Locus of Control.

At the Vees game today, the referees missed multiple penalty calls. Would that be a more fair game? For sure. Would that have changed how the game was played and the end result? I don’t know.

Is it worth the mental resources to blame the game and results on the poor reffing? I would say not. There are many unfairness in sports, environmental barriers, sportsmanship of the participants, etc. It is part of the game. We have to deal with it and grind it out, find a way for that W. It is what makes such a thing called sports performance.

Just finishing the leadership course, it is all about locus of control. Internal and be able to reflect and adapt, or external and blame it on luck or uncontrollable forces. As a person who enjoy sport for what sport is, and my general character, I always choose the internal locus of control. That’s where the attraction of sport is, developing and implementing different strategies to produce amazing performances and unpredictable results. We don’t learn or become better people by blaming it on the environment or envying the opponent’s performance, we only become better if we work on ourselves.

Becoming a Pro.

This time of the year is always interesting. My Pocket app would recommend stories all relating to acceptances into Ivy League schools. I just read two application essays, both of which received offers to multiple Ivy League schools.

The successful application essay is a narrative story of a life experience. Between the lines, implicitly, it shows their character and their innate potential. There’s no outlining their goals, their dream and vision, what traits or skills they possess, experiences they would like to be noticed. It’s more powerful and less hard-selling. Hardselling and outlining is the majority of applications for work and school.

Another article I read today is the 7 differences between amateurs and professionals on Medium. I see resonance, and how these individuals can become a pro. As for myself, I see myself doing both, but they’re really opposing practices. It’s a process to go from amateur to pro, but it’s definitely a different mindset also.

On that note, time to work hard. Stop talking and just walk the walk. I’ll become a pro one day.

Amazon leadership.

Thank you to Jeff Bezos for your letter. Perhaps it’s always been the Amazon Way all along, but communicated to the general public, I learned something new.

1) Day 1 concept. I know it’s the best concept and attitude to take on, but sometimes, the relief day 2 is more comfortable is such a nice thought. Day 2 is not acceptable, no comfy days ahead…
2) 70% info. I’m known to research things out and do my homework before taking action. It has proven me well such as my recent savings of $1250, but I don’t deny it has delayed some decisions. Instead of my current 90% comfort zone, I need to speed the process and act at 70%.
3) Disagree and commit. I’m not afraid of confrontation and speaking my mind when needed, as ideas need to be tested from different perspectives. I generally let the project continue along, as long as the other party has done their due diligence and is still convinced on their argument. I don’t know if I’ve shown that part of support well after the initial disagreement. Or maybe I need to not just accept and allow to continue, but commit and engage.

110%…or the real 100%

I love sports to life analogies.

Today at badminton, inspired by watching the Malaysian Open Finals live the previous night, there was a doubles game where we were down 2-11 at one point. I was getting frustrated at my partner but I just didn’t want to toss the game. I started playing a completely different style, one I haven’t used since my high school years. No more of the fancy placement shots, letting my partner learn, just get it done, my way. It was nice I still had it in me, because I haven’t practiced it for so long and my personality has tamed or flattened a lot. We caught up and won 22-20. Played a full match of singles afterward​, in my new mindset, I smashed more in a game than I usually do in a full 3 set. It’s not that I have an ineffective smash or try to save energy usually, but just never brought it out to use and resort to other options. Today, I pulled it back out from the treasure chest and it was great. Things were so much easier!

Not to take the great feeling away from myself, it’s time for reflection. Is this the whole LinDan thing where he plays hard during circuit tournaments but explodes during the grand slam? Or McDavid with his fast and super fast skating speeds? There’s that other level…is that the 110% super performance or is that a usual 80% and 100% when it matters?

Does this apply to life? School, I definitely resort to it around finals time. My catch up list and exam results show that objectively. Work, I don’t know. I don’t think I’m at the 100 or 110%, but I can’t tell if it’s my ego or feedback that’s telling me that. At the same time, I feel now is probably a good time to be at that 100 or 110%, but I just don’t even know how to kick into that gear or what that even looks like.

Suits Finale.

Finally watched the season finale, so good! This was an interesting episode, almost too much change in 40 min. Definitely a lot of character growth and change in dynamics. Great way to start season 7 fresh, after another lengthy wait…

One of the interesting things that happened was Jessica’s return at the hearing. She used a reference from the Aesop’s Fables Wind and the Sun to turn the committee to her side, after Harvey and Mike has  pulled all of their tricks. This was interesting because the entire series is based on bluffing, corporate deals, being bigger and better to blow others out of the water. This was an absolute change in strategy to use gentleness and let the other party decide on their own accord. The power of gentleness. 

Aside from the shock as an audience of this series and fan of Harvey’s ego, I can see how this is perhaps the better strategy in the long run. It’s not a short term win that backlashes later. Definitely a systemic leadership act to enhance another’s adaptive capacity. Powerful, respectful stuff. 

Reminder to self: It’s what KC would do. 

Leadership #2

After these 2 weeks of reading my leadership textbook, I realized a few more things. 
1. As much as I enjoy my job, I’m not a manager. I want to be a leader. I can’t stand the norm, gotta be awesome and finding ways to be more and not so. Leader is not something assigned or told, it’s something I have to earn and prove. I’m fortunate that my starting point is good, because many people have already given me their trust and respect. I need to take good care of that and deliver on my promises; otherwise, I’ll lose it and never get it back the same. 

2. I have been proficient at teaching people skills or giving opportunities to try things out, but I have not truly let anyone in on my circle. That’s good because they are improving skills wise, but have they become a better person? I can’t say no because I’ve never engaged in feedback and it’s too deep to just observe. Leadership is about increasing one’s capacity; the capabilities will just follow. I need to let go or let more in to give that growing room for others and then just trust the process. What comes out of it will probably be amazing. 

3. I don’t tend to connect with people emotionally or have much compassion. I have very little emotionally resource for myself, let alone others. One of the things about systemic leadership is creating a holding environment for others while maintaining productivity. It is basically being empathetic of their distress but also holding their feet to the fire. I struggle with both currently. This one, I’m trying on a rational level, but I’ll need a little personal development first for the long term win. 

Great learning and reflection. Time to work on it. Deliver! 

Leadership.

This semester, my MBA course is about leadership and organization development. I’m halfway through and it’s been interesting so far. I’ve been introduced to the concept of leadership more than 10 years ago, and I still don’t have a definition or something I can verbalize.

2 points have really struck out so far.
1) There are multiple leadership theories. In systemic leadership, which is the one this text focus on, there is no specific traits, skills, or style that makes a person a leader. There are characteristics, capabilities, and skills that enable us to be a leader if the situation calls for that skillset. It’s probably more accurate to say we all have moments of leadership.
2) Who we see as a leader is a mirror image of ourselves, the follower. We believe they would do what we do in certain circumstances but better than us, thus we cede our power to them. Each person has different values, so who we define as a leader would also differ.

Reflecting on this, I look at who I look up to, whose stories I find fascinating, the blogs I read, there is a common point. Driven. Grit. Point #2 is so true. I’m still struggling to stay organized and build habits to achieve goals, bring ideas and project to completion, deliver.

At the same time, I realized that I can’t be a leader to everyone or keep everyone happy. They resonate on something else. I may not have it. I can find strategies to work together, but I just have to accept I won’t be their hero.

Like the text suggest, and can be logically rationalized, all leaders will eventually fail us anyway. Leaders are only human, meaning they have imperfections also, just like the image they’re mirroring.

An enlightening but tough day.

Badminton.

Played badminton today, I could sense an interesting change in mentality. It used to be how to win every game. Doesn’t matter if I’m playing well or not well, who I’m playing with or against, just how to squeeze points and get the W. Today, I played 2 games of singles. One L and one W. The loss, I played terribly. Just too many unforced errors and didn’t modify my game when things weren’t working. Second game was much better. Good strategy and execution. It wasn’t as exciting of a game because I hit absolutely no winners, but just played that strategic rally game of singles that there was nothing my opponent could battle against. I was just walking the game, absolute control of the pace and placement.

Today’s playing reminds me of a youtube video I watched on sports psychology awhile ago. It divided a game into a 2×2 grid of win/loss and good game/bad game. Of course, in a tournament or competitive setting, the win is what matters regardless of good game bad game. Practice or just day to day, I could really have more good games and care less about the win/loss. I still remember watching LD before the Olympics. He was losing with embarrassing scores and being eliminated in the early rounds in smaller tournaments. At the same time, his gameplay was changing and modifying. It was just practice, and the final polished product is what he presented at the Olympics. Playing all the time, it’s time to practice the different strokes and strategies, to equip myself with more tools when the time matters.

再見穿梭機

It’s been a very long time since I wrote about an Asian song. I still remembered using lyrics in the past to indirectly log things in the past. So young haha

I randomly came across this song on Spotify a few days ago. I’m positive I’ve heard of it before but thought nothing of it, but this time it sort of resonated a little more, and it’s on my playlist now. A lot of times, particular line(s) of the lyrics would catch my attention and that’s all it really takes for me to like it or continue listening to it. This song, not that particular lines don’t hook me on, but it’s really the entire song and its content; I can’t even choose which line to quote.

“它 從前代表比天更高 
明年即將退役於地牢
一代人 一轉眼 那樣老
你讓任務 如期完成 並劃下記號。”
The old may have great, but once completed its goals and served its purpose, we need to let it retire and close that chapter.
“新世紀 等你效勞
脫下這制服 留下火箭 下班車已到 ”
The new is here, to serve us and for us to serve, so do not dwell in the past because the new is here.
“要做的經已做得都算好
你下一章已到”
As the song concludes, what has been done is good enough, the next chapter is here, it’s time to move on.

Anyway, this song triggered a brief reflection of myself. My past may have had many shining points, but it really is in the past now. It’s time to not continually reference on history, because the environment and we have changed. It’s time to just focus on this current chapter, what I need to learn, what I need to do, for the present situation at hand, given my current set of knowledge and environment conditions.
1) Almost 2 weeks ago now, while we talked about our humble roots of YLM, a lot of “I wouldn’t do it this way” or “that’s wrong because that’s not what we believed in originally” came in my head. But really, that’s our way of belief 5-10 years ago, or the stakeholders interest have changed. I/we did what seemed best at the time, but perhaps now, times have changed and I just need to settle we really don’t know enough to comment. It’s a new generation; it’s not our program anymore.
2) In terms of work, maybe I’ve undervalued or limited some others, for no particular reason but just staying status quo. They’re capable individuals and could all become very competent leaders given time and experience. Maybe it’s time for me to let a longer leash and help them grow. The company is not new and small anymore; time for me to do it all is old school, it’s time for me to build something greater, be the catalyst in the evolution, retire myself.
3) Personally, I have a few great friends. I’m not going to retire them and stop being friends, but just less held on the “good old times” when we were young and naive. Those times aren’t going to come back because we’ve individually grown through the years. While keeping those friends, it’s time for the current self to make new friends. Keep having good times and build memories nonetheless, just embrace/anticipate the different set of experiences.

Article Reflection #1

As most people know, I read lots of articles and get very inspired. Inspired to implement (usually don’t), and inspired to share (not enough people I can bug about or share to). But hey, I have this blog! What I’ve read in the last few days…

1) We have been trained to read a book cover to cover, but that doesn’t have to be the rule. It’s probably still a good idea if it’s a fiction or story to really make sense of it, but for nonfictions, this article suggested browsing the table of contents and reading the parts that truly interest the reader. More importantly, spend time to summarize or reflect on that selected part and decide how to use that piece of new knowledge and draw an action plan from it.

2) One of my new favorite site is from James Clear. He has linked many productivity/procrastination hacks to science analogies, physics and science, and it totally resonates with the science brain of mine. Newton laws of physics, activation energy. And accounting too, time assets vs. time debts. Makes lot of sense, debit and credits are just firing through my brain each time I commit or complete a task.

3) After years of multitasking being able to achieve more, there seems to be a swing back for being focused on one task at a time, short intervals of absolute focus, to achieve more. I quite like the idea of pomodoro, 25 min, and setting how many sets to do in a week, and then being flexible around when to achieve that. I had a similar app at one time where there’s a timer for 25 min of work, 5 min break, and then 3 sets before a 15 min break. It was too intensive and hard to get back to it because 5 min break really isnt’t enough, miss the timer and don’t go back to it. I think this goal of # of pomodoro would work well, because it’s concrete and flexible. It probably works better with my illogically logical arrangement of time.

4) Systems of Failure. This is the article I just finished reading. It breaks down failure to a failure of tactics, strategy, or vision. I think I knew bits and pieces of it before, but this article really put it together with what type of solutions for the respective type of failure. I think this is something applicable to me right now, although I don’t have the brain power to think and analyze through it right now. Good exercise when I’m in a better headspace, another time debt….

I feel a lot better after typing this. I’m slowly moving pass the excitement and urge it’s cool and need to share, but internalizing it and finding ways to actually use it and improve my life. I titled this #1, hoping I will do this more often but no promises, we all know how restart and re-restart went.