More on Personal Growth
9 months ago
The Three Most Effective Questions for Ongoing Development
The Traffic Light Approach to Reviewing Personal, Team and Project Development
What needs improvement? If you want to improve, you need to practice your sport, musical instrument, habit, or work project. You need to assess your progress.
Continuous improvement is the foundation of focused practice and a growth mentality. Not just individually. High-performing teams pursue improvement. Right? Why is it hard?
As a leadership coach, senior manager, and high-level athlete, I've found three key questions that may unlock high performance in individuals and teams.
Problems with Reviews
Reviewing and improving performance is crucial, however I hate seeing review sessions in my diary. I rarely respond to questionnaire pop-ups or emails. Why?
Time constrains. Requests to fill out questionnaires often state they will take 10–15 minutes, but I can think of a million other things to do with that time. Next, review overload. Businesses can easily request comments online. No matter what you buy, someone will ask for your opinion. This bombardment might make feedback seem bad, which is bad.
The problem is that we might feel that way about important things like personal growth and work performance. Managers and team leaders face a greater challenge.
When to Conduct a Review
We must be wise about reviewing things that matter to us. Timing and duration matter. Reviewing the experience as quickly as possible preserves information and sentiments. Time must be brief. The review's importance and size will determine its length. We might only take a few seconds to review our morning coffee, but we might require more time for that six-month work project.
These post-event reviews should be supplemented by periodic reflection. Journaling can help with daily reflections, but I also like to undertake personal reviews every six months on vacation or at a retreat.
As an employee or line manager, you don't want to wait a year for a performance assessment. Little and frequently is best, with a more formal and in-depth assessment (typically with a written report) in 6 and 12 months.
The Easiest Method to Conduct a Review Session
I follow Einstein's review process:
“Make things as simple as possible but no simpler.”
Thus, it should be brief but deliver the necessary feedback. Quality critique is hard to receive if the process is overly complicated or long.
I have led or participated in many review processes, from strategic overhauls of big organizations to personal goal coaching. Three key questions guide the process at either end:
What ought to stop being done?
What should we do going forward?
What should we do first?
Following the Rule of 3, I compare it to traffic lights. Red, amber, and green lights:
Red What ought should we stop?
Amber What ought to we keep up?
Green Where should we begin?
This approach is easy to understand and self-explanatory, however below are some examples under each area.
Red What ought should we stop?
As a team or individually, we must stop doing things to improve.
Sometimes they're bad. If we want to lose weight, we should avoid sweets. If a team culture is bad, we may need to stop unpleasant behavior like gossiping instead of having difficult conversations.
Not all things we should stop are wrong. Time matters. Since it is finite, we sometimes have to stop nice things to focus on the most important. Good to Great author Jim Collins famously said:
“Don’t let the good be the enemy of the great.”
Prioritizing requires this idea. Thus, decide what to stop to prioritize.
Amber What ought to we keep up?
Should we continue with the amber light? It helps us decide what to keep doing during review. Many items fall into this category, so focus on those that make the most progress.
Which activities have the most impact? Which behaviors create the best culture? Success-building habits?
Use these questions to find positive momentum. These are the fly-wheel motions, according to Jim Collins. The Compound Effect author Darren Hardy says:
“Consistency is the key to achieving and maintaining momentum.”
What can you do consistently to reach your goal?
Green Where should we begin?
Finally, green lights indicate new beginnings. Red/amber difficulties may be involved. Stopping a red issue may give you more time to do something helpful (in the amber).
This green space inspires creativity. Kolbs learning cycle requires active exploration to progress. Thus, it's crucial to think of new approaches, try them out, and fail if required.
This notion underpins lean start-build, up's measure, learn approach and agile's trying, testing, and reviewing. Try new things until you find what works. Thomas Edison, the lighting legend, exclaimed:
“There is a way to do it better — find it!”
Failure is acceptable, but if you want to fail forward, look back on what you've done.
John Maxwell concurred with Edison:
“Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward”
A good review procedure lets us accomplish that. To avoid failure, we must act, experiment, and reflect.
Use the traffic light system to prioritize queries. Ask:
Red What needs to stop?
Amber What should continue to occur?
Green What might be initiated?
Take a moment to reflect on your day. Check your priorities with these three questions. Even if merely to confirm your direction, it's a terrific exercise!
1 year ago
7 ways to improve public speaking
How to overcome public speaking fear and give a killer presentation
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Death's second. The average person is better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy." — American comedian, actor, writer, and producer Jerry Seinfeld
People fear public speaking, according to research. Public speaking can be intimidating.
Most professions require public speaking, whether to 5, 50, 500, or 5,000 people. Your career will require many presentations. In a small meeting, company update, or industry conference.
You can improve your public speaking skills. You can reduce your anxiety, improve your performance, and feel more comfortable speaking in public.
“If I returned to college, I'd focus on writing and public speaking. Effective communication is everything.” — 38th president Gerald R. Ford
You can deliver a great presentation despite your fear of public speaking. There are ways to stay calm while speaking and become a more effective public speaker.
Seven tips to improve your public speaking today. Let's help you overcome your fear (no pun intended).
Know your audience.
"You're not being judged; the audience is." — Entrepreneur, author, and speaker Seth Godin
Understand your audience before speaking publicly. Before preparing a presentation, know your audience. Learn what they care about and find useful.
Your presentation may depend on where you're speaking. A classroom is different from a company meeting.
Determine your audience before developing your main messages. Learn everything about them. Knowing your audience helps you choose the right words, information (thought leadership vs. technical), and motivational message.
2. Be Observant
Observe others' speeches to improve your own. Watching free TED Talks on education, business, science, technology, and creativity can teach you a lot about public speaking.
What worked and what didn't?
What would you change?
How interesting or dull was the topic?
Note their techniques to learn more. Studying the best public speakers will amaze you.
Learn how their stage presence helped them communicate and captivated their audience. Please note their pauses, humor, and pacing.
"A speaker should prepare based on what he wants to learn, not say." — Author, speaker, and pastor Tod Stocker
Practice makes perfect when it comes to public speaking. By repeating your presentation, you can find your comfort zone.
When you've practiced your presentation many times, you'll feel natural and confident giving it. Preparation helps overcome fear and anxiety. Review notes and important messages.
When you know the material well, you can explain it better. Your presentation preparation starts before you go on stage.
Keep a notebook or journal of ideas, quotes, and examples. More content means better audience-targeting.
Videotape your speeches. Check yourself. Body language, hands, pacing, and vocabulary should be reviewed.
Best public speakers evaluate their performance to improve.
Write down what you did best, what you could improve and what you should stop doing after watching a recording of yourself. Seeing yourself can be unsettling. This is how you improve.
5. Remove text from slides
"Humans can't read and comprehend screen text while listening to a speaker. Therefore, lots of text and long, complete sentences are bad, bad, bad.” —Communications expert Garr Reynolds
Presentation slides shouldn't have too much text. 100-slide presentations bore the audience. Your slides should preview what you'll say to the audience.
Use slides to emphasize your main point visually.
If you add text, use at least 40-point font. Your slides shouldn't require squinting to read. You want people to watch you, not your slides.
6. Body language
"Body language is powerful." We had body language before speech, and 80% of a conversation is read through the body, not the words." — Dancer, writer, and broadcaster Deborah Bull
Nonverbal communication dominates. Our bodies speak louder than words. Don't fidget, rock, lean, or pace.
Relax your body to communicate clearly and without distraction through nonverbal cues. Public speaking anxiety can cause tense body language.
Maintain posture and eye contact. Don’t put your hand in your pockets, cross your arms, or stare at your notes. Make purposeful hand gestures that match what you're saying.
7. Beginning/ending Strong
Beginning and end are memorable. Your presentation must start strong and end strongly. To engage your audience, don't sound robotic.
Begin with a story, stat, or quote. Conclude with a summary of key points. Focus on how you will start and end your speech.
You should memorize your presentation's opening and closing. Memorize something naturally. Excellent presentations start and end strong because people won't remember the middle.
Bringing It All Together
Seven simple yet powerful ways to improve public speaking. Know your audience, study others, prepare and rehearse, record yourself, remove as much text as possible from slides, and start and end strong.
Follow these tips to improve your speaking and audience communication. Prepare, practice, and learn from great speakers to reduce your fear of public speaking.
"Speaking to one person or a thousand is public speaking." — Vocal coach Roger Love
1 year ago
10 Alternatives to Smartphone Scrolling
"Don't let technology control you; manage your phone."
"Don't become a slave to technology," said Richard Branson. "Manage your phone, don't let it manage you."
Unfortunately, most people are addicted to smartphones.
Worrying smartphone statistics:
46% of smartphone users spend 5–6 hours daily on their device.
The average adult spends 3 hours 54 minutes per day on mobile devices.
We check our phones 150–344 times per day (every 4 minutes).
During the pandemic, children's daily smartphone use doubled.
Having a list of productive, healthy, and fulfilling replacement activities is an effective way to reduce smartphone use.
The more you practice these smartphone replacements, the less time you'll waste.
Most people say they 'don't have time' to learn new skills or read more. Lazy justification. The issue isn't time, but time management. Distractions and low-quality entertainment waste hours every day.
The majority of time is spent in low-quality ways, according to Richard Koch, author of The 80/20 Principle.
What if you swapped daily phone scrolling for skill-building?
There are dozens of skills to learn, from high-value skills to make more money to new languages and party tricks.
Learning a new skill will last for years, if not a lifetime, compared to scrolling through your phone.
Love documentaries. It's educational and relaxing. A good documentary helps you understand the world, broadens your mind, and inspires you to change.
Recent documentaries I liked include:
14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible
The Social Dilemma
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
Make money online
If you've ever complained about not earning enough money, put away your phone and get to work.
Instead of passively consuming mobile content, start creating it. Create something worthwhile. Freelance.
Internet makes starting a business or earning extra money easier than ever.
(Grand)parents didn't have this. Someone made them work 40+ hours. Few alternatives existed.
Today, all you need is internet and a monetizable skill. Use the internet instead of letting it distract you. Profit from it.
Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, said, "Everyone spends 2–3 hours a day watching TV." If you read that much, you'll be in the top 1% of your field."
Few people have more than two hours per day to read.
If you read 15 pages daily, you'd finish 27 books a year (as the average non-fiction book is about 200 pages).
Jack Canfield's quote remains relevant even though 15 pages can be read in 20–30 minutes per day. Most spend this time watching TV or on their phones.
What if you swapped 20 minutes of mindless scrolling for reading? You'd gain knowledge and skills.
Favorite books include:
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey
The War of Art — Steven Pressfield
The Psychology of Money — Morgan Housel
A New Earth — Eckart Tolle
All that screen time could've been spent organizing. It could have been used to clean, cook, or plan your week.
If you're always 'behind,' spend 15 minutes less on your phone to get organized.
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend the first four sharpening the ax," said Abraham Lincoln. Getting organized is like sharpening an ax, making each day more efficient.
Why not be creative instead of consuming others'? Do something creative, like:
Creative projects boost happiness, cognitive functioning, and reduce stress and anxiety. Creative pursuits induce a flow state, a powerful mental state.
This contrasts with smartphones' effects. Heavy smartphone use correlates with stress, depression, and anxiety.
People spend 90% of their time indoors, according to research. This generation is the 'Indoor Generation'
We lack an active lifestyle, fresh air, and vitamin D3 due to our indoor lifestyle (generated through direct sunlight exposure). Mental and physical health issues result.
Put away your phone and get outside. Go on nature walks. Explore your city on foot (or by bike, as we do in Amsterdam) if you live in a city. Move around! Outdoors!
You can't spend your whole life staring at screens.
Okay, a smartphone is needed to listen to podcasts. When you use your phone to get smarter, you're more productive than 95% of people.
The Pomp Podcast (about cryptocurrencies)
The Joe Rogan Experience
Kwik Brain (by Jim Kwik)
Podcasts can be enjoyed while walking, cleaning, or doing laundry. Win-win.
I find journaling helpful for mental clarity. Writing helps organize thoughts.
Instead of reading internet opinions, comments, and discussions, look inward. Instead of Twitter or TikTok, look inward.
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” — Marcus Aurelius
Give your mind free reign with pen and paper. It will highlight important thoughts, emotions, or ideas.
Never write for another person. You want unfiltered writing. So you get the best ideas.
Find your best hobbies
List your best hobbies. I guarantee 95% of people won't list smartphone scrolling.
It's often low-quality entertainment. The dopamine spike is short-lived, and it leaves us feeling emotionally 'empty'
High-quality leisure sparks happiness. They make us happy and alive. Everyone has different interests, so these activities vary.
My favorite quality hobbies are:
Nature walks (especially the mountains)
Video game party
Watching a film with my girlfriend
Complexity learning (such as the blockchain and the universe)
This brings me joy. They make me feel more fulfilled and 'rich' than social media scrolling.
Make a list of your best hobbies to refer to when you're spending too much time on your phone.
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1 year ago
Yuga Labs’ Otherdeeds NFT mint triggers backlash from community
Unhappy community members accuse Yuga Labs of fraud, manipulation, and favoritism over Otherdeeds NFT mint.
Following the Otherdeeds NFT mint, disgruntled community members took to Twitter to criticize Yuga Labs' handling of the event.
Otherdeeds NFTs were a huge hit with the community, selling out almost instantly. Due to high demand, the launch increased Ethereum gas fees from 2.6 ETH to 5 ETH.
But the event displeased many people. Several users speculated that the mint was “planned to fail” so the group could advertise launching its own blockchain, as the team mentioned a chain migration in one tweet.
Others like Mark Beylin tweeted that he had "sold out" on all Ape-related NFT investments after Yuga Labs "revealed their true colors." Beylin also advised others to assume Yuga Labs' owners are “bad actors.”
Some users who failed to complete transactions claim they lost ETH. However, Yuga Labs promised to refund lost gas fees.
CryptoFinally, a Twitter user, claimed Yuga Labs gave BAYC members better land than non-members. Others who wanted to participate paid for shittier land, while BAYCS got the only worthwhile land.
The Otherdeed NFT drop also increased Ethereum's burn rate. Glassnode and Data Always reported nearly 70,000 ETH burned on mint day.
1 year ago
Why Is Blockchain So Popular?
What is Bitcoin?
The blockchain is a shared, immutable ledger that helps businesses record transactions and track assets. The blockchain can track tangible assets like cars, houses, and land. Tangible assets like intellectual property can also be tracked on the blockchain.
Imagine a blockchain as a distributed database split among computer nodes. A blockchain stores data in blocks. When a block is full, it is closed and linked to the next. As a result, all subsequent information is compiled into a new block that will be added to the chain once it is filled.
The blockchain is designed so that adding a transaction requires consensus. That means a majority of network nodes must approve a transaction. No single authority can control transactions on the blockchain. The network nodes use cryptographic keys and passwords to validate each other's transactions.
The blockchain was not as popular in 1991 when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta worked on it. The blocks were designed to prevent tampering with document timestamps. Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta improved their work in 1992 by using Merkle trees to increase efficiency and collect more documents on a single block.
In 2004, he developed Reusable Proof of Work. This system allows users to verify token transfers in real time. Satoshi Nakamoto invented distributed blockchains in 2008. He improved the blockchain design so that new blocks could be added to the chain without being signed by trusted parties.
Satoshi Nakomoto mined the first Bitcoin block in 2009, earning 50 Bitcoins. Then, in 2013, Vitalik Buterin stated that Bitcoin needed a scripting language for building decentralized applications. He then created Ethereum, a new blockchain-based platform for decentralized apps. Since the Ethereum launch in 2015, different blockchain platforms have been launched: from Hyperledger by Linux Foundation, EOS.IO by block.one, IOTA, NEO and Monero dash blockchain. The block chain industry is still growing, and so are the businesses built on them.
The Blockchain is made up of many parts:
1. Node: The node is split into two parts: full and partial. The full node has the authority to validate, accept, or reject any transaction. Partial nodes or lightweight nodes only keep the transaction's hash value. It doesn't keep a full copy of the blockchain, so it has limited storage and processing power.
2. Ledger: A public database of information. A ledger can be public, decentralized, or distributed. Anyone on the blockchain can access the public ledger and add data to it. It allows each node to participate in every transaction. The distributed ledger copies the database to all nodes. A group of nodes can verify transactions or add data blocks to the blockchain.
3. Wallet: A blockchain wallet allows users to send, receive, store, and exchange digital assets, as well as monitor and manage their value. Wallets come in two flavors: hardware and software. Online or offline wallets exist. Online or hot wallets are used when online. Without an internet connection, offline wallets like paper and hardware wallets can store private keys and sign transactions. Wallets generally secure transactions with a private key and wallet address.
4. Nonce: A nonce is a short term for a "number used once''. It describes a unique random number. Nonces are frequently generated to modify cryptographic results. A nonce is a number that changes over time and is used to prevent value reuse. To prevent document reproduction, it can be a timestamp. A cryptographic hash function can also use it to vary input. Nonces can be used for authentication, hashing, or even electronic signatures.
5. Hash: A hash is a mathematical function that converts inputs of arbitrary length to outputs of fixed length. That is, regardless of file size, the hash will remain unique. A hash cannot generate input from hashed output, but it can identify a file. Hashes can be used to verify message integrity and authenticate data. Cryptographic hash functions add security to standard hash functions, making it difficult to decipher message contents or track senders.
Blockchain: Pros and Cons
The blockchain provides a trustworthy, secure, and trackable platform for business transactions quickly and affordably. The blockchain reduces paperwork, documentation errors, and the need for third parties to verify transactions.
Blockchain security relies on a system of unaltered transaction records with end-to-end encryption, reducing fraud and unauthorized activity. The blockchain also helps verify the authenticity of items like farm food, medicines, and even employee certification. The ability to control data gives users a level of privacy that no other platform can match.
In the case of Bitcoin, the blockchain can only handle seven transactions per second. Unlike Hyperledger and Visa, which can handle ten thousand transactions per second. Also, each participant node must verify and approve transactions, slowing down exchanges and limiting scalability.
The blockchain requires a lot of energy to run. In addition, the blockchain is not a hugely distributable system and it is destructible. The security of the block chain can be compromised by hackers; it is not completely foolproof. Also, since blockchain entries are immutable, data cannot be removed. The blockchain's high energy consumption and limited scalability reduce its efficiency.
Why Is Blockchain So Popular?
The blockchain is a technology giant. In 2018, 90% of US and European banks began exploring blockchain's potential. In 2021, 24% of companies are expected to invest $5 million to $10 million in blockchain. By the end of 2024, it is expected that corporations will spend $20 billion annually on blockchain technical services.
Blockchain is used in cryptocurrency, medical records storage, identity verification, election voting, security, agriculture, business, and many other fields. The blockchain offers a more secure, decentralized, and less corrupt system of making global payments, which cryptocurrency enthusiasts love. Users who want to save time and energy prefer it because it is faster and less bureaucratic than banking and healthcare systems.
Most organizations have jumped on the blockchain bandwagon, and for good reason: the blockchain industry has never had more potential. The launch of IBM's Blockchain Wire, Paystack, Aza Finance and Bloom are visible proof of the wonders that the blockchain has done. The blockchain's cryptocurrency segment may not be as popular in the future as the blockchain's other segments, as evidenced by the various industries where it is used. The blockchain is here to stay, and it will be discussed for a long time, not just in tech, but in many industries.
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1 year ago
What Happened After I Posted an AI-Generated Post on My Website
This could cost you.
Content creators may have heard about Google's "Helpful content upgrade."
This change is another Google effort to remove low-quality, repetitive, and AI-generated content.
Why should content creators care?
Because too much content manipulates search results.
My experience includes the following.
Website admins seek high-quality guest posts from me. They send me AI-generated text after I say "yes." My readers are irrelevant. Backlinks are needed.
Companies copy high-ranking content to boost their Google rankings. Unfortunately, it's common.
What does this content offer?
Despite Google's updates and efforts to clean search results, webmasters create manipulative content.
As a marketer, I knew about AI-powered content generation tools. However, I've never tried them.
I use old-fashioned content creation methods to grow my website from 0 to 3,000 monthly views in one year.
Last year, I launched a niche website.
I do keyword research, analyze search intent and competitors' content, write an article, proofread it, and then optimize it.
This strategy is time-consuming.
But it yields results!
Here's proof from Google Analytics:
Proven strategies yield promising results.
To validate my assumptions and find new strategies, I run many experiments.
I tested an AI-powered content generator.
I used a tool to write this Google-optimized article about SEO for startups.
I wanted to analyze AI-generated content's Google performance.
Here are the outcomes of my test.
I dislike "meh" content. I expect articles to answer my questions. If not, I've wasted my time.
My essays usually include research, personal anecdotes, and what I accomplished and achieved.
AI-generated articles aren't as good because they lack individuality.
Read my AI-generated article about startup SEO to see what I mean.
It's dry and shallow, IMO.
It seems robotic.
I'd use quotes and personal experience to show how SEO for startups is different.
My article paraphrases top-ranked articles on a certain topic.
It's readable but useless. Similar articles abound online. Why read it?
AI-generated content is low-quality.
Let me show you how this content ranks on Google.
The Google Search Console report shows impressions, clicks, and average position.
No one opens the 5th Google search result page to read the article. Too far!
You may say the new article will improve.
Marketing-wise, I doubt it.
This article is shorter and less comprehensive than top-ranking pages. It's unlikely to win because of this.
AI-generated content's terrible reality.
I'll compare how this content I wrote for readers and SEO performs.
Both the AI and my article are fresh, but trends are emerging.
My article's CTR and average position are higher.
I spent a week researching and producing that piece, unlike AI-generated content. My expert perspective and unique consequences make it interesting to read.
No content generator can duplicate a human's tone, writing style, or creativity. Artificial content is always inferior.
Not "bad," but inferior.
Demand for content production tools will rise despite Google's efforts to eradicate thin content.
Most won't spend hours producing link-building articles. Costly.
As guest and sponsored posts, artificial content will thrive.
Before accepting a new arrangement, content creators and website owners should consider this.