No sheeping.

To be honest, I stole this title from Jef Staes. It was his slogan to end the presentation he gave about Business Innovation. I had the honor to attend this event and he made me think about several things.

First of all, I didn’t know much about Jef before I went to his presentation. I saw the invitation on Twitter via EventOnline and grabbed the opportunity. At that moment I did not know that Jef would mention that people not using Twitter are stupid. Lucky me :). But the moment he did, I agreed. For me at least Twitter is a source of knowledge. It is a way to connect with great bloggers and speakers. That doesn’t mean that Twitter can be your only source of information. Google, YouTube, blogs, screenscasts are all valuable information flows that will make you smarter when you use them. Did I forget books? For me books are a slow information flow because reading a book takes a lot more time than reading a blogpost or watching a screencast. That does not mean books aren’t valuable anymore. I started reading again this year and I love it. There are so many good writers with a clear message you can learn from. But when I want to fix an issue, I’d rather Google it instead of reading a book of 300 pages.

”You don’t discover talents at school.” and ”Our educational system is fraude.” are two statements Jef launched during the keynote. Those are critical words about a system that exists for many years. But maybe that’s why it is true. Maybe education did not follow the evolution of the increased information flow? Maybe education is too conservative? I think these are things to think about and to investigate. Work enough for all teachers out there I suppose. I graduated almost 3 years ago and I have to agree that I did not discover my talents at school. I like to work with computers, designing solutions for problems of other people. I can’t imagine doing so while at school. Or maybe one time during a group assignment to organize an event for charity. We should get more assignments like that where your team can organize itself and discover who does what the best. Diplomas are used by companies to assign employees a function and level. Most of the time, this means that people with a higher degree get the better jobs. I think that’s what Jef means with fraude in our educational system. Someone who had problems at school with Statistics may not have a Master degree but is he less smart than someone with that degree? Possibly, but you can only know it for sure when you give him or her a chance. 2D smart, Jef calls it. Getting better by doing it over and over but without passion and without information.

That brings us by how Jef thinks we should be, 3D smart. 3D smart has three pillars: Talent, Passion and Information. Information is very important. Someone with passion will look for information and develop his talent. Everyone has talents an passion, but you have to discover it. When schools and companies don’t give you the chance to explore your talents, they end up with people that are not engaged.

Jef used a great quote that shows the essence of his message.

”If you put fences around people, you get sheep.” by William McKnight

I can go on about Jef’s presentation but I think you should go listen to Jef yourself when you get the chance. If it’s not for his message, he’s an amazing speaker. You won’t regret.

 

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’Mijn leven. Sven Nys’, a book about cyclocrosser Sven Nys.

I know, the book ‘Mijn leven. Sven Nys.’ is in Dutch so a lot of you won’t be able to read it. Still, I think this book deserves a place on your bookshelf. Mijn leven. Sven Nys.Like I said in a previous blogpost, it made me read again.

Who knows Sven Nys? I think a lot of you do. But I suppose that a lot of people think that he’s just a cyclocrosser with a lot of talent. Well, that’s not completely true. Wait, don’t panic. He is a great cyclocrosser but only because he worked very hard and still does.

In the book you can read that he trained so hard that he sometimes forgot that there is more in life than cycling. After some disappointments in the big championships, he learned from his team that he needed to relax from time to time if he wanted to have a long carreer. That was more than 10 years ago…

Besides his passion another thing that jumps out in the book, is the importance of his team. Not only his teammates in the cross itself, but his family, his son, friends and so on. Without them, he would not be who he is now. They help him to become better. They help him when something goes wrong. Ofcourse he has the legs that need to perform but without the mind and support of his team, he would be lost.

That should be a lesson for everyone. Not only for those of you cycling are playing soccer. All of you need a team that you can count on. You need people that are there in difficult times.

Buy the book.

’The In-Between’, a must read.

Looking for a book to fill your evenings? You should read ’The In-Between: Embracing the tension between now and the next big thing’ by Jeff Goins.

To be honest, I heard about the book a couple of times in a podcast but wasn’t very interested in the beginning. Only when it was mentioned on Twitter a couple of times, I got interested and bought it. And I do not regret it. It was a great read and every page made me long for the next. It is not science fiction with lots of action and adventure in it. No, it is about the waiting in our life. A lot of people live from day to day, from action to action, from event to event. We go to work and try to be the best. We have hobby’s and enjoy the life as we like it. But what do we do in the in-between? We wait. We wait for someone. We wait for something to happen or we just wait till the light is green. But what we do not realize is that this waiting determines how we live. How do you fill in the waiting? What do you think while waiting? Maybe you are not thinking while you wait.

All of this can be found in the story that Jeff Goins is telling in his book. So if you want to know more about the in-between or you just want to read a good story, go grab your copy of the book!

“Instead of living life wishing you could jump ahead to the next adventure,
these pages will inspire you to slow down and savor the in-between.
—Crystal Paine, founder of MoneySavingMom.com” (http://goinswriter.com/inbetween/)

Concentration, concentration, concentration.

How many times it happens you are reading something and after a couple of minutes you’re wondering what you were reading? I guess it won’t only happen when reading but also while talking to someone and even when driving your car!

I have to be honest that it happens a lot to me. Sometimes I have to re-read the same sentence twice because my mind was taking me to another place. It is strange, like my mind wants to go one and I am not ready for it. After a while, you notice that you are in another atmosphere and forgot everything of the last couple of minutes. I’m often wondering whether I am the only one who has this ‘experience’? When I am talking to someone, is he or she also getting lost in thinking about other things or is it just me? It is not that I do not respect what the other person is saying, but my mind wants to take the next step. Even if I am not ready for it. Before moving on, I want to make one thing clear. There is an important difference between losing your concentration in a discussion and just not being interested. When someone is not interested, that person doesn’t even start listening. When you are interested, you listen but your mind does not take note of what is being said. Maybe the other person has said something so important that your brain already starts processing ideas about this topic.

Most of the time, you are not concentrated because you did not empty your brain before starting a new task. Your brain is made for creativity and not for remembering stuff. If you try to remember all sorts of stuff, you’ve got a higher chance of being less concentrated. That is why I jot down my ideas as fast as I can in services like Evernote and Omnifocus. When I think of a topic for a blogpost, I store it in Omnifocus. By doing so, my mind is free to discover other interesting topics and to live with more focus. Need to call a friend when arriving at home, store it in Omnifocus and let it remind you at home. Simple things with an amazing impact! But after all, give your mind a break. In the rushing time we live in, you need to make time to take a break.

What can you do about it?

  • Take a break whenever you can.

  • Read about concentration and focussing on what you are doing at this moment. I recommend blogs like Time Management Ninja by Craig Jarrow and Productivityist by Mike Vardy. Or read the book from David Allen about GTD, this goes beyond our topic but will help you in being more focussed.

  • Do the things you like and enjoy. Passion leads to focus.