In the last post, I shared with you a revolutionary TED Talk that redefines the notion of how we should approach success at work, focusing instead on finding happiness and fulfillment first, and then allowing success to flow from that approach.
Today I want to take that idea one step further and share with you two other great resources that have inspired me to be more productive at work, and helped me realize the power of consistent small changes.
The Power of Habit
The Power of Habit is a short but very powerful book by author and researcher Charles Duhigg.
The book talks about the fundamental role that habit plays in our everyday lives. He argues that virtually all of our actions, from the time we wake up to how we brush our teeth to how productive we are at work or how kind we are in our relationships, are governed by habit.
This power is so pervasive, he says, that without it we wouldn’t be able to accomplish a fraction of the things we do on a daily basis.
The reason has to do with brain chemistry and willpower. Willpower, and the power to make decisions, is actually a limited chemical resource in our brain, and every time we have to stop to make a decision about an action, we deplete a little bit of that resource. To be most productive, then, we need to delegate as many actions as possible to habit.
Not only that, but habits can be designed and implemented. There is incredible power in making small shifts, what Duhigg refers to as keystone habits, that will then filter over into the rest of our lives.
For example, the keystone habit of exercising immediately when you wake up, can in turn shift your awareness, make you more alert throughout the day, increase your energy, and cause you to choose healthier foods. Creating the life you want, then, is just a matter of designing the right habits.
The other book I want to share with you today is Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. Sandberg is the COO of Facebook, and one of the most successful female executives of all time.
Her success is notable especially because it is in an industry stereotypically dominated by men. The book is an autobiography, of sorts, but it is also a set of guidelines and good practices for entrepreneurs and aspiring executives.
Today I’d like to share a very inspiring Ted Talk with you. I recently came across this video and it absolutely blew my mind with both how simple and powerful the suggestions made are.
In the video, Harvard psychologist and researcher Shawn Achor lays out the fundamental science behind happiness and how to use it to be more productive.
The traditional model, he points out, is to work hard in pursuit of success. Once success is achieved, then you can relax and be happy. The problem is…this model is upside down, and science can prove it.
Recent research is beginning to prove just the opposite, that it pays to be happy first. If you’re happy, you’re more likely to be motivated, and more likely to ultimately find success in whatever it is you choose to do with your life, whether that’s success at work and earning more money, or having satisfying and fulfilling relationships with the people you love.
He also delves into easy steps you can take everyday to practically guarantee you’ll become happier, more productive, and more successful. The video is both pointed and hilarious, and will be the best 20 minutes you’ve spent in a long time!
Great news! Neues-Elsass-Lothringen.com has just secured an incredible offer for anyone who is a member of one of our cultural partner programs.
Here at NEL we recognize that inter-cultural exchange isn’t just about learning a new language, or studying the art and music of a society, but it’s about a free and open exchange of knowledge.
That’s why we’re pleased to announce that for those of you interested in learning how to code, you can now get a Code School free trial.
To redeem this great offer, all you have to do is sign up and inform them that you’re a member of the NEL cultural network, and you’ll receive the free trial offer.
You’ll then also be eligible to continue your programming and computer science education beyond the free trial at a reduced rate.
FAQ About Learning Programming
We know that while there’s already a strong interest in having learn to code programs readily available for our members, many of you may also have a number of questions about the process, and what to expect.
How Long Does It Take To Learn to Program?
One of the most common questions is how long it takes to learn coding. Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer to this, and it really is a skill that could potentially take a lifetime to master.
That said, you can learn the basics in 1-2 months, which is more than enough time to decide if you’re interested in taking things to the next level. Read this post on how long it takes to learn programming for more information.
Is Coding Hard?
Another common question people have is whether or not coding is difficult to learn. Again, there’s no one set answer, and everyone is different, but the leading consensus among programmers, both professionals and amateurs, is that people are turned off by programming because they think it is more difficult than it is.
More than being “hard” learning to code is about learning a new way to approach problems, and learning to think in the right way in order to instruct the computer how to perform.
Is It Right for Me?
Finally, the ultimate question isn’t how long it will take or how difficult it is, but whether or not this is a skill you really want to learn. More than anything, you have to find a fit between your own desires and the reality of programming, especially if you’re considering it for a job or career, where you’ll be spending hours each day engrossed in your work.
There’s no way you can no the right answer before you begin, which is why this free trial offer for CodeSchool is so important. You’ll be able to get your hands dirty and get some experience, without having to commit to an expensive course or program.
Hopw that helps, and please consider taking advantage of this offer!
We’re coming up on the first week of October, which many of you already know is our NEL International Do It Yourself Week!
This is a fun initiative we started a few years ago with many of our clubs, with the goal of expsoing members to different skillsets and potential interests that they could engage with together.
We’ve got a number of interesting themes this year, submitted by our partnering clubs. Here are a few of the top programs.
DIY Boat Workshop
One of my personal favorites of the bunch is for those looking to build a DIY Boat. There will be an amateur boat-building workshop hosted by our New Orleans German Club, and they are opening this event not only to members but also to the general public as well.
They’ll be following along with a set of Wooden Boat Plans provided by www.boatersafety.org, and the goal of the event is to produce a real boat that they can take out on the water! Sounds pretty mind-boggling to me!
If you’ve ever wondered how boats are built or what goes into building one for yourself, this sounds like an event not to miss!
Another cool example of a cultural group in action is our Portland Friendly Francophiles organization!
Although the plans are historically from their Dutch neighbors to the North, this event is focused on providing an easy and practical way to take an old idea and infuse it with modern technology.
With a wind-power kit, you can build your own modern windmill to place on top of your house and harness wind energy. This can not only reduce your own electric bill but, if you harness enough power, you could sell it back to the grid and earn money from your power company!
This is popular with solar energy, but since Portland isn’t so famous for fun in the sun, the wind alternative seems a great option!
DIY Water Wells
Down in Nairobi, our first and only cultural center located in Africa, our group is facing day to day survival issues with many of the communities and outreach programs it coordinates.
Many villages in Kenya lack access to clean water, and with the changing climate, regions that once saw two extended wet seasons are now seeing only one. This has led to extreme drought conditions in some regions, and needs to be addressed in order for these villages to continue to function.
For that reason, the Nairobi Association has agreed to do an in-field demonstration in Mukaa, about an hour South of the city, for a one day DIY water well project.
Please write in to let us know what else you have planned for this fun and exciting week ahead!
We’re really excited to be bringing you the re-launch of what used to be one of the most popular German-Francophone news blogs in the Western Hempisphere!
Due to internal financial struggles, we were unfortunately forced to suspend our services, but thanks to a new grant from the Carnegie Foundation, we’re able to once again resume our news services, and looking forward to re-establishing our audience base and getting started providing you the best news around!
We have pretty lofty ambitions and we’re not afraid to admit it!
We work extensively with German and French cultural groups across the US, and are eager to become the #1 German-Francophone blog for US citizens and residents.
Though we cover mostly news and events related to these communities, we like to encourage diversity and openness, and hope that people of all cultural backgrounds will come to us for reliable information about what’s going on in these cultures and communities!