Categories
Learning Life Self-awareness

The Cycle of Long-term Success (UPDATED)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This post first appeared on the 1st things 1st blog.

One kind of events in life happens spontaneously, unplanned, powered by intuition, and seeming random. Calling a friend, buying a chocolate bar, or sitting down on a bench at a fountain doesn’t require special preparation.

Another kind of events requires making hard decisions because of the urge to gain something huge or the risk of losing something important. In those cases, it’s better to get prepared.

In life, as in nature, everything happens in cycles. Previously I introduced you to the cycle of long-term success as I saw it at that moment. Today, I have refined the mentioned cycle, and now it consists of these 5 steps: research, prioritize, plan, act, reflect.

1. Research

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
– Zora Neale Hurston

First of all, before taking a measured action, you would need to find out what your choices are today. You can use a search engine, Wikipedia, references, podcasts, magazines, books, or anything else that provides you with information that you could utilize in your field of focus. Gather information with the intent to incorporate it into your activities.

2. Prioritize

“If everything is important, then nothing is.”
– Patrick M. Lencioni

There are several ways to set priorities for your activities. You can use the flexible and mighty prioritizer “1st things 1st”, decision matrices in Excel sheets, Eisenhower Matrix on a piece of paper, or maybe just selecting the first several priorities intuitively.

3. Plan

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
– Jim Rohn

Put your most important activities on the schedule. You can use Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, monday.com, any other scheduling app, or even an analog calendar on your wall or in your Moleskine. Try not to have more than 3 activities in a day. Book yourself or your colleagues for the vital work to do.

4. Act

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
– William James

Now it’s time to do what you have planned. Have a necessary meeting or a zoom call, speak, write, or perform what’s on your list today this hour.

5. Reflect

It is only by reflecting on the past that one can create a better future.
– Rithy Panh

If you got positive results, celebrate the wins. If you failed, see what you can learn from your mistakes. The next time will be better. Now go back to the first step and do the new research.

Final words

If you master the cycle of long-term success, you form a habit of success. Whether you win or lose, you gain experience and become excellent at what you do.


Cover photo by Ian Stauffer

Categories
Learning Life Self-awareness

Why Everyone Needs to Have Some Role Models

Reading Time: 3 minutes

At some point in my life, I used to ask myself: if I am the most important person in my life, why would I ever need a role model to follow? People are faulty, make mistakes, sometimes have hidden agendas, and manipulate others; sometimes, they wear masks. Why would I need to follow someone else? Can’t I be the best version of myself just as I am out of my own character and personality?

The problem is that if you just concentrate on yourself, you can quickly lose focus of the big picture, become too narcissistic, and be blind to your faults. You don’t see yourself from aside too well and don’t have enough insights into which of your parts to improve. There is no limit to perfection and excellence. And no one has achieved it all.

Life is a journey of ups and downs. Sometimes you can go on your own. Sometimes you need help to stay on track. Different high-achievers have gained lots of experience and can teach you things you have never thought possible. You don’t have to accept everything a role model teaches you. You can filter the knowledge by what resonates with you. Grow, become the best authentic self, and pass the knowledge and tips to the younger generations or other less mature individuals.

Today I have several role models in my life and will introduce you to my top 3 ones. I don’t know too much about their biographies besides what they share online or in their books. But I like their achievements and points of view.

Robin Sharma

“Genius is less about your genealogy and more about your neuroplasticity. Masters are made, not born.”
– Robin Sharma 

Robin is a humanitarian and leadership missionary. He wrote several best-sellers like “The 5 AM Club”, “The Monk who Sold his Ferrari,” “The Leader Who Had No Title,” etc. Besides helping leaders from all around the world play the A-game, he motivates people of any profession to become the best version of themselves.

Robin Sharma is a master of words. He talks about leadership with swiss-army-knife preciseness. His books are full of classical wisdom and thoroughly thought through methodologies.

James Clear

“Be radically proactive about any behavior that pays off in 10 years.”
– James Clear

James is best known for his best selling book “Atomic Habits” about building good habits and his insightful newsletter 3-2-1, where every week he shares 3 personal ideas, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for the reader.

James Clear digs deep into human psychology and makes his messages very concise and up to a point.

Vishen Lakhiani

“Don’t attach your happiness to your goals. Be happy before you attain them. You’ll find attaining them much easier when you make the journey and not the destination the key to your happiness.”
– Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen is the founder of Mindvalley, a company that aims to transform the conventional education system. His company brings the knowledge of the best mindful people in the world in online courses called quests. Vishen is also the author of two transformational best sellers, “The Code of Extraordinary Mind” and “The Buddha and the Badass.”

Vishen Lakhiani is open-minded, rational, and spiritual. He urges you to think out of the box, give your intuition power, and listen to your soul.

Final words

Everyone is limited. But also everyone has lots of different experiences. If you want to grow, you need to decide for your direction where to grow. Having a role model is one of the ways to set that direction. And you don’t have to agree with everything he or she says. Just filter out what resonates with you, listen to your heart and your gut feeling. Then grow.


Cover photo by Craige McGonigle

Categories
Life Self-awareness

What Was Your Name Again?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This post first appeared on the 1st things 1st blog.

Whether your first name is James, Mary, or X Æ A-Xii, your name not only identifies you but also shapes your character and influences how other people will accept you. With the wrong name, you could have problems with being accepted by the society you are living in. With the wrong name, you can have difficulties getting a partner or job you want. With the wrong name, you can have a weight of associations that people bring to it. When you are about to have a baby, don’t give them the wrong name.

Our story

My wife and I are from Lithuania, and we are living in Berlin, Germany. Before the births of our kids, we did some name researches to find names that would be well accepted in Germany as well as being Lithuanian. I wouldn’t be a programmer if I wouldn’t take 500 most popular names in Germany and filter them using Python programming language to see the ones with Lithuanian word endings. From that point, we got just a handful of names and intuitively chose the ones that we liked most. I hope that Joris and Laura will enjoy the names they got at birth and will live integral and successful lives.

If we didn’t trust our intuition, we could have used the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to analyze a few names by multiple aspects. Let’s see how we could have done that.

Using the prioritizer

At 1st things 1st, you can evaluate anything (like first names) by multiple criteria (like aspects) and get calculated priorities. The workflow looks like this:

  1. You define your criteria or aspects.
  2. You list out your things, like first names.
  3. You evaluate each name by each aspect.
  4. You explore the prioritized first names.

Step 1. Define your aspects

Let’s brainstorm for some aspects that we can use to evaluate first names:

  • Both parents like it
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to spell
  • Sounds good together with the last name
  • Doesn’t have negative associations
  • Has a nice meaning
  • Unique
  • Traditional
  • Globally recognized
  • Authentic in your native country
  • Ethnically appropriate
  • Doesn’t prompt negative nicknames
  • Doesn’t sound foolish for a middle-aged person
  • Some relative has it
  • A person you admire has it
  • A favorite book or movie character has it

I will choose the ones that are most important to me and enter into the prioritizer.

Both parents like it
Easy to pronounce
Easy to spell
Globally recognized
Doesn't sound foolish for a middle aged person

Here they are all added to the tool:

Step 2. List out the first names

Now let’s list some first names that you thought could be good candidates, let’s say, for a daughter:

  • Lina
  • Laura
  • Ada
  • Lara
  • Emma

Step 3. Evaluate each name by each aspect

Then I go through the list of aspects and names and rate how each name matches each aspect.

Step 4. Explore the prioritized names

In the last step, I get all first names prioritized by how much they match all the aspects. “Laura” is in the first position with a 100% match. Other names got fewer points, so they are less recommended to choose. 

Last thoughts

If people call you by another name already or you want to start a new chapter in your life, you can still officially change your first name in some countries. But if you care about your kids’ well being, choose their names wisely as soon as they come into this world.


Cover photo by Yoann Boyer

Categories
Self-awareness

How to Find the Meaning of Life. Part 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This post first appeared on the 1st things 1st blog.

The meaning of life is personal. There is no global meaning that works the same for everybody. Everybody has their definition, and either recognize it, or believe that it is something to achieve, or still seek it.

I would put the meanings of life for different people into these categories:

  • What I have
  • What I am
  • What I do

Every person aligns with one or more of those categories.

What I have

People from this category ask questions like these: Do I have a diploma? Do I have an Instagram account? Do I have a family? Do I have enough experience points on my CV? Do I have a house? Do I have a car? Do I have enough money for whatever I decide to get?

What I am

People from this category ask questions like these: Am I a University graduate? Am I an expert in my field? Am I a loving husband, wife, father, mother, sister, brother? Am I a social-media influencer? Am I a good person? Am I the right person? Am I handsome, beautiful, stylish, cool, experienced? Am I rich and famous?

What I do

People from this category ask questions like these: Do I do at work what I love? Do I travel as much as I want? Do I care about others? Do I live a fulfilling family life? Do I have in-depth conversations with friends? Do I go out enough? Do I enjoy nature, arts, or parties every weekend? Do I get enough income for what I need and like doing?

My attitude

At this point in my life, I believe that not having, and not being, but action gives the most pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment. To do something that I like and find meaningful or at least fun is something that drives me to get up and enjoy another day again and again. Of course, there will be hard days now and then. But at those moments, I can stop, look at what I have, and think what I became. I should express gratitude to the universe for letting me be where I am. And the next day I go forward again.

Using 1st things 1st to clarify your priorities

But how should we decide where we should draw the most of our thoughtfulness and care? Do we live a meaningful life already, or do we still lack something?

The strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st can help you sort out what you do or should do, and what you have or would like to have by your values so that you could align your decisions and become a better version of yourself by your definition.

Subscribe to the RSS feed or the newsletter to find more information about the strategic prioritizer and get notified about other posts in this blog.


Cover photo by Daniel Kuruvilla.

Categories
Self-awareness

About Subjectivity and Objectivity

Reading Time: 3 minutes

People see, hear, and feel the world differently

This post first appeared on the 1st things 1st blog.

It may be hard to believe, but people experience the same facts differently. When someone sees, hears, tastes, smells, or touches something, they filter that through their perception and make corresponding conclusions: I like it, I hate it, this is good, this is bad, this is interesting, this is dull, etc.

Previous experience forms the perception. The more happenings a person has and the more conscious a person is while experiencing; the more subtle will be the conclusions.

On the web, there are intriguing examples that are interpreted differently by different sides of people.

For example, there is a photo of a dress that looks like striped gold and white dress to some people, and it looks like a blue and black dress to some other people.

The thing is that some people expect there to be light colors in a shadow, and some others expect a photo of dark colors with high exposure.

In another example, there is a mysterious track, where some people hear “laurel,” and some other arguably hear “yanny”. 

I can explain that too. The track is built from both sounds at different frequencies: some people hear higher pitches better than lower ones.

Or let’s have a look at the picture in the cover. What are the colors of this shoe? White and pink or cyan and gray? 

Opinions, attitudes, mindsets

Fact interpretations are contextual. The same gray buttons will look lighter on a dark shirt, darker on the light shirt, or even colorful on a colored shirt. As people add contexts to facts by their previous experiences, they make different interpretations of the same events and make different conclusions.

So opinions are formed. Repeated opinions develop attitudes. Finally, attitudes create mindsets, which are later more and more difficult to change.

Cultural norms, rules, laws

As people communicate with each other, they form collective opinions, attitudes, and mindsets. So cultural norms are created. Some of those norms become rules and regulations. If the rules are good enough for the communities and society, they become governmental laws.

There are some laws that are more difficult or almost impossible to change compared to governmental laws. And these are the laws of nature, universal laws, or scientific laws.

  • You can’t change your genes to become someone else than you are.
  • You can’t make gold out of elements that don’t include gold atoms.
  • You can’t resist gravitation and float in the air.
  • You can’t take a thing and copy it without using resources to build it. 

Can you?

So what is subjective and what is objective

The observable things and happenings that are around us are the facts. They are objective. They just are. They just happen. They have explainable known or unknown causes to happen.

But any interpretation of the causes is subjective. It’s like modeling a picture of reality in our heads, trying to understand it. It’s like coloring the facts in the colors we are given from past experiences.

All the subjectivity we have is there to serve us or go against us. It’s for us to decide. It’s for us to choose when we should keep fighting for what we believe and when it is time to release the blocks and change our perceptions, attitudes, and shift our mindsets towards more objectivity and wisdom.

Clarify what is the most important to you using 1st things 1st

I built the 1st things 1st for you to choose which of the activities, ideas, thoughts, wishes, items, pieces of art, are the most important to you so that you could spend more time and energy on them, but lose the clutter. Why spend ten years on everything that just happens, when instead you could spend that time to build expertise in your field or live your dream.

Subscribe to the RSS feed or the newsletter to find more information about the strategic prioritizer and get notified about other posts in this blog.