Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

Pointers gleaned from John C Maxwell's book - How Successful People Think.

1. Cultivate Big Picture Thinking
- What are the needs? And their causes?
- Who are the stakeholders? What are they thinking or doing with respect to the needs?

2. Engage in Focused Thinking
- What goals can be identified?
- How to achieve them?

3. Harness Creative Thinking
- How can we see/do things better?
- Who can we learn from?

4. Employ Realistic Thinking
- Face the facts
- Identify the pros, cons, worst case & resources needed

5. Utilize Strategic Thinking
- What's your plan?
- Who are you teaming with?

6. Explore Possibility Thinking
- Dream bigger & more fantastically
- Learn from achievers

7. Learn from Reflective Thinking
- Spend time reflecting
- Reflect in terms of what matters to you
- Make real changes

8. Question Popular Thinking
- Think for yourself
- Do things differently
- Do new things

9. Benefit from Shared Thinking
- Value others & enjoy interaction
- Plan for meetings: What's your agenda? Invite those who can contribute.

10. Practice Unselfish Thinking
- Give to benefit others
- Give anonymously if possible
- Check your motives

11. Rely on Bottom-Line Thinking
- What are your purpose and goal?
- How's your daily progress?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Changing The World

Two books have been on my desk: How To Change The World: Social Entrepreneurs And The Power Of New Ideas and Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide.

They report numerous accounts of individuals (from the past and more recent) who aren't famous but yet are worthy of remembering because of how they worked against immense opposition and deep-rooted resistance to, well, change their world. They've effected changes that remove or reduce discrimination against groups of people like women and disabled people, that provide them the means to survive, that bring a sense of near-normalcy and deliverance to places of oppression and helplessness.

Change starts with...not so much the idea, but with men and women who dare to envision a different, better circumstance. Social change, business change, culture change...whatever it is, they see it and actually live it.

What gives courage to pursue change and to keep pursuing it through one's life? The deep burden to see the lives of loved ones, fellow ones removed from suffering? Anger at the ineffectual institutions that don't seem to care enough to bother? The will to believe that things can get and will get better?

It doesn't have to require a noble, grand cause and a huge effort to get started. Just meet one need at a time, around you and me. Little needs, not-so-little needs... And don't do it for recognition or affirmation, but do it simply knowing that you tried to make a difference.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hanoi Trip (Oct 2012)

The Sound Of Two Songs (by Mark Power)

The Sound Of Two Songs is a photo-project by Mark Power spanning 2004 to 2009. He documents and presents his take on Poland, its landscape and people.

...instigated by Magnum Photos to document countries joining the European Union that year. Despite having no familial ties to the country, he soon became fascinated by Poland. Over the next five years he made a further twenty visits, often accompanied by Polish photographer Konrad Pustola who generously shared his knowledge of his native land. Over time Power’s focus shifted from an investigation into the effects of EU membership into a more subjective, poetic and autobiographical response to a country he grew to love...

Power’s images exemplify his belief that ‘ugliness can be profoundly beautiful’. They present Poland as a land ‘bursting with visual contradictions… like listening to several melodies at once to the point where it’s difficult to hear anything clearly’, a notion which inspired the title of the exhibition. It is a place seen by a foreigner, an outsider; a position Power has resolutely maintained throughout. A highly personal body of work, The Sound of Two Songs nonetheless remains an important historical document of this fascinating period in Poland’s history.

Thai Photography Of The Past

74-year-old Pornsak Sakdaenprai talks about his photography work half a century ago in a small Isan town. Video courtesy of Bangkok Post. In Thai with English subtitles.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Thinking About Consumption

Caught DIVE! a documentary by Jeremy Seifert on America's food waste problem. Proving that dumpster food can be safe for consumption, he along with others rifle through dumpsters regularly--not compelled by poverty but by a reluctance to see valuable food go to waste.

Seifert reports that America dumps 96 billion pounds of consumable food every year, which takes up 20% of landfills. Key fact to remember: there is a cost, i.e. resources, that's expended to produce food, although it's not visible to the consumer. So throwing away a single pound of food means we actually waste all the resources that went into putting it on our dinner table.

It's not just a film that aims to change consumer behaviour, but more than that, to highlight how food companies have a crucial role to play in deciding how to manage excess/expended food.

Something to seriously think about as we bite into our foods, not just our favourite but also those that we don't fancy and would feel nothing about letting it go to waste.

Which leads me to...

In Must-Have: The Hidden Instincts Behind Everything We Buy, Geoffrey Miller breaks down how consumers' display of their lifestyles, through the cars, music, clothes, books, foods, life partners, opinions etc. are all driven by innate evolutionary desires to appear more attractive and therefore better able to mate and find success.

Miller offers many ideas and explanations for our consumer behaviour--he can be tongue-in-cheek at times--including "Central Six" attributes and not demographics that can fairly accurately predict behaviour. He concludes with suggestions to change social norms such as imposing extra retail taxes on brand new products to curb consumption, raising the prices of products with intangible costs (e.g. social costs such as ammo for guns).

The main takeaway: Consider and weigh our own motivations for lifestyle choices.

Food for thought: What motivates people to give or get involved in charity? If it's sympathy-inducing situations coupled with latent desire to do good without being too inconvenienced...why do most of us brush aside people who beg on the streets? Do givers/carers need to have positive giving experiences in order to encourage them to continue giving/caring?

e² design by PBS features inspiring projects and architects/designer who have consciously implemented designs that are--here comes the E word--environmentally conscious.

Key points: Good design requires forethought and consideration of context and culture. Implementation of bold ideas requires willingness and flexibility to try. See the larger picture in order to appreciate various factors at work.

It's not about tree-hugging sentiments, but actually about practical concerns such as how to save costs in the long run, how to reduce energy usage, how to create a conducive, comfortable and culturally-relevant social space etc. If only we can just stop and ask ourselves them questions.