It’s pretty silly to micro-manage people you choose to help you.

1) It takes a lot of your time which defeats the point of hiring.

2) It interrupts workflow and business operation.

3) The best people get demotivated and go away. Back to point 1.

Perhaps at some point, you were let down by someone. And in order to prevent future hurt, you decided not to trust until someone has themselves proven worthy.

But as Bill Laizer points out to Jim Collins, the other bet is to assume that someone is trustworthy until proven wrong. Yes, you would be let down at times. So protect your downside. And the upside is that when you find someone who is trustworthy, they will rise to it.

Even more so, have you also considered the possibility that, because you trust them on the outset, they are more likely to become trustworthy?

There are two approaches to relationships in life, (1) take life as a series of transactions, or (2) take life as building relationships. And the cornerstone of relationships is trust.

What is your trust wager?

This article is more a rant than I like to it be but I thought it’s worthwhile to share.

A few months ago, I signed up for a co-working space.

And of course, like all salespeople whose job is on the line, wants to help. They want the sale, I need their help. The test really begins after the sale.

Doing my business in the toilet, I looked up and saw a poster, “Feedback is a gift.”

As an enthusiastic first-timer, I made a list of feedback and improvement to share.

How about adding a locker? Turning on the ac for the weekend. Putting up clear direction to avoid wrong entry. There’s a member disturbing the silence in the common area. Can I help open the door for the delivery person when the staff is busy? The card does not work despite booking on the app. The list goes on…

As I drip the feedback, the replies got in.

We can’t turn on the ac because it’s expensive and we had an agreement with the landlord already.

We can’t add a locker because carpentry is expensive too. But what about a portable lock? Here’s a used one on Carousell and I’m happy to pay for it.

We can’t fire that guy who is making a lot of noise because he’s paying good money for the corner office downstairs.

Well, you can’t access this location because you booked multiple locations at the same time. You should book one, check-in, then book the other location. The app is not buggy, you’re using it wrong.

Your keycard doesn’t work at this door because most members don’t use this door anyways. Just don’t use this door.

After a few of these, I learnt that it’s a great chore to be rejected. It’s a waste of emotional labour and time to make the system better. My feedback matters as much as it is a protocol.

What started as a marketing feature, as a human to human connection, turned into an operational cost. That thing that made people come in the door is not an extra line in the balance sheet.

The care that was used to build the organisation has left the building.

And what’s left is the poster in the toilet saying “Feedback is a gift”.

Plan for their departure.

  1. You will design a job that people want to get and want to stay (hint: it’s not just about the money).
  2. You will interview for fit instead of rushing to put bodies to work resulting in the right hire.
  3. You will be a better manager as you care about them more than manipulating them to stay.
  4. You appreciate them and their work. And people like working with those who appreciate them.
  5. Happy people make for happy co-workers which makes a happy culture.
  6. You will have a smooth operation instead of an overtime burnout workforce backfilling a missing position.

This is the opposite of a non-complete clause, a future salary bonus, or the hope of a potential promotion. These are fear-based tactics and it works.

No, not for the long run. Not for the best people doing their best work. Not for kind of people who are creative, great to work with and resourceful. They are sought after. These are people who have opportunities already lined up.

Counter-intuitively, for your employee to be with you for the long run, is to plan and celebrate their departure because the ultimate secret weapon is care.

When you get into the mindset of giving it, some of it will come back your way.

Who were you when you were a teenager and who are you now?

Your name is probably stayed same.

But your habits, your goals and your understanding of yourself might be vastly different.

The other day, my mum came home empty-handed. She commented on the outrageous price of the food stall, double what she was used to paying. Furious, she refused to pay and walk away.

Was the cashier trying to scam her? No. The price was clearly stated on the signboard.

Could she afford it? Yes. More expensive, but by no means, out of her reach.

Was she furious? “It was a daylight robbery.”

Did my dinner arrive? No. She offered to cook but I decided it was easier to eat around the corner.

If we are lucky enough to afford more than rice and beans, money is a story. How much it is and how much we are willing to pay.

It is the difference between having a preference and having your preference grip you.

We can insist on how we want the world to be, how other people (or the food stall) to show up, or we can work to be flexible. Hence, resilient and anti-fragile.

It’s easy to figure out who is a happier person.

In this experiment, I attempt to find a way to take breaks from the computer screen by taking smoke breaks. At the same time, looking for ways to reduce the negative effect of smoking.

Why: I wanted a way to break-away from the computer screen without a huge time investment. Options are walking, coffee and water cooler visit. I’m considering that if I’m not addicted to smoking, it could be a good solution with social benefits.

Learnings: Smoke only on cheat day, once a week. If I want to smoke, I will roll my own tobacco instead of taking ready-made cigarettes.

Experiment log [Jun 21]

2 weeks before – I stop smoking for 2 weeks as a control.

Thoughts: [Success.]

1st week – LD light cigarettes. Finished it in 5 days. 4 cigarettes a day.

Throat felt irritated. I do not like the mental effect of the cigarette. My mind is less clear, which results in a drop in productivity. I also find myself turning to cigarettes every time I feel tired or stress.

2nd week – Marlboro Ice Blast to combat throat irritation. Finished it in 5 days. 4 cigarettes a day.

The menthol feels better on the throat. Again, I did not enjoy the mental effect after smoking. I wasn’t as sharp and focused which defeats the purpose of a break. I smoke as a de-stress mechanism, even as a counter to small annoyances.

3rd week – Tried cigar at a whiskey bar. I thought that not inhaling might be a good way to reduce the negative mental impact. That same week, I bump into someone smoking a cigar at my co-working space. He wore a red polo with the collar popped. I knew then, the cigar was a no go because I don’t want to appear a douche.

4th week – Tried rolling tobacco. Bought 25g x2 types of tobacco, rolling paper and filter.

I smoked fewer, 2 sticks a day. My guess is that the effort of rolling acts as a deterrent. It has less mental impact compared to cigarettes. The throat is still irritated.

2 weeks after experiment – I stopped smoking for 2 weeks as a reset. For the first 2 days, I find myself reaching for my rolling cigarettes. Probably from past habits. 4th day onward, the impulse lessened. After the first week, I never thought to smoke.

Summary – For me, smoking is in the same category as sugar. Take it on cheat day if I so wish. And I will only smoke rolling tobacco.

It’s perhaps ineffective, or even stupid, to call someone a dishonest retard.

After that, people just want is to punch you in the face (out of defence.)

I don’t think you want to insult intentionally. We are simply defending our view of the world. We are defending what is true and right for us. We are in reaction.

So we start with truth. Can we separate our truth and our preferences from the TRUTH? Do we need to impose and demand that people act in our way, the right way, the best way? Can we hold our truth lightly?

After all that sorting, then you ask, What’s the most loving way to tell the truth?

It might sound like this.

“Sweetheart, I’m happy to give you my opinion. I just want to let you know that my opinion isn’t always right, and I’m not really attached in being right either. If you like, I’m happy to share my opinion with you and you can do what you want with it.

Here’s my opinion, red is not the best colour on you. I don’t think that particular belt at the waist accentuates your figure in the best way. But just as if you ask me, do I like Brussels sprouts or not? I don’t particularly like it, not really. I don’t particularly like this dress either. It’s not a moral thing. It’s just my preference. Look at me, I’m not any better at fashion either.”

Instead of, “I told you before. Stuff around your waist isn’t good for you” or “Red is the worst colour. Are you dumb?”

If we care more about being close than being right, perhaps it’s time to re-think our strategy.

And doctors fall into this trap all the time. Their bais to extend life. Because after all, that’s what they are taught.

The other day when I volunteered at the hospice. A patient expressed how they have accepted death. Instead of chemotherapy, he is enjoying his last days. He is ready and this is how he want to die.

The expression is met with sadness from a nurse. In her mind, he should be more positive, more wanting to live.

But could it be that it’s entirely possible that he is happy?

The same goes for the advice-giver (I have been guilty of this). As much as you think it might be helpful, most people don’t want your advice.

The simple trick is enrolment, the prove of willingness. To ask “Would it be useful to brainstorm some ideas on this or maybe if you would prefer a hug instead?”

Most of humanity don’t have one and they’re just fine.

Just because someone has doesn’t mean you need one.

Or because the winner has one, doesn’t mean you are playing the same game.

It’s expensive because it’s an unscalable, generous human to human act.

The cost benefit analysis don’t work out, making it a bad investment.

It’s a pain finding a good one.

An article, a book or a friend would probably be faster and cheaper.

Perhaps until you run out of options, you don’t need a coach.

Is it the act of interviewing for love or maybe a lifetime museum partner?

For the adventurers, it could mean having a grand time and sometimes that includes sex.

For some, it could be figuring out what makes you tick, learning about yourself and becoming a better partner.

One strategy could be curating a hype profile, going on fun activities and living in the moment.

Another strategy is to go a variety of dates with different people. Reviewing and taking notes. Drawing hypothesis of the characteristics that give or take energy away from you.

The temptation is to want it all. To have a grand adventure and also find the perfect prince. It might happen. But more than not, a grand adventure will leave you wanting the next adventure. You’ll get burned out meeting too many people. The prince never appears because you never ask the question of how he looks like. The kicker, he might right be in front of you.

Maybe it don’t matters what your dating goals are, just that you know what it is. For yourself and the people you date.

Amateur artists are obsessed with freedom.

They mistakenly believe that freedom is the condition for creativity. When inspiration strikes, they act quickly and discard their routines to stoke the creative fire.

They paint their room, wear their outfit, make their food with immense creativity.

Except, that is not how great art is made.

For great art to happen, wander needs rigour.

It is to regularise the trivial, to reduce the number of decisions for the small thing. Using those energy to focus on doing art that matters, for people who care.

So, no. Great art is not created with absolute freedom. It is made by extreme discipline.

And it might be worth thinking hard about the routines and system you need to support real kind of creativity.

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