Welcome to Zennen.net

 

Janne Piiroinen

Janne Piiroinen

Zennen is about positive transformation through lifelong learning. Best place to start the positive transformation is from within. I’ve shared many of my experiences, failures and struggles in this blog and intend to keep doing so.

Changes in life will not be magically altered overnight. Human mind needs time, but is capable in significant changes even during adulthood. I’ve come a long way from my early adulthood to this point, and even so I feel like I’ve just got started. In my current mindset, the learning experiences and growth experiences are the best things in my life.

I hope that my learning and exploration of different ideas will also benefit you.

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4th belief – leadership

As the article series goes, on, it gets harder to talk about the topics. That’s because they are newer concepts to me, and I do not know them that well, so I admit that I too have a lot to learn still.

That’s why I do not claim that these are end result: there is only one purpose with each of these articles, it’s the fact that beliefs can change and we sometimes hold quite ridiculous beliefs.

Let’s start with the leadership. I think past me, the one who did live his life is a good example, that even so called unnoticeable people can develop leadership qualities. I served in Finnish Defense Forces, I already had some ideas about taking responsibility, living consciously, but apparently as my motivation fell quickly I did not really put them in action. It wasn’t really a secure environment for me to do personal growth experiments, so after about two weeks I had completely given up trying that. Also the environment didn’t really encourage it in all terms. For example as I entered there, the desire to stay there long wasn’t really on top of my head, instead my head went into the “get out of here as fast as you can” –mode.

So I did not have motivation. I had only few qualities which helped me to get through the ordeal. However getting through the time in FDF made me little bit more balanced person as I had hoped it would. My physical fitness probably got from one to three on scale one to ten and overall I learned to do other stuff in life than play with computers, so it was a good experience.

As a team member however, I felt as a failure and I was not able to contribute at all time as much as I would’ve liked. I was really bad at our job, to add this to the equation I think most of the other team members viewed me as a deadweight. I was probably some team chemistry planners joke. I don’t know how that happened, but I was literally the nerdy non-smoker, there in between all the “bad boys”. There could’ve been many other options but that’s the way it turned out. I did not really complain. Most of the time it went okay, there was only a few really tense moments… You know when you are in the middle of night, everyone is exhausted, and you get the call to do some line repairs? That was our bread and butter, and I did not really contribute any extra mile to the team effort. In rertrospect I regret that.

So how does a person, who is indeed quite a bad team member who does bare minimum and for selfish reasons develop the leadership qualities and the work ethic to support it?

Leadership is merely the skills to get the people to work towards a common goal. Leadership has many dimensions, but simplest form of leadership is that of by example.

If you are a parent, you might want to think about the example you are setting to your child. People follow example, so always be vary of that. Example bring credibility, but real leadership isn’t any zerosum game where you can calculate what kind of influence do I have and then use to that the selfish needs.
For me the leadership is about leadership of the people, meaning bringing the best out of every single one person. It’s a philosophy that deeply resonates in me and it is still forming, as I mentioned in the beginning.

Where does leadership of the people begin?
By my definition it begins with yourself. That’s leadership of the self. We all are the CEO and chairmen of our “Me Inc.”. It’s very powerful way of thinking your life, it allows us to assume responsibility of our own lives and to extend that responsibility to the other things too. It allows as to function as a givers.

As we begin to shape our own corporation, we might start creating our own corporate culture. My favorite is to treat my corporations people really well, so I greet always “good morning”, instead of “morning”… And most importantly I greet everyone.

In my previous work place when worked as a cleaner, it took me a while to even get to say “Good Moring”, somehow it felt weird, because rarely anyone used it. So I took the challenge and eventually worked my through it. It may seem like a minor thing, but you gotta start somewhere.

After I learned how to greet one, I started developing more deeper social skills, small talk, listening etc. Pretty much everything and the work is still in progress. I did not have very strong social skills to begin with, and still I see room for a lots of improvement.

One most important aspects that I had to learn about social skills is the initiative. I’ve also written few articles about it, but one funny thing about initiative is that you just have to make yourself vulnerable in fronts of others, and quite soon you will see that there is vulnerability in everyone, then all the ice melts away and you’ll wonder why did I not do that earlier! So initiative is good, you’ll feel and know it when you need to act upon it!

Simple things like this indeed create the culture, it sets the tone and the mood to do the work. Eric Edmeades said it well on his Business Freedom Workshop, that the CEO is indeed Chief Emotions Officer. You manage the emotions of the whole crew.

With soft skills we can shape the mood and culture of the group. I have always tried to create atmosphere that’s encouraging, fun and focused to the core task.

From Soft Skills to Management Skills

After you’ve made so much initiative, you do not know where to be and when, it’s a good time to develop some basic management skills. Honestly managing is going anywhere, actually I am surprised by how far I’ve got just by awesome management. By management I mean pretty mostly time and resource management. You’ve to know yourself very well in order to become efficient manager of yourself.

Number one thing is a calendar. I use google calendar, I pretty much plan my working loads ahead. I know how much I can get done and I’ll try to be as realistic as possible with the time slots. My planning rarely fails, and even if it does, there is usually enough time to make up for it, that skill comes with experience. I plan one week at a time, but I do mark the important occasions well ahead so that I can actually plan the week when it comes.

Basically time is the most important resource we have to manage. When we manage our own time efficiently, we can pretty much do it for others as well. Managing projects is knowing how much work there is to be done, and how that will be done. Efficient manager will take all the requirements of the project into account so that the team can be productive, creative and focused to their strengths.

In project management also two things called communication and information management are tested. Both of these are extremely important, that’s why the communication skills of the project manager are essential. And as for the information management, if the system is well in place, team members will know where to find the information and that it is in fact valid and up to date information.

I’ve so far managed about six projects, from which keep learning. My next endeavor is to do some research more about small group work and develop some tools especially for inexperienced group workers, so that they may get the best possible group work experiences. This will be my thesis work, that I shall start momentarily.

There is still a lot to be learned about leadership, but the most important thing I want you to leave here with is the thing that you can develop leadership skills and qualities, heck even so much talked charisma can be built from scratch!

Next we learn that everyone has a motivation, we just have to find out what it is.

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3rd belief – creativity

Unlike previous beliefs, I’ve not felt neither empowered or encouraged to be more creative. However in time I’ve decided to build habits and adopt beliefs that would allow me to become more creative and especially more creatively productive.

I want to tell you little bit about my creative background, which I’ve almost none. However if I think some forms in which I have expressed myself as a child, it would’ve been cartoons. I loved cartoons, mostly though I read magazines like Donald Duck, Moomintroll and Asterix. In my home I had huge collections of these passed down from my older brothers. My creativity was also influenced by humorous adventure games like Monkey Island and The Lost Vikings.

Cartoons and game worlds did inspire me to draw my own first cartoon. I am not counting any school projects or anything, because to them I did not have purely inner motivation as to these. Later on I did a few cartoons about a fantasy world. I think that the cartoons were expressing quite well my appreciation to both humor story and visuals. Drawing wasn’t my strongest suite, but that’s okay with the cartoons anyway.

In the present day however I am challenged with different kinds of requirements for creativity. We use creativity in all everyday lives. I guess most comfortable form of creative expression for me is writing. I would love to answer thinking, but it’s not really expressing, until work is finalized, so I gotta stick with the writing.

To write productively one most have a daily routine, inspiration alone is not enough. I’ve written long time purely relying on inspiration and now I am working to change that habit once and for all. Reasons for that are many. I’ve started to feel very comfortable writing and using it as a way to express myself. During this summer I explored a whole new side of me, I finally go to write a real story. It took about five attempts before I found something which to write about more than a hour or two. The sixth attempt is a story and a vision about Year 2030. Hopefully I will get to finish it and share with everyone. However as the summer ended, I’ve also lost my place to write it, as it happens I loved write the story outside… And since I’ve lost my place I doubt that the writing will continue, for colder weathers means more time spend inside, and inside I write more serious stuff. Important thing here is the process however, have the process.

Process also includes having a lot of input, if you have a lot of input, then you are able to produce some output. I think the TED talks from the Elizbeth Gilbert are worth watching, they’ve inspired me incredibly to continue working.

What keeps the process going? Flow of course. As I studied the process, I realized that the feeling they are describing is something that I feel like when I am playing games. I lose sense of time and space, and just play on. Or actually that was when I was younger. Now days it’s difficult to encounter such games which take away my place and time. Flow is pretty simple thing in the end. You just need some fairly interesting thing to do, which is sufficiently challenging and rewarding.

The rewarding thing is interesting, because this I learned from the games and flow is that before I used to get to flow easily in almost any game and now I cannot. The reason for that is because I’ve changed the meaning that the games have to my life. They do not have so much meaning to my life so that means I do not really enjoy them. Basically you can create a meaning for your favorite action, so it will become more rewarding. That I’ve done with my writing now.

Writing means so much to me, it structures my thinking to a more understandable form, while at the same time providing interesting challenge at improving in the expression and chance for me to share these insights with other people. I feel as I improve, the more clarity I am able to gain, more clarity the writing gains and so I am feeling rewarding by the process itself. Not to mention the incredible benefit and basis what my writings potentially bring for future discussions and reference for those discussions. I love a good discussions.

Collective Creativity

When it comes to a team work setting for example, creativity can take a different tone. I’ve felt quite pressured sometimes “to be creative”, but now I understand that such activities should just be dropped.

Creativity is a very interesting thing. I need a lot of background information before my minds starts popping out ideas. In fact my mind pretty much work the way that I just research and it comes to me with the solutions when it’s the time. So being forced in a group session does usually just halt my brain activity completely. That’s why I prefer to research on my own first and then enter the arena of group work.

Groups are tremendously useful thought. Especially when you have “some idea”, meaning some good idea which could be made a great or even excellent idea.

Diversity in groups can provide excellent perspective and truly spark the creative. Perspective is the simplest basis for all creativeness. Basically a great idea can come from anyone, what matters is indeed the perspective, the more “fresh” it is, the more likely for the idea is to be the great one. Homogeneous groups rarely spark have the spark to come up with anything fresh. Ideas need all kinds of life experiences to be born.

Having fun time and some idea sparring partner(s) to develop them is probably the best way to create consistency. To be around a persons who constantly challenge your thinking and you still have one, is a very rewarding!

Lastly I would like to add that shock value in creativity is always huge. If you encounter something unbelievable, well, your beliefs have been challenged, and you’ve probably opened your mind to more options. In the end, creativity is about opening your mind to options. Everyone can do that, it’s just about do you have the courage to?

Next is about initiative, charisma and leadership, which are for everyone!

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2nd belief – neuroplasticity

At first I truly wished to improve my intelligence, the mystical thing that seemed to determine our fate, at least in my point of view at that time. However, I still believed that wasn’t really possible, intelligence is fixed thing after all, right?

It’s strange how the old ideas seem so ridiculous, when looking backwards. Actually my old belief does not make much sense to me at all any longer!

Neuroplasticity refers to the changes in neural pathways of the brain. The thought has replaced the formerly-held position that the brain is a physiologically static organ, and explores how – and in which ways – the brain changes throughout life.

There is proof of brains power of change everywhere in our lives, from the moment we’ve born and learn to walk – to the day we die. Our brain is constantly rearranging itself to better suit our needs. It is truly the most valuable piece of hardware we will (probably) ever own. At least at the moment it’s also one of the most complex things known to man.

The thinking that brain was not able to change, is due to the scale of the size, it goes through from childhood to the early adulthood, until about age of 25. After that age, the changes are less profound, but continue occur, brain literally adapts that which you do. If part of your brain is damaged, other parts of the brain can take over some of the damaged function. One truly touching and also inspiring story which I really recommend you to check out is the TED talk of Janine Shepard.

Now I am fascinated by human mind and the brain, more than ever! I am not obsessed with any IQ or anything, as I’ve learned that human mind is capable so incredible feats. Most important thing is to let it do the job.

In my Quora answer about Intelligence Improvement, I’ve described many kinds of activities which help to nourish the brain. Most of them are common sense, the more varied and fresh experiences you get, the better it is for you. The human mind is pretty amazing once you start to challenge it and train it.

Education does challenge and train our minds. The systems in different countries vary a bit, but I think that the basic schooling should be right rather than privilege. From the point of learning, higher education provides the environment for you to train your mind, but it’s still more of a resource and opportunity rather than necessity. By this I mean that you can challenge yourself in many other ways, it just requires a lot of discipline.

Now that I know the brain does change, which allows our thinking to develop… It leads to the subject which is creativity. How come some people are so talented and gifted? Can it be developed?

Next up creativity.

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1st belief – belief creation

Now that I knew that the change was possible, I still felt that a lot of my thinking really did not support me in this quest. I felt like I had completely wrong software installed in my head.

The route I took, was to start building reality from as good source information as possible. It also meant to consider the validity and reliability of the sources.

Building reality is a slow process. At first I found it best to immerse myself in new experiences and challenge my so called beliefs, many of which were in the forms of fears. Slowly I learned to manage many of these and began little by little live more fulfilling life.

A lot of the ideas that I read and got, were still from quite poor sources to be honest. A lot of pseudoscience and stuff like that plagued me. It took time to grow tired of that, I really wanted to see real basis for the claims.

The key thought for me, came however from quite pseudoscience stuff, actually it’s just one thought: I can change and shape my own beliefs.

It has done quite wonders for me, even thought I haven’t studied beliefs anymore than that. It’s a kind of reassuring thought that I can hand pick my beliefs. What I use to solidify them is truth and a lot of research. I usually won’t be satisfied with just any belief, I want to research them completely from many sources and points of view. Even then I might not be debate about it very successfully, but I’ve set my mind and if I have to I shall recall those arguments that eventually solidified my belief in it.

Let’s take an example. This a good duck to shoot down, because it’s widely perpetuated urban legend. Have you heard about the 10 % brain myth? The so claimed fact that human brain uses only small portion of our brain?

- – Now you have an excellent chance to try figure out yourself, if this is true or not, and come up with arguments for the either side.

Background story for this is from not so long ago. I had confronted this belief from myself quite inadvertently, probably researching some other thing and then I had also happened to shoot this kind of misbelief down. Anyway then as I one day chatted with my dear friend; he held this belief very strongly! I actually found out some pretty good arguments from depths of my mind, but not quite the ones that is needed to crush completely such misbelief. The moral of the story is that truth is easy to believe in, so don’t be disheartened, go online, check out many sources, and crush the cockroach of an misbelief by yourself.

Primarily we are responsible for checking out the facts for ourselves, but it’s also very necessary to stand up for the truth. The brain 10% myth is false. My favorite counter argument against it is the evolutionary necessity: if it were indeed just 1/10 we need, why not to cut back the rest 9/10 and make it bmore effective that way (we wouldn’t need such big heads either!)?

Anyway if that alone did not convince you I suggest you to check out a few sources of your own as well as the Wikipedia article about it.

Unfortunately I don’t have very much funny beliefs, like some magical or anything like that. I did believe in a lucky coin when I was a kid, but then I quite quickly rationalized it and it did not really prove itself! I hope this article inspires you to challenge some of your beliefs with the truth as well. After all, we can shape our own beliefs, but the truth is the ultimate shaper.

Next up is more about the human brain, and how it can change.

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Belief 0: change

It’s hard to say how I became so cynic personality as a youth, but I remember clearly as I watched TV drama, sighed at it. There had just been some scene were some ex husband begged to come back together with his ex wife, and the argument for that was that “he had changed”. I remember the feeling in my head: liar! people can’t change! I think I was about 14 at that time.

Reflecting back, that kind of fixed state of things, belief did not really encourage young me to try hard and learn anything. I think it’s quite sad that any young person has such belief, however past is past, and it has made me who I am today, who actually knows that we will change, we can consciously decide to become a better person, but we do change either way in subtle way through the time.

I came to believe that the change is possible through a detour. At first, I had a secret wish that I could become “more successful” by developing my intelligence. By that I mean I did not really believe in it, I just hoped it might work and improve my success somehow.

As part of my so called “intelligence development” I started studying the game of Go. After I had reached my goal of getting to the single digit rankings, I started noticing that the Game is more than just a Game. It’s also a lot about players mental abilities, which I quite frankly sucked.

I was weak, nerdy and immature person. I honestly felt that if I would improve my real life skills, my Go strength would improve as well. Just one example would, be that I hated losing of course: but I also raged quite a lot, because I could not handle the emotions very well.

The game of Go had triggered the thought in me, that perhaps the rest of me does matter after all, and that I could improve my game by improving myself. This was quite unheard thought in my head.

And as such interest had been triggered, I began to took a little more interest in civilizing myself. What really solidified this belief in me and finally opened my eyes was a study; in which people seemed to always see how much they had changed looking at the past, but when they were asked will they change in the next 5 and 10 years majority responded that no they will not change much in the upcoming years.

Basically that study meant that we did not really see ourselves changing anymore, that was one of the things that had also been fueling my thoughts about not being able to change.

Now that I thought it was certainly possible to change, I wondered how my beliefs were formed. I wanted to learn more about that.

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Beliefs That Profoundly Changed Me

It’s incredible how much our beliefs about the world and ourselves can empower or limit our action. Reflecting backwards my life, I probably did not start with the most optimum mental equipment, which are also known as beliefs.

Beliefs fall into many categories, most of them are harmless. Some beliefs allow us to tackle life with action, high motivation and optimism, while others can cause fear, anxiety, and inaction.

Now I want to talk about some of my key beliefs, that have transformed my life.

I’ve structured this post into a three split posts. First deals with the so called “belief 0”, which is like the patient zero in zombie movies. A belief that as it spreads, spreads also very strong ideas to others. Without it rest of them aren’t possible. That’s the belief that people actually can change.

 

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With Motivation, We Can

Motivation, more in particular the willingness to do, is the basis of the success.

Yesterday I was doing some light reading about Mars Colonization for my * just for the fun * scifi book. Then I remembered about the Russian experiment that was done a few years back. Mars 500 was a three stage experiment / simulation to research effects of the extended space flight to human beings.

The mock-up facility simulated the Earth-Mars shuttle spacecraft, the ascent-descent craft, and the martian surface. Whole three stage mission lasted 520 days with a crew of six, where one of the crew members was replaced after the first (15 day) stage to prevent sexual tensions from rising during the longest stages. The volunteers were three Russians, two Europeans and one Chinese. They had a varying command of English, but not all spoke Russian. They had professional experience in fields such as engineering, medicine, biology, and human spaceflight.

I find it interesting that these selected and obviously motivated professional had no reported conflict during this experiment, during those 500 days locked inside. Also what’s wonderful is that even though it’s possible due to language barriers and such to form cliques, it did not happen and instead they solved those problems in friendly and constructive manner.

Diverse backgrounds are a strength, but to use that diversity, requires tolerance and most importantly motivation from everyone to work together towards that common goal. All in all, it is also noteworthy to bring up the importance and effect what initiative and leadership has to these kinds of situations. The leadership differs in terms of formal authority differs, but initiative has to be there no matter what. Plus it’s not only the leader that the responsibility to be proactive, the responsibility is in every members of the group. This is what self-leadership is about: active participation to the group’s activities in order to empower the group.

If we are motivated we can solve problems in constructive and friendly manner. I’ve been inspired by many people to do better and continue improving myself. I’ve always admired the speeches and text that light up the enthusiasm.

Motivation is more complicated than the moment’s inspiration. Outer inspiration and enthusiasm can however help you find the internal motivation. I am in a quest to figure out how to light up that internal motivation to empower more people to think like this.

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Balancing the Thinking

Having too pessimist outlook on life will limit a lot the way we take action. I am talking about my own experience as I used to see very strongly the reality and the limitations of it. Only rarely a thought of optimism would wander into my mind.

Then as I learned about the benefits of a more optimist mind, I began to grow an interest in developing some of those qualities, while retaining the good sides of the pessimist thinking.

As it turns out, mind can be trained and the conscious effort is the method to do it. Before the training we have all kinds of mental habits running in the background, seeing only what we’ve previously learned to see and not recognizing anything else. The training is precisely the process of helping your mind to see also the other things, like opportunities there as well.

Step 1. This is well demonstrated by the exercise: Look around you and make a mental note of all blue stuff that you find.

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Ok.
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Step 2. — Now tell me what red stuff did you see?

The original task I gave to you is the same as your original mentality. You only see the blue stuffs.

Optimist mind can be easily trained by conscious effort to find out the good things and opportunities in everyday life. This can be done easily by the daily top 3 list, in which you list at least 3 good things during each day. Challenge here isn’t to find the three things a day once, or over a few weeks, but to keep going for months and years.

Also this can be applied to any events in your life as well, in a way that even if something not so nice happens, you can try to find out some positives on that by conscious effort. By doing this consciously, instead of just accepting all the negative you see by default, the positive habits also become more and more automated. What that means, is of course that your general mood becomes a whole lot better, and your outlook on life will become more positive.

The transformation process will take it’s time, therefore it’s best to keep doing it on a day level and let the positive change catch you by surprise.

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Professional Mentality

Becoming a professional requires a lot. I’ve noticed that as in my naiveté I’ve tried to become a professional in several different things. Firstly in my mind was probably professional gamer in StarCraft as well as in the game of Go.

I did manage to break out of the beginner status in both of them, but the mastery requires a lot more effort, as I’ve talked about earlier. At least about 10 000 hours worth, and that alone cannot be reached with just the enthusiasm of a beginner.

Today morning I was thinking about all of these my different pursuits, which I had been pursuing more or less seriously. The more serious I have been, the more discipline, willpower and energy overall I have been challenging to the particular activity. It is no surprise.

There is however a common factor in all more serious activities: the willingness to become more professional, use discipline and willpower to build more discipline to reach the particular goal in mind.

Sure you can have success without the professionalism. However if we are looking at the predictors of success in any activity: professionalism, is the mentality that removes all the doubt and the failure, it prepares us to succeed, with the professional mentality it is impossible for not to succeed.

So far, I have not become professional in anything. Being professional seems to be more mentality than anything else. Usually anyone highly skilled, or talented in any field develop the professionalism when they reach the top, if they haven’t already.

My definition of professional:

    • Comprehensive practice, not just the particular skill, but all areas of being, mind and body.
    • o   Sees the cause and effect – which helps him/her enjoy the practice and get internally motivated

    • Remains humble, sees the room for improvement
    • o   Yet constantly is able to give positive feedback for him/herself when progress is made

    • Lives for long term gratification and practices it, knows very well what kind of emotions he/she wants to experience and is willing to work and wait for them.
    • o   Is able to split the grand dream into mini goals and milestones which

    • Conscious sacrifice. Is willing to give up something, in order to achieve something grander.
    • Takes calculated risks, knows very well how to manage all those risks even if they occur.
    • Does the job thoroughly, to the best of his ability and ensures the excellent end result at all costs.
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Mind Development

According to the Mind Development website [1] only 0,2% of all people reach postformal level of thought, which in that theory is the pinnacle of thinking. Overall I find the theory of mind developing very intriguing, even though I do not know that much about it yet.

Originally I got interested about the development of thinking from other source [2], which roughly sketched out the three phases of thinking development. I found this model very good and I was able to put it into use quite soon. The three phases according to the Johda Ihmistä[2] – book were:

  1. social mind
  2. self-directed mind
  3. protean mind

Basically these are rough states of minds, but still very useful. Book is written for leaders, however I think everyone is already leader of themselves. From my personal experience a quite sudden change got me to the path out of the social mind which I was dwelling during my early adulthood. Only the decision happened overnight, but the seed was planted.

After that conscious pursuit of personal growth has made me what I am today and keeps me driving to challenge myself even further. We have all have the possibility to develop ourselves further, if we are just willing to take the effort to do so. We are in charge of our lives after all.

I am very interested in becoming better person. At first, I thought that the intelligence would be the key to success, however now I’ve grown wiser and learned that it has more to do with the success. Even so, I quite enjoy the idea of keeping my mind challenged, so that I might benefit from it intellectually.

Now I putting a lot more focus to the actual development of thinking, that the intelligence. Higher education provides such possibilities for the mental challenges that are necessary for the thinking to emerge. In the adulthood we are responsible of our own education. Higher education provides a lots of potential resources and ways to develop our mind, however we alone are still responsible for the actual work to develop our minds.

In the terms of education, Internet is tremendous resource. Places such as Wikiversity, Wikipedia, Khan Academy, TED and Google Scholar are good places to start.

 

[1] Mind Development: ADULT INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT.http://www.mind-development.eu/stages-development.html

[2] Leppänen M & Rauhala I. 2013. Johda Ihmistä – Psykologiaa johtajille. Talentum. Helsinki. ISBN10: 9521417455.

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Earning Ability

Todays topic of thought has been the fruits of the labor, it is somewhat related to the yesterday’s 10 000 hour skill mastery, as the timescale here is five years. What I could do with five years of work for myself and what could come out of it? Now I am going to describe two models, that I’ve been thinking.

First is the social mind model, that is quite regular working life pattern, trading time for money. With the hourly or monthly salary, my ability to make money in five years wouldn’t be that much higher compared to beginning. Let’s say after graduation, the pay is about 2800 € a month gross, then probably with five year professional experience I could aim as high as 4500 € per month. I estimate that’s about the high salary that you can get as an employed expert, of course I cannot be sure.

I think that’s pretty much the limit to the “employment” on an individual level. By this I mean, after this the other qualities and responsibilities tend to come in play, especially in the field of business. Unless you’ve highly demanded specific skill, you are stuck in this mainstream. One break away point is the leadership qualities and responsibilities, which might also increase the salary. However, as long as you are employed, the differences cannot be that great. Differences start occur, when the actual person starts taking initiative into own hands. This means also assuming the risk, like a leader becoming an entrepreneur in the sense, instead of being just employed.

What I find especially fascinating, is not to the figures, but the shift and transitioning in the mindset of the person who decides to take the leap of faith. Instead of operating in just the social mindset of being part of something, the person in questions takes more self-directed action. It requires this kind of mindset to employ yourself, thus probably all artists, leaders and entrepreneurs have this kind (or higher) mindset.

So back to the topic of money. Actually with this kind of mindset, there is a tiny chance to make a lots of money, the successful growth company, best selling book, or a hit song. It’s still tiny chance, with a lot of work. What I discovered matters more, is quality of the work, which means quality chances to succeed. Actually even little success can be sufficient for the one who is operating with self-directed mindset. It can still provide enough to live off. With self-directed mindset, one works to all the time INCREASE the chance of striking gold.

In my previous post about the 10 000 hour rule, it would mean to achieve the final 1%, getting the tiny things correct, among which the timing is probably the most important. For some great people the timing is just wrong, this has been known time and time again with great people from the past, like Vincent Van Gogh.

Self-directed people gain satisfaction from their work beyond money. They actually do not need that much money to feel secure, as they are more confident in their own abilities. Basically this means that as they feel competent and confident, they can dedicate more time for their beloved vocation of their choice. Whatever that might be.

I find this very exciting. One of my favorite quotes comes from Napoleon Hill, who was the author of “Think and Grow Rich”, he said in one of his books, that he was so passionate about writing, that he didn’t really have time to make money.

In the end it is about thinking what matters. There are necessities in life, which money can buy, basically this means we need a steady stream of income through life. However if we think of our own work and the importance it reflects back to us, I think it should be a work that increases our possibilities of striking gold. To this I believe more than in winning lottery, because this is something I can actually influence on. It’s about striving for excellence in the vocation of a choice.

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Motivation for 10 000 Hour Skill Mastery

It has been said that it takes about 10 000 hours to master a skill. A few years ago, when I first gave this a thought, it seemed quite a lot of hours… However, it turns out, I’ve changed my mind about that. Actually it’s quite a relief that there is actually something to shoot for, and in the end, it isn’t that big deal, just 10 000 hours. For me, who likes to work about 5 hours a day it would mean about 2000 days of work, which is about five and a half years. That’s actually pretty fast, now that I think about it. Perhaps it’s me just getting older, but just five hours of work a day and I could become master of it, in just under six years, that’s amazing!

Best part is yet to come. By my definition completion or complete mastery is highly unlikely, it might happen, but better to be little pessimist and aim for the 99% and if we are lucky we get to the 99,9 % eventually. It’s no problem!

The best thing is actually that, we are gaining from the skill even before the mastery of it! My sudden realization of this provided me also a sudden surge of motivation to start figuring this out. As 10 000 hours is fairly simple number, it is also quite fair to expect fair results from fair amount of work, thus this chart:

10000big

Here we can see, that even after 1000 hours of work, you can expect relatively high level of proficiency in your field of choice, up to 10 %! Although 10 % still lacks a lot, you might just start enjoying doing it a lot more, because you know, only nine such chunks to go before so called mastery!

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