Django models allow for one to one and foreign key relationships between entities. At first both these relationships seem the same.
Based on my research, here is the difference between one-to-one and foreign-key relationship. Foreign key is used to represent one-to-many unique relationships. For example, a car may have many wheels. So each wheel has a foreign-key relationship with the car.
However a car may have only one engine. So the car will have a one-to-one relationship with the engine. A one-to-one relationship is used to express uniqueness relationships.
An ancient part of the brain near its core, the basal ganglia is in charge of the habits that we develop. Research of animals with damaged basal ganglia have shown that they become easily dis-oriented and are unable to develop new habits.
A habit is a sequence of actions that follow a pattern: a trigger, a routine and a reward. The trigger is a stimulus that tells the brain to begin a routine. The routine is the set of actions that is the core of the habit. Finally the reward is the result achieved from taking action. Drinking coffee, smoking, running, etc all follow this pattern. We wake up in the morning and the groggy feeling is the trigger that induces a craving for coffee. Then we take actions to drink the coffee which comprises the routine and finally the feeling of increased energy is the reward. The trigger, routine and reward form the essential components of habits.
So why does the brain store habits? Researchers have found that the brain is furiously active whenever we are taking new actions: it is absorbing various stimuli, analyzing actions to take, taking appropriate action and processing the outcomes. As common scenarios are encountered, the brain starts saving these routines in its files.
The next time the brain comes upon a similar scenario instead of working furiously again, it pulls the appropriate routine and implements it. With the help of habits, the brain only has to work in the trigger stage and the reward stage. It can take a break during the routine stage. This leads to a more efficient brain.
Another essential ingredient of habits is the craving for the reward. The craving is the engine that powers the habit. Particularly strong habits, ones that exhibit addictive qualities, have very strong cravings. Usually cravings develop gradually and we are not even aware of them. Cravings can also be developed intentionally by picking an appropriate reward, thinking about and anticipating the reward. Overtime our minds develop a craving for the reward. Seasoned runners will go running even when their schedules are hectic or they are traveling in foreign cities. Their brains have come to anticipate the runner’s high reward so strongly that their habit loop is satisfied even with a busy schedule.
Knowing how habits are formed can help us in modifying our existing habits and develop new ones. Instead of a battle of will power, changing habits boils down to knowing the trigger and experimenting with routines and rewards. The trigger, routine, reward framework can be used to hack our habits.
This article is based on the excellent book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. I highly recommend it.
Below is a letter I drafted with some copy lifted from client literature. It was for a copywriting proposal. I did not get the gig but I liked the letter below. If you are curious about the client, check out Concierge.
HOW WE SELL EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES AT TOP-MARKET RATES IN LESS THAN 60 DAYS
Pa Gomo estate is a stunning 35-acres site tucked in the pristine highlands of Telluride, Colorado. This serene home overlooks towering snow-capped mountains and shimmering aspen trees. World-renowned architect Jack Snow designed the interiors of the 10,000 square feet, 5-bedroom home to offer both grand and intimate spaces in a series of “pods”, all connected to the main living area.
Sadly, Pa Gomo had been sitting on the market for more than a year. The seller had accepted his fate and stood ready to take a loss.
At this point, Concierge was engaged to offer the property in our exclusive, global auction. Our auctions are only available to a select list of 200,000 contacts in 40 countries, who are pre-qualified for buying ability. The discerning tastes of our buyers also require us to be selective of the properties. Only 1 out of 25 properties analyzed are accepted.
For Pa Gomo, we implemented a customized marketing & PR strategy that generated tremendous pre-auction excitement. These efforts lead to 50 viewings for the property during the first 30 days.
On auction day, we contacted interested buyers and ensured they were registered and ready. Nine bidders from various countries lead to a competitive auction that set local records. Pa Goma ended up going to the winner at $12,500,000.00 - the highest priced-sale in Telluride in the last 5 years.
We would love to replicate the success of Pa Gomo with your property. Please contact me at 888-XXX-XXXX to arrange for a private consultation.
A month ago I joined an entrepreneurship program run by the Foundation. During the first month our assignment is to pick a market and learn about the pains and frustrations of the market. My market is environmental consulting and ecommerce.
Over the last 3 weeks I have spoken to a dozen environmental consultants and am finally starting to get a feel for the industry. In the beginning I had a simplistic view of this process. I assumed it would be a simple process of asking for their problems and receiving straight-forward answers.
But it has proven to be far more complicated. First, there were the initial struggles of simply talking to strangers. My game plan was to email my target market and then call them up. I set a goal of 30 dials a day. It was an aggressive goal and it was very, very hard. Hitting dial has never been such a gut-wrenching experience.
Once I did manage to hit dial, there were tense seconds of nervousness anticipating the voice on the other end. But if the call went straight to voicemail, I felt elated relief - having escaped the conversation. Whenever a receptionist or gatekeeper answered, I would hurriedly ask for the person and if not available end the call right away. And whenever I did speak to an environmental consultant I would struggle to stick to the script. In one instance, I even hung up when the person on the other end said “hello”!
I did cold calling before but that was within the context of calling on behalf of a company. Somehow doing it for myself made it all the more intimidating — perhaps the expected rejection seemed more personal. Those first few days, I would be covered in sweat within the first hour of cold calling. Two hours on the phones felt like a 10 hour work day. It was emotionally draining. Don’t get me wrong, no one was rude to me, no one slammed the phone on me, nothing bad happened. But it was just the anticipation of bad things that caused all the stress.
Around the second week the dread began to subside a bit. I did not procrastinate for several hours. I did not take hour long breaks in between calls. What helped tremendously was approaching it as a numbers game. I no longer looked at each call as a total judgement of me. It was more about the process and less about the outcome. Somehow the terrifying fear of each call transformed into a statistical expectation that some would be good and some would be bad. And even the bad ones were not really bad, those people were kind in their rejection.
Once the nerves were calmed slightly, a different struggle ensued. Now it was about asking the right questions, the ‘stupid’ questions, the same questions but in different ways. It was also about embracing the silence and getting comfortable with the uncertainty of the conversation. This is the hard part. And this is all about mind-frame. When I have approached a call with what I get out of it, I’m easily frustrated. But approaching a call with a mind-frame of curiosity has been tremendously helpful. Being vulnerable towards asking seemingly dumb questions or asking the person to repeat himself has been helpful. But these mind-frame stuff are difficult to accomplish quickly. Its taking time, more time than I’d like.
So far I have dialed 200 times and had about 15 conversations. Two of these conversations lasted an hour and yielded good insights into the market. But there is more work left to be done. The initial struggles sometimes creep back more forcefully. Some days I still struggle with getting started. Its still hard to do that initial dial. But like all things, practice makes it a tiny bit easier each time. Action is rewarded. Familiarity breeds comfort.
I might have been twelve. My family and I sat down for dinner. Those days we ate dinner on the floor. It worked liked this: old newspapers were placed on the carpet. On top of that were plates, pots, pans, glasses, etc. The newspaper protected the carpet. My parents, sister, and I sat around in a circle on the floor, and had dinner while we watched TV.
Something else besides the TV caught my eye this evening; it was an article right below my plate. The piece spoke about a man who left Harvard to start a computer company, and how he had become wildly successful.
The story fascinated me like no other story had before. I started reading it, and did not put a morsel in my mouth until I finished it. And then I read it again, then a third time, and a fourth. The story was in an English language Arab newspaper called Gulf News. It was about the rise of Bill Gates, and Microsoft before the release of Windows 3.11 even.
Dinner was over but I sat there reading that article, over and over. Mom kept insisting for me to get up. And after about the 4th time I finally did, but only after rescuing that article. That instance in time began my fascination with technology and business. It lead me to studying computer science and business in the United States. Times have changed but I still spend hours reading about business and technology. And I never get enough of it.
If you work in the US and receive health insurance through your employer, you maybe familiar with the annual corporate chore of benefits enrollment - its that yearly ritual of being informed of changes to your health insurance and re-enrolling in those benefits. It involves HR trying desperately to get everyone to attend boring meetings and completing paperwork. I feel sorry for my HR colleagues during these annual borefests.
One year, I walked into one of these benefits enrollment meetings expecting a ‘watching paint dry’ kind of experience. There were about a hundred other people. After a few minutes an HR colleague walked in and she began with a smile:
“Hi Everyone! I know these meetings are boring and some may even consider pointless. But here we are!”
With the smile still on her face, she paused for 15 seconds and looked around the room and then continued:
“So I’m going to try to make this as quick as I can and let you all get back to your desks”
She then proceeded to give us exactly that - a quick, boring presentation. But instead of tuning out, I paid attention. So it seems, did others. In fact, I was surprised at how much attention I ended up paying. And it was all because she formed a connection with us. By relating to our boredom, she made us more open to her. And thanks to her, I learned about the wonderful benefits of health savings accounts.