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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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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Early success – is that bad?

Success is a key concept in our world. It’s a key concept in our life, to be more precise. It’s the measure of all our actions, attitudes and thoughts. Each and every second in our life is dedicated to success, in one of its forms: from having a succesful relationship, to obtaining a success in a business contract, or to finish a personal task exactly as planned. Everything we do is planned with a positive scenario in mind, meaning we always intend to do only the best for us. And success is the most important fuel for our future actions: if we do have a high quality fuel, we will tend to have more and more successful actions. If our fuel decrease in quality, we will act in a more and more confused an ineffective way.

But what is early success? Is the retirement at the age of 30, after exploding with a dot com venture? Is the rock star that shined for one year and then sinked in the sea of depression? Is the young CEO that in the last 5 years of his thirties had never had a day of relaxation? And instead he has to manage 24 hours a day a huge multi-national company with more employees that he’ll be able to meet in this life?

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Personal and Software development: Paid model vs Open Source model

My last try to write about something related to OS’s was somehow a flamer on digg. Myabe I haven’t stated enough during the article that I was only interested in listening to opinions from the guys that actually switched from one OS to another, and that I didn’t try make any comparison between those two OS’s. So, if I would like to talk about something far more inflamable thant that, meaning paid model development vs open source model development, I thought I’d better put up first a

Disclaimer

This article represents my personal opinions only and is not endorsed by any company or foundation. Also, my intentions is, foremost, to just express my ideas about the values that each model could have, and not to accuse, adhere to or specifically endorse any of them.

Wow, it’s cool to be relaxed, so let’s start our little walk on the park of the personal and software development.

First of all, yest, it’s an odd pair: personal and software development. But I told you from the beginning: you wouldn’t find usual stuff here. Not because usual is not good, but because new connections and standpoints can always shed some new light and reveal new thinking paths on any topic you can imagine.

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Astrology and personal development

Admit it: you are intrigued. You’re not using it, nor give any credit to it at all, and still some strange voices are telling you from time to time to take astrology seriously. You don’t take it, to be honest, and this is more than OK. After all, everything in our lives it’s a matter of choice. But that doesn’t necessarily means that astrology is useless. My own experience with astrology proved even the opposite, as a matter of fact.

Yes, good idea, let’s talk about the facts. I used astrology in its lowest form and level of perception, in the form of daily horoscopes, when I worked in the FM radio stations as a fulltime DJ. I had to fill my program with some informations, and horoscopes were – and still are – one of the most used. And abused, I will say, because there is nothing more wrong about the astrology than the daily horoscopes.

But I found out that the hard way, years later. When I engaged a more conscious way of living my life, I decided to try it out for real. It must be something beyond daily horoscopes and stupid predictions, I said at some point. So I started to study by myself. I read several books and subscribed to several popular astrology websites. I learned to use astrology software and use it on a daily basis. I studied the planet movements, the transgressions, the planetary hours and the cycles of days, weeks, months and astrological signs. Things has started to progress nicely. Not only I began to realise that my image about astrology was completely wrong, but I also learned to use it in a systematic way. I even followed the official course from an astrology school in Romania, called Fidelia.

To make a long story short, after two years of constantly experiencing it I becomed an intermediate to advanced astrologer. Now I master enough of that science for actually getting something out of it. And the term “science” is a little bit exagerated, I admit. Astrology is not a science in “normal” way. It involves a lot of emotional and spiritual participation, things that traditional science has avoided constantly. But I was not interested in its legitimity – I can make my own decision about things and not wait for others to tell me if this thing is legit or not – what I was really interested in, was its use. How can I use astrology for personal development?

And, first of all, why use it?

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When and why I broke up with… smoking

Yes, you broke up with something too. Broke up with your drinking coffee habit, with your operating system or your old computer. Broke up with an old friend of partner…I think about making this like a serie of posts, all related to the interruption of something I used for a long time. A habit, a software application, a person. It’s very interesting to see when you actually stopped to do something, and why.
It will be pretty interesting also to see how others have broke up with the same pattern or habit.

I will start this serie with an easy one: when and why I broke up with smoking. It was on 17h November 2005. After a party at my company, Mirabilis Media, I felt so miserably the next day, that I instantly decided to quit smoking. And I did. It was an instant decision, fueled by the insanely bad consequences this habit has generated.

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What Is Procrastination?

I'm sure everybody has its own definition on that. My MAC OS Dictionary tells me this: "procrastination: delay or postpone action; put off doing something : it won't be this price for long, so don't procrastinate.". You certainly have a different definition, I'm sure. This diversitiy comes from a wide spread of the activity itself: everybody procrastinates, this is why a name had to be found for this activity, a name that each would define differently, but everybody would understand the same. For me, procrastinations is the ability of someone to change his attitude and perception about what he wants to do.
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GTD For People Living In Transition Countries

Like mine, Romania. It's an European country that recently made his entry into European Union, proving a strong desire to let go the communist past. It's a marvelous country, one of the most beautiful I know. The only problem is that we do have a somehow faible economy, although growing extremely fast, and a lot of cultural burden, related to the years of totalitarian regime and economical difficulties. You can add to that the fear that political police, the Securitate, induced in our behaviour for most than a half a century.
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