The ContraMind Code
Welcome to The ContraMind Code.
The ContraMind Code provides you with a system of principles, signals, and ideas to aid you in your pursuit of excellence.
The Newsletter shares the source code through quick snapshots for a systems thinking approach to be the best in what you do.
The Code helps you reboot and reimagine your thinking by learning from the best and enables you to draw a blueprint on what it takes to get extraordinary things done. Please share your valuable thoughts and comments and start a conversation.
Take a journey to www.contraminds.com. Listen and watch some great minds talking to us about their journey of discovery of what went into making them craftsmen of their profession to drive peak performance.
Why the Economics of Our Civilization Point to Collapse
by Umair Haque
In this article, Umair Haque is a British economist. He was the director of the Havas Media Lab, has previously blogged in the Harvard Business Review and is the author of the book The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business.
This topic can make you think and question the economics of our productivity and progress as we define, measure and see it, how self-centric we are as humans and as a civilisation as to how we measure growth, development and progress. And therefore, the implications of where this is leading us to:
Orthodox economics tells us that humans are the most productive things on planet Earth.
The rest of the world is “producing” stuff — goods — too. Unlike us, though, they are producing goods for everyone, not just us.
Think about the fish. They clean the rivers — from which everything drinks. Or think about the trees — they happily produce air, which everything breathes.
There’s a much higher kind of productivity, in which things are produced for the benefit of all, or at least many more species than the producer.
We don’t produce anything for anyone else. We take more than we should. We don’t give anything back. We don’t produce anything — not a single thing — that the rest of life subsists on.
Humans are the only species that take all they can and don’t give anything back whatsoever. That’s the highest form of stupidity ever created by nature because, of course, it will destroy itself and everything else more or less along the way. That’s the path we’re on.
Read the article
The Power of Wonder: The Extraordinary Emotion That Will Change the Way You Live, Learn, and Lead by Monica Parker
In this podcast, Caleb Mason talks to Monica Parker, founder of global human analytics and change consultancy HATCH, whose clients include blue-chip companies such as LinkedIn, Google, Prudential, and LEGO etc., about the ‘ Power of Wonder’ - A new book she has written on this subject.
Here are some concepts and ideas Monica Parker talks about in this conversation:
The relationship between stories and wonder.
Why Wonder is a collective sport.
How as we grow up, we become more jaded and stop wondering. Standardised testing and grading stop us from exploring because it makes us think there is only one right answer.
The Need for Cognition Vs The Need for Cognitive Closure - The feeling of being uncomfortable with greys and highly comfortable with black & white.
The importance of following people who you disagree with! Get comfortable with mixed emotions - nostalgia, gratitude etc.
The importance of slowing down the chattering mind.
How the ‘wonder-bringing’ state slows down our sense of time.
The Five Elements of Wonder - Watch, Wander, Whittle, Wow and Whoa.
The tension between agreement and understanding.
How to hone our curiosity skills.
How Wonder is a mindset and not a moment.
Listen to this episode on:
Looking For a Job? Highlight Your Ability, Not Your Experience.
Jason Shen is a resilience expert and executive coach who works with entrepreneurs in transition. Jason here shares his ideas on how people who look for jobs can make themselves more attractive by reimagining how they look at their credentials and experience and why employers should look for ability over credentials.
Here are the key points Jason makes:
Only a quarter of college graduates work in a field related to their degree!
The hiring system we built in the 20th Century is failing us and is causing us to miss out on people with incredible potential.
The tools and strategies needed to identify high performers of tomorrow:
Expand your search- If we are going to search for talent in the same places we did - Ivy League Schools, Prestigious organisations, we are going to get the same results we have.
Hire for Performance - Just as teams have tryouts and plays have auditions, candidates should be asked to demonstrate their skills.
Get the Bigger Picture - Don’t label candidates too quickly - as job hoppers, people having pedigree degrees being high performers etc. Instead, get a holistic view of someone; otherwise, your judgement about candidates will always be flawed.
On Symbiotic Productivity, Uncredentialed And Deep Curiosity
One of the first but fundamental questions that came to mind was what is right economics, development, progress and growth, and how we measure it today is indeed correct. But, when you look at how they are being seen today, it seems like, they are seen from an internal and selfish lens. The rest of the ecosystem around us seems to ‘give’ more and ‘take’ less. But, humans look at productivity around how it benefits us as a species without asking what harm we do to the larger ecosystems to improve our productivity. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt here:
Production, growth, development and progress create long-term value only if it is a symbiotic relationship among the constituents involved in producing, using and improving productivity. Else, it looks very attractive in the short-term but has threatening long-term implications.
Also, looking at financial productivity measures starts to make little sense only when an existential crisis is in the offing. Till this crisis is not in the air or felt by us, cold financial measures make us feel good, giving us a false sense of productivity improvement and achievement, but in reality, it has detrimental consequences.
Symbiotic Productivity measures help us look at the ‘Value of Exchange’ happening between the constituents in the ecosystem to sustain and enhance the contribution from one another.
Symbiotic Productivity is a measure of ‘Net Value Added’ by the company, the firm, people or the country rather than producing goods at lower costs, with higher efficiency, employing more people or doing it in less time than in the past.
When the world and the way we work are changing rapidly, it is fair to say most of us tend to become ‘uncredentialed’ a few years into our work. No matter where you have studied, which world-class university or college you belong to or graduated from, or which top company you have worked for will not matter anymore. Hence, many of us from such institutions must be ready to forget the ‘entitlement mindset’ we get into. Therefore, degrees and designations don’t make any business sense in quick time.
Therefore, look for the ‘uncredentialed’ in your company and teams. They are the ones who are open to new experiences, have tried something they have not done earlier in their life, have had failures and rebounded from them time and again, exhibited resilience in handling uncomfortable situations etc. In the future, ability will triumph over experience.
Right from when we go to school to college and finally at work, we are taught and rewarded for ‘Surface Curiosity.’ We are discouraged from exploring and seeking multiple perspectives for the same problem, and there is a ‘Sense of Hurry’ in everything we do - learning, understanding, scoring, solving business problems etc. Hence, we are taught or trained to find quick answers or avoid mistakes that will show us in a bad light in front of others. Therefore, we develop ‘Surface Curiosity’ in everything we do and take ‘Cognitive Shortcuts.’ Finally, we know just enough to pass muster.
However, real-life problems require us to observe far more keenly, there are no overnight solutions or answers for them, and it may take several attempts and failures before the problem gets close to resolution. This requires a sense of ‘Deep Curiosity’ in all of us. ‘Deep Curiosity’ requires us to be curious and develop paradoxical thinking, and there is a ‘mental space and time’ needed to observe, reflect, interpret and synthesize the problem. This requires you to handle periods of intense focus, manage incomprehensible situations with mixed emotions, get comfortable with situations of indecisiveness and be willing to be patient with time, not in an undue hurry to think and close the problem. ‘Deep Curiosity’ requires you to develop traits precisely in a manner opposite to what you have learnt over the years and have also been highly successful for you.
Some of the lessons we learnt from this week’s mission:
Productivity, Growth, Development and Progress require a new metric that measures if there is a benefit to all constituents rather than a few.
Daily routines like going to work, taking meetings etc., put all of us in a process grind that kills the power of wonder in all of us. We must hurry less, observe more deeply and stop taking cognitive shortcuts to develop and improve a ‘sense of wonder’ skill.
The hiring system, created in the 20th Century, is failing companies and causing many to miss out on people with incredible potential. And how individuals need to keep expanding on their abilities and not just build experience one-of-a-kind.