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ExperienceZone

Learn and grow through experiences

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Qualification

Bring your genius to work!

One of our favorite ambiguities. First find the genius within you and then share the gift with the world. Why and how? Let’s dive into it the ExperienceZone way.

What is your genius?

Some things, which go without saying need to be said loud. Among these the fact that you’re unique. Yeah, your mum might have told you already. And you even might believe it. But do you know why? Do you embrace the concept? Do you further live and breathe it? This is not your kumbayah inspirational blog but a career management gem. To this end, uniqueness means your individual set of passions and thus strengths. It’s tied to you as a person and only exists once on this planet (duh, that’s why it’s…unique).

Follow me here. Your individual way to see the world, to approach challenges and to find solutions is called genius. Its potential is as large as the ones of Mozart, Einstein and Steve Jobs (funny that latter still requires the first name) but also the one of the beggar asking you for a dime on your way to work. Bottom line, we all come equally equipped to this world. Yet, potential is raw material and useless until unfold.

How do you evoke your genius?

Talent is overrated. Mozart’s father made him play the piano as a baby. Well, I hear you argue that only children learn new complex things fast and if you’ve miss the train, you’re doomed to a mediocre life just because your evil parents didn’t stretch you enough. Neuroscience doesn’t let us off the hook though. Your brain changes all the time. Your life-style, incl. your diet, social network and mind-food, determines your brainpower.

Assuming you want to become smarter or happier, you first have to find out what you like to do. Passions are the things you’re naturally interested in and the fun activities, which don’t require external reward. Those you love to sink your teeth in, work extra hours and feel connected to yourself without feeling stress or even loss of energy along the way. So, grab a pen and write down your passions. Finally, boil them down to 3-5 core passions.

How do you contribute your genius?

Once you’ve identified your passions, you want to think about related strengths. If you like to talk, you might communicate effectively. If you swallow one book each week, you might be a fast reader. If you find joy in art, you might be good in drawing. After you jotted down your strengths, creatively find jobs, which are based on these. Communication skills are important in politics, consulting and healthcare (just to name a few). Reading is necessary for the education sector, journalists and authors. Drawing is a key skill of visual artists.

You’ve got a job already? Then reflect upon whether you’re able to bring your genius to work each day. If money were no object, would you still go to work? If you’re forced to take a sabbatical of one year, what would you do? If you picture yourself on your deathbed, would you regret your career? Be honest but don’t stress: I’m bad in navigation and names. Einstein had problems memorizing texts. Where there’s light, there’s shadow.

What would you do if money were no object?

We live only a few decades on this planet. Yet we spend most of our time qualifying for our jobs and thereafter in our jobs. Eat, sleep, work, repeat. 9 to 5 became 8 to 8 plus weekends. Line between working and private life increasingly blur. Many take their hamster wheels home. How do you combine passion and profession best? Let’s investigate this one the ExperienceZone way.

Money ain’t a thing?

From the beginning of history, humans established communities build on the contribution principle. You are good with a spear? Great! You’ll go hunting with the older guys. You’re good in detecting eatable fruit? Awesome! Based on our unique skills, we found our place in society.

Then we invented money and a financial system around it. Money is supposed to reflect the value of a product or service. Value is an expression of how important an commodity is for the customer and how urgent she wants to have that. So, if money is just a results of your value proposition, how do you maximize the value you add to others? Your strengths are the key to the value kingdom. The more you leverage your strengths, the more high-quality services you’ll provide. Your strengths are those things you can do extraordinary well. Their raw materials are called passions. The activities you care about. They keep you up all night. Make you run extra miles with a smile on your face since you’re following your heart.

Bottom line: Money is not the cause but outcome of happiness. Hence, smart people first identify their passions, which build the basis for their strengths. Then they think about how they can add value to others by using their unique skill-set. Money – as manifested energy – flows back to them naturally.

How can you find your profession?

Yesterday, I met a guy in his 50s with two professions: Firstly, he’s a dive instructor and trip organizer (that’s his passion). Secondly, he consults web startups (that’s his bread-and-butter job). I asked him why he’s two jobs and is not only following his heart to dive. He responded that he loves to dive, yet teaching others require other skills. Also, he enjoys having two jobs. Really interesting statement from a baby-boomer. Anyway, here’re my recommendations:

  1. Find your passions. This is so critical. Run a personality analysis. Define your mission and aims in life. I know what I love: Researching, enriching factual book know-what with my anecdotal experience know-how by connecting dots. This happens through reading and actions (input), thinking (transformation) as well as writing and speaking (output). What are the things you burn for?
  2. Derive your strengths. What can you do exceptionally well by leaning in with your passions? I’m meantime good in extracting the essence of complex subjects and explain them in simple terms – in written or spoken language. My diving buddy loves diving and talking about it. Consequently, he’s a brilliant dive instructor and someone who takes others places to enable great underwater experiences.
  3. Find your profession. Life is too short go for second best. Think big and pursue your audacious goals relentlessly. You’ll never over-accomplish objectives, so you can shoot for the stars in first place? What do other people need now and (maybe more importantly) five years down the road? In more bold terms: How can you contribute to make this world a better place by playing out your strengths and creating something of value, which others are willing to pay for. Then you earn money by living your dream.

Did you know that one billion people cannot read or write?

“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.” The old Chinese praised activity as the most effective way to learn new stuff. Reading however is often a first step to get your head around an topic area. Its one of the first techniques we learn in school. Yet many people do know master this skill. Why’s that? Let’s check out causes and measures the ExperienceZone way.

How we learn by writing and reading

Writing and reading are basic skills. They go hand-in-hand. Learning new things traditionally happens by reading a text. Already in the stone age, our ancestors painted hunting stories on cave walls. In ancient Egypt, the hieroglyphs tell us stories of pharaohs and their allegiances.

Nowadays, first graders learn reading and usually thereafter writing in school. Especially early in life, reading and writing create new synaptic connections. Those increase our know-what and know-how alike. Whilst former helps you to appear smart at a barbecue party small-talk, latter makes you mentally flexible. In other words: Know-how reflects your ability to quickly come up with creative solutions to ad-hoc problems. A key skill in our increasingly complex world.

Reading and writing have a nature-nuture-relation and can create a virtuous cycle of mastery. By reading a text, you get a basic understanding. If you extract its essence by writing a summary in your own words thereafter or even enriching it with related knowledge, your mind starts to dig really deep into the meaning. This approach increases your memory. If you only read a text, you remember 30% of the content. Yet if you add other senses, like hearing and speaking to seeing, you memorize 70%. In case you even massage the content, it jumps to 90%!

Ergo: Usually it starts with reading. Then you top up by listening to stuff, discussing it or even adding your own flavor. An approach which education institutions follow.

Many people lack the basics

Due to various reasons, 6 out 8 human beings cannot read and/or write. Hence they face serious challenges to qualify for jobs. With increasing complexity across all industries and thus professions, reading and writings are givens in your corporate world. Moreover illiterates have a hard time in their everyday hustle and bustle. Text is our communication foundation. Signposts, newspaper and signatures. Anytime and anywhere we’re expected to read and write stuff. Those who can’t are socially disabled and run the risk to be isolated.

What can you do to make a change?

Take a two-pronged approach: Take care of yourself before you help others (freely according to the oxygen supply advises on an airplane).

  1. Focus and expand. There’re gazillion books. Every year more than ever get published. This is due to the fact that our collective knowledge pool grows year over year plus bringing out your own book has never been easier. So, check first into which areas you want to dive deeper into to fuel your employability to reinforce your career choice intellectually. Either you’re passionate about a subject already or you develop it through digging into it. Yet if it’s too far off your interest mark, reading about it will be frustrating. Find the right balance. At ExperienceZone, we believe in well-rounded T-shape skill-sets. Hence, put your expertise stakes in the ground and expand into related areas thereafter.
  2. Learn systemically. Yeah, if you made it to here, you can surely read (although my English is admitably sometimes hard to decipher). Yet you can always step up your game. Check out speed-reading for instance. Especially if you read a lot, it can make sense to do this more efficiently. Just bear in mind, that effectiveness, i.e. comprehensibility can suffer if you skim over text without really digesting it. Therefore you want to smartly combine initial reading with consecutive mind-mapping, talking and writing  summaries. Consider buying an eReader to save money, packing weight and volume during travels. Think about audio books, which you can listen too whilst almost any physical activity. Absorb knowledge everyday, yet take time to let it sink. Read inspiring light content unrelated to your profession prior to going to sleep. This enables recovery and expands your horizon.
  3. Support others. Reading and writing are privileges. However, they don’t need to be. You can help people to learn or improve their skills. Get to know NGOs, which help those having the short end of the literature stick. Check how you can support without only donating money. Give tutoring to people in need. Those can be the student next door or one on the other side of the world. Modern phone and video conferencing tools are available to transfer knowledge. Teaching helps you to master content. Plus you can make it a two-way street: Almost every other human being can teach you something. You are good in math and want to gain basic Mandarin language skills? Find a student in China interested in learning English and filling her math knowledge gaps! There’re no limits and thus excuses nowadays.

Who really owns your career?

Why do you go to work: To earn money? To have something to do? To receive recognition? Many peoples’ careers are like rocket chairs: They keep them busy but lead to nowhere. Why’s that? Because they don’t take ownership. Instead folks just go with the flow. “Well, I became a dentist because my father was one…” Nothing against being a someone who repairs others’ teeth, yet I invite you to question the decisions in your life as well as their reversibility. You can always adjust the course. That requires you to embrace one golden ExperienceZone rule:

Only you own your career, which is as dynamic as your passions

How do you put these condensed truths into practice? First understand them and their implications. Let’s slice and dice it:

  1. You own your career. Yeah, your partner might have a stake in it. Though bear in mind that you’re tasked to do what feels right to you. Nobody else can know that and take that burden off your shoulders. Your boss might promise to support you. Yet at max she can do is open doors. You need to choose which one you want to go through.
  2. Your career is dynamic. In the 20th century, we had these “from the cradle to the grave” employment relationships. Your grandfather might worked for his company from his internship till retirement. That concept doesn’t hold water anymore. Meantime, the world became more complex and versatile. Hence, replace predictability with opportunity.
  3. Your passions guide the way. It might sound corny yet is so true: You’re designed to do what you love to do. Why’s that important? Your passions emerge from love. Love is an emotion. It makes you move. The more you move the better you become in something. One day you’ll accomplish mastery. This way passions translate into strengths. They create your contributions to the world and value to others. That’s what people are willing to pay for. Got it?

So, how do you jump on the driver seat?

Next you want to take action:

  1. Run a personality analysis to gain clarity about where you’re coming from, who you’re and where you’re going to.
  2. Decide to live a fully self-determined life going forward.
  3. Check your attitudes. Align them towards success
  4. Define your mission. The individual reason for you to be on this planet.
  5. Set at least one aim in life in each area. Pursue those relentlessly.

In terms of Career & Financials, embrace the concept of life long learning. Also, check if you’re still on track by digging down to your passions. Make sure that you build your career based on solid ground and aligned with your mission. Update your resume on a quarterly basis and go interviewing to stay in shape. The more you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war.

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