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Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me.

We get what we tolerate in life, it is that simple. If you allow people to treat you unfairly because they are your family, parent, spouse, boss, or friend, the issue is not with them; it is with you. You need to set and communicate healthy boundaries with people or else they would continue to treat you in a way you do not appreciate.

Most of us think that boundaries should be common sense but it is not. Your job is to communicate with people what you would allow and what you would not allow. Your job is also to enforce the consequence of violating your boundaries. People don’t like to be told what to do, hence communicate your boundaries and if it gets violated; enforce the consequence. Boundaries without consequence is nagging. If you continue to give people the benefit of the doubt, eventually they would get the benefit and you get the doubt. 

Boundaries without consequence is nagging.

Complaining is like bad breath. We notice it when it comes out of someone else’s mouth, but not when it comes out of our own. – Will Bowen

Complaining involves expressing dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault. American poet Maya Angelou remarked: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” Most of the things we complain about are things we can change; perhaps complaining signals that we need to change something. We complain about things that we can influence, such as our spouse, friends, problems, but we hardly complain about things we cannot change such as gravity, rain, the seasons, etc.


When most people are unhappy with their boss, they complain to their spouse. When they are displeased with their spouse, they complain to their friends. They speak to anyone and everyone except the person who can actually improve the situation, and they live in disappointment and bewilderment, wondering why their relationships don’t improve. – Will Bowen, A Complain Free World

Complaining is not always bad as we might want to hear the view of someone else; it could be cathartic and even therapeutic. As former United States president Theodore Roosevelt once commented, “Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.” We usually complain to the wrong people, we complain about our boss to our spouse, complain about our spouse to our co-workers, complain about our siblings to our friends.

Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 In his book Building a StoryBrand, American author and public speaker Donald Miller presents the StoryBrand 7 Part Framework inspired by principles of storytelling. The SB7 Framework is a seven-step formula designed to help businesses streamline their marketing strategy by clarifying their message. With the SB7 Framework, you have the power to eliminate confusion, connect with customers, and grow your business.

“Think of the StoryBrand Framework as a recipe for a loaf of bread. Failure is like salt: use too much and you’ll ruin the flavor; leave it out and the recipe will taste bland. Regardless, the point is this: your story needs stakes.”

The StoryBrand 7 Part Framework is based on the hero journey which can be seen in most stories(movies)

  1. Every story starts with a character who wants something.
  2. problem gets in the way of the character getting what they want.
  3. The character encounters a guide who can help them overcome their problem and get what they want.
  4. The guide gives the character a plan
  5. Calls them to action.
  6. By taking that action, the character avoids failure and
  7. Helps them achieve success

Time batching is a time management technique that involves grouping similar tasks together and setting aside time to complete them all or work on them until a predetermined point of progress. Time batching is analogous to doing laundry: You do not wash your clothes, socks, et al. every time you wear them, you batch the laundry of the clothes for a particular period of time: Saturdays or Sundays. Batching reduces the setup time for achieving certain activities and you become more effective and efficient with your time.

Mono no aware is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence (mujō 無常), or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life.  Impermanence is the philosophical problem of change. In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are 3 characteristics of all existence and being namely: Impermanence (anicca), non-self (anatta), and unsatisfactoriness or suffering (dukkha).

When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the soul laughs for what it has found. ~ Sufi aphorism

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus shared the same sentiment that nothing in this world is constant except change and becoming (Everything is impermanent).

Kaizen (改善) is a Japanese word that has two components – Kai 改(Change) and Zen 善 (Good) which translates to “Good Change”, “Change for the Better” or “Continuous Improvement.” It involves making changes for the better, small incremental changes that eventually amounts to extraordinary progress and result. In a business context, Kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and it usually involves everyone in the organizational value-chain from the CEO to the assembly line workers.

Kaizen was first implemented in Japanese factories and businesses after World War II. It was greatly influenced by American business and quality-management consultants like W. Edwards Deming who worked with Japanese industry leaders after world war II. It is one of the guiding principles of the Toyota Way. Other prominent Kaizen pioneers include Shigeo Shingo  (Toyota Production System) and Masaaki Imai (Founder of Kaizen Institute).

The Toyota Way is a set of principles and behaviors that underlie the Toyota Motor Corporation’s managerial approach and production system. In 2001, the Toyota Corporation published some set of guidelines and principles to clarify its values and business methods. The document was called “Toyota Way 2001“. It consists of two main pillars: “Continuous Improvement” and “Respect for People”. The Toyota Way further sub-divided continuous improvement into 3 sub-pillars: Challenge, Kaizen and Genchi Genbutsu (現地現物) which translates to “go and See”.

 Kaizen is mostly associated with manufacturing processes such as the one popularised in the Toyota Production System Originally called “just-in-time production” and it has also been used in other non-manufacturing environments/industries such as Healthcare, Information Technology, PsychoTherapy, Government, Banking, Supply Chain Management, etc.

Bibliotherapy (also referred to as book therapy, poetry therapy, or therapeutic storytelling) is a creative arts therapies modality that involves storytelling or reading specific texts with the purpose of healing.

I recently stumbled on the concept of bibliotherapy while I was reading David Burns Book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. Burns referenced five studies in which researchers studied the effects of reading a good self-help book without any other form of therapy. He wrote:

According to Dr. Martha Stout in her thought-provoking book, The Sociopath Next Door: “About one in twenty-five individuals are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience.” The Sociopaths are roaming among us and they do not have a label on their head saying they are sociopaths. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, spouse, child, parents, siblings, lovers, or even you.

 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. 

Martha Stout’s 13 Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life

Until you are broken you don’t know what you’re made of.—Ziad K. Abdelnour

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. It is similar to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect.

“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.” -Steve Uzze

Multitasking is our tendency to split our attention on more than one task or activity at the same time. It is a concept emanating from the computing world -the execution by a computer of more than one program or task simultaneously. Multitasking is a great lie we all tell ourselves, we feel we can juggle 5 things at the same time, hence we open 50 browser tabs, listen to music while surfing the internet, at the same time vacuuming, etc but the challenge is that we do not get much done because of this divided attention. Our brain is not wired to do multiple things at the same time.

It is only possible to do two things at a time if they require different cognitive capacities like reading a book & listening to music, driving, and talking on the phone (handsfree). We live in a society where multitasking is seen as a superpower – you see it in job descriptions, productivity experts encourage it, social media enables it and we groom our kids to be natural multitaskers. While multitasking, it seems like we are getting a lot done but in reality, it leads to reduced productivity and ultimately anxiety.

“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

There is a great story about the howling dog:

There is a story of an old man and his dog sitting on the porch. It’s hot outside. The old man is sipping on his lemonade, and the dog is sitting next to him, howling in pain.

The neighbor across the street hears the dog howling for several minutes, and his curiosity gets the best of him, so he approaches the old man.

He asks the old man, “Why is your dog howling in pain?”

The old man responds by saying: The dog is sitting on a nail.”

Perplexed, the neighbor asks, “Why doesn’t he get away from the nail?”

The old man takes another sip of lemonade before replying and says – That is because he doesn’t find it painful enough yet.”

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain. – Maya Angelou

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

The Big Rock Theory is a productivity concept popularized by author Dr. Stephen R. Covey. In his book First things First, Covey stated that the key to getting things done is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.

To live a more balanced existence, you have to recognize that not doing everything that comes along is okay. There’s no need to overextend yourself. All it takes is realizing that it’s all right to say no when necessary and then focus on your highest priorities. 

He describes the big rock theory with this story:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene

Life is not a bed of roses; it is a roller coaster of challenges, sometimes you are up, and other times you are down. You are either heading into a storm, going through a storm, or coming out of a storm. The storms in our life come in different shapes and forms- Job Loss, infertility, self-destructive addictions, depression, poverty, death, accident, health issues, domestic violence, emotional and physical abuse, childhood trauma, personality disorder, etc. It is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when. As British writer Vivian Greene once quipped, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain. Whatever would go wrong would go wrong (Murphy’s Law). The key to navigating the roller coaster of life is never letting success get into your head and never let your failures get to your heart.

  The Valley of despair is a point we get to in a project, endeavor in life, in which we get bogged down or stressed due to our inability to achieve our goals yet. American Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn called these periods the winter of life a metaphor for the valley of despair or the tough times. Anyone who has started a new project, be it a blog, new business, workout regimen, or any new challenge, can relate to the valley of despair.

We live in a hyperconnected, always available, instant everything world. From social media to our email notifications, the internet has amplified our collective level of distraction and inability to focus on a task for a long time. Multitasking is one of our favorite words, but we are busy doing nothing. You can make more money, but you can not make more time. We all get the same amount of time daily, the billionaire and the poor; how we use it is what makes all the difference. Once we use our time, it is gone forever; it is always ticking, moving. The ability to guard and use your time effectively is crucial in navigating the roller coaster of life.

“The best approach to dealing with these interruptions is to accept them and treat them in a gentle way.”

One of the best time management tools that I have found to be very helpful is the Pomodoro Technique developed by Francesco Cirillo, which he developed in 1987 as a time management hack for passing his sociology exam in college.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a Pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘tomato’, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.

The Pomodoro Technique was created with the aim of using time as a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do the way we want to do it and to empower us to improve our work or study progress continuously.

According to Francesco Cirillo in his book, The Pomodoro Technique: The Acclaimed Time-Management System That Has Transformed How We Work, the goals of the Pomodoro Technique includes the following:

  • Alleviate anxiety linked to becoming
  • Enhance focus and concentration by cutting down on interruptions
  • Increase awareness of one’s decisions
  • Boost motivation and keep it constant
  • Bolster the determination to achieve one’s goals
  • Refine the estimation process in both qualitative and quantitative terms
  • Improve one’s work or study process
  • Strengthen one’s determination to keep applying oneself in complex situations

The Stages of the Pomodoro Technique

The process underlying the Pomodoro Technique consists of five stages:

  1. To implement the Pomodoro Technique, all you need is the following:
  2. A Pomodoro: a kitchen timer
  3. A To Do Today Sheet filled in at the start of each day with the following:
  4. A heading with place, date, and author.
  5. A list of the things to do during the day in order of priority.
  6. A section labeled “Unplanned & Urgent Activities” in which any unexpected tasks that have to be dealt with should be listed as they come up. These activities could modify the day’s plan.

An Activity Inventory Sheet consisting of the following:
A heading with the name of the author.
A number of lines in which various activities are written down as they come up. At the end of the day, the ones that have been completed are checked off.
A Records Sheet. This is the set of raw data needed to produce pertinent reports and graphics. Depending on the objectives, this contains different sets of boxes. Normally, this sheet would include the date, the description, and the number of Pomodoros of effort needed to accomplish a task. This sheet is updated at least once a day, usually at the end of the day.

How the Pomodoro Technique Works

OBJECTIVE I:

FIND OUT HOW MUCH EFFORT AN ACTIVITY REQUIRES

The traditional Pomodoro is 30 minutes long: 25 minutes of work plus a 5-minute break. At the beginning of each day, choose the tasks you want to tackle from the Activity Inventory Sheet, prioritize them, and write them down in the To Do Today Sheet.

START THE FIRST POMODORO

Set the Pomodoro for 25 minutes and start the first activity on the To Do Today Sheet. Whoever is using the Pomodoro, whether one person or more, should always be able to see clearly how much time is left.

A Pomodoro can’t be interrupted: It marks 25 minutes of pure work. A Pomodoro can’t be split up: There is no such thing as half a Pomodoro or a quarter of a Pomodoro. The atomic unit of time is a Pomodoro. (Rule: A Pomodoro is indivisible.) If a Pomodoro is interrupted by someone or something, that Pomodoro should be considered void, as if it had never been set; then you should make a fresh start with a new Pomodoro.

When the Pomodoro rings, mark an “X” next to the activity you’ve been working on and take a break for 3 to 5 minutes. When the Pomodoro rings, this signals that the current activity is definitely (though temporarily) finished. You’re not allowed to keep on working “for just a few more minutes” even if you’re convinced that in those few minutes you could complete the task at hand.

The 3- to 5-minute break gives you the time you need to disconnect from your work. This allows your mind to assimilate what’s been learned in the last 25 minutes and also gives you a chance to do something good for your health, which will help you do your best during the next Pomodoro. During this break you can stand up and walk around the room, have a drink of water, or fantasize about where you’ll go on your next vacation. You can do deep breathing or stretching exercises. If you work with other people, you can swap a joke or two.

EVERY FOUR POMODOROS

Every four Pomodoros, stop the activity you’re working on and take a longer break, from 15 to 30 minutes.

The 15- to 30-minute break provides an ideal opportunity to tidy your desk, take a trip to the coffee machine, listen to voice mail, check incoming e-mails, or simply rest and do breathing exercises or take a walk. The important thing is not to do anything complex; otherwise your mind won’t be able to reorganize and integrate what you’ve learned, and as a result you won’t be able to give the next Pomodoro your best effort. Obviously, during this break you need to stop thinking about what you did during the last Pomodoros.

COMPLETING AN ACTIVITY

Keep on working, Pomodoro after Pomodoro, until the task is finished and then cross it out on the To Do Today Sheet

Once the current activity has been completed, move on to the next one on the list and then the next, taking breaks after every Pomodoro and every four Pomodoros.

 As pomodoros are completed, they are recorded, adding to a sense of accomplishment and providing raw data for subsequent self-observation and improvement.

Recording

With the Pomodoro Technique, it’s not essential to track the start time for an activity (or for every Pomodoro). What’s important is to track the number of Pomodoros actually completed: the real effort. This point is the key to understanding the Pomodoro Technique. Since tracking is done at least once a day, remembering and reconstructing the start times for activities isn’t difficult; in fact, this kind of recall is a beneficial mental exercise.

A useful technique for remembering start times is to do a rundown of the day beginning with the most recent activity and moving backward to the first one.

A useful technique for remembering start times is to do a rundown of the day beginning with the most recent activity and moving backward to the first one.

Top 7 Pomodoro Timer Apps

  1. Pomodor Web based Pomodoro timer
  2. Forest Pomodor Mobile App
  3. Toggl Track
  4. Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro App
  5. Tomato Timers – Focus Hub – Study Timer 
  6. PomoFocus
  7. Tomato Timer

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

The Drama Triangle is a model of human interaction that maps a type of destructive interaction that can occur among people in conflict.

The Karpman drama triangle was developed by psychiatrist and Transactional Analysis teacher Dr. Stephen B. Karpma. He was a student of Canadian-born psychiatrist  Eric Berne, M.D., the creator of transactional analysis psychology and author of Games People Play. The Drama Triangle is a model of human interaction that maps a type of destructive interaction that can occur among people in conflict.

The triangle of actors in the drama are persecutors, victims, and rescuers.