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it’s not all about you!

Stuart White

The World in Black-N-White

One of the things I have been conscious of in the past few years is trying not to take things so personally. Trust me, I’m not there yet and it feels more like a work in progress than a place that I have got to.

I know that I am not alone here as often when I am coaching people they will tell me the exact same thing – that they take things too much to heart and they wish they could do something about it.   It’s an area many people need help with. The conversations which I have often run on these lines:

 “How can I not take it personally when my boss is angry, and he/she screams at me? How is that when my friend stops talking to me I don’t take it personally because that is very much about me?  Or how about my wife who cheated on me – that is definitely about me – it’s personal.”

They are half right.  Yes, it is personal but when someone is having a cadenza and doing or saying something to you, the issue is about THEM not you.  The book The four Agreements says: “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.

When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world. Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds…Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up….”

I think it is important to realise that when you take something personally it’s a reflection of your own insecurities and perceived shortcomings.  Deep inside, it may reinforce what you think about yourself and you automatically interpret something as a personal attack.   Somehow you feel you have been exposed and your defences spring up to fend off the attack. 

This is a huge problem if you are basing your worth on the approval of others but the big thing to grasp is that their disapproval or disappointment is personal to them.  It’s all about THEM but you are a convenient verbal punch ball.  We make ourselves the important part of the interaction, when the truth is it’s the other way round and that’s why it’s about them – their situation and their issues. That’s why it isn’t your ‘personal’ – it’s theirs.

This is a lot easier said that done and that’s why I say it’s a work in progress. I can get so caught up in feeling abused, insulted and whatever else and then that thought (I am being treated like sh**) will fester in my mind tormenting me, making me lose sleep and focus.  Fortunately, I found some sound advice recently and that was to ask yourself the simple question – Will you care this time next year?

One of the reasons that we all take things personally is because we lose perspective. While personal attacks hurt, most of them simply don’t have the same raw feeling weeks and months later. When you ask “Will I still care about this a year from now?” and if the answer is yes, it’s likely worth your concern. But, If not, and this is likely to be the more common scenario, it helps you get beyond the emotion of the moment.

When I chat to people about this, it appears more prevalent at work, as if we are somehow more vulnerable in our relationships there. In his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie, one of the central messages from the author is this: “You likely spend more waking hours at work each week than anywhere else. When somebody hits you at work with something that feels personal, of course you’ll be affected by it.

But you’ll be a lot more affected if you don’t have anywhere else to turn. If you have a strong sense of identity outside of the workplace and other activities going such as volunteer work, sports, faith community, and hobbies, it’s harder for one person or situation to bring you down. The people who care about you in these places can also help ground you when you need perspective.”

Dr Margaret Paul says, “Others’ unloving behaviour hurts our heart, but when we learn to lovingly manage our loneliness, heartbreak, grief and helplessness and insecurity we stop taking others’ behaviour personally.” Build on this good advice by building up your positive reserve.  When we take something personally we negatively internalise another person’s judgement and make it about us and this in turn makes us feel slighted. 

   And one of the reasons you may take things personally is because that something negative is suddenly focused on you and (right or wrong) it’s challenging not to fixate on it. Rarely is there someone else there in the moment to balance it out with a positive message – it has to come from you.  But don’t take that personally! 

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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