Blog

You Must Make Yourself Scarce And Therefore Rare

You Must Make Yourself Scarce And Therefore Rare

In the age when the abnormal is the new norm, you have to be rare in whatever you do. You must be the only option, the only alternative, the only one, the only thing, really.

Quite simply you must be:

– The guy who chooses to create.

– The guy who skateboards when nobody does

– The guy who take risks when everybody is afraid

– The guy who is genuine generous with others

– The guy who disconnects when others don’t.

– The guy who wants to make change.

If you have to create your own category of “other,” to be able to accomplish the former, do it. It’s okay to position yourself three standard deviations from the mean. Be different.

We celebrate the new. Go out there and create! We are hungry for it…

I’m Better Today Than I Was yesterday… Much Better, Actually.

I’m Better Today Than I Was yesterday… Much Better, Actually.

Practice makes it perfect. After being a college professor for 11 years, I can confidently say that I’m a better professor today than I was back in 2008. I finally know the difference between good and great as it pertains to media production and research. After having advised more than 500 students, I can say with certainty that I have helped many students to get jobs in industry or go to graduate school fully funded. God has been good to me.

We learn many lessons in life, including lessons relating to our professional careers. Today I know the ins and outs of social media and how to get the perfect exposure in photography. The websites I design and develop are robust, easy to navigate, have great copy and its’s simple to use. I can speak in public with ease and can discern between good deeds and manipulative attempts through non-verbal communication.

My students benefit from all of that now. It’s a blessing to them, I must add.

Back in the day that wasn’t the case. I thought I knew so much about communication when in reality, I knew so little. When I see some of the artifacts produced by some of my graduate school classmates on facebook today, I know that after 11 years, they still know very little about media which is sad thing. I guess that being unaware of one’s circumstances is often the norm among many educators of my generation rather than the exception.

I thank God for the opportunity to participate and learn…

We all get better in whatever we do if we choose to practice our craft. I most definitely did and so can you.  I’m a better educator today than I was yesterday… Much better, actually. I’ve learned a lot in these past ten years but there is still much to learn. At least, I’m humble enough to realize that.

One more thing…  Never, under any circumstances give up. The word “give up” should not be on your vocabulary. You will thank me later. Just trust me. 

 

I’m Scared About What Might Happen To Higher Education In The USA

I’m Scared About What Might Happen To Higher Education In The USA

“We are going to see another economic downturn next year,” many high profile economists predict. If these high profile economists are correct about their predictions, higher education won’t be the same again after the economic downturn. I’m scared about what will happen to higher education in the United States next year, I must admit.

This is my fear: Another major recession will inevitably result in less demand for employees in organizations and less money to be circulated in the economy overall. Enrollment in colleges and universities is already down. If a recession is looming, as Richard Wolff is claiming, enrollment in colleges and universities will decrease, perhaps drastically to a point of decreasing enrollments in double digits.

I witnessed IUP going from 15 thousand students in 2010 to 11 thousand in 2015. That’s a lot! Less than 10 thousand students are now enrolled in this institution full-time. Four year non-profit colleges dropped 9% in enrollment. These numbers are scary, I must add. I’ve seen what they do to department budgets, faculty salary, and student tuition.

Don’t be fooled by what you may hear — In the current landscape of higher education, students are clients and universities need them in order to survive, period. The moment that the clientele, students in this case, decide to transfer schools or hold on pursuing a college degree… three things eventually happen. First, colleges and universities close their doors. Second, less staff is hired to perform the many tasks that are necessary in the system.  Third, employees experience high levels of stress and anxiety.

It’s tough, very tough…

To make things more complicated, college tuition along with room and board is at an all time high and society is skeptical about the value of a college degree. I don’t know how you feel about this but to me, college prices along with public skepticism about higher education is a recipe to disaster. Eventually, the bubble explodes, you know?

I think we are going to see the beginning of the end of higher education in this country starting in 2021. I doubt that colleges and universities will change the way they operate and will continue to leverage the use of temporary faculty to teach classes in institutions of higher learning all across the United States. Big mistake! Students don’t want to pay for a non-PhD teaching their classes. How do I know this? They tell me this over and over again in my office.

They want a professor who is presently active in their academic lives. They don’t want a scholars, they want a mentor who takes the time to understand and help them.  Students could care less if a professor publishes an academic article or delivers a presentation in a national conference. I don’t recall a student being interested in what a VP of institutional advancement does.

They would rather have a professor speaking with them in the school’s cafeteria and helping them to cope with college life and its stresses than seeing a professor cash a check every month and making extra income selling her books to fans.  Yet, most colleges and universities still premium these activities for promotion and tenure, instead of catering to those who actually pay the bill.

My predicted outcome for such idiotic leadership philosophy is bankruptcy. Much change is required in higher education, I must add. Why? This is why..

Twenty colleges have closed their doors since 2016. The former doesn’t include the number of colleges and universities that merged with other institutions in order to be in business. By thew way, we are going to see a lot more colleges closing their doors in the years to come because of academic vanity and economic pressures, I think.

Let me clarify one thing. The industry of higher education won’t disappear overnight. Of course not. The recession, if it comes, will force our school administrators to re-engineer our educational institutions and layoff faculty and staff. That’s the fear…

The good news — Faculty members who can wear many hats will be in high demand in 2021, as the operating budget of many colleges and universities will be cut, I suspect. Many jobs will be lost or merged, though. In fact, let me make a prediction.

I predict that colleges with less than 1000 students will be the first ones to go under, followed by expensive tier two private universities with small endowments. I suspect that public higher education, as we understand it to be today, has 20 years to go before they go under also, if that. Why? Because no college education, at the undergraduate or graduate level, is worth paying over one hundred thousand dollars for it.

Would you pay $96,439 dollars for a degree in Management or Psychology? Or a $180,000 for an MBA from the MIT? I admit. I wouldn’t. The value just isn’t there, sorry. It’s too expensive…

What this upcoming recession may do is to accelerate the pains that we are going to experience in our industry, perhaps damaging the existing system to a point of no return. I’m seen the industry of higher education coming to an end in this country, as we understand it to be. I’m already getting prepared for the transition but I doubt that many college professors are ready to what is coming, unfortunately.

If the recession de facto comes next year, it will damage the finances of many college professors and school administrators in this country. We are going to see, I guess. I hope I’m wrong. Who knows… I don’t know. That God be with us. We are going to need Him, I think.

 

 

 

 

The Purple Cow Is For Real

The Purple Cow Is For Real

During this past year, I’ve been engaging with college students, face-to-face, in a very different way — Dancing latin music on campus with them, skateboarding with some, singing karaoke with others, attending their rock concert events and playing guitar with many around campus. These former activities aren’t usually done by many college professors across the United States and I know it. That’s exactly the point! I’m the purple cow around here. I decided to make my brand remarkable.

Seth Godin, back in the day, introduced the concept of the purple cow, which literally means that in an market of abundance, much like the one that we are living right now in the United States, people need to be the only option available to their audiences because of the amount of noise/supply that there is on the market these days.

By being different, or shall we say eccentric, I’m finding out by students that many students perceive me as animated and fun to be around but more importantly… that no other professor behave the way I do. Ladies and gents, I’m the purple cow and I love it.

Attention is a currency as Gary Vaynerchuck once said. I agree with him. Leveraging this “attention,” whatever the method, often results in people/brands growing in their popularity and influence among their real target audience. Some may think that my approach is juvenile or too over the top but the reality is that it works.  How do I know this? I take a very close look at my social media analytics in order to test a working hypothesis on the topic.

Since early October 2019, my instagram account alone has grown 300%, after I literally met 300 students dancing merengue on campus. Of these 300 hundred, 30 of those decided to follow my account on TikTok, and many others my account on facebook. My office visitations doubled this semester, as well as the conversations I now have in my own building with them. Off-line communication is a must if you decided to be a purple cow in your own organization.

I cannot go to lunch at the cafeteria without a random student screaming, “Dr. A!”

In sum, The concept of the purple cow is for real. If you make yourself worth of making a remark about, AKA being the purple cow… you will grow and audience. Read Seth Godin’s work and apply his concepts if you want to grow a brand.

You won’t regret.

I’ve Learned As Much From My Students As They’ve Learned From Me

I’ve Learned As Much From My Students As They’ve Learned From Me

It is true. Every semester, I’m shocked by how much I learn from them. This semester alone, I’ve learned that great video games should have exit points, that click by click instruction is how college students like to learn these days… they taught me how to ride a one wheel skateboard, to sing better and innovative ways to make friends on campus. In addition, they have showed me how to use some of my own systems at the university and where to go for help a little better.

These are the lessons I can remember… There are so many more.

I have the humility to admit that they, the students, know so much… which reminds me of what my grandfather once told me, “Everybody is an encyclopedia.” “Listen to people because they often have something good to say.” There is wisdom to the former, that’s for sure. I listen to my students and put what they suggest into practice.

As I approach my 46th birthday, I’m starting to rethink the notion that old people are wiser than the youth. It depends! The kids know much more than people want to give them credit for. Today, in my website design class, I taught them how to use a google based web system to produce a landing page website for a potential business. These were some of the ideas that they came up with.

  • A foundation to raise money for Israel
  • A math tutorial business to help special education kids
  • A grocery shopping on demand business
  • A recruiting system for local organizations
  • A rapid website business for local communities
  • A mechanism to send 100 individuals to global mission trips

And more.

Who am I to tell them what or how to think? Clearly, they can think for themselves. I’m thankful for the opportunity to assist them in this process…

In this life, we all learn from each other, I say. I’m a fan of the saying, “In college, you don’t learn from a professor… you learn with a professor.” It is true man.  I feel that way. I’ve learned as much from my students as they’ve learned from me.

 

 

I’m Not Sure If Living In Southeast TN Is Good For Latino Families

I’m Not Sure If Living In Southeast TN Is Good For Latino Families

I’ve never experienced what I’m experiencing right now in America. A number of people in the town that I’m currently living classify me as a second class citizen not worth of their respect. In a period of two and a half years, I’ve been called a monkey, you people, and have experienced a number of non-verbal aggressions because of the way that I look and speak. I’m not used to that, I must add.  Let me make this clear for everybody. I’m a highly educated citizen of the United States who is fluent in english.

After living for 21 years in this country, I can attest to you that the general American public is overall very welcoming to those who come to this country legally and make the decision to becoming an American citizen the right way. I’ve done that! I followed the rules and went to the process of naturalization the right way. I still experience racism in this town from the poor cashier working at wall-mart to teachers at the local elementary school, despite the fact that I’m de facto an American.

Today, I went to a local elementary school to get my daughter Sophia who is participating in a children’s play at school. To my surprise, she wasn’t waiting for me in the school’s lobby where parents often stop by to get their kids after a school sponsored event day. I asked the standing teacher if the play rehearsal was over and whether my daughter Sophia was done with the play practice. The teacher decided to “speak” with me both verbally and non-verbally.

That’s where trouble began…

First, the teacher immediately stop looking at me and kept moving without destiny speaking at me with her back towards me, sometimes looking over her shoulders to see if I was paying attention to what she was saying. With a tone of superiority, she interrupted me every time I tried to communicate with her. The former was clearly a power play.

When a white fellow came into the door to get his daughter, she immediately left me to serve him, always looking at his eyes. Then a white mom came into the building… she treated her with much respect and regard. I wondered…

Like a good Christian man with morals, I ignored her offensive behavior towards me and asked her again if I could then get my daughter and go home. She then looked at me as if I was a career janitor and started moving quickly one more time “talking” with her back towards me again, with a diminishing voice tone

This time, I stopped and interrupted her to say… maybe we should see if my daughter is in her classroom. She looked grumpy at me then said that she was a second grade teacher and that she knew who my daughter was. On a click of an eye, there she was again walking in front of me with her back towards me and speaking as if I was an uneducated latino farmer going to her class in attempt to find Sophia.

At that point, I knew that our communication exchange was a lost cause. Clearly, she had a problem with my ethnicity. Being aware of this fact and to make things more pragmatic, I asked her directly if I could go to the after school program and see if my daughter was there. When I used a leadership voice tone with her, she got confused and wondered how a latino like me could speak with such authority at her. I politely ignored her non-verbal messages and kept walking.

What I don’t think she realized is that I’m a communication professor, who has served as in leadership positions in higher education, who is proficient in non-verbal communication and know how to speak with different kinds of people in a multitude of ways.

By the way…

I was right. Sophia was in the after school program’s room.  I finally got my child after 10 minutes of questionable communication exchange with this teacher. By the way, the teacher immediately left me and literally disappeared from the scene when I got into the room to see my kid. Go figure.

My conclusion…

I’m not sure if living in southeast TN is good for Latinos. This incident isn’t the first one I’ve experienced in Cleveland and I suspect won’t be the last. This town isn’t very friendly towards latino males and females. The racial climate against hispanics in this town is not very good.  If you look latin American in here, you are perceived to be of an inferior caste. It’s sad but it appears to me to be true.

 

 

To every thing there is a season… Be Aware

To every thing there is a season… Be Aware

… and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

From the book of Ecclesiastes…

I must admit that at 45, I have the duty to speak a little more than listen especially with the youth. After all, the good God has given me a number of abilities that are often not given to many professionals I know. In fact, the combination of these abilities, I’ve come to realize, is very rare.

They are the following:

  • The ability to conceptualize, build, deliver and sell a business for a big profit.
  • The ability to use charisma for building teams and alliances.
  • The ability to discern good from evil through non-verbal communication.
  • The ability to write, speak, design, see and edit media.
  • The ability to learn new skills quick and lead others.

It is my time to speak, I feel. This is what I want to say today. I hope you find value in what I’m going to write in here. These thoughts and ideas are for real man. Listen carefully to them.

Here we go.

“This life is full of evil people with evil intentions. No matter where you go, you will find your fair share of falling angels claiming to be nice and kind but in reality, these bunch are as bad as your worse enemy. Be aware.

“I’ve seen good people get cancer and evil people retire millionaire, full of friends and with much influence. I’ve witnessed the poor being labeled lazy and faulty for their misfortunes. I’ve witnessed the ultra wealthy planning the demise of the poor in more than one country. It is real… Be aware.

“Everywhere you go, there will always be a ruling group, a group that wishes to be in the ruling crowd, the outsiders and the independents of thought. The “wish team” is often the group with the least character/integrity as they would do (or say) what is necessary to be in the ruling group. Be Aware.

“I’ve seen manipulators being labeled great leaders because of their wealth and influence. I’ve seen church leaders profit from the sweat of their congregation, sending their own kids to private school at the expense of the poor. A number of churches are social clubs instead of places of worship. Be aware.

“Most people are the opposite of what they show to the public. A quiet public character is often a loud private person. Those who claim to be great in a particular skill are often poor in the skill. Be aware.”

“The insecurity of people often leads to expensive purchases, e.g., big houses, luxury cars, fancy clothes and extravagant dinners and parties. People who are secure in who they are don’t need these former materialistic possessions or the need to show them to others. Be Aware.

“Most of the wars people fight in life are a collection of uphill battles often fought with limited resources. No wonder why so much conflict is silent. The moment a person is silent (or absent) towards you…. Be aware.

“Only a fool thinks that people aren’t paying attention. Things always make sense to someone. Be careful to assume because when you assume, you make an… Be Aware.”

“Never, under any circumstances, lose momentum. Give yourself maneuverability by being mobile. The former helps you to better understand different kinds of terrains. Eventually, you will find yourself in a position of inertia! It is normal, it is expected. Being a cog is a consequence of much inertia. Cogs are easily replaceable pieces in any operating system. Be aware.

For your own sake, resist nothingness and the comfortable position that inertia may bring you temporarily. Do what you can to be in motion, always seeking what will come next. Embrace change and don’t be afraid to change course, if necessary. Those who see trouble ahead and decide to fight a lost war, pay the price. Be aware.

The bible teaches us that, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:18-21).

There is nothing new under the sun, ladies and gents.

14 Quotes The Youth (and not so young) Should Read

14 Quotes The Youth (and not so young) Should Read

 A couple of things I’ve said over the years. Hope you enjoy.

“A true christian doesn’t live a life of envy. He lives a godly life always seeking to follow God’s message of love.”

“If you choose to stay in a job simply because of a title… I would argue that money isn’t the only problem you struggle with. You most definitely struggle with ego issues.”

“Compensation is far from being everything that there is about a job. Flexibility is as important and as valuable (if not more valuable) than income received.”

“I don’t let money or titles control me. I make my priorities based on scripture — based on what is written in the Bible.”

“The moment that you make God the center of your life, the former struggles start to disappear. You will quickly realize that possessions and job nomenclature is de facto meaningless.”

“There is tremendous power in calling your shots even if authority resides in the hands of others.”

“In the volatile market that we live in these days, having the capacity to engage in job maneuverability is without question a necessity these days.”

“Be good and do good in God’s eyes because it is good. Smile, give and receive hugs, laugh, eat and enjoy your family and friends — Work hard!”

“Brothers and sisters, you will find injustice in this world and even fools will reach positions of great authority. Don’t envy their privileged positions or try to justify your circumstances according to what happen to others.”

“Making a difference in the lives of others is a critical component of being a practitioner of Christianity.”

“Order can be brought out by fixing disorder. Don’t let jealousy and envious relationships get out of control and as important… control you.

“A true Christian doesn’t spend his or her journey comparing themselves to others or worse — putting themselves ahead of others. We put others ahead of us.”

“Don’t forget… Make someone happy. This is your duty and mine in this world.”

“Life is a miracle. This former fact, in itself, is worth celebrating the mercy and love of God.”

Hope you liked it.

 

3 Ways to Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind to Reach Your Goals

3 Ways to Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind to Reach Your Goals

It has been suggested that a lack of positive thinking can be detrimental to one’s chances to achieve their goals.[1] A series of negative thoughts in your subconscious can de facto have an impact on how you reach your goals.

Reprogramming the subconscious mind isn’t as difficult as it seems. It won’t be done overnight but it can be accomplished if you are serious about engaging in a series of well known exercises.

It is in an employee’s best interest to reprogram their subconscious in order to reach their goals because by doing that, they have a higher chance to be respected by their peers and promoted to a high position within the organization.

In this article, I will share with you three ways to reprogram your subconscious mind to reach your goals in plain English.

  1. Why Should You Reprogram Your Subconscious?
  2. 3 Ways to Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind
  3. Conclusion

Why Should You Reprogram Your Subconscious?

The simple answer is because people are often afraid of not succeeding. Many times, the fear of failure may cause some to believe that failure in their lives will then be eminent leaving them little control in the process.

I have to admit that I suffered from this when I came to the United States as an ESL student back in 1998. When I came to the United States in the late 90’s at age 24, I was terrified about the prospects of having to learn the English language in six months and having to attend college in a second language right after and graduate within four years.

Clearly, I had to reprogram my conscious mind and convince myself to believe that engaging in such a daunting endeavor was possible, rewarding, and within my reach.

It has been said that our conscious mind represents only 3% of our brain. The other 97% belongs to the subconscious mind. According to Dr. Collautt, our subconscious mind is one million times more powerful than our conscious mind which leads me to believe that working on our subconscious mind is worthwhile.

I’m not in favor of recommending anyone to engage in hypnosis, meditation or anything new age. I’m in favor, however, for people to realize that they do have the power to work in harmony with their inner self from a scientific standpoint which is what I will be presenting next in this article.

3 Ways to Reprogram Your Subconscious Mind

To reprogram your subconscious mind to reach your goals, do these following exercises for a period of a year and pay attention to what you feel.

The following exercises are exactly what I did to conquer my fears of failure in academics which lead me to complete a PhD in Instructional Systems from a big ten school in 2008.

1. Be Humble

Don’t assume you know everything

. Listen to your subconscious resistance.[2]

When I was young, I wasn’t very humble. I assumed that I knew everything. I definitely didn’t listen to my subconscious which led me to having to leave a country to find my place under the sun.

I grew up playing golf in a country with no history in the sport. I was great at it which made it very difficult to be humble. I thought I knew everything about life because I knew the intricacies of golf but as early as 16 years old, my subconscious used to tell me, “Yes, you are a great golfer but Brazil doesn’t have a healthy professional golf league. Shouldn’t you be studying instead of playing golf?”

Long story short, my subconscious was right. I spent way too long dreaming of being something unattainable because I “knew” what was best for me despite the fact that my inner person was skeptical about my prospects of being a pro-golfer in Brazil. By the way, most of my close friends agreed with my subconscious mind. I resisted and paid the price.

When I came to Mississippi in 1998, I decided to do something different. I used to sit down for one hour or so alone a day and listen to what my subconscious was saying which led me to be humble and have a much higher degree of humility. I embraced my subconscious resistance and made all the difference.

Lesson learned. I have been listening to my subconscious ever since.

2. Listen to Your Fears and Define What They Are

It is okay to listen to your fears and define what these fears are.

When I was a student of Sports Management at Slippery Rock University, I wanted to be a sports agent. But in order to be a great sports agent, people need to go to law school. I wanted to go to law school but the prospects of scoring high on the LSAT and read law causes extensively made me re-think my future academic decisions back then.

I was afraid of failure. I remember going to the Duquesne University campus in Pittsburgh, PA for a day with a notebook in order to face my fears and defining what these fears really were.

What a great exercise! Facing the unknown is an important exercise that should help to reprogram your subconscious.

I listened to my fears and defined what they were in order to help me to maneuver in life. I decided not to go to Duquesne Law School because of my fear of not speaking the English language well enough and due to cost.

I thought harder and realized that going to another smaller school to pursue a masters degree in Communication was a much better idea. In fact, it was a great idea. Six years later, I completed a PHD Summa Cum Laude. I was able to reprogram my subconscious in order to pursue what was the most logical.

3. Repeat What You Believe to Your Subconscious

Yes, you heard that right. You need to do affirmations or the action of affirming something — “You can do it!.”

I convinced myself that I was going to be a college professor throughout my bachelors degree experience. At Penn State University, where I completed my doctorate, I was studying among the very best students in the world interested in technology in education.

I repeatedly told myself that I was a top student in instructional systems in the United States and visualized my career being a college professor in a teaching university.

Ladies and gentleman, repeating my beliefs through affirmations in graduate school have proven right and today, I’m a mid career college professor in a teaching university on my way to senior status.

It’s amazing what you accomplish when you convince yourself that you can do something multiple times a day. Affirmations work. It worked out for me and it will work out for you as well.

Conclusion

Negative thoughts won’t take you anywhere. Reaching your life goals are directly related to how much you believe that you can achieve them along with God’s grace.

It is possible to reprogram your brain in order to achieve your goals with distinction. It will take more than a couple of hours though.

Be patient and keep course. Engaging in subconscious training may be the difference between you achieving your goals to failing in your life pursuits.

Be humble, listen to your fears and repeatedly tell yourself that you can do it. Take advantage of affirmations! The power of the mind is amazing. You won’t regret.

Things I’ve Said In My Life Before

Things I’ve Said In My Life Before

Hope you enjoy these sayings as much as I do.

“We all have our own beliefs and value system. I certainly have mine and won’t give them up. You have yours and we all have to respect that.”

“God takes care of His people by putting extraordinary people in your path. He also humbles us to make us different for our own sake.”

“Complaining and blaming others for your misfortunes and lack of luck will not change the fact that we need to work with others in order to operate with distinction.”

“Give yourself a chance of winning big by aligning your talents with what God has called you to do.”

“Money comes second: Do what you like first.”

“When a well executed strategy is put in place, winning becomes a consequence.”

“Don’t confuse temporary success with God’s will.”

“Live your life in the moment. Give a hand to someone, forgive often, listen more and be real.”

“Don’t be jealous of others because God’s people complement them. Be patient because your time of glory will come.”

“Excessive speech isn’t appropriate and should be avoided whenever possible.”

“A leader canʼt have an evil stream otherwise, problems occur.”

Thank you for reading.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine. 

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life. 

  1. Why Is it hard to live a peaceful and happy life?
  2. 8 Mindfulness Exercises
  3. Conclusion

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our habitat has become too technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings. There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about. Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.   

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much. 

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want To Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation. Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different. The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy. 

Listen carefully: We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness! Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness.  Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises. 

8 Mindfulness Exercises

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with, out there. In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try. Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so. When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life. Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.    

Pray. You won’t regret it.

2. Pay attention to your inner thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness. By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head. Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head. If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time.  Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person. Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy. Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal. The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.   

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that. When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic. Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity. Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well. Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate others, they often celebrate you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period. 

6. Listen To Your Spouse 

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her. I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest. I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.    

7. Give yourself a break from technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis. How do you do that? This is my formula. First, go to my website: luiscalmeida.info/ and take the smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum. If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm. If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm. If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately. Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge? 

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life. The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.  You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just because.

Conclusion

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living. It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you. Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions. 

References

https://www.developgoodhabits.com/mindfulness-exercises/

http://theconversation.com/what-might-explain-the-unhappiness-epidemic-90212

https://www.intouch.org/Read/Blog/14-benefits-of-prayer

https://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-proven-health-benefits-of-prayer.html

https://www.foxnews.com/travel/americans-dont-know-how-to-unplug-on-vacation-study-finds

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170220-cant-unplug-heres-how-to-navigate-your-digital-anxiety

Thursday Thoughts For The Youth

Thursday Thoughts For The Youth

These are Thursday thoughts for the youth!

1. Be yourself. In this life, nobody wanting to be original can be a carbon copy of somebody else. The qualities that made Napoleon great were not the same qualities that made Patton extraordinary. The great Patch Adams cared for his patients more than any other physician ever dreamed of. Yet, we have obtuse doctors who just get things done making them as great. Women are from Venus and men are from Mars and that’s okay. Whatever unique traits the good God has given you, He gave you your uniqueness for a reason. There are a number of things in this life that are possible — by studying one gets better grades; By practicing, one gets better scores; By forgiving one becomes a better man. What isn’t possible is to strive to be unique by emulating others. It simply doesn’t work regardless of what others may tell you. The great Jim Furyk would have never made it into the PGA Tour by swinging his clubs more like Ben Hogan. The earlier you realize that you need to be original, the greater your impact in this life will be and the most glory to God you will be able to give.

2. Challenge yourself. History is full of cases of individuals who put themselves in a bubble and accept mediocrity in exchange for complacency and security. Just because you can play football in a AA division doesn’t mean that you are ready to compete against the Quad A state champions. You need to be original or should I say — be different. What you really need is to ditch the idea that you should work for money and rather… work in the talent that the Lord has given you by doing the former, you will be able to be great in your area of strength which if you keep course, success will go your way when you least expect. Give yourself a chance to be challenged and embrace the opportunity to achieve high grounds by challenging yourself.

3. Create something worth sharing. Whenever you create something out of nothing, you are obligated to think with no box yet generate a working prototype of your imagination.  With the former comes conceptualization, production, revision, re-engineering, more and more revisions leading to a final product or outcome.  Even if your creation is a failure financially, there are great lessons to be learned by going through the motions of raw creation. The uniqueness of your efforts in many ways speak louder than your inability to take a chance.  If you want to be unique, you will need to take risks and give yourself a chance to achieve the unimaginable. Creating something worth sharing isn’t the test but a task and duty. Next time you think about being unique, create something worth sharing.

4. Tesla sell their cars to their tribes, always catering to them. 78% of Tesla sales are done on-line. It is different, it’s unique. Elon Musk seems to be empathetic with his team. What is the result of his efforts? Success! A lot of it. He understands his audience. He is clearly not catering to everybody. What are you doing everyday to cater to your tribe? remember: Whatever we do professionally, we do for our audience not to ourselves. “Be careful to not associate yourself with those who think that they themselves are the center of the universe.”

That’s it! Did you learn something? Let’s keep the conversation going and chat. Hope you have a great Thursday!

Sunday Thoughts For The Youth #1

Sunday Thoughts For The Youth #1

Some Sunday thoughts for the Youth…

  1. The message is clear. When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body. I add to the former by saying that when Newton’s 3rd law is applied to people affairs, “an equal force equal in magnitude is excerpted in the direction of the first body either directly or indirectly.  It is naive to believe that unchristian like behaviors, when done constantly and overtime, will be always received by individuals without an equal degree of retaliation in the long run. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes, the reaction is direct or indirect, coming from the left or from the right… up, down, from the east or from the west. Sometimes the reaction comes from nowhere. It’s impossible to predict where it will come from… but eventually it comes. Equilibrium is achieved, sooner or later making opposing forces balanced.
  2. Christlike behavior isn’t demeaning. Christlike behavior isn’t unkind. Christlike behavior isn’t self-centered. Christlike behavior isn’t ambitious to the point of isolating a Christian brother or sister for self gain. Christlike behavior is based on the figure of Jesus Christ and how he treated others above himself. If you claim to be a Christian, treat people with respect and don’t be partial. It is a sin to stop speaking with people because of what others may think (or do) to you. We need to be people with principles and character. Thankfully, there is hope against much adversity. In James 1:12, it is written, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
  3. The voices (and sounds) of the people are a trademark of what makes us human and there is no technology that will ever replace that. For some of us who believe in Christianity, our voices are also instruments that we use to glorify God. What are people thinking to believe that technology can replace labor in everything in life including music? I know, you know… we know. It is because of money or should I say greed. This new mindset of cutting human resources at all costs and replacing labor with technology is reaching dangerously absurd levels in American society and to a certain degree — reaching high levels of ridicule and greed.
  4. You are not better than me. We, however, are better than most. I say, “synergy.” A united people can never be divided. Everything you do, do in humility. Honor everyone and love your neighbor. Those who claim to be great, mediocre at best they are. Behaviors speak much louder than any words in this world. All we need to do is to take notes. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. Yesterday? Who cares. I will keep moving forward and thanking all the people who believe in my life mission of goodwill. We are all creatures of habit who enjoy reading tidbits of information to make us a bit smarter by the day. As technology permeates our lives in this new world we live in, not too many people have the time and resources to truly learn useful quotations these days.

Enjoy your Sunday!

I Am, Therefore I Think

I Am, Therefore I Think

Some of my thoughts for this Friday. Hope you like them as much as I do.

Use technology wisely: and if it makes your life better. If technology starts making your life worse, stop using it immediately. Let me illustrate this point — I am a professional photographer who is constantly capturing and editing stills for profit. Modern photography technology helps me tremendously with capturing great shots, editing my photos, storing and selling them. In fact, it helps me considerably, I must add. There is no question about that. I have learned that when I edit photograph for about an hour or so, my eyes and neck start hurting pretty bad. This is precisely why I don’t work in front of the computer for more than 30 minutes at a time. I came to realize that overuse of technology will make your life worse.

A gentleman does not spread rumors, I mean never: Under no circumstances does a gentleman engage in this kind of behavior because he knows that 10/10 times, these rumors cause hardships on others and eventually the other party finds out about the unfortunate event which can haunt them in the future. Only a boor engages in such behaviors. Schmucks love to talk about others behind their backs because they have nothing better to say or anything important to do. A true gentleman doesn’t put himself in the position of being a vermin. When asked to feed a rumor mill, a gentleman says no without remorse.

Read God’s word: Prayer is God’s secret to doing well in life. Don’t forget to pray. Pray daily. Believe, love God, and pray.” “Not everything that feels good or right is in fact good for you in God’s eyes. We need to life a moral life that puts God first and we second.” “God is a gift — pray continuously. The reward is worth the sacrifice. “f you dream and have faith… God will help you to achieve.” “Don’t be jealous of others because God’s people complement them. Be patient because your time of glory will come.” “Life is a miracle. This former fact, in itself, is worth celebrating the mercy and love of God.” “God takes care of His people by putting extraordinary people in their path. He also humbles us to make us different for our own sake.” “Listen carefully: Nobody is perfect in this life, not even you or me. Only God is perfect.

Elitism is alive and well: Elitism happens in America. It’s all that I’m saying. I think that our societal obsession with equality has made many blind to the obvious class favoritism  that we have in this country. To me, elitism is alive and well, even though many deny that it exists in our nation.

Last thoughts: 1) Accidents happen. No matter how cautious we are with our bodies, things happen beyond our control sometimes. I wasn’t negligent hitting my head this time, that’s for sure. 2) Life is short — Do what you love. Man, I got even closer to my wife and kids because of this incident. I went for a photo trip with them and decided to use the trip to rethink our future. Priceless. 3) We are all terminal. Live life to the fullest because time is gift. One day you have time to play with your kids. The next, you hit your head and don’t have time to think about playing with them. It’s life.

Peace.

Five Ways To Develop Yourself Professionally

Five Ways To Develop Yourself Professionally

These are things I’ve done (or philosophies that I have adopted) in order to develop my career as a college professor. There is much wisdom in them! I suspect that these activities will also be of great value for you as it helps us to be grounded in things that really matter. Are you ready for it?

Here we go.  In order to develop yourself professional…

  1. Buy yourself a guitar and study music. You heard that right. Sell your computer and buy a guitar as Tom Petty once said. The act of jamming your six strings and singing alone but preferably in front of a group of listeners, friends, enemies, groupies… overtime can do miracles for you and will help you to reach your goal of being an extrovert. The act of playing the guitar and being in front of others is one of the first steps you need to do in order to becoming more comfortable when speaking with strangers. Why do you second guess yourself? You can be an extrovert overtime. Yes you can! Let me repeat: Yes you can! Do me a favor now. Go get yourself an acoustic guitar and schedule some guitar maybe voice lessons. The former can do miracles in your life, trust me. 
  2. Be a source of pleasure. No matter which career you are in or want to pursue, don’t be grumpy, melancholic, egoistic or egocentric, self-centered, or arrogant. Be the type of person you and your friends want to be around with. You don’t need to force your new image on others, either. Be a source of pleasure and celebrate creating harmony by making others to celebrate themselves.  Eventually, others will invite you in their circles and will legitimately enjoy being around you for the right reasons not because of  your position or authority. I see too many people today failing to re-create themselves into someone better because of a false belief that they need to stick to their century long traditions. Their stagnation is eminent; Loss of talent is predictable; lack of self-innovation and brand depreciation is likely.

  3. Question your assumptions once in a while. Be careful when making lifetime assumptions because when you assume, you make an… you know how the saying goes. Things change, life evolves, and people learn lessons. Not always but you know what I mean. In the spirit of wanting to recreate your image and questioning some of your lifelong goals and objectives, you have to be open minded to the possibilities that might head your way. One of the ways to accomplish the former is by questioning what you may think is untouchable to you. If I was so defensive about ever changing my upbringing instilled ideologies from childhood, I would have never turned into a college professor. In the country club culture in which I was born and raised in, becoming a college professor was seen as the ultimate sign of failure only after lacking a formal college education. I knew then and certainly know now, however, that the truth is far from what I was once told. It took me “questioning my childhood assumptions” in order to be able to see life as it is.

  4. Don’t be delusional. Many today live their lives in a world of fantasy and make believe because of their inability to question their own circumstances, values and inherited biases. There is tremendous power in re-evaluating what you believe, feel, and care about in the context of what is real. This doesn’t mean that you should be mean, treat others with disrespect, turn yourself blue when common sense calls you to be yellow, or totally ignore your history for the sake of change and advancement. Common sense plays a variable in the process, you now? Be realistic with yourself. 
  5. Avoid using the word “I.” Professionals who constantly use the word “I” rarely make the greatest impact in the life of others especially students. If you hear someone constantly using the pronoun “I” in conversations, be aware. Chances are very high that “I” means excluding you. A caring and dedicated professional must learn how to use the word “you” or “we” 95% percent of the time because the overuse of the word “I” will only lead to contention and suspicion.  As a responsible worker and leader, you need to create harmony and transparency… A star employee champions equilibrium in the life of his/her team and puts him/herself second to the needs of the team. A great way to accomplish such pursuits is by replacing the word “I” with the better alternative… “You” or “We.”

That’s it! These are five ways to develop yourself professionally. If you have a question or comments, don’t forget to leave a comment down in here. Peace. 

You Can Call Me Dr. TechnoModeration

You Can Call Me Dr. TechnoModeration

Are you sick of working 60 hours a week, going to a restaurant and constantly seeing folks dining yet texting at the same time at the table? Maybe you believe that resting once in a while without being ostracized for being human by others is a normal activity? I certainly believe that. By the way, you can believe that too.

We are living in a very stressful world and frankly, I feel that the main reason we are so stressed out is because of being exposed to a ridiculously amount of technology every day, all day long. Have you thought to yourself, “Why are we doing this to ourselves?” “Is technology use all that important?” 

What is crazy about this whole conversation, to me at least, is that extreme uses of technology can in fact be quite detrimental to you and me yet we are celebrating its uncontrolled advancements if there isn’t a tomorrow. Do you now that unplugging from the machine can reduce feelings of jealousy? Do you now that 1 in 3 people feel worse by going to Facebook? What if I told you that most people probably go to social media when they are sad or bored?

What the heck is going on! Are we going mad? No, maybe we just don’t realize that technology is perhaps controlling our lives and turning us into technology itself! We must TechnoModerate. I am Mister TechnoModeration.

I feel pretty proud to say this publicly.

If you are from the position that technology should be used in moderation in society… Join the team, pay attention, investigate and disconnect once in a while. Get in touch with me! I would love to hear from you.

Why lose your life for the sake of technology, I say? It ain’t worth it, that’s for sure. Thoughts?

The Real Meaning Of Friendships — Not Facebook Friendships

The Real  Meaning Of  Friendships — Not Facebook  Friendships

What is a friend to you? Is it a person in which you can chat, share your concerns with, bounce ideas… A person who is going to be there no matter what. A person who you know will tell you the truth no matter if you are wealthy, poor, in control or wondering in life or trying to figure it out what you want to do? A friend is much more than a Facebook friend, don’t you think? A Facebook friend many times is a number. True friends are not numbers; they are just your friend.

Let me ask you this… Did you accept people you don’t know to be your friend on Facebook lately? Maybe on Instagram? Twitter? Tumbler? Let me ask you a better question — Did you clean your Facebook lately after doing a critical analysis of your “friendships” in cyberspace? My guess is that you probably did the first and didn’t do the second.

Well, I did the second about one year ago. I went back to my Facebook accounts (plural) and cleaned the crap out of folks who didn’t belong in there. The reason? Because they were not my friends. They were a number not a true friend. They were Facebook friends. A true friend, as least to me, is somebody I have some affinity with. As I wrote previously, a friend is a person in which I can chat, share my concerns with, bounce ideas… A person who is going to be there no matter what. If they don’t have these qualities… Maybe they shouldn’t be in my Facebook friends list no matter what the computer says.

I personally don’t get offended and frankly don’t care if my Facebook friends like my postings or not or put comments in my wall. A true friend has reasons to comment, be indifferent or simply be silent for reasons I don’t need to know. Not everything I post should be liked or have a comment by a friend just because it was shared in social media! What I am saying is that likes and comments don’t always equal friendships!  But in the American technopoly, likes and comments are “king,” as social media algorithms take into account “interaction” as a variable in calculating your influence on-line. How fake!

Clicking the like button or putting a comment down in one’s wall can have more connotations than simply linking what you posted or commenting on a great idea. Most human beings don’t really operate that logically. The illogical plays a large role in this whole process of internet communication. Look for trends. If “Facebook friend” John Jones is constantly praising you for your efforts in a genuine way — Premium him. If he is trying to gain something from you, you will know it. If you have a foe among your “friends,” unfriend him. It isn’t worth having the numbers if in the end, they are really not your friend. I’ver learned this the hard way. 

Remember that.

How To Build A Class

How To Build A Class

This piece was written by Dr. Mark Zeigler in a keynote speech at the Florida Communication Association. If you want to be in higher education long term, it would be wise to apply his caring advice.

If you want respect, command it, don’t demand it. If you want your students to be trustworthy, then trust them. If you want your students to be interested in the material, then be interesting…

If you want them to work together, then work with them first. If you want them to write well, then teach them how. If you want them to apply theories, then use examples in your teaching…

If you want them to attend class, then give them a reason to be there. If you want them to attend class, then give a reason for them to be there. If you want them to be cynical and rude, then punish them for all transgressions…

If you want them to love learning and enjoy their education, then you enjoy your teaching. If you want them to value research, then include them in your projects and show them how it works…

If you show interest in them, they will be interested in you. If you don’t want them to cheat, then don’t give cheating opportunities. If you want them to make good presentations, be sure you give good lectures…

If you want them to pursue graduate school, tell them they’d be a great graduate student and help them search for schools to apply. If you want good teaching evaluations, be fair, clear, creative, interesting, prepared, approachable, have a sense of humor, and don’t take yourself too seriously…

If you want them to have a perspective, then distinguish between major episodes and minor events. If you want a great academic career, learn how to teach now. Best advice: Grandfather… “I bet they teach you more than you teach them.” Sometimes you just have to get out of the way and let it happen.

Mark Ziegler.

Technology Is Making Us Dumber

Technology Is Making  Us Dumber

It is making us dumber, yes, because it is conditioning us to use all these technology without reflecting on why we are using these tools resulting in the idea that we don’t really need to process all this content because it is accessible somewhere on-line. At least, this is what I think.

Some of us who hold a PhD in Instructional Systems Technology, where we are academically trained to implement computer technology and strategies for classroom delivery, have noticed that technology sometimes does more damage than good to learning. I can say with authority that implementing all these technologies in schools without doing a 360 degree assessment of the students and their life circumstances is simply irresponsible and can make them dumber, from the standpoint of Crystallized IQ.

Students will rarely choose to pay attention in class if they are given the opportunity to use technology freely.  They will simply go elsewhere on-line. Why? Well, because they are young and youngsters for the most part want to party and get their bodies in shape or have their persona being popular among their peers in order to increase their local and regional Q-Ratio. It is no surprising that students come to class (often late) and even after arriving in class, they start texting their friends as if they were still in their dorm rooms. Maintaining all these social media accounts takes time! They are “busy” doing precisely that! Folks, students are trying to post things on twitter to advance their own brands or going to Tumbler to speak with their friends in order to be cool! Do you think that using all these technology in the classroom will change that? Of course not.

Who are we trying to fool here? Let’s get real — When you were 19, did you prefer to do school work or to party? Did you prefer to get in shape and look good at 20 or do homework for your history 103 course? I am not anti-technology. Of course!

I am for truth and against error. 🙂

With very few exceptions, young adults would rather play than study regardless of the tools they are giving in class. When I was their age, I did the same thing. Didn’t you? Why is technology going to make it different somehow? It won’t be different, I don’t think. I honestly think that technology is dumbing us down and we are allowing this to happen with the believe that technology can solve every problem in our society. Technique will never solve all of our problems. The former, in fact, is a typical belief of citizens of a technopoly.

Lack of information processing through practice is in fact making us dumber as students perceive that the internalization of factual knowledge and principles for problem solving to be secondary to one’s abilities to find information on a search engine. Although the former is an important method of solving problems, the over reliance on such methods is dangerous and to a degree quite childish.

Can you imagine going to a physician and having him or her tell you back, “Oh… you have a headache? Let me check on google and see what is wrong with you.”

What I have seen in my career as a college professor is that no matter how much technology we adopt in the classroom… Students will always chose the easier route to get the “A” grade without wanting to do the work and enjoying all the technology we give them to update and advance their own images on-line. Technology is a distraction for them, for the most part. 

\Some argue that by engaging students with technology, the former argument is reduced. Obviously, these folks are either not teaching the millennial generation regularly or have other reasons for implementing all these technology in our classrooms.

Do you want to teach your kid to be a superstar? Make sure your kid understands that it is only through TechnoModeration that he/she will win in life overtime. The secret to success is having the ability to solve problems with technological tools and having the ability to internalize information along with it. A blank slate full of technology is like being a poet with a tablet without words.

We Live In A Society Driven By Technology

We Live In A Society Driven By Technology

We live in a society driven by technology. We see technology being used in churches, education, medicine, music, in banks, you name it. There is no question that people benefit from advancements in technology, including me. However, why are we so shy to talk about the flip side of technology? I tell you this, ladies and gentleman. The side effects of technology are many! We find the other side of technology when analyzing unemployment due to automation, the real cost of creating a successful social media campaign, or the unknown side effects of virtual reality systems. Churches are struggling to attract millennials and when we see them there, they are often texting. There are industries being pushed out of business due to what I like to call, “TechMania.” What a tragedy!

Artificial intelligence is a reality now. Fedora, the Russian robot that can shot a gun and drive a car is real. On-line bullying is still a big problem in America. Kids now are committing suicide at record levels. We are experiencing a wave of anxiety among our people to a level that we have never seen. We are now all tech gladiators.

Can you believe that kids these days are starting to have a difficult time reading non-verbal behaviors? Thank goodness we can still build influence off-line. Bots can now help writers like me to create stories for media consumption. Net bias is now a reality in the United States. We have no other way but to pay attention to the extreme views and opinions often generated by technology. This is the world we live in.

Be aware ladies and gents. Questions?

Almeida Featured By The Smithsonian Magazine 

Almeida Featured By The Smithsonian Magazine 

For Immediate Release: 10/14/2019

Almeida Featured By The Smithsonian Magazine 

Cleveland, TN – A college professor and photographer living in southeast Tennessee has been featured by the Smithsonian Magazine’s website. Dr. Luis Almeida’s “Fantasy Photoshoot” photograph has been chosen to be the collection “Altered”’s cover photo in mid October. Almeida’s work is being featured along side award winning photographs from the competition’s previous years in the Altered category.

“The Smithsonian Magazine has been very kind to highlight my work in its “Altered Collection” category in this years’s competition. It’s an honor to be featured on their website,” says Almeida.

“The image is of my wife, a few weeks after she received a certification in makeup artistry. She was creating this look, hidden from me in the bathroom. When she came out, my inspiration hit,” Says Almeida.

“Doc, you have talent and skill in one fingernail than I will ever possess” says Brad Smith on-set photographer for the movies, “Malicious,” “The neighbor,” and “Assimilate” starring Josh Stewart and Deroy Lindo.

The 2019 Smithsonian Photo Competition is open for photographers’ submission until November 30 of this year in a number of categories including Altered Images, Travel, People, The American Experience, Natural World, and Mobile. Finalists will be announced in early Spring 2020.

Almeida is an Associate Professor of Communication Arts, earned his bachelors degree from Slippery Rock University, a masters degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a PhD from Penn State University.

Almeida’s Smithsonian entry, “Fantasy Photoshoot” can be accessed at: https://tinyurl.com/yybm9jrc

Almeida’s photo website can be access at: https://www.draphoto.biz/

###

Contact

Amanda Almeida

(601) 667-9067

12 Bible Based Principles To Live And Work By

12 Bible Based Principles To Live And Work By

The bible is a great book that teaches people a number of very important lessons about life. You don’t need to believe in Judaism or Christianity in order to learn from the teachings that are included in the holy book.  In this post, I will share with you several bible based principles I’ve learned from the bible  throughout the years that when applied often helps people to live a much better life.

Are you ready for this? I am. 🙂

“The moment that you make God the center of your life, the former struggles start to disappear. You will quickly realize that possessions and job nomenclature is de facto meaningless.”

God called us to be wise. The way to wisdom is fearing God not being the owner of our destiny based on what we want to believe outside of scripture.”

“Be different; Choose God and sanity before earthly wealth. Make your life meaningful.”

“A true Christian doesn’t spend his or her journey comparing themselves to others or worse — putting themselves ahead of others. We put others ahead of us.”

“Prayer is God’s secret to doing well in life. Don’t forget to pray. Pray daily. Believe, love God, and pray.”

“Not everything that feels good or right is in fact good for you in God’s eyes. We need to life a moral life that puts God first and we second.”

“God is a gift — pray continuously. The reward is worth the sacrifice. “f you dream and have faith… God will help you to achieve.”

“Don’t be jealous of others because God’s people complement them. Be patient because your time of glory will come.”

“Life is a miracle. This former fact, in itself, is worth celebrating the mercy and love of God.”

“God takes care of His people by putting extraordinary people in their path. He also humbles us to make us different for our own sake.”

“Listen carefully: Nobody is perfect in this life, not even you or me. Only God is perfect.

“Don’t forget this: God is paying attention. Are you giving yourself a chance to be helped by God by being reasonable with others?”

That’s it for now. Reading the bible is good for you and me. Read it regularly and critically.  You won’t regret.

SPAM! The “Finest” and “Classiest” Messages You Will Ever Hear

SPAM! The “Finest” and “Classiest” Messages You Will Ever Hear

I get spam emails on a hourly basis. I mean, TONS of spam. I get spam in my inbox in gmail, my email from school, and in my spam folder in all of my 15 email accounts. SPAM sucks, I say. It’s time consuming to go through them and they can be quite offensive, actually! In this blog post, I will share with you some of the mot amusing SPAM messages I received This month. Are you ready for this? Be ready! It will be weird.

The joins of technology! SPAM, SPAM, and more SPAM. Here we go.

1. “𝑭𝒊𝒏𝒅 𝒀𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝑳𝒐𝒗𝒆 𝑴𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝑭𝑹𝑬𝑬 𝒐𝒏 Get Started for free on the #1 trusted dating website.”

Dr. A’s response: I’m married! HELLO! ???? Do you offer anything else for free?   

2. “I want you! I sent you my photo. Do you want to chat with me? Yes or no?”

Dr. A’s response:  Hmmm… you have good taste to like me but no thanks. 🙂

3. “Get Lifetime Access to Trade Partner at just USD 250 — Your access fee has been removed, so, your full membership benefits are completely free. The fee returns next week, so, it makes sense to use your free membership now before you have to pay. Activation only takes a minute. You will be approved straight away and your account will receive money not long after. Just click here to begin. We wish you every success. Regards, Sandra D.”

Dr. A’s response: HAHAHAHA, okay. Next please. 

4. “Hi, I wanted to reach out and ask if you’re happy with your website right now or if there are things you’d like to change.  Do you have any upgrades that you’ve been thinking about making, or possibly a redesign?  I’m a very talented web developer and I can create just about anything you want.  Let me know what you think. Kind regards, Christopher.”

Dr. A’s response:  I’m sure you are, brother. I do teach web design though. Thank you for the offer. Good luck! 

5. “I’m married but need you! Pictures and videos from Sarah. I’m waiting on you.”

Dr. A’s response:  This SPAM is so flattering! Am I the sexiest man in the world or what? HAHAHA. Next. 

6. “Hi There, Greetings of the Day! Not sure my previous email reached you. Respect your engagements perhaps due to which you are unable to reply. This was to gently seek suitable timeframe when you are ready for the discussion. Are you looking for affordable and customized website designing services to make your business presence out of the web-crowd? Your Business website needs to be SEO friendly in order to achieve profit gaol. We offer comprehensive website solution to turn your Business into a well-known Brand. With our examined Organic SEO tricks, you can easily build & retain your website ranking on the top of search list. If you want to make your website up-to-the-minute, then provide us your contact details and web requirement. Thanks & Regards, Gauri Gupta”

Dr. A’s response: How do you achieve a profit gaol? You said, “This was to gently seek suitable timeframe when you are ready…” What? 

7. “This tiny pill really can increase your intelligence. Now Available – The Most Powerful Brain Enhancer on the Planet! This tiny pill really can increase your intelligence! Meet the pill that increased intelligence. Improve memory, focus, cognitive ability. Top Intelligence boosting formula reviewed. This tiny pill really can increase your intelligence. See How This Raises Brain Performance. Secret Brain Pill Billionaires Are Using.”

Dr. A’s response: I knew that the millionaires had an untold secret! “This Tiny Pill!” I need something to increase my intelligence, you?  

8. “Luis, you awake?  I am thinking about you this morning… …and want to share something that may interest you here (especially if you have tried to succeed but failed miserably). Check it out and let me know your feedback (click me). To your success, Jeremy.”

Dr. A’s response: Are we done yet? 

9. “The Search For Your Girl is Over! You want to play with me! Mia, 24 years old.. Build: Slim… Height: 163cm… Distance To City: 14 Kilometers. View here sexy photos.”

Dr. A’s response: Mia, shouldn’t you be either in school or working somewhere? 

10. “Watch: 1 Odd Trick That Can Destroy The Diabetes Industry (Try This Tonight)…” [Cut by Dr. A]

Dr. A’s response: You Don’t Want To Hear About This, trust me. 

11. “INHERITANCE PROPOSAL! Attention!!! I have an important business discussion I wish to share with you which I believe will interest you, because it is in connection with your last name and you are going to benefit from it, please get back to me ASAP. Thanks, Steven, Chief Financial Officer.”

Dr. A’s response: Am I going to be a multi-millionaire today? Hahaha. I wish. 

12. “Sell or Trade In your iPhone X for $50 to earn a 10% off coupon. A reward to treat yourself to any of the millions of items in the marketplace. Offer available now through 10/9. Terms apply! Happy selling.”

Dr. A’s response: I’m tired. It’s 12:45am. I need to go to sleep. 

Tomorrow is another day, thank goodness! And no, I didn’t respond to any of these emails. Are you crazy?

🙂

Are Colleges And Universities Really That Expensive?

Are Colleges And Universities Really That Expensive?

Colleges are expensive, yes. There is little doubt about that. However, what we often don’t talk about are the other expenses associated with being a college student these days. The “other expenses” are as “expensive” as college itself, I say.

College tuition where I work at costs students $7,700 in tuition a year before room and board is added to the bill. Not a bad price in today’s market, is it? Since young adults have to pay rent and eat whether they are college students or not, I will not talk too much about housing and meal plans in this article. By taking this fair metric, college costs are really then the price of tuition, student fees and books which again, I believe is the true costs of education in the United States.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that college students at university A spend 9K a year in “college only” expenses totaling a lifetime college investment of 36K. Is it little money? Of course it isn’t but this value isn’t that far off from what the market will pay recent graduates when they leave the university with a degree in communications, on average. I predict student value after graduation to be between 28 to 32 thousand dollars in medium size to large cities, by the way. 

So in reality, students aren’t really making a very bad investment by going to get a college education with a 4 thousand dollars upside down in loans over a period of 15 tears. It is is, in reality, a negligible value, especially in the long run. I would be much more concerned if the value of tuition was 26 thousand dollars in tuition a year. 

Look, my problem with this debate isn’t necessarily with the price of tuition. I agree that tuition is expensive. My problem is with constituents who talk about the large debt that students accrue without taking into account the brand new (or used) car payments they have, car insurance policies, speeding tickets received, gasoline, smartphone bills, clothes, beer… College student debt is much more than just college tuition. 

Today in my office, I calculated the “college expenses” of a student totaling 10 thousand in extras! How fair is it to say that college is bankrupting students when students themselves spend that amount of money in unrelated college expenses or more every year? Let’s not forget that folks can always find an on-line education option so driving shouldn’t be an excuse to have a car payment. The truth is that the cost of tuition is as much of a problem to the debt crisis as how misinformed our kids are when going to college. 

Unfortunately, our students will spend four to seven years of their lives in college living life as an adult and fifty to seventy years of their adult living as a poor college student. It’s tragic but I think it will happen. College students are also part of the problem (perhaps their parents) as they spend a lot of money in expenses that simply don’t matter.

College students need, more than ever, mentorship in finance and a big wake up call. I help my advisees and clients to save money during their four years of college. We are lacking caring professors who tell the students the things they need to know for life and students who are willing to look beyond the obvious and critically investigate their own circumstances in life. I took the stance to be pro-students but that’s just me. I do realize that my motto of “If you do what is best for the students, you will do what is best for you” isn’t for everyone but at least it should be considered as an option by many in higher education.

Take the lead and help students to realize that they are also part of the problem when it comes to student debt. They need to know that there are other costs in addition to student tuition. Smartphone fees, having the newest iPhone, car payments, insurance, gas… are optional. 

Colleges are expensive, of course! Let’s not ignore the fact that we have a 3% to 4% inflation a year, plus depreciation of currency, and miscellaneous cost in addition to tuition price, making this crisis in education more than just the price of tuition alone. Think about it. 

How Excessive Competition Leads To Defeat

How Excessive Competition Leads To Defeat

Alpha males and females tend to compete a bit too much, which in the long run, result in eminent defeat. Driven by the motto, “Winning isn’t everything… Winning is the only thing,” these kinds of individuals miss the point that not everything is competition in life. Uncontrolled competition can do much damage to you and your family. It is stressful and counter productive, I argue.

When friends become foes, teammates become rivals, and people develop the philosophy of “Anything you can do, I can do better than you,” much stress and anxiety is experienced, along with an eminent counter-attack from the parties involved in the game exchange. Sometimes, the retaliation comes directly. Other times, the retaliation is subtle and indirect yet very damaging.  Too much competition in the work force can cause more problems than solutions for any unit. At least this is what I think.

I know how to compete. Being a competitive golfer for many in my past, I know how to play this game quite well. I’ve seen the worse come because of unnecessary competition. I would rather see more collaboration than confrontation. It tend to produce better outcomes for everybody in the end.

Only an amateur doesn’t foresee the various side effects relating to executive warfare. Acting like an alpha commander wanting to win and dominate others, seeing the world as a zero-sum jungle, is unwise and destructive. Inevitably, these kinds of people eventually end up lying, cheating, and stepping on others good deeds in order to convince themselves that they are winning the battle.

What a big mistake… One’s wishes to rise above his or her peers, in any industry by the way, eventually find his/her paths broken by an inevitable catastrophe waiting to happen. People can read the evil intentions of others quite easily. Don’t be like them! Be a person of character and avoid such unwanted behaviors.

I’m not sure if alpha employees (males or females) realize the damage that they do to their organizations. Too much competition will only result in animosity which in its essence is destructive. I would rather be a leader who collaborates with others and who strives to find a way for everyone involved to win.

To me, this makes sense.  Excessive competition leads to defeat. Be aware, ladies and gents.

You Must Be A Gentleman If You Are A Man

You Must Be A Gentleman If You Are A Man

No matter your age, where you come from, which high school you have attended or the college that you have received your degree from, if you are a real man… you must be a gentleman. The reason why I am so firm on the former is because God calls us to be one. The bible says in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Clearly, we must do what we can to emulate the teachings of Christ and be gentle to one another. In this blog post, I will briefly share with you how a man can be more like a gentleman in three ways. Here we go.

1. By listening: A gentleman knows how to listen and understands that listening is an important trait of a real gentleman. There is no reverse to this one. In order for any man to be a gentleman, he must listen. Being a good listener means not interrupting others when others are speaking, actually listening to what others have to say, and considering alternatives solutions if the alternatives received are better than the existing ones. A true gentleman strives to make decisions that take into account the voices of his or team. A gentleman also understands that listening is a skill that can be mastered. 

2. A gentleman does not spread rumors, I mean never: Under no circumstances does a gentleman engage in this kind of behavior because he knows that 10/10 times, these rumors cause hardships on others and eventually the other party finds out about the unfortunate event which can haunt them in the future. Only a boor engages in such behaviors. Schmucks love to talk about others behind their backs because they have nothing better to say or anything important to do. A true gentleman doesn’t put himself in the position of being a vermin. When asked to feed a rumor mill, a gentleman says no without remorse.


3. A gentleman is humble and realizes that he doesn’t know everything:
  Because a gentleman knows that he doesn’t know everything and that the opinions of others are to be respected, he asks for other people’s opinions and balances his own thoughts and ideas with facts. He doesn’t take other people’s opinions as his own necessarily but he is open minded enough to hear what others have to say. A gentleman doesn’t need to act like an “I known it all” person because he knows that nobody knows everything and because the former is a quite impolite, arrogant practice. A gentleman would rather be quiet than to confront left-hand contributions, unless these are reoccurring/repeated events.

No matter how old you are, where you come from, which high school you have attended or the college you have received your degree from, if you are a real man… you must be a gentleman. Gentlemen are trained to listen, to not spread rumors, and to ask the opinion of others in oder to made the best decisions. Being a gentleman should be a lifelong goal for any man who labels himself to be a person of character. It is important to be a gentleman fellow men.

You must be a gentleman if you are a man.

 

We Are Conditioned To Using Technology

We Are Conditioned To Using Technology

What is the first thing that comes to your mind after looking at the photograph displayed above? Some may say addiction others might simply state silliness but very few would say conditioned as in classical conditioning. There is little doubt that folks are addicted to technological devices today especially if we use the traditional and most accepted definition of addiction which is “An activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work…) as stated in psychology today. What if I told you we are beyond the point of addiction and are in fact conditioned to using these gadgets?

Classical conditioning can be easily understood if we break it down in distinct stages. The first stage is the stage prior to conditioning. In this phase, an unconditioned stimulus produces an unconditioned response. What is the world is that you might be asking! Ok, let me explain it in plain english. Let’s take the example of smartphones which I will define as a computerized device. Here we go — a computerized device (unconditioned stimulus) would produce a response of use (unconditioned response). In this phase, it is all there it to it. It is as simple as that.

After stage one we jump straight to the during conditioning stage. In this stage, the unconditioned stimulus (computerized device) which is neutral or simply understood as not producing any response as of yet starts (phase one) becoming associated with that stimulus and seeing signs of a conditioned stimulus pattern. Let me explain again! In this phase, the computerized device (unconditioned stimulus) might be associated (start showing signs) with use (conditioned stimulus). We start seeing evidence that whenever subjects are given a computerized device, they use it almost without too much thinking.

The last stage is referred to as after conditioning. In this stage, conditioning stimulus has been associated with unconditioned stimulus resulting in something called a conditioned response! What the heck is that! Let me explain — In this state, a subject who has been associated with a computerized device (unconditioned stimulus) now associates him/herself with automatically using that device (conditioned response), making him or her conditioned to using such devices overtime automatically.

Classical Example: As soon as you look at a smartphone… BAM! You use it! This is perhaps why a large number of people wakes up early in the morning, look at their smartphones and immediately start using it before doing anything else — Why? because they are conditioned to using the smartphone! Don’t you think?

Are we addicted to computerized devices? I think so. Are we conditioned to using the smartphone among other computerized devices? It appears evident to me especially from a classical conditioning standpoint.

Academia Can’t Afford TechnoHitlers Or TechnoPhobics Anymore

Academia Can’t Afford TechnoHitlers Or TechnoPhobics Anymore

Academia can’t afford TechnoHitlers and/or TechnoPhobics anymore. As operating budgets are being cut and the need for recruiting and to to give good student treatment increases, so is the need to TechnoModerate. The need to educate students with technology yet maintaining an acceptable level of emphatic communication behavior is indeed a pressing need in 21st century American education.

Professors who are anti-technology and believe that technology shouldn’t be implemented in schools might as well change their careers or simply retire. It would be a disservice to students and a poor allocation of both private and state funds to keep faculty members who are either knowingly incompetent or unwilling to adopt technique in their courses.  We don’t live in 1991 anymore, people. We live in the age where the Pads reign, where learning management systems can and indeed do make our lives easier (as long as they work)… a time in history where students can work at their own pace out of the classroom yet acquiring a college education. The new media revolution is here to stay. Embrace it or you will be left behind.

Wait a minute, TechnoHitlers. This doesn’t mean that we should replace faculty with machines, do whatever is required to make all our courses as technologically advanced as possible at all costs, or discourage anyone to deviate from printing a document on paper. This is unwise as good human communication not only help to recruit students — it is also critical to keep them! Communication is key! Empathy is key! How much technology one needs to use in order to be empathetic, by the way?

One more things technoHitlers… It is a not a good idea to impose technology use on anyone as too much technology can in fact backfire on you and cause eye strain, technostress, and in some causes clinical depression or anxiety. So, let me ask you this — How good is the “Let’s use technology at all costs” if your faculty members now have more medical problems to deal with due to technique?  Isn’t that going to make university’s health insurance higher? Do professors are more productive when they are healthy or sick? You might be saying — Yes but who needs professors if we have technology? Let me answer this question to you publicly. 1) Students. When students are passing though difficult times, they want to speak with an empathetic faculty member. 2) The university. Governance can’t be don without people. 3) Your stakeholders. Without faculty and staff, your town deteriorates. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Flint Michigan. Do you want more? Do you see TechnoHitlers, your extreme ideology is as toxic as the ideology of the TechnoPhobics.   

STOP TechnoPhobics tenured faculty members! Don’t come to me and say, “But hey, I am tenured and I have the academic freedom to do whatever I like in my classroom.” Hmmm… TechnoPhobic, you have all the rights to believe in whatever you like but you won’t work in a department I chair for too long. In fact, I bet you won’t last too long in the profession because in academia, especially these days, we are to do what is best for the students not necessarily what is best for you. Remember, a department without students isn’t a department. Avoiding technology is not only a mistake but a death sentence to any PhD these days. Adopt some or get out.

What is my proposal? As I always say, “Use Technology but in moderation. Be a TechnoModerator!” Embrace technology with reason. Why not use a Content Management System to help teach your classes? Of course this assumes that the tool you are given works. If your organization is having issues with it, create your own system. The former is too good of a technique to be ignored.  Develop tutorials, podcasts perhaps. These are overall good and moderate use of technology in the classroom. Don’t require all students to use everything “technology.” Some students read better on paper. Give them the option to read the course content on paper. Adopt socratic methods to help students to think critically. Ask students to work in groups and solve problems with a paper and pencil in their hands to help them to use group thinking as a means to produce once in a while. Encourage interpersonal communication in class!  Don’t make all the assignments dependent on using technology! Make some but not all. Moderation people. Is it that complicated to understand?

An Alternative To Smartphone Mania

An Alternative To Smartphone Mania

Today, I did what I always do. I used computer technology in moderation and enjoyed life. Was it complicated or difficult to do? Not really. If was quite easy, in fact. The good news is that you can do the same thing, if you wish, as well. You don’t need to be a slave to smartphone technology or anything electronic. What you need to do is to take control of your life and make the machine work for you rather than the opposite. Yeah right! You might be saying. You maybe be even saying, “This is good on paper but how should I do it? ” Let me share with you how. Are you ready? Here we go.

First, you need to change your mindset in regards to technology. Nobody should live life thinking technology is more than what it really is — technique. Believing that technology transcends its definition and application will result in dependency and could eventually result in you loosing control of technique overtime. Human communication is anthroposemiotics, or the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation done by a human being. Some of these signs and symbols can be interpreted by a human being when using emoticons or abbreviated TXT messages via computer mediated communication. I think that the current state of affairs of our society has proven that one can indeed communicate using modern social media platforms. I do it, you do it, and in fact, most people do it. But just because we do it doesn’t mean technology is a panacea to all of our problems.

However, just because we can exchange symbols via a Facebook newsfeed or chatroom with our smartphones doesn’t mean that this kind of communication should replace thousands of years of interpersonal communication evolution within the human species. Interpersonal communication helps the human species to connect emotionally and create relationships. You should engage in as much face-to-face interactions as you do on-line. Why? Because if you don’t, I bet you are going to get very sick — mentally sick.  You and I were not wired to live in isolation. SO, stop thinking that smartphone can fully replace human things well. Technique might replace labor but there will be serious consequences in the living system in which technique exists, if that occurs long term.

Second, use technology wisely and if it makes your life better. If technology starts making your life worse, stop using it immediately. Let me illustrate this point — I am a professional photographer who is constantly capturing and editing stills for profit. Modern photography technology helps me tremendously with capturing great shots, editing my photos, storing and selling them. In fact, it helps me considerably, I must add. There is no question about that. I have learned that when I edit photograph for about an hour or so, my eyes and neck start hurting pretty bad. This is precisely why I don’t work in front of the computer for more than 30 minutes at a time. I came to realize that overuse of technology will make your life worse.

Suggestion: Every 30 minutes of computer/smartphone use, get away from the machine! Go get coffee or chat with someone. Get away from the smartphone on a regular basis.

Lastly, make an effort to get out of the machine and visit the outdoors. There is something magical about going for a walk in the woods, I have to tell you. Just make sure that you don’t use your smartphone during your “outdoor walk” activity as this action would then defy the purpose of going into the woods in the first place. Take this opportunity to think and reflect on your daily life and make the adjustments accordingly.  I bet life will be different for you and your dependency on technology would decrease.

The Upcoming Rise Of TechnoGreed In Music

The Upcoming Rise Of TechnoGreed In Music

There is something magical about listening to a live group of church choir singers accompanied by real musicians playing real instruments on a Sunday morning. Their pitches, voice tones and expressions make the experience of listening to them one that everybody should experience at least once in life, especially if there is a bassist, guitarist and drummer near them. From the deep voices of a bass to the upper range of a soprano… along with talented musicians —  Music performances done by people make the machine “look dumb” against the sounds humans can produce together.

The former isn’t, of course, to say that orchestras shouldn’t use any electronic device to record human noise or amplify music instruments played by musicians. Of course we should use technology to record performances and help the audience to hear the musical abilities of the members of the orchestra. However, replacing choir members or musicians with technology doesn’t make too much sense as talent shouldn’t be replaced with technology. In my opinion, replacing singers/musicians with pre-recorded sounds don’t make too much systemic sense. Yet, there are folks who dare otherwise.

What in the world! Are people going mad? This new mindset of cutting human resources at all costs and replacing labor with technology is reaching dangerously absurd levels in American society and to a certain degree — reaching high levels of ridicule and greed. Let me ask you this, “Can your smartphone replace a talented tenor in a church choir? Of course not but that’s obvious. Are pre-recorded music instruments “being played” by a live orchestra elements of a live performance?

The voices (and sounds) of the people are a trademark of what makes us human and there is no technology that will ever replace that. For some of us who believe in Christianity, our voices are also instruments that we use to glorify God. What are people thinking to believe that technology can replace labor in everything in life including music? I know, you know… we know. It is because of money or should I say greed.

Ladies and gentleman… This is TechnoGreed! Let me define this term for you. TechnoGreed, according to technoModerator Luis is  — Definition: The act of using technology to increase one’s level of greediness in music. I know the former terminology is goofy and probably cheesy but at least you can’t say that I am unoriginal.

It will happen — It is coming… it is so predictable. The upcoming rise of TechnoGreed in music is coming to a city near you. Be ready to pay for seeing technology and clapping to robots. What a shame.

A Few Words I’ve shared With The Harvard Business Review Magazine And Its Readers

A Few Words I’ve shared With The Harvard Business Review Magazine And Its Readers

Here they are… Plain and to the point.

HBR Article

Harvard Business Review Stated: It is both a moral and economic imperative for companies to implement education programs to help safeguard the future labor force.

Dr. A Replied: HBR, I love your magazine and rarely disagree with you. Let me disagree with you on this one, if I may. Agreed! Automation will take away a lot of jobs in the near future. However, the responsibility for retooling lies in the hands of the workers themselves not the organizations. It is unwise, in my opinion, for any worker living in 2019 to wait on any corporate body to provide them with professional development opportunities in the age of YouTube, Edx… There is so much output on the market right now that workers can literally choose what and where they want to learn, often free of charge. I happened to have retooled on data science and analytics lately on my own. Of course! It’s the present. HBR, I won’t wait on any organization to provide training for me in any area. I read heavily and I’m always on the quest to learning something new and relevant.

HBR Article 

Harvard Business Review Stated: Failure hurts. But new research shows that it can sometimes lead to more impactful work.

Dr. A Replied: I fail, I get up… I fail, I get up… I fail, I win, I fail… I win… I fail less and win more. We all fail… Not everybody learns from their failures, though. Big opportunities come out of massive failures.

HBR Article

Harvard Business Review Stated: Boomers aren’t the only ones with skills gaps today. Younger workers also need to work to figure out which skills their career paths will demand.

Dr. A Replied: Great article. Things change, fast. It’s been 11 years since I graduated from Penn State with a doctorate degree unrelated to the field of business. 170 business books later, countless articles read from your magazine, many hours of YouTube learning and podcasts listened on the topic of marketing, too many conversations with industry leaders and my own master mind business group… Yesterday, I’ve learn a skill that will make our family a lot of money, finally. Students have to be obsessed with learning in order to figure it out themselves which skillsets they need to learn in order to help their careers. Students are different… It’s not a one-size-fits all quest, you know? The process is slow. It won’t happen fast but they must keep the course in order to learn the skill sets they need in life.

HBR Article

Harvard Business Review Stated: Skills like critical thinking are consistently valuable to employers — and still difficult for machines.

Dr. A Replied: Yes, of course. Critical thinking is valuable to any employer today as it was before… Our jobs will be automated, sooner or later unfortunately. Why? The globe should investigate what is happening in Shenzhen, China in order to see what will be the future of human business. Stores with no attendants, people not carrying a wallet… people using WeChat for transactions… an unprecedented push for innovation not seen in human kind history. Thinking about what machines can’t do is dangerous… Remember: We are in 2019. How are machines going to look like in 2034? Think about it.

HBR Article

Harvard Business Review Stated: Only 24% of the CEOs in this study had MBAs.

Dr. A Replied: Fact: Inheriting big messes call for strong leadership which can lead to presidency. “Everybody can hold the whelm when the seas are calm.” Syrus.

The Systemic Impacts Of Automation

The Systemic Impacts Of Automation

Let me ask you an elementary question — What will happen to our country’s infrastructure if we uncontrollably automate our macro systems and ignore our local needs, including our need to hire human beings so they can pay taxes and fix the roads especially here in the city of Jackson, Mississippi. A horrible thing will happen, right? Nothing! And nothing results in more lead in our water systems, more violence in our neighborhoods, drug problems, just to name a few.

Why are folks celebrating this uncontrolled automation at all costs ideology? Why are we cheering for the takeover by robots and artificial intelligence against us? What is so great about having families loosing jobs and being hungry because of technology? Hey you there who is celebrating this whole technology takeover!!! Do you think that robots will put food in your dinner table at night? One thing I do agree — Automated technologies will deliver food to you in the very near future but they won’t be able to pay you a salary. By the way, robots won’t pay taxes. Good luck paying for your public education.

If you think that the city of Jackson in Mississippi is full of holes, wait until the robots take over. The city will be a swiss cheese type of place… It will smell and be full of holes. As soon as that occurs, the people in the city will scream!!! Take these robots out of here! Bring what we have! We need jobs not more automation! Man, I am sounding like a luddite when I am really trying to just simply call for techno moderation. Here is what I really think…

It is impossible to adopt what I call replacing technologies, which I define as technology that replaces people, and and not have a significant systemic impact in the overall infrastructure of a town, small city, metropolis or a megalopolis. The systemic impacts of uncontrolled automation will make your life worse, hands down. How good is automation if it makes our lives worse? It isn’t! Why in the world are we so celebratory about implementing technologies that will make us suffer? You tell me.

Look, it will be a bad day in your neighborhood if you don’t have filtered water and energy. Right now, only Flint Michigan is showing its unintended consequences of automation or should I say the lack thereof and ho it impacted their water system. Automation is fickle, folks. Once they find a cheaper place that accepts their robots for cheaper, they will leave your city faster than a cheetah making your local economy screaming on its knees.  So your city then loses twice. First? Automation takes jobs away. 2) Once the jobs are gone, so is its economy.

Think twice before vowing for uncontrolled automation near you. Who knows, you might be the next unemployed poor human out there screaming for a place to contribute your talents to.

Technology As A Cheating Tool

Technology As A Cheating Tool

Let me share something with you that you probably already know. Our school system isn’t in alignment with the needs and demands of the 21st century, for the most part. We tend to solve problems today using technology as a cheating tool. The old (yet still important) model of asking students to memorize content in order to develop a higher crystallized IQ and demonstrate evidence of internal storage overtime is quickly being replaced in society with fluid IQ activities of acquiring content from the environment and using this content to solve problems without having to internalize the knowledge subjects found externally. No wonder why sites like youtube, google, and even Facebook are now being used as tools of problem solving. Are you going to these sites to find answers to your questions? I bet you are. By the way, there is nothing wrong with doing that, as long as some of the “old” stuff isn’t totally replaced by superfluous techniques.

So, yes — I have to agree that teaching college courses adopting computer technology serving as scaffolding and assisting students to work in their zone of proximal development is appropriate and necessary in the new age of information. We are just too ingrained with techniques and technological procedures in our so called American Technopoly to simply go back 100 years and ignore the wonderful advancements we had in technology. So in a way, technology is doing some good. I have to admit that. One could argue that technology however is serving as a cheating tool for the new generation which in itself assists to increase the new generation’s fluid IQ levels at the expense of its big crystallized IQ brother. The former is a shame in my opinion yet it is real.

Do I agree with such tradeoff? Not totally. Why? Because our dependence on technology can in fact hunt us later on when we need internal storage in order to solve unplanned and unexpected problems or stressful situations that transcend the use of iPads, smartphones or a microchip. Am I anti-technology? Of course not. However, constantly relying on technology as a cheating tool can indeed backfire in moments when you need it the most. Did you remember the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina? How did the citizens of New Orleans and Biloxi Mississippi communicated with each other? C.B. Radios.

Folks, put your smartphone aside for a few minutes and think about what would happen to your brain’s internal capacity if you were to be constantly solving problems with technology without having to consult your physiological internal hard-drive? Don’t do it! This is a mistake. Just because technology can be used as a cheating tool doesn’t mean that you need to cheat yourself in the process. This is perhaps why school systems should not totally give up “analog” processes and procedures completely. They still have value in the world.

The reality is that unfortunately, life throw curve balls on us when we are prepared the least. Thinking on your feet with internal knowledge can, in some circumstances, be the difference between living or dyeing in some situations especially when technology isn’t available. This is why developing Crystallized IQ is still so critical and relevant today and it should still be insisted in schools. It personally think that technology help pupils with processing quite complex content more efficiently but totally relying on cheating technology can be deadly. This is why I say, “TechnoModeration is key,” especially in education.

Hippocampus First GPS Second

Hippocampus First  GPS Second

GPS technology is, for the most part, a great tool that we can use in order to find unknown locations in our distant neighborhood or when going out of state to a friend’s or family member’s house for Christmas, thanksgiving, or spring break. There is little doubt that global positioning system technology helps us to find the unknown when we are at the mercy of our own understanding of the environment we are in a more efficiently manner than an old map. It is hard to argue against this undeniable fact.

From this position, GPS technology can serve us quite well. GPS technology should’t be used to guide us to go to the supermarket across the street, the health club across town, or that restaurant we go often in our neighborhoods at the end of the county or to go to work. My reasons are many but they can be mostly summarized in two: Physiological and technological.

The most obvious reason for why we should be careful about using GPS technology to help us to maneuver locally is because of the impact that this technology can can have in our hippocampus functions overtime. The hippocampus  is the organ in our brain that regulates our spacial navigation and memory — long term memory. In order to maneuver through life long term, we are going to need the functions of our Hippocampus to be working at its age capacity. This small but important organ located in the brain’s medial temporal lobe is an important part of our body’s limbic system. It’s connections with our emotions and memories are also at the core of its existence. Therefore, gambling losing important physiological functions of this small but important part of our body for the sake of technology seems irrational and to a degree irresponsible — yet millions of Americans today are dependent on GPS technology to maneuver themselves starting at an early age now. Big mistake, in my opinion.

The least obvious reason for why we should be careful about global positioning systems is ironically technological. Did you notice that sometimes GPS devices provide inefficient routes? Did you also notice that the recommended GPS path to a familiar destination reached before changes quite often every time we ask for the directions again? If you haven’t noticed that, pay close attention to it next time and you will realize that perhaps… GPS technology doesn’t want you to get smart about your surroundings. The question then becomes why! Well, this is rhetorical question in my opinion. Could it be that GPS technology was programmed by someone who is more interested in making a profit on your dumbness than to make you more oriented about your surroundings? GPS systems wouldn’t be sold well if you knew where to go! Think about it.

When I moved my family down South to work at Jackson State University,  I used GPS technology for two weeks in order to find myself around town. The device took me through three different routes every week in order to reach my destination, which drove me completely crazy. All that I wanted was one reliable route to reach my destination. Well, that didn’t happened. It took me a day to write down directions and memorize the path the old school way. Go figure. What is wrong with that method by the way? Nothing wrong.

The Amazon Junction… Shop Local Too

The Amazon Junction… Shop Local Too

Brick and mortar stores are floundering. Badly. Whether it’s a lack of adaptation to change or poor customer service, they are struggling. Let’s be reasonable. Not every store you see is red-lining or looking for government bailouts; however, an unprecedented number of stores are closing. Sears, (don’t panic, as far as I know, Indiana’s isn’t closing), is closing 300 stores, 128 Gamestop stores, 70 Coach stores are also closing, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Just because a company closes a brick and mortar store doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get their product. Companies are investing heavily in the online marketplace. Those online sales have an impact on our local and state taxes.

Think about this, Pennsylvania imposes a use tax to try and make up the deficit left by online sales. This particular tax is a self assessed tax on buyers of items bought out of state. So, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is struggling to collect the sales tax it needs to have a balanced budget.

What does all this mean? It means there are less jobs. It means less revenue for the building owners. It means less local taxes being collected from wages and sales. It means on an average a loss of about 30 jobs per closed store, depending on store size. It means a potential long-term financial hit to Indiana county or any county in the USA.

Indiana seems to be growing quite well by comparison. We just got a Super Shoe, a Salvation Army Thrift Store, a few new small businesses downtown and new stores and restaurants are on the way. This is great news that should be celebrated but what happens if you stop supporting these local businesses and start shopping primarily online?

The side effects of online stores have real life implications that can’t be ignored. I choose Indiana, PA over the mighty world wide web when I used to live there. To me at least, our local businesses create an integral framework that are the building blocks of this community. No one can live on Main St at World Wide Web, USA. Sterling Hills will never be located at Amazon Junction.  

I’m not saying you should never shop online that’s unrealistic. We as a community need to remember that there are implications to making purchases over the internet. You need to support your neighbors, your friends, your local business owners, large and small.

Shopping is inevitable. Online is convenient. Shopping local is necessary. As I always say, “Use technology [shop online] but in moderation.”

American Jobs In Jeopardy Because of Technology

American Jobs In Jeopardy  Because of Technology

As more intelligent technologies are introduced, more jobs will be lost in this country. The jobs that survive the upcoming infusion of “production technologies” will pay little and you will be lucky if these jobs pay you full-time wages. Retail, waitresses, and realtors will be the next batch of employees that will suffer with this imbecile infusion of technological adoptions. The problem for us all is that service driven positions represent a large chunk of American jobs left from the long gone assembly line plants. I am seeing a future where machinery will replace them all and cause a tremendous hardship for American families.

Think about it. Why would anyone go to a bank to chat with a teller when they can go to a machine to do the same? Why hire waitresses if we can place vending and ordering machines in restaurants to replace them? Car reservations can be done on-line, right? How about hotel reservations? Do you really need to buy clothes in a mall? The service industry of the United States will be slaughtered in the next three to five years because of technology and guess what?  There will be nothing that you and I can do to reverse this scary trend.

“People jobs,” because of accelerated growth in modern computer technology and the financial support given by TechnoHitler capitalists– will be mainly performed by machines very soon. What will happen to the truck driving industry if we create self driven cars? Maybe if we adopt the brand new Phantom 4 to deliver products at your door?  Artificial intelligence and smart technologies will be introduced to take a slice of the jobs performed by your brain. At least, this is what Robert Reich, former United States Secretary of  Labor believes. Education is in trouble as well as health care. We are going to see technologies doing the “work” of a professor in mass scale. Interactive systems guided by low labor faculty will replace college professor jobs rapidly. This is an unfortunate but it will happen within a decade or less, I bet.

A large number of American citizens will be seen by RD’s (robot doctors) and/or receive health care prescriptions from a tele-medicine center, in a decade or so. Why am I saying all of this? Because I see celebration of computer innovation implementation at all costs and little attention to TechnoModeration. People want to dream with technology without critically thinking about its systemic consequences to the system.

I am a dreamer, maybe one of the very few left, who still believes in doing what is still best for the majority of the people. Human beings are seeking their own destruction and celebrating its demise to idolize technology. It is happening right before our human eyes! It is getting to a point of no return. Wake up! Be a TechnoModerator in your community. Be a lover of technology but don’t forget to love yourself and your peers in the process. You are gonna need it.

What You Think You Become

What You Think You Become

What you think you become… with reason. Aiming low or setting easy to attain objectives are likely to result in people loosing the opportunity to achieve much bigger goals in their lives. Don’t be like them! Dare to be different and dream high.

When I was a sophomore in college, I put in my mind that I wanna be a college professor one day, despite having a professor really discouraging me from becoming one. Luis, “Being a professor isn’t for everybody,” “There are other careers beside being a college professor” were things I’ve heard at age 25 by a department chair. I was a solid B student but not an A.

I chose to ignore her rhetoric and visualize me being a college professor in front of the classroom since I was a Junior in college at Slippery Rock University. I used to visualize being a professor at Clarion University while pursuing my doctoral degree at Penn State University, as well.

I convinced myself that the only option I had in life was to be a college professor. Literally.

I thought and I became. I focused, focused, focused… believed, believed, believed… visualized and did more visualization.

It became a reality to me. It can become a reality for you too.

Do the work! Dream, do the work, revise! Believe you can do it! Do more work and even more work. Think you can do it, visualize, daily.

Ladies and gents, what you think you become, with reason of course. My quest for becoming a college professor is a clear example of how your brain can turn a person into a winner or a loser depending on how they think.

Dare to be different and aim high. Believe you can! If you think hard enough and long enough, you become. I’m a witness of how well this method works.

I did it. You can do it, as well. Start today.

Without A Tax Base: There Will Be More Pot Holes

Without A Tax Base: There Will Be More Pot Holes

Today, I had a flat tire. Shortly after discovering this fact, I went back to my house and immediately called my car’s dealership service department to help me fix the problem. Fortunately, they were already operating and accepting appointments for the day. All of the sudden, my wife stops by and asks, “Luis, don’t you have to work today?” I replied, “Yep! But my passenger’s tire is flat.” She immediately says, “Oh yes. This is a normal occurrence here in metro Jackson area. A lot of folks complain about tire problems because of the city holes.” As soon as she finished describing people’s concerns, I knew I had to write a blog post about it.

Technology is everywhere even though this same technology (or should I say lack thereof after companies decide to leave the region after a while and take their technology with them) is a variable for why I might have had a flat tire this morning. Metro Jackson Area is dire for tax monies and one of the main reasons for this fact is because its industrial park isn’t strong enough to generate enough funds in tax dollars to pay for the fixing of pot holes all across the city. One of the possible reasons why is because companies don’t like to pay their fair share of taxes to the city of Jackson, based on the argument that, We are making our city more technological, your people are getting jobs, why should we pay our fair share of taxes?” If you are not happy with our terms, these companies say, we are going to leave you and move somewhere in Kentucky or Texas and take our technology away.

The other reason is because advances in technology have decreased the need for companies to hire more employees which in effect has an impact in the overall accumulation of taxes paid to the state to fix our roads here in downtown Jackson. Am I saying that technology is part of the reason why the city if Jackson is full of pot holes? This is exactly what I am saying loud and clear. Look, this isn’t difficult to understand. The less jobs a metro area has to offer its citizens, the less tax monies the city gets overtime. The more replacing technology is infused in society, the less likely companies will hire human technology to be able to pay for the overall infrastructure of a city. In the current employment landscape of the United States, where companies get too many tax incentives because of their technology, problems like flat tires will continue to occur and many others.

Every time we infuse a new part to an existing system (like technology), repercussions will occur. In reality, technology isn’t the only variable that affects a living system. There are others… The problem is that a substantial number of people don’t think that technology really have these consequences on us.  Well, this is why I write and talk about TechnoModeration in society.        

Let me say this again. I like technology, I really do. Thinking that technology will make our lives better at all costs without thinking critically about its consequences it has on us all is dangerous, in my opinion. Because of modern industries adopted so much technology, cities now don’t have enough of a job base to support the overall infrastructure of our cities, Jackson (Detroit, Flint…) included. Is it a good thing? I don’t think so. It is 9:11am and I am here… in my car’s dealership still waiting for my tire to be fixed. I would love to have been at work producing but hey… I do recognize that my problems are minimal in comparison to the water that folks have to drink in Michigan.

By now you already know what I am about to say, “Use technology in moderation!” Let me ask you to also THINK with technology in moderation. Let’s think about the overall consequences of infusing too much technology in society. Which side effects will uncontrolled technology infusion have on us if we don’t control it a bit? More flat tires? You tell me.

The Side Effects Of E-Skin

The Side Effects Of E-Skin

The research currently being conducted by Takao Someya, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Tokyo, is fascinating. The idea of creating a cyber glove is certainly cool and I worth an article on CNN showing its application and use in our society. Ultra-thin film, patches and sensors are just a few technologies included in his prototype “e-skin.”  I have some concerns about the technology infrastructure, though.

My main concern with all this kind of innovation, is that the skin, our real skin, needs to breathe. Don’t you agree? If you have a constant covering over it, the skin will get sores or start to rot like gangrene. Are they wanting to be like a patch or a total skin covering? This questions must be answered prior to Dr. Someya’s team move towards bet testing and eventually implement video clips in this story.

My other concern is how does the technology get it’s power? Is it getting power from the wear-er? Is it solar? Do you have to plug it in? Different forms of power can have different kinds of reactions to a body and sometimes they can be too risky. I can only imagine folks trying to use the e-skin, plugging into the wall jacket and being electrocuted. It probably won’t happen but hey… it is a possibility.

Another question —  How does the data transmit? Does it interfere with the body’s nervous system, as it is an electrical conduit? These important details presented in the article are not a part of the overall article but maybe they should. How great is this idea if we cannot judge its real impact on children and adults? It seems like a waste of time, don’t you think?

Is it going to give too much info and stress people out or overload doctor’s with unnecessary info. Will it be more like trying to figure out your symptoms from the internet or will it be more like visiting a physician? These are real and important questions to answer in the current landscape of the school system. I decided to take a lead and get some answers.

You know what I think? This e-skin sounds promising in that it could catch many diseases, illnesses or other ailments early but just like the e-skin is super thin so too is the blade on which this technology stands, more a double edged sword than a knight in shining armor.

Foreign Techniques Welcome — Always In Moderation

Foreign Techniques Welcome — Always In Moderation

Lack of technology can be devastating. Every time a small town decides to isolate themselves by ignoring the benefits of innovation for the sake of tradition — poverty, drug use, crime, and violence often follows right after.  There is just no other way to put it. The photograph you are seeing above is just a tiny example of what happens to a city when a community says no to technology (technique) overtime. Dinosaur communities make for great photo scenes but when it comes to wealth… they often come last if they finish.

Be sure to pay attention to the new technological trends of the new market and how these trends can be applicable in your town. It will be a big mistake to believe that one can live a good life without technology in the current state of affairs of the United States. Avoiding innovation in a highly technological world, even if these innovations come from systems overseas, is like trying to play golf against Phil Mickelson with wood clubs and no tees. Can you imagine the outcome of such endeavor? It wouldn’t be beautiful, thats for sure.

Be welcoming of new technologies provided by new people in your communities because these individuals have to think differently in order to earn a dollar to feed their families. When someone is hungry for food, they are often hungry for success as the former is the only way they can survive. What if they bring a new technology that you don’t know about? What if their techniques can help you to succeed and help feed your family?

Immigrants often bring technologies (techniques) that you can use to make your life better.  This is how the United States became the superpower it is today. I am not saying that we should allow every immigrant come to this country illegally for the sake of innovation or anything along those lines. I believe in the real path to the American dream — A legal path to citizenship with reason which include allowing immigrants to actually come to this country. It is worth talking about the techniques that immigrants brought with them overtime as an example of historical innovation success done by foreign nationals.

Think about the food industry for example. The Polish taught us about pierogi and how they can be cooked to perfection. Italians brought with them not just their Italian cuisine but more importantly their techniques on how to make their product the way they are. The Germans brought with them a system to make German sausage with a degree of precision and discipline. Today, a large number of Americans eat pierogi, Italian food, and sausage.  A number of communities sell these products and profit from. The consequence? The sale of these products generate American taxes dollars which are then used to sustain the various infrastructures of our communities all across the United States.

Foreign technologies, when used in moderation, are always welcome! See? There is much to learn from foreign national’s technological processes. In my view, we should continue learning from foreign processes in moderation. Be accepting of immigrants who want to contribute and hungry for success. Dinosaur community leaders, read this article and take notes! Your job is to help not damage your communities… You never know, foreign national technologies might be the ones that will hire and help your family to achieve and prosper in the future. Be kind to them.

5 Social Media Tips That Actually Work

5 Social Media Tips That Actually Work

In this article, I will share with you some of the social media tips I’ve learned throughout the years that actually work. This list is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive but nonetheless… It may help you to grow your account on-line. Are you ready for this? Here we go.

  1. Conduct a market research anytime you want to build a social media campaign. Research your competition and influencers before spending time and money in a campaign with the goal of attaining success in five years since the implementation of the campaign. Don’t give up on your plans to grow your social media account in 6 days, weeks, months or two years. Give it five years, instead. No business will invest time and resources without doing market research, either. Would you invest time and money to start a coffee shop without investigating your competitors and the industry itself?  Building an instagram page is no different.
  2. Search (visit) competitors’ pages. How do you do this? This is how. 1) Pick a niche of a kind… Let’s say, “motivation.” 2) Type motivation in the search bar on instagram, for example. 3) Scroll and see the accounts that come first in the search bar. 4) Pick 5-10 accounts. If they have many followers, chances are high that they are influencers not a competitor. Repeat the process every week for a month.
  3. Write down every account with big followers on your niche in a google spreadsheet. Write the following categories in the spreadsheet– “Handle,” “Followers,” “Average Engagement rate,” and “How many likes they get per post.” Fill out the former for a minimum of 5 to 10 accounts in your niche.
  4. Do BPP (Best performance post) to find out what is performing well in that specific niche for 5-10 accounts and find out which type of content performs best. Look at these posts and save them in a folder in your computer for reference.
  5. Be consistent with posting daily content. Go to your niche and see how often your competitors are posting. Network, go talk with people and create partnerships off-line in order to leverage your position on-line.

The former tips have helped me a lot with growing my accounts throughout my social media networks. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Cheers.

— Podcast version —

https://anchor.fm/thedrashow/episodes/Five-Social-Media-Tips-That-Actually-Work-e5kkcq

A Christian Without Integrity Is In Vain

A Christian Without Integrity Is In Vain

“Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, moral uprightness,” according to the Webster dictionary.

A person with integrity is whole and undivided. They don’t allow external forces to dictate how they should behave with other people in life. Their moral principles take precedence before allowing the opinions (and perceptions) of others to dictate how they behave in this world.

Don’t be a person without integrity. Be yourself and fight the temptation to give up your morals for the fear or acceptance of what others think. Have your own stances and principles. Resist peer pressure and evil schemes. You are so much better than that, are you not?

Maybe we should look at what the Bible says about integrity…

In proverbs 11:3 we learn, “The integrity of the upright guides them. But the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”

As Christians, we need to be more Christlike… have more integrity as Christ did. Strong man and woman can deal with misfortunes and always find a way to do what they love with minimum interruption, especially if God is with them.

It’s pointless to believe otherwise…

Evil schemes are easy to reverse engineer. Non-verbal behaviors and mediated messages (or silence) reveal much in any communication exchange. We cannot not communicate!

Be like Jesus and resist any activity that may have a negative impact on your integrity. A Christian without integrity is in vain.

Remember that.

Techno Moderation Releases Frazzle

Techno Moderation Releases Frazzle

If you decide to work like a maniac, or is being asked to work 70 hours a week without rest and make absurd deadlines with little resources, you will undeniably, sooner or later, break down. There is just no way that the human brain can handle this unhealthy combination of circumstances without resulting in Frazzle which is a fancy name for being in the state of constant stress, completely exhausted. The consequence? You work less not more because one just can’t physiologically focus on the task at hand as well, even when using technology.

So why are we still celebrating that folks work 70 hours a week and premium them for their robotic and unhealthy work behaviors? Well, this is because human beings today are robotic in nature and are in fact in the midst of what I call the human robot syndrome, a condition developed by the excessive exposure and frequency of computer use. This is my primary answer. The other reason is because we have created what I call the “Super Hero” effect which premiums this ridiculous idea that more hours at work equals being a better employee.

If you work 70 hours a week, stop! Nobody should be working like that. If you hear from your employer that if you don’t work like a maniac every day you are a poor employee — Look for another job. If all the jobs you get require that you behave in such manner, change your career. Your health is worth much more than the income you bring in from working like a mad man. Don’t be emotional about it, be logical. Don’t let your emotions control you. It is more important to be attentive than to be emotional, sometimes.  In fact, Daniel Goleman once said, Emotions take over attention.” 

Performance decreases whenever a subject reaches low or ultra high levels of brain activity. Too much cortisol or too much adrenaline is in fact detrimental to performance. Moderation in brain activity is key for peak performance. Perhaps, TechnoModeration in your daily life can help you reach the peak of your career!

Be smart, work hard but with reason. Get away from the machine once in a while to release frazzle, meaning stress. In the end, I bet you will be much more productive. Ensuring that you take breaks once in a while and get away from that computer screen that hunts your life so much in the modern era of technology, can do you good. Be rebellious! Be different! Be human.

Technology Taking Over Your Life

Technology Taking Over Your Life

“Computers are supposed to make our lives better,” I once said.

That’s when I believed computer technology could enhance our lives more than not. I am starting to believe that it is in fact the other way around. What if I told you that we are reaching a level of computer use in our society that just won’t allow us to live a good life?

No healthy human being is capable of memorizing 15 different complex user account passwords and manage thousands of media files (photos and videos) without experiencing some form of anxiety over the possibility of losing important personal and/or professional data, or afford losing direct contact with “the cloud” in this day and age. How would you feel if you lost the hundreds of photos and videos you took of your child last week? I would be upset.

I don’t know about you but I have an actual book with my account passwords written down in a secure location to reduce my personal computer information overload. The reality is that we are being asked to be 24/7 data processing machines while at work, when at home, and often during our vacations.

How can living with constant technology overload fit the definition of a “good life”? There was a time when we could choose to block computer technology overuse without resulting in us being socially/professionally handicapped. Well, I am convinced that we are way past that point.

Can you imagine yourself not using a smartphone or somehow not being connected beyond 5 p.m. in order to complete your work or update the dozens of social media accounts you have? I try, but in practice, I can’t.

All that I can do, in fact, is to regulate how much I use technology. As I always say, “Use technology but in moderation.” Literally.

Look, I know there are some folks here in Bradley County who really don’t understand why I am writing this article. They are probably users of twitter, Instagram, GPS technology, flickr, Facebook or even Tumblr. They are also the folks who can’t see that technology is controlling their lives.

We mortals living with the current realities of the workforce, in the age of the cloud and the ever-changing age of computer technology, can probably understand my reasons. The “good life,” I am starting to believe, will be based on the analog luxuries we once had. It will be based on the moments when we shy away from technology and embrace our inner humanity.

Technology in moderation is key to a good life, I am convinced.

Win Through Your Actions Never Through An Argument

Win Through Your Actions Never Through An Argument

“Win through your actions never through an argument,” says Robert Greene. I agree. Quantifiable actions disarm even the best arguments given by defense attorneys. People respect more what they see instead of what they can hear, I’ve learned the former in my life the hard way.

I used to be a screamer but not anymore… I’m glad. Be silent instead and counter-attack with actions, accordingly. It’s the best method, I say.

If you pay close attention to the people around you, you will quickly realize that there is a large amount of delusional people in this world of ours, convincing themselves about  whatever makes themselves feel good in the moment. We live in a free world… Folks have the right to be delusional and think what they want, as long as their illogical thoughts don’t impact the well being of others, if you know what I mean.

People think what they want, convincing themselves of the most irrational (sometimes comical) realities and circumstances. It may be why so many people need to take valium on a regular basis in this country in order to function… to be taken back to reality instead of living in a fantasy land inside their own minds.

Each man (or woman) often (if not always) think that they are right. Arguing with them will only result in you digging your own grave deeper, ladies and gentleman. Learn to demonstrate the correctness of your ideas or skillsets indirectly instead of engaging in an open debate with an irrational opponent. It will only give you more headaches and frustrations. You say A they say B. Learn to ignore these bunch… Do your own thing and let them wonder how you did what you did so easily. The former is such a powerful strategy, I must add.

Lee me give you a real life example that has happened to me recently. It’s absurd. You will be shocked by what people believe or convince themselves to reinforce what they believe, even if their own justifications defy all the logical rules of common sense.

Apparently, some people (students and/or non-students) thought that I didn’t know anything about photography. That’s absurd, of course. Ridiculous, if you ask me. Yes, it is true. How do I know? Well, I have my methods and ways to gather my intelligence… Sorry, my methods are classified.

Outrageous! Sickening! Laughable! Evil, if you ask me. Nothing unusual though…  It’s human behavior fueled by envy, a capital sin.

I could have engaged in an argument with them which would obviously not take me anywhere simple because, “Each man (or woman) often (if not always) think that they are right.” It is pointless to argue with them. Why bother? As my buddy Kurt once said, “Sometimes, you need to show what you know, in a kind but firm way, so people realize how dumb they are. “You need to put people in their places sometimes, Luis,” Kurt used to tell me.

Kurt was absolutely right. I decided to follow his advise this semester again. Strategically, yet firm and to the point. They all got the message by now, I bet. How do I know? I can see in their faces — Silence… through non-verbal communication, irritation and disdain. People are irrational and can be quite ignorant and evil. It’s human behavior. Do your work and let’s your actions speak.

Sometimes, you need to put them in their places and enjoy the ride. Don’t argue! It ain’t worth it. A picture is worth a thousand words! A collection of well composed photos in awesome locations can be worth tens of millions, especially if they are seen by people who think that you don’t know anything about photography.

Don’t argue… There is no need for screaming… People are irrational, egoistic, and will do what they can to defend what they believe. Win the game through your actions. That’s how the game is played. Trust me…

 

 

Fight The Computer Face

Fight The Computer Face

“Everything in moderation,” I was once told. I am not sure about that. I would rather state, “Almost everything in moderation.” In my book, computers are to be used in moderation. Why? Well, because if we use computers excessively, it might give us a “computer face” and make us ugly. I don’t want to be ugly because of technology, do you?

According to Dr. Michael Prager, heavy computer users develop turkey necks, saggy jowls and deep-set wrinkles on their forehead and often around their eyes. Spending long hours in front of the computer can actually affect your beauty. Dr. Prager goes further to state that computer concentration and grumpy faces can actually make you older and uglier overtime. Can you imagine what our population will look like after two decades of uncontrolled computer use?

I can. Our beautiful population will just be plain ugly unless we stop our obsession with social media and extended computer use. I am pessimistic because we now can even buy computer watches to keep us more connected and therefore uglier. Would you like to sacrifice your beauty for the sake of technology? I really don’t.

Heavy computer exposure is affecting your looks, according to the Cosmopolitan. No wonder, especially because of the large amounts of bacteria that modern computer technology devices carry. A recent study indicated that our phones are dirtier than a public toilet and that if the device is near our skin, we are more prone to outbreaks.

And, it isn’t just bacteria that is making us sicker. Artificial computer light is also contributing to the epidemic of insomnia, which contributes to dark circles, which suppresses the production of melatonin in our bodies, making us uglier. At least, this is what was stated at the Career Addict blog.  I believe it, especially after using the computer for hours, prior to going to sleep. How can we get a good night of sleep by being connected prior to going to bed? 

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be uglier and sicker. I enjoy using the computer in moderation, looking my age, along with the prospects of living in good health. Just because technology is available and is good doesn’t mean we should consume without control. Even water, if drunk in excess, can make us sick and possibly ugly!

I once stated that the “Societies of the future will be based on the ideas of the past.” Perhaps, not having multiple computer devices per household could actually do us some good. “Almost everything in moderation,” I say. Reduce your technology time exposure, fight the “computer face,” and take charge of your life by living in moderation.    

Real Versus Fake Books: Paper Books Are Far From Being Dead

Real Versus Fake Books: Paper Books Are Far From Being Dead

Our brain is a wonderful thing. It is adaptable in so many ways, take for instance the difference between reading a “real” book, magazine or newspaper versus a “fake” book. “Fake” books are considered any online material. The brain actually interprets print versus online reading differently. Online reading isn’t absorbed as easily. The brain has a tendency to skim over words focusing on just the important parts of the text. While reading a “real” book, our brains absorb the information, whether fact or fiction, quite easily. This absorption is tested by being able to recall or regurgitate what was just read. As for that skimming skill, when reading a print book our brains have the capacity to weave the tapestry of text into a visual movie inside our heads.

It is known that not everyone has the capacity to visualize what they read; however, I’m going to create a small text tapestry for you to ponder…

As the winter wind blew snowflakes dancing down the street, a little boy wanders clutching a small device to his chest. It’s imperative that he make it to his grandmother’s house. In fact, he can see the warm inviting light beckoning to him only a few houses away. She knows he’s coming. She knows his panic over this small device. And she has the answer. Plus, a surprise.

In his hurry through the snow clogged sidewalk, people bustling around him, he slips. The small device slides across the sidewalk as though it has magically sprouted a miniature snowboard on its underside. The boy watches in mortification, sucking in a cold bitter breath, as the small device, ramps the curb in Olympic fashion, into the street. He gets to his feet and runs, his feet like lead. Before he makes it to the street, a strong hand grabs his arm, almost lifting him off his feet. A car rushes by smashing the small device with an audible crunch.

The boy pulls free of the strong hand, looking both ways, steps out into the street to cradle the small device, now broken, clearly beyond repair. He rushes onward oblivious to shouts and honks towards his grandmother’s house. No longer just inviting but needed so desperately in this emergency.

Sitting at his grandmother’s table, crying over the device, he explains, “Gram. It’s not fair! Now, I’ll never know the ending!”

His grandmother smiles and says soothing, “I know you loved your e-reader. It took you places your parents and I can never afford. But I know what you were reading, and I have a solution.”

Wide eyed, he asks in amazement, “Do you have a new e-reader? It’s so expensive.” The boy knows they don’t have much money. His parents matched the money he was able to save doing odd jobs for the neighbors. It took a long time.

His grandmother lovingly laughs, “No, I don’t. However, in my day, we had libraries with free books anyone could borrow. When our library closed. I went and collected some of the classics. So, I have for you this.”

As she handed him that well worn copy, his breath stopped in his chest. His eyes widened, the tears came just glistening in his eyes to match the snow delicately falling outside. He could finish the story but it was more than that. This story he could feel pages, real pages, between his fingers, smell the faint musty odor. The story literally had weight in his hands. He couldn’t fathom how people could let the gift of a library slip between their fingers but he looked at his book and realized his life’s purpose.

This short story illustrates why we need libraries. It’s not a place for useless books. We shouldn’t let it become a computer lab either. As with much of the new technologies used from smartphones to computers to e-readers, there’s a time and place for everything. But magic happens, new worlds emerge, veils are lifted when books are opened and pages are flipped. Even our brains think print is different and treat it better than online texts.

A Bigger Better Indiana: Don’t Buy On-Line All The Time…

A Bigger Better Indiana: Don’t Buy On-Line All The Time…

In our community, we can buy top-quality shoes, eat at a number of great restaurants, speak with local insurance agents, and even get a massage downtown. That’s wonderful and should be celebrated! What we seem to lack is the ability to effectively develop an internet presence for what businesses have to offer. In reality, this deficiency could lead to disastrous consequences including negatively affecting our local economic growth especially in the areas of sales and economic expansion.

What if I told you that our town’s collective diminutive internet presence could significantly reduce part of the wonderful goods and services we have to offer in Indiana. Possibly, even driving some businesses into closure. In the age of the world wide web, there seems to be a smaller margin for error when it comes to engaging your clientele with your business enterprise.  

In my quest to have a better understanding of the impacts of technology in Indiana county, I decided to have a chat with one of our community’s economic development employees. During an extended discussion, I was pleased to hear that his overall view of technological business use was positive. Within the last two years our community has embraced the idea of businesses having an internet presence (just check out the Indiana Gazette’s online business directory). Some technological backlashes for business owners have occurred and will probably keep occurring into the near future.  Dana puts it eloquently, “Although we have become more technologically oriented as a community, the overall rate of technological change has left some of our community members with unintended nuances… The rapid pace of technological change has left some of our members behind,” states Dana. For a business to develop an internet presence, time is the biggest factor, aside from knowledge of the technology itself, which can really impact the bottom line for many small and local businesses.

We as community members have a call to action! That call is simple. The businesses you frequent, you enjoy, you wish to see triumph in such a precarious economic time, engage with them online. Those businesses are trying to make the community a better place. As the community grows so to will the economy which means a bigger better Indiana for us all to enjoy.

I’m Afraid That The American System Of Higher Education Is Becoming More “Brazilian” By The Day

I’m Afraid That The American System Of Higher Education Is Becoming More “Brazilian” By The Day

I’m afraid that the American system of higher education is becoming more “Brazilian” by the day, with the exception that education in this country costs an arm and a leg. I’m witnessing the demise of a once wonderful educational system that rescued me from a life of much suffering and ignorance due to my lack of intellectual interest and much immaturity back in the day.

Despite our society having all these technologies…

This semester, only 5% of all students in my classes read the course’s book, if that. Some are behaving in such a disrespecting way that makes me wonder why they would choose to spend 80K in a college education and behave like a little kid in kinder garden.  Brazilian kids pursuing a college education don’t read a thing, either. From what I hear, their attitudes in the classroom are as poor as some of our kids in this country.

Colleges and universities often defend them instead of doing what is right and reprimand poor behavior.

I can attest to you that many wealthy Brazilians send their kids to this country in an attempt to make their kids more mature and because colleges and universities made their kids read books as a requirement for completing a college degree. The former did the Brazilian upper class much good, as students in Brazilian universities rarely read anything. The former doesn’t happen much today in the social sciences, I don’t think. What a tragedy.

Let me continue…

A large number of Brazilian students believe that a college education is a requisite for getting a job, nothing else. I’m afraid that a large segment of college students in the United States have similar beliefs, if not exactly the same attitude towards college, as Brazilian students do. Both Brazilian and American students are constantly partying and doing little to get the “A” grade they expect by the end of the semester.

Truth.

The contemporary “business” model adopted by many colleges and universities in this country has destroyed a great educational system, making immature clown type kids have way too much say in how a university is to be run. The biggest error to me is even more disturbing and is perhaps the root cause of this whole mess we call American higher education. Students, to many college administrators, are synonymous with being a customer… and in their minds, the customer is always right because they pay the bill.

The result? They (the immature youth) is somehow dictating how colleges and universities should operate and who the institution should keep or release, based on how well they (professors) adapt to them (students) instead of the obvious opposite.

It’s sad…

Professors these days must strategically communicate with students without making them “mad.” I’ve learned to deal with them and handle these kinds of situations with much caution and care, always getting input from my colleagues on the issue before making a final decision. Many students today are living college as an “adult.” I bet that most if not all of them will live their adult life as a “student,” like in Brazil.

US students are now so similar to Brazilian students in so many respects. This concerns me quite a lot. Take a look at where Brazil ranks in education worldwide. Is this where we are heading next? Towards the bottom?

5707.photo.5.jpg

I’m afraid that the American system of higher education is becoming more “Brazilian” by the day. I’m not sure if the current model of higher education in this country is sustainable, ladies and gentleman. There is so many good things about Brazil but not its educational system. I’m concerned about the future of this country… very actually.

The Mighty Smartphone…

The Mighty Smartphone…

There was a time in our society where we embraced the floppy disc, 64 gigabytes of hard-drive space, digital cameras, and the laptop.  Be prepared to say goodbye [if you haven’t already done so] to the former along with your regular keyboard, mouse, dvd players, and other dinosaur technology that is or will be soon, extinct.   

The mighty iPhone and the Android have hundreds of high quality media development applications available for free or at a low cost. Smartphone technology users now have access to highly sophisticated digital camera and camcorder apps, a wide variety of film filters, special effects, logo design and audio production tools. You can even create video games with your smartphone these days!

Let’s took at two game changers — smartphone detach lenses and the square. There was a time when our only option to taking top quality photographs was to spend a minimum of $400-500 on a DSLR body camera along with additional macro, telephoto, and wide-angle lenses. It wasn’t unusual for photographers to spend between $200 to $2000 dollars (if not more) in photo lenses alone in addition to the initial investment of nearly $500 bucks, and we haven’t even talked about tripods and external flashes!

What if I told you that today, you could buy four detach lenses for your smartphone for less than $200 and also buy quality smartphone tripods for a fraction of the price of top regular tripods? What if I told you that you can now buy a great camera app that simulates a DSLR for $2.99? I suspect that within two to three years, the DSLR will be extinct with amateur photographers. Some professionals may even question the benefits of their DSLR over the assets of the new smartphone technologies. Traditional digital photography technology is just too expensive when compared to the mighty smartphone. My opinion? Traditional digital photography technology will decline and eventually die. It is like a dinosaur straining to breathe in a flood.

The square is a wonderful tool that has changed the game of credit payments. Not so long ago, credit services included equipment rental, in-house internet service, bank charges and credit fees. Small businesses were suffering with the lack of payment options for their clients but not anymore. The square has revolutionized the credit payment world, a smartphone, free app and a square reader is all you need. Technology is changing the face of the world.

Even though, technologies are advancing at a rapid pace, don’t forget that we are always human. As I always say, “The overuse of technology has the capacity to distract you from important daily routines including exercising, family time, and church attendance. Use them in moderation!”   

The “Dark Side” of Social Media

The “Dark Side” of Social Media

There is little doubt that we live in the age of social media. It isn’t uncommon for us to exchange photos via Facebook, share updates on twitter, look at videos on YouTube, or start a conversation on Google Plus. On the surface, social media sites seem harmless and wonderful. What if I told you that social media sites have a dark side to it? There have been studies showing a direct correlation between social media use and decreases in work productivity, invasion of privacy, and even anxiety.

Social media technology, like aspirin, isn’t free of side effects. The American and British economies have lost billions of dollars due to employee’s participating in social media sites while at work. Rather than working on job related tasks to advance the enterprise, office workers seem to be spending a sizable amount of their working hours in social media sites updating profiles, sharing photos, and what I like to call, “goofing off… or simply wasting time.” Yet, we keep advancing the idea that social media is wonderful ignoring the multitude of repercussions the medium has. Perhaps, we should be a bit more conservative with our assumptions.  We live in an open society where our traditional privacy values are being questioned. Thank goodness we seem to be annoyed and uncomfortable with this phenomenon here in Indiana county. We don’t need to compromise our rights to privacy because of technology. We should be educating our kids to realize that displaying everything about one’s life on Facebook (or any other social media site) isn’t necessarily a good idea. As a parent, I am disturbed when I hear that 13 year old kids are living a “second life” through social media. The great advancements of modern technology seem to have a dark side, doesn’t it? I like technology but don’t love it. Do you?

Anxiety is a problem. Anxiety due to overuse of computerized devices through social media is emerging as an epidemic. The decreased sense of self perception is a serious side effect of social media. Just because we can create a profile for the world to see doesn’t mean it is real or beneficial.  The need to constantly update a profile also generates higher levels of anxiety among teens which could be toxic to their health. Our brains were not made to be working on constant information overload mode despite the belief of some that we should be always connected, especially to social media.  This is what I propose. Techno Moderation! Use social media with care. Please realize that the medium isn’t free of side effects. Be aware of the positives and negatives effects of this innovation for your own sake. Before taking a medicine, we read about its side effects, right? Why should social media use be any different?

Are Health Care Providers Being Ethical And Humane With Their Customers?

Are Health Care Providers Being Ethical And Humane With Their Customers?

It is not possible to properly contribute to society if a worker lacks good health. It is in the interest of the American economy, from a particular point of view, to have a system of health care that allows workers to get healthcare assistance when they get sick without bankrupting them in the process. Yet… Not every worker can afford to have a reasonable insurance plan.

If you get really sick in the United States, and your insurance is mediocre, chances are that you are going to have to pay your astronomical bill in thirty days (to be off the hook against likely inhumane and perhaps unethical practices of having a hospital sending your remaining debt to collections, affecting your credit at their will) or ask to finance the huge debt of yours with the hospital with the hope you get a payment plan and pay the balance before the statue of limitations in your state expires.

No matter which political party you are affiliated with, the health care system of this country can and probably will bankrupt you if you get really sick in your lifetime. Is it ethical or humane for Tennova Healthcare or any other hospital, to send a patient’s bill to collections, even if the patient is paying large sums of money before the statute of limitations in that state has expired? How about the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC)? To me, no, period.

If the patient is attempting to pay the bill, the humane and ethical thing to do for a hospital is to NOT send the remaining balance of this patient to collections just because you want to get yours in your time, especially if the client has a very good credit score.

Tennova Healthcare did this to me. I had to go to the emergency room two times because of a potential heart issue and a head impact and guess what? We inherited a $1800 bill, which for any middle class family is a sizable taxing debt. I don’t like to call my daddy for bailing me out of my own obligations, especially not at 45. We payed $200 in June, about $1,000 in July, and about close to $200 in August.

What did Tennova Healthcare do in September? They sent our remaining balance of $514.01 to collections which is likely to have an impact on my good credit score. If the former is legal or illegal, we are investigating. I suspect that the former is legal…  But, is it ethical? Is it a humane practice to send you to collections without even attempting to call you when over 70% of the balance had been paid off in a few months? Isn’t health care supposed to be a humane activity? Not really, it seems. It is all about money and profit at all costs.

I hope that this practice didn’t happen to me because of my ethnicity. We are looking into it… We shall see.

Adam Smith once wrote, “A merchant, it has been said very properly, is not necessarily the citizen of any particular country. All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” This is the age that we are living in, ladies and gents. Our capitalist society is out of control, as Richard Wolff states.

Health care seems to be one of the mechanisms by which the “Masters of Mankind” use to get “all for ourselves, and nothing for other people.” Tennova HealthCare seems to operate under this wild capitalist principle of the 1800’s in 2019. I’m sure they aren’t the only one…

Let me say this publicly. Shame on you Tennova HealthCare! I question your humane practices and your ethics. I hope I’m wrong. Are health care providers being ethical and humane with their customers?

You tell me.

 

Alpha Zero: Our Next Opponent

Alpha Zero: Our Next Opponent

Artificial Intelligence is moving faster than I’ve predicted. Go figure! Listen very carefully Cleveland, Tennessee. AlphaZero, or shall we say a game playing AI created by Google’s DeepMind, is learning how to master complex games such as chess within hours now! In Fact, AlphaZero decided to teach itself the complexities of the game of chess and was able to defeat the current world-champion chess program in only four hours. I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, I had to study the intricacies of chess strategy and learn the many openings, middle game, and endgame tactics of chess due to necessity. Learning concepts such as dominating the center of the board, sacrificing pieces to gain position, the four houses defense or the imaginative attacking style of Alexander Alekhine, my favorite chess master by the way, took a lot of brain work.

 

Let me tell you, people. I have no idea how this machine mastered chess so quickly. It isn’t humanly possible! Well, AlphaZero is superhuman, without a doubt.

Let me put some drama in this column, if you don’t mind. It is December 9, 2017, and a piece of intelligent machinery just figured out a way to self learn the quite complex domain of chess without you or me, quickly. See? Back in 2015 when AlphaZero was using the innovative approach of mixing deep neutral-network machine learning and what is referred to as tree search techniques, many people thought that moving beyond that would take a lot of years. It is now two years later, after AlphaZero learned how to observe humans and engage in a process called reinforcement learning, DeepMind is reaching ridiculous levels of advancement in intelligence.

Look, Moore’s law teaches us that the number of transistors in a circuit doubles every two years on average. Can we now say that the machine is learning, or shall we say getting more intelligent every two years? I don’t know, maybe. Which world are we living in these days anyways? AlphaZero should be named by Time Magazine as the “person” of the year in my opinion. Who, in history, can learn a complex field in four hours? I don’t know anybody, do you?

Let me report on the specifics of AlphaZero’s developments in chess learning, as I understand. This bot is pretty savvy as “he” starts by first playing against a version of himself to eventually discover which move results in the best outcome. Sophisticated play is, with time, tied to the knowledge gained by the machine against the best chess players. Overtime, through continuous success, the machine learns how to make the best move by associating its move behaviors with its rate of success. AlphaZero’s secret to quick mastery is to always play against an opponent who is technically “better” than him. Overtime, this intelligent machine learns to play better chess by self study.

AlphaZero is now learning how to play video games better by trying to beat itself in an attempt to achieve excellence, engaging in critical thinking ties to life outcomes, and competing against the best aren’t just activities that a bot can learn to play better chess. Sooner or later, Google will leverage such developments to sell this technology to the corporate sector.

I wonder what will be AlphaZero’s real challenge! Google’s CEO, in an interview given about a month and a half ago, stated that the future of AI is already here. Some people are even stating that computers are adapting to us rather than us adapting to them! Listen carefully: The future of Google is in Artificial Intelligence, I bet. AlphaZero will only get better not worse. Remember what I once told you: Tomorrow will be nothing like today. We might as well get used to it and start adapting to this crazy reality, we call artificial intelligence. Yesterday we used to talk about IBM’s Watson. Today we speak about DeepMind and AlphaZero. I wonder what we are going to talk about tomorrow.

The world has changed drastically folks. The machine is now learning at jet speeds. How are we going to compete against these data warriors? AlphaZero has mastered chess today. I wonder what he will master tomorrow. This is getting pretty scary.

What I see in the mirror is often not how others see me.

What I see in the mirror is often not how others see me.

It’s a sad state of affairs. The way I see myself and how society sees me… many times, it isn’t in alignment. I’m an educated white guy with intellectual tendencies, citizenship? American. I wish others see me in the south the way I do.

But they don’t, for the most part. The kind ones call me olive, that guy with a cool accent who often get confused when I say that I’m from the United States. They don’t believe and always ask, “But where are you really from?” You have an accent.

The mean ones introduce other men to my wife as an attempt to rescue her from the “gang member” type or assume that I’m a “poor Mexican” living in the US to steal their jobs. Many are often afraid to speak with me in public due to the fear of having others judging them because they are talking with me which is a form of racism, by the way.

Some have even paid (or are still paying) close attention to what I write here in my blog and feed this information to others as a spy in order to gain acceptance and defend their interests, yet putting me down to make themselves look good.

You know, it’s the foreigner… we can do this to him. Or shall we say, “He isn’t white.”

I wonder if they would do the same things to others, non-foreign nationals. I doubt… the irony: They think that I don’t know. They are wrong. I’m always paying attention and getting notes…

When you are a foreign national, you develop an extra ordinary ability to look at others objectively which definitely helps us to literally find out who is a friend and who pretends to be one. You should be ashamed by what you are doing…

Maybe I should clarify on small detail in here. In the United States, I’m a Latino who happens to have white skin. So, to many… I’m considered to be a minority in this country. Why? Because there is a majority who don’t look “Olive” like me.

What I perceive about my persona and how other perceive me is a total disconnect for the most part. It’s sad but true.

Many label me as a poor Mexican or a gang member from MS-13. I’m de facto a college professor holding a PHD from a public Ivy League — Penn State, member of the American middle class.

Speak Your Mind Within Reason

Speak Your Mind Within Reason

Let me tell you this straight: Your end is near if you decide to stop sharing what you know and learning new things due to fear of retaliation or simply because of arrogance. I am not aware of any quality professional who lacks generosity and/or avoids engaging in timely professional development. Life, my friends, isn’t about you or me. Life is de facto about others and how we share and learn overtime. Don’t get me started — if you think that you know everything under the sun, you are heading towards imminent disaster and a huge awakening in the near future. Nobody knows everything… not even you or me. We need to be prepared, thats for sure. We need to keep learning and sharing. We need lifelong learning! We need lifelong sharing! Be ready to speak your mind with reason once is a while as the former is certainly critical to your success in life.

All that I ask you is: Be reasonable. We already live in a world that is so unreasonable out there. We most definitely need to be vocal about the former because acting without reason is dangerous and always backfire overtime. At least. this has been my experience.

In fact, being unreasonable is both dangerous and oppressive as it can silence the voices of people who might otherwise change the world for the better. Our goal is to make things better not worse in this world. It is to carry and advance honorable agendas in a timely fashion. Be patient, be kind, be loving and strive to be great in the eyes of others. Speak your mind with reason and defend what is right and honorable once in a while.

Remember: Being impartial or overly judgmental of others, especially if your life depends on the same people you criticize, isn’t wise. One thing is for sure — Your goals are not that different than mine. I bet your goal is to move forward in life by being and acting as a reasonable person. Is it that complicated? I don’t think so.

There are many ways people can speak their minds reasonably in this life. I will share with you three ways I speak my mind with reason in this blog. Here we go.

  1. I write. Well, the former shouldn’t come a surprise to anybody, right? I write my blog often on a daily basis in order to communicate my thoughts to the masses with a tough of reason. Writing allows me to speak my mind symbolically through language. What is my overall goal you may be asking. My goal is simply to speak my mind to others so that engagement takes place as I believe that sharing what I know and hearing what others have to say is a critical to my own professional development and with succeeding in life. This is my advice to you — You should do the same and write daily. Writing is a wonderful tool to tell others about how you feel, as long as it is done with reason. It is a way to keep yourself sane in this insane world that we live in.
  2. I photograph. Drawing with lights allow us to speak our minds visually. Differently from writing, a well taken photograph is art in itself with no symbolism. We all need art to be reasonable. Life is art and without question… life without art isn’t life as we know it. At least, this is how I see it. The whole idea of being critical is tied to the field of photography. Have you ever met a professional photographer who wasn’t critical of his/her photography work? Are you critical of your photography? Are you critical of your work? Tom Petty once said, “Sell your computer and buy a guitar.” I say, “Sell your computer (or guitar) and buy a DSLR!”
  3. I speak. Speaking in public allows me to speak my mind orally. When was the last time that you delivered a public speech? If you haven’t done one in a while, I would strongly suggest that you make plans to deliver one this year. In order to speak your mind with reason, you need to be versed in public speaking. I bet Dale Carnegie would agree with me on this one! Get yourself a good public speaking training program and start developing your repertoire of speeches so that you also have the ability to change the world for the better by speaking and being reasonable! We need more people like you, that’s for sure.

Your end is near if you decide to stop sharing what you know and learning new things due to fear of retaliation or simply because of arrogance. I am not aware of any quality professional who lacks generosity and/or avoids engaging in conversations in a timely fashion in this world. If you think that you know everything under the sun, you are heading towards imminent disaster and a huge awakening in the future. Nobody knows everything… not even you or me. Be patient, be kind, be loving… take time to write, photograph, and speak so that you also have a chance to speak your mind with reason. Are you ready for the challenge? I hope so.

Your turn. Just do it.

Fast, Quick, Now… “I want the information now” mentality isn’t a healthy practice as time is a variable for success.

Fast, Quick, Now… “I want the information now” mentality isn’t a healthy practice as time is a variable for success.

If you type the phrase, “Get Rich Fast” on google.com, hundreds of millions of results will appear in 0.27 seconds. Sample topics include “9 ways to get richer quicker,” “How I became rich before 30,” or “Getting rich quickly.” Although the getting rich scheme isn’t a new concept, the internet seems to be the medium of choice to spread the get rich quick agenda. However, it distorts important work ethic values long ingrained in American culture – Hard work, time and effort.

Millenniums (and non-millenniums), perhaps because of heavy exposure and frequency of computer use, seem to be forgetting that technology doesn’t bring success… Hard work, time and sweat do. We even romanticized this notion in our culture with the idiom, “No pain, no gain!” Success isn’t achieved overnight despite what popular culture might believe. The internet is a great tool of discovery and should be used these days. The technological instant gratification propaganda, however, can do more damage than good.

The “I want the information now” mentality isn’t a healthy practice as time is a variable for success. Just because you might hear that a process can be attained quickly on-line doesn’t mean it would or is best. The dynamics of book and on-line reading is a great example to illustrate the former. When a person is reading a book, the brain works antagonistically to its nature requiring humans to make sense of unfamiliar stimuli through practice. The understanding process is unnatural, harder and takes longer. When we read on-line content, we scan material in a more natural way, as our brains seem to process scanning content more naturally. It is easier, quicker and faster.

We need to move beyond the instant gratification mode found in the age of technology. The “Fast, Quick, and Now” mentality might be financially costly in the long run. Why? Because we live in a society driven by expertise. Quality and success takes time and effort. In a competitive world driven by results, we can’t compromise the former for the sake of technology.

Rome wasn’t made in a day either despite the support you might find on-line somewhere. No wonder why a large number of students want to graduate college Summa Cum Laude, in two years, doing minimal work. “No pain, no gain!” Just because problems can be solved quicker on-line doesn’t mean they are real, safe, of any quality, or a good investment of your time and resources. Let’s go back to basics and reevaluate our values against technology. Technology is a good and a required commodity when used wisely and in moderation. It isn’t anything else other than that. Hard work, time and effort first… technology second.

I’m Back In The Game Again

I’m Back In The Game Again

I’m back… I’m back to doing empirical research again, against all the odds. I came to Tennessee to be an activist in TechnoModeration and I’m turning into an empiricist of visual literacy again.  It wasn’t my plan to move to a teaching university to do the former. Now, I’m thinking… I guess that thinking critically is a good thing, if you know what I mean.

I have presented and published a number of academic articles in my career, along with teaching a large number of college courses. Some of my research has been featured in the British Journal of Education Technology, Tech Trends, DiGRA Japan, and many competitive conferences across the United States.

It’s my time again to make the next chess move, it seems… I’m thinking. Only God will tell what the future will be, I guess. I trust God to tell me what will happen next. Right now, this is how I’m feeling, though. Tomorrow, things may be different.

Right now, I’m working on multimedia based research projects in communication education and feedback with an aim at publishing articles at major academic publications and presenting its results in international academic conferences. I’m also contemplating getting an external grant again and scale the results of this much needed research agenda to a wider audience. The scope of my work is back to what we call, “R1 research university’s stuff” or required academic efforts often requited in academic institutions whose mission is to produce a large amount of academic scholarship.

What I’m finding out in my career is that every university, no matter the size or scope,  wants to become bigger in population and in academic reputation. College professors should perhaps be do the same… I never thought this way before but in reality, the former makes some sense to me now. Only God knows the future, I repeat.

I’m back… I’m back to doing empirical research again, against all the odds. It’s ironic how I got back in doing much empirical research again but I guess it was what God wanted.  God works in mysterious ways.

Technology Is Stealing Jobs

Technology Is Stealing Jobs

In our society, we are conditioned to celebrate technological advancements almost blindly. A large number of Americans have celebrated technologies that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of agriculture, automobile production and maintenance, household goods and medicine. From the standpoint of “making things function quicker and more accurately,” technology has revolutionized and will keep revolutionizing the way of how we live and do business in this country. How can anybody deny that we drive safer, more efficient and more comfortable cars today than back in the 1940’s? Don’t we enjoy the many technological advancements that we have seen in the field of medicine? Thank God for antibiotics! Having the ability to share photos with relatives through social media 24/7 is pretty sweet, isn’t it?

But what if I told you that most (if not all) technological advancements have a life changing flip side to them. When we talk aspirin, we can bleed internally. Modern farm equipment has contributed to increases in environmental pollution leading to more allergens. The automobile has created “traffic” and is a major contributor of accidents — America’s 4th leading cause of death. The television, smartphone and video games can be quite addictive, can’t they? Addictions can be lethal. 

We are now celebrating automation and robots, or shall we say robotics, as if we should absolutely support everything they have to offer. We talk a lot about drones these days, don’t we? Look, I can see the immediate financial benefits of automation especially in the fast food industry — replacing waiters and cashiers with touch screen kiosks will save any fast food restaurant a large sum in operational costs. Perhaps, fast food restaurant owners will eventually use robots in order to help with hygiene as investing in machines will require less employees, consequently leading to lower levels of food contaminants. It is likely that we are going to see a mass adoption of robots automating production of fast food restaurants and warehouses in the near future due to the reasons presented above. In fact, robotic automation is already happening to a degree. What are the consequences of the former, though?

I wish that we could look at automation and adoption of robotics in isolation from society. The problem is that we just cannot. If we decide to celebrate technology to a point of mass adopting warehouse automation systems, at the expense of its labor force for example, the side effects we are going to feel in our society may be too drastic and irreversible. If you are what I like to call a “TechnoGroupie,” your foundations will be shaken simply because the side effects of such implementations are too much for any humane society to absorb. Let me elaborate.

Automating retail warehouses with robots and fast food ordering systems can have devastating impacts to our local economy. Replacing fast food restaurant employees with automated ordering kiosks might eventually cut fast food operation by 50%. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the use of robots will eventually cut fulfillment costs by 40%. How many of these retail jobs do we have in Cleveland? Technology is stealing our jobs.

What would that do to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s estimation of 700,000 new jobs by 2020 in the general retail sector? Isn’t the uncontrolled adoption of technology a threat to our national security? I might be going a bit too far with my assumptions but nobody can deny that the flip side of automation and robots is scary maybe irresponsible.

Blockbuster used to have 9,000 stores and 60,000 employees. Netflix destroyed them. Redbox introduces the kiosk movie rental concept using automated restocking machines. Redbox employs a fraction of the employees. No wonder why receiving a pay increase is becoming a utopia for many these days. When the supply of jobs decrease, its demand increase leading to jobs paying less many times not readjusting pay at all. You can partly thank the flip side of technology for your family members’ and friends’ frozen wages. It is economics 101.

Be careful with believing that technology is always good. Sometimes, technology has dire consequences. Maintaining local economic sustainability should be our goal not blind adoption of technology.

 

My Thoughts On Declining Enrollment, Adjunct Faculty And The Need To Have A Terminal Degree In Order To Work Full Time in Higher Education

My Thoughts On Declining Enrollment, Adjunct Faculty And The Need To Have A Terminal Degree In Order To Work Full Time in Higher Education

The following responses were written by me on facebook in response to the current trends we are experiencing in higher education — Declining enrollment and increase in adjunct faculty in colleges and universities. 

This article is a collection of questions and answers about the former… Here we go.

1. On the argument that students should pursue technical training instead of a college degree…

Almeida’s response, “…College professors who are paying attention to the upcoming trend (declining enrollment) are aware of the threats. Although there are other ways to win, I’m still a firm believer in a college degree even for kids who aren’t made for college, as many say. They can learn to be with good guidance, for the most part. Kids who are good with their hands, for example, tend to fit well in careers in studio production in our field of communication. I’m afraid that the jobs of the future will require a BS as a requisite, handicapping those who don’t fit the criteria.

2.Why is education so expensive?

Almeida’s response, “…States must grant more appropriations to public schools and the private universities should have stronger offices of institutional advancement along with a charismatic president who is able to fundraise in order to operate to capacity and offer a more affordable price of education to students. In my book, no university employee should make more that 150 thousand dollars a year. We work in higher education for the love of serving others not to maximize profit. At least, this is how so see it.”

3. Who is making that?

Almeida’s response, “…Presidents of colleges, with rare exceptions, often make 250K or higher sometimes reaching a salary in the 500K. VP’s often bring home 200K home as well, followed by Deans in the upper 160K range. In some institutions, professors are bringing home 150-170K a year for a yearly salary. Adjunct salaries vary from institution to institution. In my book, we need to be careful to not have such high administrative overhead and faculty salaries in order to keep tuition prices to a reasonable price for students. By the way, football coaches in colleges and universities make a fortune.”

4. Should schools hire full-time faculty? If it isn’t possible, what can we do to complement a body of faculty? 

Almeida’s response, “…Well, I agree with you that hiring full time faculty is more beneficial than operating an academic unit using a set number of adjunct faculty members. I’m in favor of bringing artists in residence or a few adjuncts to complement academic work and pay them accordingly. I’m not an administrator here so I’m not aware of what is being done exactly.”

5. Shouldn’t full-time and adjunct faculty make the same because they teach essentially the same thing many times?  What is your recommendation for adjunct faculty wanting to be a full-time faculty member? 

Almeida’s response, “…The question of load is an easier one to answer. A college professor full-time isn’t just teaching a class. This person is to advise students, conduct scholarship and serve the university… some of these faculty members represent the university in the media, produce films, assist with recruitment, in some cases bring an external grant, manage a media center, sit in the board of a non-profit, or lead a program and assist with accreditation efforts… and so on. I know… Adjunct faculty is treated differently in different institutions. I’ve always treated part-time faculty with much respect not as a second class citizen like many do. My recommendation for anyone wanting to have a career in higher education is to pursue a doctorate degree with good academic training. It is taxing but it pays off in the long run.”

6. Why is a PHD a requirement in higher education? 

Almeida’s response, “…A doctorate degree is a requirement. I’m old school when it comes to this. A PhD is a weapon in higher education. If completed correctly under a well trained advisor, a person with a PhD will learn how to do research well which is part of the job. I’m not aware of any reputable university that will hire a full-time professor with rank without having some expectation for conducting scholarship. In fact, those who choose not to do it end up stuck in that university, at the will of a promotion and tenure committee or the president him or herself, in the hands of the university for future employment. As my advisor once taught me, “You have to do the right thing not their right thing.” It was because of my doctorate in Instructional Systems that I’m able to analyze and create operating systems of instruction in multiple areas combined which has helped me to acquire multiple areas of expertise overtime, always with an eye in the practical, leading to conceptualizing and selling a business for a profit. There is an element of intellectualism that should remain in colleges and universities, for the benefit of the student.”

7. Students Don’t learn much from a professor when it comes to what is required in the workforce, right? 

Almeida’s response, “…Yep, we disagree when it comes to the importance of having a doctorate (a terminal degree) in order to operate to capacity in higher education and  professors do teach content that is applicable to the workforce.

Let me just clarify that a person holding a final academic degree is also able to perform to capacity in our industry, as long as that person pursues terminal academic training. A person who completed a MFA, for example, is able to function well in higher education and assist students to be successful in their careers. We need to be careful when assuming that college professors don’t teach anything practical to students or that what they teach doesn’t help students in the current economy. When an English professor teaches students to write better, students gain the skillset of writing which is a much needed skillset to have in the workforce. When a professor of philosophy challenges a student to think critically about the world and to make better decisions with logic… students gain by acquiring a very important skillset (critical thinking) that we need much in today’s economy. Or a professor of communication who teaches a student how to deliver a speech or how to strategize a social media campaign for a client… they gain public speaking and strategic thinking which are definitely important skillsets to have in today’s marketplace.”

8. Adjuncts are required because a lot of professors don’t know how to teach and many only worked in higher education… 

Almeida’s response,“…I do agree with you that not every PHD (or MFA) knows how to teach, true statement. In my doctorate degree, we got training on how to teach a course. What can be challenging is discovering how a particular population of students behave in order to get good student evaluation scores consistency. I can tell you from experience that students in private schools behave much differently than students in the public sector, in many respects.

Some professors only know higher education, true. However, let’s keep in mind that higher education is also an industry, full of politics, where professors must report to the chain of command and perform to capacity in order to maintain their jobs… all that cool stuff that we know about. College professors also have to apply for a job, like college graduates do and get the required qualifications. I also disagree with you (kindly, of course) when it comes to one’s expertise and not being related to teaching. It depends on what they study. Folks who got training in the field of education maybe trained in how to plan and deliver an educational intervention. The former are used daily by great college instructors in our region and beyond.”

9. Why do adjuncts need to get a doctorate degree to learn how to do research and gain skillsets if people can learn skills on their own?  

Almeida’s response, “…I agree with you on the fact that we can get much of the skills we need on our own, including the skills that we teach in a college classes not just research. In my opinion, it is wise for an adjunct to complete a doctorate degree in order to be prepared to answer research questions that may have an impact in the members of our society. Doing top quality research isn’t as easy as it seems. We all acquire new skillsets on our own, absolutely. We are trained in a doctoral degree to keep this mindset, at least I was. The value added from Penn State (where I got my doctorate degree) is that they train you to seek where to find the resources you need to grow professionally. It’s an interesting debate. I do feel that obtaining a skillset under the guidance of a supervisor is important if one is to do the same for someone else. I’m old school when it comes to academic stuff but that’s just me.”

10. Why do students in the USA pay all this tuition when they could pay a fraction of the price overseas? 

Almeida’s response, “… Tuition overseas is often cheaper than tuition in the USA for American students. I’m not sure how employers would feel about recruiting kids who attended a foreign college unless the university is among the very best universities in the world. The reason I say this is because many Brazilians who come to the US trying to find employment with a bachelors degree rarely get an opportunity to work. They often have to study again in here in order to be able to find employment in the US.”

 

We Need More Male Latino Communication Scholars In Higher Education

We Need More Male Latino Communication Scholars In Higher Education

Despite all these modern technology gadgets we have in society these days, it seems that access to computers haven’t helped university’s search committees much with finding male latino communication professors to diversify their body of faculty all across the United States. Minority recruitment in higher education is still quite low everywhere especially if we take into account the number of male Latino faculty members we have employed in the whole educational system.

After a quick on-line investigation, where I went on-line and took a frequency count of how many professors of Latino descent there are in six colleges across the state of Tennessee, I came to two conclusions. 

  1. We have only one Latino male working in departments of communications among six institutions in Tennessee — UTK, UTC, Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt, Belmont and Lee. It is me, Dr. A! Let me not disappoint you. I am usually the only Latino male communication professor wherever I go. I am used to it… I must add that there is one Latina professor in Tennessee who works in a Communication department but she is a lecturer. The former means that she has a low academic rank.
  2. I’m aware of one latino working in a position of leadership in the field of communication in the whole state.  

In reality, I don’t know exactly the number of Latino males who are communication professors in the state because I haven’t look at all faculty members in every school across the state of Tennessee. Having little to no male professors of Latino descent in colleges and universities in the east coast has been the trend, though.  

The former isn’t an isolated Tennessee problem, I must add. This problem isn’t a new one, either. I have been witnessing this reality for over a decade, now. Easy access to the internet has allowed me to investigate, count and report this problem to the public in informal ways. I’m currently working on a paper to document this issue for the academic world which will be released soon.  

I wonder why we aren’t using more technology to bring attention to this pressing topic  since the next big growth in American higher education is centered around Latino/minority enrollment and retention. 

By the way… Retention of minority students is directly related to the number of faculty role models institutions have. If you got latino students, you must have latino faculty members on staff… males and females. Who will serve as a role model for the Latino students majoring in Communication at California State University in Los Angeles? There are a lot of latino students down there! 

What I know is that Cal State struggles to get male Latino Communication faculty members. How do I know this? One of their Deans took me to the side in a recent academic conference and whispered in my ear, “Luis, I have a big problem. Most of my students are Latinos but the irony is that I cannot recruit male Latino faculty that easily. Let’s chat.” 

Many people think that technology will solve all of our problems yet this elementary issue is far from being solved. Does it take a minority faculty member to bring attention to this important societal issue? Apparently yes. Why aren’t we investing more time and technology to fix these pressing issues in academia, I ask? Perhaps, we should look at the composition of these colleges and universities, along with predictions of upcoming enrollment and expected retention rates, and hire faculty members who are more representative of their student body.

Why are we celebrating VR technologies if we can’t even fix the elementary diversity problems in our society? This I do know… The future belongs to the Lord and only He knows our future and that’s a blessing. Not having minority faculty representation in higher education is both an epidemic and a disservice to our minority students enrolled in the system.

There is Latino male scholar population struggling to have an opportunity to make a difference in higher education. Recruit them! They are out there, remember that. In every field, actually. Seek and you will find them. 

Immigrants Contribute To The Development Of The USA

Immigrants Contribute To The Development Of The USA

I’m an immigrant — A legal immigrant now a citizen of the United States of America. I  help young minds to develop and mature in order to find employment in this country and think for themselves. America pay less in welfare costs because an immigrant, me in this case, helps the American youth to be more responsible and productive members of society.

I say the following..

Stop blaming immigrants for the tragic events that happen in this country! Stop thinking that just because illegal immigrants are “subsidies” to the American business community, as economist Wolff would say, that all immigrants are made the same.

Some immigrants are in fact American citizens, you know? Not everybody is a criminal. Some, in fact, contribute to the development of the United States in a wide variety of ways. How so, some of you may be asking? This is how.

Immigrants start businesses. Immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business in the United States than non-immigrants, and 18 percent of all small business owners in the United States are own by immigrants. Stop and think about the former for a minute… Eventually immigrant businesses… next line.

Create jobs for American workers. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, immigrant enterprises employed almost five million Americans generating around 776 billion each year. Did you know that?

Immigrants create their own jobs. According the U.S. Department of Labor, 7.5 percent of immigrants work for themselves compared to 6.6 percent among born Americans. Interesting…

Immigrants develop top organizations and invent life changing modern technologies. According to the National Venture Capital Association, immigrants have started a fourth of all major corporate enterprises given by a venture capital funding source including intel, google and eBay. Stunning.

Let’s not forget that immigrants help America with rejuvenating its population and procreating resulting in a much needed increase in the country’s demographics which in turn assist the nation to actually exist. Do you know that many countries in Western Europe, along with Russia… have declining populations? Russia has an immigration issue. They lack immigrants… how can Russia exist in 3017 without people?

Immigrants contribute to the development of the United States. They start businesses, create jobs for Americans and themselves and sometimes start big organizations in this country.

The former is an undeniable fact. Do the following, if you are not doing it already, if you please.

Treat an immigrant with respect today. They deserve to be treated as well as you do. No excuses…

Remember: Who knows? Tomorrow, you may be working for one of them.

My advice.

Technology Can’t Replace Media Professionals

Technology Can’t Replace Media Professionals

Technology is no substitute for media professionals.

Let me explain something. Whenever a new technology is introduced in any system, that system is then changed forever because of that technology infusion.

Since the democratization of the camera in smartphones, many people now can take photos as they wish and capture video footage with ease, which is a wonderful thing for many. However, professionals in communication have been affected by these advancements in cellphone technology because now everyone, technically speaking, has “broadcast” capabilities at their fingertips.

I am not saying everyone can now be a professional broadcaster and that photo and video professionals will cease to exist. What I am saying, however, is that many people now can broadcast their lives on social media without having to hire a professional communicator, which has impacted the field of communication forever.

One thing is for sure. The personal media market is gone, for good. See? A small part of what communicators used to offer can now be done without our assistance. You can do them simply by buying a smartphone!

Listen carefully to me and remember the following, compatriots. All these advancements in smartphone technology have had a tremendous impact in how we teach communication these days. The invasive nature of technology in a system, communication included, requires that system to significantly change the way it operates.

Not too many people realize that when an innovation is implemented by a critical mass of people in any society, the affected system often suffers significant consequences because of this new technology implementation. The systems that survive then need to adapt to the realities of the new technology and change accordingly. No technology advancement can be introduced to a system of any kind without fundamentally changing some of its parts.

Remember: Advancements in smartphone technology aren’t free, and this financial aspect will have an impact on what people do in Cleveland! Our community pays a price for not having more video and photo professionals in town.

These professionals of media buy groceries, eat at restaurants, buy houses and spend discretionary income in local shops. I am all for advancements in technology ,as long as people realize that they come with side effects. The field of media has been changed forever because of the smartphone.

I predict that in 10 years or so, most small-town portrait photographers will have a problem staying in business, because of advancements in smartphone camera apps. Only a handful of very talented photo and video professionals will exist in a small town near you! A “great eye” can’t be replaced by a microchip, yet.

Is the democratization of photo and video a problem for communicators? Yes, because many people now think that what we do is obsolete. In fact, nothing can be further from the truth.

The fact Americans can now capture video footage or take photos doesn’t mean they will have quality, or just as importantly, context. Video and audio professionals deserve a job because of what you can’t see.

Pre-production, which is a fancy name for preparation, is an essential part of what media professionals do. Is the average American now going to write scripts and draw storyboards for their productions? I don’t think so.

There is a lot of what we call post-production. Just because a person can capture video footage or take a photograph doesn’t mean that they will be able to make it look or feel good! You need a professional to make all of this work.

The threat, of course, is that many will be satisfied with capturing “good enough” media artifacts, which is where our field will be affected the most. The scary thing for us, however, is that many of you will take exactly this stance — which is likely to cause many media professionals to go out of business. This is precisely why departments of communication cannot afford to produce anything other than what is outstanding.

In sum, whenever a new technology is introduced in any system, that system is then changed forever because of that technology infusion.

Today, smartphone technology is having a major impact on our field of communication, due to the democratization of the device. Tomorrow, your field will be affected by it.

It is coming! The question: What are you doing to prepare for it?

46 Other Quotes I’ve Said Throughout The Years

46 Other Quotes I’ve Said Throughout The Years

We are all creatures of habit who enjoy reading tidbits of information to make us a bit smarter by the day. As technology permeates our lives in this new world we live in, not too many people have the time and resources to truly learn useful quotations these days.

I am shocked by the number of college students who are clueless about the basic tenets of life. They have been my inspiration to write these quotes, almost daily, on social media for about a year and a half.

Are you ready for this? Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.

— Quotes —

“You can’t keep having fun forever without control, judge and think that life will run like a disorganized mess forever. Eventually the fun will stop and reality will be made transparent.”

“In silence, there is rearming.”

“I tell you this to you: God doesn’t tolerate evil doers. He does justice in His own time, don’t worry or get angry. Those who are unjust will pay for their transgressions. Don’t be envious of their evil deeds. God will put them in their places. All you have to do is pray.”

“Seek love and avoid contention.”

“Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. Yesterday? Who cares. I will keep moving forward and thanking all the people who believe in my life mission of goodwill.”

“People trust specialists not generalists. The Jack of all trades was born dead! Wait a minute, have you seen a general practitioner lately?”

“Behaviors speak much louder than any words in this world. All we need to do is to take notes.“

“New affiliation doesn’t erase experience. New lessons are learned. Old protocols are still applicable and relevant.”

“Life is a journey, God is the pilot, and we are the passenger. Enjoy the ride and trust.”

“Positioning is key, ladies and gentleman. By overworking you subordinate. Confident people aren’t intimidated by frowny faces.”

“We are no longer 9-5. We are 9 to forever.”

“This world is too complex for us to live life complicating the obvious.”

“Flee from the perverse and always look in between the lines.”

“Everything you do, do in humility. Honor everyone and love your neighbor. Those who claim to be great, mediocre at best they are.”

“Whenever you make Christ the center of your life, you find true happiness and tremendous freedom.”

“Your people are a direct reflection of your attitude.”

“Those in power will protect themselves at the expense of the oppressed.”

“In the age of influence, technology became a commodity.”

“Don’t live in your past. Living there won’t help the “now” that you are in today.”

“Young professionals must realize two things: First, enemies are more loyal than your buddies.” “Second, nothing in life can be accomplished without influence.”

“If life doesn’t give you the opportunity… Create the opportunity.”

“Be firm and fair. Any questions?”

“The moment we try to guide our lives and “command our destiny…” is when we get into trouble.”

“They (enemies) will come hard at you, I guarantee — especially if you are competent at what you do.”

“Life is like a game of chess. Are you playing with white or black pieces? Strategize accordingly.”

“Look at life objectively. Be quiet and simply observe… An evil plan can be found in its details.”

“Never, under any circumstances, criticize anyone. The moment you do… you lose them.”

“It’s impossible to cheat excellence.”

“The answer to professional success isn’t extravagance. People’s decisions to live an extravagant life, in the end… tend to handicap them.”

“Be careful to not associate yourself with those who think that they themselves are the center of the universe.”

“We can’t change the yesterday but we certainly can influence the tomorrow.”

“Opportunities are a privilege for the common man but is a right for the wealthy.”

“If you can’t control yourself, you will never control others.”

“When you go or work places, you gain perspective. You know how crazy people are everywhere you go.”

“True excellence is only achieved when people have experienced tremendous adversity.”

“It isn’t hard work that differentiates you from others necessarily. It is your ability to think differently… Hard work, of course, is a part of it.”

“One of the best decisions a professional can make is to better understand people.”

“God didn’t make Adam and smartphone. God made Adam and Eve.”

“Just because someone (or something) is old doesn’t mean that they have no use. You will be amazed by how much you can learn from a 80 year old man.”

“A body in motion keeps it in motion. Inertia take you places… the moment you stop making progress in your life problems will occur.”

“Good employees are born. Great employees are made.”

“You can gain the world with a happy smile.”

“If you competitor dresses in red, be blue. If he goes left move right. This is a way to position yourself.”

“The method of intuition is a method of knowing.”

“When undecided, pray… When in question, ask… When in trouble, resolve… When you know, share.”

“You are not better than me. We, however, are better than most. I say, “synergy.” A united people can never be divided.”

After An Error, Regroup, Be Patient, Seek And You Will Find

After An Error, Regroup, Be Patient, Seek And You Will Find

I’m currently walking to the monthly Cleveland Media Association meeting where I serve as President Elect in this beautiful Tennessee Friday in September.

What I didn’t share with you was that I drove to today’s event by car first but couldn’t find a parking spot. It was clearly an error on my part. I should have known that Friday’s, especially between the hours of 10:00am and noon, parking is scarce here on campus.

The result? I couldn’t find a parking spot and had to drive back to my building and find another parking spot because mine was then taken immediately after I left. I had to regroup and realized that I’ve made a mistake. The only option I could take was to be patient in order to find a spot again on campus, without being late for my meeting.

So I did… I went one more time around the block and was able to find not one but two spots to park my car. What a blessing! The former isn’t typically the case in this hour of the day here in Cleveland, TN.

I looked for it and found it. I had a seek and you will find kind of moment. It made me remember of how things really are in the workforce. Sometimes, we make mistakes. They are inevitable.

The best thing to do in order to fix them is to accept the fact that we have made an error, regroup, be patient, seek and eventually you will find what you are looking for. Don’t be upset or get disappointed.

The recovery or the long term solution to your error may not be immediate but if you go through the motions of fixing the issue, like identifying the error, regrouping, being patient, seeking and finding an alternative… eventually you kick back and win in whatever endeavor you are pursuing.

Do your part and live, ladies and gents. I don’t think that you will get gravel if you follow this model. That’s what a I think, at least.

Be blessed and enjoy your Friday.

14 Ways To Build Trust And Credibility In Social Media

14 Ways To Build Trust And Credibility In Social Media

In this article, I will be sharing with you 14 ways that you can build trust and credibility in social media, based on the content included in the books, “Social Media Engagement For Dummies,” “Linchpin,” “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” “Permission Marketing” and my own thoughts acquired throughout the years.

Are you ready for this. I hope so.

“Trust is a social good to be protected just as much as the air we breathe or the water that we drink.” “Smile, It increases your face value” (Dale Carnegie). 

Trust can be developed in two ways.

  1. Your audience engages with you already believing that you’re worthy of their trust.
  2. Your audience demands that you earn their faith. 

I which ways do we get our audience to engage with us whether they believe we are already trustworthy or not? Here we go.

14 Ways To Build Trust And Credibility In Social Media

Way #1. Have a unified social media voice and keep consistency… of postings, theme, copy, and so on. 

Way #2. Do your homework: Find out who your audience is and don’t forget to find out where they spend their time, and what they are talking about. Tailor your messages directly to them based on their interests. 

Way #3. Interact authentically with your audience: Be real and genuine. Show your personality but be consistent with your communication. Are you fun? Fearless? Serious? Savvy? Whatever you are, make sure they see this part of you in your social media postings. It will help you build credibility with them. Consistency of correct information output builds credibility.

Way #4: Be honest: Honesty goes hand in hand with trust. It is difficult for anyone to be trustworthy on instagram (or facebook, pinterest, etc) claiming to be a life coach at 17. Be truthful. People pay close attention to these things on-line. If you don’t know the answer, say I don’t know.

Way #5 Be transparent: When people can connect with the real you… your brand/persona becomes more personalized resulting in higher levels of trust and credibility. 

Way #6: Ownership: Take responsibility for your mistakes. They will happen… Your greatest critic can become your most outspoken “fan”. Be careful when criticizing others… It is a small world, after all. Remember: Never say, “you’re wrong” (Dale Carnegie). If you make a mistake, take the ownership for the error. 

Way #7: Word choices: Use the word ‘you’ when engaging with your audience in social media networks rather that referring to them as generic people. Your audience prefers that you speak with them, not about them or at them. Make it personal.

Way #8: Build your social media presence: In 2019, failing to be in social media makes you invisible in our society (Gary Vaynerchuck). Engage in emotional labor in social media and become indispensable for your tribe (Seth Godin).

Way #9: Continue asking questions: Tribes love this. Prove to your audience that their thoughts and opinions matter to you. Listen to what they have to say and implement them accordingly. 

Way #10: Create an incentive for your audience to engage with your content and come back: Share quality content in multiple outlets that fit their interests. Be their only option if you can…

Way #11: Respond promptly for a greater impact: Manage your conversations in an organized fashion. The timeless of your responses is an important part of trust-building on-line. Leaving questions answered for days/weeks can dissolve that person’s trust in you.

Way #12: Get training in-front of the camera: Performing poorly on an youtube video clip can damage your reputation and will have an effect your credibility impacting trust.

Way #13: Release press releases and use your blog to distribute these pieces of writing once in a while: Then, share the press releases to social networking sites for greater impact. make sure to include links to your social media networks, multimedia elements, and content that leads your audience to tweet a quote about you to their friends. In another word, make your content great pieces of independent micro content for your audience to share on your behalf with their audience.  

Let them be your sneezers to spread your idea viruses (Seth Godin). 

Way #14: Work on getting third party endorsements: One of the best methods to accomplish this is simply to ask. Don’t be afraid to request on-line reviews about you or your business from people in your network. Make it worth the effort for people to praise you publicly. It will help with your brand’s credibility and trust, that’s for sure. Public praises go a long way. 

Your credibility and trust will result in eminent permission granted from your audience to share your content to them, as Seth would say. Be careful, however, to not burn your brand’s trust by attempting to gain short-term profits on the back of your tribe.

Remember: Permission is a process not a moment.

Tell me if these 14 ways to build trust and credibility in social media worked for you. I want to hear. Be blessed. 

Life Is A Journey: You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride With God

Life Is A Journey: You Might As Well Enjoy The Ride With God

The unpredictability of life is a mystery that can only be fully understood by God. One day we find ourselves in a big city near the suburbs of Hong Kong. Another day we find ourselves living in a small town near the outskirts of Duluth Minnesota. How unpredictable our lives are, I say.

I often wonder how anybody can live life without believing that there is a God. Life is full of inexplicable surprises for anyone to deny the existence of a superior being. How can we explain the blessings that we receive and give? How can someone be born wealthy and chose modesty over principles? I don’t have the answer to these questions but maybe one day I will understand. 

I realized in a very short period of time that it is only by the grace of God that we can live a good life, regardless of what some might say. I live a great life full of blessings given by Jesus Christ. Every semester, I speak with a number of college students seeking new knowledge and life coaching tips. I help them to find themselves and to use the gifts that God has given them and me in a creative way. What a privilege is to be able to encourage the youth into serving God with their lives. I love it… I was born to do this. In the bible, we read in Acts 15:32, “And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words.” We must do so with enthusiasm.

Some of us have the duty to encourage others to achieve greatness, be compassionate, and care for the poor. Someone needs to be a cheerleader for students and give them unconditional generosity. The bible talks about exhortation, an important gift given by God to some. In Romans 12:8 we learn, “the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness…” 

How great is His word and the plans He has for one’s future. The unpredictability of life is a mystery that can only be fully understood by God. I surrender it all. I want to be more christlike. It is well, it is well with my soul… As long as you lead me into your ways and future plans… We shall be just fine. My life without you is in vain, God. God always be glorified, forever and ever. 

Life is a journey — You might as well enjoy the ride with God all the days of your lives. I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The other side isn’t that far away. 

21 Things That I’ve Said Over The Years…

21 Things That I’ve Said Over The Years…

“Technology is handicapping millennials.”

“Everybody wants to be a “Bentley” but only a few are willing to do what is required to be one.”

“The principle behind treating others well is quite simple. We need to understand people first and judge them second.”

“Seek alternatives when you are in a deficit.”

“In life, you can’t compromise quality and/or bargain your way into what makes you exceptional.”

“Even your worst enemy will teach you important lessons about who you are.”

“Technology is the corrupt’s worst enemy.”

“Students, you need the following to win in life: 1) God; 2) Courage; 3) Skillsets.”

“Take Time Off — Technology Can Wait.”

“Colleges and universities should have courses in social capital because many times… it isn’t how much you know but who you know or who knows you.”

“In 2017, your ability to engage in job blitzkrieg is a necessity for survival, especially if you haven’t found your dream job yet. Be very careful when buying real estate.”

“Sometimes life isn’t about work but network.”

“We need to display smartphone side effects in a label.”

“The workforce is war not peace.”

“Asking people to use more technology to fix technological problems is like asking alcoholics to use more alcohol to fix their alcohol addiction.”

“Let’s be realistic — Anybody who claims to be great, isn’t.”

“Your students are your legacy.”

“You can gain the world with a happy smile.”

“Great minds look beyond what they can see.”

“The secret to success is following God’s commands and working in your talent. It is that simple.”

“Many people believe that being a minority is a disadvantage. They don’t get it. It is an advantage! We bring a much needed view of the world that many can indeed appreciate. Be yourself — Be different.”

“Don’t let technology become the addiction that prevents you from living your life.”

Twenty Pieces Of Advice From A Professor Who Cares

Twenty Pieces Of Advice From A Professor Who Cares

Hope you enjoy these “pieces of advice'” as much as I do. Here we go.

“Secret of success? Make yourself useful to other people. Are you being useful to someone right now? You better!”

“Flee from egoism and embrace a humble and godly life of service and humility. Whenever possible, help kids to laugh so that they have fun, even if you have to sacrifice your weekend for their benefit. God blesses those who help others and put others ahead of themselves.”

“Never underestimate what you don’t know or what you can’t see. Behind every star there is much unseen sweat.”

“Arrogance, vanity, envy and many other vices backfire. Be true to your real self and celebrate!”

“Many enjoy revenge and returning a punch to someone who have hurt them before. Don’t be like them. Pray for them! Be slow to anger and if you do lose your temper, be quick to being yourself again.”

“As Allen once said, “Self control is strength, right thought is mastery, calmness is power.”

“Listen, test, and be a leader who fears the lessons and teachings of God.”

“Life is always about others not yourself or me. Life is about loving God and doing what is best for your family.”

“Students, you need the following to win in life: 1) God; 2) Courage; 3) Skillsets.”

“Before making any major life decisions, you need to pray and fast. You are to never let anyone chose your life path for you. Understood?”

“The path to success is clear: We must read voraciously.”

“Life is about God not us. I must become less so God is more and so should you.”

“Smile. Being grumpy won’t take you anywhere.”

“In life, you can’t compromise quality and/or bargain your way into what makes you exceptional.”

“We are called to love God and not use our mouths for evil or our tongues for deceit. We are to edify our parents and do what is right in God’s eyes. We need to be gracious to God and for everything that He has given us. God will last but not man. Whatever you do, do it for God.

“Seek love and avoid contention.”

“True talent is like a speedy Audi. Trying to stop them is futile!”

“If something appears to be, it usually is.” “Between zero and fifty thousand, money matters for a person. between fifty-five thousand and 100 million, money doesn’t matter as much as you may think.”

“Stay quiet and observe.” “Anger, slander, malice, arrogance…everything that is evil along with hate comes from the enemy. We need to be the salt of the world and act like it. Flee from hateful behaviors and welcome love in your life.”

“We are all good at something. Some of us are fine engineers, others are good with numbers, some are excellent speakers or nurses and a few are indeed awesome photographers or graphic designers. One of our main goals in life is to find out what is that “something” that we are great at so that we can glorify God all the days of our lives with it.”

Quotes taken from Tidbits By Dr. A.

Strangers Into Friends, Friends Into Fans, And Fans Into Costumers

Strangers Into Friends, Friends Into Fans, And Fans Into Costumers

One of the goals of a good social media strategy is to transform strangers into friends, friends into fans, and fans into costumers not simply scrolling a news feed for entertainment sake. The idea behind using social media networks is to accomplish something worth pursuing, like building a solid network, in my opinion. The moment that we stop accomplishing a strategic goal on facebook, for example, our actions become what I like to call “Merely Scrolling Behavior Pattern” (MSBP) behaviors without any chance of long-term network building.

Social media networks are about building networks and exchanging information. Networks of friends, family, fans, customers and so on. Let’s not forget that one of the definitions of network is, “To interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.” When a subject is ‘merely scrolling’ on facebook without any goal in mind, these behavior patters don’t often accomplish much, other than perhaps giving a subject something to do while bored. These repetitive behaviors do little to help a social media network user a chance to exchange information with others and strengthen their network nodes. Information exchange is key if you want to build a solid network in any social media platform today and in the future.    

Some users simply engage in “MSBP” behaviors because it’s easy to do or because they may be bored, have you noticed that? We often see the former when a subject is waiting in line for a doctor’s appointment, when waiting in line in a grocery store, or at night before going to sleep.  By the way, it is okay to be bored sometimes, at least this is what a research article published in the journal of experimental social psychology has claimed. It seems right to me. Pay attention to “MSRP” behaviors and don’t forget to engage with your audience.  

So, next time that you go to facebook, take some time to exchange a line or two with your followers in there. You will be amazed by how a few nice and sincere words can go a long way in the process of transforming strangers into friends, friends into fans, and fans into costumers. Jeremy Owyang once said, “Social networks represent the digital reflection of what humans do; we connect and share.”

Let’s do the former, indeed! Let’s keep connecting and sharing, not simply engaging in “Merely Scrolling Behavior Patterns” (MSBP) without any chance of network building. We use technologies for a very specific reason. What is your reason for using social media networks? Mine is to connect and share. Your turn.

We Are Either A Member Of ‘The Few’ Or ‘The Masses’

We Are Either A Member Of ‘The Few’ Or ‘The Masses’

Some like to label themselves as either a republican or a democrat, right or left wing, conservative or liberal… the labels are many. How fascinating… I’m not sure if the former is the best way to categorize who we are in American society, though. I like to categorize Americans as either being a member of ‘The Few’ or ‘The Masses’. Let me explain.

If you find yourself lobbying for lower taxes, for the country to have policies that defend big businesses in a global context, and/or defend bank bailouts for self gain, you are probably “The Few” who belong to the top 5% of America or shall we say… the people who have the money to spend and the money to give. You have the capacity to lend capital for the state to operate. You know that the country can’t function without you. Politicians look for your support to help the country to operate and you gladly give them the funds (along with interest) in exchange for paying little to no taxes for your enterprises. The “Few” have the capacity to pass legislation protecting their interests… Reality.

If you don’t like to pay taxes (or if you are okay to paying some), but have have little to no wealth relative to the few (with rare exceptions), if you are a working class men or women or make a living with a small business… And want the state to give you free health care or public education or grants for your small business to function better or to send your kids to college for a discount price, you are likely to be a member of “The masses.” When the state is seeking funds to advance the country forward, “The masses” just don’t have it. “The Masses” need the state more than the 5% do in order to operate to capacity. Since the 1970’s, “The Masses” haven’t receive a proper wage increase. Tragic.

2q3d3d.jpg

I can understand our positions (who we are in society) a little better this way. How about you? By the way, I’m shocked by how much difference exists between “The Masses” and “The Few” today. It reminds me of Brazil of the 1980’s — The decade that wasn’t, where wild capitalism took precedence. Sad.

The following I find fascinating…

Michelle Obama and George W. Bush are friends, it seems. George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton are friends, I seems… At one point, even Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were friends. Why am I saying this? Well, because all of these families have one thing in common which isn’t their affiliation with a political party. They are all part of “The Few” or shall we say… the 5%, regardless of which political party they belong to.

In the United States, I belong to “The Masses.” I bet that most of you belong to this class, as well. At least I know where I stand. Do you know where you stand? Things sometimes aren’t what they seem, ladies and gentlemen. I’m a fan of living in reality, with much dignity, always glorifying God above anything.

Maybe we shouldn’t pretend as much and look at the facts to better understand our situations/positions in life. I wish we discussed these topics a bit more in higher education all across the country… we simply don’t. It’s my hope that we shall in the future. Hopefully.

 

 

 

 

Differences Between The North And The South: An Outsider’s View On Tradition

Differences Between The North And The South: An Outsider’s View On Tradition

In the north of the United States, more often than not, we deal with people without caring for their traditions and solve problems along with them. In the south, I’ve come to learn that the former is most often not the case, at least this is what I’ve seen. Both in Mississippi and Tennessee, I had to work with a local or/and influential person in the community in order to solve simple practical problems because I was not a local or shall I say, an American but not a Mississippian.” What I’m saying is that tradition reigns around here, ladies and gents. It’s just how the system operates.

Is it a bad thing? It’s not necessarily a bad thing, no. It’s cultural. It can, however, make some people’s lives… mine for example… much more complicated simply because I’m not a member of General Robert Lee’s family tree or another southern influencer from Alabama or good ole Georgia. I’m used to it now but the fact that my efforts alone sometimes aren’t enough to solve an urgent problem or get things done quickly irritates me a bit. Why, you may ask. This is why. Let me explain.

  1. When I need to call my “Southern mommy or daddy” to help me to solve some of my problems, I’m not as efficient or productive. I’m 45 not 15. In Mississippi, the former happened quite a lot. Thank Goodness that I had a supporting angel on my side to help me to navigate the southern system. Her name was Dr. Anthony, a kind and very nice lady in which I truly respect and appreciate. What she told me, I heard and did. I still remember the number of times that she helped me to fix my office phone, helped me with printing documents/computer problems, assisted me with political things, you name it. Of course I love Dr. Anthony… But Dr. Anthony is also a very busy person. I respected her time then and would respect her time now. Should I really have to stop one’s work in order to get my things done? I don’t think so.
  2. I believe in independent thinking. I mean… thinking for yourself and being able to share what you know and don’t know should be an accepted practice anywhere we go, regardless of the accepted cultural norms in the region, in my opinion. I know that in practice, the former isn’t realistic but as a romantic… I dream of a world where everyone can be the owners of their own destiny through Christ Jesus our Lord freely. I’ve seen that the former is easier to accomplish only if you are from the south around here.
  3. Even though I value hierarchy in my life, I’m not a big fan of controlling behavior or systems that operate under a controlled set of variables where the user is rarely involved in the design of their own systems of problem solving. As an expert in instructional systems, I look at ‘systems’ perhaps from a different perspective, more from a critical point of view than not. In New York, I was able to participate in events and influence a system for the better by literally getting involved in the community and building local trust. In the south, these same methods don’t apply as much as I thought they would be, regardless of attempt and tenure. I’ve waited almost three years to contribute to a number of systems who aren’t really interested in hearing from me, despite my sincere interest in them. I might need to change my last name to Sanders and perhaps become a colonel in order to not be controlled by others or be given a chance especially in small towns in central Tennessee.

I knew that the north and the south were different. What I didn’t predict was the amount of tradition that exists in the southern states. The former is then transferred to how business operate and how people communicate in their jobs, churches and at home. Holy cow! What a huge wake up call!

At least I know where I stand and how things operate around me now. Thank Goodness that my wife is a southerner. At least, they listen to her a little more than they listen to me. I’ve learn to leverage that overtime. Reality.

Wisdom Once Shared By Author CS Lewis…

Wisdom Once Shared By Author CS Lewis…

When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” The more I live in this world, the more God shows me that the former statement is in fact true.

God has been very gracious to me. Even though I don’t deserve the air that I breathe for falling short of the glory of God, The God of hosts has granted me all that I need in abundance under the sun.

When I left Brazil, I mean… the country, my circle of friends, family… I lost the blessings of the known, friends and family support. They were a blessing in themselves, I now realize. However, coming to the United States, to an unknown territory, without friends and family was also another blessing I wasn’t expecting. It’s amazing how God make things right overtime. Amazing.

I’m now bilingual, have as many friends as I once had in Brazil, my family is now near, and I got more education under my belt than I’ve ever thought possible. God provides, ladies and gents.

CS Lewis was right.

“When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.”

Food for thought.

Treat Everyone The Same, Greet All Not Just Some

Treat Everyone The Same, Greet All Not Just Some

“My brothers and sisters, you are believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. So treat everyone the same. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes. And suppose a poor man in dirty old clothes also comes in. Would you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes? Would you say, “Here’s a good seat for you”? Would you say to the poor man, “You stand there”? Or “Sit on the floor by my feet”? If you would, aren’t you treating some people better than others? Aren’t you like judges who have evil thoughts? My dear brothers and sisters, listen to me. Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor in the world’s eyes to be rich in faith? Hasn’t he chosen them to receive the kingdom? Hasn’t he promised it to those who love him? But you have disrespected poor people. Aren’t rich people taking advantage of you? Aren’t they dragging you into court? Aren’t they speaking evil things against the worthy name of Jesus? Remember, you belong to him.” (James 2 1:8). 

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18). You sin if you don’t treat everyone the same. 

And the bible goes on and on… “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” (Romans 12:10). “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13). 

Treat everyone the same and always greet everybody in your vicinity not just some. This is what a mature Christian is supposed to do. Don’t be like the immature in Christ who is selective to whom he or she speaks with, especially in front of others. Purposefully ignoring some is a sin, ladies and gentleman, at least from a Christian worldview. In Titus 2:7 we learn, “In everything set an example by doing what is good.” So be it, brethren.

We do good when we do what God asks us to do. Remember: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Christians, this is our duty, not just mine or yours! “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).  

The word of God is clear. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be very careful with how you treat others. The Lord is watching all of us under the sun.

 

From A Technician to An Artist: What A Transition

From A Technician to An Artist: What A Transition

I’ve been a technician of media for over twelve years. During this period, I had the opportunity to design and develop tons of websites, promotional flyers, corporate brochures and logos, a couple of songs, and a number of educational games. In addition, I’ve photographed a wide variety of sport events, church performances, and corporate gatherings in a number of states in America. I’m a communication technologist who knows how to use multimedia tools to produce tangible media artifacts. My art background is still a work in progress, though.

I got no formal training as an “artist”, only as a designer of media content. I’m glad to inform you that informally, I’ve been studying the history of the art for the past two years avidly. Perhaps, I should change my middle name to Picasso and live in Italy in 2021! Just kidding, of course. I don’t know about that but hey… I’m doing my work.

Right now, I’m transitioning from being a person who knows how to use the “toys” of media to someone who is literally engaging in producing timeless pieces of art. I mean, I’m transitioning from being a technician of media to the role of what I like to call a true artist… finally. Right now, I’m as interested in thinking about the intricacies of visual perception and appreciation… How to think art and appreciate different art forms as much as the development of the photograph itself.

I’m fascinated by impressionism. I can’t stop thinking about it, actually. It’s is challenge that I’ve been enjoying so far, I must admit. There is so much more to learn! It’s a wonderful feeling that I love.

Instead of simply taking a good photograph by applying the basic elements of design, e.g., the rule of thirds and lines of direction, for example, I now photograph by feeling, with the intent of producing new forms of perception without escaping reality. I still engage in some illusionist appeals (Produce my own filters and such… my baggage as a technician) but the appreciation of art forms and textures are now becoming priority during my quest to becoming a “true artist” in photography.

Emergent, I am. More sophisticated I will be, Lord willing. My past is currently helping me to construct a new future. Life is art. Artists we all should be. From a technician to an artist: What a transition, I say. Let’s keep the faith and keep doing art, if we may.

Challenges Will Head Your Way: Don’t Be Afraid

Challenges Will Head Your Way: Don’t Be Afraid

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.  Our goal in life is to follow God’s instruction and live in Him who grants us all the power, love and a mind to glorify Him and live the good life. Don’t be afraid! Rejoice, instead because the Lord is good.

Challenges will head your way in your adult life. Don’t be afraid. It just happens, you know? It happens to the best of us. It is normal and expected. It’s a part of live as many people would say.

In fact, it is statistically improbable that the alternative will prove to be right. We all face challenges in this world, in one way or another.

Perhaps, there are adults out there who don’t experience challenges in life for some reason. I just don’t know who they are…

This is what I’ve seen in my life.

If a person is wealthy, he can face challenges for being wealthy. Examples of stresses that a wealthy person face include losing money during a business downturn, the possibility of being kidnapped, or assassinated because of their positive financial position. Wealthy friends, don’t fear. God is with you, too. Just remember that.

If a person belongs to the middle class, she faces many challenges, as well. The poor can be jealous of those who aren’t poor which in itself can be challenging to anyone, especially for a middle class employee depending on her job to eat each month. This group of people face many additional challenges as an adult including the inability to pay lower taxes, affordable housing in some places, access to good dental services and health care at an affordable price, among many other ones. With God, there is no need to be afraid, ladies and gents.

If someone is poor, the struggle is for real and is constant. The poor struggles so much in this life. The poor is often stuck in their situation and are the ones who often suffer the most in their adult life. The challenges that they experience are so many! I would say that we have the duty to help them in any capacity we can as members of the body of Christ. Poor people are God’s favorite if they belong to the body of Christ, which many do. Brothers and sisters in the lower cast, God loves you, as well. Stay firm in the faith and don’t fear…

God is good… all the time. From east to west, north to south, black and white or in colors… the Lord is with us forever.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalms 46 1:3).

Never forget that.

Not Doing Anything Makes Good People Guilty

Not Doing Anything Makes Good People Guilty

There is no reason or excuse for anybody to allow racism to occur in any corporation, whether or not, a person claims to be For it or against it. In my book, when a person who claims to be against racism doesn’t do anything about it when an opportunity arises, he or she is guilty of being complacent, perhaps a racist him or herself.

I know a couple of people who fit this description precisely. They are all very nice, pleasant, and quite polite and on the surface, they are against racism. They are vocal about their views on racism and good people overall. However, when the time arises for them to really step up and do something about the issue, they just don’t. The bail out always finding an excuse for doing so. Many times, ironically, they align themselves with the same people who are racists themselves in order to gain more respect among them.

It’s a tragic reality that I’ve seen under the sun… in multiple states, under different circumstances, regardless of gender. Ladies and gentleman, racism in this country may be better than it was in the 60’s but it is still alive and well. It’s just displayed in a different form… it’s more subtle. To quote a former colleague of mine, “The KKK now wears a suit and a tie”

Not doing anything (about racism, for example) makes good people guilty of inaction. It’s a tragedy that perhaps will never cease to exist. I must say that I would rather talk with a racist heads on than speak with someone who pretends to be against racism but are de facto a racist in disguise him or herself.

Do you know people like these? I most definitely do. They are everywhere, I must add.

Do My Students Know Ben Hogan?

Do My Students Know Ben Hogan?

I will be teaching two golf classes this semester — Beginning and intermediate golf. Have my students heard of the great Ben Hogan, I wonder? Considering that Ben would have been 107 this year, I have my doubts despite of Mr. Hogan’s extraordinary accomplishments in the sport. One thing is for sure. Students in one of the classes will be reading the book, “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.” The reason why they are going read Hogan’s classic is due to the value that this book brings to novice golfers. And of course… they will read the book to get to know who Ben Hogan was, if they have never heard of him.

Let me start with this. I was trained in “Ben Hogan Golf” since the age of 11. My dad was a Ben Hogan fan as well as my golf teacher. Although his teachings are now “old school” to some and “modern” to others… I argue that his teachings are timeless. The Grip, stance and posture, and the parts of the swing (1 and 2) are simply brilliant. If my daughter was interested in competitive golf, she would receive training in “Ben Hogan Golf,” I must tell you. You can’t go wrong by listening to Ben Hogan, I say.

Kids these days think that golf is Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka or Justin Rose. Well, it is, of course… but let’s not forget that most (if not all) of competitive golfers today were trained in “Ben Hogan Golf,” or his principles. I must admit that it will be a good feeling to talk about Hogan to a kid who asks the question, “Why are we using this book for our golf class?”

I’m a big traditional kind of guy… Old school golfer. After hitting more than 2 million golf balls in the driving range alone and a number of open tournaments won under my belt, I think I’ve earned the right to talk Ben Hogan the way I want [Laughs].

Kids, be ready. You will learn golf this semester. The old way… Or shall we say, modern golf.

 

 

Work More, Eat More… Work Less, Eat Less

Work More, Eat More… Work Less, Eat Less

Work more, eat more… work less, eat less. I heard this former quote from a Chinese American speaker in an opening semester ceremony keynote this month. I must admit that I loved his speech as much as I liked the quote itself because of what the quote represented to me. Every time that I hear about the need to be hard working in the work force, I get excited.

“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat” – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (NIV).

God teaches us to work to eat!

The moment that we stop working more, at least in theory, we start getting less. In addition to the former, there are a number of other benefits for working hard, other than eating more, though. Working hard provides opportunities for employees to learn, reason and engage in social events. A healthy person should eat well, keep on learning new skillsets and aptitudes, think critically about life events and attend social gatherings.

Throughout my career, I’ve worked a lot. I’ve ate a lot too! Thanks be to God. In a period of ten years, I strived to gain new skillsets, art skills for example, which has given me the opportunity to critically think about how art is related to the social sciences and vice-versa. Learning the intersect between the arts and the sciences has been instrumental in my professional life.

I’ve ate great formal meals relating to the former! In fact, it has helped me to gain access to exclusive meetings in three states. All because I decided to work more not less.

My advice: Be ready to work and strive to be better in everything you do. Working hard is a must, I say. In addition to eating more, working hard will make you think about life in a total new way, as a bonus.

You will live life to the fullest.

Dad, I Want To Live In Gulf Shores, AL

Dad, I Want To Live In Gulf Shores, AL

Me too, Sophia. Living at the beach would be great, I must add… but my wishes come second to what the Lord wants for me. In the bible, we learn that “we shouldn’t be anxious about anything” (Philippians 4:16).  All we can do is to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Perhaps one day, we are going to move to a college town near the beach, I tell my kid.  Lord willing…

“My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) and mine… Everything in Gods’s time I say to Sophia and sometimes my wife. Why do I say that? Because nobody really knows what the future will bring but God. Fortunate are those who pray and wait patiently because they will inherit what they deserve from above. There is no need to rush into anything under the sun, I’ve learned.

Trusting God is always better than trusting men or women.

Th bible is full of verses advancing the need for humans to be patient and wait for God’s guidance. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). In proverbs we also learn that “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9)… We must give God room to work in our lives, ladies and gentleman. 

My daughter Sophia is young and full of energy and that’s a blessing. The former, however, doesn’t grant her, me or you the right to choose where we want to live or when we should move jobs,  unfortunately. Only God can make that call! I trust in Him with all my heart and by faith… I wait in hope for my place under the sun. Thanks be to God who created us. I surrender…

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14 ). Trusting God’s judgement about our future is the responsible and right thing to do, brethren.

 

 

 

He Who Dwells In The Shelter Of The Most High Will Rest In The Shadow Of The Almighty

He Who Dwells In The Shelter Of The Most High Will Rest In The Shadow Of The Almighty

God is a wonderful Lord who protects us. Friends, what a great gift it is to be with God. In His name, we live… To God will always be the glory, amen.

Psalm 91…

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

How My Faith Informs My Role As A Faculty Member

How My Faith Informs My Role As A Faculty Member

My life’s primary tenet is that I don’t live for man. I live for God through faith. I believe that the Holy Bible is the living word of God, we are to seek salvation through Jesus Christ, and that God is with us in everything we do. In addition, I hold the belief that we are in this world to glorify the Lord through our gifts. I am a person of character who lives a connected life. I don’t believe in part-time Christianity. Being with God is a gift. This is my journey.

I still remember being in an emergency room of a private hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil crying for God for help so I could live. I was bleeding internally and was pretty scared. I remember my parents standing beside me in despair and the emergency room physician saying, “I don’t know what is wrong with him.” I remember closing my eyes and literally seeing my life, up to that point, pass very quickly like a film in my head. I saw a bright light and all of a sudden… I found peace. I started praying to Jesus Christ and begged that if I was going to live, I would dedicate my life for the pursuits of Christ and advancing the gospel.

For a moment, I thought I was in heaven as I felt a very calm feeling. Then, I woke up and realized that I wasn’t bleeding anymore — nowhere. I started crying, kneeled on my knees and start praying to God. It was a miracle. God brought me back to life. Suddenly, my parents came in and in disbelief started to hug me. The doctor was shocked by what he saw it. I still remember his facial expressions to this day.

Since then, I have been defending the gospel and bringing people to God since. I have my Bible open at Psalm 91 for protection. God is my life. I found Christ at the age of 13.

My faith informs my role as a faculty member by serving as a cornerstone of my teaching philosophy. My base is Christian focused on high ethics with a touch of service. My being is diverse, a mix of Portuguese blood in one body. I see my role as a faculty member like Jesus was with His disciples — Attentive, caring, honest, just, and full of integrity.

I feel responsible for the development of my pupils from freshman to senior, as Jesus did to those who were new and/or old to the faith. 

Create Like An Optimist. Spend Like A Pessimist…

Create Like An Optimist. Spend Like A Pessimist…

Create like an optimist. Spend like a pessimist… Seth Godin once said. As you know by now, I’m a Seth Godin fan because he thinks critically about facts and concepts that are applicable to our daily lives. In an age where distribution has been commoditized, it only makes sense for us to create art if you think about it. Putting our brains to work makes a lot of sense to me especially because the cost for delivering art to s viable market is often free of charge. As a caveat, spending our income wisely or shall we say, with much pessimism if you please, seems right to me because it allows us to produce more art overtime.

I don’t foresee a decrease in art creation for public art consumption in the near future simply because we can produce artifacts with ease and because of the unevenly distributed global wealth calls that exists worldwide today. Let’s not forget that the art market has grown to 67.3 billion in 2017, making art a massive industry in the global economy. God figure! As Seth, would say, what we do is art. I say… We live for art since art is what we should create. We are creating beings, ladies and gents.

You can make a career in art.

At the same time we create, we should save… Or spend like a pessimist! Saving our funds enable us to create even more art, which is de facto the ideal these days according to Seth and other critical thinkers. It is tough to create art en masse without food in your bellies.

What Elon Musk produces is art. What Apple delivers is art. Our work outputs are artifacts… What we do is art, as Seth would say. I agree.

Let’s create like an optimist and spend like a pessimist. We are creative beings that were born to make art. When we spend our monies responsibly, creating more art becomes much easier which in turn results in more creative output.

What have you created lately? Are you spending your income wisely?

 

 

 

 

Being Constantly On A Smartphone Won’t Help You To Better Understand Your Surroundings

Being Constantly On A Smartphone Won’t Help You To Better Understand Your Surroundings

One of the best skills I’ve developed in my life is the ability to be quiet and observe verbal and non-verbal behavior around me. It is amazing what people find out when they simply pay close attention to what others say through words or actions. Let me share this with you. Silence, ladies and gentleman, is a source of great strength as Lao Tzu once stated. Being constantly on a smartphone won’t help you to better understand your surroundings where you work and live. Here is my recommendation for you: Put that fancy smartphone to the side and pay close attention to the world around you, especially how people behave and speak with you.

Your ability to read people is so much more valuable than going to facebook to share wall updates. Being able to make objective instead of emotional decisions is also a critical skillset that people must have these days in order to navigate society with a sense of authority and control. Yet, too many people today are choosing to spend their lives in front of the machine wasting their time doing frivolous actions and learning very little. I bet that most of your grandkids will choose an app instead of almost anything else.

Listen carefully: Being constantly on your computer will reduce your chances of being a human polygraph because to achieve the former, people need to be quiet and study key concepts of nonverbal communication and persuasion. I am not aware of any city or town, regardless of size and state, that will allow strangers into their most intricate local protocols simply by them liking the city council’s facebook page. Outsiders must gain a great degree of trust before access to any community is granted, unless a member of that community introduces him to the group. Do you really think that your instagram campaign will help you to get elected to a local non-profit board? I don’t think that this technology will help you much. Your ability to communicate matters, remember that. 

I am fresh here in Cleveland but some of you have been very gracious to help me to navigate this nice but unfamiliar territory. Let me say this loud and clear: You are so much better than any app we find in the latest available smartphone. I wouldn’t be a part of my community without people’s help. Thank you! At least, I have the common sense to realize that in this life, everybody needs to be helped by someone which is in itself a consequence to choosing people over technology. 

Remember: Your smartphone is maybe a great tool for you to call your parents, receive and answer emails and participate in social media conversations throughout the day. I urge you to put your smartphone ahead of you life. The value for doing that is simply not worth it. You would be so much better off by building contacts face-to-face than to naively believe that a piece of perishable machinery could de facto help you with navigating though society. In reality, life doesn’t work that way.

What really concerns me about people choosing technology over people in this instance is people overall inability to see and “feel” the obvious. We live in a rough world where too many individuals take advantage of others. Why should we sacrifice our own abilities to communicate and perceive behavior for the sake of technology? Well, I won’t and I hope that you join the team as well.

When Pride Comes, Then Comes Disgrace

When Pride Comes, Then Comes Disgrace

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs: 11:2). The bible also teaches us that the Lord detests men of perverse heart and that the wicked will not go unpunished… We serve a just God indeed, ladies and gentleman. Don’t let pride corrupt your character making you into an evil person.

God speaks to me, in the depths of my brain not via text messaging.

I hear his voice through the holy spirit, I must add. He gives me the discernment to identify who is a friend and who is a foe, danger from a safe place, what is gossip and what is truth, and what is fair and what is unjust and the many faces of pride.

The Lord loves me. He loves you, as well. God shows me who is prideful. Be careful with pride brethren, Much pain comes from pride, either directly or indirectly. Because of pride, former angels were expelled from the heavens. In essence, pride makes some think that they are better than others, violating God’s law making a person wicked and a sinner. “Haughty eyes and a proud heart—the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin” (Proverbs 21:4).

It brings disgrace nevertheless… “Don’t boast about tomorrow because you don’t know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1) and never forget that “A man’s pride brings him low but a man of lowly spirit gains honor” (Proverbs 29:33). It pays off to be humble and follow God’s commands. Anyone who is consumed by pride will not inherit the kingdom of God, let’s not forget that.

Pride is a killer. Don’t let pride rob what God has promised for your life. God hates any variation of pride and won’t wait much to punish the prideful. We are to be sons and daughters of God who love others, away from prideful thinking. The moment that pride consumes you, you can only think about yourself which is literally the opposite of what God wants us to do in this world.

My advice: Love God, be humble, don’t be prideful in any way. That’s the wise thing to do, I say.

The Doe Of The Morning: A Psalm Of David — Psalm 22

The Doe Of The Morning: A Psalm Of David — Psalm 22

Psalm 22: With God, everything is possible despite the many challenges that may go your way. Stay firm in the faith and let God do His work. The schemes of men will be returned with the wrath of God. Trust… My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. “He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear youI will fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him— may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

 

One Way To Differentiate A College Or University For Success

One Way To Differentiate A College Or University For Success

Most colleges and universities in America seem to offer the same services to their students for a varied price with minimum variation. It isn’t atypical for an institution of higher learning in the US to offer a liberal arts curriculum containing classes in English, language and a social science along with a class in physics and physical education. In addition to the former, post secondary institutions in this country ask students to declare a major and complete major courses at all levels.

Most, if not all colleges, offer an opportunity for students to pursue an internship to gain practical knowledge about the concepts and principles they have learned while in the classroom and sometimes the opportunity to do an independent study. The system seems too homogeneous to me. 

Due to the harsh competition for students that exists in higher education, colleges and universities are now offering “extra amenities” sometimes even literally shifting their business model to attract a higher number of incoming freshman and transfers to their institutions. Examples of the former include:

  1. Including Christian principles in the curriculum in order to attract more students.
  2. Requiring faculty members to live near campus to be involved in school operations 
  3. Counting on history as a means to attract a certain type of incoming freshman. *Often seen in HBCU’s. 
  4. Creating courses that are more practical in nature.
  5. Reforming the transfer student protocol to be more user friendly with community colleges. 
  6. Accepting more dual enrollment courses while students are still in high school.
  7. Creating on-line versions of their on-campus majors in order to attract non-traditional students at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 
  8. Creating more graduate programs especially masters degree programs.
  9. Offer the opportunity for students to serve while pursuing a college education.
  10. Building expensive buildings and hotel like dorms in order to impress students.
  11. Writing personal notes to potential students and having faculty call them.

And so on… All good ideas, in my opinion, by the way. Some of these attempts to recruit more students are more expensive than others, though.

They do work, for the most part. The problem is that every institution seems to be implementing most of these strategies already. Fair enough! Competition for students are here to stay, I think.

Let’s not forget that we live in an age where people aren’t having as many kids as they once did which in itself causes a direct threat to the system of higher education in the United States. Let’s also keep in mind that the number of public universities offering a four year degree has increased (the Penn State System is a good example of that) over time and that the number of private colleges closing or being acquired by other institutions have risen exponentially lately, especially if their enrollments fall under 1000. 

No wonder why we, college professors, are being asked to help position our institutions in order to assist administration to cope with such difficult circumstances. That’s difficult but not impossible. In fact, I’m, afraid that we haven’t tried something obvious, though.

BTW: I don’t have a complete solution for the enrollment problem that we are facing in higher education but I have a thought that could be argued to be the missing piece in this discussion of how to save our system of higher education in America.

I’m going to do my best to explain it to you. Here we go. In oder to differentiate one college from another, a college or university should do the following:

It should redesign courses and academic programs incorporating expertise from multiple professors in order to solve market problems through a multidisciplinary approach. Let me explain: Rather than offering a course in mathematics with a faculty member from the math department only… an institution of higher learning should create a math for communicators course, for example, incorporating concepts and examples from communication using mathematical principles to solve communication problems.

Another example would be to create a major in Data Engineering where professors of statistics in conjunction with others in engineering would then co-create the curriculum and co-teach all of these co-designed courses from a completely new and multidisciplinary perspective. As a caveat… It would be helpful to realign professor’s offices differently in order to make this plan work. I would argue that placing a professor of communication and a mathematician side-by-side (office location, I mean) would be an excellent idea to be implemented under this differentiated potential operational model of higher education. By placing a historian beside a chemist, colleges and universities could potentially start offering a course titled, “History of Atomic Structure In Western Civilization,”  

It is true that some institutions attempted to do the former but with little success. Majors like Sports Management, Education Psychology and many others have been developed with this intention in mind, I think. The reason they weren’t as innovative, in my opinion, was because these majors were primarily taught by faculty members of one academic unit. In addition, these faculty members who contributed to the development of these majors, didn’t have offices side by side with members from another department in order to keep building more multidisciplinary courses in the discipline.

There is one threat to my potential solution to the problem of differentiation in higher education. I admit… In a decade or less, more colleges and universities may adopt this way to differentiate, emulating the same organization that introduced this solution. The good news is that things change and a new idea can then be introduced ten years from now, I don’t know. Only time will tell, I guess.

Hypothetically speaking, of course…  

This potential way for a college or university to differentiate itself from others by redesigning courses and academic programs to incorporate expertise from multiple professors in order to solve market problems through a multidisciplinary approach, could be life changing. Is it the only way? Absolutely not. But, it is one way.

This is what I think. Do you have a better solution? Let’s chat.

The Marks Of Spiritual Immaturity In Plain English

The Marks Of Spiritual Immaturity In Plain English

Two weeks ago… Ramon Torres, the Senior Pastor at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church shared with us a very important bible lesson in his Sunday sermon, “The marks of spiritual immaturity,” how to recognize them, and why so many Christians haven’t been as mature in the faith as they probably should.

Let me echo this message.

There are marks of spiritual immaturity clearly stated in the holy bible (1 Corinthians 3:1-9) and he nailed it. After hearing him preach on this topic, I said to myself, “I need to write about it in my blog because I believe that he was inspired by God with that message.”

So, let me share with you what scripture teaches us about spiritual immaturity first followed by the notes of two dreams I had on the topic. Be ready, this post will make you think and is likely to make you uncomfortable, perhaps a bit scared.

A clear sign of spiritual immaturity is pride. Infant believers are often not living according to God’s commands, which often leads to arrogance, lacking humbleness and often resisting the authority of God. Pride is a cancer that can destroy the very best, quickly. When we find pride, we find immaturity. Proverbs 16:18 – Pride [goeth] before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Jealousy is also a clear indicators of spiritual immaturity. Mature Christians are occupied with doing things that relate to God not men. Immature ones often focus their energy on attacking others, directly or indirectly, because of what they have or could have. The moment that the immature in Christ allows jealousy to consume her thoughts and actions, her mind, heart and life often pays the price. In fact, the former is quite easy to see among many church goers these days. Job 5:2 – “Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.”

An immature believer is filled with strife. Generating false claims about someone and purposefully disagreeing with others with the intent of having conflicting opinions with them for “winning” sake is often a consequence of pride. As we have pointed out in this article, price is a cancer that can destroy the very best. Generating discord or disunity, sometimes isolation is not what God has planned for us to do with each other at all in his church and out. One cannot be spiritually mature behaving this way. Philippians 2:3 – “[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

Idolatry. Steve Jobs was a great leader but he wasn’t God. The moment that a person looks at a leader, person of influence, etc… as if he or she is a half god, chances are very high that this person is spiritually immature.  We can’t honor God and money. We can’t worship God and Krishna. It is not possible to love God and any corporate leader in this earth simultaneously. A spiritually mature man or woman understands this simple fact. 1 Corinthians 10:14 – “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”

Living according to the world is also a sign of the spiritually immature. Seeking to live in Lavish houses, owning expensive cars, living life for money to do this, seeking more money to do that and forgetting God… Buying your way into a college or treating some well and others not with the fear of being reprimanded by an influential group are also signs of spiritual immaturity. If anyone has an obsession with wealth, they don’t live for God. A spiritually mature Christian doesn’t allow the world to sway him from what is important to God, which is total submission to God’s word. Be aware of those who claim to be godly people but mistreat the brethren for self again in the church and out. John 4:5 –  “They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.”

Are you spiritually mature or immature? Let’s do some retrospect about the former by relating what we are to the way that God asks us to be.

All right…

Now let me type in here the notes I got from two dreams I had relating to the topics we have discussed in this post. Are you ready? Here we go. *By the way: The notes below were written at 3:30am in the morning both times, right after I woke up from these dreams.

“Write more about the glory of God (not giving glory to other human beings) in everything and the dangers of pride. The dream appeared to be a dream about how christians would be tortured (or pay) for their sin until they got it right in the heavens. Write about salvation in Jesus Christ alone. That’s a condition of salvation.  I saw lost sheep (higher up clergy and Protestant pastors focused on money), in a sadistic place where a Christian had no way out. It was four layers down in hell.

I saw the disguise of a Christian act, repeated torture… knowing part of the answer to salvation allowed me to wake up. In the dream, there was a need to be grounded in scripture for your own sake and knowing the answers about what God wants us to know found in the Bible. Don’t lower your guard.

Scripture stopped an evil spirit from eating my right finger. I heard, “What God can give, He can take it away.” My cry for help didn’t work initially but I was able to wake up to to deep bible understanding. Live upright according to the bible and perhaps know that God paid a big price for our sins.

It was clear to me that both dreams had a clear message for us all, “Live upright and live grounded in the Bible.”

Know the Bible, apply the many Bible lessons, God doesn’t help sinners. I saw lie being used as a weapon for false hope (many times) and disguise to test your belief and convictions. Lukewarm is not enough.

Be patience. Don’t trust too quickly. Don’t rush. I saw the need for people to take anxiety medicine to take spirits out. I saw evil ants entering me and people I know, including my mother. Nobody could see what we saw or believed us. Our belief in God killed the ants, shortly.

At first I had no control over such attacks. Scripture was the only way to flee such attacks.

Devils were not able to function when I was patient and calm and trusted in God in the dream. When I resisted a sexy naked women who was tempting me, made the evil go away. I said, “This isn’t cool. Nobody should show their nude appearance too quickly to anyone. Wait women, patience.

I then was found myself wondering in the ocean with big waves in dark trees. My thoughts were focused on remembering trust and patience. Two weird creatures (angels) gave me the answers to escape the nightmare but they were not very clear. I think I remember the need to be patient in life.

These dreams were reminders that faith wasn’t enough. “Try to fight me with that only and see if you are going to win,” the devil said.

Literally surrender to God. Calm down and apply the faith. In my two dreams, it was clear that the depth of our faith matters. Be fascinated with God not anything else. Pride, living according to the world, idolatry… they lead to potentially having believers going to hell if they weren’t strong in the faith and truly applying what they believe.

I mean, everything.

Two weeks ago… Ramon Torres, the Senior Pastor at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church shared with us a very important bible lesson in his Sunday sermon, “The marks of spiritual immaturity,” Pride, jealousy, strife, idolatry and living according to the world are signs of spiritual immaturity. There are consequences for not doing what God tells us to do. My dreams were clearly a reminder of that, I think. I saw pastors burning in fire for greed. I heard the need to be patient in life and letting God work in our lives and much more.

In sum: It pays off to be spiritually mature and apply the lessons found in the bible for our own sake. Ladies and gents, let’s make God a priority in this world and the next. It seems to be the right thing to do.

Fame Breeds Trust These Days

Fame Breeds Trust These Days

According to Seth Godin, one of my favorite authors, trust is at the center of what makes a person sell a product to a particular market. In the United States, as he emphasizes, trust (for now) equates to fame for many. I think that Seth is right about this, as long as trust is defined by the people a “famous” person has on their side.

To Obama fans, Obama is trustworthy. Trump fans find him trustworthy. Putin is probably trustworthy among the people he serves. Now, all of these three leaders were famous before they were trustworthy. Obama didn’t become trustworthy on-line without fame off-line. The same goes to Trump, Putin or any other TV celebrity with millions of followers on instagram out there.  I dare to say that every recent big account on twitter was started by someone who already had some clout off-line (fame) which allowed them to be “trustworthy” on-line which resulted in them having engagement rates at ridiculous levels on a daily basis. Today, having trust equates to sales, or being elected, and so on.

No wonder why Kim Kardashian is able to sell so much merchandise. Her fame off-line allowed her to be a trusted choice for the people she serves on-line. She was Paris Hilton’s friend who probably made her “famous” by introducing her to her network which eventually turned Kim into a trustworthy brand for a group. Without off-line fame (or connections), at least in the United States today, it is very tough for anyone to build a millionaire business that deals with the public, I bet.

Reality…

I wrote over ninety columns for the Cleveland Daily Banner, here in town for about a year. There is no doubt that I became a famous local personality in this small city we call Cleveland, Tennessee, to some. How do I know this? Because people were constantly stopping me in the grocery store, gas stations, WalMart… making comments like, “Aren’t you the guy who writes for the newspaper?” “Man, I love your column!” “Would you like to come speak in our club about technology?”

The fact that my face was in one of my community’s main news outlets gave me tremendous trust in this community to a point of being invited to speak at the local Rotary Club, Civitan, United Way, WTNB, and two TV stations in Chattanooga. Think about this logic for a minute — “If Luis is writing for the Banner and people are talking about him so much in the community (fame), he therefore must be trustworthy (trust). Maybe we should bring him to our club to speak (sale).

I kind of knew this logic before through observation. Now that Seth has written about fame preceding trust in his latest book, “This is Marketing,” I’m convinced that anyone who threatens your path to “fame” (definitions may vary, of course), threatens your ability to be trusted and consequently sell whatever you offer to a viable market regardless of intentionality. More than ever, we need to pay attention to the former because appearances do matter these days.    

We live in a weird global economy where people’s fame gives them a certain level of trust. The edge of trust. At least, this is the reality in the United States, according to Seth Godin. Trust is at the center of what makes a person sell a product to a particular market. Fortunate will be those who position themselves to build “fame” in order to build trust, if their goal is to sell something to an audience. It is goofy but if Seth said so, I bet it is.

Are you a famous person to a particular group? If you are, I bet they trust you or your brand and being “famous” had something to do with it. If you are not famous, I suggest that you become “famous” to somebody if your goal is to sell a product or service. We live in a shallow world in America these days where appearance of “fame” seems to matter more than ever in sales. It is odd, I know and agree.

Are you famous? Who is trusting you? You may want to know the answer to the former questions. It may be the difference between you selling yourself (or something) to an audience these days or not.

Take note, ladies and gents.

Why Are Children A Gift From God?

Why Are Children A Gift From God?

Because God said so. Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.” (Psalm 127:3-5). 

Indeed, Children are a gift from God.

They are also a gift because of the following:

  1. They teach us love: Love is when we like someone else more than we like ourselves. Children often make us like them more than ourselves early on. I cannot imagine any mom leaving her kid astray and not helping her son or daughter in times of need, assuming that she is in good mental health. If Sophia needs my help, in Christ I say, I will do what I can to provide and protect her because I like her more than I like myself. I can say the same for my wife.
  2. They teach us self-sacrifice:  Children are labor intensive and need a lot of attention especially when they are young. They don’t have the ability to provide for themselves which inevitably leads us to put their needs ahead of ours. They are dependent on their daddy and mommy to eat and to be taken care of especially when they are sick or sad. As a parent, you will find yourself engaging in self-sacrifice, e.g, going to the hospital at 4:15am because your kid has a fever or spending your disposable income buying them toys and happy meals to make them happy and smile… which are clearly examples of self sacrifice, I must add. Parents (responsible ones) choose to provide for their kids first before thinking about themselves.
  3. They teach us discipline: Sophia eats at 7:00pm and goes to bed around 8:00pm, everyday. She wakes us up promptly at 6:55am so she can start her daily duties. Consequently, we are awake in the bathroom with her at 7:05am brushing our teeth and getting ready to eat breakfast by 7:15am. We then take her to school promptly by 7:40am or so every morning, Monday to Friday. You get the point! Children helps us to be more discipline, especially with time, which is in itself a big blessing for responsible adults.
  4. They teach us self-control: Small children makes us calmer. Let me say this: Sophia makes me very calm, especially during the weekends. I’m much calmer with Sophia than with my parents which historically have made me quite calm. I would say that my daughter Sophia helps me a lot in this area, quite a lot in fact. I have become much calmer because of children which literally makes children a blessing in our lives. Because kids sometimes lack self-control and can be impulsive, adults who are invested in the lives of their kids are able to help them out in order to avoid such situations and consequently be more self-controlled themselves. The former results in parents making less elementary mistakes relating to lack of emotion control.
  5. They teach us gentleness: Gentleness can be defined as the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered. A kind person engages with a softness of action towards others, like speaking without screaming or legitimately helping others to cope with the many challenges that they experience in all arenas of life. Do you see why God tells us that children are a gift from him? Indeed, they are.  Unkindness and brutality are short lived and destructive in this world. We are to be kind and glorify God above everything. Children helps us with that.
  6. They teach us patience: I’m a very patient person by nature. However, Sophia made me even more patient than before. A child sometimes does stupid things which can make any well behaved parent/human being impatient. Kids slow you down and demand that you do things on their own time, they way. Many even scream quite loud in order to get what they want in their own time. A good parent don’t always fold to his children’s wishes, though. Patience is a requirement for raising children according to God’s laws (Ecclesiastes 7:9).  We learn a great deal of patience from kids, that’s fore sure.
  7. They help us when we are old: Not only that! They also help our parents to live a longer life. Sometimes, a grandchild is all that older people really have to look for in their lives — Seeing their grandchildren. Watching your parents happy and playing with your son and seeing your child smiling back in a blessing in itself which in turn become an indirect blessing to us. A kid in his or her teens can help their parents a lot inside (and outside) of the house which can be quite a blessing to any person needing to rest after a long day at work.

A man with children helps himself and his community including the church.  How much are kids worth? The answer is: I can’t calculate a fair number because children is a blessing from God. They are a heavily gift to us. They teach us direct and many times indirect lessons about love, self-sacrifice, self control, gentleness, patience…

Because… Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the glory of sons is their fathers” (Proverbs 17:6). Blessed are the ones who have a child spirit because they shall inherit the kingdom of God, as taught to us in Matthew 18:2.   

Love and keep loving children friends. Never forget that.

 

Presence Is The Greatest Gift That You Can Give

Presence Is The Greatest Gift That You Can Give

It isn’t technology, sorry.

When we are present and legitimately interested in positively impacting the lives of others, it is the greatest gift we can give to someone. Sometimes, “being there” is what people need the most. This irony is that too many people “aren’t there” when others needs them, making the former quite rare in society these days.

When students graduate, I’m there for them. When students come to my office with fear, I’m there for them. When students are anxious, I’m there for them. When students play sports on campus, I’m there with them. When you choose to be “there” for someone, your presence… is the greatest gift for them! This is perhaps why most people would rather see you at their party without a gift than receiving a gift from someone who didn’t attend the event. People appreciate the presence of others when his presence is a genuine gift.

From a biblical worldview, the presence of Jesus is a gift to us all. His presence to the disciplines was the greatest gift they got. When Peter was afraid, Jesus was there for him. When Thomas doubted, Jesus was there for him. When Mary was in sorrow, Jesus appeared to her. The bible is filled with these kinds of stories and how important they are to the development of people.

When I see people purposely being absent when the brethren tries to connect with them, it worries me much because the former is often a clear indication that something isn’t right, often with those who refuse connecting. Have you ever been in this kind of scenario? I have experienced that, yes. It is sad but not unheard of. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who have ever experienced such events, either.

In Colossians 4:5 we read, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” It only makes sense to “make most of the opportunity” by being present to others. It is the best gift we can give, don’t you think?

I say, don’t be absent when others may need you the most. I’m aware of at least 30 bible verses reminding us about the need to assist others with their needs. If one claims to be Christian but fails to care for others, fruit may not be in her because “By their fruit, you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). 

When we are present and legitimately interested in positively impacting the lives of others, it is the greatest gift we can give to someone. Sometimes, “being there” is what people need the most. Choose to be there for someone today. Let’s live a life for Christ following His commands not ours.

Living for God based on earthly values and beliefs isn’t very Christian, I say. Being with God is a gift. Let’s honor the commitment, ladies and gents. Sometimes, “being there” is what people need the most. Choose to be there for someone today. It is our duty.

 

 

A Wise Man Brings Joy To His Father And Mother

A Wise Man Brings Joy To His Father And Mother

The bible says, “A wise man brings joy to his father but a foolish man despises his mother” (Proverbs 15:20). In my life, I have done what I could to honor my dad and mom because this is what God asks of us, along with my belief that those who raise you must receive the very best in return from those who were raised.

It isn’t an accident that the bible mention 75 verses about parenthood. Clearly, God wants us to better understand our parents and respect them because being obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 3:20). How wrong can we do if we do what is right to God’s eyes? We can’t go wrong, I say. Some people may disagree but don’t forget what God teaches us in Ecclesiastes, “Do not pay attention to every word people say” (Ecclesiastes 7:17). 

Wisdom is better than folly, friends. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH (Ephesians 6:2-3). Don’t you want to live a long life? I do. Just realize that longevity isn’t calculated in human numbers but God’s time. 

Moral of the story. Love your parents and don’t forget them in their old days.  Don’t be foolish to think that they don’t matter when they are old or young. Lessons relating to patience, caution, strategy, and persistence are some of the lessons I’ve been learning (or shall I say, relearning) lately from them.     

The brethren must realize that the “Eyes of the Lord are everywhere” (Proverbs 15:3). God is paying attention to how we treat others especially our parents. As a devoted Christian, I see God’s writings as a manual for us to follow here on earth. Be wise and listen to your parents. God recommends us to honor our parents. If God says it, it settles it. 

What I’ve Learned From The Jewish Community That School Didn’t Teach Me

What I’ve Learned From The Jewish Community That School Didn’t Teach Me

As some of you may know, I’m Luis Camillo Almeida, AKA Dr. A, a college professor who completed three college degrees from American universities, including a PhD from Penn State. My bachelors and masters degrees were achieved at two small state schools in Western Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock and Clarion University. I was taught how to write better, speak a bit better, the basic concepts of management and how to conduct research, among other topics relating to the practicalities of academic life in graduate school.

Although I’ve learned a number of important communication and education concepts in school, what I’ve been learning from the Jewish community since the completion of my PhD has been stunning. Deep lessons from the bible, the rules of marketing and strategies to find a niche, along with lessons on power, war and seduction with a touch of intellectualism… I attribute the former to the Hebrew bible, Seth Godin, Robert Greene, Richard Wolff, Noam Chomsky, and Gary VaynerChuck.

Nowhere, during my ten years of academic training, I’ve learned what I am going to write for you in this blog post. As a matter of fact, I would strongly recommend that you read this one and share it with your friends because chances are you probably never heard all of these concepts either. Sooner or later, you will need them.

Do me a favor: Stop using your social media accounts for a bit. Don’t let your smartphone rob you from the knowledge that you should have. You deserve better.

I warn you that most of the content that you are going to read in here comes from Jewish influencers and literature which in itself can make this article quite interesting and unorthodox. Last remark: I will share with you a number of lessons (knowledge, too) that I’ve not learned while in school, from Jewish leaders, but not everything. There is way too much to share, actually!

Here we go.

  1. The bible book of Ecclesiastes is a book that helps people to find their purpose in life, wisdom for everyday living, and how to deal with the bottom of the bottom of life circumstances.  It also presents the argument that money for money sake is an empty human pursuit, its vanity.  It also discusses the consequences of knowing too much and the sorrow that follows it. This bible book talks about the inevitability of death, the oppression and evil of men, business failures and more. It also talks about the chance for somebody to be wealthy and that wealth doesn’t always goes to those who have the brains. We learn in this book that we often receive bad for generosity and that above all, we should live a life that we want because our days are short on earth. Jewish wisdom from jewish literature.
  2. “Quitting is not the same as failing; The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing; Marketing doesn’t have to be selfish; People like us do things like this; Attention is a precious resource because our brains are cluttered with noise; Culture beats strategy; If you want to make change, begin by making culture; The smallest viable market concept; I’m not rational and neither are you; Seek the purple cow; Start with empathy to see the real need; Everyone is lonely, insecure, and a bit of a fraud; Early adopters aren’t adapters; You have to be the only option on the market; Don’t make average stuff to average people; Be a linchpin!  Emotional labor is worth the pursuit; Nobody needs your product, they may want it; If you want to be independent, you probably need your own assets, or a reputation.”  Jewish lessons from Seth Godin.
  3. Never put too much trust in friends; Never outshine the master; Court attention at all costs; Avoid the unhappy and unlucky; Use absence to increase respect and honor; Re-create yourself; Master the art of timing; Never appear too perfect; Assume formlessness; Turn the tables when required; Know your enemy; Negotiate while advancing; Take the line of least expectation sometimes; A man is often secretly oppressed by the role he has to play; Charm is seduction without sex; Anti-seducers are insecure, self-absorbed, and unable to absorb the psychology of another person; Send mixed signals sometimes; Doing something that people don’t expect creates a sense of suspense about your next move; Lofty words of love and grand gestures can be suspicious; An isolated person is weak; The greatest mistake in seduction is being too nice. Lessons from Robert Greene, a Jewish writer. 
  4. Inequality can be defined as when the powerful can buy their way in into the elite positions and/or organizations; Workers’ wages have been flat for nearly 40 years because the system of capitalism is faulty; A small number of corporate board members dictate the fate of millions of workers in American corporations not their production output; The national bureau of economic research is where we find out whether an economy is performing to standards not the media; It is never wise to only look at unemployment rate as a measure of economic development and advancement. When calculating U-6 numbers, the real “unemployment” of the USA in 2019 is 21%. Capitalism isn’t as different as the feudal system of the middle ages; There has been at least 11 recessions since the great depression making the capitalist system very unstable historically. Knowledge learned from Richard Wolff, a Jewish born marxist economist.     
  5. Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state; Education is a system of imposed ignorance; The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion; If you quietly accept and go along no matter what your feelings are, ultimately you internalize what you’re saying, because it’s too hard to believe one thing and say another; You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption; History shows that, more often than not, loss of sovereignty leads to liberalization imposed in the interests of the powerful; Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media; We shouldn’t be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas; How it is we have so much information, but know so little; Our ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries. When we face a problem, we may not know its solution, but we have insight, increasing knowledge, and an inkling of what we are looking for. When we face a mystery, however, we can only stare in wonder and bewilderment, not knowing what an explanation would even look like.  Jewish lessons from Noam Chomsky. 
  6. Distribution has been commoditized; We must create social media content at scale because it is free; Kids struggle in life because they lack perspective; Work hard and long hours. Don’t expect to build any business quickly. Give yourself 10 years; Attention is a currency today; Effort is grossly underrated; It’s easy to dream about it, but much harder to execute it; Brand storytelling is not about pushing advertising, it’s about bringing value; The best marketing strategy ever: care; If you’re not putting relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist in our society today; Content is king but context is god; Recognize that you have a much bigger chance and a better opportunity than your parents did to build a business around your passion and don’t take that for granted. Give value. Give value, Give value. And then ask for business. Being born wealthy is a handicap.  Lessons learned from Jewish entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck.

Did you learn something that you didn’t know? Man, I must admit that I know so little in this world, despite the fact that society labels me as an expert in my field of practice.  Although I’ve learned a number of important communication and education concepts in school, what I’ve been learning from the Jewish community since the completion of my PhD has been stunning.

Deep lessons from the bible, the rules of marketing and strategies to find a niche, along with lessons on power, war and seduction with a touch of intellectualism… I attribute the former to the Hebrew bible, Seth Godin, Robert Greene, Richard Wolff, Noam Chomsky, and Gary VaynerChuck.

We can learn much from minorities in America. What the Jewish community shares is clearly an example of that. Jews only represent 1.4% of the population in the United States. Stunning.

Hope you enjoyed the content of this post as much as I do. Cheers.

There Will Be A “Wall” And Mexican Workers Will Pay For It

There Will Be A “Wall” And Mexican Workers Will Pay For It

There will be a “wall” to protect the US/Mexico border against illegal immigration and Mexican workers will pay for it. Mexican workers? Yep. Let me explain…

Mexican workers, working for American corporations in Mexico, will help generate enough profit for American companies to invest in corporate research and development which in turn will help those corporations to create the very best automated systems our capitalist system has ever seen! Systems that will literally automate a large number of mundane jobs which will eventually decrease the demand for cheap labor in America.

Illegal immigrants, or any type of immigrant for that matter, immigrate to the United States because of opportunity. If opportunity is very scarce due to high levels of automation, why would anyone come here? There wouldn’t be a need, right?

It’s a profit game! By doing the former, American corporations would solve the problem of illegal immigration by creating a “virtual wall” between the countries through technology yet increasing profit gains. It’s a win-win situation for big companies, if you think about it. It’s bad business for workers including illegals.

Automation, I suspect, will be the “wall” between Mexico and  the United States. For many years, illegal immigration policies have served as a subsidy for big corporations in this country. No wonder why our borders are more open than they should. Advances in technology, automation specifically, will change that, I bet.

Through a capitalist system operating logic, we can deduce that if a company can replace an employee (illegal ones, for example) with a machine and still increase profit margins, cheap labor then becomes irrelevant to the corporation’s operation. We can also deduce that a slow rate of government deregulation and a shy corporate automation adoption cycle will likely result in an operation to be moved overseas (not necessarily to China) in order for big businesses to save in labor costs enhancing their chances to make a big profit before automation is fully implemented.

Either way, the American worker… immigrant or not, loses job security in the end. Illegal workers will quickly realize that there is de facto a “wall” between Mexico and the US, and will stop migrating to our country. Think about it.

Here is the irony, though.  Illegal immigrants may be a big problem for many. They don’t pay federal income taxes but they surely pay sales and help landlords to pay their own share of property taxes. Let’s not forget that companies paying employees under the table don’t have to pay for social security, either.

What makes America a country with a future is partly due to its rate of demographic growth which immigration helps with it quite a lot. Countries with an immigration problem, like Russia for example, will find themselves in trouble over time. How can a country sustain itself without people of working age? Aging populations are expensive and unproductive.

This generation of Mexicans will pay for the “wall” that will exist between Mexico and us, I think. Trump is a businessman, remember that… It’s a profit game! For many years, immigration has served as a subsidy for big corporations in this country in order to keep their prices low and therefore be able to compete globally with other countries.

The “wall” is coming soon, ladies and gents. I think I see it coming already.

 

What Makes People Happy Are Often Things They Do For Free Or Are Very Cheap

What Makes People Happy Are Often Things They Do For Free Or Are Very Cheap

Some may argue that owning the latest Ferrari model, a contemporary mansion in the Hills of California or money to spend at will indefinitely is what makes people happy in life. Others dare to say, “If I only had a bit more (often money or the ability to buy) I would be so much happier in this world,” and so on. No wonder why we have so many people, even billionaires, wanting to own even more in order to feel good or shall we say, “be happy.”

What makes people happy are often things they do for free or are very cheap. I say often because money is part of happiness but isn’t everything. Be very careful with the popular belief that “having a lot of money” is the ideal scenario to make someone “happy.” A number of scientists, including researchers from the National Institute of Health (NIH) seem to agree with the former.

Between zero and seventy-five thousand, money makes a difference in happiness. Between seventy-five thousand and seventy-five million, I don’t think it does. The toys and lifestyle one can afford may get fancier if a person has a three million dollar checking account but having all this money also causes people to be quite depressed. Guilt, the need to compete with other wealthier individuals, and the fear of losing wealth are some reasons why the true wealthy person gets depressed.

So, what else really makes us happy? This is what I think.

When we see our kids playing a sport or smiling, it makes us happy. If they win anything, it makes us even happier. When Sophia and I go for a walk together, I’m happy. When she does silly things and come to our bed in the morning to give me a morning hug, it makes me happy. The former costs me zero dollars.

Going to the beach often makes people happy because of the calmness one feels when they are near the ocean. Accomplished scientists have said the following, “Ocean waves generate negative ions, charged air particles that have been linked to mental energy and emotional well-being.” I don’t know the reasons why the beach makes me quite happy but it does. It costs us zero dollars to enjoy the salt and the smell of the Pensacola beach or any other beach for that matter. One may need to pay for a hotel room if she don’t live in a beach area but let’s not forget that it also costs forty bucks to eat in a good restaurant with your spouse and kids.

That’s why having some money is critical for happiness…

I’ve heard, however, countless stories of ultra wealthy people getting super stressed because of their own wealth. I’ve even received a facebook message from a multi-millionaire, drunk as he could be, begging for attention and a solution to his life’s misery. I told my friend the following, “All your money will never make you happy.” Spending more time with your kids will. Go play with them! You will feel better.”

Some may argue that owning the latest Ferrari model, a contemporary mansion in the Hills of California or money to spend at will indefinitely is what makes people happy in life. What makes people happy are often things we do for free or are very cheap. Between zero and seventy-five thousand, money makes a difference in happiness. Between seventy-five thousand and seventy-five million, I don’t think it does.

What makes you happy?

 

The Best Way To Keep With Relevant News Is By Watching YouTube Videos

The Best Way To Keep With Relevant News Is By Watching YouTube Videos

I’ve learned the following by watching youtube videos.  I’m coming to the conclusion that the best way to keep with relevant news is by watching YouTube videos. As a communication professor, I wonder what is the heck is happening to the news media.

It is possible to find some of the information contained in this article in the news, sure. What is frustrating to me is to turn to CNN, for example, and see Trump being featured every other minute. The same goes to other news agencies in the United States. Shouldn’t we discuss events that matters to us the most on air once in a while? What the heck? I think so.

This is what you can learn by watching YouTube videos. I’ve learned the following from youtube videos lately, I must add.

Poland is the jewel of Europe these days and Turkey is now being considered by some an upcoming world power. China is doomed to implode in the 21st century and Russia is on the decline. The overall strategy of the United States is to control the seas. The US will fight anyone who disturbs such strategy. This is why a war with China is inevitable. In fact, war is inevitable in the 21st century. The smartphone we all use contain many cold war technologies, e.g., the micro ship, a digital camera, and GPS. At least, this is what geopolitic expert George Friedman states.

Finding the smallest viable market is the rule of the law for the upcoming entrepreneur,  the linchpin is the most desirable employee making the cog the most vulnerable one. It pays off to be empathetic to your tribe! Being weird and catering to the abnormal is the new normal for growth — it’s the “The purple cow” concept. Be authentic! Build trust with your customers. Advertising through word of mouth is more effective than than putting too much time on traditional advertising because we now live in an economy of abundance. At least, this is what 17 times New York Best Seller author Seth Godin states.

How is the world isn’t this knowledge being covered on cable television more often? Let me continue my research.

Johnson Atoll, Midway, Jarvis Island, Kingman reef, wake islands, and Samoa are part of the United States hidden empire. Do you know that? The US map that we see these days doesn’t show all the territories that we de facto have. The Star Spangled Banner doesn’t have the word America in it. Japan didn’t just attack Pearl Harbor during WWII. It attacked many other American territories (and British ones) at the same time in an attempt to gain control of the pacific ocean waters. Do you know that the damage that was done in the Philippines (an American territory back in the day) by the Japanese was as bad as the one dome to Hawaii during WWII? I didn’t know that and I love history. It wasn’t until I saw a YouTube video interview with Professor Daniel Immerwahr that I learned these things. Go figure.

Let me reveal one more thing to you. I read heavily and have daily conversations with my mastermind group about world events every day. I need to understand what is going on around me in order to strategize my next more. I need to be informed to make better decisions. It’s how I operate! YouTube video watching is a part of my strategy to be well informed. Ladies and gents, I’m coming to the conclusion that the best way to keep with relevant news is by watching YouTube videos.

As a communication professor, I wonder what is the heck is happening to the news media. It is time for he major networks (or at least one network) to put out relevant reports on things that really matter to people. Most Americans could care less about the government. Why are networks so fascinated with the former? I don’t get it.

My recommendation for you is to browse YouTube videos daily to get to know what is going on out there in the world so you can be informed. Poland is the jewel of Europe these days and Turkey is now being considered by some an upcoming world power. China is doomed to implode in the 21st century and Russia is on the decline. Romania is an American ally, Johnson Atoll, Midway, Jarvis Island, Kingman reef, wake islands are part of us.

I’m coming to the conclusion that the best way to keep with relevant news is by watching YouTube videos. Shouldn’t we discuss events that matters to us the most on air once in a while? What the heck? I think so. What do you think?

Don’t Just Say It, Show it

Don’t Just Say It, Show it

It is better to show what you can do than to say you have a skill. Alexander the Great didn’t became the greatest military leader of all time by saying that he had leadership skills. He had the largest empire in history because he showed what we could do which happened to be great leadership.

I’m stunned by the number of people who claim to have a skill but when we investigate a bit further, much substance is missing in the skills that they claim they have.  Those who have skills just show them, I came to learn in my life.

The following people, as long as I can remember, have always shown what they can do rather than just say what they are. It is not surprising that they are (or have been) President of companies, the most well respected and accomplished golfer in the history of Brazil, creativity expert extraordinaire, respected pastor, the longest chair in the history of IUP, and so on. They are in order: My dad Alfredo, Mario Gonzalez, Michael Michalko, Jeff Smead, and Kurt Dudt.

Mario Gonzalez, who happened to have passed yesterday, have always shown what he could do with a golf club. I’ve never witnessed he saying that he had golf skills. If you knew Mario, you knew he had them. It was pretty obvious. He was a man of few words, like my dad. Kurt was the same way. He never claimed to know how to lead people in academic settings but he knew he had leadership skills. I’m not aware of anyone as creative as Michael Michalko. In all my email interactions with him, he has always been a gentleman, clever and willing to share what he knew.

Nowhere in our conversations did Michael stated that he was a creativity guru. We of course knew he was by the way he communicated. The world is full of examples of outstanding people. The vast majority of these outstanding men didn’t say they were excellent in what they did. They simply showed us.

It is better to show what you can do than to say you have a skill. Alexander the Great didn’t became the greatest military leader of all time by saying that he had leadership skills. Sun Tzu didn’t become who he was by saying he knew the art of war. He demonstrated or shall we say — Showed it to us.

Don’t Just Say It, Show it, I say.

 

You Need To Live Where You Want To Retire

You Need To Live Where You Want To Retire

A close friend of mine, now deceased, used to say, “You need to live where you want to retire” because life is short and the cost of transferring what you have built in a career is too costly, especially your business social capital and close friendships.

As I’m embarking on my 12th year as a full-time college professor, I’m starting to think critically about what Kurt once told me in the beginning of my career as an academic.

Where am I going to be in 2020? I’m not sure, to be honest.

I’ve worked long hours to make my classes better and serve the university and the community to the best capacity I could. There were many challenges I must say but nothing much different from other places I’ve worked at.

My social capital building has increased but not to the degree I’ve planned. In fact, I’m surprised by how difficult infiltrating my local community is which seems to be an unfair career challenge, as far as I’m concerned. I do most of the labor and get very little in return. I wonder why.

I’ve been known for being a charismatic leader who builds many allegiances and close relationships quickly but not here. I still feel like an outsider right now which is a feeling that I often don’t experience.

Have you ever experienced that feeling of “I like you but it seems that you don’t like me as much kind of feeling in return?” That’s how I feel, sometimes. I want to live in a place where respect and appreciation is reciprocal. Lack thereof is a major violation of two of my life principles — Fairness and respect.

I’m hopeful for a change. In order for us to live here forever, this town must be a place where we see ourselves retiring in. I hope things change, we shall see. I will try my best, of course. Our future is in God’s hands anyways. We shall see.

Cater To Your Crowd With A Touch Of Empathy

Cater To Your Crowd With A Touch Of Empathy

In the new age of information, win the game of life those who build solid relationships with a smallest viable market with a touch of empathy. What I’m saying is that you must find your tribe and cater your talents to them if your goal is to advance professionally in 2019. I’m not convinced that talented professionals seeking to make a living doing what they love are to focus their efforts into reaching the normal population, most logical audience out there. I bet that catering to your crowd with a touch of empathy will take you much further in your quest for success than strategizing policies “in the middle,” if that makes sense.

With the technology that we have available to us today, we are capable of creating change one step at a time, to the least amount of people we want to cater to in order to make a decent living. If you are talented in photography, specialize in an area relating to photography and cater to them and only them. Our goal is to have little to no competition on what we offer our clients. The moment that competition catches up with our innovation, it’s time to move on and innovate again. Your smallest viable audience will appreciate your efforts to change as much as you do because people are often fascinated by what is new.

Have you noticed that the new restaurant in town often gets business simply because they are new? What happens when Apple introduces a new unexpected product? We see tons of people wanting to buy that new apple innovation, right?. Tesla Motors introduced a new kind of car and a way to sell cars. What was the result? In 2019 alone, they are on track to have a 20 billion dollar in revenue. Tesla don’t focus on selling a lot of cars to a lot of people, it seems. Apple only has 9.57 percent of all PC users. Its market share is less than 10%. They don’t need to cater to everyone. They need to offer outstanding customer service to their loyal “small” tribe, which they do.

Tesla sell their cars to their tribes, always catering to them. 78% of Tesla sales are done on-line. It is different, it’s unique. Elon Musk seems to be empathetic with his team. What is the result of his efforts? Success! A lot of it. He understands his audience. He is clearly not catering to everybody.

In conclusion…

With the technology that we have available today, we are capable of creating change one step at a time, to the least amount of people we want to cater to in order to make a decent living. In the new age of information, win the game of life those who build solid relationships with a smallest viable market with a touch of empathy. You don’t need to cater to everyone. Focus your efforts on the few and treat them well.

Seth Godin seems to be right again. Go figure.

 

Why You Should Read The Bible Even If You Are An Atheist

Why You Should Read The Bible Even If You Are An Atheist

Simple answer: Because the holy bible is among the most popular books of all time.

You should also read the holy bible because of the tremendous value (wisdom) that the bible provides to anyone who wants to live an upright life. Why should anyone be opposed to learning the wisdom of Solomon, for example? Atheists (anyone, really) could learn the following from the book of proverbs… Check some of these lessons out from below.

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching,” “Turn your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,” “Do not be wise in your own eyes,” “Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways,” “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers,” “Whoever winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin,” and much more. 

The bible is more than proverbs. Ecclesiastes is a bible book about the bottom of the bottom. Its a book about emptiness… life for life sake’s is empty, or money for money’s sake is empty, as well. It’s about how vain life is, a topic that everyone should know in this world including you and me. It is full of poems and speeches, great ones de facto. You will find purpose in this bible book, even though the tone is a bit dark.

“For in much wisdom there is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18).  “There is a time for everything under the sun,” (Ecclesiastes 3) and much more. 

Ecclesiastes in particular discusses topics like the inevitability of death, oppression and evil of man, laziness, business failures, the forgetting of strong leaders, working for money for nothing, among many other lessons including the chances of getting wealthy and the importance of generosity.

The bible teaches us that there is more gain in lightness than in darkness. Its content has given us many of the idioms that we use today in American society, including:

“For everything there is a season…”

“From dust to dust…”

“There is nothing new under the sun…” 

And many more.

I wonder why so many people choose to not read the bible? Is it because the bible is God’s word? So what! I’m a Christian, a non-pushing one… but I’m also a reader. If you like to read and gain wisdom, you should read the bible even if you are an atheist, agnostic, muslim, or pagan. Don’t underestimate the value that the bible provides to human beings.

I bet that if you choose to read the bible, you won’t regret it.

 

Is AI Going To Make Most Of Us Irrelevant?

Is AI Going To Make Most Of Us Irrelevant?

Check this video out. I bet that you are going to be impressed by what Microsoft will be introducing to the mass market in the near future. In my opinion, it is impossible to not be exited about this technology from a technological point of view. Do you agree or disagree? What I’m not sure is if these upcoming technologies will be very good for the common men and women.

Thing about it. If you can clone yourself into a hologram, you technically can clone your brand. What is as amazing is that you can clone your brand to speak in any language you desire with fluency with this upcoming technology. Although the former is a dream come true to established brands, I bet that it will be a nightmare for the upcoming ones. Let me explain.

With all things being equal, would you rather book Mark Cuban “Hologram version” to speak at your convention or a local speaker? How about distance education… Would you rather study at Harvard University “Hologram Campus” or your state college for the same price? Do you think that your kids would prefer to watch Jojo Siwa “Hollogramania” in their bedrooms or attend a local kid’s concert? Well, we don’t know exactly what people would do for obvious reasons but you know exactly where I’m going with this. People would thing about it, wouldn’t they?

If people do, the small breed small town (city) upcoming artist is in big trouble. Perhaps, for the first time in human history, we are going to literally be able to clone ourselves in a way that people will perceive that they are getting the real us. We have done this with video technology and podcasts but it isn’t the same because the message appears mediated. Holograms are a different ball game all together because of its undeniable realism.

I honestly cannot tell you if college students in 2027 would rather learn from me face-to-face in a brick and mortar college or from a professor at Oxford in Hologram format if the tuition prices were comparable. I would argue that the “Dr. A” experience comes with passion, care and much feedback. However, let’s be real — I’ve never worked for an Ivy League university.

Oxford administrators would probably say the following, “That’s true Luis, you have face-to-face access to students, is passionate, caring, and provides much feedback. We have our Oxford brand and some of the very best scholars in the world who can deliver content to students all over the globe in their own mother language asynchronously. Hmmm, interesting.

foresee the wealthy, the powerful, and the elite cloning themselves and gathering most of the world resources in the near future. I’m not sure if the middle class will be able to sustain itself with such a threat. Artificial intelligence will be the fuel that the few will use to extend their domination. Colleges and universities will be forced to reshape themselves for survival. I don’t know if the public will choose the average option 68% of the time, which leads me to believe that companies will prefer to design and develop technologies for innovators instead of the average consumer.

Maybe the “average consumer” won’t have enough money to buy these innovations in the future. It’s a scary thought, I must add. Who knows? I don’t know. I’m intrigued and paying attention to the trends. It’s interesting, that’s for sure.

Is AI going to make most of us irrelevant in the grand scheme of things in the future? Perhaps.

 

The Maverick With No Chips Was Born Dead

The Maverick With No Chips Was Born Dead

Mavericks, the kind of people we admire for being unorthodox, who think independently and often challenge society’s status quo… need to have enough “chips” in order to live their maverick lifestyle. It’s not possible to deviate from societal or workforce norms without having something of value to trade, I say.

Mavericks like Mel Gibson, Donald Trump, and Elon Musk can be eccentric and celebrated because they had something to trade when they were young. Mel Gibson probably got notoriety at a very early age because of Huttton Gibson, Jeopardy’s grand champion who happened to be his dad. Mel is also the grandson of Eva Mylott, a well known Australian contralto opera singer. I bet that Mr. Gibson was able to trade these “chips” in order to display his maverick personality early on in his life. Today, he is very wealthy making his fortune his “chips” in order to maintain his maverick personality.

Donald Trump is definitely a maverick in addition to being the president of the United States. Mr. Trump had “chips” to trade from a very early age, as well. Donald is the son of Frederick Trump, a well known real estate developer in New York and socialite Mary Trump. Our president comes from money… a lot of it. Today, he seems to have as much which allows him to behave the way he does, like a maverick.

Elon Musk had “chips” to play from a very early age too. He is the son of Maye Musk, a well known South African model and dietician who has been featured in the cover of Elle, and appeared nude for New York and Time magazines. On Maye’s own words, “I was famous until Elon became famous.  Today, Elon can smoke pot publicly and be seen by many as a unique genius. Go figure, Elon is worth 20.6 billion dollars. 

There are countless examples of people who follow these same recognizable patterns. Perhaps, “maverickness” isn’t for everybody, even if you have the personality for it. We already found out that being an entrepreneur has more to do with “chips” than risk taking, thank God. It’s a bit easier to be a nonconformist when basic needs are met, along with public notoriety at an early age.

The opposite is also true, ladies and gents. The maverick with no chips was born dead. I doubt that a “chipless” maverick will ever go anywhere with her beliefs and aspirations. In fact, I bet that “chipless” people wanting to be unconventional eventually loses the little that they have. Be careful “Chipless” mavericks out there.

Rebels, be aware. Your free spirit may be a handicap after all. If you want to play this game, work on getting “chips” first but never forget that the house always wins. Think about it.

 

 

 

Ten Years Is An Important Career Mark For You

Ten Years Is An Important Career Mark For You

Ten years is an important career mark for you that is likely to put your brand on demand. Of course that the former assumes that you have evolved as a professional and kept current with your field’s trends during this period.

Eleven years ago, I knew very little about the field of communication or the art of teaching. I thought I knew though… I was wrong, inexperienced, and to a degree quite delusional. Thinking back, I think I simply didn’t know the difference between good and great as it came to workforce expectations and how much people value those who “know their stuff.”

Eleven years later, I believe that things have changed drastically for the better for me. Reasonable people respect me and the invitations to join exclusive clubs have increased exponentially lately. I’m still shocked that the board of the Cleveland Media Association voted me to serve as its President next year. It’s unreal, I must admit especially for a person with little history in our town.

I’m also shocked by how many people approaches me for professional advice, especially grown up men in their 40’s and 50’s. There are some who even think I could work or partner with them in a job or a venture in Chattanooga! I’m flattered by the former, of course. Is this for real?

It is, apparently.

I attribute these events to the simple fact that we do get better overtime in whatever we do, especially when we cross the ten years of experience mark. Ten years is an important career mark for you and for me. I wonder what will happen in twenty years or twenty one. You near retired people, share with us.

My conclusion: Perhaps, if you do your work hard enough and long enough in anything that God wants you to work in, eventually you are going to win the war in your field of expertise, even if you lose some battles in the process.  After eleven years of hard work in higher education, i.e., studying hundreds of thousands of hours in professional development and applying what I’ve learned, things are finally heading my way in ways that I can’t even understand.

Fact.

 

 

Be Patient. Much Good Comes Out Of The Virtue Of Patience

Be Patient. Much Good Comes Out Of The Virtue Of Patience

Be patient. Much good comes out of the virtue of patience… and much “not so good” comes out of the lack of thereof. Reflecting back in my own life, I can count numerous occasions where being patient paid off big. Some of these occasions include: Becoming a scratch golfer, graduating from high school, college, graduate school… getting tenure for the first time, finding the right wife, the list goes on and on. Patience was key in obtaining all of these milestones. Hope in God was also key.

I was able to surrender to God’s timing and control, through prayer, in order to achieve the former blessings. In my mind I thought, “If it is God’s will… I surrender my wishes to you.” Guess what? Through my hope in God and by surrendering my wishes to His, things worked out in His own time like graduating high school at age 20 and college at 28 but having a PhD by 34.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope” (Palm 130:5). 

On the other hand, being impatient has contributed to many of my life’s pitfalls including losing a number of golf tournaments that I should have won, losing my university tenure, and almost giving up my career in higher education at one time. As I reflect on this topic, I admit that my inability to wait on God’s timing in some circunstances has caused much strife to my family, in a number of areas, over the years. How tragic!

I sometimes forget that God doesn’t operate under my wishes but His wishes. It’s worthwhile waiting and seeking God’s favor in His own time, always. Remember, “No eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 64:4). 

It’s weird. I’m patient with others much more than I’m patient with me. However, this is changing rapidly as I’m seeing that when we put our hopes in the promises of God, we do right according to God’s will, our faith increases and much strength is gained. No wonder…

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like the eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). 

I need to cultivate my patience as much as you. It is a fruit of the spirit that must be practiced by all of us all the time. Be patient. Much good comes out of the virtue of patience. Remember: Patience produces character.

It’s Impossible For Parents To Not Be Proud of Their Kid’s Accomplishments

It’s Impossible For Parents To Not Be Proud of Their Kid’s Accomplishments

There are exceptions to this rule but it’s rare. If you love your kid (or kids), you will be proud of their accomplishments and be emotional about them especially when others give them recognition. It’s impossible for my dad and mom to not be proud of this clip below or this report right here. I bet that them both have told others that I got a PhD from public Ivy, Penn State. They are human. It’s normal.

Why do I know that? Because we were all tiny once and dependent on them. They raised us to be big things in life. It’s the dream and joy of any parent. When kids accomplish great things in life, they can brag about it when they are old to others. They dream of having their kids accomplishing big things and live better than they did.

I like to call the former, “Children Exceptionalism.” The idea that your kids should always live better that you. I’m in total agreement with this philosophy.

The clip below is extraordinary. It is better than Bon Jovi’s, “Bed of Roses,” in many ways.  I don’t say this very often about cover of well known artists, especially Bon Jovi. Nobody should be a mile better than Bon Jovi in music!

Witnessing accomplished artists literally displaying the feeling of, “I’m blown away by your talent,” will make any parent emotional. This kid’s parent and family members were obviously emotional. Question: How you would feel if you were this kid’s dad? Emotional, I bet.

So, I’m now emotional every time anyone says something great about Sophia. She is only 6 years old. I hear, “Sophia is so cute,” “Sophia is so photogenic,” “Sophia is adorable,” “Sophia is intelligent,” Sophia this, Sophia that. For obvious reasons, I’m emotional about it. I operate under the children exceptionalism rule. I dream big for Sophia so that she can dream bigger for herself.

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 11.23.40 AM.png

It’s impossible for parents to not be proud of their kid’s accomplishments. We might as well embrace this fact and wish the best for our kids no matter the size of that accomplishment. You will be emotional when someone tells you that your kid has an amazing talent for sports, is cute, or both. It’s normal! Remember, you are human. Do you believe in “Children Exceptionalism?”

Elitism Exists In The USA More Than People Want To Admit

Elitism Exists In The USA More Than People Want To Admit

I’m realizing that the United States is as elitist as Brazil, with the exception that in here, many seem to deny that class favoritism exists based on the pretext that we live in a democracy fueled by meritocracy.

Class favoritism exists in America. I’m convinced. I can identify a number of variables that can be argued to be required elements of a “healthy elitism” including higher education and club affiliation ease of access, local clicks and selective gatherings, as well as media preference to some people based on how much power and family name they have.

A recent sad event but very relevant event relating to the thesis of this article has strengthened my belief that elitism is alive and well in America. A few months back, I’ve witnessed what I call “blatant elitism” in my community. The daughter of a regional influential leader was diagnosed with leukemia which by itself is a tragedy.

To my surprise, many people in town went ballistic about this event as if the pope has died unexpectedly in a car accident. People were obsessed when they herd about this sad event and started saying, “What a tragedy that happened to her daughter… we need to pray for her.” Dedicated prayers in local organizations were conducted, the news got into the bandwagon and started a fundraising for her child.  

I was confused for a good while, I admit. How can this person get so much attention so quickly from everybody with such intense rate and frequency? I thought to myself. This person’s family must be a part of the elite. I was right. Maybe elitism exists in the USA more than people want to admit.

Facts: Cancer patients are twice more likely to declare bankruptcy, Cancer can ruin a person’s finances, Donations are key in assisting families to pay for cancer treatment. 

I wonder if the son of a truck driver making 29K a year would have the same opportunity for awareness and fundraising as his wealthier counterpart? I doubt, even though he would need much more help with fundraising than elite families. Our society seems to ignore the needs of the poor and the expense of protecting the pockets of the wealthy, it seems. By the way, it costs an average of $59,899 dollars to treat leukemia in children in this country, along with $3,452 in maintenance costs. Which can low income families afford such medial bill expenses?

My conclusion: Elitism happens in America. It’s all that I’m saying. I think that our societal obsession with equality has made many blind to the obvious class favoritism  that we have in this country. To me, elitism is alive and well, even though many deny that it exists in our nation.

Do you agree or disagree with this provocative thesis?

Qualities Of A Great Leader

Qualities Of A Great Leader

Leadership is action not position, as Maxwell once said. You can be a great “leader” simply by acting like one. Great leaders don’t “need” titles, a big salary, a secretary, or a bunch of groupies following them around in order to do what leaders do best — to lead and solve problems. A great leader understands that actions speak much louder than any given title especially when the topic is influence. They also understand that compensation is a consequence of great and consistent work done overtime. When given administrative support, great leaders never delegate tasks that they can’t complete themselves. Before I go any further, let me summarize what I just told you so that you never forget…

Just because an individual is placed in a position of leadership doesn’t automatically turn him Or her into a “great leader”. Authority is part of leadership but leadership that works isn’t always authoritative.

A great leader doesn’t need to scream at others in order to have his or her voice heard. The following are three traits that leaders should have in order to have influence over others.  

1. Be a man (or woman) of integrity: If a leader says that he/she is going to do something, do it. It is plain and simple. DO NOT gossip about anyone. If a work relationship isn’t working, don’t pretend that it is. Always tell the truth. Just because a person is given the title of a Manager, Director, VP, or Trustee doesn’t mean that they are a leader per se. Popularity isn’t synonymous with leadership. Although a great leader knows how to communicate with constituents, and can be charismatic, he knows that popularity by itself won’t make anyone into a great leader. In fact, pretending that popularity and charisma equals great leadership can be quite destructive overtime. Jim Collins, in his best selling book, “From Good to Great” talks about the former in great detail. I recommend you to start reading his book today, if you can. It is a great resource to have without a doubt if your goal is to be a great leader.

2. Be loyal to your company’s brand: As long as your company is writing you a paycheck every month, be loyal to them. Here are my ways to show loyalty to the universities I’ve worked for: First, I share posts on social media about their events, accomplishments, recruiting efforts… for thousands of people to see. It shows them that I care about them — which I do. Second, I immediately buy a school’s t-shirt, take photos with it, and make sure that my colleagues, family and friends see me wearing the t-shirt in public and in social media. Lastly, be yourself and be creative. You only live once so you might as well have fun in the process and do what you like.

3. Do the work yourself with the assistance of others: The moment that you need others to do your work, its time for you to retire or look for another career. Great leaders work very hard and often work alone with the input of others in order to complete challenging tasks. If your plan is to be a great leader, do the former. Caution: It is impossible to do everything as a leader no matter where you work at. Listen to your team, put your ego aside and make well thought out decisions taking into account the opinion of others. The former builds trust and leadership clout. You are going to need both in order to be a great leader.

Leadership is action not position. You can be a quite influential “leader” simply by acting like one. Leaders don’t “need” titles, a big salary, a secretary, or a bunch of groupies following them around in order to do what leaders should do best — to lead and solve problems. A true leader understands that actions speak much louder than any given title especially when dealing with influence. In this article, we spoke a bit about great leadership. Hope that the content written in this article was useful to you. What is great leadership to you?

People Still Want To Buy Physical Books, You Know?

People Still Want To Buy Physical Books, You Know?

Ok. Let me just say this. Paperback books rose by 5 percent in sales last year and e-books declined 17% during the same time period.  The reasons for why traditional books rose in popularity is due to a number of variables that we will discuss in this blog post. At least this is what I think. So let’s maybe get started.

We still buy a paperback book because…

  1. You can hold a paperback book. I like holding mine! Do you like holding yours? It is easy to share the book with others too, if necessary. I love that.
  2. Not all reading is speed reading. I like reading books slowly, underlying words, writing in the book and not be distracted by links and stuff. Basic.
  3. E-books often hurt people’s eyes. Physical books are printed at 300 dpi. Ebooks are 72 dpi. No wonder why e-books are declining in sales in this country. Have you ever have a headache when reading books on your iPad? I have.

I don’t know if I’m the future we are still going to buy books in print like we are buying today. Only God knows what will happen in the future. What I also don’t know if there will be too many people who will read from these electronic devices in the future to be quite frank with you.

For now, paperbacks aren’t dead yet and millions of people still read them. Paperbacks are increasing in sales in this country. E-books are declining. I don’t know about you but I like underlining words in books, live without head and/or eyes pains, also.

The reality is that people still want to buy physical books, you know? Go figure.

 

A Chat About The Nikon P900 Camera

The Nikon P900 is a cool camera that I don’t plan to return to Best Buy anytime soon. The camera’s versatility and weight, it’s monster zoom range, and it’s capacity to produce pretty cool street photography shots makes me a fan of this piece of technology. I’m not saying, however, that this camera is a perfect fit for everybody or that you can get tack sharp photographs with this point and shoot camera. The camera is good for what it’s wort, I must add. .

It’s nice to go for a trip with only one camera bag, camera body and lens (with a 24-2000mm range), battery, and charger. The camera is light and allows photographers to hold the camera body steady even at 600 focal length without being tired in the process. What a treat!

This camera has a monster 2000mm range and it’s awesome. You can take a photo of the moon, It’s a fact. I recommend using a tripod for best results. The camera was introduced in 2015 but for the price, you can still do a lot with it even today in 2019. It’s street photography photo output is stellar.

Taking photos of moving objects can be pretty challenging with the P900. Since the camera is a point and shoot possessing a small digital sensor, image quality isn’t as sharp as a regular DSLR but advanced photo post-production can make P900 photographs look awesome to many.

The camera buffer is slow as well as the optical zoom. There is no raw photo option and the viewfinder is C grade. The auto functions of this camera are pretty good in the majority of settings. I’ve found the 1080 HD video to look really sharp and colorful.

Overall, the Nikon P900’s is a camera you may want to play with. I won’t return this one, as most of the shoots I do are for clothing photography making, digital art. You can do a lot with this camera, including getting photos that you otherwise won’t be able to get under normal conditions. It’s a cool tool to own it but just realize that image quality (tack sharp) isn’t always attainable with this camera. Nevertheess, Its worth buying, in my opinion.

Elite Isn’t Synonymous With Exclusive

Elite Isn’t Synonymous With Exclusive

Seth Godin once said, “Elite and exclusive” are de facto different terms in our societal lexicon and should be applied and seen differently. I firmly agree with his position as long as these terms may mean different things to different people.

It is my belief that Harvard University is an elite institution that is highly exclusive. After all, Harvard is composed by a select group of scholars who are usually superior in ability and quality from scholars in other universities. The same principle apply for places like Oxford, Princeton, MIT, or the University of Tokyo.

Let me attempt to elaborate on this provocative thought. Penn State, my alma mater, is an exclusive institution of higher education. It is a tier 1 school with an acceptance rate of 56%, meaning that the university rejects almost 50% of incoming applications. To me, Penn State isn’t as elite as many claim it to be for the simple fact that PSU isn’t Cal Tech, Stanford or Cambridge. These institutions are often better than Penn State in terms of endowment size, quality of faculty and students, facilities, and so on.

Why do I feel this way? Well, because when we join the workforce and face reality, we realize that opportunities many times don’t go to some people because of their associations, regardless of how “hard” people try. With all things being equal (ceteris paribus), a clever Harvard graduate often has the upper hand in public opportunities due to the perception of what Harvard stands for and its network. I call this perception the ‘Elite Factor.”

Both Penn State and Harvard are exclusive clubs but Harvard is more exclusive making them an elite school, as their acceptance rate is 5.4%. We need to be careful, though, with only looking at acceptance rate as the measure for universities elite status. Here is why. Have you ever heard of Alyson Lloyd College or the Claremont McKeena College? I have never heard of them both, actually. Their acceptance rate are 22% and 10.9%, respectfully.  Alyson Lloyd College is ranked #16 among regional universities in the south. and Claremont McKeena College #9 among national liberal arts colleges.

So, are Alyson Lloyd College and Claremont McKeena College exclusive colleges? I would say yes. In fact, they are more exclusive than Ohio State or the University of Michigan. Are they elite institutions? I don’t think so. Alyson Lloyd College may be perceived by many in Kentucky as an “elite” school but in the grand scheme of things it’s not.

Why am I writing about of all this, you may ask. First, because I believe that Seth Godin is right when he claims that these terms are different. Second, because the level of delusion that exists in society is so high (in my opinion) these days that having these kinds of conversations can help us all to live a better and grounded life.

There is nothing wrong with not being a member of an elite club or even be associated with an exclusive club, university or political party. Belonging to an elite group isn’t for everybody and believing that you are without really being one can make people frustrated overtime.

Elite and exclusive are de facto different terms in our societal lexicon and should be applied and seen differently. I’m proud of being a Penn State graduate, don’t get me wrong… but in the grand scheme of things, we know which institutions are elite organizations by the influence that they have in things that matter most in society. Alyson Lloyd College and Claremont McKeena are great exclusive institutions but aren’t elite status to me.

Being a Holmes scholar is an exclusive privilege. A Rhodes Scholar is both exclusive and elite. Thing about it… Being delusional isn’t good for anybody. Ground yourself in reality and live the best life you can under what God has given you. Smile, be happy, and be real.

 

I’m On My Way To Running a Half Marathon

I’m On My Way To Running a Half Marathon

Instead of spending countless hours on a smartphone or my laptop, I made the decision to train my body to endure a half marathon race next year. I must admit that setting this goal came as a surprise to me but at 45… I’m starting to realize that our health is much more important than many people may think it is.

Right now, I can walk and run a 5K without a problem but I’m far from running a 21K without passing out in the process. As the proverb says… “If there is a will, there is a way.” By allocating time to exercising instead of looking at Facebook at hours on end, I think that any healthy individual should have the capacity to running a half marathon.

I will try, that’s for sure. I’m on my way to running a half marathon. Wish me luck!

Play Live Nation On It’s Way To Greatness

Play Live Nation On It’s Way To Greatness

Traditional malls are dying especially if they are located in small towns. Foot traffic has decreased exponentially in shopping centers, anchor stores have gone bankrupt, Black Friday is now being replaced by Cyber Morning.

The world of retail has changed, ladies and gentleman. In the glorious days of “the malls,” managers focused on bringing fashion to the malls in order to attract a large number of housewives with spending dollars eager to acquire the latest and most luxurious piece of clothing (or shoe, bag…) they could afford.

Women today work as much as man and aren’t going to the mall to buy the latest fashion either. Some still do but places like amazon.com has made the “shopping scene” less attractive for many, I’ve observed.

So, if this is true… what is the future of the malls? It’s in entertainment offerings I think. The malls of the future will be repurposed to incorporate adult and kids activities with a variety of food court options. Places like “Play Live Nation” will be a hit all over the country.

They are a competitive video game store where kids can play video games and eat snacks for hours on end in the mall. What a great idea, I must add.

We are going to see much more of that.

Traditional malls are maybe dying but they will not die completely. They will evolve like anything else. We may shop for clothes on Cyber Monday but Black Friday will be filled with kids engaging in activities in the mall, especially if the event falls on the weekend.

Having fashion malls is a thing if the past. The malls of the present will be places where people will be engaging in activities, like eating, playing video games, or riding a red dragon scooter in the mall with your kids. The world has changed. We better get used to it.

Play Live Nation is in its way to greatness.

6 People Management Tactics to Lead a Diverse Team to Success

6 People Management Tactics to Lead a Diverse Team to Success

There is a wide body of evidence indicating that diverse teams perform better than homogeneous ones. Diverse teams in your organization will too.

Leading a diverse team is an art that can be learned. It does take some time to bring everybody on board for a vision but having good people management skills can accelerate the process considerably.

It’s in the leader’s best interest to have its team working to capacity and moving in the same direction in order to get things done effectively and efficiently.

In this article, I will share with you why working with diverse teams can be challenging and how to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal.

Why Is It Hard to Lead a Diverse Team?

Unfamiliarity with shared governance principles

It is very difficult for a leader to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal without taking a shared governance approach. The principles of equity, partnership, accountability and ownership must be applied and embraced in order for the diverse team to operate to capacity and have “buy in.”

Equity, or the understructure and mensuration of value states that no role is in essence more important than any other. Partnership is paramount in relationship building and serves as the justification for involving diverse team members in decision making.

Allowing for evaluation of role performance between and among the members of the team is key in the process along with ownership structures that allow for the acceptance, contribution and recognition by all parties involved. Diverse teams are diverse in nature and expect the former in order to operate to capacity.

“The whole is more important than the sum of the parts.” Leaders must understand that no living system, like a corporate unit or any other unit, can function to capacity — or “go for the same goal” if its parts aren’t operating in harmony. Lack of systemic thinking will eventually result in entropy.

Leading diverse teams to be “on the same page” is challenging because leaders working with a “homogeneous” mindset are rarely equipped with the former concepts presented in this section. Stakeholder participation is key.

Little diversity understanding

Diversity means variety and/or a range of different things. Leading a diverse team to reach the same organizational goal can be challenging because leaders may not know what this “variety” and “range of different things” actually are.

Let’s start with the obvious. If a team is composed of ten white males, one female and no Latino males/ females, ethnic variety is lacking in the unit. A leader’s failing to understand that the former is a problem, as well as the fact that the ratio of employees within his or her unit is unbalanced — there are too many while males in proportion to everybody else — can and probably will have long-term consequences relating to “goal buy in,” especially if the unit’s leader isn’t sensitive to group diversity.

To make things more complicated, diversity of gender and thinking are real challenges that the leader may face for lacking adequate understanding of diversity. In the popular book, “Men are from Mars and Women Are from Venus ”, some of us have learned that we (men and women) motivate, speak, argue, and communicate feelings differently. In the book, it is written that men like to process info by thinking before communicating whereas women like to process info by communicating their thought process.

Ethnic minorities can behave differently and possess a range of different things. Italians tend to be impulsive, Hispanic Americans tend to be emotional, the Japanese are collectivist, the British individualist, Vietnamese are reactive, Malaysians tend to compromise… Being the leader of a diverse team is more labor intensive!

In addition, most people like to associate themselves with people who are like them and who are familiar with what they believe in. No wonder why leaders have so little understanding of diversity in the workforce today. This makes leaders’ jobs more challenging when driving teams to be on the same page about projects.

Unfortunately, lack of diversity understanding doesn’t help organizations to be more productive. There is overwhelming scientific evidence indicating that diverse teams make fewer errors than homogeneous ones and when errors do occur, diverse teams are more likely to solve them.

Resistance to change

Most people like the familiar. No wonder why 1 out of 2 freshmen attend a college within 100 miles from home. The irony of resistance and change is that implementing change is in the leader’s job description!

Leaders should embrace change rather than resisting it yet resistance to change is real and occurs in every continent across the globe. That’s why leading diverse teams to move in the same direction as the leader when the leader is afraid to change can be so challenging. Tolerance for change varies among leaders.

As I said already in this article, we are creatures of habit. Loss of control, breaking the routine, fear of the unknown and elements of surprise are all reasons why leaders fear change. There is however, a direct correlation between one’s ability to lead and their easiness with these former reasons why leaders resist change.[1]

Change isn’t always technical and can be social. Social change is important but is difficult for many leaders, making things more complicated for the leader to have his or her people on board on a project. I wish that people management was like chopsticks. Always useful and unchangeable.

Unfortunately, people management is an evolving science and requires leaders to adapt to new societal trends with much more frequency.

As a side note: Henry Petrosky, Duke University professor and the author of the book The Evolution of Useful Things predicts chopsticks to stay as they are for another millennia. Thank goodness that leaders aren’t chopsticks.

6 Powerful People Management Tactics

When thinking about revising your company’s training and development program or simply offering good informal training to employees at your organization, consider adopting the following tactics on how to lead a diverse team to go for the same goal.

1. Understand first… judge second

Before making any judgement, strive to understand the members of your team. What are their likes and dislikes? What makes them feel comfortable or uncomfortable? What makes them feel good or bad?

Listening to what they have to say as well as being empathic to what they may be feeling could be the difference between you getting them on board or not.

Remember: Leaders must be patient in order to first understand then judge. Patience is a virtue.

2. Ability to relate

If a leader can’t relate with his or her team somehow, they won’t be able to influence them. He or she must be a good people manager.

Failing to influence the members of the group will exponentially decreases the leader’s chances of having diverse team members on his or her side.

If a leader has a group of African Americans on staff, it may be a good idea to find out who Margaret Walker, Medgar Evers, Booker T. Washington and other influential African-American figures are.

Leaders who can’t relate don’t stay leaders for too long. Never forget that.

3. Take an interest in others

True leadership is about developing the team, not developing the leader. It is about taking interest in the welfare of others.

There are a number of activities that a leader can do to display interest in the life of his or her team members. A wise unit leader goes to lunch with his team and periodically has walk/talks with them to get to know who his or her team members really are.

Another good idea is to stop by your team’s station or offices once in a while to chat about topics unrelated to work. People from diverse backgrounds will appreciate this gesture.

One of the fastest ways to lose a diverse team and have them boycott a goal is to show disinterest in them. Leaders can’t afford to show disinterest if his goal is to have the diverse members of the team moving towards a common goal.

4. Be flexible

Being flexible is a great practice that will help a leader gain trust from his team. Flexible leaders treat their team members with respect and strive to accommodate diverse styles and needs.

Providing guidance when required and praising diverse team members when accomplishment is attained, will increase the chances that the team will be on board.

One of the fastest ways to “lose” a diverse team member is to single him out or find fault in his work when there wasn’t anything to report. The former isn’t good leadership and will most definitely create distrust and resentment which will then significantly decrease team member buy-in.

5. Develop soft skills

Acting as a team player rather than an autocratic dictator, having effective interpersonal and non-verbal communication skills, along with the ability to receive critical feedback and engaging in storytelling can be excellent ways to bring diverse teams on board.

Good leadership calls for the need to connect with colleagues and other members of the organization. The act of giving constant criticism or isolating team members won’t help any leader to bring them on board a vision.

Maintaining an air of professionalism and building positive morale are critical components that persuade diverse teams members to buy into a vision. The act of delegating is a good one as well.

6. Have good judgement

Having good judgement starts by having an open mind. Diverse teams are likely to express differences in opinion. In order to keep them on board, the leader should take their ideas into account even if the majority rule believes otherwise. Sometimes, the best solutions are the ones that the people on the team thought were the least favorable. If a diverse team member isn’t participating in a meeting, ask him or her to share an opinion. Never, under any circumstances, disrespect them in public even if they have done something wrong. Dale Carnegie has taught us this lesson in his classic book, “How to Win Friends And Influence People.” In the end, the leader will lose influence and an ally resulting in less buy in from diverse team members.

Conclusion

Organizations who have diverse teams have an edge against other institutions with more homogeneous ones. There is an art to bringing team members from diverse backgrounds on board to share the same goal and people management skills are at the center of that.

One’s ability to listen and learn can go a long way. Being flexible, taking interest in others, developing soft skills and the ability to relate are also important skillsets that leaders should learn if their goals are to lead diverse teams and have them on their side.

Unfamiliarity with shared government principles, little diversity understanding and resistance to change are major threats that can impede a modern leader with bringing his team together on a goal.

Having people management skills are at the center of what makes diverse teams function as presented in this article. Fortunate will be leaders who strive to understand their diverse team first and judge them second. They will have buy in. They are the true modern leaders.

Article previously published at: Lifehack.org –> https://www.lifehack.org/785437/people-management

What I’ve Learned From my second TBI

What I’ve Learned From my second TBI

Back in 2014, I hit my head pretty hard at 35MPH in a Pennsylvania highway. I was involved in a debilitating motorcycle accident. It was a difficult time for me and my family. It took me three years to fully recover from that accident.

To my misfortune, I got a second TBI this past May 2019. I hit my head in a car accident at speed and after a week or so, I knew that I had a concussion again.

These were the symptoms I felt:

1) Light sensitivity

2) Headaches

3) Noise bothered me

4) balance problems

5) Blurred vision

6) Temporary anxiety

7) Amnesia

8) Fuzzy brain

Although my first TBI was more serious, my latest TBI has been a quite debilitating one. I haven’t been me for almost two months. The good news is that I’m getting out of it, thank God. I can feel it.

Before classes begin in the Fall, I should be okay. That’s a blessing, I must add. So, what have a learned this time from this debilitating neurological condition. Tons.

1) Accidents happen. No matter how cautious we are with our bodies, things happen beyond our control sometimes. I wasn’t negligent hitting my head this time, that’s for sure.

2) Life is short — Do what you love. Man, I got even closer to my wife and kids because of this incident. I went for a photo trip with them and decided to use the trip to rethink our future. Priceless.

3) We are all terminal. Live life to the fullest because time is gift. One day you have time to play with your kids. The next, you hit your head and don’t have time to think about playing with them. It’s life.

Be strong, take care of yourself and be cautious in life. Accidents happen. A TBI is a debilitating condition and can give your lots of headaches for a prolonged period of time. How do I know this? Well, I hit my head pretty hard twice in vehicle accidents.

Accidents happen. Do what you love. Life is short, you know? We are all terminal, if you think about it. Life is a gift, don’t ever lose track to what is important. Get away if you have too. Apologize later if you need it.

it’s that simple.

Be Hopeful And Never Give Up On Your Dreams

Be Hopeful And Never Give Up On Your Dreams

As I stated in my last blog post, this semester has been a rough one for me — in every aspect. Just because things were very rough for me doesn’t mean that I will let off my principles. Much on the contrary, I must add. Honesty, hard word, respect for others and caring for students is still what I believe and always going to believe.

A regular person without hope would have simply given up and folded if they would have experienced what I’ve passed though but I never give up or fold. In my opinion, everybody should live their lives exactly the same way. Never giving up.

Misfortunes come and go and so do ocean waves. I guess what differentiates me from many other education professionals is my degree of hope and focus on the positive things in life. I’m still hopeful that something wonderful will happen this Summer for our family. A lot of things happen in a period of a month or so. It ain’t over yet.

I’m from the position that a dream is worth pursuing, all the way. Never will I ever give up on what is right and fair. For me, my family matters quite a lot and staying close to them is important to me. I’m hopeful for as great tomorrow and a prosperous future.

Why? Because I believe in a just God. What God gives, He can take it away. I understand that. But what God gives to those who ask for the right reasons can’t be quantified by anybody that you or I know.

I just know that everything will be all right. I’m hopeful. Giving up on my dreams? Never.

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade

I had a pretty crappy semester, even though I’ve worked my butt off. In a period of six months, I got infections multiple times, had opportunities come and go, my dog died, my grandma is near death and to complement everything… I now have a TBI along with high blood pressure and a big health bill to pay.

Life sucks but I’m on the way up. After hitting golf balls and spending four days with my parents in Georgia, I’ve come to realize that when bad things come your way, even if they are irrational, you must embrace them and turn them around. You know, “You need to make lemonade from the lemons you have” and move on.

Perhaps, the problem I’ve faced this semester were my problems after all. I’ve been too kind with people which in higher education doesn’t seem to be a good thing. I think that empowering students to think by themselves make them think that you are weak and disorganized… maybe even a bad professor. I will definitely be firmer with what I want them to know from now on.

Maybe I expect too much from people. That’s a bad thing. I need to change that and be less involved in the well being of others. In fact, I must pay way more attention to my own well being, I’ve learned this term.

It’s so atypical of me to put myself first by maybe it’s what is need it. Things will turn around, I have faith.

It was shocking what people have promised me this term and canceling on me without fully sealing the deal in the very last minute. I was pretty close to getting a $5000 consulting contract and out of nowhere things just blew up and I got $125. It felt that I was on high demand for a number of opportunities but in the last minute, these gigs vanished away from me. Weird.

I’m refocusing and turning all these horrible events into something productive. I’m now going to hit golf balls weekly, work on my blog and redesign my classes completely using behavioral models of education. I’m going to take care of me first and rejoin my old church.

I’m seeing the good in life despite of what has happened to me this term. I recommend that you do the same. Take charge and turn these lemons into lemonade if you have to. You may even like it in the end. I’m starting to enjoy mine.

Allegiance On-Line: Look For Social Proof

Allegiance On-Line: Look For Social Proof

Social proof is the idea that any given individual is observing the behaviors of others to come to a conclusion about choices. Let me explain: Because Johny’s facebook page has 1000 likes, 345 shares and 12800 comments, it is more likely that Johny’s page will get more likes from somebody or shall we say… have more social proof than a page that isn’t as “well liked” because of the volume of people attesting (social proof) that it is so.

It doesn’t take much time for us to realize that fabricated “social proof” can inflate one’s importance in any media outlet, including social media networks.

When somebody rarely engages with a friend’s content in any social media platform, he is in essence reducing the chances that his friend’s content is spread and “liked” by more people. Therefore, constantly failing to endorse a person’s post in a social media platform can reveal a pattern often seen in enemies or people who doesn’t have a person’s best interest in mind — Disdain in social media networks means exactly what is defined, “The feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect; contempt.”

To me, interactions aren’t always to be seen as transactions but when I see a discrepancy between what a person says and how he acts in social media opposed to that behavior, I see an uncomfortable inconsistency that is worth paying attention to.

Understanding how social proof is used in social media network growth is worth your time and effort. It’s amazing what you can discover when analyzing this simple concept alone.

 

 

You Must Deal With Discomfort In Order To Win Big

You Must Deal With Discomfort In Order To Win Big

You must deal with discomfort in order to win big in life. Being able to leverage that unease feeling we feel in our stomachs is critical if your goal is to achieve something of significance in this life. You must experience discomfort. I mean, literally.

These are some examples of discomfort that often leads to big victory.

  1. Pumping iron religiously in order to gain muscle mass
  2. Studying long hours in order to ace the test
  3. Programming overnight in order to finish a game prototype
  4. Initiating anything worthwhile in life and not giving up
  5. Taking a stance on a position and sticking to it

These are some examples of comfort that often leads to loss.

  1. Pumping iron in order to gain muscle mass today but quitting tomorrow because of body pains.
  2. Studying long hours in order to ace the test but compromising on focus.
  3.  Programming overnight in order to finish a game prototype but giving up at 4:42am.
  4. Initiating anything worthwhile in life and giving up when challenges arise
  5. Taking a stance on a position and failing to stick to it

There is no way out. Either you go through the motions of experiencing discomfort or you will never experience a big win. Tiger Woods hits golf balls for hours on end in order to win the Masters; Edison failed over one thousand times before inventing the light bulb. Arnold schwarzenegger didn’t become Mr. Olympia seven times by avoiding the uncomfortable.

My advise is this — Put your smartphone away and start working hard unless the discomfort your need to experience to win big involves using your smartphone. You have the chance to be like anybody else and don’t win anything big in life or experience the uncomfortable and win big.

What is your choice? Choose wisely.

Choosing To Be Succesful Is A Habit

Choosing To Be Succesful Is A Habit

Success is a habit. Like any other life habits, it is a process that involves hard work, perseverance, and will power. Success is what we should shoot for but before I elaborate on it, let’s define what success is.

Success isn’t money, status, or anything that superficial. Success is a habit! It is a way of being and thinking about the world. To me, success is being able to live a life that you want to live without having to compromise your values and beliefs for the selfish desires of others.

In this life, you will meet people who will put you down and degrade your accomplishments because of insecurities. It part of life. It comes with being successful. It’s the result of making success a habit and being able to live your dreams without compromising who you are.

I find no other way to live my life than to strive to be successful. We live in the empire of the world. In the United States, we pay a big price if we choose to be unsuccessful.

These are some of the side effects people feel by choosing to ignore success.

  1. They die earlier
  1. They live a more stressful life
  1. They grow cynical about the workforce

Just don’t. Choose success! Make the pursuit of success a life goal worth pursuing. Success is a habit! Success isn’t anything superficial like money or status. Success is a way of being worth pursuing. It is living your life without having to compromise your values and beliefs.

Technology Has Sent Mass Media Advertising Into Retirement

Technology Has Sent Mass Media Advertising Into Retirement

This is what I think.

Technology has sent Mass Media advertising into retirement. I know that the former is a strong statement but evidence seems to support this provocative thesis. How many of you watch TV ads? Or Radio/newspaper advertising? I don’t know about the former but I do know that you rarely look at page 49 of the Sports Illustrated Magazine looking for an ad. Am I wrong?

By the way, when was the last time that you bought a product from a new company that advertised on television? I ask this question because some people may say, “Well Luis, what you are saying is true but I still enjoy watching a Coca Cola commercial during the Super Bowl and buy Coca Cola products.” You may be a rare case. It is possible but it’s just not likely.

Please realize that if you do watch Coca Cola TV ads and buy Coca Cola products thinking that you bought them because of a recent ad, you may be fooling yourself. Coca Cola is an established brand that grew during the industrial age where Mass Media advertising was the norm for growing a brand and selling products.

Coca Cola is now benefiting from investments in advertising they made 70 years ago. That’s why some of you still buy Coca Cola products. Have you ever heard about ALO? Even better… When was the last time you bought an ALO drink? It’s a new product. They have advertised (not like other major drink companies but they did) and I bet that most of your never bought one of their products.

Reality:  Modern technology has changed the advertisement industry. DVR enables people to pass through the ads in both cable television and on streaming TV services like Netflix and Hulu. In this abundant world we live in, who wants to add more interruption to our lives? I don’t. How about you?

Do you watch the youtube ads before watching your favorite youtube video? Or do you stop them after 5 seconds of mandatory “watch” time? Mass Media advertising is an old concept that is expensive and time consuming. I’m not sure if the ROI is there anymore.  

Do we still need advertisement? Yep.

However, the kind of advertising I believe in is done through meaningful conversations  by conversing one-on-one with a prospect and individualizing the message. It is inefficient and time consuming but if done with enough frequency can help a prospect to move from a person who doesn’t trust you (or your brand) to one who might give you a try if you prove to them that you are for real.

Trust is key in this new individualized advertising process.

Forget Mass Media advertising. The former is a dated concept that is de facto very expensive and brings little return on investment, especially for a new company wanting to gather market share. Invest your time in personalizing your advertising message and positioning yourself to attract a small segment of the population who loves what you produce. Do what you can earn their trust, overtime. Repeat.

If you have a big budget, consider sponsoring a movie on Hulu instead of spending millions on Mass Media advertisements that people just won’t watch. You may be better off this way.

 

People Who Are Legitimately Interested Will Make The First Move

People Who Are Legitimately Interested Will Make The First Move

Whenever a student is interested in learning, he/she takes the initiative to come to class early and raise his/her hand first. When colleges and universities are interested in an applicant for a job, they initiate the communication process and follow up first with a finalist. When an organization wants to hire a potential employee, the organization also makes the first move and keep the candidate aware of their intentions to hire him/her. Initiative means interest. Lack of initiative doesn’t.

I’m always a bit weary when people say they are interested in something but they don’t make an attempt to make the first move. In the back of my mind, I wonder — Are they really interested if they hesitate? Let me go even further. It worries me when I see, for example, students lacking initiative because lack thereof may mean something much more than just initiative.

When I’m interested in something, I take the initiative to make things happen. I make the first move to make an impact and show interest. we You should do the same.

Why?

Because by showing interest and stepping up first to make a stance is rare. In an abundant economy that is so cluttered with supply and output, taking the initiative is int itself a rare behavior. We cannot afford to be average anymore.

Taking the initiative and being first in something makes you an outlier by default. It ain’t a bad place to be, I must add. My recommendation: When in doubt, take the lead and initiate.

 

 

You Need A Mentor Even If You Have To Buy Him

You Need A Mentor Even If You Have To Buy Him

No matter where you were born or which language you speak, you need a mentor even if you need to buy him. A mentor, whether he is paid or not, help you in these unique ways.

  1. He tells you things you need to know, the way they are. We all must live In the moment and have others helping us to see our behaviors.
  2. He listen to what you have to say. Sometimes, you just have to speak your frustrations out.
  3. He is patient with you. In this life, you will make mistakes. Having a person who knows you is key to continuing growing. A mentor can help you with that.

Don’t underestimate the power of mentors. We need them in order to grow. Who is your mentor? Do you need to buy one? You just be prepared to be a extraordinary.

There Is A Surplus Of College Professors Out There But Only A Handful Of Dr. A’s

There Is A Surplus Of College Professors Out There But Only A Handful Of Dr. A’s

There is an abundance of commodities in our economy in 2019. Do you want to get a college education? You are welcome to choose between and among 5,300 different options. These options are private, public, christian, HBCU, women’s college, you name it. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, there are $486,000 plumbers in America. There is one billion websites on google and somewhere between 600,000 and one million books published every year for your to choose and buy. On Spotify alone, we have 40 million songs to choose from and 3 billion user playlists to listen to. And to complement this madness, we can choose between 59 different kinds of salad dressings at Publix.