Sunday, 21 October 2012

Nun Lies - The art of misdirection

This technique is to guide someone or a group of people to a conclusion that is not the full truth and doing so without lying. This can be done by withholding information and/or presenting selective facts in a suggestive manner.

Obviously this can easily be abused so it should be applied only if specific criteria are met this is if you want to keep your integrity and reputation intact. All of which you cannot do if you try to mislead other people for personal gain or conceal your own mistakes.

So what is this technique good for then? Surprise occasions, sensitive information where partial understanding or bias viewpoints can cause more damage from a holistic point of view.

Some points for consideration:

  • Learn to keep confidential information; do not offer up sensitive information without having a good reason to.
  • Don’t plot up elaborate scenario. Keep the breadcrumbs basic, the more complex the less believable and more difficult to sustain over time.
  • Do not use Nun Lies on serious topics. If the potential disclosure of the Nun Lie is foreseen to be difficult to recover from rather reconsider being completely transparent.
  • If a Nun Lie is exposed do not try to cover up anything, if applied correctly you should be able to recover by telling the whole truth. Continuing deception at that point can seriously damage relationships.
  • Redirection is a powerful tool; learn to shift the focus or the direction of a topic without raising alarms.
  • Ensure that the breadcrumbs lead to a clear insinuating conclusion. You don’t want people asking for clarity or details at the end of the trail.

E.g. you are organizing an elaborate secret valentines evening for both you and your partner and he/she is now inquiring whether you have made plans for valentines.
Response: "We had a big dinner last valentine, how do you feel about a quite relaxed dinner at home? You don't need to do anything I will prepare everything. [Pause/waiting for response] Talking about dinner, what should we bring to this weekend’s dinner with your parents?"

Breakdown: This provides breadcrumbs based on facts, strong insinuation using a question as a statement, moves the conversation along over the intended conclusion and ultimately redirecting the conversation to another topic to minimize the exposure on the topic at hand. In essence you never said you haven’t made special plans and the facts surrounding the illusion are all true. This is a basic example, but with exercise application could allow you to function in an imperfect world without compromising your integrity.

Stemming from this concept is the “Stairs to nowhere approach”. This portrays an antagonistic concept where people use unrelated facts as premises to draw inaccurate conclusions. This approach is frequently used by politicians and proponent figures to add the illusion of a more believable cause without providing any relevant facts as support. Do not be lead to conclusions; draw your own based on the facts at hand.

E.g. many politicians use their opposition’s mistakes as reasons to sway voters. Without a proper strategy that suggests a different outcome, these claims are worthless as premises to their own capabilities. 


Saturday, 6 October 2012

Fear of Fears

This is a self-administered fear of being constrained by our fears. The idea of our fears suppressing us from reaching our full potential and life experience should invoke an even greater fear, the fear of fears.

Does this mean we need to embrace a never-say-no-philosophy? Although extremes can be useful to prove points they are seldom effective in real world application. This brings us to the next crucial aspect; know the difference between the fear of the unknown and hesitation based on valid concerns. This is the fear we need to face, we need to be empowered by our experiences, not be kept back from the lack of previous experience when an opportunity presents itself.

Be honest with yourself and face your fears aggressively, as you would an enemy. We have to live with ourselves our whole existence so the person you should strive to disappoint the least is yourself. Make a decision, yes or no and do not doubt yourself once it is made, the biggest failure is indecisiveness or the lack of resolve to commit to a decision (This points to the commitment to a choice not an inability to admit to failures).

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Creeping Cluster - Approach to overwhelming challenge or task.

It is human nature to fear that which we don't know and to hesitate in the wake of an overwhelming undertaking. I have found that by methodically increasing our knowledge and coverage we are able to surpass our own expectations.

"How do you eat an elephant? …Bite for bite."

Incremental attempts however in is not enough, we need to channel our efforts to get the best results with the resources available and within the constraint set (Time, money, etc.).

Some steps to consider:

  • What do I know? Any pockets of knowledge or experience on the topic at hand could provide some context to which one can expand knowledge to form clusters.
  • What do we need to know now? You will need to identify key areas in which you are lacking knowledge or progress and wedge an anchor point (A key fact or understanding) into the larger unknown. Use these anchor points and expand them into clusters by deepening your insight on them and the context in which they exist in your challenge/task. Prioritization of clusters and identification of new anchors must be done at regular intervals to ensure focus is on the right areas and that one cluster does not block overall progress (if this happens, consider breaking cluster up into smaller units).

How do we progress into the unknown? 

Grow clusters individually and search for ways to bridge them at which point they will merge and form a bigger network of integrated knowledge. Keep in mind that these units might have multiple overlapping areas and by identifying one could lead to a series of discoveries.

The purpose of this approach is not specifically to guide you to the end but rather to facilitate the discovery phase by gathering knowledge and understanding that will in turn enable you to determine feasibility and equip you to be able to plan its execution. Another thing to keep in mind is that although you will need to get your hands dirty the focus is not on the deliverables yet but rather on gaining structured knowledge and context into the unknown. That being said this might be something you use completely hidden from other stakeholders as mechanism to structure your own efforts without them even knowing about it.

E.g. you employer gives you a promotion to become a manager based on your good performance as an excellent 3d artist. The task requires immediate involvement so the learning curve is in motion and pressure is intensified as the lack of knowledge can backfire at any point. As you take the position you regularly identify areas that you need to understand which is critical and search for a core fact to build your experience and research around. Some of these might include:
  • I need to know how to do the finances for projects (Cluster), but more specifically I need to do time effort  quote now (Anchor) so will focus on understanding this first.
  • I need to ensure the team functions at full potential (Cluster), for now I just need to be able to quantify individual progress (Anchor).
  • I was a 3D artist so I understand the technical details of the projects I will use this knowledge to understand relating projects problems better and address them.
At some point these clusters of knowledge will start to merge into one managing style and the looming uncertainty of the new job requirements will have passed.

In other words, this approach facilitates the process of understanding the unknown, giving you more confidence in the direction you choose take

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The illusion of control

We are so desensitized to our great looming vulnerabilities that we don’t notice it anymore.
Death, sickness, love and our direct and extended environment (E.g. Politics, global warming, isolated, limited habitat we can survive in, etc), these should serve as a constant reminder of our inability to fully control our lives and the presence of forces out of our control.

Humility should be the foundation of a respectable approach to life.  We need to embrace the simple but overpowering truth of how little we as individuals and ultimately even mankind can control. From this knowledge we can find true humility, and then move forward and identify the areas where we can/should make a difference by taking dedicated ownership and responsibility for it (both as individuals and humanity) and fulfill our purpose of living.

Sadly people seem to spend more time concerning themselves with things out of their control, neglecting the areas that are within their influence sphere and missing out on the joy of creating, discovering and living to their full creativity and potential.

Let’s try to look past our difficulties, hardships and the injustices done to us. Once we change our focus back to the basics of life, ignoring the unnecessary complexities we added to life in our civilizations with complex social structures, rulings and values, we should grasp the beauty that lies within our existence as living sentient beings that can experience life not just live through it.

Societies do perform a vital role of managing the masses and without it there will be total anarchy, but we need find our own value of life and not measuring it through the eyes of others. Recognize it as a necessary evil but do not allow it to control your joy of life.

We should start experiencing life, move past pure existence. Open your eyes and notice our landscapes, observing the incredible living creatures, plants and very importantly, realize the value of the connections we have with others. Let us treasure these as our wealth and highlights of our short journey here, before the opportunity passes us by.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Concept of human rights

Human rights are an idealistic concept of empowering the individual, the action implies restrictions to another entity/s and such giving rights by taking away. Societies are forced to try and define rules to enforce this on communities to protect the individual from falling prey to its fellow man or larger organizational structures.

At the core, the idea is powerfully simplistic, and when applied to a single conflict the morally correct approach is usually not difficult to see (For a well-informed, un-bios party that is). This however stops being simplistic once you use a precedent to set universal laws. In forming laws we tend to use extreme examples to support ideals and then use that as a baseline to apply laws to millions, this goes against the natural flow of allowing for freedom to find solutions to problems individually (Especially if they distinguish themselves as being unique and extreme cases).

Having some global governance regarding the individual’s welfare is a good attempt to suppress some of the dark nature in society; we however need to understand that this is a human attempt to globally manage something that can easily have very unique instances that is difficult to categorize. Consider the possibility of a more suitable conflict resolution, where two open minded individuals are considerate towards each other’s views in resolving the situation as opposed to a generic law determining the outcome. Obviously this won’t always work but the more considerate we are towards our fellow man the less we will have to depend on laws to be our moral compass.

Once we understand the reason for the existence of these laws we also need to face the truth that there is nothing in nature that supports this as a right, this is purely our attempt to better ourselves by distancing us even further away from our primitive nature where the strongest survive. Think about it, all of this can be taken away immediately if a dictator comes into power.  It is not a right but rather a luxury that we should treasure not abuse, as it can disappear much faster than it took to assimilate into society. Based on humanities history this inner darkness is not something we can eradicate, at best we can try to keep it under control.

Many advances in societies was paved with blood and suffering for those who fought for it, united by their shared ideals. Sadly due to the size of humanity we need imperfect structures to maintain a civilized and functioning body of people. Some people will ultimately benefit more from it than others but we will be worse off without it. We can only hope to mold the existing forms for the better, however it is important to understand that not all causes is beneficial to the greater mass of people, even if some people strongly believe so. Extremist to both ends of a topic can easily go backwards and forwards over many years, fighting using exceptions in support of their ideals without finding a natural balance (Causing more harm than good), it is our responsibility to not blindly support causes without understanding the different extremes and searching for a balance between them.

To truly make a success of the idea of human rights we as individuals need to appreciate what we have and consider other people in our dealings and choices. Join causes to rectify unbalanced rights and ideologies but be informed and intelligent in the ones that you choose. Understand that the concept of universal structures to problems, in that they are categorized and labeled by law as a necessary evil and that it is impossible for it to be just for each case it is applied to. Consider conflicts individually before passing judgment brashly based on previously formed opinions.

Let us be less judgmental, less selfish and more compassionate towards our dealings with others and we will help changing society from the inside out.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Forming real connections

This is an analytical view of the growth process from acquaintance to friend. This is in most cases a subconscious and natural process, by defining it we might be able to understand some of our actions and attractions better, placing us in a better position to control our general social movements.

Throughout life we are forced to have superficial relationships, linked to each other to be functional whether it is to co-exist due to our physical proximity or bound together by professional or personal responsibilities. Although we sustain this out of necessity it is important to also make real connections where we form bonds with individuals going deeper than the required functional arrangements.

These connections usually start with a sincere spark of interest in the other person’s life. We can see this as the interest phase, although one party can fulfill the role of initiator both needs to move past the basic required connection, whether it is through small talk or sharing of light personal information.

Some pointers to check whether both parties share this interest phase: 
  • Recollection of information (Can they remember information from previous encounters)
  • Sharing of personal information or opinions, not required by the original relationship scope
  • General outward vibe while interacting (E.g. tone, speed of conversation and eye movement)
*These pointers show interest, but remember at this point is can be either sincere or pretentious. It is difficult on this level to pick up the difference in people with well-developed social skills.

It is important to understand that these connections are crafted by encounters, it should be allowed to grow naturally without being rushed, formed around shared interest and friendly debates on NON-sensitive topics. The interest phase is a bit like reeling in a fish, where both parties try to peek past the obvious and go back and forth trying to define/explore something unknown. It is important to differentiate between exposing personal traits and info and forming personal connection in this phase, until you are ready to move to friendship you should be able to go back to the original arrangement without damaging relations (E.g. coworker/relative/neighbor).

Once the connection is established and a basic understanding of one another is reached one can decide to proceed in deepening the connection to the purpose of becoming friends, this introduces risk to both parties and your previous relationship but also offers more potential for growth. This progression usually takes encounters outside the usual structures (E.g. social events) and each party exposes even more of their personal life. Don’t have any pipe dreams. At this point you should be ready to be exposed to the other person’s flaws and know they will see some of yours. It is good to be brutally honest about issues and differences, either accept them or move on but understand that partial acceptance is not an option (Unless both parties acknowledges this difference and don’t involve that portion – BUT NO SECRETS, this should be put on the table on the right time).

Some ideas while looking out for real connections in your life:
  • Self-sacrifice from parties, acceptance and support in areas that you would not normally be involved in. Once again do not lie about your feelings on the matter but put the other person first
  •  A healthy balance of focus shifting, mutual beneficial support and interest. Be careful of manipulative relationships where one party uses the other for personal gain.
  • From both parties a fair amount of understanding of the other person’s character, interest, and personality with a sincere consideration to their well-being.
  • Consider the type of time, intensity of tasks and frequency of encounters; these define the type of relationship and the speed at which the relationship deepens. (E.g. living through one traumatic experience can morph a deep relationship on par with a slow exposure relationship that took years to form, it however will be much more volatile and as such less predictable)

There are many more in-between stages but they will vary on types of relationships, culture etc. This is just an overview to assist in the understanding of some of the basics of social dynamics for added insight and control over it. This vague skeleton needs to be personalized with your personality, moral code, responsibilities and plans for the future to make it truly applicable in your life, giving you more control over the growth connections and knowing which ones are real connections.

Learn to handle defeat and personal failures with grace. Most problems compound because of the individual’s lack of handling a challenging scenario, it is truly an important skill to master.

Revisit failed attempts to real connections, learn from mistakes but do not let them keep you back or forcefully try to fix them. Most connections have a limited depth (People’s compatibility differs, though these limits can be moved by self-sacrifice) so don’t take offense when this is reached. Don’t throw away relationships that have reached this point. Always try to sustain real connections in the maximum comfortable depth, you should then find yourself caring and being cared for by many people in varying depth. Do not measure them against each other but rather enjoy the uniqueness each brings.

The ultimate place for a relationship to be is to truly know someone and to be truly known to them.

To truly know someone you need to know their deepest fears, hidden desires and share most of their secrets. Be sure to be selective about which of your relationships you allow to grow this intimate.

*Important! This concept is gender agnostic but do not make the mistake of thinking they are the same, same sex or opposite sex connections introduce very different dynamics and must be considered as such.