Remembering the importance of state

This afternoon I grabbed a coffee with Greg Layton. Greg and I went to school near each other and even studied business at the same time, though it was NLP that finally led us to meet. He had spent a few months training with my good friends Chris and Jules Collingwood, taking out his Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and as he shared with me his inspiring experiences, I was reminded of the importance of state.

Sometimes we are happy; sometimes we are excited; sometimes we are not so resourceful – some of us might even be a bit grumpy from time to time. That state – our subjective emotional condition – opens and closes possibilities. It’s like a pair of sunglasses that tints the way we see the world.

And for colour blind people like me, those filters change what we can see at all.

Greg reminded me how important it is that we can get back into our core state of being.

It’s about alignment. We can be happier and more fulfilled when we deliberately design our experiences and our lives so that we can move towards that core state consistently.

When the teacher is ready…

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

It’s a simple enough concept – when you are ready to learn something new, someone will arrive to help take you to the next level.

When the teacher is ready, the students will appear.

Again, a fairly simple concept – an ironic reversal of the previous statement, reflecting how when you are ready to share knowledge, students will find their way to you.

However, a few days ago, Joanna Hsu was kind enough to share with me a new insight on this old and delightful notion. That not only are these phrases similar in structure, but that they are actually equivalent in meaning. As ‘real’ teachers are not just telling people what to think, but rather they are called to demonstrate that which they purport to know, both the role of teacher and student are learning processes; when a ‘teacher’ is ready to learn by demonstrating their skills to ‘students’, individuals will present themselves to the ‘teacher’ to help them learn – to take them to the next level.

As we are perpetually and simultaneously both students and teachers, we can remember that when we come across an interesting or challenging student, we are being called to demonstrate.

I have a new toy

Like my Redfly
Just like mine...

I love gadgets. For years, I obsessed about Palm Pilots… and I ended up having seven of them before moving to smartphones. When I got my 8Gb MicroSD six months ago for my HTC TyTN II mobile phone, I was almost as stoked as when I got my old favourite ThinkOutside bluetooth folding keyboard. But my Redfly mobile companion (from Celio Corp) tops the lot!

It’s a simple concept: Take your high-powered mobile phone and give it a decent screen, a keyboard and a long battery life. Use the processor and memory inside your phone and finally get to use the full power of this device you carry around all the time instead of lugging around a laptop.

It took four days to make the journey across the Pacific (from Salt Lake City to Shanghai) to arrive in my eager hands… and just a few minutes to find a suitable cable to plug it in and get it turned on.

So far so good… actually, so far sooo amazing!!!

Something that I really love about it is how easy it has been to use. Great design: Easy, intuitive and smooth. So much so that I might not even bother with a keypad on my next phone…

It really disappointed me when Palm lacked the confidence to back itself with the Foleo, only to be beaten with huge stick of regret when the Asus Eee PC was released weeks later (damn Engadget!)… and wonderful that I can now get the same kind of thing – even if it is a year later!

Upgrading the software for your mind

We talk a lot about software for your mind as a metaphor for your thought patterns – cultivating emotions (like compassion, tenacity, playfulness, love etc) or refining our thinking skills (creativity, learning, problem solving…)

However there’s some great software out there. One of them – Mindjet’s MindManager is sensational! It helps you organise, implement and communicate your ideas and concepts. I’ve just fallen in love with it (and their viewer that comes with a 5-day trial of the full software): Now I want a version for my smartphone…

If you’re looking for a more metaphorical software upgrade, I like the Four Hour Work Week generally, and particularly this post on Tim’s blog about finding your rhythm for peak creativity. His ChangeThis manifesto is pretty cool too. Though if you want a more-easily accessed stimulus for creativity, try sitting for a few hours in the couches of the Grand Cafe on the 54th floor of Jin Mao as I did this afternoon… truly inspiring!

Who is John Galt?

The New York Times has just published an article acknowledging the role played by Ayn Rand in the thinking of modern capitalists. My Grandfather gave me The Fountainhead when I was an arrogant 13-year-old with a warning that the first half was boring but the second half made it worthwhile. He was right on both counts.

While “the virtue of selfishness” might be very unpopular as a phrase, I was transformed by this book and still have it together with my Grandfather’s copy of Atlas Shrugged in a special place in my bookcase at home.

It’s not a complete philosophy. Assumptions arrogantly taken for “axioms” are adopted by ignorant idealogues undermine the intellectual integrity that Objectivists purport to uphold. However, as James M. Kilts is quoted as noting in the NYT article, Ayn Rand’s works uphold a very important value that has few other sources:

“that excellence should be your goal”

Spiritual masters, NLPers and psychologists are largely and unusually in agreement (though they won’t let you know!): Self-actualisers, prime mover geniuses and happy “ordinary” people everywhere live in accordance with the vision that Rand had for the world… rather than being the victim of what other people want for you or think of you, may we all take personal responsibilty for how you feel, what you think and the life that you live.

Be excellent.