Recommended Best Picks

Recommended Best Picks: Tangible items after research/curation/study/collection etc of the best picks in a specific field (Could be a book, assessment, resources, tool, video, pick, etc….)

Topic Examples of Best-Picks
 

Perfectionism

How to be an Imperfectionist By Stephen Guise

http://imperfectionistbook.com/plans/

 

Productivity The Productivity Project

 

Choosing a career 80000hours.org

The Joy of Work? (Clapperton & Warr)

Questionnaires of the book can be found under e-resources here

https://www.routledge.com/The-Joy-of-Work-Jobs-Happiness-and-You/Warr-Clapperton/p/book/9780415459662

 

 

https://careerlaboratory.blogspot.com/

 

https://www.livecareer.com/career/advice/jobs/online-assessment-review

 

Assessments[i] https://www.hmhco.com/classroom-solutions/assessment

 

http://www.cambridgecognition.com/cantab/

 

Sleep https://cet.org/

 

Research Tools and Resources https://osintframework.com/

https://pubpsych.zpid.de

www.diigo.com  

https://software4scholars.wordpress.com/

http://dirtdirectory.org/

https://contentcuration.zeef.com/robin.good

Activities https://www.exploratorium.edu/

 

Creativity http://www.creativitypool.com/forums/

 

JDM (Judgement and Decision-Making) https://advanced-hindsight.com/

 

Internet Addiction

 

http://filters.pluckeye.net/

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/internet-addiction-shackle-yourself-freedom-hashem-elassad/

https://getcoldturkey.com/ 

www.qustodio.com

www.nosurf.org

 

Happiness and Positive Psych www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu

https://positivepsychologytoolkit.com

 

 

 

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Why I named my blog Paradoxically Paradoxical? and a Proposed Slogan “Embrace the Cringe! Embrace the Fringe!”

Charlie Yoon Pixabay License Бесплатно для коммерческого использования Указание авторства не требуется
nothing-is-written-in-stone-527756_1920
Photo by SBM on Pixabay. Pixabay License https://pixabay.com/images/id-527756/

This is to prove that I’m not using fancy phrases with no reason; It’s all calculated my friends (though I love fancy phrases and I might be guilty of that sometimes!).

Back in the days, I hated contractions. I abhorred them regardless if they were only seeming contradictions or actual ones. They made me very uneasy. And the failed harmonization attempts made me cringe. I needed neat clear logical answers. My need for cognitive closure was high.

Over the years, alongside this repulsion , I noticed an odd attraction towards those contradictions and paradoxes. Something in me was very intrigued, finding myself gravitating towards them over and over again. In a strange way, both sentiments thrive in me today, and maybe always had.

When I encounter or sense a dialectic, I feel pressure to resolve it either by finding a harmonization or by identifying it indeed as a contradiction (calling a spade a spade). That stress, while uneasy, is in it and of itself is a sign of the beautiful fascination that paradox exercises on me.

I’ll give an example; the issue that made me think of the title “paradoxically paradoxical” to begin with. The people who make it to leadership positions tend to be aggressive, selfish and egotistical.

An impressionistic rough hypothesis: Those who are selfless, easing-going and want to accommodate others tend not to seek leadership positions. However, people governed by this leadership will benefit from a selfless altruistic leader. And here in lies the paradox; good leadership is altruistic leadership but altruistic people don’t tend to seek leadership. After we understand this paradox, we are better able to improve the situation: Devise a system that appoints leaders who do not take initiative in pursuing power or search for leaders who possess the rare combination of selflessness and strength; seeking power as a means not an end.

This paradox explains why the status quo is not very good. Now, we can find a better solution like searching for leaders who possess the rare combination of seeking power and altruism or building a system that appoints only leaders who do not seek power nor positions.

The second point is that by examining a paradox, we can improve our situations.

It’s a goldmine for improvement and powerful insight. And there-in lies the ultimate paradox: my greatest source of unease is my greatest source of joy; paradoxes. Devoting my life to contemplating them might be the most fruitful endeavor. That is meta-paradoxical. Pursuing paradoxes is particularly productive. It’s then might be more fruitful to focus on what “doesn’t make sense” than what does make sense.

I was flustered/ disenchanted by the lack of progress in life. There seems to be a lot of knowledge and hard work but often, the improvement that we want does not happen even with the best resources. I felt that the system was somehow stuck in gear.

These paradoxes gave an explanation to that.

They were responsible for jamming the system. The good news was that if we understood those paradoxes, then we can unlock the system paving the way for the long-awaited progress.

I became much more interested in things that “didn’t feel right”, counter-intuitive or “insane” ideas. After all, the “normal” way was the status-quo way and I wasn’t satisfied with that. Are you?

So what do I do now when I get this feeling of “this doesn’t make sense”, “there’s something off” “there’s a contradiction”? Instead of sweeping the issue under the rug or acquiescing to cognitive dissonance, I scratch that itch. I get excited by the smell of the paradox since, there, bottlenecks are cleared and major breakthroughs are made.

Behavioral Economics:

The same principle applies to behavioral economics. Rational economics assumes that the person is completely rational. Behavioral economics focuses on our irrationality. The wonderful thing about focusing so much on our systematic cognitive mistakes, is that this means that we can improve and improve a lot without paying much in return. Dan Ariely says “(I)t can be rather depressing to realize that we all continually make irrational decisions in our personal, professional and social lives. But there is a silver lining: the fact that we make mistakes also means that there are ways to improve our decisions —- and therefore that there are opportunities for free lunches…. One of the main differences between standard and behavioral economics involves this concept of ‘free lunches.’ According to the assumptions of standard economics, all human decisions are rational and informed …. As a consequence, economic theory asserts that there are no free lunches — if there aware any, someone would have already found them and extracted all their value…  behavioral economists, on the other hand, believe that people are susceptible to …(multiple)… forms of irrationality… The good news is that these mistakes also provide opportunities for improvement. If we all make systematic mistakes in our decisions, then why not develop new strategies, tools, and methods to help us make better decisions and improve our overall well-being? That’s exactly the meaning of free lunches from the perspective of behavioral economics ….” ( Predicatbly irrational, 319-320).

The most exciting phrase in Science is ….. “That’s funny”

Complexity scientist, Samuel Arbesman, said something to a similar effect (Listen to Podcast Interview with him, minute 6-8, 11-13). He focuses on odd, anomalous issues he encounters to gain a better understanding of a topic he’s studying. This often happens when something “doesn’t fit in”. This is a lens that allows him to unlock previously hidden information echoing Isaac Aismov’s quote ““The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not, ‘Eureka! I’ve found it,’ but, ‘That’s funny!’”.

I think I good slogan for the blog would be “Embrace the Cringe”. Do you like it?

https://flic.kr/p/apCvW7
Retort Photo by Brett Jordan on Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/apCvW7

Boiling Parts of the Ocean

1000+ Interesting Lava Ocean Photos · Pexels · Free Stock Photos

 

The picture is me. I looked for myself and found myself in it.

 

Boiling the ocean:

Time and again people, especially my family, told me “You can’t boil the ocean, Hashem!”. This is an expression that means you can’t turn every stone. It’s an  attempt to tone down my perfectionist perseverant pursuit for whatever it is I’m searching for. They have  a point! My research ,even for trivial things, can become too obsessive and consuming. However, some places and life tracks reward boiling the ocean; parts of the ocean that is.

Paradox:

The juxtaposition between water and fire, cold and hot captures my fascination with paradoxes and dialectics.

When fact is stranger than Fiction: Bizarre facts

There are underwater volcanoes! That’s a fact! But at the same time, it’s not something you see every day. It’s mind blowing especially if you’re looking at it. The picture has the intrigue of the fictional world but actually belongs to the factual world. This is what I want to write about. I want my reader to be blown away by the facts.

The Crazy Photographers

As  I was searching for an ocean lava picture, I read some of the back stories of how these photos were taken.  I felt a certain affinity with the photographers. I wouldn’t do what they did  in terms of putting my life in danger for a photo ;however, the extent that they went to provide the world with something so specific and unique is something that speaks to me deeply. Their end product is not an average run-of-the-mill photo that we see every day. It’s not redundant. [1] I admire people who lose their minds pursuing for their careers.

 

[1] See especially the photos taken by Selway and Kale Link . If the reporting is accurate, then their end result would be a category of its own, the first fruits.

Engaging Bull on Steroids (Ahmad Al-Assad’s Flip Paradox Profile)

ahmad's flip

 

 

 

Positive and Negative ways to describe where Ahmad lands on the spectrum of  trade-offs

 

 

Trade-Offs

 

 

Positives

 

 

Negatives

Action more than deliberation

 

Persistent

Driven

Energetic

Action-Oriented

Laser-Focus

Passionate

Motivator

Fast

 

Stubborn

Tunnel-vision

Erratic

Unreflective

 

Myopic

Unrealistic

Pushy

hasty

Engagement more than sophistication Sticky

Fun

Creative

Memorable

Easy to use

Simple

Brave Man

Reductionist
Superficial
Cartoonish
Inaccurate
Simplistic

Control Freak, Aggressive

 

Engaging Bull on Steroids:

Bull: Action, Speed, Strength

 

  • Driven

When Ahmad   has a goal in mind, he becomes a machine with laser-focus on that goal. It’s very hard to sway him off course. He is uncontrollably driven and passionately addicted to success.

  • Action-Oriented

He has little patience for  an “ink on paper” lifestyle.  It’s all ACTION ACTION ACTION!! NOW NOW NOW! He skips meals if he’s too engrossed in the task at the hand (and also makes me feel guilty because I eat my meals, it’s like I’m being  lazy or something by eating). A bull on steroids an image that describes him well.

  • Motivator: That’s not only for himself but others as well. He pushes others around him to action. That can be useful for me as a very deliberative person in order to remain perpetually stuck in the preparation phase forever. When I’m testing the waters for too long, he pushes me into it.

Engaging

  • Sticky : That the training will stick in people’s mind is a constant goal for Ahmad.

He always has in mind the ease of comprehension for the trainee so he makes sure that the exercise is fun and the info is user-friendly. His courage allows him to experiment with some pretty crazy and creative ideas in order for the trainee to have a memorable session. I sometimes think of him as a human guinea pig (to borrow Tim Ferris’ term). Someone whom I can pitch to the ideas I think are too crazy (in the good sense of the word) not too try but that I don’t have the courage to apply and he does that for me.

  • Genuine: When Ahmad gives his training, you don’t feel you’re dealing with a robot who memorized his lines and came out to regurgitate unto you. He shares his struggles with the trainees in a refreshingly honest way. They can tell that he’s speaking from the heart. One of the things that makes the proudest about Ahmad is when he tries to implement the material to his real life. And the crème de la crème of that is how he transformed his relationship with his son Taj Eddin by successfully managing his anger. The  amazing changed that happened to Taj Eddin’s personality is one of the realest things I’ve seen. He became much warmer and much more socially confident with others. And I think a big part of that goes back to how Ahmad made it a point to change his relationship with him. It’s heartwarming really.

This genuine approach also reflects in his willingness to experiment and test his ideas and positions . The proof in the pudding and he’s willing to eat the pudding.

Weaknesses:

Flip         1 (Bull on Steroids): Ahmad’s action-oriented need for speed can impair his judgement and fairness. The allure of the dramatic near success seduces him like a woman taking off her clothes. Much of his rush is artificial in the sense that there are no real external deadlines that he needs to meet. He sometimes needlessly pressurizes himself and those around him for no good reason. He reminds me of those airplane passengers who stand up and start packing and getting ready before they even announce that you can take off your seat-belt. They think they somehow can speed the  process by standing  up even though the post-arrival procedures that are being  done by the cabin crew doesn’t have anything to do with whether they are standing or sitting or sleeping. He wants his results the same way a drug junkie wants his high. This can lead to unrealistic expectations and not being able to take into consideration all the factors that that affect the situation.

Example” “You had two weeks to finish this simple task!!” or a version of it is something that people who work with him can expect to hear. He doesn’t take into consideration though the multiple other factors that he also gave to the person that would eat up from the allotted time.

Just like a bull he can butt head everything around him, and sometimes there are human causalities.

In these frenzied states where he want to achieve quick yet lasting glory, he can have a hard time seeing the flaws in his ideas and deliberating properly.

Flip 2 (Engaging):

Because delivering the content in a way that can stick in the minds of the trainees is super important to him, he’s willing to sacrifice some accuracy.

Sometimes his views are articulated in a cartoonish reductionist simplistic ways that doesn’t do justice to the complicated nature of the topic. For example. He can talk about “personality ” ( or what IMX calls behavioral styles) in a way that can make you get the impression that the  four styles are completely different species and that there are no other factors that affects human behaviour except which one of these four categories the person falls in. The people who own this assessment actually told him he’s putting way too much weight on this assessment than it can bear”. I fear that if he’s introduced to any new model or theory, he’ll interpret everything in this galaxy according to this model if he likes it.  “If you only have a hammer, then you’ll see everything as a nail” is an adage that I want to type on his forehead.

I joke with him that he’d be willing to discard all his beloved views about talent if he finds an entertaining anti-talent video or exercise that he can use in a workshop.

Courage/manhood:

The downside of this drive is that his super competitive spirit carries over to his relationships where he sometimes falls in the trap of viewing a relationship as a win-lose affair, where he has to dominate others… I sometimes felt like those animal packs on the National geographic where two male lions shred each other apart then finally one lion emerges as victorious as the alpha male and the weaker one submits to the new master’s authority his head to the ground and his tail between his legs.

What he means to me:

All of these statements were made by me about him:

“In need of someone to push me… to tell me I can do it… to tell me that they believe in me….to help me get back on my horse again… to shed some light in a dark place… (in other words, in need of Ahmad Al-Assad”

“Ahmad believed in me before I believed in myself … from when I was little. He encouraged me and saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself”.

“(Because of Ahmad), this time in my life is the time I find myself in the most, and I am satisfied the most about myself and I feel that my work is productive… the closest I’ve been to happiness in at least ten years.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Flip Paradox

Exchange of Services Request:

I’m looking for someone willing to read this piece and provide feedback. The main issue I need help with is transition between points: (Do I need to explain more or less before I move to the next point?) In return, I would review an equally long document of yours. Let me know if you’re interested.

This is a draft I wrote about my strengths, weaknesses and solutions to address my weaknesses. I’m planning to use it (or some of it) to explain my profile for potential work partners.


Am I the Best or the Worst?

The statements are real statements made about real people or in real conversations.

A to/about B “Working with you causes one to have a heart attack.” “I will not allow you to taint the picture of the company.” If you don’t like it, find yourself another company.
C to/about B “I learn much more from you than vice versa. I don’t even know if you can learn anything from me.” “You are my role model when it comes to people’s rights and ethics.” In the end of a TedX  talk given by person C to the crowd “The talented Person B is the brain and I’m the muscles” (video,Seconds 14:30-15:32).
B to/about A In a half-joking half-serious manner  “ (A is) hot-tempered, garrulous and intellectually-bankrupt. He was a major cause of stress in B’s early career. Hence, he was dealt with accordingly. After B’s star started to rise, little is known about A’s life”

 

“Maybe if you let go of your cartoonish reductionism and embrace a more nuanced worldview, you wouldn’t be so gloriously wrong so many times.”

 

B looks to see if A’s car is parked or not. He realizes it’s not. He feels relief. He realizes that he doesn’t want A to be in the office.

 

A is not there. B is not kidding when he verbally wishes that A feels pain the same way B felt pain because of him.

B to/about C “In need of someone to push me… to tell me I can do it… to tell me that they believe in me….to help me get back on my horse again… to shed some light in a dark place… (in other words, in need of person C ”

 

“C believed in me before I believed in myself … from when I was little. He encouraged me and saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself”. (Because of C), this time in my life is the time I find myself in the most, and I am satisfied the most about myself and I feel that my work is productive… the closest I’ve been to happiness in at least ten years.

Here’s the interesting bit: Person C and Person A is the same person: Ahmad Al-Assad, my former boss and current colleague at Talentology.[1] Also, we share the same father and mother. Person B is me.

How do we explain this?

Enter the Flip Paradox.

The same skill set and profile that produced those positive results also create my weakness. This is what I call the Flip Paradox: Your weakness is your strength. Your strength is your weakness. This paradox is one of the lenses I use the most to view the world. That lens was heavily shaped and molded by working at The Talentology, the books David & Goliath (by my Malcolm Gladwell) and The Power of Neurodiversity by Thomas Armstrong. What makes something a strength or a weakness is the context around it. The same trait can be strength in context X and a weakness in context Z. Negative things, especially extreme unique ones, can INDICATE that there are underlying or dormant positive things that we’re not looking at. That positive can be turned into a great strength if it is put in the appropriate context.

 

In fact, one of the descriptions that I include in my So Very Hashem page is كثير الاستطراد “Someone who digresses a lot”. The comment sounds slightly negative but I love it. I only met the girl who described me as such once in my life. But this two-word description is so expressive, eloquent, perceptive and apt that it’s better than much of what I’ve heard from people who have known me for decades. It conveys much more about me much more than a generic cookie-cutter description like “friendly” or “dedicated”.

Digressing a lot is negative because it makes the conversation hard to follow. However, it can indicate that there is a talent or strength lurking: namely, that I have an enormous concern about accuracy and that I look at things from many angles. I strive for to provide an exhaustive account of whatever it is I’m discussing. The opposite is also true. The profile that I explained in the cover letter causes both the positive and negative feedback in this document.

Main Skill Set

My Skillset

My main skillset is analysis, research and writing. If you cut my head open, you will find etched in my brain “Why?” and “How do we know?”. I lust for evidence. Malcolm Gladwell’s description of Nassim Taleb as “the empiricist who doesn’t believe in empiricism” hits home. Research is an obsession. When I put my mind to find an item, I immerse myself in that its world. I find myself diving deep in the ocean of knowledge to find those pearls of a find. “Boiling the ocean” and “No stone unturned” are expressions that really resonate with me. Writing for me is effortful, effortless and natural all at the same time. It’s a compulsion more than a favorite pastime. It is painful and therapeutic. I’m a writer. It wasn’t entirely a choice. This saying about the process of writing puts it well “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.[2]

The Bad News and the Good News about My Profile (Trade-Offs)

Pics
My Trade-offs

Time, Team, Tidiness

Here are the issues that come with my profile (negative and positive views)

1-Time:

Among the most serious weaknesses I have is taking a lot of time to deliver the final result. I don’t have a problem in starting on time. My issue is knowing when to say “That’s enough, let’s wrap it up and move to the next thing”. I’m currently trying to understand what exactly happens by using a more rigorous documentation of my work process. When I use words like “obsession” “compelled” and “addicted” to describe my main skillset,  there is some literal truth to these words. You can view my inquisitive nature as pathology and strength, a liability and an asset.

Or maybe there’s nothing wrong with the amount of time I dedicate to the task. Maybe the task itself is unrealistic. For example, I allotted an hour to research the generalist/specialism debate as sub-task in preparing for a workshop. This turned into an approximately 40  hours project .Maybe I should expect that arriving at a meaningful useful result in a topic such as this one will take that long.

Another cause is the fishing mentality. If I’m asked to get a fish, I say to myself, hang on a minute, get a fishing line instead so that you’ll be more effective. Invest in the building block now and then reap the benefits for the future. On my way to get the fishing line, I say “no, build a sturdier building block, get a fishing net” then after on the way no nooo a fishing boat…. Then noo a fishing ship…. Then no build the factory that builds the shipping ships first”. In other words, I have a strong macro-  inclination

All three causes:  meticulousness, unrealistic expectations (both are symptoms of perfectionism) and macro-optimization are relatively easy to manage in comparison to the third cause, which is sense of responsibility. “my work impacts people” is  heavy idea. Hurting others thru my work or causing negative impact is a daunting  prospect that causes me more time before delivering results.

In defense of myself,  I have to say it’s not all my fault. Once we look at the evidence. The chance of having little, zero or even negative impact is likely to appear much larger than we expected. The opposite is true as well, however, having a great beneficial impact seems more likely as well.

Another aspect of this sense of responsibility is being true to one’s word. A job agreement is a sacred commitment to me. I dread the idea of failing the other side of the agreement by underperformance or under-delivery regardless who that person is.

This “debilitating honesty” shows most viciously in copyrights as the example. If I were on my own, I would seek copyright clearances for the training material from the sources I’m drawing material from. This can be a tedious complicated process. As often times, it’s not clear if we have to take permission from the author or not. Often, it’s not clear what is fair use and what is not.

I might be over-cautious in this regard which might be annoying & frustrating to my colleagues as it might delay/complicate/ add expenses to the work (though I’m usually willing to pay the expenses myself).

2- Team

Which side are you on again?

This issue again stems from honesty. My ultimate allegiance is to the truth wherever it may be. If another company has a superior product or service for a client’s situation I feel I must let them know of their options. If there is something wrong or deficient, I want the client to know about our limits.

If we’re using someone else’s material, I want to make sure we’re ot doing any copyright infringement.

3- Tidiness: The Simplicity-Complexity Trade-off

A common feedback I get on my work is that it’s confusing or hard to follow. I admit I’m not the tidiest person.  There are two types of confuse chaos that can emerge. The reader can say

  • “I don’t understand what you’re saying” This one is easier to solve.

Simplifying the content for the reader is an important point for me but it comes  as the last step  in my writing process (in sequence not importance). Thus, much of my pieces should be thought of as drafts. Also, I’m not big on formalities that don’t seem to have a practical value so be aware grammar-Nazis! Lastly, the visual aesthetics of a post is not my strong suit so apologies if you find a post ugly or hard to read. I’m planning to work on this issue in the future (from Freezing Fire; Sizzling Snow on my blog).

I know I know…Design is important. Content will not reach people properly if the format is poor. It’s just  my brain is hard-wired to think of design as the last step (from Warning for Designers. on my blog) .

  • “I understand what you’re saying but you’re not giving me one clear simple direction”. This one is tough because there’s an aspect to it that is world-dependent not Hashem-dependent: that we live in a world with lots of shades of grey. We do not live in a cartoonish 2d black and white fairy tale. I’m not going to give an easy quick fix if it there isn’t a useful one.
  • I’m “All over the place”: there is no one clear direction in my pieces. This is because that is usually the case in the real world. The evidence does not unambiguously lead to one direction. The evidence is all over the place. Painting a picture with one clear unambiguous direction seems to me irresponsible and sometimes dishonest.

The Simplicity-Complexity trade-off  (Beautiful Inaccuracy vs Useless Ugly Truth)

Those points relate to the simplicity complexity trade-off. I’m told by critics that “simplicity is beautiful”. My response is: Yes it is, but it is often gloriously wrong as well. Truth is sometimes ugly not only because it hurts but also because the real picture is anything but simply, tidy or symmetrical. It is confusing, unfamiliar and all over the place.

The tradeoff is this: the simpler our account is, the more easy to comprehend and implement it. However, it becomes more prone to error. The exceptions to the rule increase in such a way that you start suspecting that the rule itself is an exception.

I make my account complex to increase its accuracy. But then it becomes harder to comprehend o implement. And if people don’t understand a concept then it is useless to them.

Also, sometimes the account is  so cautious  that it becomes a tautology saying nothing at all. If I tell you the direction you should take is “maybe north but also likely to be south or it could be the case that is east and I can’t dismiss the west” then I absolutely gave zero direction. It’s 100% accurate and useless. When qualifications like “maybe” are used in my pieces in every other word, the piece turns into a fancy sequence of tautologies.

Simplicity is a high miss risk strategy while complexity is a low hit low miss one.

An example of a too simple model is the hyper naïve use of personality assessments. People love personality assessments. It is looked at a as a simple told that would allow us   divide people into four categories. It even becomes more simplistic when those categories have animals attached to them. If you’re a Lion then you’re always strong. If you’re a parrot then you’re always charismatic. If you’re  a dolphin then you\re always kind. If you’re a bee then you’re always meticulous.  It’s fun, easy to understand and apply. It is seductive to turn a confusing world into a simple one like this where you not only can label yourself but everyone around you. People new to this kind of thing can think that they’re now privy to a secret tool that allows you to comprehend all the complexities of human relationships. The problem is: this is a horribly horribly inaccurate picture human beings. We’re a mixture of all these personalities and our behaviour can change significantly depending on the context.

The  opposite way is not to use any labels or categorizations. We will be accurate but that because we’re not saying anything and what we’re not saying anything we can’t be wrong but at the same time we can’t do anything. Life becomes a completely unpredictable and directionless. We cannot live or act as if  we have zero presuppositions or  labelling.  If I’m meeting someone new in Amman, I will begin speaking in Arabic. Based on my preconceived notions, that person speaks Arabic. There’s a chance that this person is a tourist who doesn’t speak Arabic but we give with the default or at least with the best guess.

In short, my flipside is analysis paralysis, epistemic learned helplessness and debilitating honesty. These are things that makes people tell me “You stop sailing boats” “You put the knot in the saw” (Arabic expressions for negatively complicating issues).

I hope I’ll find a framework to overcome these obstacles.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to increase the percentage of positive feedback like this:

Positive Feedback from Others

Keep in mind that these are informal comments, so the language might not be grammatically correct.

Farah Beno (RAHAF, a blog-based magazine and a fellow Amman Writing Club member) described me as having “deep insights and rich resources” when she featured my Zero or Negative Impact: Career Clutter Causing an Existentialist Crisis on her blog. She also commented on my Please Hold On: Your Question Will Be Answered in a Few Years

” Your ability to express your thoughts away from hard academic jargon makes one wants to read your pieces… What makes your writing powerful, which I hope you keep doing in future writings as well, is that you present an informed kind of opinion, especially that we are overwhelmed with blogs where anyone and everyone has an opinion and puts it out there which so often turns to be plain rubbish.”

Dalia Al-Shurman, Founder of Amman Writing Club (AWC) commenting on the latter piece:

“(You need to make a living off of creating Facebook posts because they’re great!)
Your use of references is intricate, and intriguing… The academic additions to a creative work in your case I felt enriched your piece. The psychological aspect, too, and connections, and maintaining coherence, though it is a complex piece, I admire. My only comment would be, maybe, edit form or structure. Other than that, I would definitely be in the audience if this were a creative talk, or lecture, like Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own!”

***

Have we reached an impasse? Solutions

I do not think the optimal solution to differences between people is to simply put them in the same room and hope that by osmosis we will reach the optimal point in spectrum before killing each other.  I think a better way is to engineer our relationship in such a way that would benefit us both given our strengths and weaknesses.

This is a preliminary attempt to optimize my profile given my weaknesses.

A- Work Arrangement: Finding a supervisor or a partner

We means me (Hashem) and my work partner and/or supervisor

  • Finding the ideal supervisor/partner: Having a supervisor who is more experienced that me in the SPECIFIC field that I’m working in such as Judgement and Decision-Making psychology (NOT general work experience) who can take informed decisions when I’m in analysis paralysis. That way we/I can move forward without having all the responsibility on my shoulder.
  • We divide the project into consecutive milestones, after every milestone, I present my partner(s) with my research results/recommendations and then they choose which of the results/ recommendations we will go with. This way, less responsibility on my shoulder+ we move /progress instead of being stopped by my analysis-paralysis. Then, I start working on the second milestone based on their choices from the first and so-on and so forth.”
  • Finding the ideal client/consultee:

A-a client who understands the inherent risk in any action / decision we take in life.

B- a client who can forgive me beforehand for any of my shortcomings and mistakes.

Solutions that just involve me

 

  • Reading and applying books on perfectionism and guilt to understand myself and books about control freaks and bullies to understand those who cause me pain. One of the best beneficial insights that I gained over the years in order to combat perfectionism is “limited resources”. The idea is as follows:
  1. Perfectionism makes sense only if we have an infinite amount of resources such as time.
  2. We don’t have an infinite amount of resources so we’re bound to lose points on some of our projects.
  3. Even if perfectionism allows us to lose less points on issue A, anti-perfectionism still is a better option because it would allow us to lose less total points on issues (A,B,C) combined. We would score less on issue B and C in case of perfectionism because we would have depleted more resources when we get to it. The law of diminishing returns is especially important here.

 

  Issue A Issue B Issue C Total
Perfectionism 97 40 60 197
Anti-

Perfectionism

80 70 70 220
  • We are bound to have mistakes in life. I can let it slide if I’m not the person in charge.
  • Print out and have in view re-assuring phrases like “to the best of my knowledge” “our best guess”.
  •  Seeking an expert in OCPD/perfectionism.
 

 

Positive and Negative ways to describe where I land on the spectrum of 3 trade-offs

 

 

Trade-Offs

 

 

Positives

 

 

Negatives

Quality before Speed Painstaking, meticulous, diligent Slow, nitpick
Content Before Form Sophisticated,  Nuanced Sophist, convoluted
  Meaningful, Insightful, Deep Hard to comprehend, too complex, not user friendly
  Accurate, true, evidence-based Ugly, demotivating
Means Before Ends Honest, fair, principled, ethical Naively idealistic, not in touch with the real world , self-righteous, hypocrite
  Unprofitable, not business savvy

 

Pics
My Trade-offs
My Skillset
My Skill-set

 

 

 

 

[1] For more on our relationship, see My Beloved Scar and Comparative Personalities .

[2] https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/09/14/writing-bleed/