Quadrant 2 Part 1

Dear Ian,

I’m glad your school uses Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to inculcate values and principles to the students. I only wished that they could delve into it a little deeper instead of just skimming the surface. This blog is not about the habits, you can read about it in this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People

The 7 Habits are : Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, First Things First, Think Win/Win, Seek First to Understand, then Be Understood, Synergise, and Sharpening the Saw.

It was a great window of opportunity last Sunday evening, when I reprimanded your little brother, and you took the initiative to come to me and teach me how to be nicer to your little brother so that he can listen to me.

Be Proactive

I used that chat we had to share with you what being proactive is about. You were proactive when you came to me to talk about your little bother’s disciplinary matter. That shows the internal motivation in you to want to engage in a conversation.

So I need to know where can we take it to? Was this a random conversation? I decided to probe further.

Begin with the End in Mind

You had a plan, and you probably visualized that the talk can help me treat your brother a little nicer and kinder. That was you intent in coming to me to talk, to see a change in my behavior, to treat you brother a little nicer.

First Things First

Your brother’s well being is your primary concern. Your first priority is to make sure that thing between him and his dad gets better. People comes first before things.

The internal habits

Well, these are not exactly Stephen Covey’s words, he terms the first 3 habits as ‘Independence’. I explained them to you as internal habits as these are the habits you espouse internally. Only when you can do these 3 well, then you can move to the external habits, how you socialise and wotk with people in your life and around you.

Quadrant 2

How can we not talk about quadrant 2? Your school, seems to stop at just the 7 habits, didn’t delve further into the quadrant, which is a shame because the quadrants are so important in acting on the 7 habits.

Quadrant 2 is a quadrant of Important/Not urgent. This quadrant is the planning quadrant, where you decide how things fall in place, and in line. By itself it is the most important Quadrant, sort this out, you sort you life you, you discover your life’s purpose. The other quadrants are Not Important/ Not Urgent. Not Important/ Urgent. And Important/Urgent.

Once you can fully embrace the value Quadrant 2 brings, the other quadrant will shrink, you will expand your circle of influence, relative to your circle of concern. You really need this quadrant to make sure things gets done, on time and at its own schedule.

A Million Us

There are a Million us, perhaps more. Because our brains and minds are always wandering, wanting to do this and that. The mind is a very good servant, but a poor master, simply because the linear concept of time is poorly understood, the mind understands timing, but because we exists in a physical world, ruled by the proverbial 24 hours, we can only do so much. And the mind, being fickle, will drop things that no longer has an interest in, and you will have a physical world full of things incomplete. You do not see through things if you leave your mind to its own devices. A Million things incomplete because a million of us are tearing at each other, clamoring for the 24 hours.

So with a sound understanding and using of Quadrant 2, you make the million yous fall in line, take their turn. The Ian Who Wants to Paint, will get a time and schedule to paint. The Ian Who Wants To Play With Wayne, will have a time allocated. The Ian Who Wants To Read? Please take a number!

As the common saying goes “There is a place for everything, and everything in its place!” This is the saying of Quadrant 2.

The sunflower doesn’t wait


Dear Ian,

I bought your mum a bouquet of sunflowers last week, and you enthusiastically took the initiative to want to draw the sunflower.

We were of course open and positive to your idea.

2 days later, I asked you about it, you told me you’ll do that next week.

My dear son, the Sunflower will wither and die.

You see, the sunflower will not wait for you to finish your paintings, the sunflower has its own schedule to follow and it does not gives a hoot about you and your drawing. It doesn’t care about what you want to do, capturing its beauty and essence. When it withers, it will wither.

Life is like that, we cannot wait and wait for you to do your things, life has its own schedule and timing. and it is nothing personal. The sun will rise and set, and there is no way you or anyone else can say, “Hey, wait a moment! Don’t set yet! I’m not done with today’s work!”

You can get angry with the sun, the sunflowers and everything that is external of you that you cannot control and there is nothing you can do about it. It is unreasonable, rude and impersonal.

When you want to do something, do it quickly and with all your energy, once that is done, leave it aside and move on to something else. Don’t wait and dwell for things to happen. Go out there and make the sunflower happen!


What should we get for your mum the next time? 

The Decision Making process

Dear Ian,

So far in your life, you and your little brother is still externally oriented towards us, your parents, for your pain and pleasure duality, for right and wrong.

So far, of late I have been telling you to take this accreditation and move them inwards. Really successful people, have their own pain/pleasure switch internally. They know their own expectations and when they fall short, will not hesitate to punish themselves, and when they attain their goals, they will reward themselves.

When they have this tuned down to the T, they will know how far they can go, and when they have enough, they will know when to stop. They know when they can push themselves, and when they cannot. And because they have a strong internal compass, external influences, seldom influence them.

Well, let’s be frank, anyone, and everyone love pleasure, the crux of it is the pain. If you dare to punish yourself, push yourself, punch yourself hard, you will gain internal strength, and external alignment. People will come to know you as a person who can do things, accomplish thing and respect you for your accomplishments. External forces will dispense themselves to help you.

Not that you want it, by now if you can and will punish yourself for the mistakes you make, you’d beless bothered with what people say or think about you.

You need this internal decision making process, to accomplish things of your desire, and not to be swayed of external forces, your father included.

The Butterfly Effect

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. On the day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the moth for several hours as the moth struggled to force the body through that little hole.

The moth seemed to be stuck and appeared to have stopped making progress. It seemed as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. The man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth; so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But its body was swollen and small, its wings wrinkled and shriveled. The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to and able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a small, swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

The man in his kindness and haste did not understand that the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was necessary to force fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight upon achieving its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets, and don’t forget the power in the struggle.

Source: Yellow Ribbon Project Facebook Page

Adjectives of life

Dear Boys,

We live a literate life. We study and learn language for the purpose of helping us communicate.More importantly, it is about the communication we have with ourselves.

We are the main ‘subject’ of our lives, it is all about, me, myself and I.

So the ‘verb’ part is the doing. We ‘do’ all the time. even when we are doing nothing, we are still ‘doing’ nothing.

These are the basic, you cannot, not exist, and you cannot not do.

That brings us to the description of the doing, the Adjectives.

Look at it this way, boys, let’s take an example:

I write.

I write terribly

I write slowly

I write beautifully

I write with great anger

I write by the ocean

I write forever

You see, the adjectives, or adverb phrase describes the action. All of our lives are described by our choice of adjectives. So you need to know the adjectives to use in life. Good, constructive adjectives frames your thoughts and attitudes. Destructive and self-depreciating adjectives, dis-empowers you, robs you of positive vibes.

So it is not just about the doing, the verb. But it is also about how you describe the doing. That will determine if your doing is going to be fabulous or your doing will be sub-par.

Communicate with yourself, using the best choice of adjectives, the most empowering adverb phrase. and you’ll see more value n your doing, and purpose in your doing.

Adjectives will help you reach goals and make the abstract, material. Learn and make the best adjectives out there, your best friend.

Finders Keeper

“Mummy! Papa found a two dollar!”

“Mummy! Papa found a two dollar!”

Ian bellowed across the supermarket aisle at the frozen section.

Dear Ian,

Sometimes it is not the best way to tell people about your serendipitous wealth.

The Law of Finder’s Keepers.

Your mum told me about something like this when she was about 5, your little brother’s age. She was with her mum, on a Sunday going to the market, her mum was walking in front, when your mum was blocked by a $50 note lying on the ground in front of her.

She too shouted for her mum. This time she said: “There’s a $50 on the ground!” repeatedly, whilst her mum was gesturing repeatedly at her to pick it up and shut her gap.

She did, pick up the wet note and her mum took it away from her.

That was her.

For us, I saw the lonely $2 on the floor, unbelievably, no one saw it, and it is not as if the aisle is vacated. I walked a pick it up and kept it, of course. But not without Ian telling the whole world your dad’s keeps.

Well, boys, it isn;t the easiest thing to do as to explain the law of such finds. I mean, what is someone walks up and say, hey that is my $2! What can I say? What can you say?

This is one of life’s grey area, there is no right no wrong to it, but you cannot simply just leave the $2 buck on the floor! If you don;t pick it up, someone else would and guess what, finders keepers!

Knowing your failures

Dear Boys,

You will become aware and learn about this great man Thomas Edison. He is the person who ‘invented’ the light bulb (although the details to that remained arguable) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison)

More importantly, I want to bring to your attention, the number of times he attempted before he was successful in his invention. He was famously reported to have ‘failed’ 1,000 times. Of course we can did the truth and historical about that; that wasn’t my point. I’m not going to blog into a ‘success story’ thing. You boys are going to get a lot of that on your way growing up.

What is more important is Mr Edison’s ATTENTION TO DETAIL. Let’s be frank about it, how many people can go around with a record of 1,000 attempts? The point is, Mr Edison, makes an accurate records of his attempts failures, tries and tribunals. He is clear, lucid and very specific about his work. In his try, trying, and tried, he never lost sight of where he is going and where he will end up.

How many of us, document our failures? We all want to document our success! Failures, attempts and tribunals are like the dark, little ugly siblings we don’t want people to see, much less document them, and talk about it. But Mr Edison, uses that as his source of motivation. He documents them, counts them. (I’m very sure he did, otherwise how he is famous for the 1,000 failures? why not 2,000? 2,314?)

He counts them, because every mistakes counts, and contributes to his success. We all need to count our misses as much as we count our hits. perhaps more so! Because most of our lives will be filled with misses, not hits. How we get our hits, will depends on our attitude when we miss.

And we need to remember how we miss, so that we find a new way to get the hit. I don’t think Mr Edison will subscribe to the mantra ‘don’t make the same mistake twice’, because simply, no 2 mistakes are the same, they may look the same, but they are not, and Mr Edison, knows that, and makes that differences. At any given space and time, nothing stays the same and happens the again at the same spot and circumstances.

I’m also quite sure, that Mr Edison, analyse his mistakes and argues that they are not the same! And even if the mistakes looks apparently ‘similar’, his learning from the first mistake will implanted him with an experience that will change the way he looked at the second mistake. and  he builds on that, the third, the fourth, and so on.

He also knows when he has succeeded. The final product of a light bulb, could, of course, be improved, could be another mistake, he could have gotten so addicted to counting he mistakes, he failed (pun intended) to see his success when it comes knocking on his door. He didn’t

He know very clearly his Eureka moment, that ‘A-ha!’ and ‘I got it!’ and stops his count. At 1,000. Well, perhaps, it was 1,300. perhaps it was 1,050. The media gloss over the details, but the we get the drift, I hope you boys gets the drift too. Knowing our failures will be the single most important fulcrum in our ascend to success. Our failures counts as much as our success, Mr Edison is a testament of that formula.