Lifeticking / Philosophy

The Facebook dilemma

August 20th, 2012 by Shane Maloney 6 Comments

Hi Lifetickers,

Settle in, this is long…

I’m often asked a question to which my response is met with amazement, bemusement, contempt, incredulity and on occasion – admiration. The question is quite simply “Do you have Facebook?” The even simpler answer is “No”. At no stage in its existence have I ever really desired access to this ubiquitous contagion. Nevertheless, this has not prevented it from impacting my life. Therefore, in the interests of 1) not having to explain myself time and time again (by now being able to direct people to this blog) and more importantly 2) explaining the dynamic that inevitably helps or hinders one’s goals in life by being a user of Facebook, I’ve decided to do what everyone else does who has a blog and bore you with my tedium on the topic. But first some caveats:

  1. I accept the usefulness of Facebook in maintaining contact with close ones when traveling abroad or living great distances apart
  2. I recognise the wonderful ways in which Facebook assists us in connecting with people we have lost touch with in the past and
  3. I am sure for many people the positives outweigh the negatives of pursuing this great pastime. (Let’s face it, by the sheer enormity of our connection to Facebook, surely it deserves the status of “pastime”, which in itself is a disturbing thought.)

But in saying this there are many issues that counter the arguments above and whilst they are not the main thrust of what I am here to say it is nevertheless important to remind ourselves that:

  1. Facebook can indeed be an incredible waste of time for many people. The stats don’t lie people. Whilst many of you might regard yourselves as efficient and disciplined users, it might pay to put a stopwatch on your usage over the course of a week and see how those numbers look.
  2. Facebook has very little regard for your privacy. It has proven this on multiple occasions. Don’t even ask me how this is possible, but a Google search of “Facebook” yields 5 billion results whereas a search on “Facebook privacy” yields 8 billion results! By all means take the time to do some reading if you haven’t already. It’s pretty hard to miss considering articles are produced by major news establishments at an unrelenting rate. (Reduce that previous search of “Facebook privacy” to the last 24 hours and filter it down again to just “News” and you’ll still get 24,000 results.)
  3. Facebook has an incredibly long memory (like the Internet). It neither forgets, nor forgives.
  4. Facebook breeds narcissism.
  5. Facebook cultivates insecurity.
  6. Facebook feeds addiction.

All of these things above have been written about extensively, so my purpose was not to rehash them here. My purpose however, is to take a bigger picture view of life itself and talk about its very “meaning” in the context of those things that seek to reduce that “meaning”. Like a lot of people, I’m keenly interested in why we are here. I’m also interested in why we do what we do. Therefore, if you were to ask me why I don’t use/have Facebook then more so than any other reason it is because it quite simply reduces meaning in life. Now of course we all have different ways in defining meaning in our lives, so I will try to break it down to see if you can find some common threads.

1. Facebook trivialises relationships.

Why do we have so many friends on Facebook? Do we really want to know what they are up to? Do they really want to know what we are up to? Is it really that necessary for me to have someone connected on the basis that I simply might need to connect to them at some stage in the future. In such a short amount of time we have managed to create more relationships that actually mean less. We have uncompromisingly chosen quantity over quality. And yet, this goes against what we are really seeking in life – meaningful relationships. People often tell me how it was amazing that they were able to get in touch with someone from their past through Facebook. I would counter two points to that: 1) There is a reason that person is no longer in your life. We aren’t meant to keep in touch with everyone. That is life. And it is neither good nor bad. It just is. And if that person IS definitely worth getting back in touch with then 2) You would find a way to find them if you really wanted to. This in turn means the effort would be greater (and therefore more rewarding) and met with even more gratitude one would imagine (where such seeking is reciprocated).

Another aspect relating to the trivialising of relationships is the nature of the communication that takes place between people. It can either be 1) public (highly trivial unless for example, announcing the birth of a child) or 2) private (surely this too is trivial as a meaningful conversation between two individuals might at least require a phone conversation or face to face?) Whilst it is easy to hammer away at the points mentioned earlier about narcissism and insecurity, let’s instead look at this a little more deeply. Is it really us seeking our 15 minutes of fame? Why is it so often I hear from friends and siblings that they can’t believe someone has posted something, belittling the interactions of friends or family. Does anyone ever tell that person they share those concerns about the nature of their comments? Or are they not close enough for us to be that truthful towards them? Doesn’t that right there capture a simple yet recurring sadness of what it is we are engaged in? A “friend” posting something or with such regularity for us to then somehow think less of them, whilst not having the decency to actually be honest about it?

In the world of relationships, Facebook is the bastion of false security. We engage on our terms, at a distance and are free to react however we please. We sever that most precious of ties that make us beings that relate. Ones that empathise and share and look each other in the eye when we talk to each other about things that matter in our lives. Ones that detect a tone in a loved one’s voice over the phone that suggests a plea for help. We post a vibrant and vacuous self image to everyone whilst we suffer in an ever increasing isolation. We present whom we want to be, not who we are. We lie to our Facebook friends about the great lives we lead, but more importantly we lie to ourselves.

And yet, the great paradox is that we want to be heard. But why? Why do we need to be heard to feel loved and important? After all, seeking 500 empty Happy Birthday’s from Facebook friends because they ALL got the notification means absolutely nothing. In fact, it is worse than nothing, because it takes away from the joy of someone actually remembering your birthday. You now don’t even know who actually does remember your birthday because EVERYONE got reminded by Facebook. So why is all of this paradox? Well, in our search for meaning we want to relate, but in seeking it in such desperate ways it only increases our isolation and emptiness because by its very nature it has no meaning. This is the absolute fundamental point. We choose our friends. We fight for them. We cling to them. We laugh with them. We cry with them. They are the people we need in life and they are the people that need us. Our family and our friends bring us meaning in life because they understand and accept us just as we understand and accept them. We don’t choose our Facebook friends. We are conned into having them.

I could easily talk about the ending of romantic relationships and what that might mean for the sufferers who both have Facebook accounts. But fortunately, I don’t have Facebook so largely I am unaffected. Nevertheless, I am convinced it can’t be healthy to see an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend and what they happen to be doing with their lives post-relationship. Space, closure, separation. These are the things Facebook is not good at.

2. Technology = Convenience = Better?

So often in life we assume every piece of technology that comes along makes life better for us. We so easily see that by the introduction of a new peace of technology life has become “easier” or more “convenient”. Does that make it better? I’m not suggesting by default that it doesn’t, but I am asking that we conscientiously ask ourselves that question every time something new and exciting enters our realm. Nowadays we walk less, we run less, we stand less, we eat more, we watch more, we have devices that do everything for us. Is this what life is about? I’m quite prepared to admit that technology may give us freedoms and liberties, but what was ever wrong with hard work? What was wrong with having to wait for something and not get it immediately. Why is it that having everyone connected to us all the time through Facebook actually makes our lives better? Before mobile phones people made plans and met up with each other. Now a simple meet up for a coffee or beer involves about half a dozen text (sms) messages between leaving home and seeing our friend 20 minutes later. Have we become stupid as a society in the space of 20 years? Furthermore, that same little piece of technology allows us to “flake” on our plans. Better offers come up last minute and we take them knowing we can easily contact the person we had “committed” to meet in the first place and aplogise ever so insincerely that the engagement can’t be met from the protective layer of a virtual message.

3. More time on Facebook means less time for contemplation and thought.

Can you imagine what it would be like to be stuck on a desert island with access to little more than basic food and shelter? Whilst a few might desire such a blissful state, I’m sure for the majority of us this would represent an extreme wrenching from our present state of being. One with messages coming at us through the TV, Radio, Newspaper, Internet, Phone, Billboards and so on. Our current state of being barely even allows for us to be alone with our thoughts. Have you ever noticed how rare it is for people these days to wait somewhere, be it on a street corner or out the front of the cinema for a friend and actually NOT be looking at their mobile device? What is it that drives us to feel the need to get some kind of status update on anything and everything all of the time? Is it boredom, is it insecurity, is it the fear of having to look strangers in the eye as they pass us by and greet them or is it simply that we have lost our ability to be alone with our thoughts? But it does beg the question: How rarely our we alone with our thoughts? And furthermore, is this really good for us? “A life not contemplated is a life not worth living.” No prizes for guessing who said that.

4. Facebook is the great promoter of the trivial.

When was the last time you worked on your goals? And how did that time compare to your time on Facebook? Or reading the news for the 7th time that day even though the articles are the same as the ones you saw the 1st time or reading a blog or looking at humorous pictures or videos? If you needed to make more time available to pursue something meaningful in your life what would be sacrificed? We are always time poor, yet we somehow manage to amass an enormous amount of time each day to mobile phones, iPads, Twitter and Facebook. If we really want to achieve things in life then we must make sacrifices. Difficult choices must be made. And yet, there are obvious ways we can do this. Surely our time on the Internet should be the first to go? Or at the very least reduced. There are many ways we can inspire ourselves to greatness, but in reality it usually comes down to one thing: getting off our bums and doing something about it.

I’m not asking you to get rid of Facebook. Do I think your life would be better if you did? Yes. But that is a personal opinion. If I were to so audaciously ask you anything it would be this: Every time you log on and read something trivial, post something trivial or simply spend more time that you personally believe is worthwhile based on productivity, relaxation, entertainment or any other metric that matters to you, then do so in a conscious way. Be aware of your usage and be aware of what is being sacrificed in your life in order to make the most of the trivial. And so finally, I will leave you with a fascinating thought:

“More than ever, the grand sum of all earthly knowledge, wisdom and information is available to everyone in the world that has an (unfiltered) Internet connection. The question we must therefore ask ourselves is what are we doing every time we log on?”

6 Comments »

Want to see your life on one page?

May 30th, 2012 by Shane Maloney 6 Comments

Hi Lifetickers,

Today we’d like to share with you some recent philosophical developments we’ve made in relation to the bigger picture of life itself. Sounds dramatic I know, but for those of you (like me) who are constantly engaged in the perennial quest to refine core values, finding that right mix is a never ending challenge. (This in itself is a perfect mirror for life itself – life being the journey and not the destination – but that’s not the topic here).

In constantly reshaping and revising my outlook on what core values actually mean and subsequently comprise, I happened upon what I believe to be a universal approach to the business of categorising these values. However, upon further reflection, this new universal model seemed to be more than just about core values. Why? Because it presented a way of revealing all of our lives rather than just our lofty aspirations. This is because it allows us to group our activities (effectively what it is we do each day and how we do it) in a way that allows us to 1) reflect upon those activities 2) evaluate their importance and priority in our lives whilst 3) assessing how much time we actually spend on them.

It is called the Life Hexagram™ and it captures the flow and balance of life in a very simple manner. Whilst we don’t contend that people haven’t tried to capture their lives in a simple pie chart before, we would contend that the Life Hexagram™ does it in a slightly different way. It begins with an inner circle that, whilst ostensibly cliched, is quite effective in breaking up life at the very highest level being – Mind, Body and Spirit. Where the Life Hexagram™ really provides value though is in the secondary circle. This takes the three main concepts and breaks them down into the inward and outward flows in the following manner:

Mind

  • Absorb – how we take in information and engage in activities that keep our minds active and alert. This could be study or reading or even doing the daily crossword.
  • Apply – how we use our minds and make the most of what we have to offer intellectually, be it at work or elsewhere.

Body

  • Nourish – how do we feed our bodies? Our diets, sleep, breathing, exercise and stretching are all things that nourish the body. How much of our lives do we devote to this each day?
  • Express – how do we put our bodies to use? Sport, dance, playing with the kids in the backyard. Physical expression can manifest itself in many ways and is as old as mankind itself.

Spirit

  • Contemplate – how do we invigorate our spirits? Solitude, meditation, prayer, music, even stillness can bring about the necessary fulfilment.
  • Act – how do we put our spirits into action? Helping others, volunteering, developing relationships, charities, doing that which brings us life!

 

As you can see the second ring of the Life Hexagram takes what are the three core areas and treats each one as a flow – in and out. In fact, philosophical enthusiasts will note the mixture of both Western ideas (Mind, Body, Spirit – Trinitarian) with Eastern (Yin and Yang, the inward and outward flow as portrayed in Taoism). And so, we are presented with a circle comprising an inner ring of Mind, Body and Spirit and the outer ring of the six flows that associate to the three. These six flows could legitimately serve as core values and are designed to capture all things, hence their universal nature. However, there is perhaps a better use and this is where the title of our article comes into play. By writing in the third ring of the circle (refer images below) the various activities we undertake in each of the six areas, we are immediately presented with a perfect representative circle of our lives. Not an aspirational life, but an actual life. What are the exact things we go about in our day to day lives. Of course the temptation is to write the things we want to do (and there is nothing wrong with this), but the value comes from writing in what we actually do. A simple glance at this each morning and night with perhaps a two minute reflection would serve us well in establishing just how balanced our lives are. Do we really give our spirits enough time in contemplation or quiet? Are we nourishing our bodies properly each day to meet life’s challenges? It can be a very stark picture. But by presenting it, we can improve upon it.

A further exercise would be to compare the completed diagram to one which does indeed contain our aspirations. What would we like our lives to look like each day? It doesn’t have to be a complex exercise, but if we give it the time by simply entering the things we want to form a part of our lives we have already planted the seeds. From there we can ascertain the challenges we face in not only achieving these daily or weekly activities, but also the impacts on the balance of our lives.

In conclusion, there is one final way in which the Life Hexagram™ can be used and that involves a fourth ring around the outside of the circle. For the left brainers amongst us, you may appreciate that we could break this ring into a 24 hour day or a seven day week and apply the minutes and hours we have afforded each activity within a given time period. This of course, gives us our most accurate metric and would therefore provide a lot of insight, but personally, I prefer the simplicity of perceiving the three things and contemplating my day that way.

We hope this offers you a new perspective on your life. We’ve provided some images for you to download in this blog post including one with some examples in each of the six areas to stimulate your thought processes. Good luck with your efforts in extrapolating your lives. Perhaps you will be surprised with what you see, but at the very least we hope that whatever it is you do see, you see it more clearly.


Click for a blank printable version

6 Comments »

The worthiest of goals… introducing The Halo Trust

March 13th, 2011 by Shane Maloney 2 Comments

Hi Lifetickers,

I’m sure if each of us were to look back at some of the goals we’ve achieved throughout our lives there would be some surprises. Things that perhaps now seem insignificant, things that we may have forgotten about and things that we still smile about because of what it meant to us when we achieved them. Equally, looking forward it is easy to imagine that each of us has at least one big goal that seems so far away and almost daunting to think about. The kind of goal that in many ways we might wish one day will define us. The kind of goal we want to achieve more than any other. The kind of goal that is epic, all encompassing, invigorating and above all – worthy.

Today, I want to share with you a goal that is all of these things and more. It is not just a goal like yours or mine, but one that resonates around the world and touches millions of lives. It is a goal encapsulated by a single organisation’s mission and that is:

“Getting mines out of the ground, now.”

In 2006 I travelled to Cambodia as a tourist. There were many things that struck me about this country. First and foremost the people were genuinely happy and very friendly. Furthermore, they were incredibly hospitable. This of course, I have not found to be uncommon in my travels. However, there is a striking difference about Cambodia that is hard to ignore. Little more than a generation ago it experienced auto-genocide on a scale that is virtually unrivaled in the history of human conflict. The devastation was and is horrible. There are many reminders to this very day of what happened during that period including the museum that is Tuol Sleng (the school that became a prison of torture) and of course the Killing Fields where the graves of the victims are so shallow, the clothes they were buried in extrude from the ground. But of course, the greatest reminder is the people themselves because despite the warmth of their smiles, they continue to suffer the physical and emotional burden of landmines and other unexploded ordinances. And this suffering is impossible to ignore because many men, women and children whom I passed in the street visibly bore the suffering in their very bodies due to the fact they were without a leg or an arm and in one rare case without legs or arms as a result of stepping on a landmine often very near to their homes. This of course does not speak of the dead. During the conflict in Cambodia in the 1970s and beyond landmines were used to great effect by both sides of the conflict and as most of us know with landmines, the effect lasts long after the war is over.

During my time there I travelled to several remote places. On the way to one such place I met a young Cambodian man whose job it was to clear landmines and he worked for an organisation that I have since come to know is very widespread – The Halo Trust. Some of you may be familiar with the work of The Halo Trust, but for those of you who aren’t, The Halo Trust is an NGO (UK)/Not-for-Profit organisation (US) that “specialises in the removal of the hazardous debris of war”. In the 22 years since it commenced operations it has achieved the following milestones:

  • over 1.3 million landmines destroyed
  • over twelve million items of larger calibre ordnance destroyed
  • over fifty million bullets destroyed
  • over 2,800 heavy weapon systems immobilized
  • over 129,000 assault rifles destroyed
  • over 7,400 minefields cleared
  • 27,367 hectares (67,625 acres) made safe from landmines
  • 128,785 hectares (318,235 acres) made safe from unexploded and abandoned ordnance
  • 12,409 kilometers (7,710 miles) of roads cleared

Despite these amazing statistics, there is yet much to do. Whilst progress has been phenomenal, many mines remain putting the lives of men, women and most often, children at risk. That is why we have decided to donate $1 from every sale (and subsequent payment) of Lifetick and Lifetick Coach to The Halo Trust to support them in the work they do in the many war torn places around the world such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Angola, Somaliland, Georgia, Nagorno Karabakh, Kosovo and Colombia. We encourage you to visit their website for more information about how they do what they do and if you are in a position to do so, then by all means contribute in any way you can or spread the word. It is very easy to get caught up in our own goals in life, but it is also not out of reach to become a part of the worthiest of goals, even if it is in some small way.

2 Comments »

Why most apps fail at GTD, including ours.

February 24th, 2011 by Shane Maloney 4 Comments

Hi Lifetickers,

Quite recently my day to day organisation has been completely transformed as a result of a very simple app, underpinned by a powerful philosophy. When I say transformed, I certainly don’t intend to sensationalise. However, the cold hard fact is that when I think back to all the various “personal process improvement initiatives” I’ve undertaken over the years, none has been as effective, enduring or liberating as what I’m about to describe. But let me take you back a few steps.

Throughout its short history, Lifetick has been many things to many people – a project management tool, a task manager and most importantly a goal setting and achieving tool. We’ve always maintained that it was designed for goal setting, but understood the need customers had for it to be a tool for GTD (Getting Things Done) or simply managing day to day tasks and errands. At the time, we wrote a blog post discussing whether it was useful as a GTD app and what the limitations were. Furthermore, I went so far as to say I was going to start using Lifetick again for GTD and not just my goals. I did. And after a short while, I stopped. Like many other applications, I just felt it wasn’t right. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but it always seemed too much effort and not enough convenience. I’d pretty much given up on task management via apps after that and my general organisation suffered as a result.

However, sometime later I was introduced to Calvetica by my business partner, Tim. Calvetica is a front end for the iPhone’s calendar application. In an instant I was won over to its amazing ability to manage appointments. It was simple, quick and thoroughly integrated (using a gmail calendar meant I had iPhone, MacBook and browser access all the time without the slightest hint of some form of manual synchronisation). In fact, Calvetica put Apple to shame on it’s own device. Suddenly, appointments became easier to deal with because I could be bothered to actually enter them in when the appointment was created. (And no I’m not referring to business appointments that MUST be entered into a calendar regardless of how painful the experience might be at the time, but the day to day personal ones that we get tempted to leave to memory.)

It got me thinking about how I wished there was something like Calvetica for managing “To Dos”. Perhaps these guys had made something similar. I searched around for awhile and after about 30 minutes came across what I can only describe as the Holy Grail. In one short article, one of the founders of Calvetica distilled to perfection the very philosophy of what makes a good GTD app (but mostly what doesn’t) and how Calvetica itself could be used for such. In fact, it was one of those revelationary moments that seems so obvious and so crystal clear you are left wondering how you never came to that thought yourself. Whilst I strongly encourage you to read the article (if this topic is of interest to you), let me share some brief points that really struck home:

“They (GTD apps) all have four fatal flaws.

  1. They all require management
  2. They all require that you spend time reviewing what’s there
  3. They are all too slow
  4. They suffer from bloat”

If you just read that with a nodding head, then you are just like me. How often have I categorised to do items and why? How often have I filtered the list of items in countless ways in a bid to demoralise myself with the sheer volume of “yet to dos”. And why? Surely I only need to see what it is I need to do, when I need to do it. Unless it is a goal or project, then what value does any of this extra information add? For me it equated to a grand total of zero. Nevertheless, it gets better: The Criteria.

“There are five things  that I’ve found have to be in place for this system to really work well

  1. It has to do the remembering and reminding for you
  2. It has to go everywhere you do
  3. You have to be able to get something into it in less than 10 seconds
  4. Everything you enter must have a date and time
  5. You have to be able to defer reminders”

And so, for iPhone users, the answer is there before us. In short, you enter your tasks as appointments with reminders. Of course, many people probably do this already (since the dawn of Outlook), but has anything ever done it as well and integrated as Calvetica? I highly doubt it. Hence why it works. The true test of a GTD app is whether we can stick with it. So far, everything has failed for me, except Calvetica.

Check out nimbledesign.com for the full article. You may be wondering why I felt compelled to share this on our blog. The simple reason is that it profoundly changed the way I manage GTD. Therefore, I owe it to readers to revise my blog post on the suitability of Lifetick for GTD. Some of you may argue to the contrary on the importance of using Lifetick or other apps and if so, I’m genuinely glad they work for you. I for one though will be keeping Lifetick for goals and the odd project here and there. When I need to buy some stamps or pay a bill, then Calvetica is my be all and end all.

4 Comments »

The concept of goal appreciation…

February 11th, 2011 by Shane Maloney 3 Comments

Hi Lifetickers,

Like many sites, we put forward a lot of information about how to achieve goals. The methodologies one should follow, the benefits of having S.M.A.R.T. goals, the pitfalls along the way, the need to stay motivated and of course the transformative power achieving goals can have. Interestingly enough, what I fail to see on the world wide web is the concept (as I like to put it) of goal appreciation.

In its simplest form, goal appreciation is basically being able to sit back and appreciate the fruits of one’s labour. In other words, being able to appreciate what it is you have just achieved. Toasting the success, savouring the moment, cherishing that sense of accomplishment in all its glory. Now I’m guessing some of you are already saying “Oh yes I’m familiar with this and it certainly is talked about, so what is the he on about?” Well, it goes a bit deeper. Because in this newly created definition the concept extends to a period well before a goal is actually achieved. It in fact goes way back to the goals very conception. Not only that but it then continues to evolve and grow throughout the entire journey.

Let me explain. Jim Rohn put it best when he said “One of two things leads to success: inspiration or desperation.” The big question for each of us then is what motivates our behaviour in setting a goal for ourselves? Is it the positive side (inspiration) or is it the negative side (desperation). If it is in fact the positive side, then already you have tasted goal appreciation. Have you ever set a goal for yourself and realised at that precise moment that it is absolutely the one thing you simply must do? Do you remember what that feeling entailed? At that very moment a seed was planted and whether it is a one month goal or a ten year goal, that seed will grow. It is that very feeling which you need to cultivate so that it becomes something that will carry you through the journey. This in turn leads to my next point on goal appreciation.

Whether we realise it or not, goal appreciation should play an ongoing role in our efforts because it is two things. Firstly, it is our barometer. Something that reflects the changes in our circumstances or opinion. It is indeed the measurement of commitment toward that outcome. The barometer is in fact constantly informing us of whether we still want to achieve it. It is intuitive and it is inherent. It can’t be escaped. And therein lies the connection. It is the thing which tells us to keep going and by doing so allows us to appreciate what it is we are doing. Is the conscious connection always made? Perhaps not. But we should remind ourselves every time we continue with a goal that by actually choosing to continue we are already appreciative of what this goal is, regardless of whether it has been realised.

But as I mentioned, there are two aspects to goal appreciation along the journey and this next part is perhaps something that can be contemplated and practiced more easily. And if one were to retain anything from this post then this would be the point: The essence of goal appreciation is “being in the moment”. What does this mean? It means doing what you love and loving what you do. It means doing it well or not doing it at all. It means taking that task that may be one of a thousand toward a goal you are achieving and doing it with passion and commitment because anything less will only take away from the final completion of that goal and of course the appreciation that is to follow that event. But there is more (there’s always more). We always think that everything in life is about the destination. I contend that it is in fact the journey that matters. Without the journey, there is no destination and if you haven’t focused yourself on each step along the way, then you haven’t really gained all that you could from the journey.

Whatever your situation, whatever difficulty you face, whatever challenge lies ahead, you must take stock. And taking stock means assessing where you are right now to meet the precise challenge that faces you. But beyond that, to then smile in the face of adversity, knowing that it is your very own character being forged in that trial, knowing that (to use an already saturated saying) what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, will bring you clarity in your time of most motivational need.

Don’t lose the wisdom of the journey. Whatever the goal, your ability to appreciate what it is your are undertaking at any stage in the process will give you strength. Remind yourself of that and appreciate the here and now. One day you will appreciate the outcome, but today is not that day.

3 Comments »

Insignificant in the face of mother nature…

January 17th, 2011 by Shane Maloney 5 Comments

Hi Lifetickers,

Hope this finds you in good health and spirits and well on your way to achieving your goals for 2011. I did intend to write briefly on our release of Lifetick tutorial videos on YouTube. However, I think they are self explanatory, so I will simply provide you with a link to our channel. Feel free to subscribe so you can be notified when new tutorials are added. We’ve started with 10 videos and we’ll be extending this in the coming weeks to cover the various intricacies of our goal setting and life coaching software products. Hopefully, this will be of additional assistance in your use of the software. In the meantime, this post is being hijacked by news of some other events that have taken place in the last few days.

Here in Brisbane (and pretty much the entire state of Queensland in Australia) there has been a phenomenal series of floods. The devastation it has wreaked may in fact go down as the greatest our country has ever seen. Whilst the overflowing goodwill of the various communities in aiding the cleanup has been amazing to see and be a part of, the reality that now faces many thousands of people is one of great uncertainty as they try to piece together lives and livelihoods that have been literally swept away.

I’m acutely aware that a few words on this blog can do little justice in conveying the enormity of what has been (and will be) endured. Nevertheless, given our Lifeticking community is a global one, it would be a bit callous of me to provide a blog post on Lifetick’s progress without at least acknowledging what has happened literally a couple of miles down the road. Our hearts also go out to those in Brazil who’ve also suffered a similar fate, but sadly with a far greater sacrifice of human life.

One needn’t spend much time on a news website anywhere in the world to realise people everywhere are faced with adversity. Amidst this dark backdrop, there is one thing that remains certain. And that is the strength of human spirit. Whilst we are always evolving, perhaps what should not be forgotten is that we are also enduring. The very core of our being is one of endurance. It is a word that speaks so much. It carries with it a sense of weight and hardship. But it also speaks of hope. Because to endure something surely means to outlast it. And that is what defines us. It is the people who endure great suffering and emerge on the other side that so much inspiration can be drawn from. Surely the goals we set for ourselves are all the more worthwhile because we have had to work so hard for them… enduring the struggle to claim the prize. After all, isn’t it the journey that we are really interested in rather than the destination? What are highs without lows?

If you do start to wane in your efforts this year, don’t be down hearted. It is a part of life. But do draw strength from those who have truly suffered and endured. Their actions have spoken louder than the words of any great orator and they will continue to speak. It is the human spirit as its finest.

5 Comments »

Thoughts for the year ahead…

January 3rd, 2011 by Shane Maloney 4 Comments

Hi Lifetickers,

Firstly, let me wish you a very Happy New Year! Whether you’ve recently joined us or have been tracking goals with Lifetick since May 2008, we are immensely grateful that you have chosen to do so. Our greatest satisfaction comes from the emails we regularly receive informing us of individual success and we hope this continues throughout 2011!

Secondly however, I wanted to share some thoughts for the year ahead. After all, it is at this very time that we can perhaps best let go of what was and embrace what will be. Having said that, there is much to learn about ourselves from the past. Who we’d like to be versus who we really are sometimes throws up discrepancies that can be hard to accept. Nevertheless, taking the time to analyse this is perhaps the best way to start the new year. To use a simple analogy, it’s not much good holding a compass if we don’t know where our starting point is.

So how do we actually find this starting point? It begins with honesty. The ability to see ourselves for who we really are lies at the very start of our life’s journey and should really be a constant checkpoint along the way. It should neither be approached with guilt nor rose coloured glasses, but rather a discerning, inquisitive and objective mind. One that hopes to learn from what has passed, both good and bad. In fact, I am reminded in my own life constantly that everything is learned in failure. Whilst failures are hard to accept in any area of our lives, the very fact that each failure has something to teach us means we already have a positive aspect to embrace when moving forward in our lives. Therefore, honesty with ourselves is crucial if we are to understand who we are and why we are where we are.  As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”, so too does it carve out our very characters. How we deal with a situation today is very much the product of our previous experiences in life. We can only hope that we are applying our experiences and learnings in the best possible ways. Always remember that every step you take in life is like a small chiseling of a Michelangelo masterpiece – we define who we are day in, day out, by what we do… and certainly what we don’t do. It is not the big events in our lives that define us, but rather the small day to day efforts that become habits that really define us. But more on this shortly…

Step 1: Take a good honest look at who you are and where you are right now

– Is this who you want to be?

– Is this where you want to be?

Seek neither to condemn nor praise, but simply understand who you are. You may be surprised.

Having delved into the past, it is nice then to gaze into the future. There is no doubt that the New Year is a fitting time to do such. Despite my personal reservations about New Year’s Resolutions, there can be no doubting that the beginning of the calendar year is a time when we feel most excited and motivated about the next chapters in our lives. Why not then devote some serious time to planning it? This post isn’t intended to be a full resource on how to go about this task, but I will provide an overview:

Step 2: Define who you want to be and where you want to be

– What is it you really want to do with your life?

– Why aren’t you doing it?

– How can you start doing it?

– What will help you get there?

Don’t think small. Think big. Are we talking 20 years or 12 months? Have you thought about your core values in life? Do your goals align to these values. You will find Lifetick provides some pointers on establishing these, but you will need to put some thought into it beforehand. Take the time to actually write down your thoughts (or better still – enter them into Lifetick), but in any case, make it an active task as opposed to a passive one. Set aside time by yourself (or with your partner) to really get down where you want to be and who you want to be. But you still need another element to complete this stage:

Step 3: Decide why you want to be who you want to be and why you want to be where you want to be

I’ll admit that last statement sounded confusing with all the why’s, who’s and where’s in it. So let me paraphrase: For everything in Step 2 ask yourself the same question – Why? Would you believe that people actually march ahead defining all these grand plans and statements without really taking the time to actually work out why they wanted them in the first place? And to top it off, would it surprise you to know that sometimes the two don’t even match? Sometimes we think we want something, but when we really pit it against our core values and habits, the reality is they simply don’t match. And that’s ok. It would be worse to pursue it for months only to be disappointed with success. Think laterally, work out the why and it may redefine the what!

Step 4: Assess the gap.

Any business analyst understands that a gap analysis talks about the difference between what exists now and what needs to be in place. You too should do your own gap analysis between Step 1 and Step 2.

– What is it going to take to change who you are?

– What new habits will you need to have in place?

– What old habits will need to be waved farewell?

– And most importantly, what are you prepared to sacrifice?

I think the last point sums life up perfectly. Are we really prepared to make sacrifices? I hate to say it, but it would seem the overriding answer is “no”. After all, it is much easier to sit in front of the tv for an extra thirty minutes than to do exercise or read to the kids or work on the novel or produce a new blog post (ahem). But nevertheless, we are capable of making sacrifices and we should draw on those around us who do for inspiration. As I mentioned earlier in the post, it is not the big events in life that define us. It is the day to day stuff. Habits. Good ones. If you are to take anything from this post today, then it is this: Create one new good habit in your life starting today. It sounds simple, but it is hard. Why? Because it requires that which we are least able to give  – consistent positive behaviour. Whether it be exercise, study, healthy dieting, family time, reading or positive thinking, you need to find a way to kick off your own positive habit. And then you will be amazed because without even noticing it, your life will have changed. For the better. Not just because of this one habit, but because it has its very own ripple effect and before you know it, it will flow into other areas in your life. And what started as one habit may end up becoming five or six. Think about it. What is one habit you could start today? Now get started.

Step 5: Find contentment.

As much as Lifetick is about achievement, we are also very much about contentment here at Meridian 86, so our final word has to be on this. Whatever it is you pursue in 2011, make sure you enjoy it. Smile when the going is good and suck it in when it gets tough. Cherish the hard times knowing that at those very moments in your life you have your very own Michelangelo carving out your character. It will serve you well in the future so be thankful for what it provides. Not every goal we set we achieve and regardless of whether we achieve or not, lest we find contentment then we will never be able to be happy with what we have done in our lives.

Good luck in 2011. We sincerely wish you the best and are truly thankful for your support. We hope in 12 months time we can all reflect on what has been a good year.

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