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Archive for May, 2011

Why you should live in No Mans Land

Thu ,12/05/2011

No Mans Land – an area between two opposing forces that neither side wishes to occupy. This is the ground between two armies that must be crossed to reach the enemy but means coming under fire. It’s the cratered mud, snaked with twisted barbed wire between the trenches of each side in the first world war for example. It’s dangerous and uncomfortable territory that neither side wishes to occupy. Much better to stay in the relative safety of the trenches on you own side than move even slightly towards the enemy.

It’s also the name of a theory that has been crystallizing for me over the last few months.

The No Man’s Land Theory states that when there are two completely opposite views on a matter that the true answer is probably somewhere in the middle.

In many ways it’s nothing new. Really it’s just saying that there are exceptions to every rule. Or the sage advice that there’s always two sides to every story. Or it’s not black or white it’s grey.

Call it what you like, the power comes in adding this as a tool to your belt. The No Man’s Land Theory has proven a useful tool for me to recognize when two options or opinions are put forward that usually the right answer is neither and both at the same time. There’s truth on both sides and it’s about finding the balance, the tension in the middle where things are just right.

A simple example: When it comes to investing, a common showdown is “Shares or real estate? Which is better?” Shares advocates argue that real estate is not liquid enough, the initial outlay to enter the market is too high, blah, blah… while real estate buffs will say that shares are too risky and you can’t go wrong with bricks and mortar, no-one is creating more land, and so on. So which is better, shares or real estate? Of course the answer is “both” or “it depends”.  Both have different pros and cons so depending on who you are, what your financial state is, what your future plans are, how close you are to retirement, etc you may have all shares, all real estate or more likely, a combination of both as the pros and cons of each compliment each other.

Take away thoughts:
1. What “No Man’s Land” scenarios have you encountered recently?
2. Over the next few days, be on the lookout for No Mans Land scenarios that you encounter and spend some time out in No Mans Land, searching for the sweet spot.

Making the most out of today – at the last minute

Wed ,11/05/2011

It’s early in the morning and I’m on my way to work. Already issues are looming; I’m expecting a crazy runaway day. Sound familiar?

What can we do to salvage something, to make some real progress rather than spending the day being reactive?

Here’s my plan:
1 Take control. Spend the first 5 minutes at work making a plan for the day. This will result in a prioritised todo list.
2 Book time in my calendar to action at least one of the top non-reactive tasks.
3 Look to address the underlying causes of reactive problems rather than simply getting things going again. I’m sure there’s a saying about that – a stitch in time… Even if today is not fun, this way it won’t happen again!
4 Apply relentless optimism. It makes the toughest of days more fun and combined with Never ever giving up it helps achieve the best possible outcome.

Got any tips? I’d love to hear them.