Friday, January 29, 2010

My take on Twitter

A couple of posts ago I wrote about “My Take on Happiness” and today I will delve into my thoughts on twitter and how I believe it can have a direct impact on our daily lives – both on a personal as well as professional level, if we understand that what works well in twitter can also work very well when applied to our daily life. Without trying to be presumptuous I have decided to call this "Twife: twitter applied to your daily life!"

Twitter’s success is built around the concept of having an open & constant conversation between a mix of influential & anonymous people and therefore “somehow” designed to bridge social divides. The idea of transparency is its defining emblem.

Twitter can definitely teach us a lot about desirable behaviour in human beings and one can easily tell by the reactions of our tweeps (twitter friends), and by how much they decide to “help” us, join our cause or simply recommend us or retweet us based on the value of our tweets, as well as our good “tweehaviour” (did I just make that up? – this is how i call our behaviour in twitter or adherence to “twitterquete”).

So what works well in Twitter that if applied can also help us improve our daily lives?

1 – Be grateful and show it: no place better than twitter (or social media in general for that matter) to test the power of gratitude. Example: a few days back I was trying to get followers to my blog, inviting friends to follow me and thanking everyone that would kindly oblige. Then suddenly 2 things happened: I received a follow from a friend of a person I had just thanked, and right away another follow from a friend I had not invited yet (Esther); when I thanked her she said she found out about my blog when she notice I was thanking a common acquaintance for following me. Two important lessons to be learnt from this: a – those you thank will be happy to do more for you and recommend others to follow you, and b – those who see you thanking others will likely want to follow you or do something for you. It’s life’s law and the driving force behind evolution as society: reciprocity and collaboration

2 – Tweet value (as my tweep @pramitjnathan says): most people don’t care what you had for breakfast, so don’t bother filling their timeline with that, but if what you tweet is something they will find valuable, either because it helps them improve their lives or because it helps them find something they might have been looking for or simply because it’s funny, then very likely they will feel appreciative for your tweet and want to recommend, retweet or mention you so that others can also benefit from your valuable tweets.

3 – Do to others as you would have others do to you: and do it first and do it often. This will work like magic. In a Course in Miracles (a book I read) it says, and I quote: “teach what you want to learn” and “give what you want to receive”. I try to live by these 2 maxims more than anything else. If you want to elicit a favourable reaction or action from your tweeps or anybody in life, be the first to engage in said favourable action. Recommend people, credit their work, help them, share with them, praise them, thank them, etc... and do all this altruistically and from a place of honesty, generosity, enthusiasm, good vibes and transparency.

4 – Share and collaborate with people’s work and initiatives: be it their thoughts (tweets or blogs), their work, their links, their retweets or suggestions. You see, people participate in social media because they want to be taken into account; people want to belong, they want to be missed and they want to be appreciated, even those you might think they don’t need any of that. Anybody that takes even the smallest trouble to tweet 140 characters or to blog about something, is because they want someone to take the time to read it and hopefully appreciate it and share it; guaranteed (I know I do)! And the only way they will know someone took the trouble to read it and appreciated it, is if that someone comments, thanks shares or retweets it. Do this for others and others will do it for you. Twitter works under the law of abundance: the more you share the more you receive in the form of retweets, mentions, recommendations, follows and the like.


- In twitter, like in life, “altruism” is the name of the game; the more you do for others the more others will do for you. In point #6 of their excellent post on "Society’s New Values", Alf Castellano & Edu William highlight the importance of support among peers, collaboration and co-creation as a key traits of the New Model. I think this is indeed KEY, and social media is here to show us the way, as long as we are willing to listen and learn from it

- Valuable tweets (whether because you put some thought into them, or because you read a good article and decided to tweet it, or because you read someone else’s tweet or blog or related links and decided you wanted to share it) go a long way and it returns value back to you.

- Acts of appreciation elicit reciprocity and collaboration towards you, and sharing creates abundance: the more you give the more you will receive

One last thing: Don’t be afraid to ask for help (or recommendations, retweets, re-shares and the like); you’d be surprised how well many people feel when given the opportunity to help others. Just keep your “tweehaviour” agreeable to others (just like you would do in life); be transparent and honest and state what you need clearly. Keep it simple, don’t spam, don’t turn it into a bullhorn of new deals; don’t harass people. Rather give everybody breathing room and treat them with respect as you would like to be treated. And in the end always ask yourself before acting or tweeting: am I adding value, how can I serve or help others with my actions or tweets?

Don’t you think these principles can apply just as well to your daily life?

Cheers and your comments are most welcome!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mind Mapping: What is it? by MindProject

The amount of information the human brain can store throughout a life time is unquantifiable, yet its intricate machinery is able to find the exact place for each concept, image and word, and interrelate each other brilliantly.

However, this does not take place in the same way on all human beings, for the information we receive is processed by either one brain hemisphere or the other, depending on whether they are numbers, codes, linear schemes, or concepts, daydreams, colors. Normally, each person develops one hemisphere more than the other, and neurons are to blame for this, for they are the receptors of the information we receive from the outside - through the eye - and responsible for transmitting said information throughout our brain.

Mind Mapping, graphical technique developed by London’s Tony Buzan, tries to improve this cerebral dialog, stimulating the neural connection through the development of the cortical skills from both the left and right brain hemispheres.

Next, we delve into this technique, and provide a spontaneous Mind Map exercise as a practical example. The objective is to enable us to efficiently manage the information we store in our brains and to be able to leverage it to accomplish both our personal as well as professional goals.

This was originally posted by MindProject in Spanish and I took the liberty to translate it into English (under their permission).

For more info on this and similar content visit

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Key Happiness Factors

Below is a list of random things that make me truly (read: sincerely) happy and therefore i am grateful for when i encounter them (notice i did not write winning the lottery and i will go into that later). My intent in writing this list is to remind myself of what’s really important in my life and by sharing it, I hope to remind others of what could be really important in their own lives. For yourself, probably the best use of this list as your own self reminder would be to: a - leave the things that make you happy, b - delete the ones that don’t and c - add the ones i did not mention but that would make you truly happy. At the time of writing this note (new year’s day 2010), i am indeed going through an intense self-questioning period and trying to find my Dharma or real purpose / passion in life and hence my need to start observing my actions and choices - and the feelings / emotions they evoke - to make sure i am “on the right track”; I like to think that i am but i have sensed lately that my satisfaction level appears to be a tad below what should correspond to my level of achievements (not that these are that many or that high, mind you, but simply because they are enough to make any normal being at least happy if not necessarily fully self-realized).

The list is also intended to serve as a constant reminder of things i need to be grateful for and since this should be a dynamic document that can be updated, modified and improved, as circumstances and / or our perception of them change, i encourage you to comment and suggest at will.

Here it goes:

- watching my kids play, laugh & enjoy life

- watching my kids learn new stuff (their first time reading or first swim - wow!)

- realizing that i have helped my kids learn or achieve something

- love; in any way, shape or form (and that includes making it…)

- to see my wife happy

- having a fulfilling / meaningful career, feeling that you are part of something unique & extraordinary (and that involves both the type of activity as well as people i do it with and how i am serving others through it)

- playing Tennis, running, training

- reading a good (usually in some way enlightening) book

- going to the beach

- sailing

- the Caribbean islands

- the sea

- high achieving - this is a tough one to define but i will try: when i was growing up, as an athlete high achieving was for instance the first time i could slam dunk a basketball, then the first winning a of a championship; in my academic life it was getting my MBA, in my professional life it was becoming the head of Latinamerica for the firm i work for, and so on… but as you can see, all rather humble achievements since there is no Nobel prize there or anything like that

- friday afternoons & saturdays

- getting presents

- leisure traveling

- helping people

- spending quality time with good friends (like a nice dinner out with good friends)

- watching a good movie (Cohen brothers anyone?)

- listening to the music that i love

As you can see, most of these seem like rather simple and achievable things; winning the lottery would certainly make anyone temporarily happy but it has been demonstrated (a Harvard Extension School research by I. Cunha is just one example), that one has a certain predisposition towards happiness and some specific and / or dramatic events can swing you one way or another (you win the lottery you suddenly become utterly happy or God forbid a loved one dies and you suddenly become utterly sad), but a year orso later you go back to your old self regularly happy or regularly unhappy. So the things i mentioned before are events that most of us can encounter (specially Friday afternoons…) and if we become intensely aware and mindful about this, it could be the foundation of our true happiness; Wayne Dyer always says: “there is no way to happiness, happiness IS the way”. So the trick could be: a - pursuing these type of rather simple yet fulfilling moments and then b - being intensely aware in order to enjoy them to their fullest, be able to prolong them and share the feeling with our loved ones.

In his study, Cunhais notes that happiness does not depend on environmental or external variables but rather on internal variables such us Self-Knowledge, Emotional Intelligence, Reaction, Choice and Attitudes - it’s about putting effort, passion and energy on all the things that make sense in our lives, he adds.

So here goes what I would describe as the Key Happiness Factors:

a - control your thoughts - we are what we think about so we need to chose our thoughts carefully

b - find and follow your Dharma or purpose in life (with intensity and passion)

c - pursue knowledge - improve continuously as a human been

e - serve others altruistically (with compassion and unconditional love)

f - awareness and mindfulness - live the present and enjoy the journey

g - Gratitude & forgiveness - be grateful for all that you have, for love and for beauty and see guiltlessness all around you

h - develop good virtues - they raise your consciousness and help you live a better life

Simple enough?

Cheers and comments welcome.