Understanding Needs

You can care a lot and really want to help others.  Yet, until you understand their wants and needs, you will not be successful at that task.  You will know that the others are frustrated, and you will want to help.  Unfortunately, the right actions will only be understood by exploring the question of why.

People are a little strange sometimes. You can build something easy to use, foolproof and unbreakable, and even free. If people believe that what you created is not addressing their main concerns, they will not use your new Marvel.

You must get out and talk to people. And you have to listen to people. Words, emotion, body language, and inflection are all things which tell you what you need to know. This takes some time to ferret out. Sometimes everyone tends to talk in circles.

The other thing to look at is whatever you build needs to be an obvious answer to the desires of others. The better it appears to them the first time they see it, the better the chance you have of making a hit with your product. The hula hoop, Ford Thunderbird and the iPad, are all easy to use, make you look good, and are all manufactured to help you get the task done. Priced to sell as what they are, not free yet worthy of the purchase.

If you were starting to get the idea that this might be a little bit of work, you’re right. Yet, a little bit of work never really hurt anyone. And it’s better to do that little bit of work now, rather than putting a lot of time and money into something just to find out you got it wrong. Research is more than only time consuming, it’s the action which puts you on the right track to building the right product.

How easy is it to find out? It’s as easy as going out for coffee, take a friend with you and talk to them about it. Maybe ask them a question or two. You can’t stop with just one, or else you could’ve just listened to yourself. So plan to take some friends out over maybe a couple of weeks. If you have a bulletin board at a Co-working place where you can ask a couple of questions and have people send their thoughts to your email address, that could also be a start. You could even compose a survey and send it out to those you know or friends of friends, and ask a few questions. There are many ways to do this. I find that the best approach is to be with the person when they answer the question because then you get to see the emotion, the body language, and hear the inflections.

Of course, again, this is one man’s opinion.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Better Understanding Yourself

They say that you should not invest in a piece of art unless you just cannot see yourself living without it.  I imagine that is true. It turns out in our world today that most things are purchased not because they are the best, or they are the cheapest, or the most expensive, or in high supply, or very rare. They are purchased because we have an emotional attachment to them.

What is your favorite candy bar? Which coffee shop is your favorite? Have you purchased a particular brand of car more than once? If you own a house why did you buy it? Why are you in the job that you are in? These are all excellent questions. If you start to look at them and answer honestly, you start to discover patterns within your self. Patterns that give insight into your likes and dislikes, and even deeper into your emotions.

Please do not worry about this. We all have things we like and others that we do not like. And, we have emotions usually based on things that have happened earlier in our lives. If we take a look at why we like something or dislike something else, we might be able to follow the trail back to an origin. And that might give us a new insight or perspective on ourselves.

The insight could be as simple as I ate one of these candy bars every day after school, and it made me feel better. It could be that this brand of car was my first car and was my first taste of freedom. It could be as emotional as I was struck by a drunk coming home from the prom and this brand of car kept my passengers and me safe. Yes, sometimes our purchases are quite emotional.

If we can dig deep and find out why we feel what we feel, we have a much better chance of understanding ourselves, what we do and why we do it. If we know ourselves, we might have a better chance of doing better and making more inroads to get to where we really want to be.

You never know what you may find, and this type of journey is not for the faint of heart. Yet, you may find it interesting, and even a road to improvement within yourself. You do not have to take this trip alone. There are great life coaches who can help you navigate these discoveries and help you put meaning to them.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

 

 

Genuinely You

Even though we enjoy thinking of ourselves at times as stark individualists, we are actually social beings. We desire to belong. We would like to know that we fit somewhere within the norm. You do not have to take my word for this. You will know this by listening to yourself.

Have you ever noticed that when we are sick, we worry? It’s true, it happens. Sometimes we can feel a little better just by scheduling an appointment with the doctor. If the symptoms are strange to us or interrupt our lives and we don’t know why, we worry a little more. And we will continue to manifest concerns until the doctor identifies the problem and gives a name of the disease or affliction.

This happens because when we feel ill, we perceive ourselves as having something that possibly no one else has, and something that cannot be cured. When we make the appointment to see the doctor, we can relax a little bit because we feel that help is on the way. And when we are examined by the doctor and get the diagnosis, we then know that we are not alone, that our malady does happen within the world, and there are things we can do to make it better.

Once diagnosed, we take our pills or medicines and follow the required routines to get better. A large part of healing is the knowledge that we are not alone, we are part of a group who either has or has had the same afflictions.

Think of all the times we have the same experiences based on our thoughts and concerns. We quite often are much more afraid because of how we may be thought of based on how we act or think. We start to convince ourselves we are the only one who feels this way or does something that way. We also convince ourselves that if anyone else found out about it, we would be ostracized from the rest of society. That’s not necessarily true.

Just like taking care of the body helps us to understand that we are normal, and we learn how to live better with our bodies. We do the same by taking care of our minds and understanding that we are normal mentally as well as physically. If you go to see a coach or a counselor, it does not mean you are sick, or abnormal, or have a mental defect that needs you to be ostracized from society. Just the opposite is true. It says that you are interested in learning how to work better with you. You want to understand how you think of things. And why you may do things a different way from your friends. When you talk to someone, you are taking positive steps, and because of those positive steps, you will find it easier to be a genuine you.

We Don’t Always Know the Why’s

We don’t always know why things happen. Yesterday it was 75° here. And by this evening we will be enjoying the snow. With 2 – 5 inches due by tomorrow.  Most people here don’t understand why the weather changes so fast. The only thing we can say is, “Welcome to the wonderful world of Colorado weather.” This may be an extreme example, yet the idea behind it is real for more than just Colorado. We see this throughout our lives. We see things happen both good and evil, and can only ask ‘Why?’

We try to attach meaning to events to make them more understandable.  And yet, why a plane ends up in the sea, or a car crashes or anything else happens, is often beyond our understanding.  Many times, I see things, and I can only ask why because I don’t know.  Why did this or that happen? Why?

I do not want to blame everything on random chance.  I also do not want to blame all tragedies on pre-ordained fate.  As a process engineer who believes in continuous improvement, I know that as we understand more, safety and health improve.  And, in this, there is some understanding.  Because someone a long time ago stood next to some shiny leaves and got a rash, we now know to stay away from poison ivy.  Someone had to make the error so the rest of us could learn.

The next time something happens, we could blame it on fate.  We can blame the pre-ordination of man, or we can empathize with the who and what, and learn something that could help us, and everyone else.

It is hard to say why things happen.  I know I do not understand a lot in the larger scheme of things. I do know that time, life, and knowledge are essential.  I feel I need to pay more attention.

Thanks for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Puzzles and Tools

I love to solve puzzles. Wooden puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, escape the room puzzles, sudoku, and crossword puzzles. I like to work on all kinds of problems. It keeps my mind sharper, there is a feeling of euphoria when solving a hard puzzle, and I find insights into some of my other concerns that I might’ve missed otherwise.

Some people hate puzzles, and I understand why. Many times, the person working the problem is looking for an easy solution or something with just a few steps in it. Failing to find an immediate answer, the would-be puzzle solver gives a shrug of the shoulders and says that the puzzle could not be solved. The next time the particular puzzle style comes around, the person merely says, ‘I can never solve those, it just can’t be done.’

When I was younger, I also used to get frustrated and give up puzzles. Then, I learned and started practicing with a couple of rudimentary mental tools which made solving the puzzle much easier. And later I discovered these mental tools have far greater uses. These tools can actually help us in many other areas of our lives.

I learned that solving puzzles and gaining knowledge in business and life had to start with the belief that the problems could be solved.  This is probably the most important of all the tools. Not believing that something is possible results in never putting forth the effort to actually accomplish it. We may give it lip service, yet most efforts are only halfhearted at best.

My next tool is knowledge. If I believe the puzzle can be solved, then I believe that, in most cases, someone somewhere has done this before. If they can do it, then I should be able to do it. I just need to take some time to explore the possibilities.

My third tool is understanding the possibilities. You need to look at all problems based on possible inputs and possible results. Don’t think about the impossible because more and more the impossible, is becoming probable, and might be able to be purchased within the next five years. Remember, the only thing impossible in technology are some of the folks you’ll meet along the way.

So today I give you three tools, belief, knowledge, and understanding the possibilities. Like any tool, these work best when used often and treated with care. There’s nothing worse than going out to the garden to use a tool and having to brush off all the cobwebs and take time to sharpen it before it becomes useful again.

Well, there’s the mean old master sergeant’s thought again. Thanks for being with me, I hope to be with you again tomorrow.