Category Archives: Free D

We Don’t Need You!


The 21CN has established consumerism as a significant cornerstone in social and economic development. It has been identified as a key global growth factor and as such is widely adapted by veteran capitalism countries, as well as many of the new emerging world forces in China and India. Sadly, the negative effects it has on the environment and sustainability are widely documented , and so is the damaging impact on our well-being, such as from the institute of well being or from consumercide (The New Politics of Consumption: Why Americans want so much more than they need). The observer from March-2010 quotes a research from the Economic Journal by Curtis Eaton and Mukesh Eswaran:

There is another downside. As people yearn for more status symbols they have less time or inclination for helping others. This, the authors argue, damages “community and trust”, which are vital to an economy because they ensure the smooth running of society. They conclude: “Conspicuous consumption can have an impact not only on people’s well-being but also on the growth prospects of the economy.” The theory may go some way to explaining the public backlash against the louche lifestyles of the UK’s footballers, bankers and politicians.

So, to counter those harmful aspects, organizations such as Ethical Consumer have put their mission to offer alternatives.

I Shop

As far as my contribution, perhaps looking slightly at a bigger picture, I will outline in this post, 7 consumptions sins: seven things you don’t really need. Yes, really. No, you don’t need any of those.

With no particular order:

  1. Branded Clothes – From Naomi Klein‘s “No Logo”, to stores that sell unbranded clothes, this phenomenon is not new. You want to belong, and be unique, so you buy your jeans at Levi’s or Diesel, and feel you achieve this balance. You should know better and perhaps  join the scouts, and likely learn more about sharing, teamwork, togetherness, and being part of something bigger than you; while still having lots of fun in the meantime. So have clothes you like and can afford, and I did not even start to mention they will often be more comfortable. Let’s get back on track –
  2. Latest and Greatest (aka Gadgets) – If you are one of those people with iPad  considering an upgrade to iPad 2, this is a must read for you. You may ponder on this – coming form a Technology guy or at least one pretending to be such, it may initially sound shocking. In fact, it shouldn’t. I know that from any 10 new ideas I have, 8 tend to be on the rubbish side, 1 is OKish, and one may be worthwhile (I flattered myself, I know). Your percentile may vary, but you get the idea. Sometimes to get to the quality, you need to keep the flow of quantity running. When I did copyrighting school, the most important lesson for me was the association game: throw more and more ideas into the room, zoom in and out, play with them preferably with a team, gather the ones that best fit the brief, make it happen. Sometimes combine few, sometimes you will inspire others, or be inspired by others. The floor will be full of walked on garbage ideas. So, what is that all nostalgia reminiscence? Maybe, instead of throwing the shitty gadgets you are bound to be buying acquiring all those latests, don’t get them to begin with! You can always get later the ones that stick around, that really make an impact on your life, that make a difference to your relationships, to people that matter to you. Use the passing time to your advantage and get proportion. Indeed, you may want to be first, so you can have those bragging rights. Alas my friend, bragging is another thing you don’t really need…
  3. Bragging Rights (and Show Off in general) – Whenever you need something external to make you feel good about yourself, halt. You are doing something wrong. This may be the part of your Ego that is not helping you. You give one of your best assets, the control on your happiness and well being, to something you do not control. It’s often a big mistake. It will lead you to reliance upon that external substance. Something that can be taken away from you. Replace it with inner strength. Easier said than done, I agree. But a good clue is to avoid any bragging, any show off, any status symbols, anything that smells “I’m better because I have it and you don’t”. You are very important because you mean a lot to the few people that care about you. Nothing else. And while we are on external substances…
  4. Alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and other addictions – Unless your name is Jane, those are a no no. They take away your second vital asset: short span of time you were given by mighty ____ (feel up based on your religion or beliefs). Some even take your free will so in the name of freedom you willingly take yours away, dominate your thoughts (e.g. getting more of the substance) and replace your needs with new illusions of perceived needs. Do you really want perceived needs when you already have real ones? RIP Amy.
  5. Gambling – A close relative of above, as a common addiction – but with a slight addition to being evil and destructive: it is mathematically proven wrong doing, manipulating lots of hard earn cash to make profits for those that already have too much sins commited. It is sponsoring criminals and Mafia. Who else needs a Wonga.com paying 4200% interest for 400 GBP (max) for a month, if not a mind-stolen gambling junkie? Evil services from the dark side, even Darth Vader would fear.
  6. Guilt & Greed“What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”. Well, slightly beyond the scope for this post, we sometimes carry those emotional feelings, in as much as we carry fear, lack of confidence, envy – to name just a few. To a certain extent all of those are not needed, but they do serve as some kind of a warning sign, and in moderation can turn the wheel in your favour and have positive outcomes. Fear can direct you away from trouble, and envy can perhaps give you motivation for initiative. Even guilt, a voice from your conscious, or greed, an act of ambition, can sometimes drive you to the right track. The reason I chose carefully guilt and greed, is because they have a dimension directly linked to buying things. Guilt often causes you to compensate. And compensation is not as pure, and as fitting, as the original causality. Buying excessive toys to kids because you do not spend any time with them, is an example of the former. Greed is the fundamental drive causing you to need things you do not need. So eliminating one bird, will cause the whole tree to fall. Or something like that. I’m pretty sure there was another bird somewhere, originally. But we don’t need it either.
  7. Big Weddings – Something that is almost a plague in my homeland. And I do not mean,  to those that can afford it. It is those couples that struggle to have or rent a home, do not get a lot of help from their parents, their current work income is hardly sufficient to their basic needs, yet they spend a fortune inviting 600-800 people some of which they hardly know, with expensive catering, bar (in my country it is usually free for the guests – here in UK that is almost suicidal…), exquisite scenery and location, music, dresses and cloth, flowers and décor, invitations, party theme, lavish car to pick the newly wed, a top photographer… it is endless. In the name of “our life are going to be tough so at least we make one day perfect”, the young couple throws themselves down many a steps in the ladder, they will than need few years just to get back to where they were. Extremely short term satisfaction never lasts  (if at all, many a times it is another case of bragging, hiding the real situation, or pseudo-satisfaction meaning external show off rather than a real intrinsic one). I’m all for experiences in general, and they prove to be more valuable to ones long term mental health than consuming things, but this is more about consuming artificial commodities in the experience.  You can make a lifelong shining experience, by focusing on the things you do need in your wedding: relations, friends, party atmosphere, fun. Everything can be reconsidered to fit your budget and needs, helping you to start your life as a couple on a positive note (and positive balance). Your real friends will want this for you as well.
  8. Bonus – Too long posts by people that tell you what you need and what you don’t need – they make me sick. In fact, I’m sick. I wonder why.
So what do you actually do need? This is surely deserving it’s own discussion, and I promise a separate follow up post sometime, but if you have basic roof and security, you surround yourself with loving friends and family, go outside, choose the positive options life present you, engage your body and your mind often, use your imagination, and have something significant to your life: you cannot be too far off the track.

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Free D #5 – What is Realism? A tale about Optimism, Pessimism and Realism


The pessimist complains about the wind the optimist expects it to change the realist adjusts the sails… (William Arthur Ward)

Opening Notes

There are many contradicting views about realism, and specifically on how it relates to optimism and pessimism:

  • Realism is a middle ground, a kind of average between optimism and pessimism, as if it is a 50% of the available range of views. To find this approach, outline the optimist one, the pessimist one – and do your maths.
  • Realism is somewhere in the range, but not necessarily in the middle. Like Left and Right wing political parties, are not equally represented by a “Center” party. For instance the UK Left Labor and Right Conservatives would not necessarily agree on the views of the Liberal Democrats. Realism in that case cannot be easily predicted by the optimist or pessimist views on a certain issue, but is expected to sit nicely within.
  • Realism is a moderation or refinement of one of those approaches, sitting closely to one of them, predominantly pessimism. Even if colors seem to be on a different level than black and white, the fact of the matter is that physically colors blend to the extreme produce white as a scientist would tell you. Interestingly, a kid would rather view the opposite, showing you his black Crayon and absence of a white one as a proof. So perhaps Realism is basically an upgraded, politically correct, psychologically healthy form of plain pessimism? There are many people accused of being pessimist, that tend to justify that by saying they are being realists, so clearly there is some case for that approach.
  • Realism for the most part is unrelated (or only loosely related) to both optimism and pessimism. Surely it has a distinctive view on a certain issue like optimist and pessimist views may have, but it cannot be combined from an optimist and/or pessimist approaches. It’s like saying you can characterize middle US Wichita Kansas from traits of Eastern New Yorker City and Western Los Angeles. Realism is an entirely on a different layer, incomparable to Optimism and Pessimism.

To explore this further, let’s imagine the following scenery:

Picture a middle of a sunny day, approaching summer, in your room. The good news is that you are actually in a cool room inside a great hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The bad news is that you are stuck there due to flight cancelation, and have been so for a while. The reality, is that this was indeed, real.

Now we can push the boundaries of each of the approaches, and see where it takes us, perhaps assisting us in clarifying which of the above approaches make more sense here, and in general.

Optimism

Tom Yum Goong

So we are in a sunny resort, in a tourist heaven. Not a shabby starting point, I may say. Let’s assume you are in your chosen perfect conditions (alone, with your spouse, with your family – you name it!). We can also assume you got there for business, and now that you are stuck and finished your business, you have a great opportunity for a little vacation. You even do not have associated costs, as between your work organizing the trip and the travel agents, things are taken care of. Why not give you perfect weather of a no rain, pre summer season? (You may argue that any sunny weather is perfect for a Brit, but this particular season is amazing). You are also surrounded by few friends who are staying in the hotel as well due to the flights conditions. In the hotel itself, I forget the annual conference of Elite Models that is hosted in your hotel, adding some pizzazz to your wonderful stay. Moreover, due to financial landscape, shopping costs are extremely low so you can buy presents for all your family, friends, and occasional people you have just meet that smiled to you (not necessarily beautiful young women you want to pick up). And lastly, yes: you love Thai massage, Tom Yum Goong, and Pineapple cocktails.

Now, you may ask why we can take those assumptions, it’s unfair and was not in the scenery brief. Simples. Optimism is all about taking the positive view, embracing the potential that exist in the situation. All you need is yellow lens, highlighting for you what can be done that will make you happy. Feel free to add anything you see, it is after all individual. However, you do need to train yourself to see those gems, as they might be hidden in a riff ruff of…

Pessimism

Well, things may not be as they appeared above, to the untrained eye: it’s not that your flight back from this very short trip was canceled; it’s a Volcano eruption that created dust over Europe that prevents any flights in that all regions for the foreseeable future. You warned everything that listened that the world climate is choking at us, and expected in 2013 we will have severe bursts of disasters. Even you did not know it would be sooner.

Your spouse is at home is pregnant in her last trimester, and is expected to give birth while you are away, and you feel as if she is crying for you every phone call. Not that you manage to contact her easily, as due to the crisis there is peak telecommunications usage.

Back to Bangkok, the political climate becomes tense as the red shirts protest against the government. You are afraid of walking in the streets with the few garments you brought (which happened to include a red short and bag) is risky so you try to avoid any travel. In fact several people recently died from the political collisions in Bangkok near your whereabouts, and most other hotels shut down so you cannot join their facilities (your own hotel is under reconstructions so a lot of amenities are not operational), so you are advised to stay put anyhow. Your favorite hotel restaurant closed (due to the financial crisis), and you need to select between a too spicy Thai food you cannot eat, and a crappy European food like Italian named and lookalike Pizza or Pasta that other than that does not resemble anything you like, not to mention you make a better version of it at your own kitchen, or a watery French onion soup (which includes pale onions, water and few pieces of bread – so can legally if we stretch things a little bit, be considered as a an onion soup) that you cannot anyhow eat as it’s much too warm. In fact there are 40 degrees outside and you burn even if you decide to enter the crowded pool full of stranded families and pensioners. It’s such a shame the Elite model annual conference was canceled due to political warnings in Thailand, on the last minute.

You do not complain, as you expected all of it.

You hate to fly (just recently the Polish prime minister died from a plane crash, and your fear of flights just increased yet to another level) and knew those planes cannot be trusted. Your pale skin hates so much sun, so you stay indoors. They shoot outside anyhow, so you better off keep low profile. Anyhow the pollution in Bangkok is so bad for your Asthma, that you prefer the ventilated air. You do have internet in your room, and work obligations you may miss, so you use the time to write those specifications you needed to. Occasional disconnections, just take few minutes to reconnect, and your old laptop battery (yes indeed it’s a Stinkpad) warms to death every few hours, so you take yet another shower (you need to cool the heat from yourself as well) to let it cool before you proceed. The time zone differences make it hard for you to communicate with your team, so you need to achieve more things yourself.

Whatever happens, you are in (a false) control. You planned for it, and took this into account. You may not use everything you prepared like the heavy sweaters you brought (in case it becomes cold) but you did use some like the extra credit cards you activated (as you ran out of money due to the long stay away). Overall things are going as you have predicted for the most part. Perhaps nothing can fool you, other the yourself being the fool.

Realism

One may argue the pessimist view actually shows biblical Ayub alike mishaps, and is incredibly misfortunate where the optimist view is very much happy go lucky. Are those indeed different stories, or can they all co-exist like in a parallel multi universe paradigm? Moreover, where is Realism? What really happens? You already knew there is more than one answer to it. In fact all the approaches may work, depending on how you decide to look at things.

There are certainly averaging views, as well as leaning toward Pessimism or Optimism on certain aspects. Let’s examine few.

You clearly want to get home and feel stuck and may delay more than expected so circumstances were forced on you. This is a key accusation against optimism – that it lacks connectivity to what really happens, it’s a vision not the things as they are, you cannot play all in your head as there are things beyond your control.

At the same time, you certainly can enjoy your forced stay. Focusing on the opportunities this change generates, may lead you to some swimming in the mornings (desirable in 40 degrees, and less so in rainy cold UK), or focusing on some reports without distractions you can finally find peace of mind and accelerate on, or using the APAC time zone to bond better with your local colleagues you were detached from due to the time difference, or even buying some groceries in a local shop to make your own authentic Tom Yum Goong once at home, rather than make it from the paste (from which it comes still pretty darn good).

So perhaps realism is about choice – facing the circumstances rather than ignoring them, and building on top of the advantages they present?

Summary (or saying things again)

So essentially I view Realism as a view on Change Management, which is a strategy focused on extracting the potential that exists in the situation like often done by Optimists, even if those changes were not planned or predicted as some pure Pessimists are good at when they keep outlining those dark prophecies ahead of time.

Realism is a form of adapting to change, and as our world throws constant changes at us – it’s a method of handling ourselves in that world. Many before us tried to change the world, and it is not easy. At least, not as easy as reforming the picture we have of that glorious world. Realism is hence a forming guidance.

So to me, to be a realist you just need to react or plan positively to the circumstances that are laid in front of you even if they do not match the best possible scenario you might have envisioned. It is a form of gestalt of Pessimism and Optimism, varying the weights depending on what is at stake and what the situation is – but it lies on a different tier, similar to how a seemingly 3D cube can be drawn by two dimensional lines, even if the cube presumably exists outside of the surface governed by those lines.

Why did I write this post? Sometimes, when you are stuck in places you did not plan to be stuck at, things that you did not plan get written.

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Free D #4 – Parity Principle – Rapport with Boss, Customers, and Other Relationships


Parity Principle

I know you think you must have heard that one, and are tempted to Google it. Well – don’t (unless you like philosophy). It’s just me hijacking the name for the following discussion: on boss, customers (=bosses), and other relationships (spouses, the almighty form of a boss).

When your boss, customers, or other relations communicate something in length, details, mannerism, style, tone and other ways – you should consider reciprocate your response to stay in parity.

Well this is very trivial but often neglected. Amongst the options you have when a certain issue is presented by someone are:

  • Responsd in parity – mimic the same level of attention or details that was given, in your response
  • Do not respond in Parity – But clearly justify it, as there is a hidden expectation that you do respond in parity
  • Ignore – you know what is important and what is not, don’t let others interfere with your agenda
  • This principal is basically suggesting the first option whenever possible. It drives harmony, alignment, and good communications. In some cases the 2nd option is applicable as well (I use 1:5 rule in general – works for me) when several pre-conditions are set (the forum of rejection is applicable and non offensive, the issue breaks strongly core values, beliefs or patterns you have – so you must challenge to give the opportunity to clarify, and others). The latter option is usually not helpful.

    Note: Response in parity does not mean agreement. You can explain why you think otherwise. As long as you give the same amount of attention to this area, you “respond” well to the hidden expectation, and then reduce friction (even if you disagree). Many a times a laconic affirmation, is less valuable then a detailed debate and disagreement – when the issue was presented to show the significance, rather than to force YES.

    Remember – This is specifically aimed at generic relationships where the original agenda set, is somehow unbalanced (boss sets agenda, and expects follow). In other relationships, as well as with intimate knowledge of the particular boss or customer style, a specific mannerism may override this principal – but it often still applies most of the time in any case.

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    Free D #3 – Prioritization or Does the GOLF club on TV burning with a CHOCOLATE colored SMOKE?


    Hmm… It seems the author has smoked something, perhaps greener than that brown chocolate in the title?
     
    No. I’m in a smoke free, pet free home (check my eBay staff). But I would like to discuss prioritization in this post, the 3rd in the Free D work series. Let’s start with the known prior art (one can see I do too many patents lately) – the most common metaphor learned is about Urgency vs. Important, where you are often trained to devote your time to things that are both, and avoid those that are neither:   

        

    Urgent vs. Important

    Urgent vs. Important

    But you didn’t visit me in this post for this – Did you? You know better. What I’ll share below is not based on scientific grounds, but on experience, experiments, and extra-marriage activities (ooops, this part should have been dropped out). It took me some time to define this, but I think I’m pretty close now, while it is still wide open for discussion and explorations. And no, it’s nothing new. It goes back to childhood, well not exactly – to Freud, and more accurately: to immediate satisfaction vs. postponement of gratification.    

    Yet another blow of that smoke, fella?    

    Let me explain the title first:    

     

    Golf, and many other sport activities, allow you to to certain actions that are instantly rewarded on success. There is even physical body changes, adrenalin pumps, joy of success, or even a cone of shame (see the movie UP from Pixar).    

         

     TV on the other scale seems a relaxing, no brainer activity. Yet it provides constant and effortless audio-visual inputs, for people to mess up their minds and  numb their brain cells. Yet, most of us spend some scary time of our life in front of this black rectangle of doom.    

       

    Chocolate (or pick your edible addiction) is slightly different – we have inherent survival needs for food. Yet Chocolate, a “healthy” repository of glucose, is what exists in our blood. Hence no need to undergo complex chemistry: blood gets what it wants, and gets it now – our biological fuel without fire, leading us nicely to the last one…   

         

    Smoking, yet another form of addictive substance. Yes, most of us who smoked, started because we wished to be cool, or to get laid, be accepted, or because there was really nothing better to do in fecking . However, smoking is often a breaker, if not a glimpse of fresh air, and use as such in smokers daily routines.    

    Those samples share this in common: they show how we all engage in activities that bring us immediate relief. While we all appreciate the needs for the “greater good”: long-term satisfaction from challenging achievements, self-improvement, fame and glory, or perhaps some cash – this is often tiring and grinding. So this brings me directly to the priorities system I suggest, for actually managing tasks:     

      

    1. Work in “waves” fitting your natural normal day “productivity” times. For more information on “hot times” see heatmapping.
    2. DO some things of the “Importance”, “Quadrant II” (Stephen Covey), “High-Value”, “50k view” or any other horizon of your choice – all depriving you from instantanious gratifications.
    3. Then DO some things just to feel good, V marks, getting things done – whatever you want to call it. Yes, they may be not important, or fit long-term values. Still do them as long as you need to get the adrenalin or buzz or raise your energy levels (“golf“), do things effortlessly almost auto-pilot (“TV“), things that bring immediate good feel results or plain bodily needs like eating (“chocolate“) or just your form of breakouts (“smoking“).

    Your priorities should be to weave in your tasks now and future, pleasures with growing, instant satisfaction with deffered gratifications.   

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    Free D #2 – 2D Barcodes – Another step at making the world Digital, Online & Dynamic


    Mobile 2D bar-codes are becoming accessible across handset technologies, formats, carriers and advertisers. But if we dig deeper, I believe it helps to expand an even bigger market: Digitizing and onlining the world, and making it Dynamic. I’ll try and explain what I mean by that.

    Digitizing / Onlining

    The revolution of information accessible and searchable in the internet, progressing to images, music (iTunes), video (YouTube), voice recognition (shazam), books (google) is continuing. By making everything online, we can navigate in the ever expanding world offering more choice. More choice traditionally seen as freedom, is heavily debated to be chains as well (see the Paradox of Choice – Why more is less), forcing us to spend a lot of time and resources, doing things that were trivial and equally enjoying in the past. 285 types of cookies to choose from in a supermarket? Surely it would drive monster cookie from sesame street insane, as if it does not already have popularity issues being a monster. So more choices, but with ability to filter and narrow down, potentially offers the end user both sides of the stick.

    2D barcodes allow neustar to convert traditional media and product, and make them online. This makes it not only searchable, but accessible later, and from different consumption points. I can scan a window shop, of a closed shop, and later purchase it online from my PC. Very simple use cases is often something that helps drive massive usage. Time will tell.

    Dynamic

    As a past programmer, I’m “trained” to see the evolvement between “constant” (hardcoding), variable (placeholder for something that may change), and even higher level of pointers (a link to something, that links to something).

    The trick is the trade off between simplicity of seeing something immediately recognisable as such, while still allowing our constant changing world, to adapt that representation to what is relevant the most, for a particular party, and a particular time and place.

    Didn’t I just outline what is trivial to any advertising and media company? I apologise for the inconvinience (that’s what people here at UK do when they step on someone’s toe). And yes, by creating easily recognisable bar codes, we help the consumer feel a somehow consistent (“constant”) representation, and by having neustar registries, we actually allow this to reference something that may change in time, place, and fit itself to the end user consuming it, in the most relevant way to him: fit his device, location, environment and needs.

    Another interesting aspect of it, is that the dynamic nature even of stable brands, in challanging economics that favour scale at certain times, and trending in general – allow us to to point a bar code of Pepsi Max toward (1) http://www.coca-cola.com website (if a future M&A will so dictate, and no – I have no inside information of CocaCola buying Pepsico, and no – this post does not constitute a recomendation to buy or sell certain stocks the reader may have own), that is (2) local to the country or current location of the person and (3) is fitting the needs of that consumer (a can, a 2L family bottle, or a container full of that black gold liquid for the addicted ones). This is a result of “server-side” value adding, that can link information together before actually targeting the given URL.

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    Free D #1 – My Ten Methods to Cope with Stress


    Well, as it will soon be apparent, this post is not about mobile technologies. In fact, that’s on purpose.

    Like many of you, I find once in a while too big a pile of tasks I need to process. While sometimes planning helps to mitigate load, the hectic environment and era does havoc to sticking to those plans. Interrupts, “urgent” projects (sometimes due to poor planning by external involved, mind my honesty), contradicting schedules, and just pure luck may result in a stress full petri dish.

    But WTF do I of all people, not known (yet) for his tranquil nature, want to murmur about stress? While not claiming to have any expertise on that field, I thought to start a dialogue on this, as it does touch few of us. Here are ten of the things I personally do to disarm stress. It is by all means not inclusive, ordered, or in fact relevant for all of you – but all below methods are employed by me to certain degrees of success in various work conditions:

    1. Preemptive Management – Scramble a Stress with your Asserts! By taking control of a situation, being assertive and saying No when you can, avoiding tasks you personally are known to handle poorly – you can trash away unnecessary stress factors. If some of those tasks are core in your role, you better take some time to learn them in a controlled environment, as they will keep coming at you.
    2. Break It – One of the simplest and accessible ways is to take a short break. Gather strength by replenishing, in any way you can afford do. I usually prefer to do a “pseudo-break” with below next item which is…
    3. Rapid Context Switch – Do something else. Shift your full attention to other activity. Engage with it strongly, and the time will detox the hazardous parts of your previous stressing activity, until only reminiscent is there. Sometimes the context switch allows you to avoid a stressful activity, people, or circumstances, until you are ready to handle those better.Then you return to your initial activity. Beware of deference or avoidance altogether – if something needs to be done, it will not run away.
    4. Communicate – Preferably by talking to others and yes I know social networking allows many other forms. Gain balance by drinking form the common wisdom out there. This also allows you to ventilate, express your feelings, and prevents a too long period of isolation.
    5. Blame Canada – Sometimes lack of confidence, or self doubts, will make a simple different views, look like a big conflict or even a distress situation. In some cases you can afford to “smartly ignore” your contribution (which is almost always non null) and just blame the weather, PMS, Saddam Hussein, or for that matter – Canada. If it helps you defuse the situation, and avoid the bad feelings from self blame, it can lead to positive results. I do not often use this method, as it has its cons – e.g. you should not ignore your part, and you should not ignore the stress message by trying to maneuver the cause. Your subconscious is usually smarter than you think and cannot be fooled around so easily. Still, when used cautiously, it can be effective, especially for “little-things-that-got-out-of-control-due-to-numbers”.
    6. Hit the road – Do something physical. I used to do it a lot when I was working in start-ups. We had boxing gloves, and hit a sack every day after a long debugging session. Often the bug was found when we returned.
    7. Zoom Out – Rather than self-pity, look beyond what you currently need to do (that caused you that stress) and gain some outside perspective. Look at how our current tasks fit into something bigger that us positive, rewarding, and raises good feeling in you. Psychologies sometimes offer this as “reframing”, but I prefer this on steroids by remounting it on a different wall of a different house, and not just changing the frame. Taking some notes on all the things that stress you is also beneficial. Zooming out  is an extremely powerful tool I use very often, as it fits my optimistic personality, as well as the inherent skills I poses to look into horizons.
    8. Consult the 3rd man – Often when stress results on a specific person (e.g. your boss – duh!), depending on your traits you may shift between defensive strengthening of your position to yourself, or totally dismissing it and accepting the other’s view. Both may result in further stress, either from keeping the conflict for the former, or from the sacrifice in the latter. You can try and visualize a 3rd person listening to both sides, and then asking him on his view. This mere exercise may provide a balance that will help to cope more effectively. I habitually use this with my spouse, but did use it at work situations as well.
    9. No Fear nor despairWhile preaching optimism is a slightly cheesy recommendation, looking at positive outcomes and upsides is a practical technique to learn.
    10. Sleep – While not always feasible, when you are too tired minor mishaps roll themselves into stress, and may accelerate. Other lifestyle choices may also inhibit stress (sporting, diet, avoidance of damaging substances, etc.) . For me, sometimes a short good rest is all I need. I personally have sleeping disorder allowing me to bypass full nights without sleeping. If I do not balance this, I can be easily irritated and need to sleep brute force even if I don’t feel tired.

    This series of Free D posts, will continue to explore other mines of  work environment mines.

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