Monthly Archives: January 2021

BBC Worklife 09-15-Jan-2021: Why Self-Compassion – Not Self-Esteem – Leads To Success

Worklifefeed_BBC Worklife 09-15-JAN-2021 Why self-compassion – not self-esteem – leads to success

Episode: BBC Worklife 09-15-JAN-2021

Topic 1: Why self-compassion – not self-esteem – leads to success.

Extract: A wealth of research shows that self-criticism often backfires – badly. Besides increasing our unhappiness and stress levels, it can increase procrastination and makes us even less able to achieve our goals in the future.

Instead of chastising ourselves, we should practice self-compassion. That is, we should give greater forgiveness for our mistakes, and make a deliberate effort to take care of ourselves throughout times of disappointment or embarrassment. 

“Self-esteem is contingent on success and people liking you, so it is not very stable. You could have it on a good day but lose it on a bad day.”

Kristin Neff
Image credit: Alamy

Measure how much you are cultivating self-compassion. On a scale of 1 (almost never) to 5 (almost always), rate yourself on the statements below:

  • I try to be loving toward myself when I’m feeling emotional pain
  • I try to see my failings as part of the human condition
  • When something painful happens, I try to take a balanced view of the situation

and

  • I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies
  • When I think about my inadequacies, it tends to make me feel more separate and cut off from the rest of the world
  • When I’m feeling down, I tend to obsess and fixate on everything that’s wrong

The more you agree with the first set of statements, and the less you agree with the second set of statements, the higher your self-compassion.

For many of us, the struggles of isolation, remote working and caring for the people we love have provided the perfect breeding ground for self-criticism and doubt. While we cannot eliminate those stresses, we can at least change the ways we view ourselves, giving us the resilience to face the challenges head on.

Topic 2: Why living with and tending plants is good for you

Extract: Both Millennials and Gen Z grew up in a landscape that was increasingly obsessed with living online. This then continued into adulthood. “We took jobs that were increasingly online, and expected instant gratification from apps on our phones: dating, takeaways, cabs, handymen – everything could be gleaned swiftly.” 

credit: Hilton Carter/ CICO Books

And the antidote to that fast and furious digital life? Tending houseplants and gardening. “With gardening, nothing is instant. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing can be tapped on a phone. It is a slow, physical, and patience-testing activity. All of which I personally find hugely relaxing when the rest of my life is so rapidly paced.”

“In a sense, having plants is like having pets – they bring you joy, but they also need love and attention. And having this living thing in your home, makes you focus on the daily caring for something that you’re now bonded to. There’s something in the caring process that’s therapeutic. You can use it to meditate or escape. And for two hours once a week, completely zone out.”

“Plants are like people, they need your help. Without you they don’t live.”

Sue Stuart-Smith

For younger generations, the lack of gardens and high-rise living in cities has led to a “disconnection” with nature. Houseplants are a way to re-connect with nature, and emotionally, they are helpful to mental wellbeing. 

Being in the presence of indoor plants – or looking at scenes of nature – have prompted people to make decisions that showed higher levels of generosity and trust, and had a sociability effect.


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Welcome to Worklife Feed articles and site-files indexing and adaptation series. BBC Worklife 09-15-JAN-2021

Happiness Cannot Be Described, But Can It Be Pursued?

Happiness Cannot Be Described, But Can it Be Pursued_ worklifefeed

Some think it is time to stop pursuing happiness, and I wonder why? I would not concede that it is because happiness cannot be described or because it is unattainable. Even if it is a Utopian pursuit, it might just be possible that the cost of trying to get it, might be paid off by any benefit that may be inherent in the exercise.

Illustration by James Melaugh

Like many teenagers, I was once plagued with angst and dissatisfaction. These were feelings that my parents often met with bemusement rather than sympathy. They were already in their 50s. And, having grown up in postwar Britain, they struggled to understand the sources of my discontentment at the turn of the 21st century.

“The problem with your generation is that you always expect to be happy,” my mother once said. I was baffled. Surely happiness was the purpose of living, and we should strive to achieve it at every opportunity. I simply wasn’t prepared to accept my melancholy as something that was beyond my control.

The above last two paragraphs were by David Robson, in “Why it’s time to stop pursuing happiness,” Act 1, Scene 1.

“The constant desire to feel happier can make people feel more lonely. This can make us become so absorbed in our own wellbeing, we forget the people around us.”

Opening The Blockade to Happiness

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade, and travel boycott on Qatar in June 2017. The group accused Doha of supporting “terrorism” and having what they deemed, a too close a tie with Iran.

The Saudi-led coalition had alleged that Qatar violated a 2014 agreement with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Qatar is a member.

Qatar repeatedly denied the allegations and said there was “no legitimate justification” for the severance of relations.

However, in the week of 5th January 2021, all of that changed. The “blockade to happiness” – the borders – were opened. And for the first time in more than 3 years, Qataris drove across the land border into Saudi Arabia on 9th Saturday. At least 70 vehicles passed through the crossing into the Kingdom on the first day and 20 travel in the other direction.

While the “de-escalation” of the crisis may not have addressed the core disagreements between Riyadh and Doha, it provides some useful lessons. Psychologists analyzing those who crossed the border between Saudi Arabia and Doha may still insist that happiness cannot be described. But those who had the “happy” experience, knew what they felt.

Why It’s Time to Stop Pursuing Happiness

David Robson in the Guardian Newspaper article titled, “why it’s time to stop pursuing happiness” provided different perspectives on the subject. But different twists and conclusions can also be shaped by those perspectives.

Photograph: solidcolours/Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Avoid paying constant attention to your mood so you do not miss out on enjoying everyday pleasures.
  • Don’t have such a high standard for achieving happiness, that you do not appreciate the small and simple things that are really meaningful in your life.
  • If you really want to succeed, you’d do far better to engage in “mental contrasting.” This involves combining your fantasies of success with a deliberate analysis of the obstacles in your path, and the frustrations you are likely to face.
  • Keep a “gratitude journal” to regularly count your blessings and increase your overall wellbeing. But not like a chore, or in overdose quantity. Rather, it should be something you actually enjoy doing.
  • Frequently re-assess and reset your expectations. Accept that no matter how hard you try, feelings of frustration and unhappiness will appear from time to time. And actually, in reality, certain negative feelings can serve a useful purpose.

If happiness cannot be described because the outcome is always personal, the acts to getting there can be described. Ultimately, you might adopt the old adage “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and be unsurprised by everything in between”. Ease the pressure off yourself, and you may just find that contentment arrives when you’re least expecting it.


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Welcome to Worklife Feed articles and site-files indexing and adaptation series.

BBC Worklife 01-08-JAN-2021: Why Our Pursuit of Happiness is Flawed

Episode: BBC Worklife 01-08-JAN-2021

Topic 1: Why our pursuit of happiness may be flawed.

Extract: What do you want from life? You’ve probably had the opportunity and the cause to ask yourself that question recently. Perhaps you want to spend more time with your family, or get a more fulfilling and secure job, or improve your health. But why do you want those things?

Chances are that your answer will come down to one thing: happiness.

“Happiness is not an emotional state so much as it is the excellence of the relations we cultivate with other people.”

worklifefeed_BBC Worklife 01-08-JAN-2021
credit: Mike Kemp/ Getty Images

A life with loving attachments has been shown to be linked to happiness but it can also cause us great pain.”

Like the two quotes above, is life too a bed of contradictions?

Topic 2: How ’15-minute cities’ will change the way we socialise.

Extract: When the pandemic shuttered city centres, he says, it showed how important social links are – but through a different prism. “Many people never visited shops close to their homes before because they were busy. They didn’t know their neighbours or the parks nearby. The pandemic made us discover this. We have rediscovered locality, and this has improved quality of life.”

credit: City of Paris

The two-month lockdown that began confined her to a 1km radius of her home gave her a nuanced, enriching view of her neighbourhood. “I discovered it’s possible to feel like you’re in a small village in Paris,” she says.

“To get to know your neighbours, to maintain good links with shopkeepers, to favour local craftsmen and shops over large supermarkets. I even joined a citizens’ movement where people prepare food baskets for homeless people. I thought I would have a hard time living the lockdown, but I was perfectly at home, in a quiet place.”

“We know sometimes large cities can be tiring and can create a sense of anonymity,”

 “Unexpectedly, this experience strengthened the bonds I had with some people. It led me to criss-cross the small streets of my district more than usual and thus to discover magnificent places just a stone’s throw from my home.”

The ‘15-minute city. The concept is to improve the quality of life by creating cities where everything a resident needs can be reached within a quarter of an hour by foot or bike. The 15-minute city requires minimal travel among housing, offices, restaurants, parks, hospitals, and cultural venues. Each neighbourhood should fulfil six social functions: living, working, supplying, caring, learning, and enjoying.

Topic 3: The saboteurs you can hire to end your relationship

credit: Alamy

Extract: In Japan, you can pay private agents called ‘wakaresaseya’ to seduce your spouse or their partner.

Hiring a wakaresaseya helps you avoid confrontation. It’s a way in the short term of resolving a difficult situation without conflict. There’s a market for everything in Japan. This includes a variety of relationship-based services like renting faux family members. There are additional services offered by wakaresaseya firms, such as assistance with romantic reconciliation, separating a child from an unsuitable girlfriend or boyfriend, or preventing revenge porn.

The continuing existence of the wakaresaseya industry suggests that money and deception may be uncomfortably threaded into relationships more often than people recognise.


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Welcome to Worklife Feed articles and site-files indexing and adaptation series. BBC Worklife 01-08-JAN-2021

Worklife Crafting Because Worklife Cannot Be Balanced

Work-Life Daily_ WORKLIFE CRAFTING BECAUSE WORKLIFE CANNOT BE BALANCED

Once in a while, I get called to make contributions to LinkedIn conversations around work-life balance. And there was this LinkedIn post that goes like this, “I don’t believe in work-life balance. The word, balance, seems binary and implies taking from one in favor of another. I think of life as a puzzle. Time is limited, so I carefully choose the most important pieces to craft the kind of life I want to live, and everything else stays on the table.” Guess what jumped at me, worklife crafting!

“You have the option of carefully choosing the most important pieces to craft the kind of life you want to live.”

The post was by Irina Gerry. But it is what Ariel wrote that touched me further. It practically summed up for me, what it means to be doing worklife crafting because work-life cannot be balanced.

The Most Important Pieces To Craft

“I love the way you think Irina Gerry“, Ariel started. “For a while now, I’ve felt the term “work-life balance” is outdated because it implies that there is a standard that applies equally to everyone. Before I had kids, I was shamed for investing so much time in passionately pursuing and giving everything to a career I loved. But I felt balanced, because I was inspired, and motivated by a sense of purpose,” she said.

“Years later,” she continued, “I realized that pace was weighing on me and I needed to reassess my priorities for the season I was in and pivot. I refocused my time on being a better leader and building a legacy I could be proud of. Once I had kids, I realized I couldn’t do it all. And that I needed to make tough choices about how I invested my time. I said no more. I set boundaries. My friendships changed.”

At this point, I could feel the pain, re-echoed so quite often. The echo and tough choices that women always have to make.

Ariel thereafter took a six-month break to just BE with her newborn and she also volunteered at her church. Along the way, she learned that work-life balance is not as simple to achieve as the term may suggest. She concluded that “ultimately, achieving true “balance” was up to me to own.”

Hopefully, someone will learn from her through this post. Ariel did not hide the pain she went through during the journey. “It’s hard,” she said, “and I’m still figuring it out.” And for the rainbow after the thunderous heavy downpour, she concludes that she, “love the mindset of carefully choosing the most important pieces to craft the kind of life you want to live.”

The Hardest Is Deciding What Not To Be Involved In

Sunny also so much love the shared perspective. For her, she has learned that having the courage to say “no” to things and deciding what not to be involved in or spend time on has been the hardest. “There is a feeling of being judged or not feeling like you’re doing enough. But, at the end of the day, I’m learning to focus on the things that truly matter to me and my family, and how we can all help contribute to a better society,” she wrote.

“So dear friends, find the elements of your own worklife puzzle, and fix the jigsaw.”

Whatever we want to do, it is up to us as individuals to act. But not to go on naive, we need to know that there is going to be pain and joy to face. For example, some have chosen not to have children because they are afraid, not knowing how to reconcile parenting with professional life. This possibly is not a fantastic choice for some others, since “family” is a great part of life for them.

We all, therefore, have a great challenge, as those charting the narrative of this generation, to find a way to reconcile all the pieces of the puzzle in our lives. So that despite the odds loaded up so high against us, we can still ensure we have a prosperous and healthy life.

Find Your Own Life Puzzle

So dear friends, find the elements of your own worklife puzzle, and fix the jigsaw. Time is a very unique resource. It is the one and the only resource that is divided equally between rich and poor, young and old. And we are all given enough for each person’s worklife crafting to be done. So, from now on, your whole life living, the rest of your worklife puzzle is up to you!

I carefully choose the most important pieces to craft the kind of life I want to live, and everything else stays on the table.

Priority is key. Be thoughtful about what matters most, and be ruthless about everything else. You do not need to make trade-offs. But you have to make choices. And after you have made your choices, live in peace with them until the time comes to make new choices. Happy worklife crafting!


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Productivity Is About Your Systems, Not Your People

Productivity Is About Your Systems, Not Your People

Click to read: Productivity Is About Your Systems, Not Your People

Source: Harvard Business Review

Snippets: The pursuit of individual productivity is healthy and worthwhile. However, unless you work independently outside of an organization, the benefits of most “tricks” will be limited. To make a real impact on performance, you have to work at the system level.

“Complex organizations are defined by inter-dependencies among people, and it’s often these inter-dependencies that have the greatest effect on personal productivity.”

Make work visible in the systems, productivity is about your systems. Most of the work in an office environment is invisible, they are buried in people’s computers or their heads. As a result, it’s difficult to know what people are working on or whether they’re overloaded and unable to take on more tasks. Physical or virtual task boards (such as Trello, Asana, Airtable, Zenkit, etc.), can be used. There, every task can be represented by a card specifying who is handling it and its status. This enables a more equitable distribution of work. It also eliminates both countless status check emails and the need to cover that topic in meetings.

“Companies can make work easier for people if they specified channels for urgent and non-urgent issues.”

Align responsibility with authority. Too often workers are made responsible for tasks but aren’t given the authority to deliver results. This misalignment leads to frustration, stress, and overburden. The rule is simple: if an employee is responsible for an outcome, they should have the authority to make the necessary decisions. And they should be able to do this, without being forced into an endless string of emails, meetings, or presentations.

Also, employees should be allowed to make “above the waterline” (i.e., low-risk) decisions on their own. And only requiring approvals for “below the waterline” (high-risk) decisions.

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Sadah Store Injects Fun Into People’s Lives

SADAH STORE INJECTS FUN INTO PEOPLE'S LIVES

Arab-focused pop and contemporary art gifts are a growing trend in the Arab world, especially in Saudi Arabia. Many new brands have emerged in recent years. However, surviving competition is not always easy. The Saudi startup, Sadah is an online gift store. It grabbed the attention of a wide range of customers in the Kingdom in its first year of business.

Founded in August 2019, Sadah offers a variety of products with unique cheery designs, that are inspired by contemporary Arab music and culture.

Sadah means something of a plain color or patternless shape or print. This is the opposite of what we offer at our store. But that is exactly what I liked, because it always brings questions from followers,” Sadah founder Nasser
Al-Jazwa told Arab News.

How It All Started

Al-Jazwa, 22, is a graphic designer who previously worked on projects and products for different companies. But he was not happy that the product outputs did not match his vision for what he wants to do. He decided to put an end to working for others and created his own product line, Sadah.

He started his online store from his house in Al-Qassim. But soon found himself in need of an office and employees. This he soon acquired.

Sadah now has over 30,000 followers on Instagram. It ships its products to Gulf Cooperation Council countries and is expanding to an international market. According to customer reviews, Sadah has a reputation for distinguished designs
and attention to the tiniest details. “What makes us different is that most of our products are uniquely designed by
us. And they beautifully represent an Arab and Khaliji flavor,” said Al-Jazwa.

He believes that products can be manufactured anywhere. And that the most important part of introducing a product to a community is making sure that it relates to their culture.

He said: “The product that carries your thoughts, ideas, and culture is closer to you. And you can easily relate to it, regardless of where it came from. For example, no one would appreciate our oud instrument pin, which is made in China. Except those who appreciate what the product is representing.”

Sadah’s Products Are Designed to Inject Fun Into People’s Lives

Sadah’s products are designed to inject fun into people’s lives through a variety of socks, stickers, pins, mugs, pillows, cards, and more. The store targets young adults and teenagers by investing in their memories as well as modern trends. Some designs are inspired by songs, TV series, movies, as well as memes, And others by sweets and candies from past and present.

“Our biggest goal is to please our beloved customers, who we call ‘Sadah friends.’ Therefore we want to expand our reach, and diversify and increase our products further,” Al-Jazwa said.

However, he added that the current business climate caused by the coronavirus pandemic is posing challenges for newer startups like Sadah. “We are finding it difficult with logistics even as manufacturing and shipping prices are also increasing. However, the positive side of the crisis is that demand has suddenly become higher. More people are shopping online, but the current issues are slowing down the work,” he said.

Like any commercial enterprise, Sadah evaluates its success through sales numbers. However, Al-Jazwa noted that “producing distinctive products is a success in itself.” He added: “Though I am the founder, everyone who encouraged me to start the idea and those who supported me are contributors to its success.”

All Sadah products can be found on http://www.sadahthings.com. You can find the original version of this article at Arab News.

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