What do people want when they talk about being successful? Some of us might want things such as a yacht, private island, or a jet. Others want to feel like they belong and have great relationships with their family and loved ones.
We end up wanting things without knowing exactly why. We end up creating images in our heads of what it would be like to own these things, to have these relationships, to live these lives, but we casually ignore the negative things that are bound to challenge us along the way.
Even if we end up building these lives for ourselves, we forget that all life comes with suffering, and anyone who experiences great success will also have moments of frustration and perceived failure.
Just as you wouldn’t build a skyscraper before excavating deeply underground the construction site and setting the foundation, you wouldn’t start to develop the foundation for a successful life without first understanding where you come from and what drives you. Dig deep to understand what core truths truly motivate you and what you really care about before you start building yourself up. A career built on a shaky foundation will never stand the test of time.
The Pando is a tree colony on the border between Colorado and Utah. What makes the Pando unique is that it is thought to be one contiguous organism, with a combined underground root network covering over 100 acres. The Pando is thought to be the world’s heaviest living organism, and one of the oldest at over 80,000 years old.
Consider what the journey towards success would be without a strong network. Without security and a strong foundation, you won’t be able to weather the storm when inevitable challenges come your way on the path to great success. In order to be truly successful, you must also be willing to share your victories and your defeats with others.
This isn’t about finding fair weather friends who are happy for you when you have a great accomplishment and disappear in times of trouble. You need to build this strong network and ecosystem which will support you in times of need and through times of plenty.
“Effective networking isn’t a result of luck – it requires hard work and persistence.” – Lewis Howes
Take responsibility for the habits you choose to strengthen and cultivate, and be ruthless with the habits you choose to cut out. The Basal Ganglia is the part of the brain responsible for the development of habits, while the Prefrontal Cortex is the part of the brain responsible for complex decision making and thought processes.
The Basal Ganglia is effectively the less developed, most basic part of the brain. This “monkey mind” must be strengthened by building strong habits if you want to teach your subconscious to focus on the right things at the right times.
As the saying goes, “shoot for the moon, so you’ll land among the stars.” I honestly hate this saying, as I think it is incredibly corny, but it illustrates the point well. If you aim for a big goal, you will be more likely to reach some level of success and acclaim no matter what happens.
What the saying misses is the amount of planning and preparation that goes into “shooting for the moon”. When John F Kennedy announced his plan to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s, he set the United States on a road to investing more on a single project than at any other time in human history.
The combined efforts and finances of the most powerful nation on earth all went into making sure the mission would be a success, and as a result humanity came together to accomplish something magnificent.
So, when you’re aiming for something big, don’t half ass it, make a bold announcement, loop in your supporters, and try to change the world. Sometimes when you aim big, you’ll be surprised by who jumps in to lend a hand.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – Les Brown
One of the most important factors that defines true success is the ability to do something on a regular basis that brings you joy. While your job won’t always be interesting, and all things done with regularity become monotonous, you should strive to find what makes your heart sing about the work you do and the world in which you live.
Only if you are able to tap into what makes your heart truly sing will you be able to call yourself a success in your daily life. Don’t ask yourself what you love about your job, or even what made you first get interested in your line of work. Instead, ask yourself, what about your current role makes your heart sing.
If you don’t know how to answer that question, perhaps you should go back to step one and start excavating your foundation.
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
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I’ve been interested in indirect climate-related datasets for a while (for instance, the Nenana Ice Classic). One that I was reminded of yesterday is the 48-year series of openings and closings of the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa.
Since 1971, the National Capitol Commission (NCC) in Ottawa has (once the ice is thick enough for safe skating) methodically tried to keep the frozen canal available for ice skaters (by clearing snow, smoothing surfaces, filling cracks etc.). This is possible only if the weather permits – first by being cold enough to sufficiently freeze the ice, and second by not being warm enough to melt the ice surface as the season progresses. Apart from the first season, which was not planned ahead of time, each year since has been anticipated to start in the second half of December (or early January) and ideally extends to March.
However, DJF temperatures in Ottawa have been rising, and so one might anticipate some trends in opening/closing dates and the length of the skating season. This year’s season (Jan 5th to Feb 21st) was shorter than the average season, but is that part of a trend?
The weather factors underlying the year-to-year variability in the season length were explored in Brammer et al (2015), and they used that to predict a slow decline in viability over time. For instance, the correlation of season length to the (negative) mean DJF temperature anomaly is over 0.4.
Oddly enough the full data set of season dates, length (since 1971) and skating days (collected since 1995) does not appear to be publically available from NCC. However, some of it is around (here and here), and so one can put together a full dataset of season lengths, skating days (since 1995), and opening/closing dates (since 2002).
Updating the Brammer et al graph to 2018 (including the record shortest season in 2016) is straightforward:
As expected, there are clear trends in season length (a reduction of ~23±11 days (95% CI) since 1972), and while there are decreases in skating days, they aren’t significant due to the too short period (similarly with the available opening/closing dates). There is of course the possibility on non-climatic artifacts. Increasing skill/experience of the Skateway managers might prolong the season, while decreasing tolerances for risk(?) might shorten it. These are issues that are hard to quantify without much greater amounts of the meta-data associated with the opening and closing.
Nevertheless, we have another independent dataset which conforms to our expectations that outdoor ice in North America is suffering.
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