- The pursuit of beauty | The New Yorker
“Pure mathematics, as opposed to applied mathematics, is done with no practical purposes in mind. It is as close to art and philosophy as it is to engineering… The pursuit of beauty in pure mathematics is a tenet. Last year, neuroscientists in Great Britain discovered that the same part of the brain that is activated by art and music was activated in the brains of mathematicians when they looked at math they regarded as beautiful”.
- The unconscious allure of grand national narratives | The Straits Times
“There will always be a need for a coherent account of the past in order to function as national communities. But we need to remind ourselves that we can also recognise the limitations of reflexive habits that play such a powerful role in guiding our views”.
- Mumbai battles between medieval and modern times | Hindustan Times
Human society will always experience competing tensions between progress and regression, while its people will always spout strange rhetoric to delude themselves – or others – so as to reinforce flawed beliefs.
- This free online encyclopedia has achieved what Wikipedia can only dream of | Quartz
How an online repository achieved the “impossible trinity” of authority, expanse and currency when it comes to providing data and information for research and scholarship.
- What the British are really laughing about | The Leveller
“…David Cameron’s nasty little scandal speaks to a suspicion many people already have: that in British society, you don’t get to become Prime Minister because you’re talented or because you work hard. You don’t even get there just because you’re rich. You get there by traumatizing the homeless and skull-fucking a dead pig, and that ritual gives you power because you have demonstrated utter, pathetic submission to your fellow oligarchs”.
Tag - leadership
A month ago, I wrote about love and how being with someone should make you more awesome than you already are.
(That hasn’t changed; please keep on with the search for finding that someone if you haven’t already found her/him.)
A month on, some of my friends and loved ones have moved from finding love and romance to finding new careers – or at least gaining some traction in their current ones.
I’m happy for all of them, and thankfully, this time, they’re relatively happy with what they’ve found.
Unfortunately, some of my other friends and loved ones are still stuck in jobs that they dread, dragging their feet into the office in the mornings to do work they can’t stand.
After five years of being in the workforce and one year of leading the freelance life, I’m convinced that the main reason why people hate their jobs and/or leave is because of the quality of the leadership.
No doubt, there may be other reasons at play.
But if my experiences – and those of my peers – are anything to go by, a good leader makes all the difference.
Like love, the thing about work is that it needs to add value to your life (assuming, of course, that you’re already bringing something to the table).
But a job is a job; it’s something that you do in order to earn your keep.
The real game-changer is the leader who’s giving you good feedback so you minimise the possibility of making mistakes; guiding you so that you avoid pitfalls; and providing you with opportunities for growth and demonstration of value, among others.
I’ve written and posted about the principles of leadership before (read Part I here – the difference between a boss and a leader – and Part II, on what kind of vision a leader needs to have).
Google also has well-researched rules on how to become a better leader, which reiterates what I’ve written about leadership.
At the end of the day, the easiest rubric for measuring how good a leader is is this:
How, and in what ways, is my leader preparing me to take over her/him?
I know this sounds counter-intuitive and self-destructive: who would want to consume herself/himself, break his/her rice bowl, etc.?
But think about it: the moment your leader actively begins to prepare you to take over her/him, isn’t s/he fulfilling all the requisite characteristics a good leader should have, namely:
- Empowering the team and its members;
- Being a good communicator; and
- Helping employees with career development, among others?
(Assuming your organisation is interested in keeping employees, because of the benefits such as talent retention and utilisation, institutional memory, etc.)
Furthermore, if your leader is preparing you to take over her/him, it also gives her/him the impetus to either step aside so that you can grow – or move upward to replace her/his leader (who, ideally, should also be preparing your leader to take over her/him), and so on.
So borrowing from my earlier post about love, if you’re with a leader who constrains you; curtails your development as a human being; turns you into a shadow of your awesome self, then is that leader really good for you?
We shouldn’t let past happiness or promises of future bliss in the work we’re doing cloud our vision.
What we should be doing, really, is focusing on the fundamental issue of how much our leaders are preparing us to take over her/him.
And if the gauge shows a reading that is minimal, negligible – or even negative – then I’d say you know the answer for what you need to do to be happy.
- There’s More to Life Than Being Happy | The Atlantic
“‘It is the very pursuit of happiness,’ Frankl knew, ‘that thwarts happiness.’ This is why some researchers are cautioning against the pursuit of mere happiness… ‘Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided,’ the authors write”.
- What are the three ways to train your brain to be happy? | Barking Up The Wrong Tree
Sounds like mumbo jumbo pseudo-science, but for people who find that they’re perpetually pessimistic/down/depressed/unhappy, consider doing this.
- Life Skills: Ivanka Trump, Thich Nhat Hanh And Others On The Things Everyone Should Master By Age 40 | The Huffington Post
Some things you learn in school. Others, you learn from experience. But some things can neither be learnt at school nor should they solely be learnt from experience. This list has most of what you need to know.
- Google’s Quest to Build a Better Boss | The New York Times
“Managers also had a much greater impact on employees’ performance and how they felt about their job than any other factor, Google found.
‘The starting point was that our best managers have teams that perform better, are retained better, are happier — they do everything better,’ Mr. Bock says. ‘So the biggest controllable factor that we could see was the quality of the manager, and how they sort of made things happen. The question we then asked was: What if every manager was that good? And then you start saying: Well, what makes them that good? And how do you do it?'”
- 37 Conversation Rules for Gentlemen from 1875 | The Art of Manliness
Relevant for both women and men, even in this day and age.