(Written on October 31, 2009)
When I watched the Japanese film Sakuran, Anna Tsuchiya who played as a Geisha wearing colorful kimono appeared with powerful and beautiful music, which is composed and sang by Shena Ringo. And the impressive original soundtrack attracted me well for its unbelievable music style which merged Japanese traditional notes and modern electronic music perfectly. This is the first time I met Shena Ringo and her outstanding music, reminding me of P.J. Harvey and Bjork who are talented female rock singer-songwriters. However, Shena Ringo’s music could be identified easily by her unforgettable voice and charming Japanese elements, making her famous among Asia.
Muzai Moratoriamu is the first album of Shena Ringo, one of my favorite musicians, representing her unique music style combined of different genres such as Japanese pop, rock and roll, grunge and jazz. She composed all the songs and wrote the lyrics using Kenji and English, thus creating a special experience for her audience.
The Personal Evolutionary Process
“有时就是（deeply）affecied，（deeply）moved[（深受）影响，（深受）感动]；有时是（He is）affected with painful recollections [（他）因痛苦的往事而有所感触] the music[音于]（或诗或文）calls forth painful meniories[引人追思、缅怀痛苦的往事]或stirs up painful（or mournful， melancholy）memories[激起对痛苦（忧伤，伤感）往事的追思]。如嫌painful[痛苦]太重，就说那音乐starts a train of melancholy thoughts，（ sorrowfull， mournful，sad）thoughts [引起连串忧思（优伤，哀伤，悲哀）的追思]。对人生的慨叹有时不用memory，recollection[回忆]，追思]，就用reflection[反应，反映]，形容词还是那几个，e.g. HiS letter is full of sad reflections on life[他的来信充满对人生的慨叹]。”
About Shena Ringo
Shena Ringo, born on November 25th1978, quit from her senior high school and devoted herself to music career. Although her parents did hope her to dance rather than to sing, she insisted to join band and decided to be a singer. At her seventeen, she wrote a song named seventeen (collected in her single罪と罰) to express her determination by singing “I see same face in school and they say I am different / I think it is an honor / I say it is an honor to be different / I can’t go their way.” It is true that she goes an absolute different way. Her particular powerful melodies, her unforgettable husky voice, and her striking visuals in her music video and concert helped her become a successful musician. She ranked as 36 in top 100 Japanese Pop artists. (HMV)
Shena Ringo created her magical music by endless efforts including learning composing, playing several instruments such as guitar, piano, bass and drum, and even making music in studio. From her debut till now, ten years have passed by but she is still the girl who loves music singing “I can’t go their way” and tries her best to pursue her dream.
en读诗40：Tintern Abbey by William Wordsworth
Muzai Moratorium, almost composed during Ringo’s teen before her debut, was released on February 24, 1999 by Toshiba EMI. The album debuted at #1 and has sold over 919,000 copies (Wikipedia). Her first album is successful in that it shows her genius on composing, displays her strong and distinctive voice, and presents her abundant imaginations on music. Shena Ringo collected inspirations from not merely her own life but also her observation to Japanese society.
In the first song named Tadashii Machi (Correct City) of the album, she described her inner thoughts when she had to leave her boyfriend to another city to develop her music career. Although this song reflected the sad mood of leaving her love, Shena Ringo used continuous driving drum and bass to deliver her faith and believe about love and hope to her audience. She knew what she wanted to do and what she had to give up, though with regrets to her boyfriend. When I listened to this song, I understand her sorrow that she had to face the destiny of separation and her determination that she must be strong to pursue her dream, because I had to leave my families in China to U.S. for study accounting. In my opinion, this song could provide courage and strength to many people who have the same situation in lives.
In the second song named Kabukichō no Jo-ō (Queen of Kabuki-cho), Shena Ringo told a story from a teenager girl’s perspective that she would become the Queen of Kabuki-cho to sell herself to man. In fact, this song is based on Shena Ringo’s own experience that she once met a pimp from a SM club and was asked to become Queen for the club. In the music video, young Ringo played her guitar, dressing like a cool punker, with disdain appearance on her face. The music style of this song is rock and grunge with forceful electric guitar and strong rhyme. The genre could express her mood perfectly because it is a song about teenager. Like the famous song of Smells like Teen Spirit from Nirvana, this song of Shena Ringo also selected grunge, a fierce rock style, to reflect the confusion and desperation about youth. In many Japanese films, youth is cruel and rock is the best way to annotate by its special direct power.
Besides the above fast songs, Shena Ringo wrote some slow songs to express her desire about true love. In the first album, she composed Akane-sasu Kiro Terasaredo (The crimson-gleaming sun still shines on my way back, but) and Onaji Yoru (Ordinary Night), two slow touching songs, different from her fierce fast songs.
The prior one describes a beautiful but a little bit gloomy scene. The lyric was sad: “I put my headphones on my ears /An Irish girl is singing /As dusk falls, is it too painful to have my tears coaxed out of me?” At the end of the song, she sang in English: “I place the headphones on my ears and listen / Someone sings a song / I feel so blue / Now darlin’ promise me / Please tell me something words to soothe / I don’t wanna cry” (Nostalgic-lavender). It is a common phenomenon that Japanese singers use English in their songs to express some direct words which they would feel shy to speak in Japanese, their first language. Shena Ringo made this song full with eastern artistic conception as lust is always associated with sorrow of separation in Japan and China. As Shena Ringo has excellent accomplishment in literature, she wrote her lyrics in Kenji, providing people more enjoyments besides fantastic music.
The song named Onaji Yoru trans (The same night) selected guitar and violin to show grief mood. Although she used the elegant classic instrument violin, Shena Ringo made the violin sound trembling to reflect her different individual style. Especially at the end of the song, she used a piece of violin solo that sounds nervous made this soft slow song have an unexpected effect. Shena Ringo sang “The same wind is blowing on both of us / We go through the same nights / How I love you, oh darling... / Don't you hear me calling / I'm searching for a person that I can't meet a second time / Everyone can hear the song I'm singing / I still don't want anything / My answer is only the sound of rain” (Videouncovered) , with sentimental and soft voice which rarely appear in her music. The tune of the song is more peaceful than any other songs in this album and the lyric with the mournful music reminds people of their own memories about love, and touches their heart by the same thoughts about waiting and eagerness.
Another interesting song of the album is Sid to Hakuruumu, which related to one of Shena Ringo’s favorite singers, Sid Vicious who killed his girl friend and died in his twenty one. This singer is the bassist of the puck rock group Sex Pistols. Shena Ringo liked to use her favorite singers in her lyrics, such as Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and his wife Love Courtney. From these songs, we can learn that Shena Ringo is affected by western rock bands deeply. And that is why she can combine western music style and traditional Japanese music type without any difficulties.
Besides these songs, other songs in the album are also impressive, especially the song named Koufukuron (A view of happiness) which was her first single. The lyric “You’re there living your life and just knowing this simple little fact makes me so happy” (Jpopasia) became popular after released. Shena Ringo organized the whole album from fast songs to slow songs, letting people know her from her shining appearance as her fast songs with passions to colorful inner emotions as her slow songs with tenderness.
As I mentioned before, I believe that life consists of an enormous number of choices that come at us and that each decision we make has consequences, sothe quality of our lives depends on the quality ofthe decisions we make.
Compared Shena Ringo to other female rock stars in the world such as Bjork, P.J.Harvey and Tori Amos, they share something in common that mark them as rock queens. All of them have powerful voices, strong composing ability and independent attitude. From their music, people can gain courage and strength of love and live, and they can appreciate another aspect of woman rather than traditional obedience and soft image. However, Shena Ringo who comes from Japan tried more genres and various look and added more subtle and delicate eastern elements into her music. In her music video, she played as high school student wearing “kawaii (cute)” uniform, nurse heating the glasses and kissing female patient, and even Geisha playing guitar, telling people she has unlimited potentials in her world and music. This attitude to life is one of the most charming parts of her because no one knows what the next surprise from Shena Ringo would be
Although as the first album of Shena Ringo, Muzai Moratorium showed her great ability and potential in composing and singing, as well as revealed her fascinating personality and thoughts. By merging eastern and western music successfully, Shena Ringo with her own bold style in music, conquered audience and became one of the most famous Japanese female singers. The album also becomes her representative work, full of imagination and her own experiences, providing people pleasant with its touching notes and vivid lyrics.
Top 100 Japanese Pop Artists, HMW
(Accessed on October 31,2009)
Koufukuron Shena Ringo lyrics, Jpopasia
(Accessed on October 31, 2009)
Lyrics and Translation of Shiina Ringo, Nostalgic
(Accessed on October 31, 2009)
Lyrics of chuchumura, Videouncovered
(Accessed on October 31, 2009)
Muzai_Moratorium, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Accessed on October 31, 2009)
We aren’t born with the ability to make good decisions; we learn it.We all start off as children with others, typically parents, directing us. But, as we get older, we increasingly make our own choices. We choose what we are going after (i.e., our goals), which influences our directions. For example, if you want to be a doctor, you go to med school; if you want to have a family, you find a mate; and so on. As we move toward our goals, we encounter problems, make mistakes, and run into personal weaknesses. Above all else, how we choose to approach these impediments determines how fast we move toward our goals.
by William Wordsworth
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks
of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798
FIVE years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur. — Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: — feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened: — that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on, —
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft —
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart —
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee!
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all. — I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor any interest
Unborrowed from the eye. — That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompence. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear, — both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance —
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence — wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love — oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!
Of course it is true that people are born with differences in their various innate abilities. However, judgment is primarily learned.
I believe that the way we make our dreams into reality is by constantly engaging with reality in pursuit of our dreams and by using these encounters to learn more about reality itself and how to interact with it inorder to get what we want—and that if we do this with determination, we almost certainly will be successful. In short:
Reality Dreams Determination = A Successful Life
现实 梦想 决心=成功的人生
So what is success? I believe that it is nothing more than getting what you want—and that it is up to you to decide what that is for you. I don’t care whether it’s being a master of the universe, a couch potato, or anything else—I really don’t. What is essential is that you are clear about what you want and that you figure out how to get it.
However, there are a few common things that most people want.
As I mentioned, for most people success is evolving as effectively as possible, i.e., learning about oneself and one’s environment and then changing to improve. Personally, I believe that personal evolution is both the greatest accomplishment and the greatest reward.
Also, for most people happiness is much more determined by how things turn out relative to their expectations rather than the absolute level of their conditions. For example, if a billionaire loses $200 million he will probably be unhappy, while if someone who is worth $10 thousand unexpectedly gets another $2 thousand, he will probably be happy. This basic principle suggests that you can follow one of two paths to happiness: 1) have high expectations and strive to exceed them, or 2) lower your expectations so that they are at or below your conditions. Most of us choose the first path, which means that to be happy we have to keep evolving.
Another principle to keep in mind is that people need meaningful work and meaningful relationships in order to be fulfilled. I have observed this to be true for virtually everyone, and I know that it’s true for me.
As Freud put it, “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.”
The work doesn’t necessarily have to be a job, though I believe it’s generally better if it is a job. It can be any kind of long-term challenge that leads to personal improvement. As you might have guessed, I believe that the need to have meaningful work is connected to man’s innate desire to improve. And relationships are the natural connections to others that make us relevant to society.
Regardless of others’ principles, you will need to decide for yourself what you want and go after it in the best way for you.
Your Most Important Choices
As I mentioned, as we head toward our goals we encounter an enormous number of choices that come at us, and each decision we make has consequences. So,the quality of our lives depends on the qualityof the decisions we make. We literally make millions of decisions that add up to the consequences thatare our lives.
Of these millions, I believe that there are five big types of choices that we continually must make that radically affect the quality of our lives and the rates at which we move toward what we want. Choosing well is not dependent on our innate abilities such as intelligence or creativity, but moare on what I think of as character. For this reason, I believe that most people can make the right choices.
The following five decision trees show these choices. I believe that those who don’t move effectively to their goals do the things on the top branches, and those who do move to them most quickly do the things on the bottom branches.
It is a fundamental law of nature that to evolve one has to push one’s limits, which is painful, in order to gain strength—whether it’s in the form of lifting weights, facing problems head-on, or in any other way. Nature gave us pain as a messaging device to tell us that we are approaching, or that wehave exceeded, our limits in some way. At the same time, nature made the process of getting stronger require us to push our limits. Gaining strength is the adaptation process of the body and the mind to encountering one’s limits, which is painful. In other words, both pain and strength typically result from encountering one’s barriers. When we encounter pain, we are at an important juncture in our decision-making process.
Most people react to pain badly. They have “fight or flight” reactions to it: they either strike out at whatever brought them the pain or they try to run away from it. As a result, they don’t learn to find ways around their barriers, so they encounter them over and over again and make little or no progress toward what they want.
There are literally two different parts of each person’s brain that influence these reactions: the pre-frontal cortex and the amygdala. They work as though they were two different brains that fight for control of decision-making. The pre-frontal cortex is the logical part of the brain that evaluates choices logically and the amygdala is the “animal instinct” part of the brain that triggers emotional reactions like the instinct to fight or flee. When faced with an obstacle or threat, an emotional reaction (e.g. pain) can be triggered that can lead to a fight or flight reaction that “hijacks” decision making away from the pre-frontal cortex, where the rational choices are being made. This can result in our making decisions that produce consequences that we do not want. This typically causes really big problems.
Those who react well to pain that stands in the way of getting to their goals—those who understand what is causing it and how to deal with it so that it can be disposed of as a barrier—gain strength and satisfaction. This is because most learning comes from making mistakes, reflecting on the causes of the mistakes, and learning what to do differently in the future. Believe it or not, you are lucky to feel the pain if you approach it correctly, because it will signal that you need to find solutions and to progress. Since the only way you are going to find solutions to painful problems is by thinking deeply about them—i.e., reflecting — if you can develop a knee-jerk reaction to pain that is to reflect rather than to fight or flee, it will lead to your rapid learning/evolving.
Your very unique power of reflectiveness—i.e., your ability to look at yourself, the world around you, and the relationship between you and the world—means that you can think deeply and weigh subtle things to come up with learning and wise choices. Asking other believable people about the root causes of your pain in order to enhance your reflections is also typically very helpful— especially others who have opposing views and who share your interest in finding the truth rather than being proven right.
If you can reflect deeply about your problems, they almost always shrink or disappear, because you almost always find a better way of dealing with them than if you don’t face them head on. The more difficult the problem, the more important it is that you think hard about it and deal with it. After seeing how effectively facing reality—especially your problems, mistakes and weaknesses— works, I believe you will become comfortable with it and won’t want to operate any other way.
So, please remember that:
Pain Reflection = Progress
How big of an impediment is psychological pain to your progress?
People who confuse what they wish were true with what is really true create distorted pictures of reality that make it impossible for them to make the best choices. They typically do this because facing “harsh realities” can be very difficult. However, by not facing these harsh realities, they don’t find ways of properly dealing with them. And because their decisions are not based in reality, they can’t anticipate the consequences of their decisions.
An example of this is what discussed earlier: wanting to save the wildebeest from the hyenas. When you don’t want to face what’s really happening, you can’t make sound decisions.
In contrast,people who know that understanding what is real is the first step toward optimallydealing with it make better decisions.
Ask yourself, “Is it true?”
…because knowing what is true is good.
How much do you let what you wish to be true stand in the way of seeing what is really true?
People who worry about looking good typically hide what they don’t know and hide their weaknesses, so they never learn how to properly deal with them and these weaknesses remain impediments in the future.Thesepeople typically try to prove that they have the answers, even whenthey really don’t. Why do they behave in this unproductive way? They typically believe the senseless but common view that great people are those who have the answers in their heads and don’t have weaknesses. Not only does this view not square with reality, but it also stands in the way of progress.
For example, if you are dumb or ugly, you are unlikely to acknowledge it, even though doing so would help you better deal with that reality. Recognizing such “harsh realities” is both very painful and very productive.
I have never met a great person who did not earn and learn their greatness. They have weaknesses like everyone else—they have just learned how to deal with them so that they aren’t impediments to getting what they want. In addition, the amounts of knowledge and the capabilities that anyone does not have, and that could be used to make the best possible decisions, are vastly greater than that which anyone (no matter how great) could have within them.
I am not saying that we all have the same potential, just that to get the most of your potential—whatever that is—you must learn and earn.
As I mentioned in the first chapter, you don’t have to know everything to get what you want. You just have to be honest with yourself about what you don’t know and know who to ask for help.
This explains whypeople who are interested in making the best possible decisions rarely areconfident that they have the best possible answers. So they seek to learn more (often by exploringthe thinking of other believable people, especially those who disagree with them) and they are eager to identify their weaknesses so that they don’t let these weaknesses stand in the way of them achieving their goals.
So, what are your biggest weaknesses? Think honestly about them because if you can identify them, you are on the first step toward accelerating your movement forward. So think about them, write them down, and look at them frequently.
One of my biggest weaknesses is my poor rote memory: I have trouble remembering things that don’t have reasons for being what they are, such as names, phone numbers, spelling, and addresses. Also, I am terrible at doing tasks that require little or no logic, especially if I have to do them repeatedly. On the other hand, I have a great contextual memory and good logic, and I can devote myself to things that interest me for untold hours. I don’t know how much of what I am bad at is just the other side of what I am good at—i.e., how much of what I am good at is due to my brain working in a certain way that, when applied to certain tasks, does well and when applied to others does poorly—and how much of what I am good at was developed in order to help compensate for what I am bad at. But I do know that I have created compensating approaches so that what I am bad at doesn’t hurt me much; e.g., I surround myself with people who have good rote memories who do the things that I am bad at, and I carry around tools like my BlackBerry.
How much do you worry about looking good relative to actually being good?
People who overweigh the first-order consequences of their decisions and ignore the effects that the second- and subsequent-order consequences will have on their goals rarely reach their goals. Thisis because first-order consequences often have opposite desirabilities from second-orderconsequences, resulting in big mistakes in decision-making. For example, the first-order consequences of exercise (pain and time-sink) are commonly considered undesirable, while the second-order consequences (better health and more attractive appearance) are desirable. Similarly, food that tastes good is often bad for you and vice versa, etc. If your goal is to get physically fit and you don’t ignore the first- order consequences of exercise and good-tasting but unhealthy food and connect your decisions with their second- and third-order consequences, you will not reach your goal.
Sometimes it can be difficult to anticipate the 2nd or 3rd order consequences of a decision, such as one that involves using complex technology like X-Rays or DDT, where either things are not what they seem to be or there are too many unknown variables to make a sound decision. For more on the probabilities of personal decision-making, please refer to the “To Make Decisions Effectively” section at the end of Part 3.
Quite often the first- order consequences are the temptations that cost us what we really want, and sometimes they are barriers that stand in our way of getting what we want. It’s almost as though the natural selection process sorts us by throwing us trick choices that have both types of consequences and penalizing the dummies who make their decisions just on the basis of the first-order consequences alone.
By contrast, people who choose what they really want, and avoid the temptations and get over the pains that drive them away from what they really want, are much more likely to have successful lives.
How much do you respond to 1st order consequences at the expense of 2nd and 3rd order consequences?
People who blame bad outcomes on anyone or anything other than themselves are behaving in a way that is at variance with reality, and subversive to their progress.
Blaming bad outcomes on anyone or anything other than one’s self is essentially wishing that reality is different than it is, which is silly. And it is subversive because it diverts one’s attention away from mustering up the personal strength and other qualities that are required to produce the best possible outcomes.
Blaming others is NOT the same thing as holding others accountable, which we will discuss in my Management Principles.
Successful people understand that bad things come at everyone and that it is their responsibility to make their lives what they want them to be by successfully dealing with whatever challenges they face.Successfulpeople know that nature is testing them, and that it is not sympathetic.
Luck — both good and bad — is a reality. But it is not a reason for an excuse. In life, we have a large number of choices, and luck can play a dominant role in the outcomes of our choices. But if you have a large enough sample size—if you have large number of decisions (if you are playing a lot of poker hands, for example)—over time, luck will cancel out and skill will have a dominant role in determining outcomes. A superior decision-maker will produce superior outcomes. That does not mean there won’t be certain bad-(or good-) luck events that are life changing: a friend of mine dove into a swimming pool and became a quadriplegic. But he approached his situation well and became as happy as anybody else, because there are many paths to happiness. What happens to a lot of people is that they don’t take personal responsibility for their outcomes, and as a result fail to make the best possible decisions.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe that nature is symbiotic—and that we must give to it for it to give back.
How much do you let yourself off the hook rather than hold yourself accountable for your success?
In summary, I believe that you can probably get what you want out of life if you can suspend your ego and take a no-excuses approach to achieving your goals with open -mindedness, determination, and courage, especially if you rely on the help of people who are strong in areas that you are weak.
If I had to pick just one quality that those who make the right choices have, it is character. Character is the ability to get one’s self to do the difficult things that produce the desired results. In other words, I believe that for the most part, achieving success—whatever that is for you—is mostly a matter of personal choice and that, initially, making the right choices can be difficult. However, because of the law of nature that pushing your boundaries will make you stronger, which will lead to improved results that will motivate you, the more you operate in your “stretch zone,” the more you adapt and the less character it takes to operate at the higher level of performance. So, if you don’t let up on yourself, i.e., if you operate with the same level of “pain,” you will naturally evolve at an accelerating pace. Because I believe this, I believe that whether or not I achieve my goals is a test of what I am made of. It is a game that I play, but this game is for real. In the next part I explain how I go about playing it.
In summary,I don’t believe that limited abilities are an insurmountable barrier to achieving yourgoals, if you do the other things right.
As always, it is up to you to ask yourself if what I am saying is true. As the next part delves into this concept more, you might want to reserve your judgment until after you have read it.
Your Two Yous and Your Machine
Those who are most successful are capable of “higher level thinking” —i.e., they are able to step back and design a “machine” consisting of the right people doing the right things to get what they want. They are able to assess and improve how their “machine” works by comparing the outcomes that the machine is producing with the goals. Schematically, the process is as shown in the diagram below. It is a feedback loop:
That schematic is meant to convey that your goals will determine the “machine” that you create to achieve them; that machine will produce outcomes that you should compare with your goals to judge how your machine is working. Your “machine” will consist of the design and people you choose to achieve the goals. For example, if you want to take a hill from an enemy you will need to figure out how to do that— e.g., your design might need two scouts, two snipers, four infantrymen, one person to deliver the food, etc. While having the right design is essential, it is only half the battle. It is equally important to put the right people in each of these positions. They need different qualities to play their positions well—e.g., the scouts must be fast runners, the snipers must be precise shots, etc. If your outcomes are inconsistent with your goals (e.g., if you are having problems), you need to modify your “machine,” which means that you either have to modify your design/culture or modify your people. Do this often and well and your improvement process will look like the one on the left and do it poorly and it will look like the one on the right, or worse:
I call it “higher level thinking” because your perspective is of one who is looking down on at your machine and yourself objectively, using the feedback loop as I previously described. In other words,your most important role is to step back and design, operate and improve your “machine” to get what you want.
Think of it as though there are two yous—you as the designer and overseer of the plan to achieve your goals (let’s call that one you(1)) and you as one of the participants in pursuing that mission (which we will call you(2)). You(2) are a resource that you(1) have to get what you(1) want, but by no means your only resource. To be successful you(1) have to be objective about you(2).
Let’s imagine that your goal is to have a winning basketball team. Wouldn’t it be silly to put yourself in a position that you don’t play well? If you did, you wouldn’t get what you want. Whatever your goals are, achieving them works the same way.
If you(1) see that you(2) are not capable of doing something, it is only sensible for you(1) to have someone else do it. In other words, you(1) should look down on you(2) and all the other resources at your(1) disposal and create a “machine” to achieve your(1) goals, remembering that you(1) don’t necessarily need to do anything other than to design and manage the machine to get what you(1) want. If you(1) find that you(2) can’t do something wellfire yourself(2) and get a good replacement! You shouldn’t be upset that you found out that you(2) are bad at that—you(1) should be happy because you(1) have improved your(1) chances of getting what you(1) want. If you(1) are disappointed because you(2) can’t be the best person to do everything, you(1) are terribly naïve because nobody can do everything well.
The biggest mistake most people make is to not see themselves and others objectively.If theycould just get around this, they could live up to their potentials.
How much do you intellectually agree with what I just said?
How good are you in approaching life as a “higher level thinker” rather than as a doer?
How much would you like to get better at this?**
How much do you think that reading this is a waste of time?