Ben Perreira

My head's dropbox.

Month: March, 2013

Feedback Loops

Getting feedback is one of the most painful yet important parts of the learning process. It has the potential to boost our egos when positive and bruise those egos when negative. 

If we perceive it as such, that is. 

When given in the right way, feedback is neither positive nor negative any more than what a mirror tells you is positive or negative.

Learning to give feedback is an art in itself. It must be given without judgement and without being self-serving (some of us have experienced this type of feedback in the form of being “thrown under the bus”). 

Learn to give and receive feedback and you find yourself one step closer to communication nirvana.

Flops and Dives

You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.

In the 2011 Women’s World Cup, Brazil was leading the United States 2-1 in extra time of a semifinal match. One of team Brazil’s defenders went to the ground with an injury, stopping play but not stopping time, as is the case in soccer. The replay showed that she was not actually injured and was indeed stalling to try to secure victory. Commentator Ian Darke called her injury, “Slightly farcical, really.”

Despite the player’s best efforts, team USA would subsequently tie the game then win with penalty kicks.

This was an egregious example of a flop, but it happens all the time in soccer. It has also become more common in the NBA, where almost any level of contact draws a whistle. 

The worst part may be that players are acting within the confines of the rules when they flop. Only recently have these two sports begun to penalize players who clearly fake being on the receiving end of fouls.

So who wins here? Well, anyone who gets away with a flop wins in the very short run. It nets him or her a free kick or free throws. But anyone who enjoys the sport loses in the long run. Who wants to watch a game that runs on the equivalent of a cartel’s competitive tactics?

The best players know that they can win by playing the game the right way. They know this means they have to get extra good and they relish that challenge. About a month ago I wrote about how on-field malfeasance is so much worse than off-field mischief in the eyes of fans. This is a similar strain of cheating and fans know it.

(Flopping extends well beyond sports. Connect the dots as you see fit.)

When In Search Of Solace

Things seldom pan out the way we plan them. I began to realize this when I got a gift card to Barnes & Noble for my 19th birthday and bought my first in a series of books on Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies.

At the same time my plan in life was to be a poet. Before one rushes to judgment and says, “Sir, that isn’t even a profession,” keep in mind that my more realistic plan was to become a professional surfer. Fortunately, while I suffered from professional delusion I also gained some insight into not letting things bother me too much. So around that time I penned the line:

When in search of solace, I unexpect the expected.

I’m not totally sure why this stuck with me. I haven’t read my writing in years, but maybe the simplicity or the alliteration have kept it bouncing around in my mind.

I was reminded of this when I saw Mint.com founder Aaron Patzer’s talk at Princeton (well worth the hour investment) and his mention of listening to Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” whenever he felt like quitting while developing Mint. 

The good is often unexpected, the bad is often unexpected, but expectations fall under our control. 

Your Mind, My Mind

“Other people’s lives seem more interesting ’cause they ain’t mine.” – Modest Mouse

Not all minds are created equal. Your mind and my mind are very different. This should induce neither inferiority nor superiority. It should induce communication.

The time I dedicate to thinking about a girl I have a crush on is different from that she spends thinking about me. The same goes when you owe your friend money (one way or the other) and when you’re looking for a job.

Ergo, talk. Let me know what you need from me, I’ll let you know what I need from you. And let’s both be concise because we each have other things on our minds.