In Aesop’s Fables, a lucky farmer finds his goose has started laying golden eggs. He’s stoked.. but soon gets greedy, he feels like he can’t wait for the goose to lay the next one so just kills the goose so he can get the eggs out all at once. Unfortunately for farmer brown, that ain’t how golden egg laying works and of course the goose is empty. Now he doesn’t have any more eggs and has lost his one means of getting them…
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presents the importance of focusing on balancing our capacity to produce (eg the goose) and what is produced (eg the golden egg).
He calls this P/PC balance – where P stands for what is Produced (production of desired results) and Where PC stands for Production Capacity (the ability or asset that produces those results).
Covey says that we must balance the production capacity with production because focus on one over the other will produce detrimental effects.
In relationships this is important – in a marriage for example if one member of the couple are simply focused on the benefits of marriage (the products) – say getting a decent meal, ironed shirts or sex whenever it’s required and doesn’t focus on the Production Capacity – the asset – in this case the marriage itself soon he will forget the little kindnesses and courtesies which are so important to a marriage.
In other words becoming overly focused on oneself and what one can get out of a relationship (the golden egg) ends up damaging the relationship itself (the goose).
Another example is our family car; our not-so-trusty zafira…. we are using it to death. We concentrate on what it produces (a trip from A to B to C – the golden eggs) and we never focus on the production capacity (the car itself – the asset – the goose), so we never service it or spend any money or time tuning it up. As a result our zafira is slowly dying. If we regularly serviced, kept the oil and steering fluid topped up it would last many more years…. but alas I can’t see the old girl doing much more than another year or so.
There are many other examples of P/PC balance and where this can be applied to our lives. From finance to family and sports to socialising this simple principle (which isn’t actually one of the seven habits – but more of an introduction) is a good way to look at the world.
2016 was a crazy year. Loads of celebrities died so everyone thought there was some kind of curse. Probably people who were famous are just getting older and when people get old they do tend to die.
Weird year for politics as well. Somehow Donald Trump got elected to the White House (totally unpredictable and pretty scary character so far). Somehow the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.
Brexit was something that just seemed too stupid so surely couldn’t happen. And yet the Britaish public voted for it.
Well this week the high court decided that the actual triggering of article 50 couldn’t just go ahead without parliament’s say so.
So in the next couple of weeks we’re going to find out if Theresa May is going to get her way and Hard Brexit (whatever that means – that’s half the problem NOONE knows how the heck Brexit is going to happen).
Jeremy Corbyn, socialist leader of Labour, has said the his MPs must support The Torys in pushing Brexit through. The problem there is most of his own MPs (from what I can tell) hate the guy, so are they actually going to do what they’re told and what they’re expected to do or are they going to vote for what they believe is right (block Brexit) and for what often the constituents want…. very interesting times. The lib dems mean while, who are all but bystanders in politics these days (having been slammed in the last election – following the Cameron-Clegg power sharing government) are positioning themselves as the anti-Brexit party…. which might be a smart move.
There have been so many horrible surprises in politics lately that maybe, just maybe, we’re going to get a surprise that blocks Brexit which – in my opinion at least- would be a positive thing…. but that’s probably too much to wish for!
As humans we are predisposed to seeing the negative. If something is ambiguous we tend to read it as negative. Evolutionary speaking this was important – better to walk the long way round and stay alive than pass what might be a sabre tooth tiger lurking in the bush…
Today, however, we can suffer from the very mechanisms which evolved to protect us. If someone responds to us in a short neutral way (say a one sentence email when you’d sent a masterpiece of prose) our brain sits up and looks for the danger or the negative connotations which usually aren’t there.
Just the realisation that we see tend to see the negative is helpful but one rule I try to stick to is:
Never put down to malice what can be explained by something else.
The something else can be that the person is really busy, they don’t know what to say, they’re incompetent or they’re just having a bad day.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E Frankl
Dr Frankl was a Jewish psychotherapist who spent much of the Second World War in Auschwitz and other similarly terrible concentration camps. His amazing book Man’s Search for Meaning describes not only his hideous time at the hands of His Nazi captors but the deep and timeless conclusions he drew from it his incarnation.
There are dozens of lessons to be drawn from this mans teachings and I will never them justice here. But one lesson is that we can’t change some things that happen but that we do have the choice how we respond to it.
We chose how to spend our time. In fact everything we do is a choice.
Being proactive is one of Steven Covey’s Seven Habits and it’s something that I am working on all the time. In everything I do I try and stop myself and calculate if I’m being proactive or reactive. I always try to be proactive.
Pro activity is where the magic happens.
Trolling through facebook is for the vast majority of the time being reactive. You’re reacting to other people’s post, your reacting (with a little dopamine hit) to likes that you see on your status. You’re letting someone else be that Mark Zukaberg or your old class mate affect how your feel. Needless to say I’m cutting down on my Facebook time.
Another guy who doesn’t spend much time reacting to social media is Cal Newport
While on affirmations (see previous post)… These are the affirmations from this book… Not sure if they work but it can’t hurt to repeat them in case it does (in fact I’m pretty sure the book says you can’t just repeat them, you have to do this thing called “taking action”… sounds like a lot of hard work to me!)
“My inner world creates my outer world.”
“What I heard about money isn’t necessarily true. I choose to adopt new ways of thinking that support my happiness and success.”
“What I modeled around money was their way. I choose my way.”
“I release my nonsupportive money experiences from the past and create a new and rich future.”
“I observe my thoughts and entertain only those that empower me.”
“I create the exact level of my financial success!”
“My goal is to become a millionaire and more!”
“I commit to being rich.”
“I think big! I choose to help thousands and thousands of people!”
“I promote my value to others with passion and enthusiasm.”
“I am an excellent receiver. I am open and willing to receive massive amounts of money into my life.”
“I choose to get paid based on my results.”
“I always think ‘both.’ ”
“I focus on building my net worth!”
“I am an excellent money manager.”
“My money works hard for me and makes me more and more money.”
“I am committed to constantly learning and growing.”
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”
Tony Robbins talks a lot about priming for the day. With the following words becoming habbits, I hope to shape my destiny. (I’ve taken a lot of this from Dale Carnegie).
Dave’s Daily Incarnation:
I smile. I greet everyone with enthusiasm and appreciation.
I praise I never criticize, Exonerate not condemn. I Find the good and light in my every moment and I never complain.
I know every person is my superior in some way and I give them honest and sincere appreciation.
Under different circumstances I would be a different man so I can see each situation from the others perspective, walk in their shoes and I strive to deeply understand them. “I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do, if I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do….”
I deserve very little credit for being where I am, and unreasoning bigoted people deserve very little discredit for being what they are. I sympathize with those people.
I foster a deep genuine interest in others, I encourage them to talk about themselves.
I am present and give those I’m with my full attention without interrupting or being distracted. I discover what is interesting to them and I become interested in it.
I’m always enthusiastically grateful.
I am grateful for every moment of this amazing life. I am so grateful for my beautiful wife who is strong, loving, passionate and kind. I am so grateful for my wonderful daughter Leah who is adventurous, gentle, thoughtful and kind. I am so grateful for my awesome son Jonah who is courageous, empathetic, entertaining and a physical embodiment of Gods love to the world. I am so grateful for my sweet daughter Alvah who is just the happiest most smiley baby I’ve ever seen.
I am a good listener and remember names, jobs, hobbies and birthdays.
I avoid all arguments, as I know they cannot be won.
I never tell anyone they are wrong or talk in absolute terms. I am humble and open minded. “I thought differently but I might be wrong, I’ve been wrong pretty often before, so lets look at the facts together”
I never openly oppose others but say “I imagine” or “I would have thought”
When I am wrong I admit it immediately and clearly.
Even when I am greatly upset I am friendly. I encourage people to say yes yes.
I take the time to see any situation from the others point of view, then go firstly to demonstrate that empathy from their side, describing the problem they have before identifying it from my own point of view.
I appeal to nobler motives – I give those I’m with a high reputation to live up to; though my eye’s that person is someone special.
Every day in every way I am getting better and better.
I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Building up to a set of resolutions is my new experiment in goal achievement.
In my experience, a long list of New Years resolutions is a recipe for failure. Just see my list of goals for 2017, it’s just too much and too likely that I will get downhearted when I miss one workout or eat what I shouldn’t and fall into the ah-screw-it trap.
So my alternative is to nail one resolution a week.
Week 1 – Binning the Biscuits
My first resolution is to stop eating biscuits. I am addicted. I know if I have one I will have MANY more. I can’t trust myself. So it’s an all out ban on biscuits. And week one has gone well. I didn’t eat one biscuit.
Yes it’s a small start. But an important one! Week 2 – Winning the Washing
Still with biscuits firmly off the menu I am approaching another daily resolution. With three kids the mountain of washing seems never ending. We decided about a year ago that washing was my detail. But I often slip and my wonderful wife ends up picking up the pieces. No biggy until now as she’s been on maternity leave. But now she’s back at work and I the washing just got real! So this week I’m going to aim to hit my “ten loads of washing a week” target (hopefully ten is enough otherwise it will increase!).
Week 3 – Managing to Meditate
Still not eating biscuits, still keeping in top of the washing this week I aim to make meditation a habit. I downloaded the headspace app about three months ago and I love it! I don’t do it but I love it… so this week I’m going to try and meditate at least five of the seven days.
Week 4 – Deep Work
Ok I’m still going it’s the last week in January and I’d say I’m going pretty well… I still haven’t eaten a biscuit, I’m staying on top of the washing, and I’ve meditated 7 out of the last 8 days. I’m reading Cal Newports book Deep Work which has a lot of fluff in it but a couple of important underlying lessons. It is useful in keeping my mind focused on when I’m working how important it is to focus without distractions. I’d say do read (or listen as I do) to the book as it does make a compelling case of why the habit of deep work is becoming more valuable and more rare at the same time. And how the next generation will be likely to only flourish as individuals if they have cultivated this habit.
So my plan for my next resolution is to work deeply on something three times a week. A ninety minute dive into work without distraction counts as a session.
I will be working on my portfolio, my knowledge and my business. Each week I could get into the habit of planning what day and what topic I will be deep working on. So this week: Monday: GP portfolio (with extra as required Tuesday). Wednesday: reading deeply into medicine. Thursday: business work.
Theres’s so many blog posts around about how the author is NOT making resolutions this year (“I’m just going to spend time being grateful”…) I thought I’d break the trend and actually make some and try to update this blog with how I get on…
There’s a MASSIVE amount here! I will be breaking these goals and habits down into achievable chunks in the next few posts…
First of all – a recap of 2016
As it turns out, 2016 was actually quite an eventful year….
What went well?
I reached my best physique ever by the summer.
this happened because I measured my weight and body fat a lot
as a result I concentrated on losing weight and gaining muscle
I got into running for a while
I surfed quite a lot – my surfing improved as a result
(sadly I lost my physique entirely by christmas as a result of 1. Stopping measuring 2. Stopping running 3. Eating A LOT of biscuits!)
My business started selling items and making money.
This was the result of working on my business in the evenings often when I didn’t really feel like it. There’s been a lot of ups and downs with the business but when I look back to this time last year it didn’t even exist so we’re going in the right direction!
I got a place to train to be a GP on my ideal rotation started training. I helped out on a TREATS course.
We had a new baby!! We had a fantastic holiday in France
I made a few new great friends
I left the band which was the right thing to do and remained friends the guys in the band.
What was hard?
My body regressed to the mean when I stopped measuring and stopped exercising and started eating crap again.
It was a bit hard eating well possibly.
I eat a lot of biscuits if I eat one biscuit
It was hard dealing with the rollarcoaster of sales.
It was hard doing a job I didn’t really enjoy or feel my skills were really aligned with. It’s hard doing the assessments when my attitude toward them is quite negative.
As always, a new baby puts pressure on sleep, on the relationship between Gels and I, and on our attitude toward the other kids.
It’s been hard keeping up with people like
So what about 2017?
Date Night OUT With Gels Once A Month
Schedual the night at least two weeks in advance
Book the babysitter at least one week in advance
Put these in the calendar
Time with friends once a month
Remember Birthdays – send cards for adults, pressies for kids
Throw a great summer party
Start a blog keeping me accountable to myself
Read deeply – making notes/learning lessons
10 loads a week
2 meals a week (update with more if required)
Get a pass on my ARCP
– three reflections each week
Do 3mini cex, 3 CBD and 1 MSF for each 6 month placement
Habit: Each on-call ask for CBD and Mini-cex
Be getting an average of 82% on passmedicine by Decemeber 2017
Three One-Hour blocks on passmedicine or e-learning a week.
Do a medical blog post once a week (mainly to keep a record of what I’ve learned) this should follow a period of reading on a new topic, or listening to a podcast.
Things to consider:
Working with Steve on Positivity in Medicine
Writing TREATS course manual
More active role in TREATS course
Get back to 11% body fat by 15th May, maintaining a weight of 78kg (this will force me to put on muscle and lose fat).
Build up to running three times a week and
working out three times a week
Run at least once , work out at least twice
Run at least once, work out at least twice,
Run at least twice, work out at least twice,
Run at least twice, work out at least twice,
Run at least twice, work out at three times,
Run at least twice, work out three times,
Week 7 and onward
Run three times, work out three times.
Stop eating junk food.
Mark a calendar with the number of days I’ve not eaten biscuits for and then try to beat it.
What gets measured gets managed
Use the sculpt app and weighing scales daily to measure my body fat and record the results.
Blog the results
Set up jmdwilliams.com and blog results
Be grateful every day
Write down three things I am grateful for every day and focus on each one for a minute.
Build up to a daily mindfulness meditative practice
– meditate at least once a week for the first two weeks
– meditate twice a week for week three and week four
– meditate three times a week for week five a week six
– meditate four times a week for week seven and eight
– meditate five times a week for week nine and ten
– meditate six times a week for week eleven and twelve
– meditate every day from week thirteen onwards
Build a positive mindset and an enthusiastic, positive approach with people I meet
Record and listen to positive messages reminding me of positive behaviour I want to instil in myself
Build my business to a point where I have a net profit of £7,500 a month.
Get wetsuits selling well
Decide on the future of the drybell
Build and launch the smart surf wear clothing line
Decide on whether I have time for Van Blog / website / book
Decide on blogging weight loss for shift workers
Collect email list of surfer customers
Become competent with book keeping side
3 times a week spend two hours on the business
Start the weight loss for shift workers part of the blog (potentially)
Get Mokansurf.com up a running as an ecommerce site.
Cut our credit card debt by one third
Work out what our debt is
Work out how much we need to pay off
Pay it off one 12th of that once a month.
Budget two hours once a month
Review financials once a week for an hour
House and Garden
Slide on side
Wood on roof
Window frame on front window
Rope on ladder
Patio on raised area
A bit more on campervan
Habit: any free weekend identify two hours and what I will work on during that time.
Habits for 2017
Schedule date night (once a month) two weeks in advance
Put date night in calander
Book babysitter at least two weeks in advance
Have list of friends and family birthdays and have block of cards for birthday cards
Three reflections a week on e-portfolio
Three one-hour blocks on passmedicine/elearning a week
One medical blog post a week
Run three times a week
Work out three times a week
Eat no more biscuits
Measure body fat on sculpt daily
Write down three things to be grateful for every day
Listen to personal affirmation daily
Work on business three times a week for at least two hours each time
Spend two hours a month working on personal budget
Pay off 2.5% of credit card debt each month
Free time at weekends should be spend on treehouse/raised area/campervan.