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The currency of the Internet

Back in 1996, when I first surfed the web, the Internet was just a network. Now, it’s a complete world. A world of worlds, actually. Have you ever wandered what is the currency of the Internet? What makes it move every day, every hour, every minute, every second? If there is a world, there have to be money. Or a form of money, a currency, something that you exchange for your basic needs every day.

I had to ask this question in a more serious manner these days. I was in the 2000 bloggers project, actually I am still in, even with a little mashup. For those of you who lived on Mars for the last week, there was a project started by Tino Buntic, in which he created a random window of the blogosphere, by making a photo wall of the faces of 2000 bloggers. Nothing evil, after all. But what followed was completely unexpected. Each and every blogger, proud to be in that nice face-wall, put the collage in his blog. Which exploded into a 2000 link block to other 2000 blogs. That they had another 2000 links and so on. The link factor got crazy.

Technorati had to review their link ranking policy, and, to be honest, that was the exact moment when I realized that something was wrong. Or not totally clear. Or just a little foggy. And then it hit me: the link is the currency on the internet. It is the only thing that make it grow and live each and every second. This is the blood that actually runs through the internet veins.

The 2000 bloggers was just an inflation. An unexpected boost of the currency on the market, with no tangible coverage. It’s the same with real life inflation, when you just print out money without coverage. In this case, of course, there is a coverage, but we’ll talk about that later.

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Personal Development Techniques

Personal development is a process. Is not a single task that you do once, and then forget about it. It's a continuous hunt for your next crossroad, your next challenge that you need to take, the next obstacle that you have to overcome. It's personal, so you do have an original approach. You use only tools and techniques that are working for you. You experience what's the best and then refine it. Use it and refine it. Here's my personal list of my most used techniques for personal development. As things will evolve I will come back with more and more informations for each specific technique. In chronological, Last In First Out, order:
  1. GTD = Getting Things Done.

    Getting Things Done is a methodlogy created by David Alled. It is one of the latest techniques that I tried, liked and implemented it. At the first level, GTD is focused toward business people, managers and busy persons. But it can be used for anybody that just wants to clarify its life and enjoy it more. GTD has several concepts:

    • You are an information processing machine. You process stuff. So, you must establish a consistent way to deal with it. The process of GTD is to analyse stuff and do the following: is it actionable? if YES, you move to the next step, if NO, you just chose from one of the three options: toss it (no loner needed, garbage), put it in a Someday/Maybe list (you want to action on this sometime), or file it (in a reference system, to be used lately).
    • If you answered YES at the first question, is it actionable, you have to decide "what's the next action": if there are more, you create a project, if the action is less than 2 minutes, you are doing it now, if the action does not involves you directly, you delegate it, and if it can't be done right now, you just defer it for later, in your calendar.
    • You repeat this every day, and, most important, every week. The actual repetition, or implementation of the process, is the most juicy part of GTD. And most difficult.
    • Another key concept is "mind like water", meaning one's capacity to react to some stimulus with the exact quantity of energy needed, and then regain the initial, quiet status, much like a water surface after launching a rock in it. You achieve that by constantly learning how to "empty your RAM", which is another key concept.

    I am using GTD for about three months now and the benefits are extremely visible. I benefited the most by the "empty your RAM" exercise, and the daily/weekly review.

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My OmniFocus experience is ThinkingRock

Now, that was mean, I admit. For the people that are not so into GTD, or productivity, OmniFocus is one of the most hyped GTD applications for Mac OS, and ThinkingRock is a Java application that closely follows the GTD methodology. And being Java is cross-platform, obviously. OmniFocus is not launched yet, but has had is share of buzzwords allready.

The guys at Omni just started a discussion related to their upcoming product, which is not even in beta for now, and, hey, I was a little provoked by this. Why not trying to clarify my own techniques and processes. For that, I only have one piece of software and that is ThinkingRock, so far.

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Rewire Your Brain!

Neuroplasticity is kind of a difficult word to write. It’s also kind of difficult to actually speak it out loud. But it’s one of my favorite words in the last few years. And that because it confirms one of the most important things about a human being: the fact that your brain can actually be modified by your consciousness. Your biological tissues will follow your immaterial thoughts and desires. If you think bad, you will develop and grow bad connections in your brain, in your cells, to be more precise, and you will also obfuscate the growth of other zones or tissues that could help you overcome the difficulties.

I knew about that for some time, as a personal assumption, and, one or two years ago, I had – let’s call it like this – a confirmation, after watching a Discovery documentary. It was about the taxi drivers in London, and what they have to do in order to receive their license. London is one of the most difficult cities for a taxi driver, because their street numbering and naming is quite insane. They even have a street that is called one name on one sidewalk, and another name on the other sidewalk? And, of course, with all that confusion and constant modifications of the street names (GPS doesn’t really help here) getting a taxi license is extremely difficult.

The documentary, besides the normal spectacular part, when the apprentices were awaken in the middle of the night, and imposed quizzes about some strange street names and addresses, was focused on a collateral experiment too: at the beginning of the observation of the first group of apprentices, they measured, using ultrasounds, their memory center, in the brain: dimension and weight. After two years – yes, it takes that long to get a taxi license in London – after an intense training and exercises sessions, they did the measurement again. Surprise! The center was completely modified: increased in size, and also weight. It’s like taking your brain to the gym. You exercise your brains muscles and grow them.

Last week I read a very interesting article on Time. It basically stated the same, but in a more formalized and verified form. I encourage you the read the article, won’t take you more than 5-7 minutes, and it will give you a very interesting, if not revolutionary, perspective on your own capabilities.

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