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How To Have A Brighter Future

How To Have A Brighter Future

    Hold on for a brighter future…

    A lot of people might be dreading upcoming get-togethers with relatives during the holiday season because one of the things that will most definitely be brought up is how we all did this year. If you are going to be facing nosy relatives knowing that you failed in a relationship or business (or lost a job), you are already going into the holiday season with some negativity.

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    Some of your failures, losses or bad experiences might have been beyond your control but the negativity that comes with them can linger around more than you like. When one happens to get some bad luck on a repeated basis, this can have a really devastating effect on the soul.

    For example, let’s say that you keep having bad relationships from the dating scene. They all start out with much excitement but after a few months, all of your relationships turn sour. You then start to wonder if you will always end up with relationship disasters as if they were your destiny.

    It’s so easy to fall into this trap of being a perpetual victim or failure as your self-esteem goes down the drain. But there IS hope even if you have had a rocky past.

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    Past Does Not Equal Future

    One of the biggest advocates of the notion that your past does not equal your future is motivational speaker and author Anthony Robbins as he stated;

    “Your past does not equal your future.  What matters is not yesterday but what you do right now.”

    If you have ever had any failures or losses (and who hasn’t?), this is one quote that you should always keep in mind. Whether you’ve had failures in relationships, business, career or have been accident prone, it doesn’t mean that you are doomed for all time. Learn what you can from any bad experiences and move on. Apply your lessons to what you can do right now to move your future towards your desired future.

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    Let’s go back to the bad relationships example. Just because you’ve had a few of them doesn’t necessarily mean that you will continue to bomb in this area as well. Although for many people, this unfortunately will be the case only because they never take the effort to try and learn from failures in past relationships.

    Were there any repeated patterns on choosing the incompatible partners? How about patterns in how we deal with our partners? Can we take these lessons and apply them to future relationships so we are more careful in choosing more appropriate people to have relationships with?

    It’s What We Do Now That Counts

    If we make real efforts to actively make positive changes right now — despite failures in the past, our chances of success in the future are much higher. Don’t just make wishes for better outcomes. Again, it’s what we do right NOW that makes the big difference in the future rather than what happened in the past.

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    In my case, I’ve had everything from family tragedies to major sports injuries that required surgeries. I cannot let these past events jinx my future. I could have easily allowed these bad experiences to turn me into a chronic pessimist. But as long as I keep steady in doing the right things now, I will succeed in the future no matter what the past was like.

    As a result of my own past misfortunes, I’ve made such changes from taking steps on injury prevention to actively re-balancing my day-to-day lifestyle. These changes have paid off in much better results compared to my past.

    What you do now can drastically change your future for the better. Think about anything in your past that you would have liked to change if you could. Then make positive changes so that your future will look brighter than ever before.

    Feel free to share what changes you will make to ensure that your past does not equal your future.

    (Photo credit: The Sun in Hands via Shutterstock)

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    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

    It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

    Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

    “You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

    In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

    New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

    There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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    So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

    What is the productivity paradox?

    There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

    In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

    He wrote in his conclusion:

    “Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

    Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

    How do we measure productivity anyway?

    And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

    In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

    But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

    In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

    But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

    Possible causes of the productivity paradox

    Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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    • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
    • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
    • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
    • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

    There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

    According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

    Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

    The paradox and the recession

    The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

    “Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

    This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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    According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

    Looking forward

    A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

    “Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

    Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

    “Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

    On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

    Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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