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Sharpen the Saw

By Christian Staal

Imagine a lumberjack who is cutting down a tree with a dull saw. “Sharpen the saw,” you tell him. “I’m too busy,” he says. Many people make the same mistake, when we fail to invest time in activities that increase our ability to be effective.

More:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (book) by Stephen Covey

The Myth of Body Language

By Christian Staal

You have probably heard that 55% of human communication consists of body language, while voice and words account for 38% and 7% respectively. These numbers come from a study which has often been misinterpreted. The findings in the study don’t describe communication in general, but refer to talking about emotions in a specific way. However, the main message holds true: We shouldn’t underestimate the power of body language.

More:

  • TED Talks (book) by Chris Anderson (chapter 1).
  • Quote from Albert Mehrabian (the author of the study): “Please note that this and other equations regarding relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages were derived from experiments dealing with communications of feelings and attitudes (i.e., like-dislike). Unless a communicator is talking about their feelings or attitudes, these equations are not applicable”. See more on Mehrabians website (bullet #5)

Bronze Is Better Than Silver

By Christian Staal

If you were an Olympian athlete would you rather win a silver or bronze medal? Most prefer silver, but – paradoxically – bronze medallists are often happier. Instead for focusing on not winning, they are just happy to be in the Top-3.

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Create Smaller Tasks

By Christian Staal

If you can’t get started with a task, it’s probably too big. Break it into smaller tasks, and it becomes easier to get going. For example, starting a business or getting in perfect shape are overwhelming undertakings. You don’t need to know everything in advance. Just find a small step that you can take today – and do it.

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Left Brain vs. Right Brain

By Christian Staal

The right and left hemispheres of the human brain have different strengths. You use your right hemisphere for imagination, intuition and holistic thinking. The left side is for logic, analysis and linear thinking. During most of the 20th century, the left brain determined most people’s chances of having succesful careers. However, right brain qualities are growing more important by the year, as automation and outsourcing replace many traditional jobs.

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The Puzzle of Success

By Christian Staal

Failures are pieces in the Puzzle of Success. You can’t create a great success without the right failures, just like you can’t build a puzzle without all the pieces. Don’t be discouraged when things go wrong. Learn from your failures, and use the lessons to build your future success.

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Find Your Calling

By Christian Staal


You will find your calling in life where your talents meet the needs of the world.

More:

  • This idea comes from Aristotle who said: “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross; there lies your vocation.”
  • Good to Great (chapter 5) by Jim Collins. Collin expands the idea with another circle (what you’re passionate about). Collin calls it “The Hedgehog Concept”.
  • The 8th Habit (chapter 1) by Stephen Covey. Covey adds a fourth circle (your conscience).

The Dip

By Christian Staal

The path to mastery is not linear. Setbacks feel terrible, but are often symptoms of progress. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. The Dip is the most common (and saddest) place on the journey to give up, but at the same time, it’s important to understand, whether you’re facing a Dip, or a blind alley.

More:

The Dip (book) by Seth Godin.

Mastery  (book) by Georg Leonard.

Small pieces, big ideas

By Christian Staal

Puzzle.blog brings you big ideas, presented as small pieces. Each piece consists of maximum five sentences and a simple drawing. The blog examines a variety of topics such as Psychology, Science and Creativity. Every week you’ll find a new piece on this site or in your inbox.

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