Here’s another set of discussion questions* (and my answers). This slice of the loaf covers how to focus on the important things in life:
- What things out of all your many things are you best at?
- Do you recommend, agree, perform, input, and decide?
- How long did your last significant disagreement last?
Best At: Sheesh, what a questions! Done properly I need to make a list of all the things I do, draw a bullseye (concentric rings) somewhere and then put all my competencies on there with the ones I’m best at closest to the middle. Man, that’s going to be a long exercise because I’m actually good at loads of things. I have a degree in Computing with Psychological Studies, a Marketing Diploma with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Masters in Creative Writing – and that’s just tip of the iceberg because I’ve studied oodles of stuff and done just about everything you could think of (if you were cognitively impaired and wearing a bra on your head for fun). Actually, thinking about it, the qualification that I’m most proud of is the A I got in my art O-Level. I took it once at school and then took it again after I left (just for fun). Not surprisingly, I was better at it when I did it for kicks. But I digress. The thing I’m good at is not digressing (although I’d get an Olympic Medal for that, given the chance) but … actually, no, thinking about it, it really is digressing that I’m best at. And by that I mean moving away from the point. I change my mind several times a day about what I want to do in life. I want to learn how to skydive, speed-read, speak Hindi, sell books, write novels, publish things and the list goes on. My most recent scheme is to get in touch with all the people in the neighbourhood (via their letterboxes if necessary) and arrange a thing I’ve tentatively called: ‘The swap books or buy them for 50p meeting’ where everyone who has a box of books they’ve read & want to pass on (everybody, right?). How this works is that people bring a box to the local park (conveniently located just around the corner from where I’m sitting) at a particular day and time and then just either swap books or sell/buy them (if they can’t arrange a swap). Basically it’s a way for me to get my hands of a whole set of new books and, at the same time, get rid of all those books I’ve read that are clogging up my shelves. I think it’d be a big hit. But I digress. See – that’s what I’m good at: digressing!
Making Decisions: Apparently there’s this whole RAPID (Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, and Decide) framework that you can use to make effective decisions in a corporate setting. Back here in the real world I’ve never made an effective decision in my life, and I’m not about to start any time soon. And if you’re imagining that I’m going to arrange to swap books with all the plague-ridden people in this neighbourhood (as per the above) then you obviously don’t know me as well as you think you do. The biggest decision I’m going to make today is whether or not to agree with the wife on whether she’s to go ahead on her next world-shattering purchase from Groupon (new mattress? sure! mattress-cover to match? why not! pillow-covers made from bamboo? surely! glow-in-the-dark chickens? oh, if you insist! solar-powered sensor light from China? hell-yeah! etc. etc. etc. (and yes, these are all real things from this week alone)). So, where were we? Oh, yeah – decisions. Yes, I’m good in that department, thanks.
Significant Disagreement: Oh. Well there’s still the question of the robot vacuum cleaner hanging over us. It’s still in the attic. I think I’m going to cave and let my beautiful wife have full use of it on the downstairs floor. Like I say – decisions-are me. So, yeah, that’s our most recent significant disagreement and it’s still there five days in. Here’s a tip for you: life is much easier if you let the ones you love have their (wicked or otherwise) way with you as often as they like. Okay, that’s me done.
*These questions are (increasingly loosely) adapted from the ones Jeff Weiner (boss of LinkedIn) used during his talk: On Leadership. I’m still working my way through this 3.5 hour talk.