The twelve week year, Parkinson’s law, and quantified goals

Recently I was thinking to myself about how I needed to make a point to plan this/next week what I would like to see happen over the next year. Instead of sitting down and staring to plan, I went and started looking for a book in the stacks. What do I mean by the stacks, well, I went to Library Genesis and found a book on time management.

You want to speed things up in your life?

So the basic idea here is that we all have this conception in our brain of what we want to see happen, and a lot of times we don’t take the time to sit down and write it out. Well, as it so happens, if you do this, you are like most people.

You might be asking, what’s wrong with just knowing what I want to do and what I have to do and just doing that? Well, nothing really… Except that, according to this study you are 20% more likely to achieve your desired results when you write what you want to accomplish down vs just thinking about them. A 20% increase in success is no big deal, I guess. I mean, if you want to achieve results, you can just wish that you’ll do what you need to.

But let’s say that you take the time to actually write down what you want to see happen for your life, i.e. you want to lose weight, get fit, become wealthy, go to the moon, what ever it is. And lets say that you make deadlines for your self, i.e. my fifteen year goal is to go to the moon. Okay, and let’s say that you break down that goal into a 10 year epic, and a 5 year journey, and your 3 year vision. Are you following me:

  • 15 year goal
  • 10 year epic
  • 5 year journey
  • 3 year vision

Now, what if I asked you to take some of the objectives from your 3 year vision and I asked you to have 1-3 items completed by the end of the year. Could you do it? Of course you could, and you know that you could. But let’s say that we get to the end of the following year and you didn’t get that big objective done. Would you have excuses? Oh yeah.

Why would you have excuses? You knew that your big goal of going to the moon required getting this one thing done this year, why didn’t you get it done, or put if off till the last second making a poor effort towards it?

If your answer isn’t anything other than ‘because stuff got in the way’, you have got bigger problems that are beyond the scope of this book. Do you want to know how I know that stuff got in the way? Well, it is because of a little known law called Parkinson’s Law. What this law says is that a task expands in scope according to the time that is allotted it. So if you give your self a year to get something done, you will have an entire year go by before you get it done (if at all).

But what if we made a change in our definition to what a year is for the time being? What if we decided that instead of 12 months, we are going to use 12 weeks as our arbitrary line in the sand to get something done? You would have less time to allow for stuff to get in the way. You would, wouldn’t you?

So the premise of this book is redefining what your time horizons. It is quite clear that using annualized thinking gets us trapped in thinking that we have more time, enough time, plenty of time. But what ends up happening is that we aren’t taking the time to say no to what isn’t getting us closer to the moon.

I strongly encourage you to take the time to read this book, regardless of where you are in the world or what time of year it is. You have the ability to draw a line in the sand at any point in your life and say that you are going to make things different. So what’s stopping you from doing that today?


Just an Education, According to Socrates

Many of you have probably heard of Socrates, and Plato by extension. You may have even read the Republic in some class. Today’s book report is an over simplified examination on one of the themes from The Republic

If you have never read this book, you are going to have your mind blown. 🤯

The major theme of the book is a discussion on Justice. What it is and what it is not, and if being Just is all it is cracked up to be. Along the way there are ideas presented that serve as foundational undertones to what served, in my opinion, our Founding Fathers as they formed their new republic. I mean, those guys were educated men and so they most likely had read Plato’s Republic.

For this report, I want to explore one thing that I found particularly noteworthy while reading The Republic. And truthfully, this was my first time reading The Republic. This text has had an exceptionally profound effect on any me after I read it and I can’t help my self coming back to the things I read.

But I digress from what I want to report on here.

I would like to cover Socrates’s ideas on what a just education would look like. I think this is an exceptionally relevant theme to this blog as I have covered the topic of learning before.

A Just Education

Lets dial this back a little bit.

The conversation found in the Republic makes it quite explicit that the education that Socrates promotes is one to be shared by all. We all know that men and women are different, and children are too. But, as it is explored, there must be an education for all the people of this ‘City of Justice’ that fosters a world view of justice. And at different stages of life, you would take on different subjects.

So everyone gets the same education. And this education looks like the following (I wonder if it looks kind of how we structure education today):

Gymnastics

Now before you get it in your head that we are talking about doing back flips or parallel bars, gymnastics is meant to cover a broad spectrum of topics. Yes, weight lifting and cardio training are included in that. But I want you to think about what is meant to be a physical being, to have a physical body. You are born into an organism that has very little strength or dexterity, and as you develop strength in your limbs, flexibility in your joints, dexterity in your appendages, and become a capable body, are you not better able to do just acts in this world?

You cannot be just if you cannot do your bodily business on account of a weak and incapable body. And so from a young age we help children become strong by making the play ground a game of gymnastics. Ever wonder why they thought to call it a jungle gym?

Music

For those of you who don’t play music, calm down. Although music of today is not the same as it was over two thousand years ago, I want you to think about what music encompasses. Music is not only the sounds of instruments and the art of playing them, but music is also singing and song writing, rhythm and rhyming, knowing lyrics and telling stories through song. If I could more closely define what Socrates meant by Music, I would call it the field of liberal arts. You could call this the right brain training, or creativity.

Why would we focus on teaching, or becoming educated for that matter, in Music (as Socrates puts it)? Would you be a very just person if all the music you listen to implied a benefit to being unjust? Or how about this. Would you do justice unto others if every story you have ever been told was that helping others led to pain and suffering? And one more. Would you compel others to do justice if you were inundated with images (pictures and paintings) that advocated for violence and bloodshed?

The simple answer is, no. Your probably wouldn’t. And if you don’t believe me, look at what children are taught in schools and ask your self if they are teaching them to be just. Or how about what you are reading, are you learning about how you too can be a just person?

Math

If you say that you aren’t good a math, than you need to take a second and rethink your education. If you can’t do 1+1, then there is a serious problem. But maybe you are asking, what does math have to do with justice? Well, I will tell you.

Of all the different subjects that I didn’t anticipate coming from the mouth of the trickster, Socrates, Maths was the last. His arguement is that in pursuit of the absolute, as we play with the forms of numbers, shapes, bodies and movements of them, we begin to gaze upon the eternal ideas that form our reality. Let’s try an example.

Algebra: Is it just to tell someone that you handed them two bananas when you only handed them one?

But how about geometry? Is it just to tell someone that the square footage of a home is more, when in all reality it is less?

How about trigonometry? Is it just to tell someone that they are getting a gallon when you are giving them a cup?

And how about calculus? Is it just to tell the officer that your car was going 5 mph when it was really going 50 mph?

If you answered yes to any of these, you need to seriously reconsider any statement like, ‘I am not very good at math.’ We are all very good at math, it is only a matter of computation that tends to stump us.

Dialectic

The last, and most dangerous, part of a person’s education in this hypothetical ‘Just City’, is the art of dialectic.

Dialectic is essentially the art of argument.

The subject of arguing one’s point of view, the art of asking well placed and reasoned questions, would be the one part of every person’s education that would most likely lead to their downfall as a city. Don’t believe me?

Why do you think it is that there is some information that we withhold from children? Why do you think there is some questions that you never ask a child? Why is it that we go to seminars and classes to learn how to ask better questions of our selves and those around us?

The reasoning for this is because those who are skilled in argument, skilled in asking defensible questions, can erode the very foundations of another simply by knowing all the right things to say. These corrosive arguments can be exceptionally helpful in destroying self-limiting believes, but wrongly applied some of the arguements that we interact with, if repeated or parroted to others in the wrong context could lead to corrosion in others for unnecessary purposes. What’s more is that once a person has learned questions that alter their reality, they go in turn and perpetuate these corrosive arguments ad infinitum.

However, as dangerous as it is, Dialectic is according to Socrates what leads us further and further up towards those absolute and eternal ideas: like justice. As we go about defending our selves from the arguments of others, we strengthen our understanding, we preserver. And when we ask the right kinds of questions of others, we open them to possibilities that were never thought possible.

Conclusion

I want to end this post today with a question.

A simple question, and I think you will like it.

Is being uneducated in these five categories just?

That’s all.

The Way of The Wolf, or Improve Your Freedom of Speech

I wanted to start off today by saying that I am grateful, first of all, for the men and women that have fought for my country. I am grateful to live in a country where I can exercise my first amendment, the right to free speech, and I thought today would be a great day to exercise that right that others have fought for. We have talked about the right to the freedom of speech once before on this blog, and now I want to cover a book that explores some of the ramifications of the freedom.

Before I go into today’s book report, I want to thank my very good friend for giving me this book. He has been an incredible friend for over a decade and there is no one who I have spent more time face to face discussing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with; other than my wife. My friend Taylor (I am not paid in anyway to share this link) shared this book with me on one of our many walks around Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, and I am very excited to give my thoughts on the matter.

Book Review: Jordan Belfort's Way of The Wolf. | by Aldric Chen | Medium

Now, if you don’t know who Jordan Belfort is, well… do a search for the full details. But the long skinny is the guy is a power house of a salesperson who built a tremendous business for himself and others, and he did it by teaching others his methodology: The Straight Line. I am not going to get into the ethics, or the controversies that surround Belfort, but I am going to get to the real material that is incredibly beneficial to know.

When you approach this book, you have to understand that Belfort is a natural story teller and also a natural salesperson. So as you go through his story of how the Straight Line Persuasion method came to be, you also get to take a peek into the psychologies that play into the mechanics of his method. For a very quick rundown of what SLP is, it is intentional and goal oriented selling. It is not about manipulation, it is not about tricking people, Straight Line Persuasion is about knowing all the words that the customer needs you to say and in the way they want you to say it to them. Basically, this sales book is really about customer service.

Okay, that sounds like a broad claim. You are probably asking, ‘how is knowing what to say and how to say it doing a customer any service?’ Well, if you so happen to be dealing with an absolute novice in a company and you are about to spend your money, you want to make sure that you are receiving the best treatment possible along the way. Having a methodology for how to talk to people, having a model to work from, can radically improve your results of providing service to others.

So now my guess is that you are incredible confused. Okay, let’s put it like this, on one end you have the start of a conversation, and on the other end you have the customer satisfaction you are looking to achieve:

start———end

Your goal as a human being is to gather intelligence from the person you are talking with, selling or serving or just chatting, and you need to be developing rapport on the way to the close of the engagement. The most difficult thing that most people have, regardless of whether they are in a profession or not, is being able to communicate with others effectively enough to effect the change that they want to see happen. You want to get a raise, you want to close a sale, you want to go on a date, you want to get the service personnel you have been talking to for over an hour to refund you your money you felt swindled out of, you want your loved one to get their dang feet off the couch and go do the dishes? What you need to know is that along the way to getting everything you want out of the conversation, you are going to need to know what you are going to say (each step you are going to take on your conversational journey) and you are going to need know how you say it (the speed and pacing you take the conversational journey).

That should make things a little bit more clear to you, and admittedly, Belfort does an incredible job of taking you through the stages of any uncertainty that you may be feeling as a speaker and communicator, and he is able to help you gain confidence in your self in a massive way. And if you are lacking confidence in getting your way, don’t worry about it, aside from Belfort systematically demonstrating how you can build massive confidence in your self by learning a skill called state control, you can learn from this guy we wrote about too.

State control is really the bread and butter to the Straight Line Persuasion methodology. If you aren’t able to get yourself in an empowered state, confidence being one of them, how are you to help someone else become empowered in seeing your way through? The simple answer is you won’t, that is unless you put a gun to someone’s head and that entirely eliminates people’s freedoms. Don’t do that. But seriously though, you have inside of you this ability to harness your emotional energy in such a way that it can be channeled into your words, into your communication, which leads to conveying tremendous power into your communication the likes of which you have never seen, or have but only in an unconscious way.

But if all this hyperbole sounds like utter baloney to you, ask your self the following questions:

  • Have I ever felt on my A-game?
  • When I was on my A-game, did it feel like things went my way?
  • Did I feel that there was an energy and charisma about myself that lead to saying and doing things that empowered me like a dynamo of energy?

If you have felt any of these to be true, then you have, on some unconscious level, be persuading the world into your empowered state. Having a model for how to communicate leads to an empowered state, that’s what the Straight Line Method does. And that empowered state leads to effectively communicating emotions to others who have an interest in being in an empowered state like you. And so by practicing and fine tuning your skills as a communicator you naturally grow in confidence of your abilities to communicate, which leads to a more perfect expression of your right to free speech. (You were wondering when I was going to tie that back in, weren’t you?)

You see, as a person that has a right to bear arms, or to exercise the second amendment right, if you lack the skill to do so because you haven’t practiced, you put your self and others at risk when you willy-nilly exercise that right. Likewise, when you implement your first amendment right in a manner that is sloppy, lazy or hap-hazardous, you put your self and others at risk of you disempowered state.

And so I implore you, if you care about the rights that Veterans of this Great Country have defended, and you have an interest in bettering your self and exercising your rights to the most optimal state, consider learning how to become a more effective communicator. And one of the best ways that you can do that is by learning from one of the most successful teachers in effective communication the twenty first century has ever known: Jordan Belfort.