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.

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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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.