Tuesday, July 21, 2009No Such Thing As Multitasking
At last, an article that articulates my thoughts on this matter. It's all about attention.
In Brain Rules, Medina points out that the brain cannot multitask:
"Multitasking, when it comes to paying attention, is a myth. The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time. At first that might sound confusing; at one level the brain does multitask. You can walk and talk at the same time. Your brain controls your heartbeat while you read a book. A pianist can play a piece with left hand and right hand simultaneously. Surely this is multitasking. But I am talking about the brain’s ability to pay attention… To put it bluntly, research shows that we can’t multitask. We are biologically incapable of processing attention-rich inputs simultaneously."
If you’ve ever put on a CD to listen to while working, and then noticed with surprise that the music has finished and you can’t remember hearing any of it, you’ll know what Medina is talking about. Because we can only concentrate on one thing at a time, when we try to do multiple tasks that require attention, we end up switching between tasks, not doing them simultaneously.
Business coach Dave Crenshaw, author of the book The Myth of Multitasking, makes the same point:
"When I speak of multitasking as most people understand it, I am not referring to doing something completely mindless and mundane in the background such as exercising while listening to this CD, eating dinner and watching a show, or having the copy machine operate in the background while you answer emails. For clarity’s sake, I call this ‘background tasking’.
When most people refer to multitasking they mean simultaneously performing two or more things that require mental effort and attention. Examples would include saying we’re spending time with family while were researching stocks online, attempting to listen to a CD and answering email at the same time, or pretending to listen to an employee while we are crunching the numbers."
So there’s no such thing as multitasking. Just task switching - or at best, background tasking, in which one activity consumes our attention while we’re mindlessly performing another.
Saturday, April 18, 2009A Poem
I just loved this poem from MSIAer Anne Naylor's latest post at the Huffington Post.
Autobiography in Five Chapters
1. I walk down the street.
There is deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost.... I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault
I get out immediately.
4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it.
5. I walk down another street.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009Cats and Cool
God is intention. When you tithe you make God your abundant focus. God’s intention is in that focus, so God will know right whereto find you.
(From God Is Your Partner by John-Roger, DSS)
If you have money to invest and you are confused as to the best place to put it, you are not alone. Richard Russell of Dow Theory Letters gives as good a summary below as I have seen:
So what's the answer to the current unprecedented situation? What should you and I do?
Don't be married to any specific scenario. Anything may happen in response to the current situation.
The best survival plan is to be diversified. Nobody knows who or what will be "the last investment standing." Will it be Treasury paper, high-grade bonds, real estate, diamonds, T-bills, cash, top-grade corporate stocks or gold?
T-bills are the choice of many sophisticated investors. But T-bills are denominated in dollars, and dollars are vulnerable as are bonds or any other items denominated in Federal Reserve notes ("dollars").
Real estate and diamonds represent intrinsic wealth, although they are not instantly liquid, meaning that they cannot be instantly turned into cash.
Gold has been accepted as wealth for thousands of years. When all other forms of supposed wealth crashes (deflates) or becomes suspect, the last wealth asset to stand will be gold. Gold has no counter-party nor has it any debt aligned against it. Gold needs no central bank to ensure its acceptance. Gold is accepted everywhere and in any quantity as a form of indestructible, eternal wealth.
Gold's problem is that it must compete with the fiat paper that is manufactured by the world's central bankers. Gold is the bankers' enemy. Nevertheless, for survival purposes, it makes sense for every investor or family to own at least a small (10% of assets) position in gold. Remember, you don't own gold in the hope of a potential profit, you own gold as a store of wealth -- as a safe haven asset.
Today, investment money is so suspicious of the viability of any given asset that they are placing their money in an item that bears the full faith and credit of the US government -- I'm referring to Treasury paper. The shortest-maturity is the 91-day T-Bill, yielding literally nothing. Yet if one places one's money in a T-bill, it is thought that this is as safe a place for storing wealth as you will find. Actually, one major worry with T-bills is a possible collapse of the dollar.
My own point of view regarding the above is to not try and be an investment genius. Just do your best to preserve your hard earned money without risking it unnecessarily. The biggest losses I have seen people make were those where they tried making high returns. Of course, some succeed. But the real "successes" were the financiers/money managers who just took their percentages off the top regardless if the investment did well.
I love Tim Price of PFP Wealth Management. Here are excerpts from his latest newsletter where he writes an open letter to the Western banking establishment. It's hilarious and scathing.
I would also be grateful if the strategists and economists who work for you could abstain from publishing their unsolicited opinions about resolving the banking crisis within the financial media. I am sure you will agree that hearing from the same strategists who worked for the architects of such widespread financial destruction is likely to irritate those of us who were not actually complicit in the extraordinary and venal credit boom of the last several decades. There is an expression that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Those of your employees who were the public face of the problem are, I think you will agree, unlikely to represent the solution, unless perhaps they are fired - en masse, from a giant howitzer, into an area where they can do no further harm. Alaska, perhaps. I would further suggest that the high profile commentators who work for you and who have implicitly played their part in marketing and then amplifying this catastrophe might consider quietly entering another field with superior ethics and enhanced value to society at large: perhaps as piano players in brothels.
Perhaps you, like I, find it richly ironic that members of the public still use your investment subsidiaries as a means to protect and grow their private wealth. I think you should promote the activities of these subsidiaries more widely. My idea for an advertising slogan: “When it comes to moral hazard, we’re Number One. We helped trigger the biggest financial and economic collapse in history through our imprudent lending and investment. Between 18 million and 30 million jobs throughout the world are almost certain to be lost. And more than 50 million jobs throughout the world are now in jeopardy. As a result of our investment expertise, we’ve lost billions, and those of us that still exist and aren’t owned by the taxpayer are technically insolvent. Now, how can we help you with your finances ?”
Regarding the last point above I have been reading Barron's roundtable of experts as they make their financial predictions the coming year. They are twelve of the most erudite financial minds you are like to find gathered in one place with the most astute observations. Then you read how they did last year and find that they ALL lost gobs of money--most over 50% and some 80%.
My point is don't be ashamed of feeling ignorant. No one really has a handle on our current situation. Just do your best and follow the spiritual principles of abundance and prosperity.
And if you are a cat lover then forget about all the financial woes and look at these superb photos. (Thanks to Betsy for this).
When I first mentioned frugal living I got feedback that this was "poverty consciousness." Well, in yesterday's Financial Times I found this:
Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker concluded recently that in the US “frugalism is the new cool.” according to Bob Carter, brand head in the country.
It feels good to be cool.
Thursday, January 29, 2009Ten Steps to Success
From Wealth and Higher Consciousness by John-Roger, DSS:
These ten steps are offered as a specific, almost scientific formula that can work if you work them:
1. Focus on what you want, what you’re really interested in.
2. Use your creative imagination. Visualize what you want.
3. Have enthusiasm about what you want.
4. Have single-mindedness of purpose. Know exactly what you want and let nothing distract you.
5. Desire your want above all else. Have no alternatives.
6. Have faith. Be involved, and take action toward getting what you want.
7. Do the work that is required. No excuses.
8. Give up all things opposing your goal. If something is opposed to your goal, go around it, over it, under it - or remove it.
9. Claim that you have it. Pretend it’s yours. Experience it as though you already have it.
10. Be grateful for what you have. And be loving. Loving is the key. If you can get into a consciousness of loving even before you do the first step, then your loving has a focus that empowers all the steps to come.
Do you have to do these steps, one at a time, in order? I suggest that you start doing them in order, and you may find that some of them happen all at once, rather than one separate step at a time. For example, you may find yourself doing steps 4, 5, and 6 simultaneously. If there is confusion or doubt, however, just separate them, and do them one at a time.
People throughout the world have used this formula for success. Is there anything this doesn’t work on? I don’t know of anything. Of course, some things are easier to achieve than others, and some things may take a longer period of time to manifest. It depends on the nature of your chosen priority.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009Success
To achieve an action that is fulfilling, that leads to joy, you need a match in thoughts, feelings, and physical response. When those three areas match, you act, and the result is success. Failure often results if you attempt to act when all three areas are not in harmony. For example, in your inner dialogue, your mind may say, "This seems right to do." But if you act based upon the thought alone, you may find yourself isolated in your ivory tower someplace, holding back the things you don't want to handle - putting out intellectual statements to justify your position, while feeling very insecure about the validity of that position.
A thought without a feeling is half alive. For instance, if a thought comes to you, "It would be a good idea to go back to school and get my degree" check out the feeling level. You must have a feeling to match that thought. If you're happy with your job and your present life style, you may find that the thought of going back to school creates funny feelings, maybe a little doubt, maybe a great deal of "butterflies" in the stomach. You could change the thought a little - "It would be a good idea to take a leave of absence from my job in six months and go back to school." Check to see how that feels. "That feels better! " In six months, you check with your boss about the leave of absence, check out the present feeling level, and you may find that you now feel very good about going back to school. So you have a thought and a feeling to match it. Then you check out the physical level. The body says, "I can handle that change in lifestyle - in fact, it might be fun." Now there is a match of thought, feeling and the physical response. And the action will probably be a clear one. You also have to consider Spirit, and if all the other levels say "clear," it's generally clear with Spirit.
(From The Way Out Book by John-Roger, DSS)
Here is another take on success from the late brilliant pianist Artur Rubinstein:
Of course there is no formula for success, except perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.
We've talked quite a bit about values and how important it is to know what they are and live in harmony with them. In that context, I enjoyed this excerpt I found today from a recent blog post:
The Obama presidency is not a revolution, but instead a restoration. The "values upon which our success depends", Obama reassures America, "these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout history". He asks for a "return to these truths". Nothing new is needed, neither fresh ideas about the human condition's betterment nor utopias; merely a return to and vindication of the past.
---Gabriel Paquette (www.Guardian.co.uk)
I caught this sardonic comment in a blog I was reading:
It is now 40-odd years since Peter Bauer taught us that aid is “a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.” Nothing that’s happened in those years has contradicted his judgment.