Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Americans prefer to grow out of their problems.

This is an interview CNBC had with the legendary founder of Tiger Asset Management, Julian Robertson. A few days ago, I was working on a NaviMap of how we would probably be getting out of the present funk. I was exploring using to present that NaviMap but I am not ready to do so yet. For the expert reader, that NaviMap is presented after this interview. For the rest please be patient for it to become available on

You would need to click on the NaviMap to see the details in each box. Quickly, it details how the Americans plan to grow themselves out of the mess they are in. Can they do it? The only other way is to bite the bullet as suggested by Julian Robertson. Political leaders are incapable of summoning such courage. They will just have to accomodate each other so that the Americans can use the growth strategy. The helping countries will exact the heaviest price from America for this. Would the US be willing? Who knows? The bill hasn't arrive yet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

G-20 meeting is about fashioning the "Limits of Growth"

This is one of the simplest NaviMap. A reinforcing loop between Box 1 and Box 2. The story is textbook. More economic growth (box 1) creates more employment opportunities (box 2) which contribute to Box 1. This describes a virtuous cycle.

A basic rule of NaviMap is that no virtuous cycle lasts forever. Eventually a limit will be reached (box 3). This can be quite a few things. In the present financial crisis, it was a massive loss of confidence and the overly unregulated and free market that allowed it to happen.

As the G-20 prepares to meet in Pittsburg, they will have to work on Box 3 so that we achieve an acceptable limits. Each economy will desire a different level or type of Box 3. The Americans the main player will have to listen and accomodate the wishes of the others especially China because the US position is secured through global confidence.

The final limits will be a pull back from pre-crisis. There will be more checks and balances; more regulations; taxes perhaps; aligning pay with performance; more long term and less short term. The result would be a slower rate of economic growth overall but at a more sustainable pace.

The environmental impact aside, most nations will have to balance their population growth with the new limits. The best way to do this would be through comparative advantages among countries.

Monday, September 14, 2009

7 Habits: Where is Habit #7 - Sharpen the Saw

Related posts

Habit #7 (box 10), Sharpen the Saw is quite unlike the six earlier habits. How to make improve your skills and abilities in the first six habits is the purpose of Habit #7.

All virtuous cycles eventually reach limits of growth. This is a basic truth about reinforcing loops. Box 10 or Habit #7 is the secret of how to exceed the natural limits of growth. Any effective and successful person practising the first six habits would have on their own eventually realize they have to sharpen their saw.

The first three habits are foundational to the entire 7 Habit system. Note that there is no promotion arrow going from the virtuous cycle consisting of box 3,4 and 5 but it receives from box 6.

What is missing from Covey's book is how to sharpen your saw. He has left that to us.

7 Habits: Linking up the 6 habits

All except Habit #7 are shown above. The point of interest here is the positive influence from Box 6 on the right to Box 3 on the left, i.e., If we own the second virtuous cycle formed by Habits #4, #5 and #6 then it woudl help to encourage and support the virtuous cycle formed by the first three habits. Thinking win-win (box 6) will certainly encourage more proactive thinking and behavior (box 3).

7 Habits: The second three habits

Related posts:
The 7 Habits in one picture
7 Habits: The first three Habits

The next three habits: Habits #4, #5 and #6 also form a virtuous cycle like we saw earlier in the first three habits. Unlike the first three habits, it is clearer that the seeding of this virtuous cycle begins with Box 6 (Habit #4, Think win-win).

Without Box 7, (Habit #5,, Seek to understand first), it would be nearly impossible to discover opportunities for synergies (box 9). Progress depends a lot on the ability to listen patiently and well (box 7).

Stay with these three habits and enjoy the virtuous cycle.

Monday, September 7, 2009

7 Habits: The first three habits

Wikipedia on the 7 Habits

The flow of developing the 7 habits begin with Habit #1, "Be Proactive" as in Box 3. For quite a few people they would probably like to get on with it to acheive results soonest possible. That would be Habit #2, "Begin with the end in mind" as in Box 4. We can much more easily visualize the desirable outcomes from Box 4 than in the more abstract Habit #1. Aren't we more motivated with rewards than some logic necessity or philosophical neatness?

As these three Habits occupying Box 3 to Box 5 form a virtuous cycle, we can begin with any of them. The choice is personal, start with the one that makes sense to each of us. Do not stay there and quickly act to have activities in the other boxes. The idea is to run the loop than to stay in a place, so that each box can reinforce the one next to it and achieve synergy.
One very important point. Look at the NaviMap on the left which discussed earlier. Box 2 punishes Box 5 and Box 3, making it harder to initiate this virtuous cycle from these two boxes or Habits. It is smarter to jump start it from Box 4.

Before the 7 Habits: Addiction risks

Related: Before the 7 Habits
Didn't plan to have this entry. It is here because of an article on AsiaOne on addiction.

All virtuous or vicious cycles eventually stop. Virtuous cycles will encounter "limits of growth" and vicious cycles often end in death or destruction.

The loop between Box 1 and Box 2 is a vicious cycle. All of us are destined to die but if we look at the causes of death, a large portion of it is due to our bad habits (e.g., eating habits, smoking and alcohol) contributing to a premature demise.

Box A is has a resident "?". In the interest of brevity, we will not identify "?" These are the countervailing influences that stop peope from going overboard with their addiction so that Box 2 is "addiction obstacles" rather than "addiction".

For many, the secret of overcoming breaking this vicious cycle is discovering what is in box Box A for them. There are many possibilities ranging from their conscience, sense of responsibility to their religious faith.

The "7 Habits" isn't the only way to success but is an excellent and systematic approach. It is not helpful unless we are able to over come the vicious cycle above (see 7 Habits: The beginning is the hardest)

7 Habits: The beginning is the hardest

The NaviMap above shows the firs three habits; #1 Be Proactive, #2 Begin with the end in mind, #3 First things first. Together they form a virtuous cycle connected in reward arrows between Boxes 3, 4 and 5. This is very good, but how do we get this virtuous loop going in the first place?

See the dashed arrow (this is a punish arrow) between Box 2 and Box 3. There is another dashed or punish arrow between Box 2 and Box 5. The old vicious cycle is making it hard for the new virtuous cycle from happening.

With determination and great effort those who succeed at Box 4 (begin with the end in mind), can begin to weaken the vicious cycle of Box 1 and Box 2. Such a person must put Box 4 into action - it will appear as Box 5 (first things first), and keep doing it (box 3, be proactive). As this loop between Box 3, 4 and 5 get stronger with practice, the punish arrow from Box 4 to Box 2 will triumph over that coming against this potential virtuous cycle from Box 2 (addiction obstacles).

Stephen Covey in his book suggests beginning with Habit #1. The NaviMap shows that starting with Habit #2 (box4) may be easier. Consider where those addiction obstacles (box 2) will lead us to can more easily help us begin with thinking of a different end point (a happy rather than a sad outcome) than beginning our journey with Habit #1.

Once a virtuous cycle has begun, it doesn't matter which of the three boxes are important. A cycle like a circle has no beginning or end. That is the whole idea. Like a fire, the challenge is to get it started.

Related posts:
The 7 Habits in a picture
Before the 7 Habits

Before the 7 Habits

What was it like before the seven habits become habits? The answer is there were many bad habits (box 2) which we can sum up as "addictions and obstacles".

Just as "habits maketh a person", so with have a vicious instead of a virtuous loop between Box 1 and Box 2. They prevent you from becoming a new person by discarding your self defeating addictions and obstacles. We need to break this vicious cycle.

Related entry: The 7 Habits in a picture

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The 7 Habits in one picture

(click on the picture for a larger view)
Ever wonder how the extremely popular 7 Habits of Successful People by Stephen Covey are related to each other? What are these habits? They are
Dependence to Independence
Habit #1: Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Choice ----
Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision
Habit #3: Put First Things First: Principles of Integrity & Execution

Independence to Interdependence
Habit #4: Think Win/Win: Principles of Mutual Benefit
Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding
Habit #6: Synergize: Principles of Creative Cooperation

Continual Improvement
Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal

The NaviMap above looks quite complicated. When I am able to, I shall break it into their constituent virtuous cycles or loops in subsequent posts.

The Forgiveness Process

Note: This entry is adapted from my other NaviMap blog as I needed a quick first blog entry here.

When you truly forgive (box 1) you let go of the bad memories that feed your hurt (box 1a), which was simply kept alive by Box 1c because you remember them, perhaps even nurse them! Time can cause your bad memories (box 1a) to fade but only if you do not indulge it by keep on reminding yourself about them (box 1c).
If you can really forgive (box 1), then you will eventually open yourself to rebuilding and begin to have a new view of the future (box 1f). This will help you to have new memories (box 1g) that will replace the bad old ones (box 1a). Finally you can really "forget".
You see what they say about forgiving and forgetting is not completely correct. It is more like forgiveness paving the way for new pleasant memories (box 1g) to take the place of old bad memories (box 1a). This will help you remember the old hurts differently because new memories replace bad old ones. This then is the true meaning of forgetting after you have learned to forgive.

The virtuous cycle that would make a real difference to you is in box 1f, 1g and 1h. This the loop that restores your emotional health.