On BioScience and Life and Such

Posts Tagged ‘Self-help’

What Ubuntu really means: a business model perhaps

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2008 at 12:23 pm

I know Ubuntu as a Linux distribution, but it is also an African expression. Until recently I only vaguely knew what it meant. Now I know more, it means:

kindness: humanity, compassion, and goodness, regarded as fundamental to the way Africans approach life (MSN Encarta dictionary)

The reason I found out was a commentary in a local news-paper which made a point that resounded well with me: in modern western society, a common belief is that you need to make yourself happy to be able to make others happy, – but in reality it is the other way around.

A traveller through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not address themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve? (Nelson Mandela via Wikipedia)

A truth long known maybe, but forgotten in our self-indulging way of life.

Now, It occurred to me that if self-help coaches and therapists around the western world would use such an ubuntu approach, a lot could potentially change. Life-style advice would be to help others and through these actions achieve personal development.

Business idea then: Ubuntu self-help-others coaching. Get rich helping “lost their way” wealthy people and make the world a better place at the same time. Win-win-win.

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Project: Distilling efficiency out of useless meetings

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 8:53 pm

Sick and tired of inefficient unnecessary meetings, I am trying to figure out how to (di)s(e)cretely minimize time-waste. This post is the beginning of a project which hopefully will result in less frustration. The final goal is that when a meeting turns boring, I’ll be happy.

Project aim

A comprehensive collection of discrete activities in meetings where:

a) Things you already know are being presented

b) Things that are irrelevant are being presented or discussed

c) Some idiot terrorizes the meeting with idiot-questions, and the speaker feels compelled to respond.

Inclusion criteria

Activities that the other meeting attendees (and the speaker) will not notice.

Exclusion criteria

1) Bringing a laptop could be the ideal solution, but not an option (in smaller meetings a handheld is a possible electronic substitute):


2) Activities solely for entertainment purposes.

Activities to be tested (first draft):

1. Lists, ideas

Method: Bring a blank piece of paper and a pencil/pen.

a) Make list of thoughts and ideas (work/career related).

b) Make to do lists for work projects or shopping (daily groceries, vacation trips, refurbishing project).

Comment: Approach been tested for a while, but not systematically. Risk of exposure seems to be low.  Systematic testing will have to include quality control of random thoughts and lists. Also need to design experiment to test the feasibility of working on the same lists in consecutive meetings.

2. Discrete physical exercise

Method: limb/whole body movement either unaided or with the help of various objects.

a) Muscle flexing and stretching. Possible muscle groups include upper and lower arms, legs, abs and pecs. Facial muscles not recommended until visibility measurements (see below) are concluded upon.

Comment: Flexing while involved in other activities was as far as I can remember first proposed by the great Jean-Claude van Damme on the Tonight show some 15 years back. Need to validate physical benefit. Also, need to measure visibility of activity, -specific parameters: “over the table” and “under the table”.

b) Balance training. Sitting down – mostly arms and hands. Standing up – in theory any limb.

Comment: Sitting down – i) no object: place both hands palm down between upper part of thighs and chair. Extend arms until thighs are suspended and balance for as long as possible. Repeat and record suspension period. ii) With object: balance any object at hand – pencil, coffee cup, biscuits, cake, pastry – start with palm of hand (palm up, down, sideways – combinations) , then all fingers, then 4 fingers, then three and so on. Time your balancing skills and record them. Note: payoff unknown, exposure risk – high.

c) Visual training. Detail perception exercises ? To be updated.

d) Meditation. Eyes open, mantra, silent, To be updated.

Further reading and resources on the topic:

Bullshit Bingo, Solutions similar to mine, A top 20 list, ….

Project description to be continuously updated. External input most welcome.

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