Archive for December, 2007

Season’s Greetings to all!

Keith December 28th, 2007

Thank you all for your support over this year, and all the best for the season – however you celebrate it!

Bailey minding the Christmas Tree

Our timid collective age

Keith December 18th, 2007

“There was no filling in of forms, no demanding of a fortnight’s notice in writing, no referring to some remote impersonal authority for a decision, or any other of the devices used by our timid collective age to eliminate the individual equation in life.

“The senior official merely said: ‘Come on, there’s no time like the present.’  No platitude to me has ever sounded more profound and original.”

From Laurens van der Post, in The Lost World of the Kalahari, when in urgent need to fly out for more assistance for filming the expedition.

This was written in 1958.  How much have we learnt about true empowerment in 50 years?

Laugh, eat, drink…

Keith December 17th, 2007

… certainly sounds like the right thing to do at this time of year!  As per an earlier post here, the VPS-CIN ran a Christmas Celebration last Thursday, featuring Humour Australia.  You can read more about what happened on the CIN site. 

Since I attended this session, Troy Swindells-Grose of Humour Australia left some interesting comments on my earlier post.

It was a great session.  Like a lot of these things, it strongly reinforced a lot of what I already knew, and added in some new ideas as well.  I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
 - Mahatma Gandhi

Of course, there is another great Gandhi quote:

Reporter: “Mr Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilisation?”
Mahatma Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.”

I was interested to hear about the existence of “laughter clubs” – groups of people that just get together and laugh!  A great way to release endorphins.  During the session, Troy referred instead to “dolphins”, and how when you laugh they swim around and tickle the pleasure centres of your brain…

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Live long, and prosper…

Keith December 13th, 2007

I have just found out about Spock, which seems to be a love child of Google and Facebook from what I have learnt so far.  Spock describes itself as: “… the leading people search application.”

According to a Wired article last August:

“Spock… mixes search with social-networking tools like personal profiles and tagging.  But you don’t have to join to have a profile on Spock.  In fact, you may be shocked to see what your profile says about you.”

So an invitation to join Spock may be an offer that you can’t refuse – if you value your reputation.  Even so, others can play a role in determining what your profile says about you.  Sort of like Wikipedia getting personal.

I am a strong advocate of Wikipedia, and the basic principles of trust and openness, but I am not sure what I think about this one yet. 

Spock gathers info about individuals from the web, including your public profile on LinkedIn, without asking you first.  But then, hey, that info is all out there for everyone, isn’t it?  At least you can “claim” your profile and edit it for free – unlike some other web-crawling personal info sites.

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Laughter – the stress medicine

Keith December 10th, 2007

“Creativity and humour are identical.  They both involve bringing together two items, which do not have an obvious connection and creating a relationship.  Laughter improves creativity.  Laughing… is a very sophisticated brain function, which sweeps our entire cerebral cortex, and is terrific for improving mental flexibility.”

This quote is from the web site of Humour Australia, an organisation that “inspires positive change and healthy working relationships.”  (Aka “HA!”)  Thanks to Frank Connelly and the VPS CIN for bringing this to my attention!

This is based on some fairly impressive research.  I am particularly interested in the connection to creativity, bearing in mind earlier posts here about the importance of creativity in knowledge work.

Also interesting to see the research on stress:

“Humour and laughter affect a physiological response, which is actually opposite to the effects of stress, according to Lee Berk & Stanley Tan – Loma Linda University School of Medicine.”

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