“The stupidity of project management”

Brendan and I are writing a book on Project Management. While we have plenty of experience in both large and small projects and have lots to contribute through a book, I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to get input from the very intelligent readers of this blog.

So; what would you like to read in a book titled, “The stupidity of Project Management”?

Purpose and life

Purpose plays an important part in the article, “Processes, automation and human potential“.

Purpose gives life. Purpose drives life. The meaning of life is determined by the purposes that drives us. As I see it, we are free to give life any meaning we choose through the purposes we elect. And this may well be the only meaning life has. So diverse and complicated, yet so feeble.

In my experience in coaching struggling young people, lack of purpose is one major reason why a person could consider ending his life. While a strong purpose gives life, a lack of purpose results in a lack of life.

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When a person looses a strong purpose, a valuable desire, the person “dies” to that degree. It doesn’t seem to matter what the purpose is, or whether it is a “good” purpose. A soldier returning from a war has lost a purpose to fight. When the Islamic State is defeated, a lot of people will loose a strong purpose. Loosing a job is a loss of purpose. Loosing a loved one. Being kicked out of a team. Or loosing the tools or means to achieve a purpose. They all amount to loosing some zest in life.

Having the purpose to go spiritually free or “salvaging the planet” and then thinking that it can no longer be done as one leaves the Church of Scientology – that amounts to a big loss. And it doesn’t matter that the purpose was unrealistic or the tools crappy or crazy. It still leaves the person mentally darker. It is a tough blow. And falling from such high and strong purposes, it can be really hard to mount comparable purposes to regain the level of zest and thrust.

The ability to find meaning, to create meaning in life is perhaps the most important of all abilities. Children excel at this. Adults less so. But I believe this ability can be exercised like any other ability. Training oneself to create meaning, purposes, desires and then going for it amounts to training oneself to live. Getting closer to achieving your purposes generates happiness. Happiness is a basic purpose, a good reason for living :-) But remember – achieving a purpose is also a loss of purpose. This is why one should excercise oneself to be ready to give new meaning to life by setting new goals.

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Try this

Go to a random shopping mall, café or public place. Approach a random person and ask if you can buy him a cup of coffee and if he has an hour to spare. Tell the person you will invest the next hour trying to help him – in any way you can – with no strings attached. You will not need to know the person’s name or contact information. You ask nothing in return. Nothing at all.

If the person agrees, commence with helping the person during that one hour. Figure out something you can help him with and do whatever that will be of benefit. When the hour is up, you’re done.

If you have done a really good job, the person will ask if you can help him more. Then you say, “Yes I ca,n help you another hour – but only if you help 5 other people just like I have now helped you. Five people, one hour each. When you have done that, you can get back to me. Here’s my contact information.“.

If the person returns after helping five random people, give the person another hour of honest help. You will often find that the person will benefit more from helping others than you will be able to help him.

If you do this with at least a dozen people, I would very much like to hear how you did.

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In the wake of the movie, “Going Clear”

Going Clear has created quite some commotion. In traditional media, social media and back channels. I have had my hands full answering emails and chat messages from journalists, ex and current scientologists and other people interested in Scientology. Never have I had such a wide range of discussions going on this subject – from those that saw the movie, put down the cans and walked right out in the middle of OT 7 to those considering rejoining. Yeah, the range is wide.

There wasn’t much new material for those that have been discussing this subjects actively on the Net. But it was well put together. The movie covers most of the important angles and subjects within Scientology. With a solid run through of its history and excellent highlights on the current problems in the church. What it didn’t really answer was why people get into Scientology and why they stay. What is so fascinating about this subject? There is really only one answer: Gains. People do have excellent gains from practicing Scientology. Jason Beghe is perhaps the only one in the movie that gets to express this underlying reason why people hang around in Scientology.

Going Clear

As I was watching the movie, I kept thinking about my first years in Scientology. The excitement, the fantastic gains I had from the communication drills, the atmosphere in our local church. Those were the happy days. As I flesh out in details in my book, “Nittenåttifire“, I went from shy to a radio show host within just a couple of years. From awkward to able to pick up girls. The gains was real and they were excellent.

The movie, and especially Jason, brought those memories, those years right back. And when I got scores of people asking the appropriate question after the film, “why did you stay for so long?”, I reiterated my gains. And when a few of them told me that they were considering rejoining the church, it left me thinking if I would consider ever going back.

Well, I wouldn’t. Not in the state the church is in today. But what if there was to be a change in the management of the church? What if Hubbard returned? What if the management system was revised? Would I then go back? Maybe.

If “Going Clear” incites a major change and Miscavige left the building, I would seriously consider rejoining the religion that has given me so much real and lasting gains. Not just to complete my OT levels, but for many other reasons, I hope that the movie affects the church in a positive way. Hubbard’s technology deserves it.

Update (2015-04-02): Now that the first of April has passed into the second of April, I can reveal that this was indeed my April Fool’s joke. I am not rejoining anything. Hubbard is not rumored to having returned and I have heard of no person considering going back to the cult. The one thing that is true in this blog post is this: It is a blunder of some magnitude that films like “Going Clear”, the book it is based on and just about any other film and book on the subject of Scientology fails to answer the one single question the audience always ask afterward, “Why the heck do people join Scientology and why on Earth do they stay?”

What to take responsibility for

When I coach people, the main positive step occurs when the person stops feeling responsible for what other people think or feel and starts taking responsibility for what he or she thinks and feels.

Taking full responsibility for one’s own thinking, feelings and actions is liberating. Further freedom comes from stopping the worrying about what others might think.

One creates one’s own thoughts and feelings. What one thinks and feels is a choice. Always – even when it doesn’t seem like it. To conquer one’s own thoughts and emotions is hard. But it is a worthwhile quest.

When I read this post to Anette, she asked if I should include some practical examples where this viewpoint would be benificial. Then she added, “…or maybe you should ask your readers for good examples?” And so I do.

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HyperList version 2.3. Hashtags, graphing and more

I am proud to present the latest HyperList release – version 2.3.

HyperList now accommodates Twitter-type hashtags (called simply “tags” in HyperList – prompting a renaming of the old type of HyperList tags to “properties”). References are changed and so is Change Markup. And then there are a few minor fixes.

The VIM HyperList plugin is updated and released over at vim.org.

Apart from these enhancements (and more), there’s a real treat in the mix: Hypergraph.

You can now automatically graph a HyperList as either a mindmap (for HyperLists that are State descriptions) or a flowchart (for HyperLists that are Transitions descriptions). An example should suffice – this dummy HyperList:


First Item
    Second Item; OR:
        Third Item
        Fourth Item
    Fifth Item
    [? Item=Cool] Sixth Item (<Second Item>)
    Seventh Item
    Eighth Item

Graphed as a State (mindmap):
test_state

Graphed as a Transition (flowchart):
test_trans

HyperGraph is a rather complex endeavour. It works but you may encounter some snags. If you do, drop me a line and I will fix.

Visit the HyperList page to download the HyperList document and the new HyperGraph script.