Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Take Up Designing To Self-Improve

Have you been fascinated by new products that comes up now and then?

Have you wondered how the designer or product creator comes up with the idea and convert it to actual product?

Some of the products are simply enough for any person to come up with but never think of. Some products needed a team and takes a longer time to materialise. Others can be a one-man show.

Whatever the intensity of the product creation, it needs some knowledge and skill to be put into application and tested. This open up a good area for anyone wishing to self-improve themself.

Designing product requires many aspects of character merging with technical know-how. Having just the technical know-how without the necessary determination and focus, will not suffice in this challenging task. Likewise for the reverse.

Both skills, hard and soft, has to be in tandem to create a positive outcome. Therefore whoever chooses to take up designing to improve themself exposes themself to a very excellent field whereby all their skills and knowledge in the relevant area are tested.

The task starts from imagination, market research, feasibility studies, prototyping, measuring and testing, gathering feedback, re-designing, project management, time management, sourcing (manpower and material), and ends with production.

However, depending on the product, not all the tasks listed are required. Start small and simple if you are a novice, and branching into more complex product after gaining more experiences.

Therefore, needless to say, design is an area that enable one to apply their skills and knowledge (old and new), or to maintain or refine them. It serves to make us link theory to practice. And with practice, our skills will be enhanced together with our intelligence.

To conclude, I like to quote one statement made by an American design practitioner, Louis Danziger:
"Design is intelligence made visible".

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mental Inertia

Have you ever wish to do something but just did not have the mental push to do it? Everyone at one time or another will encounter this very common problem of human. There are some people who are less of this than others. They are the "better" ones, I suppose. They are the action-type of people.

We have to learn to overcome this so-called "Mental Inertia" within us. How to do it?

First we must know what causes this sympton. It is the reluctant to perform or "do it". The sluggishness in the mind to think and plan. The laziness that is hidden inside us. Different people will exhibit different level of this laziness. The resistance, therefore, differs. Once we can break this sluggishness and laziness, we create momentum. This momentum is just like a rolling ball that get faster and faster as it moves. We can emulate this ball!

Ways to overcome "Mental Inertia":
  1. Mentally see the result of your action and picture the excellent result (this will motivate you into action),
  2. Start moving physically, and the brain will follow suit,
  3. Start small and pause to see actual result from this small step,
  4. When the mode is up, do not stop till you are satisfied,
  5. Rest when you feel tired ( otherwise you will feel stress up and anxiety will creep in),
  6. Think positively,
  7. Be aware that nothing is lost when you "actioned"; staying put causes more harm, and
  8. Believe in yourself; "I can do it" mentality.

With the above action-list, hopefully, it gets you going.

Mental inertia is easy to break and control. With practice, the resistance will get lesser and turn-around time will be shortened. You will see results faster and feel better and motivated by recalling past experience of forging ahead admist Mental Inertia.

The catch: "If the mind don't move, move the body".

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Apply Information Acquired to Add Value

During our learning stage, we absorbed many information. Whether the information are relevant or otherwise, they may come in useful after linkage with other facts learned together or later. As such, our brain becomes a database or mental warehouse which contains information that we can use later. What if we do not use the acquired information?

When we just keep the information that we are exposed to, we are actually not learning. Learning means to apply the information which is then transformed to knowledge. This knowledge is value-added stuff.

With application, this knowledge can then be useful, as it generates more positive outcomes. These outcomes can be anything meaningful. It can be to help others, to explain complex issues, to create new products, or to further generate new ideas and concepts.

To keep the information in the brain and not using it is equivalent to collect dust. Not sharing it or utilising it means not having it. It becomes transparent to others. It will also be faded off over time. Everything absorbed will be lost! It is pure wastage of effort and resources.

Therefore, to really create value for ourself, not only do we need to pick up new information, we must apply it after careful analysing and understanding it. It is this approach to learning that will enable us to improve on ourself.

Our Beliefs, Our Limits

In whatever we do, we do it with a certain belief. The belief may be for or against us. It decides the quality of the outcome and relates to the confidence within us.

If given a certain task or challenge, and we believe that it cannot be done, then no matter what it takes, we will not be able to achieve the required targets. We set up our own boundary before the task is performed; a boundary defined by our beliefs. This beliefs will therefore limit our capability or extent to handle the challenge. Why limit it?

To expand our capability, we should reduce, if not remove, this belief of ours. If we constantly remind ourself that we can do it, we will at least have lesser mental resistance to perform the tasks. The journey will be more enjoyable and exciting when we discovered that positive indications slowly appear.

Be more daring and take a different path to explore new ways to tackle old methods and procedures. We should seek to change the beliefs into positive affirmative, and see the results. I believe with this corrected mindset, favourable results can be achieved. Change the negative beliefs and our ability and confidence will definitely grow. This is so because the mental limits are removed. It takes time to achieve this state of mind. But, with practice and conscious reminder, all these are not beyond us.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

To Have Something New, Do Something New

The world is changing fast. New products, new skills, new type of job, new school syllabus, new rules and laws. The list will not stop and is growing with each passing days (even minutes). We see new items coming out, but do we pick up these new knowledge?

We may desire for the new skills and ponder over it for a long time. We remain the same as 1 year, 2 year ago. In order to change or keep up with the change, we have to do and merge into the new era, the era of new development. Do something new to capture that something new.

Keep learning and reading up on new area. Indulge in the habit of reading or any equivalent activities to stay actively relevant. If there is no area of interest, any area will do for a start. The trick is to get the mental inertia reduced or eliminated. Once the going is smooth, the resistance will be lessen. Do new thing, Learn new thing!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Be Adaptable

We live in a big, round world where things are everytime changing. As the world is changing, the law is always still brutal which means "ADAPT or DISAPPEAR".

What is true today, may not be true even tomorrow. Everything is moving. What we have learned yesterday may means outdated information the next 6 months.

Happy and cheerful people don't just accept changes only, but also embrace the changes. They will all say: "Why would I want my next 3 years to be like my last 3 years ?". They want and demand for changes as it means renewed ideas and efficient way of doing things.

Adapting to the changing environment means keeping up with trends and technology. Following suit with these knowledge will make one relevant in any situation and prepare one to be ready for any challenges that lie ahead.

Imagination Is As Important As Knowledge

A child with her imagination could fight off fierce beasts and many other creatures (eg.monsters ). A child with her imagination could fight off demons and horrible wizards, and also could cast spells.

As important as knowledge is, a child without imagination,does not have the skill to dream of great and beautiful things ahead. Without this ability to imagine, a child would not succeed in life even with lots of knowledge. She would only be able to recall facts and information but does not know how to apply them. No new value is added to her ability.

As said by Albert Einstein, imagination is more important than knowledge.

Therefore we should not limit ourself to any bounderies. We should explore new frontiers and areas to be able to generate new ideas and values. In this way, we can be contributors to society using imagination as a base, complemented by knowledge.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It Helps To Stay Off Track At Times

Self-improvement means to improve by taking initative. To depend on others for your own development is not part of self-improvement. So how do we self-improve ourself?

One way is to jump into any unknown area or field of study and pick up from there.

Venturing into the unknown keeps us alert mentally. It forces us to quickly pick things up and seriously do something learning. It throws us off-balance. It removes us from the "comfort zone" and wakes us up. It is good, therefore, to go off track at times to "update" our survival skill. Staying relevant in this era is paramount.

By going off track, we may sometimes, see common daily issues in another perspective or angle. It refreshes our thoughts and twists our thinking, and tests our analytical ability when placed into the unknown. It may sound harsh, but the outcome will definitely be beneficial!

So do go off track at times to savour new thinking and ideas.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Every Positive Effort Is Accumulated

Self-improvement means a constant push for a better person. It requires stamina to keep on moving towards an intermediate goal. After achieveing this goal, a new goal can be set adding value to past experience and knowledge. This cumulative effect, thus, results in a better outcome. The learning journey is endless.

Sometimes, after putting in tremendous effort into the learning, we discovered that the outcome is not that apparent or up to our expectation. Do not despair. I believe that after putting a decent amount of effort, we definitely will gain something in return. This cumulative effect of learning adds up to a final output in term of a more complete analysis of the lesson. Information has to be digested and takes time to be absorbed. So a rush job to finish up the learning of a set goal is not only detrimental, but loses its meaning. Time and effort will be wasted if the process of learning is done wrongly. We have to be patience as far as self-development is concern.

No effort is wasted along the way when we are really interested in learning and developing ourself. The results may not be immediate. The effort put in is producing small little changes in us. We have to continue putting in effort and enjoy what we are doing rather than expecting instant results. This way, I think, will make self-improvement fun and long-lasting.