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· 2 min read
Ron Amosa

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply,” Stephen Covey.

This isn't new ground, we've known this for ages.

But it's magnified to the n-th degree with the acceleration of technology, that the masses understand and know more in terms of broadcasting more than listening.

We even have the term "reply guy" to describe people (men, obvs) that have the super power of replying anything and everything they feel like, with any take, as long as its a reply to something. There is literally no other qualifier than the "right to reply" to be this person.

And "...listen to understand." implies reflection, in order to come to understanding.

"...to reply" requires no reflection- and I use "reflection" and not "thinking" because I mean a multi-dimensional activity (like speed vs acceleration), I know thinking happens- you're thinking about what you're going to reply with- reflection, I'm arguing, means "applying my brain processing abilities on both the incoming information and my own information, to reach an understanding".

And that understanding can be expressed in a response (again, I'm thinking of response here as a more sophisticated form, but analogous to a "reply"), or not.

You can just take the understanding, that's the valuable part of the whole exchange.

But it's no wonder our communication is terrible when we're all shown and taught 50 million different ways to podcast, youtube, tweet, insta, viber, blog and broadcast with the goal of getting our thoughts and feelings out to the world, and less about how to read, research, discuss and debate with topics, ideas and opinions.

Listening to understand is it's own reward. We can do more of that.

· One min read
Ron Amosa

I asked ChatGPT what the difference between the term AI (Artificial Intelligence) we're commonly used to, and AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) that we hear more now when talking about AI, and it gave me a really good analogy about a hammer and a toolbox.

AI is like a hammer, great at one type of thing. AGI is a toolbox, has many tools for many different jobs.

And tools are how we progressed as a species, tools have been used to build things that made our lives better, easier. But we've also been used to build things that harmed us and made life worse.

It's ironic that ChatGPT uses the term "thing" and "jobs" when explaining what AI and AGI should be looked at.

Because ChatGPT is right, it's a tool. It's neutral. The onus is on us to decide if the "thing" and "job" we're using it for, is for humanity's good, or demise.

· One min read
Ron Amosa

"Choose your pain"

If we have established there is no escaping pain in our lives. That the destination, fraught with pain, is the part we need to fall in love with in order to continue, to stick with something to our desired end.

Then all there is left to do, is to choose the pain we would be okay experiencing- not necessarily in and of itself like a masochist- but we weigh the desired outcome as worthy of accepting the pain.

I used to hear this sample all the time by Cutty Ranks’ “A Who Seh Meh Done” (1992) and it would say

"6 million ways to die, choose one"

I thought it was about being reckless, but I can see now it's about accepting the inevitable end which is out of you control.

But taking ownership of the one thing you do have control over.

You're going to die anyway, choose your pain.

· One min read
Ron Amosa

"Trust the Process"

Often times it feels like you've been on the road, on the journey towards your destination, and you're wondering if anything is happening. You're wondering if you're making progress, if you're getting anywhere.

And this is normal to feel after a short time, because you haven't built up the stamina, the conditioning, for the work you're doing.

Just like physical fitness, you run 1km and feel like that's the longest distance in the world. But (and this is the hard part) if you show up, every day, and put add 100m to that 1km, you'll be running at least 36km by the end of the year.

Just a little reminder, keep turning up, doing the work, and one of two things will happen- you'll reach your destination or at the very least you'll learn a lot about yourself and the world around you.

Keep going.

· One min read
Ron Amosa

I've got a lot of knowledge, its helped me get where I want to go. It's helped companies, and my proteges get where they want to go too.

But I still have more and it's accumulating, because I am a naturally curious person.

What can I do with this "useless" knowledge if it just sits in my head?

Offer it to people around me, for free. I didn't exactly pay money for this knowledge, and it's not regurgitating and repeating what's already written (for the most part), this knowledge comes from the intersection and interplay of unique experiences, thought on, and processed through my own unique lens.

Anyone who sits and thinks their thoughts critically, and honestly will have a unique set of "useless" knowledge they have to share with the world. And they should share it. Not because they get something from the world for it in exchange, or that the world has to take it. They get to let that knowledge not be so useless anymore.

· One min read
Ron Amosa

Time is an illusion.

Containers of activity or inactivity, demarcated by linear units of measurement.

We judge the quality of these containers, by the activities we fill them with, and then decide if we are happy about it or not.

We only have so many containers, and we can only do so many activities. Non activities are infinite, but the number of containers remain finite.

Time is going to pass us anyway so you may as well fill your containers with the activities that make you happy & fulfilled.

· 2 min read
Ron Amosa

I've seen the trailer and it has been pushed a few times in Netflix's recommendation algorithm to me, but I've yet to watch it.

It's the short documentary by Jonah Hill, with his psychotherapist, the man that changed his life for the better, Phil Stutz.

It's called "Stutz".

The following clip talks about the idea of "The snapshot / realm of illusion" where people really idealise their lives and their hopes and dreams.

And they leave out 3 key aspects of reality, which are:

  1. The pain will never go away
  2. The uncertainty will never go away
  3. No getting away from the need for constant work.

This is not a new paradigm, in my experience, for finding peace, or fulfillment or whatever "positive" thing out of life. The person who deeply considers these realities and how to integrate it into their thinking and actions, will come away better off in how they experience and navigate life.

My post on "Goals" where I talk about "Systems not Goals", talks about how our firstly, our focus is wrong in answering the question "what do I want to do with my life?" and set goals, instead we should be figuring out if what we want to do is a destination, or state of being e.g. do we want to have a six pack? or be the kind of person who has habits and behaviours that end up having a six pack?

Because the former gets a six pack. The latter gets whatever someone who has the habits and disciplines that result in a six pack, can get.

Whatever reality we want to make true for ourselves, I think it's imperative to first answer the question of what we really want out of life? And then face those objectives with the 3 aspects of reality to dissuade ourselves of any illusions we may try to form.

· One min read
Ron Amosa

The "you don't have to be technical to work in tech." line never sat right with me.

Yes, a lot of different roles in the tech space for sure, Project Manager, Product Owner, Design etc. It wasn't the "we have lots of career choices" angle that felt off to me, it was the gold-rush vibe of rushing people over here cos the money was/is good.

Gold rushes are dangerous for those who don't know how gold rushes work, and don't know history.

As much as I want more Pasifika in technology, I understand like with any demographic, this industry may not be that interesting to you, so it's gonna be a teeth-pulling experience at best if that's you.

And here's the thing, you don't have to come to tech. It's an option, yes. Check it out, see if you want to exchange the effort for reward, if that reward is for you, your family or community- then by all means.

But understand how this gold rush works, and then prepare for the lessons from history.

best regards, dot-com crash era.

· 2 min read
Ron Amosa

I started reading "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson last night. I've known about this book for a while and know plenty of people who have read it.

Fear of criticism stops a great many people from doing what they want to do. If it wasn't for this fear in the way, they'd be living the life they want, enjoying the things they enjoy, and generally having less coping and behavioural issues to compensate for not being able to do what they wanted to do.

Mark explains, in a humourous way, how to live a life free of fcks randomly or stupidly given for things that really don't deserve a fck to be used on.

As with most great advice, it's only worth something in it's active form- you have to practice, build and develop this ability in order for it to be any use. It's literally no use just running in your head, knowing you shouldn't give a situation one of your f**ks and then you go and do it anyway.

A good friend gave me this advice to help with my own fear of criticism, he said "do more of the things that scare you".

The only bit I would add onto that is to then treat any feedback you get from those things, positive or negative, the same way- don't give a f*ck about them (basically).

Sure, you're grateful for the feedback, thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'm sorry it sucked for you etc, but equally and the same, it doesn't "matter" to you.

And so you do more of the thing you wanted to do, because you enjoy it and it's fulfilling and you're a better, nicer, less assholey person. And you realise that's the only thing that mattered all along.

· 2 min read
Ron Amosa

"Systems not goals"

to summarize James Clears philosophy from "Atomic Habits". Daily habits and routines that push me towards the person and things I want in my life. And not the focus on far away destinations that I someday hope to reach.

We announce things in the future, "this is coming" or "I'm working on this". But what about what's happening now? What are we doing in the meantime?

We're all familiar with the cliche "It's about the journey, not the destination" but announce goals and don't say much about the daily challenges, routines and wins that accompany the journey.

Maybe it's not exciting enough? Maybe we've gotten the dopamine hit from announcing the grand thing?

I thinks it's the difference between announcing "We are going to win the championship!" and "We are going to hit the gym and train every day!". One looks like an awesome destination, a goal to be excited about. The other one sounds more like "work".

But you can have the second one without the first. You can't have the first one without the second. Maybe we should all get more excited about the work and not the goal. Because we know the committing to the work always pays off.

Even when it doesn't result in the goal.