Tip

Automate it!

Automate it!

February 6, 2019
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Automate it, I said, and she frowned. That sounds like robots and stuff, she responded and had me off on a rant about the marvel of automating things, and how it can be robots and stuff, certainly, but also what I make automatic in my life. Like the question Does this serve me? which I’ve asked myself thousands of times since… 2012?

In fact, I’ve asked myself this question so many times, that I no longer have to ask it to answer it. It’s now something I do automatically, whenever (or at least most of the times) I experience a really strong sensation, be it anger, irritation, frustration, fear, sadness, anxiety, worry. Or for that matter extreme elation, joy, curiosity, bubbling eagerness. The script of does this serve me runs automatically, and my response has me make a more conscious decision. It gives me just enough of a pause, or a distance if you will, to be able to observe what I am experiencing and respond to the question.

If the answer is yes I keep on going. If the answer is no sometimes I keep going anyway, taking full responsibility for it, and sometimes (most of the times, I would like to think) I stop, since the pause I’ve given myself gives me a way out somehow.

Insights are amazing. They are one of, if not the best superpowers of human beings. One of the most impactful insights I’ve gotten was that I don’t have to be so hard on myself. Sounds silly almost, but I was actually about… let’s see… 35 years old when I fully got this. So for 35 years, I lived with an extremely harsh inner dialogue. But – and this is important – just because I got the insight, didn’t mean that I automatically stopped being hard on myself. You see, for 35 years, I’d very efficiently built a whole system of neural pathways on how to be hard on myself. And just because I got that insight, those pathways didn’t disintegrate. They didn’t, because neural pathways don’t. (Unless you have a neural degenerative disease of some sort. Luckily, most of us don’t.) So what I had to do, once I got that insight, was learn new ways of interacting with myself.

I was helped along by my willingness to change my inner dialogue (which definitely also affected the way I interacted with everyone else. As above, so below and all that stuff!) and my observatory powers. I started to observe myself being hard on me. At first… it could take me hours (if not days) to spot it, after the fact, that is. After a stint of that, my revelatory observations crept closer and closer to the actual situation, and before I knew it, I was picking up on my soon-to-be-harsh inner dialogue. Before it happened. When that happened, I had a choice. Harsh. Or gentle. And I could pick which route to go down. And once I started picking gentle I started to build new neural pathways, training myself into new patterns of being with me.

Now 10-11 years after that first initial insight of not having to treat myself so harshly, I’ve gotten sooo good at being gentle with me. Not soft. Not weak. Not letting myself off the hook, and never challenging me. No, not even close to that! I challenge myself so much more now that I no longer fear my internal judge! So in a sense, I’ve not just automated does this serve me, but also being gentle with myself.

Both of these are ”automated scripts” that I find truly serve me as well as those around me.

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Learn as you go along

January 30, 2019
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Plan. Do. Check. Act.

Repeat.

Is it as simple as that?

Well. Yes.
I mean, why not? Keeping it simple is an art, and continuous improvement doesn’t have to be much harder than this.

This is called the PDCA-cycle and it is useful for many a person, organization and business. Having been around for approximately 60 years, it’s been tried and tested many a time.

A newer way to phrase it, that I find fairly similar, is in the format of the Design Thinking Process:
Empathize. Define. Ideate. Prototype. Test.

It is possible to make it even simpler though, getting it down to three steps:
Plan. Do. Evaluate.

Repeat.

Try to keep short cycle times, iterating over and over again, learning as you go along. Trying to work things out in advance, without interacting with the people you are trying to engage, you run the risk of creating something nobody is interested in. Plan – do – evaluate, and iterate, over and over again, tweaking and refining as you go along. Combine it with deep practice, and you’ve really got one serious learning curve to look forward to!

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The Ultimate Podcast list

January 28, 2019
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  1. Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn: Truth, Beauty, Banjo – On Being with Krista Tippett 
  2. Gordon Hempton: The Last Quiet Places: Silence and the Presence of Everything – On Being with Krista Tippett
  3. Seth Godin: Learn to see, leave them changed – Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields
  4. Mitch Albom: Building a life and living that matters – Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields
  5. Tyler Wetherall: My dad was a fugitive: A life on the run – Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields
  6. Sarah Bassin and Abdullah Antepli: Holy Envy – On Being with Krista Tippett
  7. The Personality Myth – Invisibilia
  8. Scilla Elworthy: Pioneering the possible – RSA Events
  9. Julia Butterfly Hill: Living with meaning – Peak Prosperity (blogged about here, here and here as well)
  10. Glenn Beck: What you do will be a pivot point – On Being with Krista Tippett
  11. Greatness is not just about skill, it’s about essence – Good Life Project riff with Jonathan Fields
  12. Mohammed Fairouz: The world in counterpoint – On Being with Krista Tippett
  13. Andi Puddicombe: From monk to entrepreneur: How Andy Puddicombe became the modern voice of meditation and mindfulness – Rich Roll podcast
  14. Help me remember – Terrible, Thanks for Asking
  15. Amichai Lau-Lavie: First Aid for Spiritual Seekers – On Being with Krista Tippett
  16. Seth Godin on Books, Business, Choices and Life – Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields
  17. Gretchen Rubin: The Four Tendencies (How to start and stick to anything) – Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields
  18. Linda and Charlie Bloom: When life partners become business partners – Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields
  19. Annette Gordon-Reed and Titus Kaphar: Are we actually citizens here – On Being with Krista Tippett
  20. How to become Batman – Invisibilia

The Ultimate Podcast list according to me.
It is my intention to blog about each and every one of these episodes. By clicking the link of each podcast you will be directed either to my blog post (with links to the episode) or to the podcast itself.
In time I might present the pods differently, but for now, a straight up and down numerical list which does not rank episodes it is. Post initially published 28JAN2019.

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The Talent Code (book 1 of 12)

January 27, 2019
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The Talent Code. Written by Daniel Coyle. Subtitled Greatness isn’t born, it’s grown. The basis of this entire book is this: Skill is a cellular insulation that wraps neural circuits and that grows in response to certain signals. This is, in other words, a book about one thing: myelin. The fatty layer that wraps around neurons insulating the neural thread, so the signal can travel more rapidly along it.

It’s also a book about three things, which is how the central nervous system generates more myelin:
Deep practice
Ignition
Master coaching

Deep practice“It’s all about finding the sweet spot. There’s an optimal gap between what you know and what you’re trying to do. When you find that sweet spot, learning takes off.”

Ignition is about finding that thing you love. Stoking the fire, wanting to put more fuel on it, daily. And that requires character: “Usually, we think of character as deep and unchanging, an innate quality that flows outward, showing itself through behavior. KIPP shows that character might be more like a skill – ignited by certain signals, and honed through deep practice.” 

Might be more like a skill? No. No doubt in my mind. Character is as flexible and formative as any other skill. Learning to read and write, to dance and sing, to ride the bike and drive a car. Skills that we can acquire. Learning to be kind and generous, helpful and loving, funny and intense. Or for that matter unkind and harsh, mean and petty, jealous and hateful. All skills we can learn, even though these latter are usually talked about as character traits rather than skills. But we can learn them. It’s not a matter of being born with or without. Practice makes perfect (given that the practice is deep of course!).

Master coaching is being this kind of teacher: to get [the student] inside the deep-practice zone, to maximize the firings that grow the right myelin for the task, and ultimately to move closer toward the day that every coach desires, when the students become their own teachers. 

In the words of Robert Lansdorp, professional tennis coach: “If it’s a choice between me telling them to do it, or them figuring it out, I’ll take the second option every time. You’ve got to make the kid an independent thinker, a problem-solver. I don’t need to see them every day, for chrissake. You can’t keep breast-feeding them all the time. The point is, they’ve got to figure things out for themselves.”

Another way to put it is in the words of Thomas Carruthers: “A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” 

I’ve experienced this several times in my professional life, and it is the most rewarding experience I can think of. When I am no longer needed, my work is done, and I can move on. It’s simply the best ever!

The Talent Code is a fast and easy read, shining the light on learning in the most helpful way. 10 minutes of guitar playing a day, is on my list of intentions for 2019. And yup, I will be tweaking it towards more of a deep practice, that’s for sure!


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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Loving living life!

January 23, 2019
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What gets me going is this: Seeing people use their energy wisely, making the most of it, loving the life they live, rather than beating themselves up for not being enough and/or for not doing enough.

When what I see, is people who simply misuse their energy. Burning fuel, getting nowhere. What a waste!

A waste of energy, yes, for sure, but more than that, it’s a waste of possibility, of playfulness, of experimentation and plain old having fun. And that’s not the point of living. The point of living is living. So live! Because when you live a life where your being and your doing are closely aligned, your energy is used efficiently, getting you where you want to go, and more importantly: getting there wholeheartedly, with a deep sense of knowing your own worth. And that’s what you are worth – honor yourself by making sure you live life from this viewpoint!

Helping someone get to that point, where life is lived, fully, oh… it’s just the best! I love it. So that’s what I will be up to in 2019, helping people start loving living life.
❤️💙💛💚💜

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A structure to achieve my intentions

January 21, 2019
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Facebook reminded me about a post I made three years ago… that had me a bit confused because I’d forgotten about it. It was a post about 36 books I wanted to read in 2016, with an “I will likely be blogging about some of them” as an aside.

Facebook Live #80 🇱🇷🇬🇧 – Intentions and what makes them transform into action

Facebook Live #80 🇱🇷🇬🇧 – Intentions and what makes them transform into action

Publicerat av Helena Roth Lördag 19 januari 2019

Wanna wager if I succeeded or not?

Well. I didn’t. Not in 2016. Because I hadn’t set up the necessary structure to achieve my intention. So I bombed. However, the similar intention I set in 2018 was a success (reading 26 + 26 books in English and Swedish respectively, and to blog about one of them every Sunday), and I’ve set up a similar structure for 2019:
1) A Goodreads reading challenge (75 books to be read in 2019). I use Goodreads to keep track of the books I read, and what my progress is, so I visit the website at least a few times every week, if not daily.
2) I wrote my intention for the year of 2019-blog post, and in it, I wrote about both the #goodreadsreadingchallenge, but also about the 12 + 12 English/Swedish books I will read this year, and that I will be blogging about two of these books every month.
3) at the end of each month, I will be posting a follow-up-post on the yearly intentions, keeping track of how I am doing. This is a vital part, because it has me reminding myself about my specific intentions at least on a monthly basis. So if all else fails, at the end of the month (or the start of the next month) I will get a kick-in-the-behind to get on track again.
4) I have these 12 + 12 books in my bedroom bookcase, and I look at them every morning and evening.

Do you help yourself achieve your intentions through the structures you design and put in place, and if so, how?

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Should I create and curate The Ultimate Podcast list?

January 12, 2019
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Caspian asked me if I had any podcast episodes to recommend to him… and I had to stop myself after sending him links to 5-6 shows. I could have kept going for a long time. I told him Perhaps I should set up a top-100-list and he cheered me on. So the question of the day is: Should I create The Ultimate Podcast list by Helena Roth? 

It does entice me. There are just sooo many wonderful podcast episodes I’ve listened to. I’ve blogged about a lot of them, and that is a good starting point for my list, of course. I listen to pods in both English and Swedish though, so possibly I should have two lists? Maybe, maybe… If so, I will start with the English one, because I’ve got a bigger reservoir of great pods in English.

Off the top of my head, I can easily pick five podcast episodes to start off my 100-list:

#053 Gabor Maté – Damaged leaders rule an addicted world at Under the skin with Russell Brand

How friendship and quiet conversation transformed a white nationalist at On Being 

What borders are really about, and what we do with them (especially the [Unedited] Luis Alberto Urrea) at On Being

The problem with the solution at Invisibilia

Juggling and bicycles at AKIMBO: A podcast from Seth Godin

So yeah.
I think I will create my Ultimate List. I won’t do it in this blog post though. Rather, I will create it as a separate blog post that I will be updating on a regular (or irregular) basis. I will (likely) also be blogging about each episode making the cut. Which is fun, because the five episodes I rattled off the top of my brain, are as yet un-blogged. Goodie – I will have no end of blog-ideas in other words!

What’s your best ever podcast episode? Perhaps one that you’ve listened to over and over again? Possibly one that left you all shook up, in the best of ways? Let me know – perhaps it will make the cut!

 

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Winners take all

January 9, 2019
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Winners take all. The first read of the year (book 1 of 75). Written by Anand Giridharadas. Subtitled The elite charade of changing the world. I borrowed it from the library on account of it being the book for the GIFTED book club meet up.

Got it. Started reading. And bam. Bam. Baaaam! Punch after punch in the face, in the stomach, and yet another in the face. That’s how it felt reading it. As if I’ve viewed the world facing forward, and all of a sudden I’m invited to view it from the side, gaining a completely new perspective on it. And then the best part: Thanks to D during our book club conversation, I was afforded yet another view of the world, from the back this time, making me have even more perspectives to ponder.

As I sit here, looking a the pages I marked with bits and pieces that spoke to me – after the GIFTED-conversation, somehow these paragraphs have a different taste to them now. I see beyond, or perhaps, between the lines?

“Inspire the rich to do more good, but never, ever tell them to do less harm; inspire them to give back, but never, ever tell them to take less; inspire them to join the solution, but never, ever accuse them of being part of the problem.”

So here I am. Left with a deeper understanding (if nothing else, a deeper understanding of the fact that there’s more than meets the eye, and I have so much more to learn!) and an even greater appreciation of different perspectives. My ability, or perhaps, willingness (?), to put myself in a position to hear what others see, understand, like and dislike, is increasing. Which in turn has me learn even more… a positive spiral that keeps reinforcing itself.

Next book, next book club conversation – yes please!

 

 

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12 English books to read in 2019

January 5, 2019
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The sub-challenge of 2018 to read 26 English (as well as 26 Swedish) books was enjoyable, to the extent that I will do a version of it this year as well. So I’ve chosen 12 English (and 12 Swedish) books that were in my home come New Years, that I will read in 2019. Just like in 2018, I will blog about these on Sundays, once a month/blog. Besides this sub-challenge, my overall reading challenge for 2019 is to read (a minimum of) 75 books, and you can tag along on my reading journey over on my Goodreads-profile.

A fairly good mix this year as well, and I look forward to getting acquainted with each and every one of them. Three of these I have had warming my bookshelves for quite a few years (Hargreaves/Fullan, Alsén/Troedson and Yunus) but the rest I got in 2018. I have learned my lesson from last year, and will not hold back on reading “the heavy books” until the end of the year, that’s for sure. And the heavy artillery is here, in the English section, I don’t think there are any really heavy reads amongst the Swedish ones (but hey. Who am I to guess?).

Sara gave me Lame deer; D suggested Tarnas; Hargreaves/Fullan I picked up during my school activist-days; I bought Ben David at Ängsbacka during a workshop she held; Homo Deus I ordered before I finished Sapiens because I wanted to read this one as well; Don’t Panic I bought directly from Troed; my sister, and others, praise this Murakami as being his best so when I stumbled upon it at a second-hand shop, I figured I’d give it a go. Banker for the poor is, embarrassingly enough, probably an illegal book copy I bought on the streets of Mumbai ten years ago; Clapton’s guitar I found at another second-hand shop in Karlskrona during a rare in-the-flesh-Mastermind-meeting; Coyle has been recommended to me; Whitehead was my pick from the rewards for having read and reviewed x number of books for the library’s “Summer book-challenge”; and finally: A fine balance. This book is special. Since I read it (in 98? 96? In Thailand anyway, visiting my brother.) I’ve pegged as the best book I’ve ever read. (Funnily enough, my brother says the same, and still does, I brought it up with him this week when we FaceTimed.) I have yet to re-read it, but when it showed up on the shelves of a second-hand store, I thought the time has come to do just that. And to ensure I will read it thoroughly it’s also my chosen book for the Gifted book club. I wonder: will I still think it’s the best book I’ve ever read after my re-read?

Have you read any of the books above, and if so, what did you think of it/them?

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Wanderlust (book 24 of 26)

December 2, 2018
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Wanderlust. Rebecca Solnit. Subtitled A History of Walking.

“[…] each walk moves through space like a thread through fabric, sewing it together into a continuous experience – so unlike the way air travel chops up time and space and even cars and trains do. This continuity is one of the things I think we lost in the industrial age – but we can choose to reclaim it, again and again, and some do. The fields and streets are waiting.”

The most beautiful of languages she has, Rebecca Solnit. There are passages in this book where I am enraptured, of the sheer beauty of the words strung together with intelligence and tender loving care, all at once. The first two pages of chapter three Rising and Falling: The Theorists of Bipedalism is one of those places. I marked it in my copy of the book, with the words What a magnificently beautiful passage!

“[..] the sense of place that can only be gained on foot. Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors – home, car, gym, office, shops – disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.”

Rebecca Solnit manages to write an expose on walking that takes it far wider than my imagination could have conceived. Making me realize just how important walking is, how it has roots in our hominid-background, and how it is, perhaps, on the verge of extinction…

“When you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back; the more one comes to know them, the more one seeds them with the invisible crop of memories and associations that will be waiting for you when you come back, while new places offer up new thoughts, new possibilities. Exploring the world is one of the best ways of exploring the mind, and walking travels both terrains.”

The passages I bring forth here are all linked together; all relate to the sense of place and space of walking that Solnit circles back to, over and over again in Wanderlust. I could as easily have chosen the topic of revolutions or perhaps of citizenship, and how walking has played an integral part in shaping the history of humankind. Or perhaps the apparent gendered bias making public spaces available for walking by men, and not women, for millennia. But I didn’t. As I write these reflections, I flick though the pages of the books I’m to write about, and as my eye falls on my pencil-scribbles in the margins, what tugs at me shapes my writing. And thus, this is what wants to be reflected upon.

“But there are three prerequisites to going out into the world to walk for pleasure. One must have free time, a place to go, and a body unhindered by illness or social restraints.”

I go for walks. By my very lonesome. Revelling in the different vistas my neighboring recreational area of Bulltofta grant me as seasons pass.

I take walk n talks as often as I can. Whenever someone asks me to join them for a cup of tea (usually they suggest coffee which I don’t even drink…), I almost always suggest a walk n talk instead.

And. I do CoachWalks, talking my clients walking with me, often along the paths of Bulltofta where I spend so much of my time. I usually look up, throw my arms to the side and exult Welcome to my office! When in physical motion, it’s hard – not to say impossible – for the mind to be immobile. So walking is one of my secret tools in my coaching tool box.

“Walking has been one of the constellations in the starry sky of human culture, a constellation whose three stars are the body, the imagination, and the wide-open world, and though all three exist independently, it is the lines drawn between them – drawn by the act of walking for cultural purposes – that makes them a constellation. Constellations are not natural phenomena but cultural impositions; the lines drawn between stars are like paths worn by the imagination of those who have gone before. This constellation called walking has a history., the history trod out by all those poets and philosophers and insurrectionairies, by jaywalkers, streetwalkers, pilgrims, tourists, hikers, mountaineers, but whether it has a future depends on whether those connecting paths are travelled still.”

Wanderlust. And important book.
Pick it up. Read it. And never look upon Walking quite the same way ever again.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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