The one behavior that makes a huge performance difference

Recently Inc.com published a post entitled The Productivity Secret Behind Bill Gates’s Incredible Success. The title entices you with the idea that Bill’s success is a matter of just a productivity secret, which is, of course, not really true. However, it puts the finger on something that has now been demonstrated numerous times: intensity of focus is a game-changing behavior and increases performance.

Monotask

https://unsplash.com/negativespace

https://unsplash.com/negativespace

For peak performance, the first to get rid of is distraction. Second, you need to concentrate on the one task you have to do. If you’ve ever been totally absorbed in what you do, like coding or painting, or any pleasurable activity, you should have been amazed at how time flies fast and how much you have done. This is the power of dedicating all your energy to one activity and one activity only. Of course our brain and body are multitasking: we breathe without thinking about it, we digest, we do all sorts of things without being conscious about them. However, dedicating our conscious energy to one thing only is what I’m calling monotasking here.

Concentrate

https://unsplash.com/asthetik

https://unsplash.com/asthetik

When you are about to do something difficult, you often need to concentrate. This moment of deep thinking allows to focus our mind and energy on what we are about to do. Unfortunately, with all distractions, many people have lost the ability to concentrate and dedicate oneself to deep work. If you are prone to distraction, you may need to start with short period of concentration, like 10 minutes, and increase slowly to be able to sustain an hour or more of deep concentration. Concentration will bring you to the next performance level.

Meditation can help you reach your concentration goal. By bringing back focused monotasking in your daily work, you will soon be amazed at your results!

The only thing you can control is you…

Your Hump Day Success Edge Post #1

Today’s inspiration comes from Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s COO. During a presentation on Monday, he used this quote: “the only thing you can control is you, the only thing you cannot control is everything else”. When you reflect on this, you realize it’s common sense on one side, but really powerful when you’re interested in learning and growing. Do the Iowa results have an effect on what you do and think? If you’re in politics and your career depends on it, may be. Otherwise? Can you control what Cruz or Clinton will do? Probably not. Even Bill does not control Hillary! Joke aside, focusing on what you can control is the best, if not the only way, of creating a better you.

https://unsplash.com/pawelkadysz

https://unsplash.com/pawelkadysz

Of course, you can argue that you can control any kind of machinery, your car or your direct reports, for instance. However, think for a moment. What if something breaks in your machine or car, what if one of your direct reports is sick? Can you still control them? The only thing you can really control is you, you are in charge of your actions and your emotions, and it’s within your power and decision to take control of your actions and emotions. Once you let go what is around you that you have no effect on, you can concentrate on what matters really: becoming a better you, to serve better others!

Apple may (will ?) abandon the headphone jack on the iPhone 7

Hey, hey, this is the best news in years when it comes to plugs and connections. The jack, and particularly the 3.5mm jack (1/8 inch in the US), is the oldest connector used in modern technology. Actually, I discovered the 6.35mm (1/4 inch) jack, the one style used on most musical professional headset and cabling, dates from 1878… Yes, it’s not a typo, it’s from the nineteenth century. Remember those WW2 movies where you see those telephone operators plugging in cables on wooden panels, well those were 6.35mm jacks…

Any phone, MP3 player or even laptop today has a 3.5mm jack socket… and once again, Apple may (will? This is only rumors for the moment) lead the way in ditching the 3.5mm jack for a modern connector, like the Lightning port. Of course, abandoning the 3.5mm socket will alienate users of current headsets, some having invested in expensive noise reduction ones for instance. But it will open the way to new benefits: waterproofing the phone, as it’s almost impossible to waterproof a jack socket, or high resolution audio to go beyond the CD sampling rate we are used to today.

Apple has always created markets with bold moves. I can say that since Steve Jobs passed away, there has not been that bold move we used to see, this could be it! Yes, it’s just a plug, but ditching a 100-year old plug that is THE norm of an entire industry is bold!

Update! I just discover a petition against the abandon of the jack. The main argument is the following: “Not only will this force iPhone users to dole out additional cash to replace their hi-fi headphones, it will singlehandedly create mountains of electronic waste — that likely won’t get recycled.” Well… nobody forces a current iPhone user to change iPhone and therefore to ditch headphones. Furthermore, for a couple of additional bucks, you can find a lighting to jack adapter which will increase the life of your headphones if you want to keep them. So yes, planned obsolescence is definitely wrong, but innovation requires choice and change. So instead of asking to come back to past technology, let’s see how we can adapt and make technology more relevant.

May be I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one

Dear Reader,

Four days ago, I was writing about who I am. Of course if you’ve found my blog, found it interesting, came back and, even follow it, then I tend to think we are digital friends and we may be friends in the physical world (actually, I know some of my physical friends are there sometimes, and I like that). Based on a couple of comments over the last days, allow me to explain the title and the URL of this blog. A picture is worth a thousand word they say:

There are a couple of things to this picture. For those of you who were not born in 1975, it’s the fourth album of Supertramp, one of the iconic rock band of the seventies and early eighties that released hits like Dreamer, Breakfast in America, and It’s Raining Again. Think that in 1975, the year of the release of this album, the world was in the middle of the “oil crisis” with oil prices going to the roof and recession all over the place (sounds a bell no?), and just one year after resignation of president Nixon following the Watergate scandal.

Now in the middle of these crisis, of the increasing industrial footprint (40 years before the COP 21), sits this guy, relaxing on his lounge chair, getting tanned. Some can see a selfish dude not caring about what’s happening around him, I see hope. And this is the meaning of the title of the album, Crisis? What Crisis? that I chose for this blog (I chose it before realizing it was the title of the Supertramp album, read it here). To me this means that yes, there’s a crisis outside, there are many crisis actually, financial, moral, etc. But since the beginning of mankind, crisis have been ongoing. In other words, there’s always a crisis somewhere. However, we all have the power to act positively against those crisis, to switch off the TV to avoid being bombarded by desperation, and to get happy with the little things in life.

Finally, in this album you’ll find what I consider not only the best song of Supertramp but one of the best songs of all. A video if worth ten thousand words.

I had the chance last summer to see Roger Hodgson live in Carcassonne, A Soapbox Opera Fool’s Overture (See the correction footnote below) live was the best moment of the show.

Supertramp may not be your kind of music and I understand this, I can say I love almost all kind of music because I believe in diversity and because music speaks to the soul. But beyond Supertramp, I truly believe in three things:

  1. Our happiness is between our hands. It’s a choice!
  2. The world is the best world right now. You have to live now, not in the past that is gone, not in the future that had not yet happened.
  3. The future is bright. Stop listening to the negative noise of many people, starting with TV. You make your future!

Dear friend, if like me you want to look at the positive side of things and are constantly looking for ways to enhance your days, then I hope you’ll find ideas and posts that will make your day and contribute to your happiness.

Crisis? What Crisis?

 

Correction… I f***d up my mind… A Soapbox Opera is great but I mixed it up with Fool’s Overture, from the album Even in the quietest moments… And by checking my phone, I just realized that I videoed it during the concert in Carcassonne but ran short of memory on my phone. damn it! Anyway, here’s a wonderful version:

For those who have been knowing me for a while, this was one of the pieces I was playing on my piano (when I played, a long, long time ago). and this is the one I put against Bohemian Rhapsody, not A Soapbox Opera… And this gives me an idea of writing about those two symphonic pieces of rock in a future post.

My life, my love, my work

Happy New Year 2016! To get a new fresh start for this blog, I’m participating in the Blogging 101 of the WordPress Blogging University. As such, during the whole month of January, I’ll have tasks to do to improve the blogging experience, learn new stuffs and increase relevance of this blog to you, my readers. So here’s the result of Day One: Introduce Yourself to the World.

I am Marc, a Geek at heart, as I introduced my about.me page. I am of this generation that knew the world before Internet, who embraced Internet with sheer delight, and is now moving to prudent usage. I have six passions in life: my family, technology, leadership, productivity, public speaking, and watersports. I have a seventh that has been set aside for the time being which is flying, as I am a licensed wing glider pilot, but cannot, yet, find enough time to fulfill this passion.

My passion for technology led me to found my own IT company in the 90’s in Paris before selling them in the 2000’s and joining Microsoft in the sunny island of Mauritius. One year leading to another, I am now the Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft in Africa.

Leadership, productivity and overall personal excellence are dear to my heart, as I believe that with the same 24 hours everyone has, a few uses those to create something bigger than themselves and this require all three.

Public speaking is an old passion of mine that started in high school with theater and continued all along my professional life as an IT instructor, launch event speaker until my TEDx talk and my national winning speeches at Toastmasters convention.

Finally, I am an avid fan of watersports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, waterskiing, catamaran sailing, to name a few.

So what about blogging? Well blogging is first writing, And writing I did: published 18 books in the 90’s (you can still find some on Amazon, although they are totally outdated), did one eBook and lots of articles in the press and on this blog, for one simple reason: I love writing. Like theater, it started a while back by participating to short stories contests (which I did not win any), then writing my first book in French on IT Training. I did it all by myself using Word for MS-DOS. Yes, I know, may people do not have a clue what DOS is.

So what’s this blog about? I started it after the subprime crisis, because, although a lot of people were negatively impacted by the crisis, it ended up by becoming hysterical in France and across the world, increasing the gloomy future outlook. I named it Crisis, what crisis? because I felt the crisis, although real for the people who lost money everywhere in the world, because of the “global economy” or their properties in the US mainly, the crisis was created or at least kept up by the media, and people were frozen and felt gloomy, just because of the situation painted by media houses. It was recently I realized this was the title of a famous album by Supertramp, one of my favorite bands.

So my purpose with that blog was to create a kind of a platform to show people that their future was between their hands and not of somebody else. Then I used it as a digital platform to my leadership articles published weekly in Le Matinal, until my collaboration with the newspaper stopped and I started the one day, one idea motion that led me to publish one article every day for a full year. Then last year was a struggle to keep the pace and the faith. So now, Blogging 101 provides the opportunity to give my blog a new start. Where it will go, I do not know but future and you will tell!