To Work or Not to Work?

photo-1523809902886-b497cb430890

How many times have you come home from a long day of work, just getting ready to sit down and relax, and your phone rings? Or you open your email and half of your inbox is work related? Or your new co-worker or boss or employee left you seven text messages?

Does your blood pressure go up? Can you feel your irritation growing in your chest, the bottom falling out of your stomach, your shoulders tensing? Is reading this giving you anxiety that at any moment just such a scenario is going to happen to you?

Digital depression. Pow! What you feel has a name and is currently being researched. The workforce is so technologically advanced that almost every job requires computer use at some point throughout the day. Work follows us home too. Now that almost everyone has the ability to be contacted through their own phones or computers, work never stops.

Now we throw into the mix the need to socialize over the internet. Friends, family, acquaintances, strangers have access to us all the time. We feel obligated to accept their game requests and look at cat videos. We have to search for ridiculous things, like celebrity happenings, the weather, music videos, TV shows… Feeling bogged down?

Being overwhelmed and overworked by technology is the crux of digital depression.

The American workforce tremendously affects digital depression. Since 1950, American workforce productivity has increased 400 percent. Americans work harder than any other country.  American companies are not required to give paid sick days or give mandated time off for personal well-being. We work 137 more hours than the Japanese, 260 hours more than the British and a whooping 499 hours more than the French. Vacation days are used to catch up on housework, errands, all the things we neglect because we’re at work. Even crazier, we’re the only, the only, industrialized country to not mandate at least a 12 week leave, when we become parents.

Overworking is the force behind employee mistakes at work and insomnia in high performance employees. It leads to irritability, anxiety, digestive issues, high blood pressure, stress and burnout. Perhaps, just maybe, it leads to family dysfunction, to broken relationships.

This behavior is in no way healthy. Breathe a sigh of relief, turn off your phone, don’t check your email. It’s okay to take a break from work. Actually enjoy your vacation whether you’re on your own or with family. I believe, Earl Wilson, says it best, “A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.”

Advertisements

Sometimes breaking it will make it better

luis-galvez-635869-unsplash

Let me shock some of you today: Sometimes, pain and suffering are good for you.

Wait! Don’t go crazy and damage your body before reading what I am going to write next. We need to be reasonable, OK?

Let me explain: Many times, people get better by experiencing a traumatic event such as getting trigger-point treatment in a massage session, by re-breaking a bone or burning out from the computer after years of engaging in bad behavior. Pain and suffering are necessary for things to get better in life. Don’t believe me? Go ask an economist if reducing interest rates is always the best course of action in an economic recession.

Let’s not forget how pain and suffering can help students. Without reading books and spending countless hours memorizing and applying knowledge gained, students won’t complete their college degrees, and guess what? They won’t build the necessary skill sets they must have in order to succeed in life.

When students go to a college or university, they aren’t only learning course content. The better ones understand that by pain and suffering, they are building resilience to face adversity in life, which is, in my opinion, worth $15,000 a year.

Most PhDs have to experience pain and suffering when pursuing their degrees in graduate school, when going through the process of tenure, and when writing a book or two in their careers.

When we use technology excessively, we get both positive and negative feelings. Back in 2011, I got a severe burnout from using tech devices nonstop. Although I got clinically sick from it, I’ve come to learn that experiencing pain and suffering from overusing computerized devices was actually good for me. It has helped me to wake up from this modern-day nightmare and create a research agenda addressing the danger of these tools in society.

Since then, I have spoken on the topic with over 22 million people, including you! Experiencing pain and suffering, as far as technology use is concerned, may be good for you.

Do you think that I don’t know? What I am writing right now isn’t popular, but I know that some of you agree with me. Why? Because what I am writing here is real. Read carefully: Failing to “keep things real” backfires. Remember, pain and suffering are part of life.

Do me a favor. Get a copy of this column and give it to your grandkids. They need to read this.

Many people have to break an old wound in order to make it heal better and stronger than before. It is no different when it comes to technology. People aren’t facing the pain and suffering that are required for them to stop using their smartphones excessively.

If we break a bone in our body and this bone doesn’t set correctly, many doctors would recommend re-breaking the bone in order to fix it. In the end, induced pain and suffering will be better for the person, as his leg won’t hurt as much anymore. Facing our addiction to technology head-on is a must if we are to live a good life. It will hurt less in the long run.

Very few people in our society want to face smartphone pain and suffering today. How can we fix our TechnoCrazy problem, then? We won’t, I bet.

From this standpoint, burning out from the computer doesn’t seem to be a bad idea. I know, and you know, as well. Not too many people will be able to deal with this idea that experiencing the pain and suffering of a burnout will be good for them in the long run. I understand. Yet, I bet this solution will be more beneficial to them than the alternative.

We all experience pain and suffering in life. In 2018, we need to realize this more than ever.

It is OK to experience some pain, suffering, or both, in order to gain control of your life over technology – or regain control.

A burnout is a small price to pay for regaining control of yourself. If we have to pay this price to regain our humanity, so be it.

——— (Column previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info).

An unseen problem: E-waste is piling up

gary-chan-351213-unsplash.jpg

Very few people can deny that electronics manufacturing is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world these days.

We are now producing tons of high-tech gadgets all across the world. People are buying these devices left, right and everywhere else, and it’s a trend that is unlikely to be shifted or rolled back.

The business of technology manufacturing is good, there is no question about it. However, all this excessive production of computer devices generates a lot of waste, or what a few of us call  “e-waste.” E-waste is electronic waste, including TVs, computers and smartphones, among others.

 Let’s face it. Our society’s technological turnover rate is staggeringly high, which causes too many of us to change our smartphones every year, even though our work wages have stagnated since the 1970s. People are now upgrading technology devices as often as babies’  diapers are changed.

One day you have an iPhone 6s. Six months from the time you got your brand-new iPhone, you are told your device is outdated and that it doesn’t give you the amenities of the new iPhone 7 model … only to later discover than the iPhone 8 just came on the market because hey, you need what is the newest and the most advanced technology on the market!

Why not release two new tech gadgets a few months apart in the name of innovation? Don’t worry, Android fanboys! You don’t need to be an iPhone user to buy one or two devices a year. There are Android gadgets all over the place for you to buy, many times over, every year if you desire.

Have you thought about what we do with the devices we don’t use anymore? I bet you haven’t.

Throwing away an electronics item is a big no-no. As the device corrodes, the chemical soup inside starts leaking into the ground, contaminating surrounding areas with toxins. Taking your device to an electronics store for disposal doesn’t always work either. Places can use the devices for scrap parts, but then some of the pieces are still thrown away or burned. Burning the device is just as bad. All those toxins are then airborne.

E-waste is a huge problem all over the globe. Waste generated from electronics range between 7,500 tons in Kenya to 60,000 tons in South Africa — all on the African continent alone. E-waste is a much more problematic issue in Asia where the volume of e-waste approached 12.5 million tons in 2015!

China now carries 6.7 million tons of e-waste. Hong Kong and Singapore have the largest e-waste per capita in East Asia, making e-waste a big problem there. What is the e-waste level of Cleveland, Tennessee? Do you know? I don’t, but I bet we have one.

Let me ask you this. Do you know how much future toxic waste you have in your house because you now own all these technological devices? I don’t know exactly how much, but I do know that most of us now have over 50 different types of chemicals and heavy metals in our homes, all because of our obsession with electronics.

Look, computerized devices are toxic and bad for your health. Don’t believe me? Listen carefully: Your smartphone contains heavy metals such as mercury, lead, brominated flame-retardants, polyvinyl chloride and, in some cases, polychlorinated biphenyls. At least, this is what was reported by the Daily Nation.

 Just because we have access to thousands of different gadgets each year doesn’t mean they are free from side effects. E-waste is a problem everywhere, and its consequences must be addressed accordingly.

What do we gain by acquiring all this technology if we destroy ourselves in the long run by contamination? We gain little, if anything.

As I aways say, “We are to use technology in moderation” — NOT completely surrender in our attitudes toward technology. Say “No” to the dangers of e-waste by saying “Yes” to moderation and reasonableness.

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at luiscalmeida.info.)

Smartphone addiction real, and dangerous

nik-shuliahin-251237-unsplash

We really have a big problem.

In these past three years, I have heard too many folks saying that they want to give up using their smartphones excessively because deep in their hearts they believe the machine is making them and their relatives sick. Yet, they simply can’t.

I don’t blame them for wanting to live a life of techno moderation. Who wants to be a slave to the smartphone, anyway? I don’t. Yet, for some, giving up their smartphone use for a few hours a day is impossible.

 What a tragedy! It is definitely possible for people to give up their smartphone a few hours each day as long as these people aren’t confirmed cellphone addicts. The issue is that too many of our compatriots simply don’t know they have smartphone addiction.

Let me remind you of some important statistics. Do you know that people check their smartphones an average of 110 times each day? Some 40 percent of people use their smartphones while on the toilet, 12 percent use their smartphones in the shower — unreal, isn’t it? — and one in five adults uses their computerized devices while having sexual relations.

I’m not  finished: Some 56 percent of parents check their smartphones while driving and 75 percent of people have admitted to texting at least once while driving. Let me say this loud and clear. Our society is in trouble largely because of the smartphone.

 I’m speaking to anyone who will listen, and especially to the good citizens of our Cleveland community: We must wake up from this modern-day nightmare because if we don’t, we are going to lose another generation of Americans.

We already lost one and can’t afford to lose one more. We can start fixing this problem by identifying that we are in fact conditioned to use these tech gadgets to a point of no return.

Here is my advice: If you see your kid, daughter, grandson or wife constantly connected, sit down with them, have a serious conversation with them about addiction, and make an effort to seek a psychologist and work out a plan to help them to get out of this situation.

This is the reality of our times. If people want something badly enough, typically people get what they want within reason, but not when fighting an addiction. I am tired of hearing people complaining and finding excuses for why they can’t fight this monster we call the smartphone. The reality today is that people don’t want to take action about their chosen behavior, even though they recognize that the behavior they engage in isn’t good for them.

I wish that our situation was different today, but it isn’t.

Here is what I think, so please read carefully: If you really believe that staying on a machine for nine hours a day is bad for you, then get away from it without regrets. If you can’t, seek help. You only live once! We might as well live a good life of moderation and reason. Doesn’t that make sense? If I heard you say, “Yes, Dr. A, I agree!” … then that’s a good thing.

I know this proposition is complicated. It is common sense, but it will take effort in order to make it work. I don’t know about you, but in my book when I put my mind into something usually I get what I want.

People should be able to get what they want by better understanding their circumstances. You deserve better. Trust me. We have no other option other than fighting against this smartphone addiction epidemic.

I will close this column with my motto, “Use technology, but in moderation.” If you can’t, please realize that you aren’t alone. Millions of people are struggling with a wide variety of technological side effects. Quite frankly, they are in the same boat as you.

The good news is this. We can turn this whole technological addiction around by understanding the need to seek guidance from a psychology professional when required.

That’s what I think.

 ———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info).

As technology fails, activities for the win

justyn-warner-571482-unsplash.jpg

The infusion of innovation changes the composition of any living system forever.

For some reason, we are choosing to ignore the laws of innovation, diffusion and adoption – and all for the sake of technology.

The mighty smartphone may have given us some “superpowers” such as the ability to quickly respond to messages via social media and to share photographs with our kids, but it also has helped kill shopping malls and other retailers all across America, especially in small towns and cities like ours.

Smartphones are not just killing us. They are, as mentioned, killing our malls. When we were younger, people used to go to the mall to walk around, converse, exchange ideas and buy stuff. Today, very few people go to the malls in small towns and cities, and when they do go, they go to walk, not to buy.

Our ideas are now exchanged on social media. We buy our things on Amazon. By the way, did you know that Toys R Us went out of business? Go figure.

Black Friday is dying. Cyber Monday is expanding. Most mall managers are concerned about these new online trends. They have a reason to be concerned, I think. We need to do something about this, ladies and gents. The good news is: I have a solution to this whole mess. Are you willing to hear it?

Here we go with my solution to this whole shopping mall mess in small towns all across America, and small cities like ours:

First of all, trash the idea that malls are places where people go to buy clothes. This retail model is approaching death.

Why don’t we turn these dinosaur malls into activity malls? Seniors are already walking there anyway, right?

Don’t you think that we should expand the offerings and capitalize on what people are asking for? Listen to me: How about if we turn Bradley Square Mall into a facility with a rollerblade hall and an indoor ice skate arena?

By the way, is there a place in town for kids to play, especially during winter and early spring? Let me tell you something: Parents don’t want to buy clothing and toys for their kids every week. Parents want some sanity after working a long week at work.

Turn these dated malls into a kids’ activity place. Maybe mall managers should consider not renewing some of these clothing store contracts (which are struggling to stay in business anyway) and replacing them with a bumper-car enclosure, an old-fashioned arcade, Chuck-E-Cheese, air-bounce, trampoline, billiards, you name it!

We live in a dry county, people. Shouldn’t we make the mall the place for teenagers to go and have date nights? I bet we can turn the finances of these shopping malls around quickly.

Let me say this again: People want an activity mall to take their kids to, have fun and get some sanity. It is the No. 1 complaint I hear from people these days.

How do you monetize this idea of having an activity mall? It is simple. If people want to go to a store only, sell them a ticket for them to go to a store only. Another option? People can pay for an all-day pass. People can even buy a yearly pass and enjoy all the activity mall’s activities for a cheaper price. In a couple of years, we may witness the biggest revival in shopping malls this country has ever seen.

We need stronger leadership to turn mall operations around. Let’s not allow our indoor malls to become a place for delinquents to hang out.

I tell you this: Turning the current shopping malls into activity malls will help destroy some of the delinquency we now sometimes may see in shopping malls.

Technology may change the composition of a system forever, but our ability to adapt and reinvent trumps the side effects that new technologies have on old living systems.

Let me say this loud and clear: We can turn these malls around. All we need to do is to think differently, have people on board who believe in the vision, and survive the transition.

Are you game to make our town awesome? I am.

——— (Column previously published in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Technology makes you boring

dylan-nolte-561931-unsplash

In this life you need to be fascinating. Do you have an accent and come from Greece? Cool! Fascinating! I hope you didn’t choose to live life without taking any risks because in this world, those who don’t take risks live both a boring and a dangerous life. I don’t know about you but unless I am playing with black pieces in a chess game, my best defense is always the offense. I don’t play to lose especially if I have the ability to make the first move. All this technology is making people boring and too cookie cutter in so many aspects.

This past week, I decided to skateboard on campus as a means to connect with our students in a way that they would understand. I doubt that many people my age would even consider skateboarding because our technological society doesn’t often premium those who deviate from the norm that much even though you can be quite captivating when you listen to what your heart is telling you. Who cares if we have all these technologies but we fail to influence? Being boring and old school isn’t always the best way to connect with the youth if you know what I mean.

Some people have said that to be more cool, we have to emulate what Apple does. Yes, they are a tech company but what amazingly makes them fascinating is their ability to take risks and  deviate from what others are doing. They lead by celebrating their differences in contrast to others. People need to simplify, you know? Yet, technology often complicates what we do. Don’t believe me? How complex is your password? Eight to ten characters, which must contain a special character, two numbers and nothing that repeats itself or resembles your social security number? Look man, don’t be boring like everyone else. Be yourself and celebrate your differences because in this technological world, trust me… you will need it.

You must invest in you not always in technology. Will that make some people uncomfortable? Absolutely but hey… life is about dealing with ambiguity and finding ways to control the uncontrollable without having technology controlling what we do. You know what? After 44 years of age, I’ve come to the conclusion that people have to project themselves somehow but not always using technology. In a society where most people tend to make decisions before thinking, many people need to be reminded that being human and perceptive makes us much more fascinating.

I like making myself uncomfortable for the sake of growth. How about you? Please don’t tell me that you get afraid of displaying who you really are for the sake of technology! Remember: Life is about living with enthusiasm in a fascinating way. Live and let die!

You now what, let me say something to you. I am cool, perhaps the coolest professor higher education has ever seen. Hey, I’m not being humble today, all right? I hold a PhD, can bounce a golf ball and catch it behind my neck, can talk with strangers if we were besties and can play mean ping pong! Thank goodness technology doesn’t control me. My life would have been way too mundane if I allowed the smartphone to control me. My recommendation for you is the following. Are you ready?

Life is what you make of it. Don’t allow cheap machinery to control or dictate how you live. Technology is helping us to be more productive and empowered. The irony of the former is that what we gain in production and empowerment we lose in authenticity. I am very concerned that these technologies we have in America today is changing our society to a point of no return where homogeneity will be seen as the norm.

What has made this country what it is today was partly based on the risks we took in order to be more fascinating. Technologies are changing this by asking us all to be more uniform and predictable. How boring! Live and let die or shall we say, carpe diem: Live your lives to the fullest, ladies and gentleman. Say no to technologies and embrace your humanity. In the end, its all you got. 

Revealing yourself using social media

felipe-p-lima-rizo-327591-unsplash

We can learn a lot about people based on their social media behaviors.

In 2018, there are power games being played on Facebook by power-starved people all over the place. Frequency of postings, over- or underengagement, “Likes” and “Dislikes,” “Shares” or a lack of them, are the means by which power games are seen on Facebook alone.

Technology may have made us more connected, but it also has — without question — empowered people to use power over others while hiding their cowardly ways behind a screen. The evidence of this is overwhelming. Researchers call it “face validity,” which means that people can see that assertions are valid and correct.

To make a long story short, a lot of evil is done in the land of apple pie and baseball through smartphones.

In 2013, I went to Harvard University to study leadership. It was one of the very best decisions I’ve made in my life. I was then getting ready to serve as department assistant chair of a large academic unit with 750 students, back in Pennsylvania.

I went to the university to better understand people and to learn different models to manage them. We learned through case studies and simulations the many games that people play in every kind of organization, from universities to  corporate America.

It is ugly what people do to people, both in real life and online.

If you happen to be a minority, these games are played with much more frequency. Dude, I’ve seen a lot in my career in higher education, and have developed skill sets to identify, early on in the game, the people who use their power for evil.

I have to admit that technology can be quite helpful with making inferences about power in organizations. Cyberspace, in this context, is an extension of our real lives. I know, I know … we live in an evil world that is dominated by self-centered people. Technology will never change this fact. I would even argue that technology can only exacerbate this problem.

Here is a cool test you can use to determine whether people are with you or against you. How often do your “friends” like your postings on social media? Are they commenting on your successes or feeling your pain when you lose a family member? Or, are they ignoring what you do because they are afraid that other people may value your contributions more than theirs?

Sure, these aren’t easy questions to answer, especially on Facebook, because the Facebook algorithm is constantly changing. But overall, it is pretty easy to make assertions about people’s behavior on social media over time.

I most definitely pay attention to it and link my findings to what happens in real life. You should also do it. It is amazing what you find.

Technology can be helpful with finding who is playing power games against you. Read this carefully: You can identify a person who wants to exercise power over you face-to-face and online, by examining his or her actions and by paying attention to detail.

Remember: Technology is simply a tool that we can use to better ourselves. In the end, we are our best judges of character and, with the appropriate training, can better understand our surroundings by simply mixing computer-mediated interactions with observable, real-life behaviors.

Keep this in mind. Power is exercised in a variety of ways, but these two ways are usually pretty revealing. Most people, regardless of whether they are using technology to make you look small, disdain your efforts or delay gratification. These are defense mechanisms and clear indicators that someone is trying to exercise power over you. Now, think about this and how they are related to your Facebook (or Instagram) feed. It is pretty revealing.

Now that we have adopted social media in our lives, paying attention to people’s social media behaviors is necessary. It is amazing what people find when they pay attention.

Hey, I like this game. Back in the day, I wanted to be a secretive CIA agent. Be cautious: I am watching you.

———  (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Tech users become modern-day gladiators

melanie-van-leeuwen-83771-unsplash.jpg

We live in a sort of modern-day Rome, where those who control the crowd become invincible.

The gladiators of the past were poor slaves in the eyes of Caesar, but they were the true heroes of the people. They could entertain and temporarily persuade the masses to do whatever they wanted them to say and do in the arena. Although they had no Roman right, as long as they were fighting in the Roman Coliseum, they were free and in control.

The modern-day gladiator, or the small guy who now interacts with a crowd on-line in order to make a living with his craft, may not be fighting lions in a stadium to entertain Caesar and the Roman citizens; however, technology has empowered them to display their talents to thousands of followers on Facebook, and truly entertain and influence the masses, much like Roman gladiators.

It is a form of power that can be easily understood by the powers to be. I have to admit, the smartphone has empowered the weak to be seen and valued, and that’s good. Let me whisper this in your ears, and please promise me that you will only tell your mom about it: Evildoers are short-lived in the new age of information.

Trying to oppress others isn’t worth the trouble anymore. Like a Roman gladiator in his day, when the modern slave is given access to technology he or she now has a voice to share in society. And this is because of technology.

In reality, I have pity for those who scheme against the weak, and use positional power to oppress their brethren. That’s because in modern-day America — where most people have the chance to share what they really think to millions of people, and at little expense — being evil against good people with technology access and a crowd will, sooner or later, backfire. Let me explain.

Have you ever heard about the United Breaks Guitars campaign? I bet that most of you never heard about this modern-day corporate nightmare, because the campaign was targeted at the youth. After United Airlines baggage claim employees mishandled and broke an unknown country artist’s guitar, United refused to admit their mistake and replace the guitar. Uh oh.

Let me make this story short. YouTube allowed vocalist Dave Carroll and his band to tell 17,877,563 different YouTube users about how United Airlines mishandled their baggage and broke his Taylor guitar by composing a country song titled, “United Breaks Guitars.”

The refrain went like this: “I should have flown with someone else or gone by car… cause United Breaks guitars.” What a nightmare for United!

Almost overnight, an unknown figure became a hero to the masses, like a gladiator.

Here is the reality, folks. People today are empowered by technology. Decision-makers need to think twice before assuming that a person is powerless in the new age of information. A simple Facebook post can cause tremendous stress to any organization, and consequently cause the crowd to cheer. In a sense, we are all modern-day gladiators.

Organizations must be aware that we have democratized technology. Access to sophisticated devices made possible by the ever-evolving microchip has given the masses a voice and a large audience to entertain. Social media platforms are now modern-day Roman Coliseums where we fight and look for audience support. The crowd is now being entertained, persuaded and influenced online, as well as in real life.

The reality is that we live in an evil world where powers aren’t evenly distributed. We have the haves and have nots, much like in ancient Rome. Advancements in technology have allowed modern man to become a gladiator with a crowd. At little cost, campaigns can now be made and shared with millions of people per one post. Social media is a weapon, my friends.

The world of communication has changed forever. In the age where sophisticated media users have the ability to control and influence millions of people, the everyday person has a voice, too.

Modern-day gladiators are uncontrollable warriors with a platform on which to share their thoughts. Everybody today has a voice, and a crowd to entertain. A single Facebook post can now make history. Fortunate are those who understand this simple fact.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info.)

 

 

Don’t let technology limit what you do

sam-xu-560979-unsplash.jpg

A lot of people live in a state of denial these days. What they think, and what they believe, are often a reflection of their own alter egos created by all of this technology.

There are so many people today who think they need to use technology to be known as a good speaker, teacher and influencer. Let me reveal something to you: You don’t need to use PowerPoint in order to deliver a great speech!

Let me break this to you, if I may. A star teacher must be student-centered, not technology centered. Influencers don’t rely on presentation software in order to be influential!

Recently, I visited with the Sunrise Rotary Club to deliver a keynote about TechnoModeration with my good old, and cool, Lee Oskar harmonica, plain paper, a collection of stories and different voice pitches. OK, I had a few slides projected onto a screen from my laptop in order to make a few points here and there about what I like to call “technology conditioning” to the audience. However, the vast majority of my speech was done in an entertaining fashion without the use of technology.

What were the results of that endeavor? My dear compatriots, I think the audience really liked the conversation. They were paying attention, laughed at times, interacted with me and themselves, and more importantly — got the point that we have a technology problem in America.

How did they do it? By not looking at their smartphones or following a collection of keynote slides, but by focusing on the verbal and non-verbal behaviors of a speaker who wasn’t reading from a PowerPoint slide.

Listen to me: The key to communicating with impact isn’t related to how much technology you use or how technological somebody believes you are. Forget this idea that you need to have Facebook to persuade an audience, or that Instagram will make others take action on the things you say at face value because they have an online presence.

What you really need is to have the ability to tell stories and make your audience think about the topic you want them to think about. This is done better without technology, and off-line.

I am getting tired of seeing so many talented young people limit themselves because of technology. We are people, and guess what? People are full of emotions!

Do you really think that you will be able to persuade anyone online without having human contact with them long term? Think again!

Mediated communication has its perks and can be used at times, but it will never replace the good old face-to-face conversation. This is precisely why conferences, events, schools and many other public venues bring trained communicators and speakers to speak to their audiences. Communication skills are still king in the age of Fedor, ladies and gentlemen.

The power of a live speech carries on, I must add. A good keynote speaker, after delivering a killer speech to any audience, without relying on too much technology, is often rebooked by somebody who heard that speech.

An influential teacher who puts students ahead of technology will build an army of followers. The result is quite predictable. These same students will eventually start coming in masses to the professor’s office to learn more.

Keep this in mind: People are relational, especially millennials. If you can’t relate, you won’t influence them. Relationship is built face-to-face, not with technology! A good teacher understands that.

Influencers are a rare breed. If you have them on your team, don’t let them go. Do what you can to keep them. Treat them with the respect they deserve. This breed usually has choices.

Although influencers are often technology literate, they don’t always rely on the latest technological advancements to be influential. Did the Rev. Billy Graham use PowerPoint to influence his crowd during his crusades?

Open your eyes to what is important. Technology is second to humanity.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Talking tattoos? You kidding me?

med-badr-chemmaoui-54111-unsplash.jpg

It seems that the latest fashion among young adults these days is to get a music tattoo.

Wait, what? Are you serious? Yes, I am. Dude, the world is getting TechnoCrazy.

Soundwave tattoos, as they are called, are an actual tattoo that can be read by a mobile app that will play the sound. They are here to stay, I must add. People now can get a sound wave tattoo and play the song using the skin motion app. Welcome augmented tattoos, ladies and gentleman.

Some people are making the argument that this new technology is awesome because it allows a person to fully express himself or herself using the latest techno art. Others are celebrating this latest development in technology as a means to remember a former girlfriend or to have a quote or a favorite song to be with them forever.

I know, I know. You think that I am kidding, right?

You are probably saying, “Dr. A, that’s enough. For Pete’s sake! Who in the world would be making decisions like these? This can’t be real!”

I wish I could tell you that sound wave tattoos aren’t fashion these days, but they are. Let me make a prediction: The majority of your grandchildren will have one of these or maybe more before they reach 21.

Why is our society silently accepting these kinds of things anyway? Did anyone even question the moral of not having tattoos on their bodies in the first place? Of course nobody is even talking about this old school, dated alternative!

I must admit that I don’t like tattoos of any kind, especially this new strain of app-based tattoos. I wonder what grandparents in Cleveland think about this new TechnoCrazy trend. I’m not sure, but I will ask. I am curious.

Tattooing a music wave on my body would make my grandmother have a stroke, that I know. I can only imagine me going to her house for dinner and saying, “Grandma, look at my new tattoo. It speaks! Isn’t that cool?”

I know exactly what she would have replied back. It would be with a reply like this, “Neuza Neuza (her long-time maid’s name), please get me my heart medi-cine! I think I‘m dying.”

Let me be fair here for a minute. Not everybody has a grandmother like mine. Some of you may be OK with having your grandson’s first cry tattooed onto your son’s forearm. Maybe I am wrong about that. You tell me.

This is really what I don’t understand when it comes to technology. Rather than people using technology for greater things, people use these useless technologies for frivolous things.

Just because we can now tattoo a wave onto our bodies, and play it with a smartphone app, doesn’t mean that this technology is of any major significance to us. I would much rather spend time and money funding better auto-correct algorithms than in creating apps that play sound wave tattoos.

Since I have been typing this column, I had to go back 14 times in order to undo the changes that the computer has made to my writing! Who cares if kids these days can tattoo music waves to their bodies? Which significance does that have in the grand scheme of things? The answer is none. By the way, what happens if the app to read the tattoo is discontinued?

Listen to me carefully: Be a little old school and resist this madness we now call sound wave tattoos. If your grandchildren initiate a conversation on the topic, change the topic. Discourage their efforts, if necessary.

Am I suggesting that you should ignore them for their own sake? Absolutely. Remember: Your grandkids’ brains aren’t developed until they reach the age of 25. Until then, they will be making some of these nonsense decisions. OK, in many cases kids make some crazy decisions after 25, but you get what I am saying.

In 2018, you can be a walking billboard! In order to play your playlist you need an app! Is it a good thing? I don’t think so.

Which benefit would anyone get by being a human full of music tattooed to their skin?

I can’t believe that I’m writing this piece, yet I am.

How can anybody in their right mind think that all things technology are good?

Think about it.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Can you spot a manipulator?

nonsap-visuals-344178-unsplash

There is a fine line between good leadership and manipulation.

Great leaders are known for empowering and building people. Manipulators are masters of stealing the talent of others for self-proclamation.

Great leaders, after the end of a victorious campaign, say something like, “We did it.” Manipulators typically get the ideas of others to say, “I did it.”

One of the biggest problems with technology in contemporary America is that youth are growing incapable of differentiating between leaders and manipulators.

Life is full of people who manipulate the crowd to achieve their selfish goals. Be aware of them! This bunch often tries to steal what you have or know for their own glory, without giving you any credit for it. Having technology skills is a good thing. Knowing the difference between good leadership and manipulation is a great thing.

Read carefully: Put your computer aside for a few hours each week in order to develop true leadership and political understanding. Learning about leadership and politics is a necessity in this highly technological world we live in today.

How do you learn about these topics, you may be asking? It starts by reading the right literature. I recommend people to start by reading two books: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell and the 16th century classic, The Prince, written by Nicollo Machiavelli. Reading is the beginning.

 Here is what I actually do. Please only share this method with your sister, OK?

In addition to unplugging once in a while from my smartphone, and reading extensively on the topic of leadership, politics and human behavior, I pay very close attention to what people  around me say and do.

Do they treat people equally or differently depending on who they are talking to?If people start treating others drastically differently based on who is around, chances are very high that this bunch isn’t trustworthy. I would even say that they are probably trying to steal something from people, maybe even you.

Pay close attention to human behavior! Are you receiving credit for the contributions you make, or are people stealing your ideas for self-gain under a facade?

 Sorry, technology won’t help you with differentiating between great leadership and simple manipulation. You need to equip yourself with knowledge in order to do that. Our children need to be equipped with skill sets that help them to differentiate between great leadership and manipulation – like understanding non-verbal communication skills and different speech patterns and emotions.

 I also like to operate under the law of opposites. If somebody tells me that he is a great leader, I immediately interpret this message to mean the opposite, because most people are actually the opposite of what they tell you in public. Look at the opposite of what you see. It is magical what you will discover.

You don’t need to look at some screen in order to differentiate between a leader and a manipulator.  Look for consistency in verbal and non-verbal behavior, instead.

The moment you see patterns of behavior that are incongruent with the person’s speech patterns, pay closer attention, take note and investigate. People these days rely way too much on what we call mediated communication in order to get to “know” other people.

Who cares what people post on Facebook? Remember: They are not in front of you making these statements.

 It is so much easier to spot a manipulator in person than online. The same can be said about a strong leader. Some people can fake behavior, but not too many.

By the way, I am not saying that people shouldn’t use technology in order to communicate. There are many cases of manipulation in computer-mediated communication, but what I am saying is that people, not technology, are better able to spot a great leader as long as they know what they should be looking for.  People need to understand that.

A lot of people are lost in the minutiae of cyberspace and are not developing the necessary skill sets they need in order to differentiate between leaders and manipulators.

It is our job to help them to understand that, plain and simple.

 ——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info).

Can you spot a manipulator?

Caring about everything is techno-dangerous

robbie-weaver-562281-unsplash.jpg

In this Facebook world we live in nowadays, it seems that people care about everything, everywhere, all the time, across cultures.

What a curse!

Really? Yep.

What if I told you that all this technology people use today in Cleveland is driving them bananas because it has reinforced this idea that people should seek to be perfect, care about everything, be happy, social, wealthy and right all the time in order to achieve higher heights in society? All, of course, nonsense.

Let me say it again. All nonsense! Why? This is why.

The moment people choose to care about everything, like how many friends your classmate has on Facebook compared to you, the more people realize that they actually don’t care about anything.

It is weird, yet quite predictable how this works. The happier people want to be, the more they discover how unhappy they are. The more social people seek to be on these social media platforms, the more people find out how lonely they actually are.

Now, this is the kicker: The more fame and money people seek, the more people realize how little money and fame they have!

This is why I believe that technology is causing so many kids to be depressed, anxious, and in some cases to commit suicide at record rates these days. Technology has allowed you and me to seek happiness, but the irony is that by seeking happiness, technology reveals how unhappy many of us are in actuality.

Don’t believe me? OK. Read existential philosopher Albert Camus for confirmation. Even better, go get yourself a copy of Mark Manson’s latest book. You won’t regret it. Just realize that his book is R-rated.

It is shocking how people today feel they need to know everything about cats or the Kardashians, and constantly trying to find ways to get more friends than their cousins on Facebook. People are getting a lot of media stimuli at the expense of living a worse life. You can thank technology for encouraging you to care about everything.

Let me tell you something. I don’t really care if I ever write an academic article again in my life as a college professor, regardless of how much technology we have available at our fingertips. I have written enough articles for my satisfaction.

I do care about writing commentary articles, like these columns I write for the Cleveland Daily Banner, because speaking with you at Food City or in church about matters of technology matters to me. Technology will never dictate how I live my life and I recommend that you do follow the same philosophy with yours. Be careful with caring about everything in life just because you have access to technology.

I am now a much more practical and common-sense type of person than I was back in graduate school and in my later days at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Back then, I was fascinated with all the latest technology, and lived as if failing was a capital sin, and that error was equated with shame.

I was incapable of seeing the obvious. I was caring way too much about everything, especially technology.

Too many schools advance the idea that if people aren’t perfect in everything they do, they lose. Nonsense! By losing you win. I don’t really care if I make a mistake. I do care about fixing it, though. By the way, why do you care about everything under the sun?

In this life, you will screw up. If you are clever, you will do and redo things. Everybody faces adversity. You are not alone. Happy are those who choose what they care about, and don’t let technology dictate how they live. Our society is addicted to unrealistic positive expectations, and technology has served as the fuel for making many believe in achieving these impossible standards.

You don’t need to be a psychopath, meaning not caring about anything, in order to live well in our great technopoly. What you do need to do is to care about some things using technology moderately, in order to live the good life.

Be cautious with caring too much about the things society is asking people to care about in order to be happy. Chances are these things will make you unhappy.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Offering Some Love For The World Of Print

bank-phrom-352283-unsplash.jpg

There is a new study out there that claims that students learn better by reading paperback books than e-books. It is about time for us to be talking about this undeniable fact.

I am for using technology in the classroom with reason, but if given the option to buy print versus e-books, I will always defend print because of what I have read, seen and tested in my career as a college professor.

Getting right to the point: Assuming that students will learn better by using e-books because they grew up with a computer is irresponsible.

All right, fasten your seat belts because what you are about  to read isn’t popular, and will probably leave some people very confused. Technology in the classroom is important and, to a degree, necessary. What we must avoid is believing that everything that is technologically advanced is, by default, better for you.

Students will always learn better from print because of the following factors:

First and foremost, books are printed at 300 dots per inch; images and text are displayed on screens at 72DPI. This, in itself, concerns me as our eyes get more eye strain when reading content at lower DPI. Have you noticed that you get headaches more frequently when reading that iPhone of yours, compared to a book?

Part of the reason why you feel that way is because the medium with the highest resolution today is paper, not the screen! The lower the media resolution, the higher the side effects. It’s no wonder Barnes & Noble has stacks and more stacks of print books for sale. Paper sells, or shall we say, “Screens give us headaches?”

Look, there is so much more to this discussion than DPI and resolution. Did you even know that your smartphone messes with your radio frequency exposure? What do you think higher RF exposure will do to your learning? Now I bet I  am scaring you! Let me get technical now for your benefit, and then we will tie this all back to education.

Electronic devices emit radio frequency waves. Specific absorption rate, or SAR, which is a fancy name for explaining the rate that your body absorbs radio frequency electromagnetic field waves, must be monitored closely in order for subjects to avoid getting deadly conditions, including cancer.

In the United States, the limit SAR value, set by the FCC, is 1.6 watts per kilogram of tissue, as I understand. That iPhone of yours transmits a lot of RF signals and that’s why the device offers many of us the option to talk hands free or using a headphone. Don’t believe me? OK. Go to your iPhone device, click “General,” then hit “About.” Scroll down the screen until you reach the option, “legal.” After that, click the option, “RF exposure.”

Now, relating this with education, as promised. Could it be that higher levels of SAR in the human body due to exposure and frequency of use of these devices affects the way we process information from our short-term memory to our long-term memory?

I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that higher RF exposure in your head results in higher electromagnetic radiation. Books don’t emit any RF waves.

Question, “Who do you think will learn best: The student who is reading a book in print or the one who reads that e-book emitting RF waves?” Sure, not all students will put that e-book reader against their heads, but will they put that device against their bodies? Uh-oh.

It is not over. When people are reading on a cellphone screen or another computerized device including the Kindle, people’s brains apparently only skim over the material. When people read a physical book, people’s brains connect both its hemispheres together. This  phenomenon does not occur when people read books on smartphones. No wonder people remember more content when reading from a book than when reading from an e-book.

As I always say, “Use technology, but in moderation.”

When it comes to education, print books are preferable for the reasons I just told you.

Responsible educators take into account the potential side effects that technology has on the development of their students. I certainly do. You should do the same.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner). 

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Public schools help sustain culture

pan-xiaozhen-423533-unsplash.jpg

This fall, my daughter Sophia will be attending one of our local elementary schools.

Why am I putting her in public school, you may be asking? The main reason why Sophia will be going to one of our county schools isn’t because she will have access to computers in the classroom. Although I believe that kids should use technology in moderation for learning, Sophia will attend a Bradley County public school in order to learn more about people.

In life, people must be prepared to get along with other people in order to live in a community, deal with adversity, learn how to behave in public and communicate, and fight injustice when required; also, in order to be comfortable and stick up for themselves when required.

Stop! Think! Reflect! Be a good father or mother.

Before putting politics ahead of common sense and reasoning, think about what is best for your children. I hold the position that people who are prepared to deal with different types of people will eventually have the upper hand in life.

I honestly don’t think that nurturing children to a point of protecting them from facing adversity is a good idea. Eventually, these kids grow older and become clueless about how the world actually operates.

Here’s a caveat. There is no technology that will solve the problems of your grandchildren when they are bullied later in life because the parents decided to protect them from the evil of this world. Kids who don’t experience interpersonal conflict tend to become severely handicapped in the workforce later in life unless they realize that they are behind, unless they read self-help books extensively and unless they are mentored by someone who actually understands how the world operates and is willing to share.

My parents have always protected me. I was given every technology you could dream of back in the day. The problem is that technology doesn’t teach kids about people.

What I got with technology, I lost in understanding verbal communication, facial cues and body language, and the basic tenets of culture. I had no concept of privacy and space back in Brazil. So I question, how good is technology if you don’t gain the basics of your culture? Avoiding conflict isn’t the answer, either.

Going to a public elementary school helps kids to better understand the role of authority, and helps them to learn how to deal with situations that kids dislike. Yet, they have to learn how to act accordingly.

Kids in public schools also learn how to face and handle conflict. Sometimes, saying something back or retaliating will stop the nonsense, even if the kid loses the battle.

At least, this is what my dear old friend Kurt Dudt once told me. He was a publicly educated former U.S. Marine who trained the South Vietnamese to fight the Viet Cong. There is honor in facing a bully, even if you lose, he used to say.

Look, allowing your grandchildren to hide behind a computer screen won’t protect them later in life. Often, it transforms great kids into cowards, which in itself has some serious consequences. I woke up, came out of the shell, and now people think twice before making me mad.

Your children deserve to know how to defend themselves when necessary against anyone, as well. Virtual schools don’t teach your kids how to handle these things.

Technology is good for assisting kids to learn, but it falls short on enabling children to develop themselves in society.

We need to prepare our kids to be ready to respond appropriately in life so that they can succeed. I hold the position that kids must be able to decipher between good and not-so-good people, and find mechanisms to cope with them.

We live in a diverse world, ladies and gentlemen. Kids should be exposed to other ethnicities and realize that not every family raises their kids the same way.

We can’t always rely on a computer to tell us how to think or advise us on what to do.

Your grandkids need to know about people. Schools, not technology, are a playground for it.

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Technology is Handicapping Millennials

rawpixel-com-296618-unsplash.jpg

One of main traits that makes us human is our ability to communicate. Whenever we live a healthy communal life, we engage in conversations face-to-face, care and respect others, and we pay attention to important principles of etiquette which then helps us to live in conjunction with each other without engaging in too much discord. I am not aware of any critical mass of individuals living in a society in any time in history that has survived the times living in total isolation from their immediate community, its values and communication practices. And as importantly — the ability to learn from his own mistakes over time. The smartphone has been handicapping the millennial generation in this regard.

The Smartphone Has Been Handicapping The Millennials. You have heard it right. You might be asking… Why do you say that professor? Let me explain why by giving you a real life example that has changed the way I interact with human beings of the opposite sex.

When I was a kid, I struggled to converse with girls face-to-face. I was so shy and literally afraid to speak with a girl one-on-one… I had a terrible fear of rejection back then. Even though these feelings are not totally foreign to young boys, I know today that my levels of shyness (and therefore my inability to speak with a person of the opposite sex) back then were probably higher than most boys who were shy in my generation.

Like most kids in their teenage years, I was unprepared to engage in interpersonal communications with a female. I still remember this beautiful girl named Peggy which I truly had the hots for. She was beautiful, nice, and to my fortune… she seemed to like me. The fact that we never ended up going out on a date had nothing to do with her interpersonal ability. It had everything to do with mine. I failed to initiate a meaningful conversation with her to have the chance to ask her out on a date. My total loss… and I knew it. However, my inabilities to break the ice and carry on a honest conversation with a girl made me stop and think about why I wasn’t being successful in my love endeavors. I spent some time thinking about this question and then BINGO! Eventually, I’ve learned what girls like out of my struggles. “They like to talk,” for the most part. I figured… Well, if girls like to talk, then I need to be a good listener. The rest my friends, is history.

Look, I didn’t need to have a smartphone to make me feel better or learn how to speak with a girl. My humanity helped me with enjoying my later teenage and young adult years simply by stopping and thinking about the obvious. For most of my teenage years (up to the age of 16), I struggled with speaking with girls. Some might consider the former as being a “bad” life experience. Well, I see these former struggles differently today. I thank God for how things ended up working out in my life in that regard and for having the ability to face the problem and find a possible solution like a man.

When I was 16 years old, there were no smartphones. My parents happened to have cell phones back then, which was unusual for Brazilians back in the 90’s, but they were not smart.  I didn’t have the opportunity to go on-line to make me feel better for my inability to speak with a girl. Because I had NO technology, I had to face the problem and develop a two very important life skills — Critical thinking and Listening.

Kids today are handicapped because of technology. Too many millennials face a problem with a girl and rather than facing the problem head on to find a solution… They often go to their smartphones and text! Can’t talk with a girl tonight? Go to a smartphone, watch a video with girls and feel better. Can’t find a date to go to prom… Go to the smartphone, chat with girls on Tumbler, and move on… Don’t have any friends? Go to the smartphone and log into Facebook and and chatting! The problem is that text messaging won’t teach a kid how to speak with a girl like a man. Avoiding (or the inability) to speaking with a real girl can’t be replaced by watching a video about girls. Not having a date for prom can’t be replaced by chatting with strangers on Tumbler…

What if I told you that if a person faces a problem in life and decides to ignore the issue and move sideways, eventually they will walk in a circle and be bossed around for life? With or without technology. All this technology that is supposed to make our lives better is having a tremendously negative impact in the lives of millions of teenagers and young adults today. It is, in fact, handicapping them by discouraging them to face real life problems for the sake of technology.

I have 10 Life Secrets: Let Me Share 1

Dr. A After Delivering A Keynote to 18 Secretaries at Lee University.
Dr. A After Delivering A Keynote to 18 Secretaries at Lee University.

We shouldn’t spend our lives on our smartphones letting life pass by us. That’s a mistake! Most people don’t get what they want or deserve because of silly mistakes. I have met a number of talented college graduates who struggle economically because of the bridges they’ve burned along the way, experienced professionals who get stuck mid career because of pride, and near retirement employees who are anxious to retire so that their fear of unemployment stops consuming them. Clearly, nobody told these folks that jobs are now partnerships and that burning bridges, pride and fear are only going to slowly transform their true talent into perishable mediocrity. You don’t want to fall under these categories. What you do need is to control your life by maneuvering the game of life in ways that makes you totally unpredictable. By the way, how are you positioning yourself these days? Are you engaging in careful planning?

Undeniably, everybody loves doing the kind of work that they have a talent for. Based on this logic, the million dollar question then becomes, “What do I need to do in order to work on my talent?” Ladies and gentleman, I am going to reveal to you one of the ten life secrets I’ve learned right now. The secret actually comes from Napoleon Hill, one of my “deceased mentors” and author of the book “Think and Grow Rich.” Just realize that his secret has seven steps. Are you ready for this? Put that smartphone of yours away for  minute and enjoy the show!

First: Decide exactly what kind of job you want. If this job doesn’t already exist, perhaps you can create it.

Second: Choose the company or individual from whom you wish to work for.

Third: Study your prospective employer, as to policies, personnel, and chances for advancement.

Fourth: By analysis of yourself, your talents and capabilities, figure what you can offer, and plan ways and means of giving advantages, services, developments, and ideas that you believe you can successfully deliver.

Fifth: Forget about a “job.” Forget whether or not there is an opening. Forget the usual routine of “have you got a job for me?” Concentrate on what you can give.

Sixth: Once you have your plan in mind, arrange with an experienced writer to put it on paper in neat form and in full detail.

Seventh: Present it to the proper person with authority and he will do the rest. Every company is looking for men who can give something of value, whether it be ideas, services, or “connections.” Every company has room for the man who has a definite plan of action which is to the advantage of that company.

Careful planning is at the core of this secret. Failing to influence others is a capital mistake. Never, under any circumstances, criticize others because the moment you do you lose them. Who knows if you are going to need them in the future or not? Don’t burn bridges! Control your pride. Life is about God, not you or me. Why are you so afraid? Life is full of surprises. You might as well join the team and make yourself indispensable to whoever you work for. Your anxieties will decrease… trust me.

It is all about careful planning, dude. By the way, what are you doing about that? Don’t let others choose what you should do. You should take ownership of your destiny perhaps with the consultation of a close ally. The former can help you tremendously, that is for sure.

In the tech age, to err is still human

sergey-zolkin-192937-unsplash

I don’t know about you, but I am imperfect. This fellow here isn’t always right, has faults like anyone else, and is above all — human.

Have you heard the phrase, “To err is human.” I am that human.

Why am I saying this to you here in the Cleveland Daily Banner, a public outlet that is read by tens of thousands of readers? It is because I want you to know something. Machine thinking is so ingrained in us that even when a person makes a little tiny error, some are quick to point out, “Hey, you made a mistake!”

It’s much like when computer programmers misplace a semicolon in a system and get a syntax error.

Look, I get it. Not everybody points out other people’s faults or pitfalls out of jealously. Some do, but not all. The majority of people who can’t stand an incorrect comma on an essay or a person mispronouncing “let’s pray” in a public event probably say it out of pride and because of technology overuse. Some might actually be ignorant and socially inept, but they are a minority.

Read very carefully: We live in a technopoly. Machine thinking is a widespread phenomenon in America. The machine has, in a number of domains, achieved perfection.

Every time we use a calculator we get an exact and accurate response. We can now create a word cloud online perfectly based on word frequency. I play chess with a machine that knows the very best move among the many that are available.

No wonder people are so picky about making things so perfect. After all, this is how a computer behaves. We need to forgive them and help them to realize that only the Lord is perfect. We are imperfect.

Let me go a bit deeper about this topic. Let me see if I can convey a quite complex issue to you quickly using simple words. Here we go.

Since computerized devices are a human creation, it is only fair to assume that some machine functions will be performed in a very human way. I am not aware of a totally secure network out there. Even the most secure systems can be infiltrated by a back-door protocol. They have vulnerabilities! They are imperfect. No wonder. These systems were created by people.

Let’s not forget the fact that we created the machine, not the other way around. Of course, even computers have imperfections. Just because some people perceive the machine to be perfect doesn’t mean that machines are.

In 2018, there is a driving force to produce computerized systems that can think like humans, in order to replace us. Nobody is saying the upcoming American Fedora will be a perfect robot, though. Even in the realm of emerging technology, there is room for error and revision.

Don’t believe me? Have you installed an operating system patch lately? How about an update on your smartphone?

What we are experiencing right now is machine revenge. Since the machine is almost perfect in many areas, we are then asked to be like one and operate under similar standards of perfection.

How ironic, isn’t it? It is comical. Man created the machine and made microsystems work to perfection, like a calculator.  Man surrounded himself with machines. These machines made him more like one, yet he can’t be one. The perfect ideal isn’t attainable. What a tragedy, I must add.

Consequence: Some now judge the work of others based on an algorithm that is humanly unattainable. Are people going mad these days? I think people are going insane, actually.

Do this for me: Next time somebody comes and points out one of your many faults, tell them that life is imperfect — that you enjoy being imperfect because it makes you unique. I am boldly unique, but full of faults.

Dr. A is not God. He loves the Lord and believes that only through the blood of Jesus he will be clean from his imperfections.

To summarize, Dr. A believes that to err is human. What do you believe?

——— (Column published previously in the Cleveland Daily Banner)

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and a TEDx speaker. He is the author of the book “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation,” and a devoted Christian. He can be reached via his website at  luiscalmeida.info). 

Evangelism: The Importance Of Giving A Testimony.

Evangelism: The Importance Of Giving A Testimony.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done” (Psalm 105:1). 

Dr.A

Let me ask you this. What is 750,000 miles long, reaches around the world thirty times, and grows twenty times longer each day? Answer: The number of people who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a LOT!

The bible is an unique book of revelation that unveils God’s plan for humanity as well as a salvation plan. Evangelism might be an activity that is carried out by humans but is definitely inspired and guided by God. The gospel is good news ladies and gents and must be shared to the nations.

For years folks have been asking how can we, in 2017, evangelize unbelievers in such a complex and technological world. The answer is surprisingly simple! It starts with giving a testimony. By the way, how did you find God? Do you remember the exactly moment when you found the love of God in you? Well, it starts there.

At Westmore Church of God, we spoke in great detail about this plan of evangelism in last week’s Wednesday class. Let me share with you a model of evangelism that I know will help you to actively engage in the great commission. It goes a little but like this and starts with a testimony.

  1. Use your testimony
  2. Plan your testimony
  3. Point people to Jesus
  4. Clearly explain the gospel message
  5. Share several key scripture verses
  6. Explain how you actually receive Christ

Here is my advice: Spend some time alone, have conversation with God and put together (if you haven’t done so) a sketch about how you found God. After that, look at the model above and start evangelizing! Why not? We are called by God to do so. As the great 92 year old missionary educator James Beaty once said, “It pay off to obey God.”

Music Pleases God.

Music Pleases God.

Hands

“He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

Brothers and sisters, we are to pray daily and sing hymns to the Lord. Only God saves! We must proclaim the good news of the gospel to others so that we can advance the kingdom of Jesus Christ. We are called to preach and sing “louvores” to God through music. God loves when we glorify Him. This is our duty brethren! God first — every time.

God bless, Luis.

 

 

Do No Evil…

Do No Evil…

genius.png

“Now finally, all of you should be likeminded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).  

Under any circumstances, do no evil. In this life, we must live a life for the Lord not for men. God is pretty clear about how He wants us to behave and live our lives. Acting evil in either words spoken or behaviors is to be forbidden. Don’t insult others — Be sympathetic, be compassionate, and humble, as Peter has taught us. In every opportunity, do what you can do make others feel good and above all, obey God’s law. The former is our task.

The world is full of injustice, mean spirited people and arrogant individuals who think they are wonderful. Be different today! Be a Christian! Be the salt of the world and by your actions… be a testimony of the love of Jesus Christ to the nations. We need to show others that only God saves and is merciful. Without God, we aren’t anything.

That God be glorified!

God Gives Us Wisdom and Understanding.

God Gives Us Wisdom and Understanding.

602189_10104174487909654_1831784151_n

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).

Ladies and gentleman…  Only the Lord is wise and has great knowledge and understanding. In the spirit of back to school I tell you today, “Let’s focus our efforts in what is important and the what is really important is being with God and following His commands.”

Students, welcome back!!! Keep your eyes on God and He will bless you. Ask and you will receive! This upcoming academic year will be a great one for you in Jesus Christ. BY the way… Don’t forget to read the bible while in school. It is amazing what can be accomplished when you are in God. He loves you yesterday, today and for the whole eternity.

In His name we pray… Amen.

 

Listen Carefully: The Lord Will Never Abandon You.

Listen Carefully: The Lord Will Never Abandon You.

DSC_3462-Edit-Edit-Edit-2

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you whenever you go” (Joshua 1:9).  

Tomorrow, I will officially starting my job at Lee University which in itself has been an answer to prayer. Our family isn’t in Cleveland, TN because of an academic promotion or anything financial. In fact, a lot of our friends questioned why our family decided to move to another institution in another state making less money and with me losing two university tenures… “Professor, did you lose your mind?”

Well, our family decided to handle the former with the following response, “We didn’t lose our mind, no. Our family literally lives life by faith.” We don’t own anything — The Lord does. God will provide… The Lord has called us to move to Lee University for a very good reason.

We are not afraid of our move and you shouldn’t be afraid to move to a new place when God calls you to move either. Life isn’t about living in fear. The purpose of life is to glorify God and to follow His commands. What we do is judged by others but I can assure you that God won’t leave you alone in your life journey. There is a reason for everything under the sun as we learn in Ecclesiastes 3.

The time is now not tomorrow. We are all terminal as my pastor once said. Time is running out to do the great things that the Lord has called you to do. Question: Are you doing what the Lord has called you to do? Don’t wait! It is time to serve and be with Him. God won’t abandon you.

He will be with you whenever you go! God’s blessings brothers and sisters. Only God is to be glorified. In His name we pray… Amen.

True Wisdom Comes From God.

True Wisdom Comes From God.

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-11-29-19-pm

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5); ” Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil” (Proverbs 3:7). 

True wisdom comes from God. All we have to do is to task Him and he shall give it to us. Our God is a generous Lord who cares and wants us to grow spiritually. The idea that we can be wise in our own eyes doesn’t come from our creator. Ask and you will receive! With God, everything is possible. God blessings to you brothers and sisters.

God Disciplines You Because He Loves You.

God Disciplines You Because He Loves You.

20369203_488460888167984_2888571355739415786_o

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12). 

Most people are uncomfortable with receiving a dose of discipline. Chances are high that you will be disciplined by someone sometime in your lifetime, both privately and publicly. It is the way that God, through the holy spirit, acts in this world to teach you and show God’s love to you. God develops those He loves. Remember: God Disciplines You Because He Loves You. 

You are to welcome discipline and try to better understand what God has planned for your life. In this world, the most impactful learnings you can have come from predictable rebukes given by others yet orchestrated by the Lord. With reason, be open to this unpredictable criticism — as long as the criticism is constructive and well intended. The spirit will tell you if the feedback is well intended or if it is malicious. My recommendation? Pray about it every time you are rebuked. It is amazing what God does to you and the person who disciplined you after you pray. Our God is a fair God.

God bless.

The Importance of Good Works.

The Importance of Good Works.

DSC_1616-Edit

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, captives of various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another” (Timothy 3:1-3).

We Christians understand the importance of following orders and to do good much in the same way that we understand how to lead many times and how to do better things when God calls us to the task. There is no wisdom in fighting with others for nothing or to slander anyone. A believer must be gentle to his neighbor even if that person doesn’t like him. The former isn’s to say that we (Christians) need to always accept what others have to say or accept how they behave towards us but in our core… we should be gentle with others and be understanding.

There are too many people out there who live life to be malicious, envious and hateful towards others. We need to pray to God so that they can see the light. It is our duty yesterday, today and tomorrow. Being with God is a gift.

God bless.

The Secret To Living A Good Life

The Secret To Living A Good Life
“Our God gives you everything you need, makes you everything you’re to be. You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you. All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for the kingdom. You’re suffering now, but justice is on the way. When the Master Jesus appears out of heaven in a blaze of fire with his strong angels, he’ll even up the score by settling accounts with those who gave you such a bad time. His coming will be the break we’ve been waiting for. Those who refuse to know God and refuse to obey the Message will pay for what they’ve done. Eternal exile from the presence of the Master and his splendid power is their sentence. But on that very same day when he comes, he will be exalted by his followers and celebrated by all who believe – and all because you believed what we told you. Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time – pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely” (2 Thessalonians 1:2-12). God loves you. 

On Marriage, Sex, and Family.

On Marriage, Sex, and Family.

Leviticus 19:32: “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD…” 1 Peter 5:5: “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Timothy 5:1-3: “Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters. Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her.”

We need to respect those who are older than us who possess wisdom. Listen to Dr. Beaty. He knows what he is doing. To God be the glory!

Be Kind, Care For One Another — God Loves You.

Be Kind, Care For One Another — God Loves You.

*

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4); “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). 

Life is about following God’s commands and glorifying Him. Flee from selfishness, help others as Christ has helped you. Choose kindness over hate, be forgiving and loving. Who can be better than God, I ask? Nobody can, that’s for sure.

In this Life, we need to lose our lives in order to gain it, as God has instructed us. Be on the lookout for others, always.