The Angels said.
I don't wanna face the day, the day, today.
Take a long line.
What do you do on those days when it feels like the universe is just messing with you?
When the mouse on your computer becomes possessed with the irritated spirit of a thrash metal fanatic - and dances all over your screen reliving glory days in the mosh pit of some melody-starved metal classic?
When the neighbours from land of "no clue at all how to train a dog" in the "truly slow learners" province decide to get a puppy with powerful lungs, then leave it tied up so that it can cry out at the perfect pitch to completely unruffle your calmness feathers?
When you find the audio course that would help bring back your mental chill, and you discover that Apple really does hate its customers, ensuring that no amount of thoughtful methodology, or googling to find the reason your iphone will not admit you are the master and allow you to put in the library - ever... No matter what posture or apopleptic colour you make your face glow.
Sure - I know that I have the power to choose my state. But why does the universe have to niggle me with such precisely created barbs in a potent combination of intrusive thuggery?
Of course you know that the "why" question can simply embed the unwanted state that birthed it into a reinforced bunker of self delusion that makes it harder to evict. So - if you enter the house of "the world is against me" - make it a short visit... Do not seek to extend your stay by seeking further proof that the world is truly against you - as this is concrete on your feet as you sleep with the fishes.
Here is one of the tools I use to break out of the asylum (or into it - depending on your headspace at the time). Consider this:
In practically all religions and spiritual models - each of us is considered to be both part of the world (external view) and all of the world (internal view). I will talk about this in the future (if I get bored enough) - but just for now try on the story that you are in the world, and the world in you. Don't worry - it will make sense in a moment.
Because you have a foot in both camps - there is a simple rule: The world is your friend if you are friendly with yourself. (as you are both in the world and the world is in you). Now - having ground our way to this point - if you are at odds with the world - then you are at odds with yourself. If you make the world your enemy, you fight only yourself.
That is pretty dumb behaviour, right? Beating yourself up by raging or fighting or defending against the world? Give yourself an uppercut, then stop it!
It becomes pretty dumb for me to throw bricks at Apple for the itunes interface. Or to elevate an angry finger at the inept BMW driver who is either ignorant or ignoring of the rules of the road... After a few minutes of viewing the world from this fictional location (because it is all fiction in our heards - a story we sometimes dream is true and become fully underwater in the "reality" of it.) - from this location our battles with ourself become funny.
At that point, I become released from the shackles that hold me in the house of self delusion that is creating my imaginary horrors - and I befriend myself, and the world again becomes my friend.
Give it a whirl. Let me know how you go, by posting below.
And it may lead you to uncover the simple things you need to change to transform your world to heaven-on-Earth... And how to do that...
Or it might only just be interesting and amusing - with a little useful science thrown in. I am betting it is the first one.
What's The Story?
Have you ever had a cold sore? Or know someone that did? It can be pretty miserable dealing with it. So I began to consider, with the target of alleviating or possibly preventing, cold sores. Yes, there are may be other things I could think about - but just as some people like crosswords or Game of Thrones - I like to consider and discover what obvious things are hidden in front of me.
This is what led me to the breathing method that completely removed my asthma symptoms over 20 years ago, and my first bestseller. More on that later. What is obvious about cold sores?
You notice that they usually (not always) grow on "border" areas - like the area between inside your mouth and outside. With oral herpes - on your lips. Right on the border between outside and in. Sometimes they move from there - but not far - and nearly always it needs to be "wettish".
Why is that you ask? That is our first adventurous clue in the puzzle. If you have done high school chemistry - you have a slight advantage here - because you will have heard of pH. But you don't need much chemistry to follow this.
Did you know that your skin is acidic? This means that if measured - the pH of your skin is LOW. On pH scale, NEUTRAL is 7. Below 7 is acidic. Above 7 is called basic. Water is pretty close to 7. There you go - you pass first semester of chemistry. This may not seem important, but this info may change the way you wash your body and hair forever.
Chemistry for "Antiaging" and Looking Great
We will come back to cold sores in a moment - but this is one of those tangents worth following. Your skin has LOW pH, which means it is a little acidic. How acidic it is depends on where you measure it. Your scalp and skin are about 5 to 5.5 on the pH scale. Your hair is even lower - at about 4.5.
Now you know your skin is acidic, but so what?
Well - guess what pH soap usually is? Obviously it varies - but is usually close to pH of 9 to 10. Why is it so high? The best cleaners are alkali (another word for basic or pH higher than 7). It means that fat and oil are broken down better as the pH goes higher. It is why your clothes detergents are alkaline (9 or higher). This allows it to "strip" oils and soils off your clothing.
And soap "strips" the oil off your skin, and off your hair. But you don't use soap on your hair - do you?
Because if you did - it would quickly become dull, and then brittle, as you removed all the oil from the shafts. Split ends, flyaway, dandruff. Instead you likely use a concoction made up by the pharmaceutical industry and then copied by the industrial industry called "Shampoo". And what is the pH of "good" shampoo, you ask (because you now know it is important!)
pH of Shampoo is different to soap! The better shampoos are closer to the pH of your skin, scalp and hair shafts. Most are between pH 5 to 7. The closer the pH is to the area you are "cleansing" the less damage to that area. It also means less "cleaning" is happening. Remember higher pH will be (in the simplest model) a better cleaner. BUT, cleaning too well will strip all the natural oils from your skin and hair.
Soon I am going to talk about an experiment I did with washing my whole body with shampoo, not soap...
But first we have to take another geeky side road - so that we can wind back to the really good stuff.
Your human body has a process called "homeostasis". This is wanky word of Greek origin because scientists like to make it hard for civilians to understand things - so that people just do what they suggest and not even try to understand what is going on. It just means that our bodies like to keep things at a consistent level. For example, it likes to keep our skin at the right level of oils and hydration - because if our skin cannot do its job properly, the outside world gets into our inside world - and it gets messy.
And back to soap. What happens when we clean our skins too much?
First it gets dry. We have stripped all the oils out. And - despite what we might have been told by a well meaning person or ten - that is not good. What happens next is that our super-intelligent, highly controlled skin organ senses this ATTACK. And it then tries to REPAIR the changes - usually by increasing the amount of oil it produces. Our millions of little oil pumps go into overtime and pump, pump, pump. Much more than we really want. And what happens - we get "oily skin". It is pretty clear that our skin is oily. So we go to an "expert" or we just let our brains fart a little - and we go and buy some "soap for oily skin" (or shampoo if it has happened to our hair.) And then we ATTACK our skin organ again.
Notice that I call the skin an "organ". That is what it is. It is there with a main job to do. Just like our kidneys clean all the fluids in our system (and other things), our skin is a specialised organ - and it is intelligent.
When we attack it with "cleaning" chemicals - even if they are called "organic" or have cool French names - it will try to repair itself, and if this continues - it will try to DEFEND itself.
Seriously. Let's have an example.
A month or so ago, I began this pH and skin consideration. For decades I have had some small growths on my face. Just near my left eyelash outer edge. The skin would peel and flake, sometime a bit itchy. And it looks a bit red. Obviously I have been to my GP, who puts on her big eye scopey thing - looks at it, with a serious voice says "Mmmm" and then burns it away with dry ice held by tweezers (because it looks similar to skin cancers of various sorts). Hurts for a few days, then heals. Over time it returns. And we repeat every 18 months or so.
Well, it was nearly time to go and get burnt again, and I thought: "What if there is something I am doing to make my skin DEFEND itself by growing more skin faster? What if it is to do with pH of my soap, shaving cream or something else?"
Pretty good thing to test - because it bloody hurts for days to get your skin dry-iced. The logic: my skin likes to be low pH (acidic). Soap is alkaline (high pH). So is shaving cream. Shampoo is acidic. What if I simply use my shampoo for face washing and shaving? In theory - if it is to do with pH - then my skin will respond by calming down, repairing - and perhaps stop DEFENDING with fast skin growth?
Obviously something changed - because we are talking about it now. And yes this does eventually rotate back to cold sores - but now we understand more about our skin. So the "possible" skin cancer simply shrunk and disappeared. It took about 4 days to be completely gone. This is NOT saying to stop getting your skin checked for skin cancers!!! It IS saying to think about your skin as an organ, an intelligent one.
The growth on my face remains gone. There was another spot - which remained. I have caused it to now disappear with some cosmetics I will talk about later - which have a viable theory (to me anyway) for how it works - related to homeostasis.
Back to our main story. Cold sores.
And let's add a little more to your knowledge. Did you know that ONE of the reasons that are skin ideally keeps itself at a lower pH (ie acidic) - is because lower pH KILLS bacteria, virus and other things that might kill us. Our intelligent skin somehow knows that low pH will reduce infections. Let's look at what you buy from the shops. If you buy almost anything that says "kills 99.9% of anything" - chances are that it lists citric acid as an ingredient. And that is the same for hand washes and for surface sprays for your kitchen. Other acids are also used - but citric acid is safe and cheap. Some people use vinegar - which is ascetic acid. Notice the "acid" part. Lowered pH is not where bacteria, virus or fungus usually like to live.
From our earlier discussion on skin - you are now more likely to ensure that you wash your body with something with a lower pH for TWO reasons. First is that it preserves your skin's preferred pH, and does not strip the oils out causing your skin to react defensively (making you look old). And now second - lower pH means less infection.
When I started thinking about cold sores and border regions - I already knew about the pH of skin. I also knew that our mouths have important pH levels. That is - the pH of our saliva. The saliva of a healthy person is SLIGHTLY alkaline at 7.1 to 7.5. But it does range from 6.2 to 7.6. For our teeth to be in great shape - more alkaline is better than acid. (Acid dissolves our tooth enamel once the pH drops below 6.7. PLUS there are bacteria that thrive in a lower pH which then cause caries.).
So - inside our mouth is (usually) very slightly alkaline - but our outside skin (including our lips) are much more acidic. So why should cold sore virus prefer to be on our lips? Not fully inside our mouth? Nor fully on our skin (although sometimes it does). And does this preference have anything to do with the different pH of those areas?
In turns out that perhaps pH IS a big factor
A carefully worded search in Google produced a very clear study that showed that HSV (the virus for cold sores) is INACTIVATED when pH drops to 4.5 - with infection reduce approximately 100x. If pH is dropped to 3.5 - the effect is far greater and much faster. So cold sore virus does not like acidic environments
Remember from above that pH of our skin and hair ranges from 4.5 to 5.5. Perhaps that is why we do not usually see cold sores on our limbs and trunk? The study also showed that the effect of reducing the pH only to 5.0 did not result in a reduced number of infections. (ie you have to reduce the pH BELOW 5.0 according to this to have the antiviral effect.) Diagram below.
The scale on the left of the chart above shows that pH 4.5 reduced infections by 100x (from over 10 million down to 10 thousand.). pH 3.5 took it down to about 30 (from over 10 million). This was in test tubes - not in bodies - but the results are very clear. Herpes virus prefers higher pH - between 4.5 and 7.0. If we extrapolate - that is why we do not usually find cold sores on healthy skin - there is a suppressing effect at the lower pH of skin.
Near our mouth - the pH is higher. And that is mostly where we suffer our cold sores. It would be great if the answer were as simple as this. Unfortunately we have to account for pH INSIDE our various cells, as well as the fluids that wash around them. In fact with some viruses, lowered pH inside the cell increases their infectivity.
But in this special case, I believe we have a usable insight. But before we nail that down - there was another geeky gem in that study. First look at this figure, and notice the column called "pH 3.5 + PMSF" which is third from the right.
In this figure, where the columns instead show the viable viral cells remaining after exposure to different pH, you can see that pH again smashed the viability of the virus. That is nice - but what I want to point out is that the column with a compound called PMSF was also added to the pH 3.5 sample.
It may seem like this just makes it more confusing - which is why you get bonus points for getting to the end. It will give you another potential insight that may boost your health (and also minimise your future cold sores.) So stay with me just a little longer.
This PMSF allowed more virus to survive the lowered pH. The authors of the study suggest that the PMSF inhibits (don't worry about these terms) serine proteases like trypsin and chymotrypsin, plus cycteine proteases and acetylcholinesterase. You can go and look all these things up - and get really confused - or just go with the fact that our body needs these chemicals to function properly. And when we have anything like PMSF in our system - lots of things get disrupted. The most obvious chemical (underlined) to be concerned with is anything that inhibits acetyl-cholinesterase.
To make a simple summary: If something inhibits our enzymes including acetylcholinesterase, the cold sore virus is far more resilient and able to thrive. What if we were eating or exposed to a variant of PMSF every day? Could that increase our chances of cold sores?
When I started this little geek adventure - I was simply following the lead that it may be a good idea to put vinegar on your cold sores. That is still a very good thing to test. It WILL sting for a few minutes. I will also seek out an ointment with low pH that may also be worth testing. And this process may be worth testing on both oral and genital herpes. The virus is slightly different - and this main study is for genital herpes. But it is very strong data, and the likelihood of success with the closely related oral version is as good. The virus IS affected by pH. And vinegar is relatively safe to pour onto your skin and mouth - as it is technically "food". But still only do a small area first. And if you get it in your mouth - brush your teeth a while after (the stinging stops).
The latter barb in the hook?
So what the heck is PMSF? It is Phenylmethanesulfonyl FLUORIDE.
I am not big fan of fluoride addition to water. And the use in toothpaste perhaps is less abhorent because we do not usually swallow. But there is still ingestion. It is not a safe chemical. It is not a vitamin. Our body has no use for it - and indeed is affected by it in unknown ways. In known ways is does affect our enzymes - the ones we need to work our bodies. In this study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6007454 it was proven that the action of fluoride on our enzymes is immediate and dramatic. My opinion? I live in a town with fluoride added to the drinking water (Townsville, Australia).
I also own a reverse osmosis water filtering system to remove the flouride from the water. It also remove chlorides - which if you look at a periodic table is directly below Fluorine. This means it has very similar chemistry - and likely also similar effects on our bodies.
So - is this information worth changing your behaviour over? I am going to say YES. On the first count - you now know about the pH of your skin, hair and mouth - you need to learn more about the danger of soap.
Second - if you suffer Herpes virus - then I would test the use of vinegar on the infection. If it stings too much - dilute it with water. That test is up to you - let me know what happens if your test.
Third - Acetylcholine is THE major neurotransmitter for many of our bodily organs. It controls both our autonomic nervous system - both the sympathetic (fight, fight and freeze) and parasympathetic (rest and repair including digestion and procreation). It controls our sweat glands. It is the transmitter at the neuromuscular junction between motor nerves and skeletal muscle. In our nervous system it is found at interneurons and has many important pathways. One of these is in the forebrain neocortex - the degeneration of which is associated with Alzheimers Disease.
This chemical is VERY important. The enzyme which controls it's levels is called Acetylcholinesterase. The one that is affected by fluoride. This stuff is NOT a vitamin. It is used as rat killer. Get a water filter.
Hope you enjoyed V1 of Geeky Sunday.
Dude – Business Sucess is Innovation and Marketing + Delivery (that is valued and done to “standard”)
Sometimes I like to sit and think. Other times to just sit.
What recurs are simple ideas.
If your business is not growing, bro, it is stagnating. And by growing I mean in the biological sense.
Throw out a little sprout on the tree. No new shoots means you are made of old, dead wood. And decay is coming.
And when you get a nice sprout going on – unless the right people know about it, understand it as much as they need to, value it, desire it or need it – it will not draw the “sunshine of the money” to sustain it.
There are the extra shoots on your existing branches – product improvements, variations, extra options colours and flavours. And there are the new branches. And there the seeds that your success sperms across into new markets.
In my yard I have nutgrass. It is by definition a “weed”. But is has my admiration. It has the goal of total domination of my yard. It defends the areas where it is market leader, and it sends continual military forays into the areas it does not dominate. It is ruthless. It is focused. Is is winning.
My insight today is that unless your business has the clear, no fuss, no doubt, no choice mission that it is to ultimately DOMINATE whatever sandpit you define as yours – your strategic choices will be underwhelming in their success. Not matter what squishy guff you write on your documents about visions and missions and blahblahbabldioo – you have missed the point unless you the apply the Nutgrass Turbo.
It is only by deciding to DOMINATE – that the full power of strategy is able to be used.
Why nutgrass? Nutgrass is there to dominate. Everything it does is designed to ensure domination. It has these little “nuts” that it creates relentlessly. They are underground. If you pull this plant out – and miss just ONE little nut – it will come back at you. Again and again, until you give up.
Then – as well as these nuts – it has designed itself to quickly produce a missive number of seeds on a glorious stem. Hmm. Force Multiplier effect? Bring a second powerful tactic into your domination arseonal and you more than double your expansion power.
Lately I have been re-reading a lot of Deming. And thinking about processes and systems. And how there is a “code”, a set of programming under each of the experiences in our circumstances. And one of the key insights is that what happens at the beginning of a process – has a greater weight on the results. Deming said of systems to “define the first 15% of each level, 3 levels deep. Others say that this first 15% delivers up to 85% of the potential value of the sysem. I would love to see some data on this claim – but it seems a good theory to test the hell out of.
Let’s pretend just for now that the underlying programming that creates the success of your business – let’s call it your “strategic plan” – is turned on.
Sport can be a wonderful teacher, and often games DO reflect our circumstances and rules. First, let's think what happens when playing football on a nasty, cold, rainy field. The ball is wet and slippery, hard to hold onto. The ground is also hard to navigate with boots either slipping or bogging on the sometimes muddy turf.
There is no margin for error in the throwing or timing of a pass to your team, as this will lead to lost possession and a period of tough, draining defense.
But there is an upside.
Both teams are playing the same conditions. And it is here that tactical choices determine the winner in most cases. You CAN still win at sport, and in business in tough conditions.
When playing rugby (of any kind) in challenging weather - what must you do? And what does that mean to your business tactics?
1. You must cherish possession of the ball. Every pass must be secure. Every hit up and run must be arranged and implemented to both gain ground AND retain possession.
2. You must keep territory position in mind. Play the game in your oppositions half, where an error from them has most benefit for you. And a touch of genius or luck from your team rewards you most. This means tactical kicking, but not predictable kicking.
3. You must make best use of your assets. Your big men can run hard at the line at angles that allow the conditions to make it harder to stop them. And in ways that drain the energy of the opposing team. Your play-makers must avoid becoming exhausted by the conditions, and set up others more than run themselves. To do this, your team must be ORGANIZED and know what the plays and tactics for this game are.
4. Every advantage must be fully utilized. Half-gaps must be hit with full power and enthusiasm. Extra effort for bursts of speed results in either line breaks or extra exhaustion of the opposition. Your strong men must refuse to fall, every step counts. Mental toughness must supplement physical conditioning.
Your business CAN success in tough times. Business is still there to be won, although you may have to evolve and adapt to become the team whose value overpowers the desperate competition. First you must choose to accept there is a market for you that is worth dominating. It is the same as choosing to play to your hardest on a sporting field - you must decide to win. Or there is little hope of winning.
That decision - for YOUR business to dominate - is the key strategic lever to you then defining your market, creating the processes and messages that will give you advantage, and then executing in a calm, organized and ruthlessly focused program.
Well – the new year has begun again. Like it did last year. Following the same pattern. And the pattern is the clue to the power contained in a new word I created just now in the attempt to get the concept clear enough in my own head to be able to share it with sane people.
That may be you – but it is not really me. Yesterday I was perturbed when the hairdresser who had just cut my hair described the result as “respectable”. What the hell is that? My hair now deserves respect? Perhaps it is common for people to have a goal appear respectable?
So – in the closing stages of 2016, there were a couple of different concepts about behaviour that were attempting to “mash” inside my mind. I had been working on a project that trains people to be able to greatly improve their probability of setting goals and actually achieving them.
There is a missing component to almost all goal (or target or objective) creations. Without knowing and applying this component within your goal setting process – you will likely have an almost perfect history of Goal NON-Achievement. You may even have decided that goal setting does not work (which would be true for most people).
If you are a serial goal achiever you either are doing this component by luck, or you have been applying that fictional power created in the 19th Century – called “Willpower” to brutally pound your way through your action steps.
The 3 Main Ingredients Attempting to Blend Together:
You may be wondering WHY this is important to anyone? It is important because the mashing of these concepts will give you a clear, simple process you can apply to many different levels to take your goal achievement skills to a place where you laugh out loud at your previous attempts.
Over the centuries there has been a ton of metaphysics or religious symbolism that has touched on the process. More recently the “Law of Attraction” magic was spread over the globe. It has a great story. And some people claim to have made it work for them. Probably the same people who actually set goals and achieve them. Certainly not the majority. Or we would all have won the lottery and be perfect physical specimens.
The Bible has some very potent symbolism that carries a clue to what the LawofAttractioners missed. And it has to do with the “Kingdom of Heaven”. Yep – I said it. You may not know that I am not religious at all. There has been some great content created by the original authors of each religion – which was in stated symbolically – that has been converted by vested interests into multi-layered fiction. In the Christian religion practically everything after 100 AD, is gibberish. And much before then as well.
That is fodder for a different post. The reason I raise the kingdom of heaven here and now is to do with the term “coherence”. It is the meaning in physics that is relevant. Google it if you want to go down a rabbit hole. For now – just pretend that it means getting all the “waves” that you generate in your mind (as thoughts and feelings for example) to have the same wavelength, and to be travelling the same path.
If you spout out all kinds of different thoughts at once, and bounce all over the place from your business to your sex life to the weather to a barking dog to feeling hungry to feeling annoyed at feeling hungry because you are on special supplements – you have no coherence. You are channel flicking.
Your ability to stay on one topic is minimal, and your mental power is diminished. You have trouble making decisions because your thinking is handicapped. You experience fear and probably have developed a habit or procrastinating or avoiding important actions. And with each procrastination you reinforce that particular “habit” – until you are completely oblivious to what you are doing with your thoughts.
I will break this post into different segments as it is likely your ability to follow is already shaking.
Let’s tie it up a little for today. The “Kingdom of Heaven” is the place INSIDE yourself where you have calmed your thoughts and thinking. Usually entered via a meditation process or self hypnosis – you calm yourself physically and then mentally. As you get closer and closer to the “KoH” your thoughts slow down, and you can observe them. You realize that you are NOT thinking your thoughts – you are only observing them.
As you observe them – you can, if you choose, contemplate each thought, and then choose to keep it or let it go away. Each thought (according to the theory – has an effect on the physical world – the basis of the Law of Attractionists). You can see that even just slowing your thoughts and choosing to let them take root (or not) – will have a drastic affect on how you feel and act in the world.
Your stress levels drop because you are not in constant channel flicking mental mode. And you can think for long enough to make decisions with confidence. And your FEAR is reduced because you are not constantly in emergency mode. You have time to respond to the world, and add your creation-ability to each event you experience instead of being in automatic mode. (If you want to change the results you achieve in your life and business or career – this is where you must begin. The same programming (the rules or habits in your head) as you used last year will give you the same results you got this year, and forever after barring accidents.
That is enough for today. Your job is to visit the Kingdom of Heaven – the place where you can observe your thoughts and wonder where you are that you can do that. Next we will see the fractal nature of this in your life – and experience how just changing thinking affects everything else.
Ps – the secret sauce of successful goal achievement can be turned into a mechanical process that will allow you to predictably hit your chosen targets. Accessing the KoH (which has many other names) – makes the process much more SIMPLE and more enjoyable.
☁ Instant Improvement Tip ☁ November 2015
☛☛☛ Basic Fractals To Rock Your Business Life…
Sitting on a plane this week, some wave of bizarre-dom rolled in and I found myself in a discussion about fractals, strategic business development and the role of progesterone in slowing the aging process. Yep. And before your eyes glaze over and you slip into a coma – how this turns out may surprise you…
Usually I use “plane” time to smash some concepts together and get some different ideas. For some reason travelling at height softens my resistance to new thoughts. Anyway – the process is called “mashing” – and it is a bit like when musicians “mash” 2 or 3 different songs to make a new one…
So – there I was manically shuffling my index cards and making notes in my ideas books, and I notice the woman next me is kind of doing the same thing. That is different – hardly ever happens.
Conversation ensues and for some reason my mission of ‘making complex things simple to follow’ comes up while talking about her corporate strategic planning process. She says “I hated physics at school and uni – fractals are wasted on me…”
A red flag to a bull perhaps – but fractals are intrinsically useful, and are about maths!
One way to understand part of fractals is that part of it is about positive feedback loops, that feed back on the new versions, over and over. Eyes glazed over!
So – a long time ago, there was a slight indentation in some land in Nevada. Because of the indentation, when it rained water first sat in the indentation and then ran a little. The flow of the water caused the indentation to become a little deeper (positive feedback) – and because it was a little deeper, MORE water came into this gully. This extra water made the little gully deeper again – making it more attractive for more water to enter with the next rain. That is a positive feedback loop. And each rainfall is called an “iteration”.
A fractal is simply a process that continually works again and again ON it’s output. In this example the increasingly deeper gully – eventually became the Grand Canyon.
Oh – that kind of makes sense, she says. Cool.
And then conversation moves to Deming ( you know – the statistician/consultant who helped Japan become a manufacturing superpower). It moved to Deming because we spoke of processes and systems (fractal!), and Deming was HUGE on ensuring that the FIRST parts of the processes were correctly set up (to three levels deep).
Deming maintained that up to 85% of the value generated in a process was determined by the accurate and decisive planning of the first 15% of the process (again 3 levels deep).
For the Grand Canyon – right at the very beginning – the slope of the ground had to be right or there would be no positive feedback to feed the fractal. If the slope was not set up properly – there would be no Grand Canyon like the current one.
This led to discussion about the general confusion in the world about the “missions, visions, values and so on” that must exist BEFORE an organization can generate an effective strategic plan. Unless you know the purpose of a system – and what it will >>ideally<< produce – you cannot design the drive mechanisms that will create those outcomes.
In the corporate world the leaders often do not even have a common vocabulary – so they do not even have the same definitions of visions and mission statement.
As part of this discussion the term BHAG rose – which was new to her – but possibly might be the key to getting a far better result from her “Strategy Session” the next day.
A BHAG is a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”. The term was coined by Jim Collins – and in my planning process, the BHAG is a goal that would indicate HUGE levels of success in a timeframe 10 to 20 years out. From your BHAG, you can then more effectively generate 3 to 5 year milestones, strategies, focus points and key numbers. Then from your 3 -5 year clarity – you can complete your 1 year program of priorities. And down the chain to your Quarterly priorities, key numbers and focus.
And only then can you generate weekly and daily schedules for each division or department or person that can guide them congruently and with inherent accountability.
This “plane” discussion happened only in a 40 minute period as we commuted from Mackay to Townsville – it was just a little dense and condensed!
And how did we get to progesterone?
Simple. We both had backgrounds in both science and business. And the overlay of science (fractals, processes, positive feedback loops) made the insights to business far more simply explainable. Our bodies are the result of the interaction of dozens of different systems – and the outcome is strongly affected by the environment the systems operate in. Same as in business – which is why simple things like lean manufacturing and 5S can radically transform both the appearance of a business and its success levels.
Our bodies (both male and female) essentially have a balance of many different hormones. Two of the most misunderstood are Estrogen and Progesterone. Despite what you likely believe – these are not just “sex” hormones. Male and female require both of them, and importantly they are ANTAGONISTIC. This means they cancel out each others effects.
As we age, both male and female produce LESS progesterone. This means we become ESTROGEN DOMINANT. In men this means that not only do we get the inflammatory effects of too much estrogen (swelling, autoimmune disease), but we also get “man-boobs”. PLUS – the excess estrogen stuffs up our also decreasing supply of testosterone – making us less manly!
In women, the estrogen dominance can have a lot of symptoms from menopausal to a wide variety of other inflammatory disease.
I mention this here because this post is about systems. If a variable is wrong at the beginning of a process – it has massive effects on the outcomes. And the outcomes then change the environment to allow the error to iterate repeatedly until all other systems must adapt to try to keep us (or our businesses) alive.
In our bodies, an estrogen dominance will result in us getting fat, our blood pressure goes up, our arteries get clogged, our limbs swelling, our brains become foggy, our energy systems function less efficiently which changes our chemical systems which feedback and affect our other hormones. If we try to lose weight – we are trying to make alterations DOWNSTREAM of the unbalanced variable. We can take blood pressure tablets – but we are DOWNSTREAM again.
In our businesses we can do some TV adverts to try to overcome falling sales, or renew our stationery and signage, or get some sales training or increase our adwords spending. BUT – if the unbalanced variable is in your vision and mission statement not matching your environment – then all those changes are also DOWNSTREAM.
In essence, things that are at the beginning of a process that iterates are the difference between a little creek and the Grand Canyon.
I really do enjoy science and business MASH-UPs!!
Ps if you believe you have estrogen dominance – there are steps you can take. One is to reduce your own production of estrogen – which is affected by your diet. There other is to take supplemental progesterone. This is for both men and women. There is strong evidence that progesterone shortage in men may be a major factor in the epidemic of prostate misery that is sweeping the world. Progesterone is cheap as it is not protected by patents – and can be bought over the counter as a skin cream. Be sure to get your levels checked before you do anything )- just as you would review your business before making radical changes.) When you change an environmental variable it has more fractal power!
You may probably have heard of this study. I have not been able to find the original source – but it has been on the internet since 1997 – so it must be true. And it sounds plausible.
I know that the reasons that I often leave businesses or change suppliers here in Townsville with money still burning in my wallet- wanting to be spent – do match pretty well.
Here we go:
1. Customer was turned away by the indifferent attitude of a company employee (68 percent)
2. Customer was dissatisfied with the product (14 percent)
3. Customer was lured away by competition (9 percent)
4. Customer was influenced by a friend to go elsewhere (5 percent)
5. Customer moves away (3 percent)
6. Death of the customer (1 percent)
If you want to know how to minimise this expensive loss of customers from your business – you better sign up for the Marketing Bites Tips in the Blue Box on this page.
Ps Does perceived indifference exist in Townsville stores and businesses? In your business?
Need Business Coaching?
Over the last few months I have been testing the Trident Confidential Report. Each Wednesday an email comes with a great review of what is happening in the markets around the world plus a listing of the the current recommended portfolio.
Last year (2009) their returns were over 113%, and over 40% so far this year. As you know – I have had a massive “SKEPTICAL” filter super glued to the inside of my eyelids for some time now. While I do not reject many things outright – I “take them for checking”.
In the last 4 months I have done the absolute minimum using the info in the weekly letter. About 20 mins per week – but remember I am a fast reader. The rules are simple – buy the shares suggested at below the prices suggested, set a stop loss sell order at certain % less than your buy price, and then when in profits have a trailing stop loss sell order.
That sounds a little complicated – but if you are serious about investing in shares – you need to educate on risk reduction using stop losses. It is easy, and the Trident people have a great “Exactly How To Do It” manual.
So – Townsville investors, how have I done with the system?
As of today I am up 18.1% since May 2010 plus some dividends. I think the Australian Market overall is about even over the same time. This is buying only Australian stocks – and the return would have been higher if I have traded US as well. Oh well.
I contacted Monika Ruoff at Trident this morning to find out the best way for Townsville investors to visit them. Monika is the Marketing Manager and suggested that anyone who puts “hooper” in the comment box when you sign up will get an extra month added to their subscription. (And yes – I will also get some extra time added on to my subscription for referring you to them.) Regardless of whether you take the free month – I am impressed with Trident.
Before I give you the link to their site – let’s just go over the reason you are in business (and if you are not why you should be!) The major purpose of your business in your wealth zone is to generate money for you to invest. Nothing can beat the annual returns of a decently run business – but putting your money into assets that appreciate (and give you dividends) while you get depreciation benefits is in my opinion the most predictable way to wealth.
If your business is not making sufficient returns for you to be investing – then you may be missing something obvious – and you had better call me. Business success is not about being bright or being lucky. It is about doing at least the minimum of the right things. There is a secret list of stuff that must be done – and it is hidden in about a zillion books and courses. OK – I am kidding – it is not secret.
It is more like there was one week at school where the basics for business success were taught – the things that MUST get done for predictable success – and that one week was just before the holidays and no one paid attention. The terrible statistics on business failure show that lack of basic education on business essentials is the KEY cause. And that doing JUST ONE BUSINESS COURSE OF ANY KIND or READING EVEN ONE BUSINESS BOOK decreases your chance of failure massively. (from the Dunn & Bradstreet Study).
An obvious example is the absence of any kind of written cashflow forecasting tool in about 90% of small to medium businesses. Get my version of a cashflow forecasting tool by subscribing to my newsletter right now if you dont have one. And – if you dont have enough customers read this: The Secret to Making a lot of money in business – PREDICTABLY.
OK – Trident Confidential go to www.tridentconfidential.com. Get the free Report on where you should be investing right now. Or just subscribe. It is $799 a year. Obviously everything you do is at your own risk. Of course it some cases not doing something has a bigger risk. Get an extra month subscription by putting “hooper” in the comments box.