Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Smile

Martin Seligman, a former president of the American Psychological Association, would approve. He has uncovered various structured ways of perking people up, all of them, he insists on the very first page of his new book, “grounded in careful science”. Much of this book consists of the results of various complex tests and interventions designed to reduce depression and anxiety and increase resilience and self-discipline. Writing a “what-went-well-today-and-why” diary for a week, for example, tends to lower depression levels for as much as six months, he claims.

The study of well-being: Strength in a smile | The Economist

Interesting enough, I tried this approach of making a mental note of at least one thing that went well during my day. It helps. Even when things are not exactly going your way, it makes you focus on at least something that went well. And there will always be one. From there you will notice there is more of a positive mental energy inside of you. This can take you a long way -six months or more!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Five Habits of Effective CEOs

These aren’t theories. They come from decades of collective experience of top executives who have learned firsthand what it takes to succeed. From the corner office, they can watch others attempt a similar climb and notice the qualities that set people apart. These C.E.O.’s offered myriad lessons and insights on the art of managing and leading, but they all shared five qualities: Passionate curiosity. Battle-hardened confidence. Team smarts. A simple mind-set. Fearlessness.

Corner Office - The 5 Habits of Highly Effective C.E.O.’s - NYTimes.com

Very interesting article. I suggest reading the full text.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mercenary

The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.

Blackwater Founder Forms Secret Army for Arab State - NYTimes.com

It seems Libya is not the only place where mercenary army exists. Perhaps a lesson should be drawn from Libya that legitimacy comes before power. Once legitimacy is lost, power will not get you far. Rulers should reinforce their legitimacy through more open and democratic systems rather than revert to power and suppression. Most Gulf countries enjoy goodwill between rulers and citizens. It would be a shame if this is wasted rather than developed. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Plan A

On these trips he would have a vague plan A, a goal in view, for he had learned to appreciate planning during a wartime spell in the navy; but plans B and C might be good, too. Like Tristram Shandy, he preferred the apparently random and open-minded route. His scientific method was to gather huge amounts of data, with exuberant curiosity, in order to let some discovery surprise him. “Goal-oriented” institutions, such as the National Institutes of Health, found it hard to work with him, and he with them, but he would cheerfully decamp to freer places, such as the Institute for Cancer Research, which let him roam until relevance emerged from his roamings. “Expect the unexpected” was his motto—after Heraclitus, who said you could never step into the same river twice.

Barry Blumberg | The Economist

The late Barry Blumberg is the Nobel prize winner who came up with a vaccine for hepatitis B. His obituary describes his life journey and love for exploration that doesn't always lead to the desired goal, that's when plan B and C can turn surprisingly good!