Book Review – 10-10-10: A Fast and Powerful Way to Get Unstuck in Love, at Work, and with Your Family

10-10-10

In this book, Suzy Welch, the wife of Jack Welch – the ex-CEO of GE, imparted her wisdom on how to make decision in a systematic way. The method of 10-10-10 aims to analyze the impact of a decision in ten minutes, ten months, and ten years (or right now, foreseable future, and future that is very far off).

There are basically three steps to this method:

  1. Define a question that exactly describe the issue one is trying to solve.
  2. Collect data and ask what consequences are brought by each options in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years.
  3. Analyze and compare it with your values, then ask yourself which decision brings you closer to the life you want.

Sounds easy enough, isn’t it? That’s what I think. If the concept is so simple why does it need to be written as a book with 272 pages in it? Well, this book is a combination between Suzy’s life essay and the story of 10-10-10. Thus, the 272 pages. You do get to really understand the power and the way to use 10-10-10 by the end of the book because the many examples that she gave.

I also love this book for its value excavation. Suzy explained that 10-10-10 on its own is already powerful. When it’s combined with our values, 10-10-10 becomes a great tool to help us create an authentic life, a life according to our values.

Who is this book for?

This book is for those who are looking for ways to make decision methodically and enjoy a writing style that is nontheoretical. It’s a very easy to read book. If you are someone who knew about the brouhaha in the beginning of Jack’s and Suzy’s relationship like I do, you will get to hear her point of view in this matter. Then, there are stories about her children that can make you smile.

Who is it not for?

Because she wrote in a style that is conversational with many stories to illustrate her point (or sometimes just a story of her life),  this book is a bit lengthy for its content. Thus, if you are a to the point person, you will not enjoy it. The three steps I wrote above is the gist of the book. The rest is extra.

Will I recommend it?

Yes! Absolutely! I have used this method in my life and I should say it is a powerful method. Because of the methodological way in analyzing data and comparing it to your values, by the time you come into a conclusion, you will be very conscious on how you arrive there. As a result, you can explain it better to yourself and others. This will empower you and brings you closer to be a creator of your life.

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Posted in Book Review, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

5 Questions to Help You Decide whether To Tell the Truth or Not

Wildebeest

Wildebeest - honestly I think they look ugly

This post was inspired by my Spanish online class. I’ve never expected that practicing grammar (the use of subjunctive, for those who want to know) can give idea for a post. But I guess that’s a life of a writer, idea can come from many different places. 🙂

Well, back to the topic, yesterday my teacher asked me this question: Do you want your friend to tell you the truth? (¿ Quieres que tu amiga diga la verdad? )  My answer was: depend. The follow up question was: depend on what? Well, thinking on my feet and speaking in Spanish about such a deep question are like juggling plates on a uni-bike. So I just mumbled out something. Now, that I have some time to think, I’d like to share with you what I thought in a slightly bigger context.

Will you tell somebody the truth? The truth here implies bad news or opposite opinion or hard to hear information. Well, here is my answer, it depends. It depends on:

1. Is this truth really the truth or is it a matter of opinion?

A lot of things are a matter of opinion. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder we said. Answering yes that it is an opinion does not mean that I will not tell it but I will make sure that I file it in my head as an opinion so that if I decide to tell it, I tell it as an opinion with possibilities that others may have opposite opinion.

2. What is my relationship to this person?

Relationships are not created equally. Most of us probably will not share our most honest opinions about our boss’ wife’s terrible dress choice. The same with friends as well. Each friendship has different flavor. Some friendships are not strong enough (yet) to handle difficult matters, some are.

3. Is this something that the person really does not know, and she/he needs and wants to know?

When your friend ask you “should I break up with this guy/gal?”, pause a bit before answering. Sometimes your friend is really ambivalent about it and genuinely wants to know your opinion. Sometimes he/she already made up their mind and just want support from you. And sometimes he/she asks without wanting to really know the answer.

If your friend is in the first state, there is a good possibility that you can tell your opinion. If your friend is in the second state, you may want to emphasize support before telling her your opinion. If your friend is in the third state, you know that you are fighting an uphill battle were you to decide to tell your opinion.

4. How can this information be of a use to the receiver?

I want to emphasis that the usefulness has to be from the point of view of the receiver. All of us probably have at one point or another received advise or feedback that are not very useful because we already know it or hurtful. I believe many of us have hot button issues that we’d rather not discuss.

I think in order to know whether something is of a use to the receiver or not, the messenger, to the best of our ability, has to put oneself in the receiver’s shoes and to see from his/her eyes.  Look not just at the matter at hand, but at the bigger context of the receiver’s life. By doing this, the messenger will gain a lot of insight on how to deliver the message as well.

5. Is the timing and the setting right?

There is a time and place to tell hard matters. I find that timing is often crucial in determining whether our opinions are accepted by the other person or not.

In term of setting, personally I prefer a one-on-one setting because in a group each person has different relationship with each other. Plus, I don’t like to embarrass the other person nor myself in front of others. Given that, I also know that there are times when group can give more powerful feedback.

This five questions are not a checklist but a way to get a better picture. After getting the picture, we can then decide our next move. May be, we just want to check if the information we have is right, may be we decide that we want to persuade her to really consider our point of view. Whatever we decide, we have to prepare for the implementation of communicating tactfully, which will be the subject of my next week musing. 🙂

Posted in Communication, Self Development, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Letter to God – On Human’s Time Perception

Lounging around - not caring about time

Dear God,

Today is Friday. I’m trying very hard here not to say Thank God It’s Friday. I honestly often wonder, why is it that we are so prejudice about days. We hate Mondays and we love Fridays.  We often think our weekdays are long and our weekends are too short. We feel better if we start our resolution on New Year’s day or on a Monday or on the 1st of the month.

Have You observed that too, God? I sometimes imagine that You shake Your head when You are watching us from up there. Yeah, we often create our own suffering. We want the weekend to come fast and then when it arrives, we cling into it, and complain that it is too short.

I remember that series from StarTrek when Commander Data boiled a water and timed it while he was watching and while he did not watch. Both would be boiling after the same duration. But we, human, have a saying “a watched pots never boils“.

Even more strange is that after we said that, we actually often spend time obsessively watching our pots boil, or now that there is this activity called blogging, we watch our mail for new comments, new subscribers, or new followers. We are truly an interesting and irrational creatures, aren’t we?

Years ago, in school my teacher said that everyday is Your day. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad, that’s the song that we were taught. It’s certainly easy for me to say that today. May be I’ll try to do that next week, and on a Monday since I want to develop a habit of liking each day equally. After all, I live in a supposedly equal opportunity country. Wish me luck!

Yours truly,

Maria

Posted in Uncategorized, We, Human | 6 Comments

Before You Get Upset at Your Significant Others, May Be You Want to Do These First: Tips to Navigate Out of the Blue Mood

Navigating out of the blue lake

What do we do when we are feeling blue? D.Rene commented on my previous post that her SO  observes that (in her worst moment) she started an argument when she is blue. BlueCottonMemory likes to focus on making things better. For me, in my worst moment, I ruminate on how unlucky I am and get myself into feeling more blue and then I will start picking on all of the wrong things that my DH do. In my best moment, I act appropriately as the situation call.

Why are we feeling blue (or green or red)?

Usually, I am feeling blue because an event occurs, such as the garbage disposal leaked. From there, my brain starts a negative chatter mills. If I don’t catch it my negative thoughts proliferate, and suddenly, I am feeling down. When I am feeling down, I sometimes act non constructively. This of course is just one example on how I get to where I get. Sometimes, I just wake up at the wrong side of bed and am blue even before I open my eyes. 🙂

What can we do to get out of this blue?

Well, looking from this chain of event, I know I can catch it in 4 different places: the event, the thoughts, the feelings and the action.

Here are the ideas:

1. Do something with the event

Depending on the situations, sometimes we can and need to just avoid the event. For example, I don’t like to be surrounded by energy vampire acquaintances because I feel really down after meeting them, so I just avoid their gathering place.

Sometimes, an event just occur and we have no way to avoid it – like garbage disposal leaking. Here, we can only manage our thoughts and feelings and actions.

In some other situations, we need to go through an unpleasant event to promote self-growth. In the case of my anxiety of travelling for example, the more I do it, the more I feel comfortable with it.

2. Manage the thoughts

In some situations, catching negative thoughts and stopping them from proliferating like rabbits is the best solution. You know, there are times when one goes from “this particular editor dislikes my writing” to “I don’t write well” to “nobody likes me”.

In other situations, we need to continue the negative thoughts so that we know what they are and decide what to do with them. Following negative thoughts can give us useful information about our deepest beliefs. For example, if we keep noticing that we end with “nobody likes me” when a stressful event occurs, then we may want to see where that belief comes from and to work with that belief.

There are many other tricks with our thoughts. Trying to find the positive in the situation (e.g. my disposal break; well, this is a chance to get a new and better disposal), trying to focus on how to make things better like BlueCottonMemory said, trying to minimize the situation (e.g. my disposal break; well, it is just a small problem, the house is still standing, hot water heater is still on), and trying to distract oneself (e.g. go play with my cat) are just some of the examples.

3. Manage the feelings

Again, depending on the situation and who we are, we can do all sort of trick. Yesterday, I felt better when I did a downward social comparison. Some other day, I will be looking for inspirational stories. When I have more time and feel safe, I will just sit with the feelings. And in other occasions, I repress my feeling. The last one is extremely useful when the situation is urgent. One caveat though, I don’t think repression is healthy in the long run. We have to find a space to process it later on.

4. Catch the actions and work backward from there

When I find myself starting to browse the internet or watch a lot of TV like there is no tomorrow, I know that I am actually not feeling too good. For some other people, when they start to get upset at their SO, they know that it’s a signal to evaluate their day. It is possible that their SO’s behaviors are the problem, but it’s also possible that something earlier happened that put them in a blue mood.

This is by no means a complete list on what we can do when we don’t feel so good. There are many ways to cope. The challenge is to consciously use the coping mechanism that is appropriate for the situation and according to the way we are and what our value is.

What do you think? What do you usually do to get cope? Is there situation where this activity is useful and is there situation where it is not useful?

Posted in Blue Day, Self Development, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Blue Day Buster – Downward Social Comparison

Who needs a second house by the beach with its headache

It’s not exactly nice, but I have a feeling I’m not alone, it is this thinking process – comparing myself with somebody else that I perceive as more miserable than I’m makes me feel happy. The psychology of downward social comparison* is really at work today. 🙂

This afternoon, I found my garbage disposal leaking water. There is no way we can avoid replacing it if we don’t want to have a Venetian canal in our house. This means: Money! Ouch. I guess this is why we have emergency fund, but still, it’s a hassle. Plus I know, this is not going to be the last repair we have to do for this house. Well, that’s the reality of living in a 30+ years old house. I love this house, but sometimes, it does shows its age.

Feeling down, I took a break and went browsing at NY Times and found this article: If It Causes Stress, Is It Really a Vacation Home? The article said that having a second home is not an investment, is less relaxing, is time-consuming, and is confounding. Plus, you may have an awful neighbor whose hobby is getting into your business and reporting your “violation” to the board.

After reading this, I gradually feel lucky of having only one old house and even though it shows its age, it works as expected most days of the year. I have no complaint about my neighbors either. We look after each other house and keep our neighborhood safe. Ah… I’m feeling better. 🙂  In light of this, I’m going to note downward social comparison as one of the tools in combating feeling blue.

How about you? What do you do when you are feeling blue? Do you sometimes use this tool of purposely think of somebody/something that seems to be less fortunate than yourself?

*Oh, my best friend, Wikipedia, said this about downward social comparison:

Downward social comparison acts in the opposite direction. Downward social comparison is a defensive tendency to evaluate oneself with a comparison group whose troubles are more serious than one’s own. This tends to occur when threatened people look to others who are less fortunate than themselves. Downward comparison theory emphasizes the positive effects of comparisons, which people tend to make when they feel happy rather than unhappy. For example, a breast cancer patient may have had a lumpectomy, but sees herself as better off than another patient who lost her breast (Suls, Martin & Wheeler 2002).

Posted in Blue Day, Self Development, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Are We Treating Ourselves Worse than Our Cars?

I woke up this morning thinking about my car. DC needs oil check, I told myself. Gotta take care of him.

My DC is a 1994 Honda Civic. Old but reliable! Because I want him to continue to run well, I’m trying my best to do his schedule maintenance on the required dates. Then, I was thinking about myself.  When was the last time that I do a Self Check? A long time ago I realize… and not as extensive as my car schedule maintenance. 🙂

So this is my goal for this week – systematic self-evaluation. How do I do that? I follow Virginia Satir model of looking at oneself. Satir, in her model, sees human from eight different lenses.

1. Our body

Our physical part is a very important component of our mental and physical health. Here, I asked myself: have I been listening to you, body? Is there something that you need that I am not giving?

The answer my body gave was: you’re doing okay. I like that you eat a lot of vegetables. But can you please make sure to sleep enough? Also, I don’t like it if you sit for too long without taking a break. Can you exercise a bit more regularly? Take care of me better and I’ll take care of you and carry you to places you like for a long time.

2. Our thoughts

Our intellectual part of the brain often creates reality. I really love this post of seeing our mind as a private garden. I think I can say that I’ve been feeding my garden with a lot of nutritious food. What I’m lacking is making sure that weeds don’t grow as fast as the flowers.

3. Our feelings

Recognizing, acknowledging, and being friendly to all feelings within us is important. Some cannot be acted upon, but saying hi to them are necessary. Feelings make us humans, not robots. Honestly, I think I need to learn a lot on being friendly to all feelings. Anger, guilt, and shame have not received my love much. Gotta take a look at it.

4. Our senses – see, hear, smell, taste, and touch

How much freedom and restrictions do we put on our senses? As children, we were often given restrictions on what we can see, hear, and listen. Some are good to carry, but some are no longer necessary as an adult.

5. Our relationship

Some relationships are toxic and some are supportive and making us grow. We need to evaluate our relationships so that we don’t poison ourselves. We also need to see how we behave in our relationships and how we use our power. Sometimes, by changing how we react, we can change the dynamic for the better.

6. Our context – our space, time, air, color, sound, and temperature

For me, this has been a part of my life that I have not spent time fixing yet. I complain about my house and my time, but I don’t do anything to make it better.

7. Our nutrition – the food that we eat

Hmm… I have been good in eating my veggies, need to increase my fruits intake though. And oh, yeah, I gotta monitor food that make me tired and food that make me agitated.

8. Our soul – our spiritual part

Connecting to the source of life, be it God or higher power or however we define it, is rejuvenating and grounding. For me, meditation is grounding, yet somewhat I’m resisting it. I have a feeling that’s caused by me running away from some of my feelings. In addition to meditation, connecting to nature gives me peace as well. I think I’m doing better in this.

Phew, that’s all readers. I think I’m giving myself a B. 🙂 Will have to do some more thinking, observing, and taking action.

What do you think?

Connecting to the Source

Continue reading

Posted in Self Development, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

The Power of Support

Take the Problogger Challenge with SITS and BlogFrog

I have written before on how people need support and validation from others. In my experience though, it is not always easy to find a group of people where I feel connected, supported, and gently challenged. So it was quite a treat to find the SITS girls, a group of women bloggers who are dedicated in supporting one another.

Coincidentally, they also just started a Summer challenge program where each day, for 31 days, we will be working on specific project. I am about 3 days behind but I’m hoping to catch up soon.

That’s my journey on finding supportive people. How about you? Do you feel the need of getting support from others? How have you been your experience with getting or not getting support? SITS girls members, if you are reading this, would you please share how SITS girls forum have helped you?

Until then!

Posted in Self Development, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments