Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Self-Improvement: Success comes with a price

As strange as it sounds, many people actually fear success. And this fear holds them back from achieving their goals and dreams.

But how could anyone possibly fear such a wonderfully positive thing as success? It may sound more reasonable to fear failure, so what is this all about?

Here are some reasons why people fear success:
  1. Change itself is scary
    It is easier to maintain status quo and go along unhinkingly. Life is easier when you can live it on autopilot. Change brings you into the unknown with its mix of exciting adventure and scary possibilities.

  2. People will expect you to succeed again
    There is a new pressure to perform to a level you did not have to before. You are aware of people watching and waiting for you to repeat your good performance.
    The bar has been raised on your performance levels. Your old habits and processes will not work. You have to change familiar and comfortable ways of doing things for the new.

  3. You will get more attention from people
    If you are a private person, or are not used to having an audience, being in the limelight will take some adjusting to.

  4. Your private life may suffer
    Athletes and actors who make it big complain that they no longer have privacy, and that they must hire security personnel and worry about financial and personal safety issues.

  5. You question if you can do it again
    If you succeed the first time, and fail the next time, people will say it was a fluke. This puts added pressure on this second performance and takes away the value of the first performance should you fail.

  6. Your time demands will change
    You have less time now because maintaining new levels of performance brings new demands on your time and new experiences you have never had.

  7. People expect you to "be" a certain way now
    Famous stars in show business are expected to be big tippers or to sign autographs, and if they do not, are denigrated. People have a set of expectations about how you should behave in your new position.

  8. It is harder to stay at the top than to get there
    It was tough succeeding, but maintaining your success is usually even harder. It takes more time, more planning and with your new distractions and obligations, keeping focus is even more demanding.

  9. You make enemies when you perform better than others
    You may leave former peers behind, symbolically and literally, when you raise the bar. Many people may be happy for your success but some may feel slighted and envious.

  10. Being a success can limit you
    When an actor makes it big in a role, he is forever remembered as that character - and if he does not manage his career well, he will become typecast.
    When you do a great job on a project, you might be known as "the one" to do this job for eternity because you are "so good" at it.

  11. Being a success changes your self-image
    Perhaps you have always wondered if you could succeed at something. You may not have felt worthy of this success.

People may have told you, covertly or overtly, that you do not deserve success. You, at least, know your place as one who is average.

When you succeed, people will look to you for advice, leadership and as being a model of virtue, and it will forever change how you see yourself.

Self-Improvement: Taiji & The Art Of Delegation

ONCE and for all, I would like to stop the cultural misuse of the word "taiji" when it is used synonymously with "delegation", and reframe it in a positive light.

Throughout Singapore, executives proudly stand up and say: "Yes, we know how to delegate: 'Taiji it!'" They then proceed to make a pushing gesture with their hands followed by laughter. The joke is harmless enough, and the laughing reveals perhaps a deeper knowledge that this is not the way to delegate.

You do not "push" things off to others. This is both personally irresponsible and disastrous for an organisation .

Pushing things off is half the equation. In taiji, all movements are performed in a circular manner.
After you push, the hands circle back to you. The motion only ends when the circle is completed. Any task you delegate does not disappear. It comes back to you.

So I say, yes, "taiji it!" The taiji process makes for an intelligent form of delegation. It sets something in motion, which then circles back to you completed. It is a continuous dynamic process that encourages personal responsibility.

Wise delegation is integral to transforming your work overload into a sustainable workload, managing your time better and encouraging your employees to develop their potential.

It makes the difference between being an effective or ineffective human resource manager. At the heart of delegation lie the issues of time and trust.

Delegate to manage your time

Delegation is essential to time . management. The amount of hours managers work each week has been steadily increasing over the past decade.

It is essential to find a way to effectively distribute your workload to your staff and col­leagues. lf you feel that a par­ticular task will not get done unless you do it yourself, you are definitely on the road to burnout.

To avoid potential stress­related illness, it is best to examine each task you do and ask yourself the following questions:
· Do I need to do this?
· Who else could do it? and
· Who would be best at doing it?

Be ruthless. Analyse the necessity of your presence at each scheduled meeting. Monitor the interruptions that prevent you from completing your work in the time you want. Make an appointment with yourself. Close your door and do not take phone calls for an hour to do your important planning.

After a recent coaching ses­sion, an executive sched­uled in an hour and a half of planning time in a quiet place near his office. For the first tinle in five years, he had uninter­rupted planning time during his normal working hours.

By managing your workload through effective delegation, you clear your backlog and can see more clearly into the future. You can move through the day at a less hectic pace and with less urgency in your actions. You become more centred. You are planting seeds now in a more stable ground.

This is also an essential ele­ment of taiji. The basic stand­ing position is balanced solidly on your two feet and centred in the tan tien, the point of power just below your navel.

A centred, grounded man­ager delegating from this point of strength is "in control" but not needing to control. Controlling involves tension, suspicion and pushing, and displays a lack of trust. Being in control, on the other hand, involves an alert and trusting attitude.

Delegation needs trust

Trust in your staff is a critical skill to develop in these times of constant change. It is a skill that must be honed and de­veloped through practice and experience. Delegating mean­ingful and challenging tasks to your staff will give them a chance to grow by encouraging them to take personal responsi­bility for what they do.

You also need to be trust­worthy. By giving them em­powerment to make important
decisions, you show your support. You stand behind them solidly by being there when they need you.

Taiji movements are repeated over and over until you are no lon­ger doing the movement: The move­ment is doing you. You get into a flow, and time disappears in the presence of being.
If you get a flow of your staff in motion, taking personal responsibility for their actions, you will find an im­mediate increase in productivity, staff morale and better communication.

Delegating involves navigating
You navigate through your myriad projects and key responsibilities, selecting those that can travel through your gate to another ap­propriate dock.

Letting go of some of your bag­gage creates a lighter load for you. Just beware that you do not" dump" your load. Lighten your load while brightening up someone else's.

Delegating provides an oppor­tunity on both sides, a chance to simultaneously reduce your work­load and give your employees a challenge. It can restore harmony in an unbalanced workplace. So, taiji it!

Nokia News

NOKIA has been on top of the mobile world for so long that few remember that the Finnish company was once in the forestry business.

Today, Nokia commands a 35 per cent share of the global market for mobile phones. Its closest competitors, Motorola and Samsung, have 15 per cent each.

There are some 800 million Nokia users worldwide and 10 Nokia phones are manufactured every second. This is a huge achievement in a country of only five million.

Having got to the top, the next biggest challenge for Nokia is staying there. Not only must the company be clued in to the latest technology trends, it also has to churn out beautiful products with intuitive user interfaces and build long-term brand loyalty.

"There are geographical differences in consumer behaviour and in the business landscape. China and India increasingly drive demand and design prefen;nces," said Mr Jarkko Sairanen, Vice-President of corporate strategy.

Nokia's business strategies include creating winning devices and embracing consumer Internet services.

The areas it will focus on are photography and video, music, TV and media on the go, Internet and navigation plus games, said Mr Sairanen.

To stay on top, Nokia is spending big bucks. R&D accounted for 3.8 billion euros (S$7.5 billion), or 11.2 per cent of net sales, last year. R&D personnel make up 36 per cent (20,882) of Nokia's workforce.

Nokia Research Centre, established in 1986, has R&D centres in 11 countries, including Finland, China, Germany, Hungary, Japan and the United States. In April, it established-a joint research facility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Choosing a Computer for Digital Darkroom

With a computer, you can create some works of arts and have more fun with your digital photos. You can make changes and enhancement to your images, and then print them on your inkjet.

Windows or Mac?
One of the common question for your digital darkrooms is "Do you get a Windows system or an Apple Macintosh System?"
Most professional digital photographers and graphic designers use Mac environment. They find Macs easier to work with and more "powerful".

However, for biginners, the Windows System seems to be the better choice. Windows computers are becoming more and more user friendly. in addition, there are more photo editing programs for Windows than for Macs.

Notebook Vs Desktop
Here come another big question "Notebook or Desktop?"
If you check on the price, you would find that Notebook is generally more expensive than desktop. However, Notebook gives you the flexibility if you are always on the move.

For a beginner on digital darkroom, you may want to start with a desktop. As you become more proficient with the basic photo editing program, you can gradually upgrade to the more powerful Adobe Photoshop.

If you plan a lot of travelling with your digital cameras, you should also consider getting an additinonal Notebook computer in additional to your desktop computer.

  • If you are really into digital photography, you should consider adding more RAM in your system. It is important to get your computer running at the fastest speed which you can afford.

  • If you need to decide whether to get a faster CPU or more RAM, I would recommend that you go get more RAM. Most photo editing software consume a lot of RAM power. If you have insufficient RAM, you may end up "waiting forever" for a imaging program to finish its processing.

Monitor Display
Monitor display is an important accesory for digital darkroom. If you are really serious in digital photography, you should consider a 22-inch monitor.

Large monitors help you to see your image easily, and you can open more adjustment windows for your work.

Tips on Monitor Display:
  • Flat Panel display, though more expensive, is a better choice. It takes up less space and generate less heat and radiation.

  • Some photographers highlighted that the CRT monitors seems to have smoother graduations for subtle colors such as skin tone. The flat-panel seems to have better brightness and contrast

It's important to note the number of ports available. If your computer has more ports, you would be able to attach more equipment (such as printer, scanner, memory card reader, external hard drive) to your computer.

If you plan to have a lot of accessory, look for a system with lot of ports.

Wabcom Tablet
For serious photographers, the WACOM table offers ultimate precision.In stead of using mouse, you use the WACOM pen over a tablet.
The pen is pressure sensitive. Simply press harder for a stong effect when making the adjustments.

WACOM tablets come in small, medium and large sizes.

Never Tell a Child to Smile

Never, ever tell a child to smile. If you do that in a child photography session, they will get tensed up when you ask them to do so. The best smiles happen spontaneously - a natural by product of a fun activity. When you first photograph a group of children, just take a few shot in the first minute. The children will need to get use to the camera and light from the electronic flash. After a while, the children will soon lose interest in your camera, and ignore you. At this time, you will probably capture some really spontaneous images.

If You'll Just Sit Still I'll Give You....
Use bribe as the last resort in child photography. Properly timed, the promise of a special treat like a balloon can give you just enough leverage to get those last 2 or 3 exposures to complete your photo session.

Take It When They Are Sound Asleep
Young children, especially infants take beautiful photos while they are asleep. Try this child photography technique:

While a child is sleeping, place a solid color blanket over the child just exposing the face, arms, and hands (to minimize colors and concentrate on face).

Place a favorite small, soft toy near a hand (makes for a wonderful memory).

Move in close, usually within three feet to fill the camera's viewfinder with just the child.

Toddler Photos
If you are taking Toddlers’s photos, try not to let them know that you are taking pictures. They look best when they don’t know that you’re taking their photo. Candid shots are great for this age group. Always keep your camera ready. Capture the moment when they are doing something cute.

Mom & Dad in Child Photography
Be relaxed. Children are very sensitive to their parents' moods and tend to get nervous and apprehensive right along with mom and dad. Therefore, mom and dad have to be as carefree as possible during the child photography sessions. One way to do that is to focus on the fun activity that you're using to distract your child. Yes, that trick can work on you, too!

Child Photography

Child photography is challenging. Children would never understand why taking pictures is important. In fact, everything is a game for them. As children are small and move quickly, the photographer would need to have stamina and quick reflexes to capture the right moment.

To children, taking pictures is a game

For a child, taking pictures is the last thing in the child's mind. They look for fun in everything you ask them to do, just like playing with toy or blowing bubbles. You would be surprise that nice spontaneous shots appear if you make your photograpy session a funny one.

Some tips from experienced child photographers:
  • When working with very young children, especially more than one, a fun way to get a nice shot of them laughing is to ask them to scream as loud as they can on the count of three. It may take a try or two, but when they're comfortable enough to scream really loud, they usually crack up right after. -- Courtney Bell, Courtney Bell Digital Photography

  • When photographing children I have found it helpful to let them choose some of their own poses–especially when they start getting restless. I have found this relaxes them and makes the session more fun and personal. Some of my best shots have been of poses that the child has chosen themself. The attached photo is an example of one. -- SuAnn Bird

  • When shooting portraits of small children, don't be hesitant to sit on the floor and talk with them. Roll a ball back and forth with them. Camera rooms can be intimidating and the more you can focus their attention on you instead of on the equipment, the better the connection between photographer and subject. It will show in the finished portraits. -- Angie Shaffer, Angie Shaffer Photography

  • During child photography sessions, I often tell them I can see them through the lens. I ask them if they can see my eye. Can they tell if I'm winking at them? It usually results in a solemn, searching look straight at the camera lens. Click! Then the children will giggle and smile a bright and beautiful smile . . . Click! Click! Click! -- Angie Shaffer, Angie Shaffer Photography

  • When photographing children, don't underestimate the power of surprise. As kids grow into toddlers, there is more magic in a squeaker that you can hide in your hand than there is in a rubber ducky that is obviously making the noise. When a child pauses to think for a moment, there is a liveliness in the eyes. Keep 'em guessing. It keeps their attention on you. Learn to throw a ball into the air and catch it with one hand without looking. -- Angie Shaffer, Angie Shaffer Photography

  • When children are determined to give you a silly look, go ahead and play the game. Ask them to make the silliest face they can imagine. Snap a picture of it! Usually they get so tickled by the game that they forget to be difficult. Anticipate their delight and you'll get great shots! -- Angie Shaffer, Angie Shaffer Photography

  • Use small stickers and place them wherever you want a child to look. Place it on the softbox, on their hand, or on your forehead! It works well even with 6-month-old babies. -- Angie Shaffer, Angie Shaffer Photography

Digital Photos - Fun always!

You see something special, and you capture those special moments in digital photos. These moments remain private until someone sees them. Good memories and wonderful moments are to be shared.

Joy shared is joy multiplied – this is what photography brings! :)

Digital photography is one of the most exciting innovation in recent years. In this internet age, we can easily share our digital pictures online with our friends and relatives almost immediately.

And along the way, we realise that there are so much more wonderful things about digital photography.

In this blog, we highlight the tips, ideas and resources on digital photography. We hope these will enrich your photographic experience:

  • How to preserve the memory of your loved ones in many special ways other than having them printed in digital photos?

  • Creative ways to use your digital photos!

  • How to share your photos albums online?

  • How to edit you photos for different purposes?

  • How to choose the "best" digital camera (it is not as easy as it seems!)?

  • How to choose a digital camera that meet your needs and budget?

  • How to have your pictures printed on mugs, puzzles or even shortbread cookies?

  • how to post your pictures on web blog?

  • What are the FAQ for digital photogrpahy?

Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old shared a little of what he is good at doing. - Quincy Jones