Future film

 

 

interstellar poster

Saturn

Saturn

Interstellar is an incredible film that starts thoughtfully and slowly, it gradually builds velocity until your mind cannot relax any more. It provokes ideas and possibilities that challenge our intelligence as it looks out to a universe that surrounds us each day.

 

A story of Interstellar travel and family love. The rings of Saturn are the most extensive planetary ring system of any planet in the Solar System. They consist of countless small particles, ranging from μm to m in size, that orbit around Saturn. The ring particles are made almost entirely of water ice with a trace component of rocky material.

 

saturn

 

 

Geek Chic and Mathematics

We live in the age of the computer magnates. Maths is used every day, we don’t always realise it. Technology and electronic music associated with maths is clear.. you’re having to think when the music is instrumental and without words, it draws more thinkers than feelers. If someone is a really good singer song writer.. they are doing maths.

dials

Neuro-scientists who analyse brain function, how information passes through the brain looked to music to explain how we think and how messages are transported around the brain.

Machines can’t successfully write to satisfy most of us, some or most people think that electronic music is programmed, they’re right, but the programmer is building an instrument like a violin and emotion’s involved.

violin

It comes back to how much people want to feel. Some people don’t want to feel much at all, some people really want to feel. The artist leaves space for the listener, in that case it is a form of art where there is room for you.

So much now is spelled out, in Hollywood films, everything is explained so clearly to the audience, they don’t have to do anything but stay awake.

function of brain

In great art, the creator has left room, an audience brings an alchemy of experience. The creator doesn’t always know what they’ve created, the audience takes from it. There’s a hope, a plan and a dream of that and yet it’s totally out of their hands.

The music you respond to is incredibly abstract – it’s not the lyrics or structure since the abstract side of music are patterns of numbers and how they connect. How a piece of music mutates is personal; modern day composers are using these techniques which the brain responds to and you think -hey, I like this.

electric

BBC Radio Six
images: flickr.com

Desires and Technology

History does not follow the path of opportunities but the path of desires.
-Humberto Mutarana, biologist

sony walkman

Technology changes lives but only if people want it to, the key to understanding progress. Akio Morita, founder of Sony, used to make inventions not by writing code but by making minute, detailed studies of how people lived their lives.

Once Morita was no longer directly involved in product development at the company in the 80s, Sony seemed to lose its knack of developing breakthrough technology like the Walkman, which became a worldwide brand.

Steve Jobs, widely recognised as a pioneer of the personal computer and smartphone revolution, best known as the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc.

apple logo

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Steve Jobs

Jobs oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone and iPad and on the services side, the company’s Apple retail stores, iTunes store and the App store. The success of all these products propelled Apple to the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in 2011.

However much it seems that machines are in control, they are not, yet the belief that the technology alone holds the key to determining the way people work, buy, and do business is strong. The rise of the dotcoms in the late 90s was accompanied by a belief that technology was changing the rules of marketing and employee relationships.

The changes appeared when technology made it easier for people to communicate with each other.

Philip Whiteley

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn for professional networking, launched in 2003 by co-founder, Reid Hoffman.

linkedin bubble

I actually think every individual is now an entrepreneur, whether they recognize it or not.

You have to be constantly reinventing yourself and investing in the future.

Reid Hoffman

Facebook, founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, named after the book given to US students at the start of the academic year to help them get to know each other.

fb

By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent.

Facebook was not originally created to be a company, it was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.

Mark Zuckerberg

Twitter, launched in 2006 by Jack Dorsey called the product exactly what it was, a short burst of inconsequential information or chirps from birds

twitter logo

Everything we do is about getting people to be more open, more creative, more courageous.

The strongest thing you can cultivate as an entrepreneur is to not rely on luck but cultivating an ability to recognize fortunate situations when they are occurring.

Jack Dorsey

clouds

Social networking platforms rely on technology but the central dynamic is still a human one.

Going the Extra Mile

As merchants with a product to market, we take the ordinary – a shoe, a knife – and give it a new life, believing that what we create has the potential to touch others’ lives because it touched ours.

starbucks' first store

Without the product the company has no reason to exist. There is a word that comes to mind when thinking about the company and the people. That word is love, love of the product because everything is steeped in humanity. Respect and dignity. Passion and laughter. Compassion, community and responsibility. Authenticity.

When we love something, emotion often drives our actions. This is the gift and the challenge entrepreneurs face every day. The companies we dream of and build from scratch are part of us and intensely personal. They are our families. Our lives.

starbucks mug

The entrepreneurial journey isn’t for everyone, yes, the highs are high and the rewards can be thrilling but the lows can break your heart. Entrepreneurs must love what they do to such an extent that it’s worth the sacrifice and sometimes the pain but doing anything else would be unimaginable.

Work should be personal for all of us, not just for the artist or entrepreneur. Work should have meaning for the accountant, the construction worker, the technologist, the manager and the administrator.

starbucks-coffee-cup

Infusing work with purpose and meaning, however, is a two-way street. Yes, love what you do but your company should love you back. As a merchant, the desire to inspire customers, exceed their expectations and establish and maintain their trust. As an employer, the duty has always been to do the same for people on the other side of the counter and for our partners. The latter responsibility has driven me for many, many years.

Howard Schultz
Chief Executive Officer, starbucks

Motivation at Work

motivation-at-work

Motivation is found in the unlikeliest of places and absent in the most promising locations. It can’t be measured or easily viewed.. like quality, it’s only understood when it’s experienced.

It can cause the most amazing and unlikely human achievements and can bring people together in times of misfortune. Although its absence breeds discontent, disaffection, mutiny and in some cases revolution.

The science of motivation begins where the limits of instruction end, human beings are mostly free and able to make their own choices and generally dislike instructions, it is a broad area.

-motivation-wheel

Research has demonstrated a consistent link between the motivation of the workforce and the success of the company. With increasingly complex technological tasks and with most companies tied up in intangible matters, this link between motivation and success is set to become stronger.

Motivation matters to the individual in the workplace – why am I doing this work? How does this fit into my dreams and hopes for life? – and to the manager seeking to get the most out of the team – how can I encourage them to reach their goals and share their information?

A mathematical formula for motivation does exist: in the 60’s the workplace psychologist Victor Vroom put forward that motivation can be quantified as being equal to the strength of preference for some action multiplied by the expectancy that the action will succeed.

A similar strand of psychological thinking known as goal theory argues that people work best when there is a difficult but achievable goal.

MMworkforit

These observations seem to hold up in real businesses and in research but there is more to life than goals and expectations, other areas like culture and meaning contribute too.

There is science in motivation but there is also a strong argument to say that it is a mistake to pretend that motivation is tangible. It is individual and complex not formulaic.

The ethos, climate and ethics of an organization, it’s unwritten rules matter since we need to stay motivated.

Philip Whiteley

green-forest-sunlight-and-shadows


Hope and Fear

Felix Baumgartner skydive

Fear, a primary emotion, is based on present events and past knowledge, an urgent feeling that may cause responses to freeze up … which can seem very powerful.

I hope I can make fear cool
-Felix Baumgartner (skydive from space)

Hope, a secondary emotion, requires flexibility and perhaps the search for new ideas, it’s a more mindful and complex process.

fear and sport designzzz.com 2

Where fear is triggered by the nervous system and designed to help us cope with demanding events like danger, hope requires rational thinking and therefore originates in the brain. However, if allowed fear can on occasion present an obstacle in our minds when we’re looking for calm to prevail.

-Maria Jarymowicz and Daniel Bar-tal

teen runner

In sport the thought of negative consequences can threaten your performance through inhibition since it’s primary role is to help you reach safety.

Fear can also affect recovery from illnesses if it’s allowed to be the over-riding emotion, while hope needs mental strength.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln said a man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be. With hope you’re about as hopeful as you make up your mind to be, your future has about as much to offer as you make up your mind to allow it to have.

Really it comes down to your philosophy. Do you want to play it safe and be good or do you want to take a chance and be great?
-Jimmy Johnson, NFL football head coach.

griffin redskins hope ny giants fear

When you’re not afraid to fail your chances of succeeding improve. Where does this fear come from anyway? .. Behind the fear of failure is often perfectionism. Perfection which is reinforced in our society… starting at school when we get right and wrong answers.

Beneath the desire to succeed and achieve excellence is an ultra-critical, demanding and judgemental voice. If we can trust in our abilities everything flows from there and we allow for the possibility of perfect imperfection.

Extreme_sport_from_rock_climbing_to_mountain_parachuting-2

We should hate to fail, but never fear it. Failure is the best teacher in the world .. almost better than winning. You can learn from what happens to you and how you feel both good and bad. Everyone makes them and we can learn from those mistakes we make.

Billie Jean King said athletes should look at failure as feedback, failing to learn is learning to fail

Micheal Jordan
calls fear an illusion. He, along with plenty of other athletes, changes fear into anger – you can run from it or you can get angry and attack it. Although, being assertive might be a more accurate term to use instead of anger.

michael jordan

Good athletes take fear and turn it around, they look at it as a natural part of growing and learning. People who succeed aren’t afraid of failing.

Excellence does not require excellence
-Henry James

demotivation_us_HOPE-Is-the-only-feeling-stronger-than-fear

Hope Knows no fear

Hope dares to grow even inside the abysmal abyss

Hope secretly feeds and strengthens possibility

-Sri Chinmoy

tazmanian devil

Only where there is disillusionment and depression and sorrow does happiness arise; without the despair of loss, there is no hope
-Haruki Murakami

Perseverance, victory .. it never stops
Winners don’t quit


Mind Games

Few people get to see the most important part of an athlete’s performance.

Sporting Mind

This is a place in the Olympic park that few people get to see. It’s in the nooks and crannies of the mind where the Olympics are won and lost. This is the inner santum where the last few moments will be spent before stepping into the mega-wattage or competition arena just a few yards down a corridor. It is here that the athletes perform the highly secretive and truly bizarre routines designed to take them into the zone.

Some athletes pace from foot to foot, others go into half trances, some have eyes closed, visualising optimum performance. Some have bizarre superstitiions, others have silent prayers. The most surreal part of sport, which is often the most fascinating, is just before the competition begins. These are highly solitary moments, you are alone with your thoughts or perhaps demons but in many sports solitude is impossible. You are confined to spend those final moments not on your own but in close contact with your competitiors. It’s here that the mind games go into overdrive.

‘From my perspective, these are the guys I have a new battle against who are standing in my way of achieving my objective of winning a gold medal’.
-Michael Johnson, four times Olympic champion

‘I never looked at it as personal. I didn’t think they were trying to destroy my dreams or beat me. They were simply trying to win. I didn’t own winning. I just wanted to win’
-Carl Lewis, nine times Olympic champion

The interesting thing is that Champion athletes (according to Tom Bates, sports psychologist) with the gold medal mind set, will not see winning a gold as a problem at all they will perceive it as a privilege.

‘I quite enjoyed it actually .. because the pressure is so high at that point .. and all other things being equal .. it’s the person who handles that moment, that pressure .. at a particular time best .. that’s going to have the best performance. There was one competitor who asked to pray together. I’m not praying with you. Most of the guys did it. I didn’t, I’m not going to do that. I’m about to go to battle’
-Michael Johnson

The biggest irony in Olympic sport is that however good you are, however many sacrifices you make, it all counts for nothing if you can’t deliver when it really matters.

Four years of preparation for just a few defining moments of action. This is in many ways the ultimate ‘sliding doors’ moment.

So, the key question is: do the psychological rituals the athletes use, in the dressing room and continue to use in the arena, actually work? In short what do we really know about the dark art of performance psychology.

‘You’re already under a tremendous amount of pressure. Knowing the significance of the moment. This is what you’ve been training for so very long. This is what you’ve been preparing for. This is your dream come true, to be there, and you’re just that close.’
-Michael Johnson

‘You will always have an internal voice saying this is dangerous run away, run away’
-Chris Boardman, 1992 Olympic gold medallist

‘A psychologist would always say ‘control the controlables’. As in you’re not in control of the weather, you’re not in control of the opposition, you’re not in control of the tv, the audience, the crowd, the event or the .. you know, that’s all beyond you’
-Sir Matthew Pinsent, four times Olympic gold medallist.

‘you can only control how you perform when the gun goes off’
-Michael Johnson

‘You narrow it all the way down to something incredibly simple’
-Matthew Pinsent

‘It’s ironic now that I’ve lost my faith but my faith I think, gave me perspective .. to a degree .. to disassociate myself from the outcome’
-Jonathan Edwards; 2000 Olympic gold medallist.

Confidence to some extent depends on ignorance.

‘You have to do the best you can, then let the chips fall as they may. I can only be as good as I can be and cross the line and see what that got me. It’s a very calming, focussing and quite inspiring thought’
-Carl Lewis


Looking for a Job?

Guide for visually impaired ski racer

Ex-racer (ideally at National Team level) needed urgently for Jade Etherington, a member of The British Disabled Ski Team. She is twenty-one years old and classified as a B2 (less than 5% vision in each eye). She is qualified for World Cup slalom, Super-G, downhill and IPCAS giant slalom. She is seeking a new guide who can train and compete with her until the 2014 Winter Paralympics, as part of a twenty week world class training programme.

Being a guide, you will be an integral part of the British team, also receiving medals at each competition including the Paralymics. The purpose of a guide is to ski in front of the visually impaired athlete and communicate with the athlete when to turn. Using headsets fixed onto helmets, you will guide the athlete down the race course.

A guide is also required off the snow ie. travelling to and from train and race camps, taking the same flights and so on. Therefore, a strong relationship and a great deal of trust is required between athlete and guide, both on and off the snow.

Having worked with a range of guides Jade can easily adapt to someone new. The guide will be classed as an athlete and their costs will be covered through sponsorship and fundriaisng. There is some funding available but the new guide will be involved in any fundraising activities. A further £10,000 will need to be raised in order to complete the full season and qualify for Sochi 2014.
If you are interested in skiing with Jade or would like further information please contact her on: 07714170416 or email: j_etherington@yahoo.co.uk

Performance Psychology

Performance pyschology is to a large extent about the ellimination of doubt. In many circumstances doubt is a rather sensible thing. If someone’s trying to flog you an insurance policy it makes sense to doubt whether what they are saying is true. But, in sport .. doubt is catastrophic. If you don’t believe you are going to nail a landing or hit a trajectory exactly right you’re almost certain to miss. That’s why visualising a perfect performance is so important .. it can help to eliminate doubt. Superstitions can do the same kind of thing .. they provide reassurance and boost self belief.

Superstition is an interesting phenomenon, particularly in sports psychology, because what we’re saying is that thoughts become things. What we think affects the way we feel. The way we feel affects the way we behave. Ultimately, in a sporting context, how we perform.

A similar kind of thing happens in the field of medcine; a sugar pill containing no pharmacology what-so-ever can have incredible effects reducing pain and anxiety, even eliminating nausea, as long as you believe it will.

pills

Jonathan Edwards put it into a slightly different context .. any belief can have astonishingly powerful effects, providing it is held with sufficient conviction.

‘Maybe that’s the key here, you need to find something that works for you. Every athlete is an individual; you can take out the training manual, the sports psychology book and you can say ‘Michael Johnson did this, Carl Lewis did this and Mohammed Ali did that’ and go on and on and on through the greats but none of them are you and you must find your own way’.
-Jonathan Edwards

Delivering under pressure is a rather brutal thing but also a profoundly subjective one. Many athletes are overcome with nerves. Others are afflicted with terrible self-doubt. Is it any wonder that they reach for the particular ritual that makes sense to them, that provides a sense of reassurance and control? Prayer, superstition, visualisation .. take your pick. What is certain is that the minute difference between victory and defeat, on the biggest stage of all, is often to be found not in skill, not in effort but in the recesses of the mind.

Matthew Syed