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.

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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.

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.

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?

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.”

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.

 

Be Selective: Only The Very Best Should Join Your Inner Circle…

Be Selective: Only The Very Best Should Join Your Inner Circle…

I say this because a person’s social capital is as valuable if not more valuable than a person’s human capital. Sometimes is not how much you know but who you know, or hall we say… who knows you! Your inner circle is one of the most valuable assets you gave in life. Don’t let anything destroy what you got or give the impression that your network is not of any value or both.

Building a quality network of any kind is difficult, time consuming and can be quite expensive to build. For those reasons and more, be selective: only the very best should join your inner circle. Remember: In this life, people will judge you according to the people you associate yourself with, regardless of which philosophy of life you end up adopting. Build your inner circle with care.

You can be nice to people yet protecting your space, privacy, and network. Choose your friends very carefully. Why? This is why… Look at what the bible teaches us about friendship.

1. “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26).

2. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 12:26).

3. “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble” (Proverbs 13:20). 

6.  “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). 

7. Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

8. “A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good” (Proverbs 16:29). 

9. “Do not be a friend of one who has a bad temper, and never keep company with a hothead, or you will learn his ways and set a trap for yourself” (Proverbs 22:24-25). 

10. “Now, what I meant was that you should not associate with people who call themselves brothers or sisters in the Christian faith but live in sexual sin, are greedy, worship false gods, use abusive language, get drunk, or are dishonest. Don’t eat with such people” (1 Corinthians 5:11). 

I admit — I used to let more people enter my inner circle. What a big mistake I made for many years. Thank goodness, the former is now history and it won’t be repeated again. Prove me that you deserve to be my friend, is my new motto now. I recommend that you do the same, for your own sake.

After thinking critically about this issue this past July, I came to the realization that most of my misfortunes in life were based on letting a person (or a group of people) have access to some of my intellectual property and care without really deserving to have them. I clearly violated a very important lesson I’ve learned from the author Robert Greene, “Never put too much trust in friends” and the many teaching of the bible due to pity on others.  I have a soft heart for those in need…

In order to control for the a possible strife, which inevitably happens to the best of us, you should be very careful with who enters your network. Selectivity is a must. Get to know people in great detail before allowing them to have access to your brain. You will realize that not too many people you know deserves to have access to your insights, especially if they need your knowledge more than you.

Human beings can be sneaky, self-serving, egoistic and evil. From a Christian standpoint, the former can even be a manifestation of the devil in people, I think. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). 

Keep your eyes open and be very selective with who is allowed to know you and your network. Don’t rush… take your time in the selection process.  Things that are truly great in life, e.g., the development of a person to maturity, college degree completion, a successful startup that was founded with little capital, a swimmer’s achievement of a gold medal in the Olympics…  take time.
Listen carefully to this one. Always keep your eyes open.