A poem inspired by a Peaceful Warrior master


Image: Svaneti by Paata

In case you missed it, last week I wrote a post on the 2-hour talk that Dan Millman gave at the Sydney Masonic Center on Tuesday, the 1st of April (link). Today, I’d like to share a poem I wrote while inspired by his talk. It is called ‘Reflections of a Peaceful Warrior’, and it goes like this:

Two hours
with my spiritual master;
Two hours
of wisdom,
of Universal Laws,
of jokes and quotes.

Two peaceful hours
with a wise warrior;
Two inspiring hours
with a foolish warrior.

A story of humility:
“I am inspired by you”,
said a student to his teacher.
“Don’t worry,” the teacher said,
“that too will pass”.

Humility with humanity;
Wisdom with laughter.
These were the hallmarks
that his teacher Socrates
once etched on him.
They’re now the hallmarks
he etches in us all.

Thank you,
my peaceful warrior,
for sharing your wisdom
with us today.

Thank you,
our peaceful warrior,
for laying your heart
open for us all to see,
to hear,
to touch and to feel.

Thank you,
Oh, peaceful warrior,
for making the mistakes that
took you here today.

Thank you,
my spiritual guide,
for being my friend
today again.

If you liked it, you may want to listen to me recite it on the link below.

Poem Recital: Reflections of a Peaceful Warrior (mp3 file)

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The Peaceful Warrior Experience: An evening with Dan Millman

<p align=”center”><img src=”http://crazycolombian.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/cimg3135.jpg&#8221; alt=”Invitation to an evening with Dan Millman” align=”middle” border=”0″ height=”141″ hspace=”0″ width=”250″ />
<em><font size=”1″>Image: An invitation to The Peaceful Warrior Experience by </font></em><font size=”1″><a href=”http://crazycolombian.com&#8221; target=”_blank”><em>The Crazy Colombian</em></a></font>

Over the last 38 years of my life, there have been a handful of authors that have inspired me; many of their books even changed my life. For example, T. Lobsang Rampa’s fascinating description of life in Tibet in <em>The Third Eye </em>opened my eyes to a new universe of spiritual philosophy. Douglas R Hofstadter’s fascinating and congruent exploration of Artificial Intelligence in <em>Goedel, Escher, Bach: An eternal golden brace </em>proved to me that you can <a href=”http://crazycolombian.com/2007/11/01/are-you-a-specialist-or-a-generalist/&#8221; target=”_blank”>become an exceptional generalist</a> by weaving fields together that are seemingly far apart: in his book, Hofstatdter integrates disciplines seemingly as disparat as music, painting , logic and mathemathics. But it was Dan Millman’s semi-biographical tale of courage & growth in <a href=”http://crazycolombian.com/2007/07/26/book-review-way-fo-the-peaceful-warrior-by-dan-millman/&#8221; target=”_blank”><em>The Way of the Peaceful Warrior</em></a> that exposed me to an unusual path for achieving balanced enlightenment. This path was Dan’s unique blend of ancient wisdom and every-day-smarts. His approach was unique and refreshing, and helped me start living my life as a Way of learning, as a journey in which I can integrate and balance my Warrior and Peace-giving energies.

This explains why I got so excited one morning when my wife told me that Dan was coming to Sydney. Not surprisingly, I jumped from my chair; logged on to the web; and quickly found Nibbana’s web site. There I found that Julie Ann Storr, the company’s CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) had arranged for a Peaceful Warrior tour of Australia & New Zealand (<a href=”http://nibbana.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=1&#8243; target=”_blank”>link</a>). According to their web site, Dan would be visiting major cities in each country, where he would spend 2 hours explaining how to <em>”gain clarity and perspective in the face of life’s challenges and learn how to work with universal laws to achieve real-world outcomes in everyday”. </em>His tour would culminate with a 2-day weekend experience in Sydney, where Dan would initiate attendees into the Peaceful Warrior’s way, empowering your body, mind and spirit to discover a new way of living. I don’t really need to tell you I immediately booked myself for both events in Sydney, do I?

In this article I want to share my perspectives and impressions after attending the first event. This 2-hour talk was held on Tuesday the 1st of April at the Sydney Masonic Centre. At a later stage, I will post a follow-up article with a review of the 2-day weekend seminar.
<h4>Having a drink with other Peaceful Warriors: A unique experience</h4>
<img src=”http://crazycolombian.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/cimg31441.jpg&#8221; alt=”Dan’s dedication to my copy of ’Everyday Enlightenment” align=”left” border=”0″ height=”358″ hspace=”0″ width=”300″ />

Upon registration on the web site, I had an offer that was impossible to resist: if I registered for a Gold-Class reserve ticket, I would be invited to join Dan with a small group of people for an hour of drinks and canapes before the talk started. For anyone who has worked in marketing, that is what we in the trade call an <em>irresistible offer with a strong call to </em>action. You won’t be surprised to learn that I took it on the spot, will you?

For obvious logistical reasons, the drinks where held on the same building where the main talk was held, albeit in a more intimate room. A little before 5:30 PM our small group assembled. Everyone seemed excited to be there, and there was a small amount of tension in the air. As Dan entered the room, we all felt a subtle yet noticeable shift in the room’s energy; People were happy to be there, and the tension we had held in our bodies from anticipating Dan’s appearance quickly transformed into a sort of happiness to finally be with him.

Over the course of the ensuing hour Dan played the perfect host, working the room with his signature smile, ensuring everyone had a chance to talk with him. Some of us brought our books and DVDs for him to sign. Others were happy to just be there, and enjoy the conversation of our Peaceful Warrior master.

When my turn to meet him came, I introduced myself as <em>The Crazy Colombian</em>. Dan instantly recognised me, and had to remind me that hadn’t told him my real name, which I promptly did. After he moved on to the next group, I stole a peek at the dedication of my book, and was very appreciative of the succinct blending of my blogging and my real personas.

Whilst having an opportunity to meet Dan up-close and personal was exhilarating, getting to know the other attendees to this event was just as stimulating. Everyone I met in that room was a Peaceful Warrior on their own right, with a strong history of personal, spiritual and business achievements.

It was 6:30 PM when Dan discreetly left us to continue enjoying each others’ company. It was time for him to go and get ready for the main event.
<h4>Main course: The Peaceful Warrior Introduction</h4>
I was thankful (albeit not particularly surprised) to find that Nibbana had reserved the best seats in the house for Gold-Class reserve ticket holders. Like an eager student in his first day of school, I took my place on the front row, and waited patiently for our teacher to arrive. Julie Ann did the usual introductions, and amidst a wave of applause, Dan emerged to the front of th audience.

As many of you would know, Dan used to be an elite Athlete, so his introduction to this lecture will come as no surprise to you: In a demonstration that only lasted a couple of minutes, this 62 year-old warrior showed us that age and fitness can (and should) mix. In a humorous manner, he explained that giving talks is not what he used to do; and that his occupation many years ago was to do “this”. He then used his hands to hold on to the border of the table, and in a controlled and slow motion, brought his body to a 90 degree angle to the table; then went fully vertical; finishing with a slow and controlled descent. I was in awe. Even in my fittest days I could not have achieved such <em>simple</em> manoeuvre, yet here was someone quite a fair bit older than me doing it in front of 100 people – and that is after decades of not being a professional gymnast!

<p align=”center”><img src=”http://crazycolombian.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/cimg3133.jpg&#8221; alt=”CIMG3133″ align=”middle” border=”0″ height=”299″ hspace=”0″ width=”450″ />
<font size=”1″><em>Image: Dan Millman finishes his talk </em>by <a href=”http://crazycolombian.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>The Crazy Colombian</a></font>

But Dan’s gymnastic antics were only a warm up to the heavy intellectual & emotional lifting we would do with him over the course of the following 2 hours. To ensure he left no man behind, Dan used a variety of educational tools, including audience participation; Poetry reading; and Humour. The talk was structured around the theme of his book <em>The Laws of Spirit </em>(<a href=”http://books.google.com.au/books?id=ZcBOpxpfCdAC&dq=%22laws+of+spirit%22&pg=PP1&ots=rDyGtQQd7t&sig=2l77UdkReMN_BZkis79uWkBUmdY&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com.au/search?q=%22Laws+of+Spirit%22&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_en___AU202&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail&#8221; target=”_blank”>link</a>), which covers 12 Universal Laws. In this talk, he discussed eight of those:
<ul>
<li><u>The Law of Balance</u> : Everything that we do, we can overdo and underdo. If the pendulum of our habits swing too far to one side, it will inevitably swing back to the other.</li>
<li><u>The Law of Unity</u> : We begin our life on earth as separate beings; but just as each raindrop is a part of the ocean, so each of us is a part of Spirit.</li>
<li><u>Law of Choices</u> : The choices we have made in our past have brought us to our present, just as the choices we make today are shaping our tomorrow.</li>
<li><u>Law of Process</u> : Any journey starts with the first step, and unfolds only as we take every individual & subsequent step.</li>
<li><u>Law Of Presence</u> : Life is a series of moments; spending too much time in the past or in the future robs you of the ability to enjoy your life where it is lived – in the Now.</li>
<li><u>Law of Cycles</u> : “<em>Everything dies & changes, even radiators</em>” (<a href=”http://crazycolombian.com/2007/03/10/everything-dies-and-changes-even-radiators/&#8221; target=”_blank”>link</a>)</li>
<li><u>Law of Surrender</u> : Stress happens when the mind resists what is; go with the flow, and surrender to the moment.</li>
<li><u>Law of Action</u> : We may know something with our brains; but it isn’t until we experience it within our lives that we can truly comprehend them; The path to Awareness is paved with Actions, not intentions.</li>
</ul>
Like I mentioned, one of the things that Dan did was encourage audience participation. In one such occasion, he asked for a volunteer to demonstrate a competitive game he wanted everyone to try out; given I was at the front row, and knew who I was, he asked me to help him. In this game, the 2 participants face each other at arm’s length. Palms facing out go out in front, as if you were going to clap on the other person’s hand. The idea is to gently (and not so gently) clap against each others’ hands, and try to get your ’opponent’ off-balance. You can achieve this both by pushing hard with your hands, in which case your opponent will likely be thrown off balance and have to take a step back to regain it; or you can just ’give in’ when your opponent tries to push hard, which will make him loose his balance and take a step forward to regain it. Every time you take a step forward or backward, your opponent scores 1 more point.
<p align=”justify”>The point of the exercise was to show us that in competitive games, there are 2 ways in which you can look at your opponent: You can either consider them someone you <u>must</u> beat at all costs, and who is not deserving of your respect or admiration (think George W Busg against the Middle East); or you can treat them as both your student and your teacher at the same time; your student, whom you will teach of his own weaknesses every time you win a point; and your teacher who will teach you of your mistakes every time you loose a point. Dan was very emphatic on his opinion that the ’ultimate competitive mind’ is, in his opinion, one of the worst things we have in modern life; and encouraged us all to consider how we approach our work lives; the sports we play; and our own relationships. Do we feel we must win at all costs, or do we engage in the game of life ’as if it really mattered’, but knowledgeable that it really doesn’t?</p>

<h4>Main impressions & Favourite moments</h4>
<img src=”http://crazycolombian.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/quote2.jpg&#8221; alt=”quote2″ align=”right” border=”0″ height=”73″ hspace=”0″ width=”200″ />

As you can imagine, I thoroughly enjoyed Dan’s informal style of presenting his material. From the first few minutes with his unusual use of acrobatics, Dan grabbed the audience’s attention, and held it throghout the 2 hours with his relaxed and down-to-earth style. His liberal use of quotes presented us with wise, irreverent, and sometimes funny ways of looking at some of life’s challenges. Of the poems that he read, I particularly enjoyed <em>Present Tense (</em>by Jason Lehman):
<blockquote><em> It was spring,
But it was summer I wanted,
The warm days,
And the great outdoors.
It was summer,
But it was fall I wanted,
The colorful leaves,
And the cool, dry air.
It was fall,
But it was winter I wanted,
The beautiful sow,
And the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter,
But it was spring I wanted,
The warmth,
And the blossoming of nature.
I was a child,
But it was adulthood I wanted,
The freedom,
And the respect.
I was 20,
But it was 30 I wanted,
To be mature,
And sophisticated.
I was middle-aged,
But it was 20 I wanted,
The youth,
And the free spirit.
I was retired,
But it was middle age I wanted,
The presence of mind,
without limitations.
My life was over.
But I never got what I wanted</em></blockquote>
I also enjoyed his reminder of how to achieve goals in our lives. According to Dan, whenever you face an important goal in your life, you can approach it in one of 2 ways:
<blockquote><span style=”font-style: italic; font-family: lucida grande”>(1) You can find a way to quiet your mind, create empowering beliefs and positive self-talk, find your focus and affirm your power to free your emotions and visualize positive outcomes so that you can develop the confidence to generate the courage to find the determination to make the commitment to feel sufficiently motivated to do whatever it is you need to do.</span></blockquote>
<blockquote><span style=”font-style: italic; font-family: lucida grande”>(2) Or you can just do it.</span></blockquote>
<p align=”left”>If you are not sure which of these two is the easy way to achieve, you may want to look at my previous post <em>How to Reach your Goals </em>(<a href=”http://crazycolombian.com/2008/02/27/how-to-reach-your-goals/&#8221; target=”_blank”>link</a>).</p>
<p align=”left”>Over the course of those 2 hours, there was only one thing that stood out as somehow negative, although it was not within Dan’s control. A number of people were disrespectful and did not switch their mobiles off at the start of the talk. It really puzzled me that after the first mobile phone went off, other people didn’t reach for their phones to ensure they were off; It was not too long before a few other calls came through into the room. Thankfully this only happened a handful of times, so the audience was able to focus on Dan’s talk and enjoy it for what it was : a wonderful opportunity to challenge our views; to recognise that our lives are simply a series of moments that are as special as those we enjoyed during his talk; and to continue on our path to become better, more peaceful warriors.</p>

<p align=”center”><img src=”http://crazycolombian.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/cimg3134.jpg&#8221; alt=”CIMG3134″ align=”middle” border=”0″ height=”300″ hspace=”0″ width=”199″ />
<font size=”1″><em>Image: Julie from Nibbana borrows Dan’s mic
to close the event </em>by <a href=”http://crazycolombian.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>The Crazy Colombian</a></font>
<h4>Closing thoughts: An experience worth having</h4>
Was the talk worth its’ price? It depends. If your criteria of value is to find entirely new material, fresh ideas, and learn new things every minute of the talk, then the answer for you would probably be no. Like I mentioned, Dan borrowed from himself and others a number of times, and used content that you may have come across before.

On the other hand, what makes this a valuable experience is not the content presented. Don’t get me wrong: the content Dan chose for this talk was as high quality as that he has previously put in any of his books. And what makes this a valuable experience is not either the way in which the content is delivered, which Dan did with flair and panache. To explain the value of this experience, I’d like to first use an analogy.

Imagine that you have never heard of the game of Tenis; and that someone told you of its benefits. You get excited, and decide to pick up a book at the library. You read all about the techniques; the great players of our times; and the various styles of the game. You then decide to finally put it all into practice, and go to a court. However, you become a bit disappointed: You miss the ball most of the times, although you manage to get a couple of really good hits. You attribute those to beginner’s luck, and decide to try a different approach. The day after, you write to the Wimbledon’s tournament winner, and ask for a tape of all his games; You also buy front-row tickets for some of his games, and make sure you observe and take notes throughout the games. At the end of this, you go back to the court, and this time you start hitting the ball regularly. You may not be winning against a decent opponent yet, but you feel you’ve learned the basics. You finaly decide to take the plunge and hire a good coach for a series of lessons in the court. In those, your coach gives you some general advise and shows you by doing; and when you ask for it, the coach also provides some advise specific to your situation. After your lessons end, you ask the top player in the club to play a game with you, and although you don’t win, you manage to hold your ground. Some years later, after weekly practice and many more games, you start winning on a consistent basis.

Today’s presentation was like the second step, when you observe a master in action. Watching Dan talk about the Way of the Peaceful Warrior gave us not only some of the knowledge he has put into his books, it also gave us an opportunity to watch a Peaceful Warrior in daily life. I anticipate the weekend experience, which should be analogous to the last step, where you get the master to teach you in person.

Thank you, Julie Anne, for bringing Dan to Australia. Thanks to the very professional team at Nibbana for pulling together a great evening. And Thank you Dan for showing us what a real-life Peaceful Warrior looks like, and for sharing the wisdom that comes from years of practice.

Got any dangerous ideas?

https://i1.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/10/13378499_a9bda66df1.jpg

Image: Radioactive girl by jon madison

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” – Oscar Wilde

Lately I have been busy. Very busy. I decided to finally take the plunge, and move my blog away from WordPress.com

Don’t get me wrong; I loved WordPress. It is one of the best blog engines you can possibly get, and the setup at WordPress.com is absolutely superb. But it also came with some restrictions I just was not happy with.

As a result, I spent a fair bit of time migrating the blog, instead of writing. I have a nice pile of ideas for future articles; but I thought I’d give you, my loyal readers, a chance to decide what should I write about next.

Got an idea on something you’d like to read in this blog? I want crazy ideas; wonderful ideas; insane ideas.

I want dangerous ideas.

Send me an email to TheCrazyColombian[at]gmail[d0t]com, or drop me a line in the comments section of this post. I will do my best to reflect on your ideas and post the results in this space.

5 things you need to know before you write your next email

Image: percect stranger by mezone
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/17/21970578_a3a410c2b3.jpg?

The following 5 tips are a must read if you want to send emails that leave a good impression, and compel the recipient of your emails to take immediate action.

1. Be bold: Start with the end

Need an answer from your recipient? Want them to take a particular action, like printing an attachment, sending an invite, or calling you as soon as possible? Tell them what you need in the first paragraph of your message.

If you’re feeling bold, then format the “call to action” in a way that stands out from the rest of the message. Be careful in your choice of formatting: Many people have found that red fonts will convey an implicit meaning that you are demanding action, rather than simply encouraging it. That was one lesson I would have preferred to learn the easy way.

2. Try again; do it twice

If you’ve ever tried to cook a fancy recipe for an important dinner party for the first time, you’ll probably have some pretty embarrassing memories to share. We rarely get things right on our first try, which is why we tend to use our loved ones as guinea pigs for our culinary experiments. With that knowledge, we really ought to ask ourselves why do we rarely re-read an email before we hit the Send button…

Next time you sit down to write an email, just go ahead and write it. After you’re done with it, go back to the top and read it again. I guarantee you will find a number of changes you want to make as you read through it again. Feeling confident? Do it a third time – you will surprise yourself with some of the subtle yet powerful improvements you get on that last run.

3. If it is important, choose the right time

In their best-seller ’Fish!’, Lundin, Paul & Christensen tell us that one of the three secrets to a happy work life is to “Be Present” for others. The same applies to written communication. Some time ago I learned from experience that writing mission critical messages to my largest customers at 11:30 PM after a long day at work was an extremely poor choice.

If the message is important, choose the right time to write it. If th message is not important, choose the right time to write it too. Make sure you won’t be forced to rush through writing it. And if it is really important or a letter charged with emotion, you should follow Dan Millmans’ advise about E-mail Protocols:

If you must write an emotionally-charged letter, or just an important
one where clear composition is important, write it then SAVE it in your
“Drafts” file. SLEEP ON IT and take another look the next morning.

4. Carefully craft the subject line

Read any advice from the professionals, and you will be bored to death with messages on the importance of your headline. Email is no different. The subject of your email is your headline; don’t abuse it. Use it wisely, and your message will be far more powerful than you could ever dream.

Some professionals go as far as suggesting that you should spend half the time choosing the title of your article, and the other half writing the actual article. In the case of emails, maybe 50/50 is taking it a bit far. Just make sure you don’t underestimate the importance of a good subject line.

5. Be succinct

Want your message to be clear? Want to grab the attention of your reader? Want to differentiate yourself from the thousand other emails that arrive in others’ email inboxes?

Pack a lot of content in as few words as you can. Use the delete key generously.

Be succinct.

How to reach your goals

Image: Weekend Inspirationby muha…
1061897539_e9db484f96

By now you will know that I am a ’new-age’ type of a character. I have a lot of interest in spirituality, motivation, and other topics related to my personal and spiritual development. A few days ago, while reading an interview with Dan Millman, I found a very powerful quote about how to reach our goals (link ). This quote made me reflect on some of the views commonly held in the Self-Help-Actrualisation-Movement about achieving; and I realised that sometimes less is more. Read on if you want to challenge some of what many people accept as ’Wisdom’ on the topic of success and reaching your goals.

Two paths for reaching your goals

Let’s start with what Dan said in the interview:

To progress toward your goals, please choose one of the following methods: (1) You can find a way to quiet your mind, create empowering beliefs and positive self-talk, find your focus and affirm your power to free your emotions and visualize positive outcomes so that you can develop the confidence to generate the courage to find the determination to make the commitment to feel sufficiently motivated to do whatever it is you need to do. (2) Or you can just do it.

In every goal you set yourself to achieve, there will be these 2 ways to achieve it. One is simple, one is complex. Which one do you usually choose?

What ’The Secret’ never told you: The Power of Action

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you probably have heard about ’The Secret’, and either read the book; watched the movie; or at the very least heard of the very basic principles it proposes. When I saw the movie, I was inspired. Here is someone who understands the power of positive thinking, and has managed to create a movie with Hollywood-style production quality. I was excited to think of how many people would be touched by this movie, and what a difference it would make in other people’s lives. But my perspective was somehow transformed after reading the quote above from Dan Millman. I realised that there is a very powerful element that the movie missed altogether: The Power of Action. All the positive thinking in the world is unlikely to help you achieve your goals unless you use it as a motivation for taking action. Visualisations; Motivation; and Positive thinking will likely put you in the right state of mind to notice opportunities that before you would not have been aware of. But they will not ’magically transform’ the world around you while you sit in your couch digesting the last bag of mindless reality television.

Often times, simple is better

Yes, sometimes the simple path is the better path. And visualising, creating empowerig beliefs, developing more self-confidence, and becoming committed can become unnecessary steps on your way to success. What if you already have established a mindset of positive thinking? What if you already have empowering beliefs? Going down that path is creating a lot of unnecessary redundancy. Let’s take 2 simple examples: Loosing weight, and Doubling your income. In the first case, you may know what needs to get done, why and how. But you’ve just been too lazy to actually do it. Maybe some visualisation will motivate you enough to get on top of it and start a healthier eating & exercise regime. But truth is you probably simply need to get on with it and ’Just do it’. Doubling your income, on the other hand, may require taking the first path. Becoming more in tune with opportunities to double your income, and then having the courage to follow them; the determination to stick with what appears like a high-stakes bet; and to stay the track for long enough to give it a chance of working, may take some serious psychological weight lifting before the main event. In cases like this, the first path outlined by Dan may be more conducive to a great outcome.

Make a choice at the start

If simple is often ties better, then we owe it to ourselves to think for a minute or two which path is required for the goal in consideration. The five minutes you need to spend making a conscious choice may save you hundreds of hours on your path to success. And remember Dan’s words to reach success, you can “find a way to quiet your mind, create empowering beliefs and positive self-talk, find your focus and affirm your power to free your emotions and visualize positive outcomes so that you can develop the confidence to generate the courage to find the determination to make the commitment to feel sufficiently motivated to do whatever it is you need to do; or you can just do it”. It really is your choice.

Links

  • The Peaceful warrior: Dan Millman’s web site
  • The Secret
  • Outdoor Living
  • Note to loyal readers: This post is a re-write of a previous post that only had the original quote from Dan’s interview. I hope you enjoy the additional value-add of my reflections.

    Jack Lalane surprises again: The power of lateral thinking

    Image: Weight Lifting by mjzitek
    Weight Lifter
    Impossible dreams

    Do you think a professional weight lifter could lift 1,000 pounds? What about you? Do you tink you can lift 1,000 pounds? If you think the answer is no, think again.

    Still think you can’t? Take a look at this video from one of my favourite characters, Jack Lalane, and you will find just how easy it would be for you to do it (link). Sure, you may say that doing it that way is cheating (haven’t seen the video yet? You really ought to see it! Go and take a look – we will wait for you), but what jack does has nothing to do with cheating..

    The power of Lateral Thinking

    No, what Jack was talking about has everything to do with creative thinking. Not like those "creative accounting" tricks in the arsenal of rogue advisors that corrupt senior executives at banks & multinationals; rather, the kind of creative thinking that Edward de Bono encourages in his books (link) ir?. Lateral thinking, creative problem-solving, and intuitive reason are some of the names given to the thought process that abolishes boundaries for a few minutes as a mechanism to find unusual ways to solve problems. Every time we read, hear, or think about a problem, our mind immediately makes assumptions and places constraints on the way to approach the problem.

    Think about it; without these pre-defined filters, the number of ridiculous possibilities we would entertain would quickly lead to analysis-by-paralysis. Yet this useful characteristic of our mind is our own enemy when it comes to increasing our problem-solving repertoire. Developing the ability to look at our own reality from a different perspective on a regular basis becomes a critical tool in our personal development arsenal. Without it,we become slaves to our own routines and frames-of-mind. We become unconsciously incompetent on creative problem-solving.

    Diversity of perspectives: the path to creativity

    In a way, that is why many modern corporations have espoused diversity as a desired trait of their workforce. Sitome may think it only has to do with legal requirements to prove that they do not discriminate on the basis of sex, colour, race, or religion. But for smart companies it is the type of acknowledgement proving that a diverse work-force with a variety of life- and world-views will be more likely to look at business problems from different and sometimes unusual angles; and in doing so, provide those in management & leadership with great insights into new opportunities.

    So do yourself a favour, and develop your creative thinking muscles; exercise insanity for short periods of time, and see the type of astonishing solutions your brain can come up with. I promise you will at the very least enjoy the process, and at best will find great and effortless ways to solve your current problems.

    Lend a hand: Peer to peer banking?

    Image: Check Writing by carbonNYC
    Check writing

    With the introduction of Napster some years ago, peer-to-peer quickly became a buzzword that challenged the typical distribution model for music first, and for movies & TV shows later. Nowadays, talk about torrent downloads and online music services is an accepted part of our digital landscape. Some visionaries have even started producing their own web-tv shows and distributing them using peer-to-peer technology (link).

    There are now other industries that are to be challenged by the peer-to-peer business model; of those, the most unlikely and surprising is our traditional and well-established banking system. According to an article in Tripwire (link), research from Gartner indicates that peer-to-peer online money lending networks are expected to grab 10% of the worldwide lending market by 2,010. I am not sure I would like to lend thousands of dollars to an individual directly, unless there is an intermediary that is willing to manage and collect on bad debts on my and other lenders’ behalf. But stranger things have happened before.