Saturday, 21 September 2013

Procrastination 101

What is procrastination?

For instance, it’s the temptation to check your email, your social media accounts, or simply just to check the latest viral video in YouTube in the middle of your work or tight deadline.

Of course we are all familiar to this circumstance, right?

We let our work target slipped but you convince yourself that you will start again tomorrow, and if it slip again you’ll decide to start again on the next Monday, and so on, and so on until you freaked out because you are so close to the deadline. Procrastination is not always about work, it can be your new year resolutions, such as losing weight, read more books, or simply just to clean up your messy room.

From its origin, the word procrastination itself can be defined as ‘putting off till tomorrow’. It is a complex psychological behavior where the procrastinators usually know what they should be doing but they keep on delaying instead.

But procrastination isn’t solely about a poor time management quality; if we look deeper into the procrastinators’ characteristic we can divide it into two different kinds of procrastination. Professor Joseph R. Ferrari of DePaul University figured out the procrastinators who delay making decisions (The decision-avoiders), and procrastinators who delay taking actions (The task-avoiders). The decision-avoiders tend to relying on other people to make their minds up for them; therefore they can easily blame others if something goes wrong. The task-avoiders are generally characterized by their low self-esteem; they make a decision without the follow-up actions.

The procrastinator’s characteristic is usually known as their optimistic about his ability to complete his task under a tight deadline until his false sense of security collapse and wake him up to realize that he is no longer in control. However, there are also other procrastinator’s characteristics, such as:
A too busy procrastinator
A person who justifying his delaying because he has “so much things to do”.
A stubborn procrastinator
A person who uses procrastination as stubbornness or pride where he refuses to be pushed to do his tasks, he thinks that he can do it later when he feels ready and good about himself.
A frustrated victim
A person who is frustrated because he can’t do the work as well as others, therefore he is delaying.

The reasons behind procrastination also can be divided into two categories; the simple reasons and the complex reasons. The simple reasons are involving such things as task difficultness; time-consuming task; lack of knowledge that caused the fear of making mistake; and the fear of everyone will noticing your failure.

The complex reasons are:
Perfectionism
Some people have unrealistically high standards and they hate to fail, their motto is ‘do everything perfectly or do nothing at all’.
Anger
If you are unhappy with your boss or professor, you will tend to hold back your best performance.
Low Frustration Tolerance
When you are unable to adapt with the intolerable circumstances and getting frustration instead and putting off your obligations until tomorrow.
Self Downing
People who tend to put themselves down. Their low self esteem makes them doubting their abilities. They are procrastinating because the uncomfortable feeling with achievement and success.

In some case, procrastination can lead you to a good performance since some people work better under pressure. However, it can be so self-destructively dangerous and unconsciously steal your precious time. You better have to cope with your procrastination issue soon before you realize that it’s too late to fix everything.

Here are some concrete steps to tame your bad habit:
  1. Structured procrastination; basically it’s a way to turn procrastination into a productive activity when you are in the mood of delaying your priority task then you switch your work to the less significant work. The point is, you can still remaining productive even though you are procrastinating.
  2. Make a list! Write down your delayed tasks and the actual reasons of your delaying, and then overcome those!
  3. Break your task into smaller portions of task to ease your mind.
  4. Ask for a help; it can be your friend (obviously NOT your procrastinator friend) or maybe go get a professional one.
  5. Do it!!! Finish it!!!

Go take the charge of your life back! Procrastination can weaken us down, downgrading our work performance, and affecting our personality. So go ahead close your unnecessary browser tabs, you will not get your works done if you keep on checking your twitter timeline though, and don’t worry, those cat meme pictures can wait for you in your free time.

US Military Presence in Southeast Asia: behind Paranoia and Hidden Agenda

200 US Marines had just arrived in the port city of Darwin, Northern Australia on Tuesday (03/04/2012). The first 200 marines is the first batch, which will be followed by another 2,500 Marines and US Military Aircraft on November through the northern city of Darwin.

The US military deployment aimed to protect its national interest in Asia Pacific from China’s military rise. It is not a surprising report even though US will not explicitly state that they feel threatened because of China’s maneuver. Since China has become the world’s largest military spender in 20 years, which followed by its ambitious military objectives, subsequently US must be sensed a deterrence concern.

China investing in such military capabilities like thousands of accurate land-based ballistic and cruise missiles, modern jets with anti-ship missiles, a fleet of submarines (both conventionally and nuclear-powered), long-range radars and surveillance satellites, and cyber and space weapons technology that intended to distract the US forces’ sightseeing. China holds the ultimate weapon, which is the new ballistic missile with its maneuverable warhead onto the deck of aircraft carrier for 2,700 km out at the sea. China also would like to hold the largest naval drill in its history along with Russia in the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea in late April, running into May. Under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization framework, the Russian Navy announced that the exercises would focus on the joint testing of command-and-control, armament, support, and protection systems, as well as combat systems’ interoperability by including both surface and underwater exercises.

Along with Obama’s strategic pivot, which is a military strategic guidance from the Middle East to East Asia, US refocusing on Southeast Asia by deepening its bilateral relations with ASEAN and other regional nations due to pursuit its global war on terrorism and overcome China’s military rise.

Beside Northern Australia, US also planned to locate its four US Navy Littoral Combat ships in Singapore. US engagement with Australia, Singapore, and the Philippines will be empowered by the upgraded military relations with Southeast Asian countries such Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

US and Australia have considering about their air base position on the Cocos Islands, the less inhabited islands to launch spy flights over the South China Sea. Regards to the fact that the Cocos Islands are located closely with Indonesia than Australia’s mainland, should we the Indonesian put our concern to that? Is there any coincidence since the islands located in the middle of Indonesian natural resources such as oil and gas along with the status as world’s most crucial shipping lanes?

Is there any hidden agenda behind the US presence in Southeast Asia? In view of the fact that there is a suspicion in the Philippines, that US presence is aimed to commence its commercial interest to explore the natural resources rather than to preserve its national security.

Despite the rumor above, US military approach is considered as exaggeration because US is risking the mutual trust between countries in the region, of course the Asian arms race is the least expected event.

US military response could trigger China’s mistrust. US should have firstly executed the diplomatic approach rather than solely focusing on its military approach. US should also control its paranoia because however, there will be many emerging powers in Asia such as China and India. As a superpower, US cannot simply feel threatened then give a military response to every emerging country.

Scam or Truth?: the controversy behind KONY 2012

An almost thirty minutes film and campaign, entitled as “KONY 2012”, which being uploaded on Youtube by the Invisible Children Inc (American charity non-profit organization) account on March 5 2012 has reaching its successful publication by gaining more than 70 million viewers worldwide by only six days. KONY 2012 has been dominating people’s discussion especially in the social media. On twitter, even celebrities talked about it: Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, and many more. The film itself talks about Joseph Kony, an Ugandan guerrilla group leader, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA kidnapped tens of thousands of children and youth for use as soldiers and sex slaves. As quoted from the film: “Kony stands accused of overseeing the systematic kidnapping of countless African children, brainwashing the boys into fighting for him, turning the girls into sex slaves and killing those who don’t comply. His forces are believed to have slaughtered tens of thousands of people and are known for hacking the lips off their victims. Kony has been wanted by the international criminal court since 2005 on charges that include crimes against humanity. He has been living in the bush outside Uganda since that time.” As provided on the film’s information, the goal of the campaign is “…to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.” The Invisible Children also encourage people to support them by donating via website that they had provided.

However, before you spread your awareness by supporting #KONY2012 or #stopKONY2012 campaign just like your favorite celebrities did, you had better check out the other viewpoint regards to this whole KONY thing. As a non-profit organization, the Invisible Children Inc gained critics from many sides that also questioning where the big fund would go. For instance, Rosebell Kagumire, an Ugandan girl who lives in the US made a response video against KONY 2012 on  “KONY 2012 Video is misleading”, she said that KONY 2012 film is misleading because people of Uganda already knew that Kony either has been dead for five years or has not been living in Uganda anymore. The Army itself formed 22 years ago and they have not struck again in 6 years. She also emphasized that she is defending for neither Kony’s side nor the Invisible Children Inc’s. Kony’s crimes absolutely cannot be denied, indeed. On the other hand, isn’t global campaigning for the past crimes considered as vain since Kony is no longer active? Meanwhile, there is a real humanitarian crisis in Syria where the situation is more severe than Uganda and deserves world’s urgent attention.

The Invisible Children Inc has a good sense of business. They know whether social media is a very powerful media to collect the mass globally. Along with their fancy film that easily took the viewers’ sympathy, they must have gained many cash from donation and the sales of KONY bracelets ($30 USD each). I am not going to write down their profit calculation since I did not find any trusted source. However, I admit that this campaign is a big success; it is not easy to attract people’s attention to watch a thirty minutes semi documentary campaign. Thus, I encourage you to do a further research if you interested on this KONY 2012 issue therefore you won’t be misled by rumours.

Reveal the Science of Luck: How to Make Our Own Good Fortune

Can you be categorized as a lucky person? Or perhaps you feel very unlucky instead?
What is luck? Based on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘luck’ can be defined as:
1) a force that brings good fortune or adversity
2) the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual

Perhaps we always know that one person who has a very good fortune in his life. For instance, “Oh, did you hear that Andy had passed the final exam? He rarely attended the class, he didn’t even study at all!” or “Anita is so lucky! That big company hired her even though she wasn’t one of the best graduates in her college”. I bet you have heard of those things, haven’t you? Or if you haven’t, I’m sure that you are that lucky person then *wink*.

Here’s something for you to understand. The luck factor isn’t a miracle even though it seemed so. We can create our good fortune. Being lucky is a state of mind! Richard Wiseman is a professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. He did research regards to the bad and good luck phenomenon in the early 2000’s. In his self-help book The Luck Factor(2003), he examined both bad and good luck, which resulted from measurable habits. He figured out that lucky people are outgoing and observant, hence they have more chance encounters than the unlucky people. Lucky people are also more likely to look on the bright side of unpleasant experiences. He also stated, “[Lucky people] are skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities, make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition, create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.”

Lucky people and unlucky people are being compared in their daily routine to reveal the fact that lucky people are mostly success because they are more relaxed and open, hence they see the big picture instead of see what they are looking for only. By seeing more openly, thus lucky people able to find other opportunities that usually are being missed by other people. Unlucky people are generally got anxious more than lucky people, which it disrupts people’s ability to notice the unexpected. Unlucky people usually miss chance opportunities because they are too focused on looking something else

The research revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four basic principles:
Principle One: Maximize Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, including networking, adopting a relaxed attitude to life and by being open to new experiences.
Principle Two: Listening to Lucky Hunches
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. In addition, they take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities by, for example, meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.
Principle Three: Expect Good Fortune
Lucky people are certain that the future is going to be full of good fortune. These expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies by helping lucky people persist in the face of failure, and shape their interactions with others in a positive way.
Principle Four: Transforms Bad Luck to Good
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, do not dwell on the ill fortune, and take control of the situation.

In the wake of these studies, Wiseman concluded there are three easy techniques that can help to maximize good fortune:
Unlucky people often fail to follow their intuition when making a choice, whereas lucky people tend to respect hunches. Lucky people are interested in how they both think and feel about the various options, rather than simply looking at the rational side of the situation. I think it helps them because gut feelings has a role as an alarm bell – a reason to consider a decision carefully.
Unlucky people tend to be creatures of routine. They tend to take the same route to and from work and talk to the same types of people at parties. In contrast, many lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives. For example, one person described how he thought of a colour before arriving at a party and then introduced himself to people wearing that colour. This kind of behaviour boosts the likelihood of chance opportunities by introducing variety.
Lucky people tend to see the positive side of their ill fortune. They imagine how things could have been worse. In one interview, a lucky volunteer arrived with his leg in a plaster cast and described how he had fallen down a flight of stairs. I asked him whether he still felt lucky and he cheerfully explained that he felt luckier than before. As he pointed out, he could have broken his neck.

Thus, I guess the luck factor neither is longer a mystery nor belong to only “exclusively” lucky people. We definitely can create our good luck by forming a “lucky” state of mind. By exercising our new mindset I am sure that we will easily spot chance opportunities, listen more to our intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck. You can now forget about your lucky charm’s addiction. Matter fact, the real lucky charm is YOU! Good luck then!!