to what is writing strong, bold headlines that offer a benefit that the reader will actually want.

As long as you don’t sacrifice quality for shock value, you’re making the right type of progress.

Meaningful problems

I’m currently reading Bad Blood and the downfall of blood testing startup Theranos, and one of the only things they got right was they wanted to work on something meaningful and useful to the world.

While this can lead us to become unrealistic in our capabilities at times, it can be the true North that guides us to delivering beyond what we imagined and with the best of intentions. Do it for the right reasons.