Sunday, November 29, 2009

Proverbs are the wisdom of the street

We have heard quite a lot in recent years about the "wisdom of crowds" where the average opinion of a group can be surprisingly accurate.

Proverbs undergo a kind of evolution - people are making remarks and observations continually, and every now and again something that someone says or writes is picked up and repeated. Due to its wisdom and/or aptnes of phrase, over time it gains the status of a proverb.

Some of the ones we use probably go back thousands of years and have transferred from one culture to another. A proverb can gain in strength by having some poetical quality of alliteration or rhyme but this rarely translates well into another language.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Never do things by halves

This is similar to "never put off till tomorrow what you can do today".

Procrastination is the habit of delaying and avoiding things you know ought to be done. Work study experts will tell you that double handling is a waste of time. Putting tools and materials away only to be brought out again to do a bit more means a lot of dead time; so it is better to finish a job if possible rather than do part of it more than once.

Task switching is another stressful time waster. People who use their PCs a lot probably find they have need of many skills, and they jump from one to the other. This requires a different part of the brain, and some time to adjust and remember.

"Chunking" is one answer where you identify a section of a task and focus entirely on that till it is completed.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quarrel and strife make shorter life

Is there anyone who has never been involved in an argument or row? I am sure all the readers of this blog will have had their fair share no matter what their temperament or inclination to aggression might be. It is unavoidable and part of normal life to come across situations that will potentially give rise to conflict.

When we are young we react according to our natural defensive or aggressive instincts, and we are also influenced by those around us. Age and experience teaches us to avoid unpleasant situations as we do not want the hassle of stressful confrontation.

The secret is to see the problem coming and take steps to avoid it. Learning the importance of not escalating a quarrel but still looking after your own rights can be a tricky path to follow.

You can duck the issue, overwhelm your antagonist, or turn the other cheek and shame them. These are your options, but only time and experience can help develop your wisdom, and enable you to judge the correct response in a given situation.

Quarrels can arise through poor communication. If you writing is poor you might like to consider some help.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Woe be to him that reads but one book

There are two sides to every question. If you only read one book on a subject you are likely to get only that author's opinions, and therefore have a biased view.

To have a balanced understanding of a topic it is usually necessary to consider other peoples' opinions, even though you might disagree with them.

For example the present debate on global warming strongly divides opinion. Some people are totally convinced of dire danger and other, equally intelligent, regard it as scare-mongering exaggeration. Those who have only read and absorbed one side of the argument will tend to be intolerant of any other view.

Most situations in life are a compromise between extremes but you need to be familiar with both sides of the debate to form a balanced judgment.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Every medal has its reverse

A medal is given to commemorate a glorious deed, notable achievement,
or worthy conduct. It often has a front with a king or other top person's head to give it authority. The reverse side is usually plainer, and is not seen when it is worn at parades and grand occasions.

This saying suggests that the wearers of medals might not be quite as virtuous as the decoration implies. We all have our good days and bad days, and on a good day we might have been worthy of the award; but do we always live up to it?

It is very hard for an average human to be good, noble, and chivalrous all day, every day. We have to try to keep our sunny sides up, put our best foot forward and keep right on to the end of the road despite the off days when we fall from grace.

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