Mindsets and Focus

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There is a wonderful article to read and think about regarding our mindsets and how we think about our own limitations. Everything is not rosy all the time and for many life is hard, but for all of us, there are limitations that are self-imposed. It is probably important for us to be aware of this way of thinking and that for some of the things we think about ourselves, we are limiting ourselves and nothing else is limiting us.

I wrote a few week ago about my recent experiences in note taking on an iPad and Pencel. I’ve continued using this toolset and have not drifted back to pen and paper as of yet.

I’ve been fascinated with Sketchnotes and have purchased his book and worked through it. I wrote back in 2015 about my struggles and ideas with notetaking. I’m trying to get more visual and sketch in notes and I’m definitely capturing pictures and dropping them into my notes. The key to making this work with these tools is to be able to fast and relatively effortlessly (little friction) so you can capture the information on the fly while the talk/event is underway in real time. Related I read an interesting note about Da Vinci and how he took notes.

I find that I take the notes, but then rarely go back to them. I think the process of taking the notes is what keeps me focused while listing and helps me organize the thoughts I’m hearing. Very rarely do I go back and look at the notes. But sometimes I do…

How do you take notes? Do you take a lot of notes? Do you sketch as you take notes? Are you using any electronic tools to do this?  What have you learned about how to do this?

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Recommendations

I just finished the book The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life by Travis Macy and if you are interested in endurance topics, not quitting, grit and pressing on through hard things, then this is the book for you. I’m a runner and I’ve done 4 marathons and just PR’d this past December in Dallas. I’m not fast at all and I know one of my weaknesses is my mental toughness. I’ve read a few books on the mental side of running and this one is by far the best. If you are interested in pressing on through hard things, then this book is highly recommended.

My current favorite podcast is The Knowledge Project: A Farnam Street Podcast which is full of interesting interviews with interesting people. Recommended.  You should sign up for their email newsletter too.

My home state of Oklahoma has a dysfunctional legislature and executive branch. I heard one of our state legislators speak the other day about the most recent failure and she (a Republican) indicated that until we vote out people who are ideologues, nothing will improve. We need people who can think and compromise and move government forward in a constructive fashion. She took shots at the Republicans who wouldn’t raise taxes no matter what and she took shots at the Democrats who were willing to ‘let the state burn down’ in order to hopefully get more Democrats elected next time.  We need to vote these people out.  And, we need to know what our own legislators are voting and engage with them.

I saw this sign the other day while on a run. IMG_3341A friend suggested it was so the birds would know where to land. Another friend pointed out that this an example of our government dollars at work.

Intergenerational and Diversity in Connections and Conversations

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Virgin published a wonderful piece that reminded me of something I’ve thought about a few times in the past few years. The piece is about intergenerational learning.  You can read it here. There is much to be gained by connecting with people from other generations.

Years ago we participated in a small group gathering at church and for a while, it was cross-generational where people from different age groups met together to get to know each other, to eat together, and to share life together. Those were wonderful gatherings and through that process, I met people I simply otherwise would not have met. Our church discontinued that practice quite a while ago and now most such gatherings are with your same age group or class. That has been disappointing to my wife and me.

I think there are huge benefits in getting to know people from other generations and places. I’ve written before about diversity winning and in life, diversity wins in general. Learning from other, hearing their stories, helping them, spending time with others is a great benefit for all of us. This is true across generations as well as across other political views, across faiths, across nationalities, and across educational backgrounds.

I have dear friends in Singapore, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, China, Thailand, Malaysia, France and across the US and other places and I treasure the conversations we’ve had, the times we’ve spent together and our common experiences. I remember arguing with a friend in Paris, France about the behavior of Bill Clinton and his need to be held to a higher standard due to his office.

All the #metoo messages of the past months have been earth-shattering to me.  I’ve noticed since these conversations began that movies I’ve watched for years are frankly speaking, horrible in their messages about relationships between men and women, particularly in the workplace. That which was funny to me before is not funny now. This was not clear to me before but because of these conversations, I now see some things differently.

The US political landscape is a mess with people screaming at each other and not listening. Let’s try instead to listen, make some new friends, engage in thoughtful discussion and try to be better people and citizens.

Inverted Tile Tracking

I’ve used Tile trackers while traveling to track my luggage through airports and hotels. I’m not sure if airlines approve, but if you put one on your luggage, you can then tell if the luggage is near your plane, or near baggage claim, or on our bus, etc. It is rather fun to know that your luggage is onboard your plane when flying somewhere.

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 2.41.52 PMA few months ago, I was traveling and had one in an outer pocket on my duffel bag. It arrived at the airport just fine and reported in as being there, but then it seemed to disappear and it has not been seen since. When I got the duffel, it was not there. The app still shows its last location as being at the airport.

One of the features of Tile is that if it goes missing, you can declare it missing and then if anyone running the Tile app passes near it, you will be notified that it has been seen with an approximate location. I reported this Tile missing, but it was never seen or reported on by anyone. I’m guessing it fell out of the pocket and was swept away in the trash at some point.

 

Two weeks ago I was at a conference and somehow the Tile that I had on my messenger bag came off my bag.  That night, I realized it was gone so I reported it missing on the Tile app.

The next morning, the app reported that it was seen in the hotel and a map was shown, but it was too complicated to figure out what this was telling me. Someone running the Tile app had been near my missing Tile.

An hour later, it was reported nearby again.  This time, I decided to go find it using the map and with some guesses, I managed to zero in on his approximate location. I entered a huge ballroom that was being cleaned out and re-set for whatever was happening net in that room. Men were all around taking down tables and chairs.

The app on my phone turned a light green indicating that my phone was sensing it. This time I activated the find function on the Tile and all the way across the banquet room, I could hear it playing its song. I walked through that huge hall around all the obstacles and found it sitting on a table singing away.

I have to say it was fun to track it down and find it. Just a dumb tracking device of limited value, but I found it using all this technology. I found a missing tracking device, not a missing bag.  Not your usual search.

These are interesting to try out and play with and you might give them a try.

 

Tablet and Pencil

I’m a note taker.

I’ve used various size notebooks and pens over the years to take notes in meetings, church, school and anywhere. I’m usually found with a small notebook and pen with almost all the time.IMG_3333

I take notes for two main reasons. The first reason is to capture whatever information is being presented. The second, and the one I think is most meaningful to me is that I stay better focused. When taking notes, and even sketchnoting, the material being presented, I’m much more focused and dialed into what is being shared.

The problem with written notes and notebooks is searching for content later in a notebook or even searching for which notebook contains notes you might remember. I’ve found myself numerous times trying to find something I’ve written down in one of these notebooks and I have to search through book after book. And I don’t always find whatever I’m looking to see.

 

There is a certain joy in writing things down, but the problem is finding things later and even years later having the document with you as you’ve changed books or notepads. Searching is a huge problem. A huge problem.

Over the years, I’ve tried several alternative tools or technologies to capture notes. I think I’ve bought and tried special electronic pens and paper twice but couldn’t get them to work well. And, at times, I’ve tried really hard to just type notes on a keyboard, but that has drawbacks like noise, lack of fast editing and the inability to sketch something quickly. I’ve just not found anything that works.

Two weeks ago I purchased an iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil and based on the recommendation of my dentist daughter, Noteshelf 2. This week I attended a conference where for 2 1/2 days I took handwritten notes on the Ipad in session after session. I ended up with 46 pages of electronic paper notes.

 

 

  • I took pictures of screens that were shown up front, they didn’t handout files in advance, and then dropped them into the document.
  • I took pictures of handouts in one session and pasted that entirely into the document.
  • I rearranged text as speakers went along so if they started talking about a point before they titled it, I would drag their points down the page later so I could put a proper title on it where I wanted it.
  • I drew pictures and diagrams.
  • I underlined and highlighted.
  • I did lots of erasing.
  • I boxed in key points.

In the two days, I found myself editing on the fly quickly and smoothly without derailing my focus or distracting anyone around me (I think). And as I became more comfortable with the tool, I tried new things like sketching and adding pictures. I found the whole process to be rather easy, fluid and fast.

I think this technology has arrived. The one thing this app(Noteshelf 2) doesn’t seem to have is a writing-to-text feature and a search capability on that text. There may be other application that can do this. This eco-system, as it stands today, seems to have mostly solved the writing capture process. Loved it. Recommended.