Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Random Observations – Part 9

Random Observations – Part 9
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I probably haven’t ever noted this, but these Random Observations are a running project for me. In ways, they prove a respite of sorts from my otherwise lengthy posts. As I observe some kind of a rule or occurrence, I make note of it as succinctly as I can. (Some I admit, are contradictory—as is much in life, it seems.) Here are the latest:

81. Your primary goal


It’s awfully tricky to drive in two directions at the same time. You have to choose one or you’ll never get anywhere. (Afterwards you can consider exploring the other.)

82. Choose faster

Ever been on a deadline to get something time-consuming done? I bet you finished in the nick of time!

The lesson here is that time is malleable. Almost anything can be done faster—often with surprisingly little loss of quality.

Try setting unreasonable deadlines. Finish fast and see how it turns out. With the time you’ll save, you can go back and “gold-plate” if you must.

83. Let the money decide

Money is largely an illusion. In unclear situations, though, it can help clarify.

If you’ve reached a stalemate, ask yourself what the best monetary option is. Doing so will either bring financial reward, or help you isolate which points really matter.

84. Travel light

Remember being 17 and just out of high school?

The options seemed many and the weight of life hardly noticeable. With years come jobs, responsibilities, payments, mutual funds, oversized entertainment systems, and nice placemats. Each of those seemingly normal things adding to the tension in your back and the knots in your stomach.

What if you had less? A smaller house, fewer things, and only worked a few days a week? Is the answer to “unsubscribe” from all those things that make it feel like you’re a cog in a machine?

85. Quality and happiness

Many prefer “having their say” over getting the best result. Try to give them both, but if you can’t, at least keep them happy.

More businesses are built on how they make people feel than the actual quality of their offering.

86. Stop

Odds are that your “today” is much like your yesterday and even the day before. In a week you won’t be able to distinguish this day from any other. Given long enough, years will do the same.

Put everything aside for a moment and consider what task would change things most for the better. Then do that.

87. Apologies

“Sorry” is an important word, but only if you really mean it. Most say it without a second thought as to how they’ll act on their regret.

If you’re ready to change something as a result, fine. Otherwise, own your decision and skip the shallow niceties.

88. How you feel tomorrow

Emotions work differently on a timeline. Something that feels like a huge obstacle now may be hard to recall in years to come.

Acting on present emotions can affect your long-standing desires. Remain dispassionate in order to get what you want in the long run.

89. Matrices

Our minds play tricks on us when it comes to even the simplest decisions. We spend hours trying to pick the best Christmas gift, for example, when it actually makes little difference.

When faced with your next difficult decision, grab a pen and paper, and create a matrix. Establish the criteria, run the numbers, and act accordingly.

90. Standards

Standards are all around us. Work within or around them. If you want to change them, ensure that your available funds match your ambitions. Otherwise, you stand to encounter a world of hurt.

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  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention ideasonideas - Eric Karjaluoto discusses design, brands and experience » Blog Archive » Random Observations – Part 9 -- Topsy.com

  2. Karthik says:

    Love your random observations. Always waiting eagerly for the next one when finished with the current one.

    Waiting for #10.

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  4. Architela says:

    Sounds like you're continuing the centuries-old tradition of keeping a Commonplace Book ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonplace_book )

    Thank you for some valuable thoughts.

  5. I really enjoy reading them, and look forward to seeing the announcement come into my e-mail about the latest edition. If anything, Eric, you'll have amassed a nice collection of these in another year (or more). You can then package them into a nice book for creatives to put on their book shelf.

  6. I've been thinking the same thing. After another hundred or so, I'd like to design a nice little booklet around them.

  7. I am in a totally different industry (meeting planning). But I cann't tell you how many times I have passed along your posts to my co-workers. I like the way you think and your explaination of processes is very valuable. Thanks!

  8. Wo - my head hurts, I just read through all your random observations all at once :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love it when people take the time to share what they learn through life and help others in the process.

    Is there any chance of making these into at least a "perma-link" somewhere, i.e have them all on one page? I'd like to come back to them and review them all every now and then, and link to it of course :)

  9. Thanks Hamish--glad you enjoyed them! I'll likely create a permalink to all of them when I create a bound version (I'd like to hit 200 before I do so, though).

  10. ernie green says:

    a note on number 87. there's actually a psychical response a body has to saying "sorry." it's not positive and it will wear gradually on a person mentally to be saying sorry right and left. if you reach across someone at the Starbucks coffee station "i'm sorry" is not the correct phrase for your health... "pardon my reach" is better.

  11. How about just "excuse me"? :)

  12. Josh says:

    #86 - Really Good Point.

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