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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.

What’s it all about? We are in Control of our lives!

I had my leg over the edge. 22nd floor. St Kilda Rd.

Up and Over

I was going to do it this time. Jump off the building. After the bankruptcy, the retrenchment and the Government taking almost all my payout, there was nothing left. It was hopeless. I had even lost the $1M insurance policy I had been contributing to for the last 48 years to leave my children a nest egg. I started this 13 years before they were even born. My very existence was a washout. 64 years of living - down the tubes. Or down to St Kilda Rd, at least. My life sucked. Big time. And it was not my fault!

The beginning of the Comeback

Not sure why. But I climbed down from that railing.

I went to the Doctor, and the Doctor said – "Take these drugs, See a Healer of the Head.” (You can sing this one to yourself if you like! And dance a bit too. It works!)

And I did.

AND Then: someone showed me a video of this man. (No Arms No Legs - No Worries

Nicholas Vujicic (Voya chic) An Australian Preacher and Motivational speaker born without any limbs. As a child, he struggled mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. Who would have guessed?

But he eventually came to terms with his disability.

Did You Get That? “He eventually came to terms with his disability.” How inspiring is that?

What was thinking. My issues were NOTHING in comparison to that. Yeah, of course it's real allright. To me. But Gee wizz. Where do you go from here?

If he could do that – handle that, who could deal with the relatively insignificant issues that I was facing?

ANYBODY!

Inspiration To Go On

Since then. I have walked on hot coals. Twice.  Really.

And as if I needed further inspiration, these 9 people kept cropping up in my reading.

Nine People

Albert Ellis, Anthony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Dr Phil, Dr Wayne Dyer, Jim Rohn, Shakespeare, Susan Jeffers and Zig Ziglar.

What do they all have in common I hear you ask? Let me explain.

They all believed in one simple truth. One that I had failed to understand Up until THEN!!

Let's read their own words so we can understand what this truth might be shall we?

Albert Ellis: In 1955 he developed REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy) the main principle of which was – A person is rarely affected emotionally by outside things, but rather by 'perceptions, attitudes or internalised sentences' about outside things and events.

Anthony Robbins: Whom the NY times calls 'The High Priest of Human Potential' says – There are two worlds. The EXTERNAL world which we can INFLUENCE, (We cannot control the external world) and the INTERNAL world which we do control. Therefore our ultimate significance in life comes not from something external but something internal.

Dale Carnegie: Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.

Dr Phil: Unlike the external factors that we have no control over, our internal factors are made up of our own reactions to the events in our lives.

Dr. Wayne Dyer: (Oh this one is really good!!!) Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.

Are you getting where this is going? I certainly was.

Jim Rohn: You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind. But you can change the set of your sail. The same wind blows on us all, whether we win or lose depends on the set of our sail.

Shakespeare: (Hamlet, Act II, Scene II) … there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Susan Jeffers: (in her best-selling book  'Feel the Fear, and Do it Anyway') says  - Don't be deceived into thinking that by changing the external, the internal will be changed. It works the other way around.

And Finally

Zig Ziglar: If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

What's it all about? What does it all Mean?

Seems to me that they are all saying exactly the same thing. And it is all about the simple truth I alluded to earlier. And that truth is:

We Are The Boss of Us”.

YEP

We Are The Boss of Us”.

Nick and Blame.

Nick Vujicic could have blamed his extrinsic situation. He had more reason than most. But he didn't. He dreamed of a bigger and better future for him and his family. Yes. That's right. He has a wife and children.

Serenity Prayer:

I am reminded here of the Serenity Prayer. I guess you have all heard of it? (Not from Alcoholics Anonymous - I hope).

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The Courage to change the things I can, and The Wisdom to know the difference.”

The Victim and the Blame (Victim) Game - Work, Weather, Relationships etc:

Speaking of that, How many times have you heard people play the victim game?

Complaining that they can't be happy because of their

  1. Terrible job,

  2. horrible boss,

  3. bills,

  4. childhood experiences,

  5. Their Parents

  6. the bad weather,

  7. Unhappy marriage or a strained relationship?

There's always someone or something else in charge of their lives. Someone else who is to blame. "It's not my fault." is their constant refrain.

"What is it with this stupid phone? Or that driver is an idiot? "

I think you know what I mean.

How many times have you said this kind of thing yourself? I know I used to. A lot. Still do - far too much.

But - I am getting better.  I am aware of it now - and that is the first step.

FINALLY:

Here I am. It's Approximately 2 years later and I am still here. Getting better every day.

1. I'm taking back control.

2. I'm not sitting around lamenting how bad my life is.

3. I'm not accepting the idea that things just happen to me.

That's being a victim.

I remember Susan Jeffers - “Don't be deceived  .... she said. 

Don't be deceived into thinking that by changing the external, the internal will be changed. It works the other way around.

This is clever stuff!!

I bought an AWESOME plaque while I was in Bali recently.

Live Like you will Die Tomorrow.

Dream like you will live forever!!

I plan to live my life from now on based on these simple thoughts, and I am going to think of Nick Vujicic, and just get on with it.

CAUSE - Being in Control

I will be the cause of what happens to me, not the victim of the circumstances in which I find myself.

I will be the CAUSE of what happens to me, not the VICTIM of the circumstances in which I find myself.

I am doing it!!!!!  And IF I CAN DO IT!!!  Who else do you think can do it?

ANYBODY!!!!!!!!!

Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift is used to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events. A radical change in underlying beliefs or theory. A changed attitude, or way of doing things.

Dig Deep

What this means is that if the way we are doing things is not working, we must stop just piddling about at the edges making small, usually ineffectual alterations, and dig in and turn the whole thinking process upside down; we need to look at a problem or issue from a completely different angle.

Examples

What has changed in recent times that proves this rule?

The Sharing Economy

AirBnB is now one of the biggest accommodation providers in the world. It owns no hotels or any other properties and is entirely accessible on line. This is customer to customer business. A whole new way of finding and securing a place to stay.

Uber is now one of the biggest taxi providers in the world. It owns no cars or any other vehicles and is entirely accessed on line via an a computer browser or an 'app' on your smart phone or tablet.

Netflix and other movie sharing and streaming services have completely swamped Blockbuster and other bricks and mortar video stores. They no longer exist.

Travel. There is now a disruptive travel company that owns no aeroplanes, hotels, rental cars or offices in the high street. But it provides 5* travel experiences for members at 2* prices. And this is growing at an exponential rate overseas and now in Australia.

Even Skype deserves a mention. Paradigm shifts.

EBooks

People are not reading traditional books as much now as 10 years ago. Cheaper publishing techniques, cheaper purchase prices, cafés and other community/social areas in bookshops and libraries, more book tours and launches, reading and writing festivals were tried, but still the reading public stopped buying paper based books.

Enter eBooks. Electronic books. A paradigm shift. Along came Kindle and other electronic reading devices; and programs for reading eBooks on your smart phone and tablet.

Upside Down

That's turning the issue upside down. Using a different way of doing things.

What might this paradigm shift business be able to offer a person living in the here and now in Australia? Someone not in the industrial revolution, or involved in the advent of printing, or the creating of The Internet? How does that work?

Change and The Paradigm

Author Earnie Larson is credited with the droll maxim "Nothing changes if nothing changes".

Let's look at this.

Australia is an island state far away from the 2 hubs of human life. USA and Europe.

As I write, the news is breaking that the Electrolux factory here in Orange in Central Western New South Wales, Australia is closing down with the associated loss of jobs, self esteem, and regular wages. Of course there will also be the domino effect rippling through the NSW economy as ancillary production diminishes and finally stops. Not to mention the probable decrease in the spending of the more than 500 people affected by this change.

Is this just the greed of an overseas parent company or is there something else at play here?

We, in Australia, are facing constant rises in prices for everything. Wages, Infrastructure, repairs & maintenance, equipment, raw materials to name a few.

Our manufacturing sector then has shipping and transport to take into account. Even if product is sold here in the big brown land; most towns and cities are many hours apart. Even by air. And this is expensive. Export is almost completely prohibitive.

Equilibrium

If we look at a version of the economic equilibrium curve, (not supply V's Demand, but COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) V's Sales) we note, as mentioned earlier, that costs are rising sharply. On the other hand income derived from sales is falling due to among other things cheaper imports, online purchasing and changes in consumer demand. The crossover (equilibrium point shall we say) is racing towards zero faster than any time in our history.

Ostriches we are not. This can't continue. It is not greed to want to stay in business. If a limb is dying or dead we need to cut it off. Has to happen.

Supply V's Demand

Perhaps we can look, now, at the traditional Supply V's Demand curve but note that while demand is quite possibly still high for most manufactured goods although in a different model perhaps - our ability, in Australia, to produce / supply these goods at the required level and the necessary price is becoming less and less. So the equilibrium is unstable. Unpredictable. Other than the realisation that it is getting closer to zero here too.

Life Has Moved On

So, of course we complain. We tweak the edges of the problem, demand that Governments help, or that Parent Companies lose their investors' money or any number of completely ineffectual and traditional remedies. Nothing works. Funny that. The situation has changed. We have to change too. Yep. No longer much point in making large quantities of horse shoes or hansom cabs. Life has moved on. We need to catch-up.

Next

While we cannot (nor should we) completely resile from a need for a manufacturing sector as such; we MUST reduce our reliance on it. We need a paradigm change.

Our Governments, of whatever persuasion, do not seem to be able to tax massive profits at the correct level, nor do they seem to be able to resist calls for assistance from companies making billions who figure a small handout of a few hundred million will help the country as a whole.

We need to look at how we can CHANGE things so our people can be strong again.

Yeah, But What?

Obviously, we will still need cars, fridges, washing machines, TV's and the like. Not to mention furniture and all the other major pieces of equipment required for a modern lifestyle. But is it possible that we can shift our way of living in a way that reduces our demand for such goods? Perhaps? In ways we have not thought of yet? With products that may not have been invented yet?

And with greater numbers of people arriving in our country from overseas and by the normal processes, we have, in my opinion, a huge and ever increasing need for enhanced service industries. See sharing services mentioned above.

Take for example the rise of restaurant food and grocery delivery systems in some of our bigger cities. Just one instance.

We could develop products that do not need to be mass produced, perhaps; nor transported by traditional means. Old ideas can be re-visited or new ideas generated. Stuff that is locally made, even Cottage Industries might be the way to go. (We moved away from these many decades ago, but perhaps we could revisit this kind of commerce). I believe there is now again a huge potential here.

What about Sport, Music and Theater? Performance and Static or Fine Art. Movies, Electronica and esoterica. All of these things can be ramped up and with the right marketing (another service industry) might be a new employment area for displaced manufacturers. Most of us have more leisure time now with a need to fill in the spaces. And everyone has untapped talent just waiting to be unleashed. Hidden gems. Think about it.

Change is inevitable. It is happening all around us. Now.

Life coaching as a service might pick up to the level of acceptance here, that it has in America.

And, of course there is the whole digital economy. Phone and tablet 'apps'. Computer coding. Commodities that can be transported free over the air so to speak. This market, largely untapped even now, is bigger than anything that has gone before.

Summary

The change is here. We have to stop bitching and get on with it. Embrace it. The same wind blows on us all. If we act like a child who says, “I'll turn my back, and if I can't see you – you can't see me,” the wind will still blow on us and likely blow us over. We cannot escape. We must deal with the consequences. We have to change ourselves. We have to adapt to what is happening around us. A paradigm shift is long overdue.

Jillian 35 – Paradigm Shift

Jillian 35 - Paradigm Shift

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

The other day Jillian and I were shooting the breeze and she began talking about this thing she called a Paradigm Shift.

Paradigm Shift

“Do you know what a Paradigm Shift is?” she asked.

“Nope.” I admitted. Big mistake.

“Gees, I've been around you long enough to figure out that that is a question I ought to avoid unless I want to know a lot about it.” I said.

She laughed. “Yep. Reminds me of a kid once who came to his father and asked him about the birds and the bees. As expected good old dad said, 'Ask your mother.' Quick as a flash the kid replied, 'Well, I didn't really want to know that much about it.'

“Anyway you don't know what it is so I am going to tell you.”

Need to know

And tell me she did. Although, stupidly, I first asked, “What is the reason I am about to be told this momentous stuff? Surely this is a 'need-to-know' situation and I don't?”

I narrowly avoided a playful punch, Teasing, but it would still have hurt.

“We were talking about it in a meeting at work the other day and I figured it might be something we could apply to our lives, well your life anyway. And I thought of discussing it with you.” she said.

Who knew? She thought I was discussion material for some esoteric concept?

“Bloody Hell,” I said intelligently.

Definition:

“So,” she said. “A Paradigm Shift is used to describe a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of events. A radical change in underlying beliefs or theory. A changed attitude, or way of doing things.”

“Swallowed the dictionary or Wikipedia again have you?” I suggested.

“Are you going to take this seriously, or not?” she blustered. “Of course I have given you the dictionary and Wikipedia definitions. Why wouldn't I?”

What it actually Means

“Anyway what this means is that if the way we are doing things is not working, we must stop just piddling about at the edges making small, usually ineffectual changes, and dig in and turn the whole thinking process upside down looking at a problem or issue from a completely different angle.”

“An example, please.” I quietly asked.

Example:

“OK,” she said, “What about books and reading? People are not reading traditional books as much now as 10 years ago. Witness all the bookshops closing down. They tried cheaper publishing techniques, cheaper purchase prices, cafes and other community/social areas in bookshops and libraries, more book tours and launches, reading and writing festivals. Still the reading public stopped reading paper based books in their droves. Oh yes there are the 'real books are better brigade,' but something needed to be done. Writers were fighting a losing battle, and you can forget about bookshops and libraries.

Enter eBooks. Electronic books. A paradigm shift. Along came Kindle and other electronic reading devices; and programs for reading eBooks on your smart phone and tablet.”

That's what I mean.” That's turning the issue upside down. Using a different way of doing things. And I agree, there is still a way to go to to change the attitudes of many people to electronic books, but there is movement at the station.”

“What about the smell? I asked. “There is nothing quite like the smell of the pages of a book and the ink. It is what the whole experience is all about.”

“Yep.” she said. “Can't do much about that. But there will be other things we can do to enhance the experience.”

Cool Stuff:

“Part of the reason for telling you this,” she said, “is it might help you write some cool stuff about me instead of the drivel that slides off your keyboard onto the screen.”

“Oh.” I said. A tad chastened. But ever the one to bounce back, I said. “OK. What might this paradigm shift business be able to offer me as a person living in the here and now? I am not in the industrial revolution, or the advent of printing, or the creating of The Internet. Nor am I involved in the ebook revolution, apart from my own current preference for the Kindle.” So what can it do for me?”

“Ah yes.” she said. The personal perspective. Very good.”

Next time. #ourjillian

Martial Arts And The Force

Go No Sen; Sen No Sen; SenSen No Sen

To start, these three terms refer to the different kinds of timing used in dealing with an attacker in budo training. The timing of the response to an attack in generally, aikido and they came from O-Sensei Ueshiba Morihei, Founder of Aikido.

Budo

The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought. Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Keep this in mind for a little later.

Go No Sen; Sen No Sen; SenSen No Sen

Aikido

O-Sensai says “In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.”

O-Sensai goes on to say, “If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.”

This is often interpreted to mean that correct victory is winning over your own self or ego.

Reaching this state of selflessness, is the way to swift victory (not only in martial contexts but also in life itself).

A quick summary:

  • Go no sen - After the attack. Block and counter
  • Sen no sen - Attack the attack. Be faster than your opponent
  • Sensen no sen - Take initiative. Attack before the attack.

Let's look at these terms in a bit more detail.

Sen

The Japanese character for ”sen” can also be read as “saki.” It means “before”. But in the terms go no sen, sen no sen and sensen no sen, it is an abbreviation of sorts for the word “sente” meaning initiative or lead. The “te” in sente means hand, so sente directly translates as “before hand.”

Go no sen

Go means “after. So, a combatant takes the initiative in a situation after the opponent has already started an attack. In other words, once an opponent starts to attack, the defending combatant performs this technique. After the before hand.

We move in harmony with the attacker, but it is the attacker that is taking the initiative in the attack and we are mirroring his or her movements.

Sen no sen

Sen no sen means before the attack. Sen no sen implies that you become aware of an opponent's intention of attacking and right at the time when he is starting this attack, you step in and stop it. To continue the thought before – this is before the before hand.

Sensen No Sen

This term consists of a repetition of the term sen. So this refers to the timing before sen no sen. It is the case of initiating a movement intended to lead the attacker’s spirit as well as to draw forth an actual attack, in order to utilize this attack for a defensive technique. And the thought here becomes – before before the before hand.

What does it mean to us and how does this energy force stuff fit in?

I guess where I am going with this is the fact that martial arts students are taught that there is no attack, only defence. And they are in addition taught to either figure out when this attack has begun, or to realise that an attack is imminent, to know what form that attack is likely to take and to lead the attacker forwards into a defense strategy that has already been crystalised in the brain of the defendant.

Sounds like an energy force to me. And a very clever harnessing of said force for the purposes of good.

I have before heard of martial arts opponents being 'knocked' to the ground without ever being touched. That surely is a force to be reckoned with.

Remember what we said about Budo training – The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought. Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Eckhardt Tolle has a lot to say about this in his book “The New Earth”.

Martial arts and 'THE FORCE' in Star Wars seem to have a lot in common. Leaves me to wonder how such a thing can so quickly be debunked as pseudoscience.

Your Own Examples

Perhaps you can think of examples from your own lives where there has been some indication of an energy or life force that is inexplicable by your basic laws of science, but nevertheless has happened to you or those close to you. I'd love to hear about them.

More next time. #CareerChangeStrategies

Auras And Kirlian Photography – Energy

Can We See Force / Energy Fields?

I have written about energy and force fields and stuff like that. But do they actually exist? Or are they just figments of the imaginations of film-makers, old Asian mystics and martial arts masters?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

There has been much research on these topics. Let's have a look at Auras for example.

Auras

Perhaps we can start with Wikipedia.

An aura is a supposed field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object like the halo or aureola in religious art. The depiction of such an aura often connotes a person of particular power or holiness. It is said that all objects and all living things manifest such an aura. Often it is held to be perceptible, whether spontaneously or with practice: such perception is at times linked with the third eye of Indian spirituality. Various writers associate various personality traits with the colors of different layers of the aura. It has also been described as a map of the thoughts and feelings surrounding a person.” Wikipedia

Hmmm? That sounds a bit like some of the stuff we discussed in a previous article.

Not Proved

However Wikipedia goes on to say: Attempts to prove the existence of auras scientifically have repeatedly met with failure; for example people are unable to see auras in the dark, and auras have never been successfully used to identify people when their identifying features are otherwise obscured in controlled tests.”

Kirlian Photography

OK. So does Kirlian photography link into this in any way?

Wikipedia.

Kirlian believed that images created by Kirlian photography might depict a conjectural energy field, or aura, thought, by some, to surround living things. Kirlian and his wife were convinced that their images showed a life force or energy field that reflected the physical and emotional states of their living subjects.”

Again with the life force.

But then, also from Wikipedia:

Not Proved

Scientists such as Beverly Rubik have explored the idea of a human biofield using Kirlian photography research, attempting to explain the Chinese discipline of Qigong. Qigong teaches that there is a vitalistic energy called qi (or chi) that permeates all living things. The idea of qi as its own sort of field, not simply a creature's electromagnetic field, has been mostly disregarded by the scientific community.”

We have already talked a little about this qi. Seems we need to go deeper. The initial idea behind these pieces I have been writing was to be more of an entertaining rather than educational kind of thing, but we must follow the story.

Pseudoscience

It would seem, then that qi, ki, auras, kirlian photography and all the other forms of life energy have been characterised as pseudoscience along with any number of other paranormal events, hoaxes and conspiracy theories.

But this, I feel, rather glib debunking of any and all energy forces related to human life, needs further discussion. So why not join me again soon and let's have a further, deeper look at this with particular emphasis, in the next issue, on martial arts and the concept of Sen no sen, Sen Sen no sen, Go no sen. #CareerChangeStrategies

Helping Others

Helping Others

Some of you may have been aware of my eye problems recently.

I have been afflicted over the last few months with cataracts in both eyes. While it started along with glaucoma some long time ago it became rampant from April this year (2015). Such that I have grave difficulty seeing much detail at all.

I manage, I am not blind. It is sometimes hard and often very frustrating, but it is not a disaster.

Which brings me to the point of all this.

Help when needed

The other day while I was recharging my public transport card at an automatic machine on the station, all was well until I needed to use the credit card bit. I couldn't read the instructions. I shielded the light, moved my nose to almost touch the machine, and swayed from side to side in an attempt to make the view clearer. All to no avail. After some time the woman behind me asked if I needed help. I did. I said so and told her I couldn’t read the screen. She said it is asking for an account type. I remember the middle button on the top row was for savings, that worked. “Now.” she said, “It is asking for a PIN.” The keypad was big enough for me to see and execute this, but anyway I remembered the pattern of the numbers. She then told me it was asking for a receipt and said the button on the left is no. All done, I moved out of the way and she was able to do her own business.

What this meant to me is that we must all be aware, when offering to help someone having an issue, when such help is required.

Connecting

I think it is much more than just visually observing a person and how they are acting. I believe it is a result of linking up with the energy that is present in us all. The Chinese call it Chi or qi, it is Ki in Japanese and many other languages have words to express this concept which is often regarded as an active part of every living thing, figuratively: “material energy", "life force", or "energy flow". Elements of the qi concept can also be found in Western popular culture, for example "The Force" in Star Wars.

The more we become aware of ourselves and others as manifestations of energy flow, the better we well get at living this thing we call life.

It's there for us all to pick up. The so called lower forms of animal life can sense it immediately. A dog, for example, knows when you are frightened.

The Force

I will talk more about this in later posts, but I understand more now how it feels to be helped when you need it and to be left to sort it out yourself when you can. If a person in a wheelchair has a wheel stuck between the platform and a train carriage, or is being pursued by an angry orang-utan then they may need your help; otherwise they are quite possibly OK.

If we open up as human beings to feel or accept or even just understand these energy fields or life flows within us we will begin to serve ourselves and others at a much higher level. #CareerChangeStrategies

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

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.

Jillian 30 – Pilot Licence Mega FAIL!

Pilot Licence

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

Every now and then Jillian tells me a snippet of something or other and then we move on and the information becomes lost in the mists of - well not time, necessarily - but forgetfulness and insignificance shall we say?

Some time ago, while trawling through my notes, I came across an item about one of her friends failing his private pilot's licence in interesting circumstances.

I asked about this again.

Seems this chap had been doing quite well – handling your basic up and down stuff; emergency landings (where you have your experienced pilot teacher reach around you and shut down the engines when you least expect it - and then say to you, “You have about 45 seconds to find a place to land.”

Oh and you ought to find some smoke to tell you the way the wind is blowing because you MUST land with the plane facing into the wind; and you need at least x number of metres to land and it must be clear of obstacles like phone or power poles and wires, holes, small hills, hedges, trees, fences, houses, bicycles and I suppose roads and people but he apparently didn't mention some of these things. They were to be expected, Jillian seemed to imply. Then there were stalls (you know where the training pilot makes the aeroplane almost fall out of the sky – the “Oh dear What are we going to do now?” moments; scary almost vertical spiralling dives and all things in between.

Some of these included heaps of memorizing particular aircraft bits and pieces, radio jargon (you know the Alpha, Beta, Delta … Romeo, Juliet things) and having at your fingertips reams of important weather information, weight calculations and navigational ephemera.

I mean, “There is so much to know,” I said to Jillian after listening to this for some time, “Why would you ever WANT to have a pilot's licence?” “A pilot needs to be a walking encyclopedia.”

But he, apparently, knew it all so it was time to take the figurative bit between the teeth and make a bid for the licence. At least the first of, I think she said 2 or 3 parts of the full licence.

Towards the end of the hour of the actual licence exam which had gone quickly and seemingly satisfactorily, the tester asked the pilot to return to the airfield.

Now this requires a square pattern to be executed, Jillian explained to me. You need initially to head for a point, a known and previously agreed upon landmark on the ground, and then turn towards the runway which will be to your front and right (probably) some 5 or so kilometers away. Hopefully you can see this aforementioned runway, but if not just head in the general direction.

Landing requires you to pass the runway at right angles, turn downwind and run alongside this landing strip, turn across wind with the runway at right angles to you and then turn facing forwards down the length of this narrow strip of grass with the wind now blowing toward you, and execute the landing. Did I mention you needed to know which way the wind is blowing (if there is any wind) before starting any of this manoeuvring?

Well, our friend reached this landmark, executed the turn towards the airport and runway which he could see in the distance and was heading in to do the square pattern landing, secure in the knowledge that his licence was in the bag.

Imagine his surprise when the examiner asked him what he was doing. Of course he explained he was doing as he was told. Heading in to land the aeroplane after reaching the previously defined ground landmark.

“OK.” said the examiner, “Why are you STILL doing this?”

At this point Jillian's friend smelled a rat and said,”Am I missing something, Jim?”

“You might say.” said Jim. “There is an emergency. All traffic in the area has been asked by radio to avoid the airport for the next 10 minutes or so. You, specifically, have been asked to turn away to port (left for those not used to this language) and to not attempt to land, in order to make way for this temporary emergency state. You have ignored these instructions - given 3 or 4 times with increasing urgency; and air-traffic controllers have had to re-route several other aircraft out of your way, even the helicopter with the emergency situation.”

“I am afraid, if you cannot follow simple radio instructions, I am not going to be able to approve you for your licence. You are a menace to other aircraft and the flying public.”

I think that constitutes a mega-fail. Don't you? #ourjillian