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The Pareto Principle And Decision Making

The Pareto Principle And Decision Making

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle, and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noted the 80/20 connection while at University in 1896, and published it in his first paper.

Essentially, Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy at that time, was owned by 20% of the population. He developed the principle by observing that 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

Mathematically, the 80/20 rule is roughly diagrammed by a Pareto distribution, (see below) and many natural phenomena have been shown empirically to exhibit such a distribution.

Nature

  • The sizes of human settlements (few cities, many hamlets/villages)
  • The values of oil reserves in oil fields (a few large fields, many small fields)
  • Sizes of sand particles
  • Sizes of meteorites
  • Numbers of species per genus
  • Areas burnt in forest fires
  • Severity of large losses for insurance businesses such as general liability, commercial, auto, and workers compensation.
  • In hydrology the Pareto distribution is applied to extreme events such as annually maximum one-day rainfalls and river discharges.

Rule of Thumb

While it is common to referred to as the "80/20" rule, under the assumption that, in all situations, 20% of causes determine 80% of problems, this ratio is merely a convenient rule of thumb and is not, nor should it be, considered an immutable law of nature.

More generally, the Pareto Principle is the observation (not law) that most things in life are not distributed evenly. It can mean all of the following things:

Not distributed evenly

20% of the input creates 80% of the result
20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue and often 80% problems as well
20% of software bugs cause 80% of the crashes
20% of software features cause 80% of the usage

And on and on…

Steps to identify important issues using 80/20 rule

  • Generate a table listing the issues and their frequency of occurrence as a percentage
  • Arrange the rows in decreasing order of importance of the issues (i.e. the most important one first)
  • Add a cumulative percentage column to the table, then plot the information
  • Plot (#1) a bar graph with items on x- and percent frequency on y-axis
  • Plot (#2) a curve with items on x- and cumulative percentage on y-axis
  • Next draw a horizontal dotted line at 80% from the y-axis to intersect the curve.
  • Then draw a vertical dotted line from the point of intersection to the x-axis. The vertical dotted line separates the important issues (on the left) and trivial ones (on the right)

Pareto distributions are often used in the cases when many different small independent factors contribute to a result.

Pareto Chart Example (Customer Complaints)

First find out how many customer complaints were received in each of, say, five categories.

Then take the largest category, let’s say in this case it is “documents”; break it down into, perhaps, six categories of document-related complaints, and show cumulative values.

If all complaints cause equal distress to the customer, working on eliminating document-related complaints would have the most impact, and of those, working on quality certificates should be most fruitful.

Pareto Example
Pareto Example - Document Issues

Draw a horizontal dotted line at 80% from the y-axis to intersect the curve.

Then draw a vertical dotted line from the point of intersection to the x-axis. The vertical dotted line separates the important causes (on the left) and trivial causes (on the right)

That means, in this example, quality certificate error, quality certificate missing and invoice error, (in that order) are what need to be worked on – the rest can be safely ignored.

Simple and effective.

Yaro Starak says

It really doesn’t matter what numbers you apply, the important thing to understand is that in your life there are certain activities you do (your 20 percent) that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and outputs.

Life Isn’t Fair

What does it mean when we said above that “things aren’t distributed evenly”? The key point is that each unit of work (or time) doesn’t contribute the same amount.

In a perfect world, every employee would contribute the same amount, (red line in the graph below) every issue would be equally important, every feature would be equally loved by users. Planning would be so easy.

Pareto Distribution
Pareto Distribution

But that isn’t always the case:

The 80/20 rule observes that most things have an unequal distribution. Out of 5 things, perhaps 1 will be “cool”. That cool thing/idea/person will result in the majority of the impact of the group (the green line). We’d like life to be like the red line, where every piece contributes equally, but that doesn’t always happen.

Of course, this ratio can change. It could be 80/20, 90/10, or 90/20 (the numbers don’t have to add to 100!).

The key point is that most things are not 1/1, where each unit of “input” (effort, time, labour) contributes exactly the same amount of output.

Benefit:

The idea is to realise that you can focus your effort on the 20% that makes a difference, instead of the 80% that doesn’t add much.

In economics terms, there is diminishing marginal benefit. This is related to the law of diminishing returns: it means each additional hour of effort, each extra worker, is adding less “oomph” to the final result. By the end, you are spending lots of time on the minor details. Huge benefit right there.

Decision Making and The Pareto Principle

Think about 'diminishing marginal benefit'. Obviously building a bridge requires 100% of the construction to be completed, or else we don’t have a safe, working river crossing, but decisions, about almost anything in life, can be made using the 80/20 rule.

How so?

Look at the second graph, above, and come at it from the opposite direction, ie the right hand side moving left, you notice that at the 80 percentile of effort (bottom X axis) you will have achieved approx 96% of the result. (Take a line up to the green curve). A result in decision-making terms might be the level of certainty that the decision is correct.

Consider that effort is ‘researching if a decision is right or wrong’, then after we have 80% of the info - we are good to go. The last 20% of effort will only give you 4% more certainty. Why waste that effort?

A perfect reason for procrastinating just bit the dust. We DON’T NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING before making a decision. So stop messing about, make that decision and get on with it.

The Pareto graph suggests, in fact, that at 50% of the effort/research/info you are likely to have a 90% result/certainty. Hmmm.

Stop. That’s Dangerous.

Yes, I can hear you. How do you know if you have reached 80%? Well you don’t. Not really. Just as you don’t know if you reach 100% of the required info.

Truth is – you never will. It’s all relative. A moving feast. We wrack our brains, ask experts, ask customers, do tests and experiments, contemplate our navel, but once the info gathering process appears to be slowing down, that is probably the 80% mark.

It’s a guess. You can keep guessing, or get on with doing stuff.

Decision Making Made Simple

  1. Get as much info as is reasonably easily obtained (remember, you don’t need to know everything – 80% is more than enough)
  2. Then ask yourself 2 questions about your impending decision.
    1. Knowing all that, what’s the worst that could happen? The very worst case scenario?
    2. Can I live with that? Yes/No.
  3. If yes. Just do it. Use the 5 second rule. But that’s another topic altogether.
  4. But, if no. You need to go right back to the beginning. Perhaps even think about if this is something you need to do, or decide. Or whatever.

Consequently, it really is that simple. Decision making on steroids. The 80/20 rule rocks.

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So Much To Do

So much to do.

I find that making lists is a fine old way to procrastinate. The dad joke of the century is: “I will put off procrastinating until tomorrow.”

But it’s true. If we can find a way, anyway, to allow some event, or task, to control us to the extent that we put it off for another day, we think we have won! Lists work, don’t they? Every time. We can even convince ourselves that it’s OK. It’s work. We are moving towards our goals, are we not? That’s a win? Surely?

NO it’s not!!! We have LOST. Bigtime.

The way forward

Today I found a way through this maze.

It all starts with Mark Forster. He has created the mother of all hi-tech processes which ANY of us can use. He calls it The Autofocus System.

You need:

A bound notebook (25 – 35 lines) more than 35 lines on a page seems to circumvent the snapshot - 1 page at a time - mental gymnastics that to help the system work.

And a pen or pencil. That’s it. That’s as hi-tech as it gets. Yep. I lied.

It’s a rolling list. And one of the many beautiful things about this, is that you use it as a means to follow the ‘a little and often’ approach.

Kind of related to the ideas of Jeff Olsen et alia in the magnificent book ‘The Slight Edge.’ Do look it up. You will be very surprised how it helps with life. It is subtitled (for good reasons) ‘Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness’. No - don’t judge. Just give it a look.

I will not go into much detail about the autofocus system here, because Mr Forster has a fabulous description of what it is and how to use it on his blog.

However, I will say this.

The Process
  • Make a list – put anything and everything on it. Emails, reading, even exercise. Like brainstorming in a workshop. No editing. Just dump it all down. One item per line.
  • Read it through once, quickly. And I mean quickly. (Just the one current page.) Mental imprinting. No thinking at this point. That’s cheating.
  • Read through the whole list once again, slowly, until something jumps out at you.
  • DO that one thing. Here’s the kicker – only as long as you want to. Minutes, hours, days. No guilt.
  • Cross it off. If you didn’t finish all of it, write a new entry at the end of the list, (usually the next page), altered to identify what still needs to be done.
  • Rinse and repeat.
  • If you have gone over the page slowly again or returned to a previous page and nothing jumps, on the first pass then dismiss all unfinished items on that page. (highlight them in yellow – do NOT re-enter them).
  • Keep cycling.
  • That’s it.

A very quick and easy system.

Find more detailed notes AND look for this genius on “Get Everything Done” (http://markforster.squarespace.com/autofocus-system/).

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Jillian 32 – Time & Motion

A busy Life

For the start of these episodes go to  http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

I asked Jillian, once, how she managed time so she could fit so much into her busy life. She always seemed to be occupied with one task or another and they all appeared to just work; and I wondered how it all was managed in the background.

The Exposition

“Cheaper By The Dozen”, she replied somewhat enigmatically.

“Ya what?” I quizzed.

“It's a book,” she said,“ written in 1948, I think. By Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth.”

“It was a biographical novel based on their life.”

“Of course.” I said. Thus earning the first evil eye of the day. I mean a novel based on a person's life would indeed be a biographical novel, wouldn't it?

She continued, “They were two of twelve children and their parents were industrial engineers who specialised in motion study. Father, Frank was particularly obsessed with finding the most efficient ways to complete tasks in life and often used his children as case studies. Mother, Lillian was a psychologist who factored human emotions into the science of the mechanics of motion study.

“I still remember the book – I read it as a child and even today I find myself checking that I am doing stuff in the most time efficient manner. I guess that's how it all fits together

Process Improvement

Today, they'd probably call it Process Improvement and use various models for example: 6 Sigma, SPC, TQM and LEAN to name a few, to explain it.

“While I employ”, she continued, “the normal time management theories of Steven Covey, Steve Pavlina and even your favourite man Tony Robbins's Rapid Planning Method (RPM); I find that doing stuff more efficiently saves huge amounts of time as well. The essence of time management is twofold:

  • Decide what to do
  • Do it.”

(My God she is so sounding like my university lecturers. Of course I just thought this and did not actually SAY anything. I am much more clever than that.)

“I add to this,” she continued the dissertation.

  • “Do it efficiently and effectively.

“Hence the reference to the book 'Cheaper By The Dozen'”

“OK.” I interrupted. “Good. Thanks for this, but my original question was about fitting all the stuff you do into your life. I still don't see how you do it?”

Diary

“Well, that's simple,” she said, “I just put all the stuff I need to do in my diary and figure out what is most important at the time they pop up and do it or postpone it or dump it altogether. A simple process of elimination really. All based on values and my life plan, of course.”

Before getting even more confused, I decided to draw a line in the sand and leave it at that. Except for the book. That time and motion study stuff intrigued me.

Back to the Book

“Tell me more about that book,” I said.

“OK.” she looked up at me, “It might sound a bit silly but here goes. In the book Frank did things like applying shaving cream with two brushes – one on each side of his face - to speed up the process. Now while I, obviously, (and she glared up just daring me to say something. Silence. Discretion being the better part of valour on this occasion) don't do that, I did follow some of his other suggestions re timing of a number of sub-tasks needed to accomplish a larger undertaking. For example - this morning at breakfast I stopped myself to have a little think about whether I should put the toast in before I started the coffee machine. What operation would take the longest and could be done parallel with another, rather than them all being done in series with waiting time in between. Stringing tasks all together in one long critical path seemed more efficient. When it was all over I had about 2 or 3 mins more to relax with coffee before beginning on the next main event. If I do that all the time, for everything I do, I get a lot of free time to myself during and at the end of each day. It's what keeps me sane. And I feel really great when I achieve an efficiency in a task and make my life and time more effective. It is really fantastic.

As I felt a smile gathering itself around my eyes and lips I turned away faking a cough.

“See,” she laughed, “I knew you'd think it was weird.”

Oh Jillian. This time I wished I'd never asked.  #ourjillian

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Crewing – Tony Robbins Sydney 2015

Unleash The Power Within

Well. Can't say too much or I'll have to kill you. Or they'll kill me. Or all of the above.

Secrecy

I signed a secrecy provision so what follows will be of necessity general and not secret.

One of the main themes we crew are asked to embrace was flexibility. Seems mine started on the early side. My 7.35 am flight on Wednesday was cancelled as were all Jet-Star flights early that morning as far as I could tell.

Flexibility

Mine and the airline. I was efficiently re-booked on an 11.50 am flight the same day. That was very serendipitous. Required a change of plans at the other end,but we aced that.

Instead of popping in to my fabulous AirBnB accommodation to drop off bags and things like that, I had to head directly to the Qantas Credit Union Arena. Do not pass go. Do not do anything. Grab a VERY QUICK bite to eat at Paddy's Market and Bob's your uncle. I had 2 pork Gyoza for $4.50. Nice, but not much. And as I found out later – I needed much.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Travel Club

Managed to sign up for a travel club in Sydney airport while waiting for my luggage and chatted to a chap who liked to travel while I was waiting for the light rail at Central Station to take me to the venue. All very cool. By he way I was not responsible for the fire at Hungry Jacks at that very station on Saturday evening.

The Event

Back to the event. The days were long and brutal, We worked hard. All of us; venue staff, event staff, volunteers and all. Averaged about 5-6 hours sleep per night. But it was worth it.

I stayed at a lovely little 2-up 3-down terrace house in Surrey Hills. It was gorgeous. A brothel (Jack told me, but I had noticed the big red light) on one side and a coffee/lunch shop next door but one on the other side, and then a corner pub. It was 10 mins walk to the venue and about 5 mins walk to the aforementioned Central Station. Yep. Very central. As expected Sydney was wet for a few of the days.

People

Only problem was Jack and Stephanie would have loved to have shared a leisurely glass of wine at least once during the 5 nights I was staying with them, but it was not to be. Maybe next time. There will very likely be a next time. I hope so anyway.

I met so many wonderful people; saw again some from last year (Sandy) and ran into a couple of coaching mates (Pina and Julia). Just to name a few. It was a bit like old-home-week. I loved it. New friends galore.

Sessions

We even managed to see a few moments of the sessions as well, when we had a break from serving the participants. Tony Robbins was awesome as expected.

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Life After The Death of A Much Loved Partner

When someone Dies

I, unfortunately, attended a funeral the other day of a chap I have known for about 30 years or so.

It was a sad affair as these always are, but for me the hardest part was watching the widow shrivel into herself; beginning the process that so often follows these events. and is in my opinion, a huge waste; and even more importantly - avoidable.

Waste

“What is he talking about”, I hear you say.

The answer is simple. Not easy. I didn't say that. But simple just the same.

We often hear of partners dying after the loss of a loved one. Why is this so?

Here is a question we often hear.

What can I do to overcome the sadness that has overtaken me since the death of my husband? How do I step forward into the next phase of my life? He battled a number of challenging health problems during the last few years of his life. As a result, my entire identity became wrapped up in caring for him and meeting his needs. Now that the struggle is over, I feel empty and lost as well as sad. I don't know where to turn or what to do next. Can you help me?

Tasks

In the first instance, according to “The Complete Guide to Caring for Aging Loved Ones, A Focus on the Family.” Tyndale House Publishing. 2002. we need to be sure to address the following 4 tasks.

  1. Accept the reality of the loss. (Talk with others about the deceased person or the circumstances surrounding the death.)
  2. Experience grief freely (and painfully if necessary) - A grief recovery program run by your local church or community is a grand idea.
  3. Adjust to the NEW environment. (Assume some of the responsibilities and social roles formally fulfilled by your partner)
  4. Take the emotional energy you would have spent on the one who is no longer there and reinvest it. Refocus. (Don't forget - but give yourself permission to carry on with your own life.)

Spousal Death

A study has found that when a husband or wife dies, the remaining spouse's risk of dying is 66% higher than might normally be expected in the three months immediately after their partner's death. Younger people often fare worse than older ones in this case.

But it is preventable. Particularly if the above tasks are taken seriously and some help is sought to find a way to realise the potential just waiting to be unleashed. The Power is within. Freedom is within.

Support

Initial support from family, friends, the community (both spiritual and secular), colleagues and others with whom we are in contact is extremely important, and can't be over-emphasised, but it is not a panacea by and of itself. The bereaved person MUST take control of his / her own life and learn how to make it all worthwhile again. It is worthwhile, of course.

Every human being has a unique set of skills, knowledge and experiences that can and should be made available to the wider population.

A Lonely Match

A match which lights a fire dies, but the flame it spawns grows and becomes a new life. A whole new beingness if you will. It can be bigger and better than its humble beginnings.

A bereaved partner has the opportunity to reignite the fires that existed in his / her spouse. Fires that may have been almost extinguished by sickness, infirmity or any other reason. Now that the person has gone don't let their life be spluttering into the abyss. Don't dive in after them. Pick it all up and let it fly. Be the you that you can and should be.

Why?

If you add to the past life all the natural and huge resources we alluded to earlier, that the still living person possesses; we have what might amount to a Juggernaut waiting for release upon the world. Why should this magnificent force for good be allowed to shrivel? #careerchangestrategies

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Jillian 29 – A Little Night Music

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Jillian loves live music. We mentioned this a while ago when speaking of some time one night in New York.

She reminded me, the other day, of another musical interlude in her life.

This time it was an evening with a female jazz stylist.

Jazz

“What does 'Jazz Stylist' mean,” I asked, “before we go any further?”

She replied with a HUGE eye-roll. (Sometimes you just should stay ignorant with Jillian. It is a lot easier.) “Have you heard of Billie Holiday? Well she was a Jazz Stylist. It is someone who has their own typical way of singing or playing music. Really. Your lack of knowledge of everyday things astounds me.”

My turn for the eye-roll.

“The lady of which I am speaking,” she grammaticised, “is a wonderful sultry, warm-voiced vocalist offering a repertoire of popular jazz standards from the Great American Songbook, including selections from swing and groove to bossa nova and blues.”

“Oh!” I say. Suitably chastened. Jillian sounded a bit like 'Dr Google' and perhaps some of these observations are actual quotes from websites she has visited. I don't know, but this singer woman sounded interesting.

I didn't find out who our musical paragon was, nor where Jillian lived when she listened to this magnificent music. I remained stuck in the details.

Music?

Then Jillian veered away from the audio to the visual. We went from the point of it all 'The Music' to what it looked like. Yeah. Beats me too.

I'll stay with Jillian in real time and not try to figure anything out. Sound fair?

Venue

The venue was upstairs in a loft-like structure. There was a bar at the back and a stage at the front. One of those pretend stages that is all of 6 inches higher than the actual floor.

The room was small. Probably only seated about 50 guests at small round tables. The walls were distressed exposed brick, and the vaulted ceilings (black timber beams and white plaster) were covered in framed black and white photos of musical and movie greats. Mostly from before her time she noted drily. Oh, she did say the sound quality was absolutely fabulous so that was something.

It was a cute, intimate, friendly space – her words. She sat at a table with a youngish couple who even after only 10 years of marriage were starting to look a bit alike. I mean their glasses were almost identical just to start. Catty, I thought.

A Lady Gone Bad

You've heard the line from the Billy Joel song ' … makin' love to his tonic and gin'? Think microphone and you have an idea. A lady gone bad if ever there was one. In the best possible way, of course.

Blond hair piled up, floor-length black gown, diamante studded belt, and matching sparkly 3 inch high heeled open toed Manolo Blahnik sandles finished the look. And it was a 'look' just like from the Roxette song of 1989.

Pianist

“The pianist who seemed to be an extension of the piano stool flowing over onto the keyboard, was wearing what looked to me,” she said, “like a Chairman Mao outfit. Head to toe In shades of basalt grey.

It turned out he had spent the last few years in Shanghai so not surprising really.

His playing was technically brilliant, emotionally ebullient, and mesmerising.

Guitarist

The guitarist played like a man demented. Never missing a note that Jillian reckons anyway,and not even a sign of a fuzz but it was not just finger-pickin good it was phenomenal. And fast. Oh boy.

His playing was only overshadowed by his blue, stone-washed stove-pipe jeans and snake skin boots. An apparition to be sure.

Double Bass

The double bass player had his bows in a quiver like scabbard on his bodaciously sized instrument and wore a camo shirt. Very interesting.

Drummer

The drummer, she figured, was not of this world. He had a smallish kit, but his sound was bigger than Texas. She looked at me for a reaction when she said this. I am GLAD to say I disappointed her. My mind was on a much higher plain

“How anyone can still breathe after what he did,” Jillian said, “I just don't know.”

“What was he wearing?” I asked.

“Oh, I couldn’t tell. He was in a bit of a dark patch”, she said.

I was going to comment, but, wisely I thought, kept my mouth shut.

Boggie Woogie

Towards the end of the evening, she remembered, they were joined by a saxophonist and a different pianist who played boogie woogie and swing.

“It was awesome.” she cooed.

Gads. I've NEVER heard Jillian coo before. It is a very different thing.

The evening finished with an extremely nice version of Dave Brubeck's 'Just take 5'.

Apparently some whiskey was consumed as well.

“A good night?” I asked unnecessarily. #ourjillian

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Jillian 28 – Appro & Other Things.

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

It's coming up to Melbourne Cup time, and it got me thinking. I asked Jillian if she had heard of 'buying on appro'?

She said she remembered her parents talking about it. Wasn't sure if they ever did it - but yeah the concept was known to her.

Appro

Seems that what used to happen was, in the olden days, you could buy something for a small deposit – probably about 10% of the price and take it home. Things like washing machines were popular in my youth, since many people back then did their washing in a copper. Now that's a story for another time.

When you had the unit at your place you could use it for a bit (time usually depending on the item and the price paid) and if you didn't like it you could return it. You then received all your deposit back. The system could be used for almost any non-consumable product.

Item had to be in resalable condition when returned, of course.

Why do we remember appro at this time? Well it has been known that a number of the Melbourne ladies have purchased hats and fascinators, even complete outfits that they will never wear again so that they can make a huge splash at the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Not cool or nice but I'm told it happens. Hence the link in my fevered brain.

Jillian at The Cup

Jillian remembered going to the Melbourne Cup - the main race day - once many years ago with a couple of friends.

They dressed up in all sorts of finery, top hats and frock coats for the gentlemen and many layered long chiffon dresses for the ladies. Hair in ringlets and things like that.

“It wasn't an attempt to follow a fashion style or time in history – just a way to dress up with what we had or could get hold of easily”, she said. “The clothes and shoes etc didn't have to match or anything. We were just out for a good time and this seemed like the way to do it. You couldn't really wear high heels either as we had to stay within the car park area or the public lawns near the tote boards and the ground was often soft there at that time of year.”

Champagne

We had Champagne (we were still allowed to call it that back then) which we poured from a china teapot into Royal Albert Tea Cups and drank with pinky fingers afloat.

“Don't ask, she hurried on, when it became obvious I was going to. “I have no idea why we did that. One of the guys made that decision.”

“We ate little patti-pan cakes that we had baked the day before. Now they are all the rage, of course and called cup cakes. Who'd have known? Quite appropriate don't you think? We were trail blazers back then.”

Oh and we hired a friend's horse and cart to take us there. We were really going over the top.”

Home

“I do remember”, she said, “waiting for about 4 hours in a queue of very drunk patrons to get a taxi home. It was horrendous. In many cases the women were the worst. Brings out the beast in people I reckon. Freezing cold, loads of stuff to carry and very tired. Never did it again. Haven't been to The Melbourne Cup since. Can't imagine ever feeling the urge.” #ourjillian

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Ego – A Book Review: A New Earth: Create a Better Life – Eckhart Tolle

I have been reading this book the last few hours.

I have to say it is probably the best book of its kind, I have read for a long time.

Why?

I have not even finished Chapter 3 and am completely blown away by the content. Mr Tolle has taken me and given me the biggest shake.

There is soooo much here already that explains a lot about my life and why I am like I am.

Believe me I am going to change. I am not going to be ruled by ego any-more.

Need to know what this is all about – then get this book.

Example?

One very small example that stuck with me.

When he was a counsellor, Eckhart was working with a woman who had cancer and was told she had only 2 months to live.

She was raving, this particular day, about a belief that her carer had stolen her grandmother's engagement ring. “It has so much sentimental value,” she wailed.

Eckhart asked her what was she going to remember about this ring in 10 weeks time? She thought for a moment and then said, “They think I'll be dead by then.”

“Yep,” he said.

“And while it is not right that it might have been stolen, why are you wasting the little time you have left getting so excited about it? This is your ego talking. Someone has to be wrong. You are the one in the right. It is YOUR ring. 'Oh My God,' you are crying, 'what have they done to me?'

But it won't matter to you in two months. So let it go now. Live today. Enjoy. Don't fret. Be happy. All that good stuff.”

Think about it:

How many times have we all worried about something like this? Something where we complain and fret just to make a silly point? To be right? To be better than someone else? To be richer, happier, more moral, more beautiful? Ego. I am.

Let it go.

More soon. I am going to finish this wonderful book and take as much of it on board as I possibly can.

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Shocked and Saddened

OMG! Shocked and Saddened!

Last Sunday afternoon as I was leaving the Dandenong market just after 3.00pm, I waved cheerio and sang out, “See ya next week” to one of the long term sellers as he was packing up for the week. He was one of the all-time market stalwarts, a man well known and well liked by all. He was a very ebullient chap, always up for a chat. Some might say a tad over-the-top, but he was great fun.

As was his want he replied with his usual war-cry., “Harry Hoo, Delicious.” And waved.

How were either of us to know that within a few short hours he would depart this earth? Tom (for that was his real name), passed away later that night.)

I have no idea how or why. I don't know how old he was, certainly older than me (isn't everyone?) but when I heard the news this morning – to say I was shocked and saddened would be a massive understatement.

What I do know is that you only have the HERE and the NOW. There is no telling when your time will come.

If you have been saving yourself for something or someone or anything. Just go out there and DO IT. Don't wait. Just like Tom (or Harry) you may not get the chance later. Live for today like there is no tomorrow. For some of us there won't be.

I am not suggesting you be silly or anything, I am just saying putting off any action because the time is not right, or you don't have the money, or your health is not great - is a mistake.

Go out and FIND a way. There is always a way. Perhaps you might need to make a small change to your plans, but don't wait. There is no RIGHT time.

What do you think Tom's plans were for Monday? Tuesday he should have expected to be back at the market. What about the overseas holiday (I'm making this up – but you get the picture) he didn't take last month (or whenever) because he couldn't make up his mind?

Perhaps he did all that he wanted to, but can any of us say we are ready to go - TONIGHT?

Today changed my thinking. Will it change yours?

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Jillian 25 – The Big Game (Patterns)

A story from Jillian’s memories. A rogues gallery of friends and enemies.

Arthur had been retrenched and had no idea what to do or where to go. Money was not an immediate problem due to a reasonably generous package, and his partner who was still working at a really well paid job. She said she would support him as he figured out his next step.

His life coach worked with him to find out what he enjoyed and what he was good at, basing this on his life history up to now; and with a few generalisations and some chunking up - a model emerged.

Arthur’s patterns of life were related to sport – he didn't play just liked watching. All sports and all events like Aussie Rules, Rugby - Union & League, Cricket of all varieties, Superbowl, Grand Slam Tennis, Olympics – Summer & Winter, World Cup, Grand Prix Motor racing etc. You name it he was onto it.

He even had a pretty good grip on local sport in many of the major cities in Australia

Knowing almost everything there was to know about players, teams and competitions, his knowledge was legendary. Encyclopaedic.

If a player in any team was having relationship troubles he knew about it before the blonde bombshell stories hit social media and TV.

His numbers told him everything.

You see he was also into maths (another pattern that showed up when he and his coach looked for it) not the pure theoretical kind, of codes and theorems, but statistics, probability even finance.

His university studies led him into accountancy, finance and economics. He loved his job as an accountant in a well known city firm, but often seemed to have a plastic smile on his face. Perhaps he was not really a people person, even though as a financial advisor he was meeting with and talking to people all the time. It may have been the backroom stuff that excited him. Not the human element.

But now he had to re-assess - as 'there is no job'.

If sports and numbers were his thing, he needed to figure out how to make that pay. “You see, the clever way to do things is to evaluate what you know and then find a market”, Jillian said. “Someone or some organisation willing to pay money for this knowledge”.

Arthur started out volunteering with a local community radio station doing the sports round-up on Saturday evenings and a much longer summary on Sunday afternoons of all that had gone on sport-wise nationally and internationally in the last week. His numbers ability and knowledge in all sports was now front and centre. Interest in the programs and his audiences grew.

He was happy. And it was good.

So good that before too long he was being poached away from the free stuff to a paid gig at a commercial radio station and then was offered a show of his own on a TV station in Australia. Guests and all. His call. He was the boss.

It was syndicated nationally. A star was born.

A pattern followed, uncovered a life plan. Patterns and Big Game Hunting.

“You see.” said Jillian, “It's not who you know. It's what you know.”#ourjillian

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