“Prior Preparation Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.” – Every Pilot Who Ever Lived
Hello fine readers and welcome back to my Motivational Mondays Post! The only newsletter to rub your belly and pat your head at the very same time.
Following a 4:3:2:1 approach, it contains 4 exceptional thoughts from me (ha), 3 admittedly better quotes from others, and 2 things I’ve been reading and/or listening to this week that have helped me grow.
As always I’ve finished with 1 something silly to lighten your Monday blues…
Love to all X
4 x Thoughts From Me:
Freedom demands we choose our responsibilities. The same way that having a life demands we protect it. If you want freedom of choice then you have to choose to take responsibility for your life. If you don’t someone else will choose your responsibilities for you. The danger is they will use that for their own profit and power by forming a narrative you refused to take responsibility for forming yourself. In doing so they will shut your mind from your heart. The moment that happens you’ve lost your freedom.
It’s not a matter of quality over quantity. I believe that quantity produces quality amongst a sea of mediocrity. The greatest artists produce far more average work than they do masterpieces. The point is though, they produce far more work.
It’s far easier to help those who actually ask for it. Very rarely can we help those that don’t. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and ask.
When you’ve only suffered enough to know what misery is, but not enough to know what for, then you must endure a while longer. Keep searching for the meaning and you will find your salvation.
3 x Quotes From Others:
“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.” – Thucydides (Source: MAYALAND – ABSTINENCE)
“How noble and good everyone could be if, every evening before falling asleep, they were to recall to mind the events of the whole day and consider exactly what has been good and bad. Then, without realizing it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time.” – Anne Frank
“Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl (Source: Vrunda Chauk – Taking Responsibility)
2 x Things That Helped Me Grow
1 – This interesting No Stupid Questions podcast episode – Are You a Maximizer or a Satisficer? with Steven Dubner and Angela Duckworth. In this episode Steven and Angela discuss whether it is better to be a Maximizer or a Satisficer and what is the best interview question to ask. Notes and quotes below.
MY PERSONAL NOTES AND QUOTES:
- Question #1: Is it better to be a maximizer or a satisficer?
- Maximiser – when it comes to work a maximiser is someone who tries to become better and better. Someone who tries make the best of every decision. You’re looking for the absolute best outcome everytime.
- Satisficer – someone who is happy to settle for good enough. You’re looking to save time and energy.
- Often being a Maximiser in a professional sense is a good thing but maybe satisfising for others things Satisficing might be a better approach? ie. when going for lunch. What is the opportunity cost for spending so much time researching the perfect place to eat, when you could just grab a bite and get back to work?
- If you’re talking about your vocation or life partner? Sure let’s maximise. Choosing lunch? Maybe best to satisfise.
- Useful terminology for thinking clearly about what you want to settle for, versus what you want the best out of in life.
- Studies found that in general Satisficers are happier. They are willing to settle for less. Maximisers perhaps never happy enough because it’s not possibly to maximise every decision all the time?
- We become more of a Satisfiser the older we get. Is it because we let our standards slip? No – has more to do with choosing what to care about. Deliberating not caring about the rest.
- Often maximising doesn’t lead to happier outcomes. Think about choosing from 24 different types of jam at the supermarket versus 3 different types. Sometimes it’s simply not worth trying to maximise all your decisions.
- Question #2: What is the best interview question?
- What do you hope to have achieved in 5 years and 10 years time?
- Fermi question? Is a question where one is asked to make a quick estimate for something that is very difficult to measure accurately. Tests the ability to quickly approximate difficult calculations.
- Unstructured – where you basically have an informal conversation with someone. Danger of harming the interview process. Basing decision on personality versus actual credentials for the job.
- Work sample. Where you give them a problem to solve. Asking a potential editor to go away and edit a manuscript for example. This is better
- Meta question – Tell me the question I should ask you that’s going to make me hire you?
- It’s important to remember the interviewer wants the interviewee to succeed.
2 – This fascinating article – The Truth About Clickbait, by George J. Ziogas. In it George explores the science behind how it works and what we can learn from it. This is well worth clicking on! Quote from the article below.
“If you think you’re above clickbait, think again... If you believe in your content, if you believe in what you do, then you have a responsibility to create clever headlines that will encourage people to read that information.”
1 x Silly Thing To Make You Smile:
My wife came into our office this morning and asked if I would like her to make me a cup of oolong tea.
I looked up at her with a stupid grin on my face.
I said nothing.
“Is that a yes? No? Would you like a different kind of tea..?,” she continued.
My grin widened. I remained silent.
“Are you going to answer me or not!?,” she pressed, clearly sensing that something was up.
“I’m thinking,” I finally replied breaking my silence.
“This is going to take oolong time…”
My wife rolled her eyes before leaving the room.
I maintain this was a brilliant joke.
I received no cup of tea…
Till next week…
Have a Happy F***ing Monday Everybody!
P.S. Don’t forget to exercise your silly muscle this week!
One bonus question for you all:
What’s your favourite kind of tea?
(Please take your time deciding)
(Thank you all so much for reading. If you have any suggestions, thoughts or ideas about today’s weekly post I’d love to hear from you in the comments at the bottom.)
PREVIOUS MONDAY POSTS:
I read a quote the other day that said, “Enthusiasm is worth 25 IQ points.”
It got me thinking about my attitude towards work in the past.
It’s easy to see how limiting the story in my head has been when I’ve shown up to work and told myself things like, I’m not going to enjoy this.
How I dragged my heels when wishing, I didn’t have to fly with that particular captain.
How I made everything so much harder than it needed to be because the narrative I repeated was so heavily rooted in what was happening to me.
How I had to fly through the night again.
How I had to fly with the difficult captain.
How I got the crappy rest…
What happens when you complain about having to do something?
You suffer twice.
Once in imagination and then again when you have do it.
What’s the tendency of someone who complains about something beforehand?
They point the finger and blame others.
This makes things worse because it puts yourself in a position of not wanting to learn. It closes your mind. It puts you in a fixed mindset.
One golden rule for life that forces you to take responsibility:
GIVE UP BLAMING AND GIVE UP COMPLAINING!
(FYI constructive criticism isn’t the same as complaining. One offers a solution the other is simply a judgment.)
Easier said than done of course…
So what if we looked at this from the angle of adopting an attitude rather than giving one up?
What if, instead of trying to give up blaming and complaining, we said to ourselves, this week I’m going to show up with as much enthusiasm as I can muster?
Instead of trying to catch yourself out for being negative, instead of beating yourself up for acting like a child, you simply set the intention to go about whatever it is you have to do (whether that’s work, doing taxes or washing the dishes) with an attitude of ‘fuck yes.’
After all, if it’s something you have to do, why wouldn’t you make the most of it? Why wouldn’t you try to see how much you can squeeze from that bastard lemon!
Let me go back to the quote I mentioned at the beginning.
Enthusiasm is worth 25 IQ points.
Of course the idea of gaining 25 IQ points, which is a lot, isn’t meant to taken literally, but it gets the point across succinctly.
If you show up with enthusiasm. If you turn a reluctant yes into a fuck yes the benefits can’t be understated.
Just this week I had a simulator that signed on at 11pm and finished at 3am followed by a flight that signed on at 6am just two days later. Not exactly the roster I would have chosen for myself but you know what – I didn’t let myself complain about it – I just got on with it.
In fact I told myself I was gonna be the keenest motherfucker on the flight deck.
I reminded myself of my loving motives for doing what I do – that I was there to help others and to be part of something bigger than me.
I reminded myself that enthusiasm is worth 25 IQ points.
How do you think I performed?
I can tell you I’ve done much worse.
I’m sure you can relate.
Think about a time when you’ve arrived somewhere you really wanted to be – in which you really wanted to learn something.
How did it go?
I’m guessing pretty fucking well.
Conversely remember those times when you wanted to be somewhere else – when you simply wanted to be at home although you couldn’t.
Did that attitude help?
I’m guessing not.
We don’t alway get to do what we want to or, indeed, choose what life has in store for us. But if we make out that these things are what we wanted. That the struggle we find ourself in is what was meant for us, so we can learn and grow into the resilient mother fucker we were meant to be. Well, I suspect that such an attitude might just be the ultimate form of taking responsibility for your life.
The quote is from Kevin Kelly‘s viral post ‘68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice‘ that he wrote on his 68th birthday. Can highly recommend reading!
Following on from my 4 part 2019 review, below are my pledges and goals for the coming year. I intend to do a monthly review of these goals as a way of holding myself on accountable as the year progresses. I hope you enjoy!
MY 2020 PLEDGES
By the end of 2020 my wife and I will have begun trying for a second child (or be pregnant with the second (and last!) on the way).
With regards to work I will be “command ready” having worked to further my operation and confidence to its highest ever level. I will have attended a performance based course to help in this regard. I will have taken an extended period of 3 months off work from May till July.
Health wise, I will be far more consistent with regards to my exercise and healthy living habits, sticking to my morning and evening routines that incorporates yoga and/or some other form of physical exercise. I will have completed one alcohol free week every month plus one alcohol free month during the year. My eating habits will much improved following a ‘slow carb diet’ 5 days a week. I’ll also have found a new activity based hobby that I enjoy outside of the home. As a result I’ll be as fit as ever having achieved my desired body fat percentage of 14%. My back injury will have completely healed.
My mental health will be vastly improved due to a more consistent practice of meditation, reading and writing that I’ll have better incorporated into both my morning and evening routines. I will have attended at least one silent retreat and a transcendental course to further my practise. I will have opened up to my parents about my previous difficulties and become much closer to them as a result. I will talk to my wife every single night when at home before bed.
In my spare time I will continue to write everyday. My first goal will be to write and publish a children’s book for wiggles. I will also start a new blog that explores the question of how to live a healthier and happier life at home and at work, as well as being a better father, husband and all round human being. I will have taken the time to volunteer and start annual donations to two new charities.
At home I will be far more environmentally conscious having done a large amount of research into how I can live more sustainably. This will act as a model for Wiggles as he grows up.
Financially we’ll be in very good shape having organised a better tracking/savings system as we look to the future. We will have made a significant investment into my brother’s hedge fund and also a third property. I will have also invested in renewable technologies and/or an environmental project aimed at helping save the planet. Insurance wise we will have reviewed and updated all our policies and plans as necessary and have set up a will.
MY 2020 GOALS
- Meditate 365 days/year
- Attend a silent retreat
- Complete a course in transcendental meditation
- 5 x Exercise days/week
- 4 x Alcohol free days/week
- 1 x Alcohol free week/month
- 1 x Alcohol free month/year
- 5 x low carb/high protein days/week (during intermittent fasting window 12 till 8)
- 4 x long fast/year (24hr-76hr)
- 14% body-fat goal
- Stretch/Yoga daily
- Perform LASIK
- Heal back injury
- Find new activity based hobby to commit weekly
- Oxfam Trail Walker 2020?
- Be ‘Command Ready’ by 2021
- Complete Performance course through work
- Logbook journal after every flight – write 1 thing I did well and 1 thing I could do better
- Take an extended period off work (3 months following LASIK? – May – July)
- Publish first children’s book
- Start new blog (with a particular focus on health this year)
- Post 1 new article/week
- Write daily (As a minimum in my 5MJ)
- Read 2 books/month
- Read daily
- Set Liam goals to help his achieve throughout the year
- Date night x 1/week
- Talk to my wife every night when at home
- Open up to Mum and Dad
- Environmental research/piece on blog about how to live more sustainably/responsibly at home for the family to centre around
- Set goals and make changes based on this research
- Skiing Japan Trip (February)
- April/May getaway with Holly
- Silent retreat (May in Bhutan?)
- UK Trip (June)
- Croatia and Serbia – Villa plus Ogi and Mia wedding (September/October)
- UK (Christmas)
- File/pay UK Taxes
- File/pay HK Taxes
- Research new mortgage for London apartment
- Invest in my brother’s fund
- Invest in third property
- Sort better tracking/savings system with longer term goals in mind
- Write a will
- Set up loss of income insurance through Union
- Set up annual donation to 2 x new charities
- Volunteer locally
Hi there and welcome to part 2 of my 2019 review! Today I’m looking at work, specifically my career in aviation and as a writer. As before two major questions are driving my thoughts. Those are, ‘What went well?’ and What could I do better?’. I hope you enjoy.
In terms of my job (the one that pays the bills), I’m flying less often as a result of requesting a long haul roster, which means I get more days off. Given how young my boy is, family time is simply a much bigger priority for me at the moment. I don’t feel guilty about this however, the result is, quite naturally, a less proficient operation. Approaching my command I will look to focus more on my operation again, but for now and looking forward to 2020, given it’s still a way off, my focus will remain on improving my own health and well-being on top of becoming a better father to Liam and husband to Holly.
With that said I would at least say I have achieved a much healthier relationship towards work, especially with regards to flying through the night, which previously occupied a much greater and more negative space in my head. Working with my therapist has paid dividends in this regard.
I also have a better handle on my anxiety toward flying with certain, shall we say, personality types. Although rare, previous experiences had left me feeling nervous almost every time I showed up to work. Outside of my family it was perhaps the biggest driver for me to seek help. I used to take work home with me all the time – worrying about my performance, lack of drive, who I might have to fly with, the havoc night flying must be having on my health – basically A LOT OF NEGATIVE SHIT. Without getting into too much detail about my therapy, we worked out a great deal of these thoughts stemmed from an underlying belief of inadequacy that I had been carrying around with me for a very long time.
I can happily say my perspective has changed significantly. The boundaries between work and home are much clearer – more or less forgetting about work when at home and feeling more excited and motivated when back at it. I’m less hard on myself when I don’t have the best day and far better at taking the positives.
Next year will very much be about bringing this improved perspective toward work consistently. I still have demons to fight, but unlike before I now look forward to the battle. I now want to put myself in the uncomfortable situations – take the more challenging sectors with the more difficult captains – knowing that I’m more than capable of dealing with them, but that I still have things to learn and room to grow. We always do.
I think it’s fair to say I haven’t really felt like a captain yet up to this point in my career – settling and becoming too comfortable with my role as First Officer and Second Officer before that. However far off it may be, I want to feel that I am truly ‘Command ready’ by the end of 2020, so that the course may be less of a shock to the system than previous upgrades have proved. This will be my ultimate work goal for next year.
To achieve that I will look at perfecting my routines around work as well as at it. I will never turn down a sector offered and I will challenge myself at every opportunity to put myself in the captains shoes. I will seek to attend a command performance course. I will ask the question, “What could I have done better/differently?” Beyond that I will remember, It is a privilege to be an aviator and I owe it to the profession to give it my all.
Consistently writing every day has to be a major goal for 2020. Setting myself the goal of one post a week, or however many a month, has not proven the best way to get me writing. If anything I find it demotivating when I inevitably miss the deadlines set for myself. I think much more important is the process or routine of writing. Making it a daily habit. If I simply do, then I know I’ll be more productive regardless of how many articles/posts/books I actually end up producing.
Like a lot of things, I’ve had too much of an on and off relationship with writing, as has been the case this year. Happily I’ve seen a major improvement, in the latter part of this year. I have been writing almost everyday. In the past month. I’ve written my family Christmas newsletter, finished my first draft of my children’s book, which I hope to get published next year, written in my 5MJ every day and started this blog. Let see what I can get done in a year by committing to the simple goal of writing just one lousy paragraph a day.