E-Cigarettes Anyone?

Teens are vaping their brains out, ladies and gentleman.  What do I mean by that? Your grandchildren are smoking their brains out with e-cigarettes, citizens of Cleveland, TN. There is a vaping epidemic in our region and beyond and guess what? I think that we have this problem because of technology.

All these technologies, like e-cigarettes, can be quite destructive especially if they serve as an escape mechanism for these kids. Listen to me: Your grandkids are vaping their brains out because of all the technology they consume daily and because most of you have given your sons and daughters technologies to occupy their time. Do you know what I hear the most in my office at the university? This is what I hear, “Dr. A, I just want to relate to people.” Go figure!

What the kids really want is to talk to other people. The kids want to talk with others and when they fall short of achieving such an endeavor, they vape and vape a lot. Vaping is an industry understand that. I bet that the drug dealers are aware of this, as well. Are you still ignorant about it? 

Look, vaping, to me at least, is a consequence of kids using too much technology in society people. It is a consequence of living a life on the edge, full of stress without having anywhere to go. Technology when used without control, will have these side effects. According to my research, Americans are somewhere within the human robot syndrome phase of the human robot cycle. If my conclusions happen to be true, this means that we are almost to a point of total burn out in society which to me at least, has too many negative consequences.

I think that vaping is just one way in which teenagers and young adults express their “human robot behaviors” publicly in our town. Human beings were not made to be on the computer all the time! Consuming too much technology will backfire. As I always say, “Use technology but in moderation.” Don’t give your pearls to the pigs. If you see your kid vaping, evaluate your own technology use behaviors and try to correct them. I bet that your grandkids vape and use all these technologies because your children did it first.

Am I saying that the main problem are your kids and not your grandkids? That’s exactly what I’m saying. Let’s not forget that people learn through role modeling. Parents are role models! Your kids modeled you. Your grandkids modeled your kids. If your grandkids are vaping like a maniac, I bet that you had something to do with it. Behaviors are often acquired by association. Remember: Your actions do have an impact in the life of others.

Technology can be both sweet and sour. It can be so good to make our lives easier and more convenient but it can also turn our kids and grandkids into addicted beings desperate for the next high. It is such a tragedy what we are witnessing these days with this whole vaping thing. Just keep in mind that vaping isn’t the cause. It is the consequence of overuse of technology.

Now, let me ask you this, is it worth losing a generation to e-cigarettes for the sake of technology? I don’t think so. Human life is so much more precious than perishable machines like cigarettes and motherboards. You know what? Maybe I’m just a romantic living in this crazy world we call, “The modern world.”

As much as I hate writing this, I don’t think that vaping will cease anytime soon in our community and beyond. The kids are hooked on this modern day tobacco thing. The difference is that technology overuse is being the fuel behind this massive adoption of vapor in our society. I wonder what will be next. Well, I just don’t wanna know!

Teens are vaping their brains out, ladies and gentleman. In my view, vaping is somehow related to overuse of technology in or society. E-Cigarettes can cause a lot of grief for teenagers in Bradley county and we need to be aware of it. Just because something is technological doesn’t make it good or better. That’s for sure.

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Don’t Let Technology Limit Yourself

A lot of people live in a state of denial these days. What they think and believe is often a reflection of their own alter egos created by all of this technology. There are so many people today who think that 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!

This past Thursday, I went to 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. Okay, 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 was the results 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 made others to take action about the things you say face value because they have an on-line 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 man 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 on-line 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, speakers… to speak to their audiences. Communication skills are still king in the age of Fedor, ladies and gentleman.

The power of a live speech carry on, I must add. A good keynote speaker, after delivering a killer speech to any audience, without relying on too much technology, is often re-booked by somebody who saw that speech. An influential teacher who puts students ahead of technology will built an army of followers. The consequence of the former is quite predictable. These same students will eventually start coming in masses to the professor’s office hours 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 got 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 have choices… Although influencers are often technology literate, they don’t always rely on the latest technological advancements to be influential. Did Billy Graham used powerpoint to influence his crowd during his crusades? Open your eyes to what is important. Technology is second to humanity. 

Technology Won’t help You To Navigate Communities

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. You can’t give up being able to read facial expression because if you do, chances are you won’t live long. Eventually, people will take advantage of you to a point of no return. 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. Making decisions emotionally could cost you losing that so sought after job promotion.

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 any. 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. It is because of your advice, not a smartphone, that now I attend a good church. 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 this community without your 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 your 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 their overall inability to see and “feel” the obvious. We live in a rough world where too many individuals take advantage of others. Take the example of scammers taking advantage of the elderly. Why should we sacrifice our own abilities to communicate and perceive behavior for the sake of technology? Well, I won’t.

Choose to be quiet and listen. Pay close attention to what people do and say around you. Being able to read people is a weapon, compatriots. Technology, I don’t need you for that. Understanding my surroundings is something that I value and you should, as well.

Bionic Eyes Coming To A Face Near You

I cannot imagine living life without having the ability to see the world. It is amazing how we all take for granted the many privileges we have including our ability to see. Unless you are blind or have a vision impairment, I bet that you don’t think too much about your eye sight capabilities. I have to admit that I don’t think too much about my eyes until I have to absolutely go to the eye doctor to change my prescription. Ladies and gentleman listen carefully to me because what I am going to tell you will make you think about your eyes and the future of your eyesight. We are very close to having access to what is called bionic contacts.

Can you imagine being 87 and having the eye sight of a 20 year old? I can’t, yet, but Dr. Webb, in a keynote delivered at the superhuman conference, stated that the bionic lens will be an actual lens that will replace your actual eye lens making wearing glasses or contacts a thing of the past, period. What if I told you that with the bionic lens, you will have the eye sight of a hawk or shall we say, you will have eye sight that is three times better than having 20/20 vision.   

We are going to have autofocus on steroids and be able to adjust our focus manually inside our eyes. Let me say this again — the bionic lens will allow you and me to adjust the resolution of our eyes as well as the sharpness of what they see! Why is the former so significant? Well, because future technology will now give you the capability to look at a world that was once only possible to see with an electronic microscope. Can you imagine being able to adjust your eyes and having the capacity to see the individual cells of your hand? I have to admit that I cannot imagine that.

According to Dr. Webb, whenever our eye lens gets old inside of our ocular structure, all of the other components of our eye go bad with it overtime making the case for the bionic eye a no-brainer. Citizens of Cleveland, Tennessee, we may be closer to science fiction than I thought. What does that mean you maybe asking! Let me try to explain Dr. Webb’s position on why the bionic lens will change the eye doctor industry forever. He explains that the biochemical assaults that our eyes experience because of the proteins and enzymes that are released by a defective lens end up compromising our ability to see well, along with the ultraviolet lights coming from the sun which causes eye degradation coming from the outside. He also states that the bionic lens will take virtual reality to its completion. There is some speculation that human studies have already started and that the product may be available as early as mid 2018.

Now, I like this, I must admit but I am skeptical about its potential long term side effects. My number one skepticism is grounded in the idea that no innovation is 100% perfect or 100% safe. I don’t know if I want to risk my ability to see in exchange for the possibility to be half robocop! Having the capability to fine-tune my vision is attractive to me but I really don’t feel comfortable having to do maintenance on my bionic eye! Let’s not forget that no technology is free of maintenance. I wonder how much this maintenance will cost and whether insurance companies will pay for them.

We live in a crazy world that is advancing faster than the blink of an eye. The bionic lens may revolutionize how many will experience life as we know it. I am skeptical about its long-term side effects but I have to admit that this one will help many along the way. One thing is certain, the future will be nothing like the past. The technological invasive phase has started, at least in beta mode. What the future holds is a mystery that will soon be revealed. We just have to wait and see.   

Change In Education Is Eminent

The only certainty about the future ahead is change. The education of tomorrow won’t resemble the one we have today. Because of the threat of machine take over, we now have to think about ways to trick perishable machinery in order to live a good life in the age of Siri. It is obvious that creativity will be at the core of this evolution of thought and educational practice simply because even an intelligent microchip will struggle with being creative overtime. There is much discussion on the importance of students learning the new literacies of humanics in an attempt to work alongside the machine and have a chance to succeed overtime.

The humanics curriculum is composed of courses in technological and human literacy along with data literacy topics where people are expected to apply these three areas to current problems. Twelve year olds today better get used to thinking about a world where the jobs will often lie in one’s ability to manage the flow of big data and how the machine works in unpredictable ways, as a literal means of survival. Learning from now on will be ongoing and technical which is both a blessing and a curse. The good news is that the exact sciences oriented people will profit from this transition. The humanities ones will struggle. How about the unfit you may be asking? I honestly don’t know what will happen to them in the long run which can be a scary thing.

People are going to be expected to learn how to be human. What do I mean by that? Well, they will need to write well, communicate interpersonally and have a strong sense of aesthetics in order to survive the artificial intelligence economic driven transition. I have to say that all these major shifts in paradigm make me feel a bit concerned by what is about to come. Tell me how a regular human being can compete against  an intelligent machine that can be upgraded each year? Sooner or later, our abilities to compete with the machine will end as human progress can only go so far. Good luck beating your nemesis counterpart head on in what the computer does best. We better have the mental capacity to invent and discover. The future won’t be anything like the past. We are going to laugh about the way we used to educate our kids and work! Universities will eventually offer this new major, humanics.

Have you ever thought about what would happen to your family if the computers take over? What do you think will happen to you and your family? Jobs are shrinking. Careers themselves are disappearing. There will be no economic incentive that will change the fact that computers cut jobs, period. When was the last time you spoke with a librarian? Here in Cleveland, not even the garbage man is safe against the threats of automation as a robot now collects our city trash. Which world are we living in today where we choose to support machinery over man?

We are all citizens of the world’s largest and oldest tecnopoly! Change is eminent. Education is no exception. For the first time in history, education will actually change because machines will start learning; human beings will keep texting and as a consequence, a substantial number of people will be unemployed. I wonder what Issac Assimov would have said today if he was alive. Our dependency on technology can be argued to have made us slaves to what is new and flashy. Unpredictability is now the norm, ladies and gentleman.

Listen: America is an empire of ideas where the best fit tends to succeed, and where the unfit is often left to their own devices in search for guidance and direction. In this upcoming new age of singularity, Siri won’t be able to help us to navigate society. I am seeing major unemployment eventually becoming the norm in small towns and millions in poverty due to their inability to create and predict. Humanics will prove to be the university’s biggest major which will fundamentally change the way universities operate. The Cartesian-Newtonean paradigm will prove false in the years to come leaving space for a new era of unpredictability.

The Story Of Lynn

This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to speak with local businessman, Lynn Jones. I was very impressed by how nice, kind, and quick he was to give all glory to God for everything that he has accomplished in his life. I must admit that I was quite fascinated by the person he is and for the way his mind operates. Okay Dr. A, why are you talking about Lynn and not talking about technology in this column yet? What are you up to? You may be wondering. All right. I will reveal to you why I started this column this way if you keep this information on a low profile. Don’t tell your daddy about what you will hear in here until the next sabbath, ok?

Stop! I’m kidding. Come on. We have to have some fun in life once in a while, don’t you think? You know me. I’m different. I’m Dr. A! I’m unpredictable! I’m not Lynn Jones but I appreciate him. Anyhow, Lynn, so back to the column. Let me tell you this. One of the most fascinating and talented businessmen in Cleveland, Tennessee uses a notepad and a pen to do business in 2018. Let me say this again differently. Lynn doesn’t rely on computers much in order to make a living these days and yet, he is perhaps one of the most talented businessmen I’ve ever known in my lifetime. By the way, I’ve spoken with dozens of businessmen and can attest to you that Lynn has something very special or what I like to categorize as — gifted.

Lynn has a computer but he uses it in moderation. Good for him! I wish more people used their smartphones like he does but hey, I’m a dreamer. He lives life thinking critically about the things he cares about and uses technology to the extent that makes his life better not worse. Don’t you think that many people could learn a thing or two from Lynn Jones? I most definitely do and did. Here is the reality about all of this, are you ready? You don’t need a computer to do all the “thinking” for you in life. Being a person who thinks for him or herself is still a great practice in 2018. You don’t need to always rely on a computer, smartphone, or tablet in order to win in life. The world doesn’t operate that way even today.

Being a person who gives to the community somehow, cares for other people, who thinks critically and deeply, who is able to engage in man management are all characteristics that made great men in 1854 and will make top men in 2102. Smartphones aren’t the solution to everything and frankly, you don’t need to have any machine telling what or how you should Iive your life. Lynn is the evidence of that. In my book, Lynn Jones is a business genius. I have my own definitions of what constitute a genius in society, by the way. He fits the bill. I see evidence of TechnoModeration in him.   

I know, I know, some of you are wondering. How did you meet Lynn Jones? It was in a leadership meeting where he kindly passed a blueprint of how he thinks folks should think in order to succeed in business. I spoke with Lynn for a good 20 minutes after that leadership meeting and guess what? Nowhere in our conversation, he mentioned anything technology. Clearly, you can still make a living today without being a slave to your cell phone. Lynn isn’t s slave of his smartphone and you shouldn’t be either! Remember: Lynn isn’t an ordinary man. He knows what he is doing, ladies and gentleman.

Never, under any circumstances, convince yourself that technology is what will make you successful or invincible. It often isn’t the case. Being human and caring are often better indicators of how true success is attained anyways. The story of Lynn is evidence of that. Get away from the machine right now and go hug your wife or husband. Make humanity count. Like Lynn, make the machine work for you not the other way around.    

Digital Appearances Are Deceiving Too

Its virtually impossible to really know what people are up to based on what they post on twitter. In this article, I will explain to you why the former is true with a touch of Dr. A’s personality.

Ladies and gents, let’s get real. People use a mask in public and in cyberspace. If a person is sharing happy looking pictures on instagram all the time, chances are that they are de facto sad not happy most if not all the time. People often share the opposite of what they are really thinking. People may even compensate for being sad by posting happy content. Let me give you another example. If a person decides to engage in a rant conversation with a colleague or a friend online, chances are that this person is probably afraid to engage in a face-to-face conversation with somebody. As you, me and all the Tennessee Titans Fans know, most people put a mask when they behave in public. Do you think that facebook is any different? Please.

We all know that, don’t we? Why pretend then? Or assume one thing and ignore what we know about how we typically behave in public? Listen to Dr. A: Who cares what people think of you on facebook. You must live your life and make these social media networks be subordinated to you. You won’t gain anything by playing Nostradamus based on what people post on instagram. The only thing you will gain are the headaches of gossip which is an activity condemned by God.

  

Let’s get real here. How do you really know what people are feeling or thinking if intonations and variations in voice pitch, for example, aren’t being shared in social media posts anyways? See why it isn’t possible to guess who people really are online? Look, there are so many ways a person can misinterpret another person’s message on instagram that it isn’t even funny. Which body language is a person using when they “communicate” with you on linkedIn? Well, we don’t really know, do we? It is only by speaking face-to-face with somebody that you can be sure of what they are trying to communicate to you and others. I’m convinced of that.

There are so many people today investigating people’s facebook accounts these days and forming opinions about them based on what they post on a blog without having a clue about what their true intent for posting that piece of content was. It’s an epidemic. It is such a common practice that I have a micro system who checks who is actually looking at my profile on a daily basis. I’m watching you! 

It isn’t easy to “know” who people are simply by sneakily going to a person’s facebook page and analyze what they post. People may have an idea who the person is or may be but I’m doubtful that a person can really know who people truly are by doing a content analysis of what people share online.  People post content for different reasons.One of my buddies in Brazil shares jokes on a daily basis on his facebook. Does this behavior make him a social media clown? I don’t think so. Not to me. I know him better.

Remember: Not everything you see is what it seems. Social media isn’t any different. Just because a person posts too many times on facebook doesn’t mean that he or she is self centered. Maybe, they are sharing more content because their parents want to see more photos of their children on their wall. Perhaps, people don’t post as much because they hate technology. Maybe they made a vow to technomoderate that year. How can people really know, right?

Be careful with assumptions. They tend to backfire. I honestly don’t think that anybody can truly guess who people are online without knowing who they are offline. People can try but they will fall short. The complexities of communication and human behavior can’t be diminished to a level of perishable machinery.  We are humans! We are living systems! Knowing how people really are is dependent on other variables not found in cyberspace and that’s a fact.

How to deal with cyberbullying

An old U.S marine once told me that going to war is sometimes necessary. Despite all the advances in technology, we can say with certainty that human behavior is predictable and that cyberbullying will never be fully eradicated. If you love your child, you must train them to standup for themselves when a bully confronts them and tell them that facing a bully head on is okay. In the new age of information, we need to teach our kids more life skills than anything else.

Why so many parents are afraid to speak about serious matters with their kids is beyond me. Cyberbullying isn’t going to magically go away but teen suicide rates because of bullying can decrease. We need to help our kids to defend themselves face-to-face rather than making them believe that young and immature kids will stop bullying them especially behind the walls of a social media platform. Kids need to develop strong social skills at an early age and not doubt themselves by what others say on-line. Tell your child: You are so much more than what others say in these social media environments.

All this technology is handicapping our children socially and making talented young minds be scared for life because of cyberbullying. We need to do something about this issue in a meaningful way. Here is my solution. First, start communicating with your children early on about the importance of developing courage and the inevitable reality that they one day will face opposition in life. Explain to them that technology will never protect them from the dangers of cyberbullying or any other bullying. Make sure you tell them that in this world, what they do with technology, not technology itself, is what will help them to be somebody one day.

Second, develop a TechnoModeration strategy for your kids. Enable them to use technology for a few hours each day for educational purposes up to 5th grade. Don’t give your kid their own smartphone before they reach the age of 13 under any circumstances. Install and tell your kids that you have installed TeenSafe on their smartphones and that you will be checking on their smartphone activity once in a while because you are the parent, period. If they give you a hard time about it you tell them, “Ok. You won’t have a smartphone then because I am the parent.” Remember, you are not your kid’s buddy. You are their parent.

Third, when your kid reaches the age of 15, have a conversation with them about sex. Explain that in this life there are tons of predators who want to take advantage of them including those who will bully them for self gratification. Affirm to them that chances are high that one day, somebody inevitably will say something on-line that they won’t like. Give them the assurance that they can and probably should let you know when that happens. Make a vow with them! As long as they use technology moderately, you will pay for their smartphone bill. If you have a difficult time conveying your message to them when they reach puberty, ask someone you trust, a close adult friend, to intervene.

Lastly, before they turn 18 make a deal with them. If anyone attempts to cyberbully them, tell them to ignore the message and ask them to come home. Have a chat with them about the situation and remind them that sticking to themselves is okay. Help them if necessary. The goal is to train them that they, not technology or any other person, control their lives and that you are there for them if they need help. I bet that our indices of suicide in teens among those who experience cyberbullying would decrease exponentially.

Ladies and gents, we can make great strides in cyberbullying by being involved parents. Helping our kids with conquering these cyber challenges is part of our job descriptions as parents. Be ready to coach your son or daughter in this highly technological world we live in these days. Cyberbullying is a problem but we can fix it. All we have to do is to be a bit more involved and pay attention to the early signs of abuse.

To Work or Not to Work?

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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.”

Technology makes you very boring

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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 not to lose, especially if I have the ability to make the first move.

All this new technology made possible by the microchip is making people boring and too much like cookie cutters, in so many respects.

Recently, 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 place a premium on 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. Yet, technology often complicates what we do. Don’t believe me? How complex is your password? Eight to 10 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? Now at age 44, I’ve come to the conclusion that people have to project themselves somehow, but not always by 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!  That is, live your life and let technology’s control of you die away.

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 Ph.D., can bounce a golf ball and catch it behind my neck, can talk with strangers like we were “besties,” and can play a mean game of 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 follows. 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 is that what we gain in production and empowerment we lose in authenticity.

I am very concerned that these technologies we have in America and elsewhere today are changing our society to a point of no return, one 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 gentlemen. Say no to technologies and embrace your humanity.

In the end, it’s all you’ve got.

———

(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 breeds lack of information

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Let me tell you something. I am a pretty empathetic guy who enjoys giving praise to others.

When somebody hits the jackpot on anything, I am there celebrating with him doing high fives, singing a song, you name it.

Many peers throughout my career have said, “Luis, you are the best cheerleader higher education has ever had!”

I think they are probably right about this one. I get emotional about peoples’ successes. There is no technology that will ever replace the amount of empathy I have inside of me. Sorry motherboard: You will never change the way I treat others, regardless of how fast your processor is.

Not everybody is wired the same way. People have different personalties, likes, dislikes, beliefs and values. Some of us are a blend of what we call introvert and extrovert, whereas others are either one or the other.

Not everybody has the godly gift of exhortation, that’s for sure. A man with common sense must realize this fact. I do believe, however, that some technologies can be used to help others by serving as a mechanism for comforting the distressed to communicate with someone.

When people are down, technology can do wonders for them, as long as there is a caring person on the other side of the fence they can speak with. Texting and Facebook are great examples of these. That’s a good thing.

Paradoxically, technology itself has contributed to many feelings of distress that people experience these days. Our life pace is so fast today because of technology that many people are now forced to ignore others in order to accomplish in life what they themselves want to achieve. As a consequence, some folks have felt left out, which decades ago wouldn’t have even been an issue.

Let me say this: Advances in technology have changed the way we behave in society for the worst, because all of this technology has significantly reduced the amount of free time people have to be more empathetic toward others, and that’s not good.

Am I saying that technology has contributed to the lack of empathy we have in America today? That’s exactly what I am saying. People today have to learn the ins and outs of any system by themselves, most of the time. Fortunate are those who get a life coach in order to assist them with learning the waters of a new system.

I am fine with that, personally. Not everybody is comfortable with this new reality, though. Advances in technology have caused more anxiety as some people need to be nurtured more than others in order to perform to capacity. The moment that we choose technology over people, this begins to happen more frequently.

In my opinion, the award-winning citizen of the present is the guy who gets things done and is also able to put himself in the shoes of others in order to comfort people once in a while. We need to realize, however, that empathy doesn’t always mean agreement.

Time has become a commodity for us all because of the constant development of faster microchips which has created the illusion that we can now work like a machine without experiencing any side effects. No we can’t!

Let me explain: If you overwork a machine, in two years you can replace its mechanical brain by acquiring a new computer. Can you replace your human brain every two years? Think about it. Failing to take this into account is lack of empathy itself! Lack of empathy is a major side effect of technology.

I do realize that I am a rare breed. I tend to easily empathize with people, but I have the common sense to realize that not everybody is wired the same way.

I am OK with people who aren’t as empathetic as me, as long as there is respect involved. People have different personalities, and unless you are in a person’s shoes, never assume that things are the way you think they are all the time. Chances are pretty high they aren’t.

Technology has made us more robotic, making us less warm toward others overall.

That’s all.

———

(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). 

Smartphone addiction real, and dangerous

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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).

Funny how Bill Gates doesn’t get criticism

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Bill Gates and Steve Jobs raised their kids tech free, according to an article written by Entrepreneur magazine.

Let me share something else with you. Bill Gates didn’t give his daughter a smartphone until she was 14 years of age, fearing the effects of too much screen time.

What I find so ironic is the backlash that sometimes I get for promoting techno moderation in society. Some folks have said to me things like “Luis, you don’t love technology all the time. Blasphemy!”

Or, “Isn’t it hypocritical to have created the @escthemachine movement and use technology to spread the movement?”

Give me a break!

So, the late Steve Jobs said it is OK to use computers in moderation, but when I say it … many people go crazy on me, especially my own colleagues in my field when I attend certain national media conferences.

Maybe I should change my name to Bill Gates and enjoy the perks of being a big celebrity in computing rather than a critic of technology with big aspirations. I kind of like his position. Please call me “Bill” from now on, OK?

Listen carefully: All this technology isn’t good for you, period. All this fascination with smartphones will only make you more dependent on devices. By the way, how much more money have you made because of all of this technology?

Do you remember how fascinated people used to be with cigarettes? The smartphone took the place of cigarettes in this regard with the exception that we are now conditioned to using these tools 24/7. People didn’t use to smoke 24/7, did they? Technology took addiction to a new level of conditioning, and that’s scary.

It is 10:31 p.m. as I write this, and I am receiving text messages nonstop on my iPhone right in front of me. Shouldn’t I have the right to rest from work on a Friday evening prior to homecoming? I need to wake up very early tomorrow and yet … my phone is constantly blinking with new messages.

Of course, I could choose to ignore these messages, but you get the point. Smartphones aren’t always good for us, especially because they can be an intrusion in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I like to rest a little bit once in a while, especially on a Friday evening.

Back in 2011, I had a different philosophy, I must admit. I made technology first, above my family and above my health, and I paid a high price for it. I got very sick because of my obsessive use of digital devices back then, and ended up walking with a golf club as a cane for almost a year, my body was so stressed out.

I ended up developing a systemic health problem which led to an inflammation of my middle ear, causing severe dizziness and other heath-related side effects.

No wonder the inventors of all of these technologies protect their children or say we should block these technologies from reaching them until a certain age. Good for them!

Now that you know this, what are you going to do to protect your kids? I protect my daughter by limiting smartphone use to one hour a day. She is only 4 years old, I must add. She doesn’t need to be on that smartphone for long. She needs to learn from Daddy about the need to love others, play and treat everyone with respect, not make her life about what is playing on YouTube.

I don’t know about you, but using these technologies in moderation makes complete sense to me.

Bill Gates’ and Steve Jobs’ kids were sheltered against all this technology, but mortals like you and I were not. But, who said life is fair?

I am pretty proud to have taken a stance against all this nonsense. This overreliance on smartphone technology, other digital devices and social media isn’t that great for you, in my opinion. Its side effects are as dangerous, in today’s society, as some would have you believe not using them could be.

The answer to all of this is moderation. As I always say, “Use technology in moderation!”

It is not complicated.

——— (Previously Published In The Cleveland Daily Banner)
(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.)

Funny how Bill Gates doesn’t get criticism

Cyber daycare 1.0

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Technology has caused way too many side effects in our lives. Some of these side effects include eye strain, anxiety, neck pain and, of course… self centeredness. It is very common for us to hear the following rhetoric these days on Facebook, “I must work on my social media presence,” “I am heading out again,” or “I am going to make my life better.” We hear the word “I” everywhere, much like when we were babies. Could it be that all these social media technologies are turning our society into a big cyber daycare? Absolutely! Think about it.

The beginning of wisdom is the recognition that God is in control of our lives. Glory, ladies and gentleman is to always be given to God. At least, this is what Christianity teaches us, right? The former is the beginning of wisdom and maturity. Not sure if this “I” business is doing us any good on Instagram, Vine, Twitter… It most definitely isn’t making people more mature, that’s for sure. Have you read what so many people write on these platforms nowadays? Do yourself a favor: Log into Facebook tonight, read and pay attention to how childish most of posts are. It’s an epidemic of immaturity forever recorded and often elevated on-line. It is kindergarten 2.0.

Social media enables us to prolong our childhood for the sake of technology! Meaningless. 

Are we going mad? No. Maybe, we’re going way too secular, or shall we say, non-Christian. What good are we doing by spending hours on end writing frivolous things about ourselves on-line? Let me break this to you: We are doing very little good.

Life is about glorifying God and showing love towards your neighbor. When was the last time that any of you read the following on Facebook, “Thank God for His mercy. We aren’t anything without Him,” or “To God goes all the glory.” This big international kindergarten we call social media is distracting us from what matters the most in our lives. God! Open your eyes to reality.

Listen carefully: It isn’t uncommon to read social media posts and witness people calling others’ names, being vain, and ignoring some to get approval or gain access to a special little group at others’ expenses, which is really infantile. Stop! Wake up! God is the center of your life not you or me or your dad. All these technologies are destroying us from within and impacting how we communicate with our soul. Life is so much more than a collection of tweets about you or me.

The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13:11 that “When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways.” Why are so many  grown ups and organizations, many of them religious based, literally saying, “Look at me!” “I am wonderful.” “Come see me!”

It is getting old, people. It is cute to see a baby growing up and thinking that life is all about them when we know better. It isn’t cute witnessing people in their 50’s saying how great they are and the games the play with others for self gain without giving any glory to God when many claim to be believers. In the old days, we had a different method for fixing wrong attitudes. By telling people, “grow up.” We lost that.

You are not that important. If you die tomorrow, how many people will attend your funeral? Social media many times gives us the illusion that we are great when in reality, we aren’t. And in fact, those who claim that they are wonderful are often less paramount than you and me.

Look, it isn’t that complicated. We are to make God the center of your universe and subordinate technology to where it belongs. Our society is becoming a colossal kindergarten because of all these technologies. Let’s stop this madness and grow up, people. First grade is around the corner! It is time for us to realize that we aren’t the center of anything and that social media use isn’t all that great for us, either. Remember: You aren’t five. You are an adult. Act like it.

Don’t let technology limit what you do

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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 God and 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 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). 

It’s simple: Think, create and be human!

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I am not afraid to do things differently. In fact, my whole persona exudes innovation and the need to see and do things from a different perspective.

I am a pretty different fellow, and let me tell you that I’m pretty proud of it.

You know what? Let me reveal a secret to you. When I was an English-as-a-second-language student at the University of Southern Mississippi back in the late 1990s, I used to join chat rooms and make cold calls to commercial banks and credit companies, in an attempt to learn the English language quicker.

I am not afraid to try new things to gain terrain more efficiently. Hey, we all have our own ways of doing things, right?

My reasoning for taking this approach was simple. I felt, “The more I practice, the better I will get.”

While that concept is tried-and-true, my own supplemental (and admittedly unorthodox) approach to learning a new language helped me to be proficient in English in about three months. How much technology was involved in achieving this? Some, but not as much as you may think.

We are all creatures of habit. We live in an evil world where we are surrounded by the conformity of life.

In a way, we are rewarded to be quiet and obedient, which I must admit has its perks. However, the biggest breakthroughs of our time, including the smartphone, have not followed a predictable norm of behavior.

Do you really think that the engineers at Apple designed and developed the iPhone with a quiet and obedient spirit in mind? Of course not! Their rebellious philosophy not only changed the way we communicate these days, it also changed the value of their company. Apple is now a true goliath worth $900 billion.

Why am I saying all of this in this column? Well, it is because I want to convey the idea that human ingenuity, along with different ideas, when applied with reasonable caution and planning, can be better than any technology available on the market. Sure, technology can be the outcome of great human ingenuity and thinking, but human effort is at the center of its success.

Preston Tucker once said it is the idea that matters in the development of any innovation. The Tucker Torpedo automobile was simply machinery. Don’t be blind to what is right in front of you. Get outside of your comfort zone and try something new.

If you run weekly meetings, experiment doing what Gina Simpson from Bike Walk Tennessee recommends: “Go for a walking meeting next time.”

Have you tried enrolling in an Encore class here at Lee University? Maybe you should as a means to meet new people in town for a bargain.

Maybe we should consider having an event in Cleveland titled, “Unplugging in Cleveland, Tennessee,” where we all make an effort to put our smartphones away for a few hours every day for seven days and have a public event afterward where we debrief our living experiences about disconnecting in a public forum. Are these activities that innovative? Not really, but they can be a beginning.

Simply being realistic, a little bit of creativity isn’t a bad thing for anybody.

Listen carefully: In order to innovate, you have to empower “idea people” to help you to advance your organization’s mission. Pay special attention to those who question the status quo once in a while. Resist old ideas and don’t think that technology alone will always solve your most intricate problems, because chances are high it won’t.

Remember: Technology is just a tool. Our nature is creative and often unpredictable. Spending a lifetime doing the minimum will only result in one single outcome. It is called mediocrity. Don’t be satisfied with being mediocre! It’s just not worth it, man.

Do me a favor, if you please.

Finish reading this column, and honestly answer the following three questions.

First, what am I doing today to promote the kingdom of God? Second, is technology impeding me from becoming what God wants me to be? Third, who is making the important decisions in my life?

In the end, what really matters in this world is your ability to be human and express yourself positively in the community, and having God in the center of your plans.

Technology is nothing more than a tool and should be viewed as such. You are human and much better than any technology out there. Explore a brand new world of opportunities by giving yourself a chance to be creative today.

Your grandkids will appreciate your efforts. You will be remembered as a legacy.

——— (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). 

Veer away from social media for self-promotion

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Life is a riot.

The other day, I was working on a scholarly journal in my office at the Lee University Communication Arts Building when a United Way of the Ocoee Region coordinator emailed me inviting me to deliver a keynote for their interns on the topic of communication.

I gladly accepted the invitation, made the necessary arrangements, and later delivered a two-hour workshop on the topic of winning in life through creative communication.

We had a blast, I must add. We laughed, we learned, we played, we thought. We exchanged understanding! Mutual respect was immediately attained by all parties. I liked them and they seemed to have liked me back.

I simplified and clarified, which in 2018, is a strong skill to have in the midst of all of these new technologies. Being human pays off. I didn’t have to compliment myself and put it all over social media. They did that for me, which ended up being a wonderful feeling.

Due to the nature of social media, people all over the world are engaging in way too much self-promotion, which in the long run can be quite damaging.

For a short period of time, I would argue that engaging in some form of self-promotion is required if one is to attract a sizable audience to buy into their personal brand’s goals and objectives. After all, how can anybody believe that people are experts on anything if they don’t tell you that they are?

Our society has grown used to hearing people saying how great they are, reasonably. Repeatedly claiming that you are the next Steve Jobs because you have wonderful entrepreneurial or technicals skills can, and probably will, give you more headaches than rewards.

Making other people happy face-to-face can do wonders for you. There is just no way that an ordinary computer-mediated conversation would do what my face-to-face keynote delivery did for United Way of the Ocoee Region and its employees. Playing the harmonica in front of a computer screen and failing to make eye contact with your audience will simply destroy any attempt to deliver a remarkable keynote or training presentation.

We are growing used to believing that we can emulate the real world with cyberspace. I don’t think we can. Complimenting yourself too much, regardless of the medium you decide to use, will result in negative audience reactions. People want to see you speaking charismatically and emphatically with them, sometimes singing a song when they least expect. At least, this is what I do. It works wonders every time.

As Harry Beckwith once said, “Being able to listen makes you captivating.” The opposite is also true, “Failing to listen makes you boring.” I would even go further to say that those who don’t listen end up not being heard by others.

Online communication is at best mediocre, and won’t have the same impact a person has when speaking with another person. Understanding is something that we strive for and expect when speaking with others.

Do we really understand everything we are being told these days in social media, text messaging or even email? Maybe we understand more than I want to admit, but I bet you would agree with me that your smartphone auto-correct has made you uncomfortable a few times this past month.

When we try to emulate something, we rarely do it with perfection.

Life is a sale, as Christine Clifford once taught us. Every time we try to communicate with somebody, we are trying to sell our ideas, thoughts and beliefs, values, you name it. The computer puts a barrier between you and the receiver of your message.

I am so convinced that face-to-face communication is so important for you that I am writing this column presenting many arguments for why mediated communication may not be the best way to communicate with people.

Be very careful not to believe that the computer will always make your life more paramount. What makes you outstanding is your ability to communicate with other people, and let me tell you, it is best done live and in color.

Got  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). 

Hidden extremism: Technology overload is impacting so many!

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We live in a world marked by extremism.

At the time of our grandparents, people used to have two maybe three pairs of shoes in their closets. Back in 2013, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, Americans bought almost eight pairs of shoes that year. The average American man in 2017 owns 12 pairs of shoes. The average American woman owns 27. Americans on average own 19 pairs of shoes these days. That’s a lot!

When we were young, a birthday party would maybe cost parents $150 with presents included. According to a recent consumer survey, parents now spend on average $450 on their kids’ birthday parties without calculating in the $250 they spend on presents. It isn’t uncommon for families to spend at least $500 on their children’s birthday celebrations in 2017.

According to BBC, kids today spend on average 6 1/2 hours of screen time a day, which is a drastic change from the three hours they used to spend in front of computerized devices back in 1995. We have also seen a widespread adoption of multi-screening practices which has influenced the youth to demand connectivity! Will children own a virtual reality device in the near future? I bet they will own two maybe three of these pieces of hardware, if not more.

Why are things so extreme today? It is difficult to isolate one single reason for why this is all happening. I think I have the answer for why so many kids (and parents) spend hours on end on computerized devices in Cleveland, Tennessee or Ohio, and anywhere in between the states of New York and New Delhi. Folks are exhausting themselves for the sake of technology because when humans interact with multiple computerized devices on a daily basis, they become more like a “computer” without realizing.

Computer use is maybe conditioning us to be more extreme. We see evidence of the former in how we live our lives in relation to the actual traits of modern computer technology. Computers, even when they are on stand-by mode, are technically active in the background because computer processes have to be operational for the computer to be on stand-by. We seem to have inherited some of these computer traits by being so ingrained with them.

It isn’t uncommon for a number of us to work 50 sometimes 60 hours a week, not from 9 to 5 but from 9 to forever. Let’s not forget that answering emails at 9:45 p.m. and waking up at 3 a.m. to solve a problem that we couldn’t solve the night before is an extreme measure. Our computer-use behaviors today are quite extreme and some might even categorize them as borderline irresponsible. The human brain was not made to operate in constant information overload mode, yet we are challenging our mental capacity limits by being in front of computer screens for several hours a day.

Remember: Your family members and friends only have one brain. Overuse of technology is an epidemic. It’s alive and well and is everywhere. Adults are also experiencing the same extreme side effects that kids exhibit, due to the extreme interactions with computerized devices, as well. There was a time when extreme levels of computer use was a “kid” thing. It isn’t anymore. The vast majority of us are now on our computers for too long. We need to break from this habit.

The good news is that we can break free from technology once in a while. My recommendations for temporary breaking from computer use extremism is the following: Join a local church and volunteer your time every week for the Lord.

If you like to sing, join a community choir or theatre. If your talent is labor, donate some of your time to a nonprofit to help with a remodeling or landscaping project. If you like thinking, take a non-credit class in a local college to meet new friends. Read a book, go for a walk, pray!

In the end, you will thank the good God for living a life of moderation. It makes all the difference.

———

(About the writer: Dr. Luis C. Almeida is an associate professor of communication at Lee University and TEDx speaker. He has been nationally featured for his work in leadership and technology by the Wall Street Journal, ABC-Jackson, TEDxPhoenixville, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Voice of America and the Indiana Gazette. Internationally, Dr. “A” has been featured in several outlets, including the prestigious O Globo newspaper and Radio CBN. 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.)

Hidden extremism: Technology overload is impacting so many!

No room for bullying in today’s cyberspace

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I have little patience for bullying.

Bullying is divisive and promotes anger, which over time leads to uncontrolled aggressive behaviors by those who are belittled.

In some cases, bullying pushes good people away from an organization, which in itself can have a tremendous impact on the morale of that enterprise. Technology has helped us with democratizing our thoughts and opinions, but many times at the price of allowing people to share their bullying thoughts freely.

Let me make this more real for you.

On Facebook alone, we find literally hundreds of thousands of people endorsing bullying all over the place. It is not uncommon for people to see screenshots of people being beaten on Facebook, along with bullying hate speech. Modern-day social media is only a step beyond the laws of the jungle or the Wild Wild West, in a lot of respects.

Let me make something very clear. I have seen a lot of bullying online and it is toxic. Please stop! Let’s get along, shall we?

Bullying, however, is real, alive and well. Technology has empowered millions of people to display and share their acts of hate toward others! I know that this reality sounds crazy, but it happens every day all over social media.

Sure, we can use these social media tools to communicate with family and friends, or to shout bullying remarks at innocent people in this space we call cyberspace. Kids are dying because of cyberbullying. How are they dying? Many are committing suicide. We need to intervene now, don’t you think?

Remember: Just because we don’t actually see each other face-to-face on Instagram doesn’t mean that people can just compose and share bullying messages aimed at others. Let’s not forget there is an actual person in front of that computer screen reading your message.

Truth: Technology is a tool that can be used for good or for bad. Much good is done online, but the amount of bullying I’ve seen on places like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is borderline illegal.

Why aren’t we censoring bullying speeches on Facebook? I know, I know. Many people are claiming that they have the right to free speech, and therefore can say anything to other people.

Really? False!

The internet is still regulated by the laws of the United States, if you reside in the great U.S. of A. Hate speech is a crime that can send people to jail. Using bullying toward others will eventually backfire, just remember that.

Look, we live in 2018. Technology is available everywhere, which has transformed the way we live and communicate in this country. However, we see bullying everywhere on the internet.

It is time for some of us to make a statement about it and provide an alternative. A nation that is united cannot be divided. A united people cannot be defeated. We are all Americans, are we not? There is no room for bullying online, people.

Next time you see somebody belittling someone on a social media group, say something about it. Do something. Here is the good news. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist in order to treat others with respect, and that is cool. You just need to be reasonable. It isn’t that difficult.

In the end, we are all in this big boat together trying to make it. Life isn’t easy for anybody. Bullying only makes things more complicated for people.

Technology may have given us the tools to communicate across borders, but it also has given voice to a large number of people who should be speechless.

Say no to bullying online.

——— (Posted Previously on 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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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?

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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

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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). 

Public schools help sustain culture

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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

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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.

Don’t Overextend Yourself

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Put your smartphones down and listen to this! Are you ready? One of main reasons why people working jobs that they don’t like is because they are over extended financially.

The idea that having material positions makes you a more successful professional is an old scam, dangerous philosophy, which in the long run can be quite limiting. We need to set our priorities straight from the beginning. Did you just graduated from school? Don’t buy a house and an expensive car. The answer to professional success isn’t extravagance. People’s decision to live a extravagant life, in the end… tend to handicap them. If you make one hundred thousand dollars a year, you shouldn’t buy a 300K house and drive a brand new BMW 750 Series. The former will most definitely impede you from being fully strategic in the workforce.

The moment your household overhead increases, your job maneuverability decreases… and you become dependent on your current job. What is the consequence? Your professional autonomy is then affected because of poor lifestyle choices. These choices will then “prohibit” you from moving on to another organization when the time or offer is right. Listen carefully though: Compensation is far from being everything that there is about a job. You don’t have to always go from job to job to be free, either. I would argue, however, that flexibility is as important and valuable (if not more valuable) than income these days. 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. Most houses bankrupt employees up front or make them completely dependent on their employer’s salary impeding them from maneuvering when trouble heads their way or if they feel the time for a move is right.

People stay in jobs they hate because of titles. Titles are cool and can make you feel pretty good about yourself. However, losing your title isn’t an humiliation or a set back in your career, necessarily. Any experienced leader understands that leadership isn’t position; Leadership is action, as once stated by leadership consultant John Maxwell. Titles come and go and many times they bounce back. Just because you hold a high title in your HR department doesn’t mean that you should stay in your current position. If you choose to stay in a job simply because of a title… I would argue that money isn’t the only problem you struggle with. You most definitely struggle with ego issues. By the way: Those who are constantly applying the principles of position leadership to others will end up leading the wind. Overextended employees might work for these kinds of “leaders” but they won’t listen to them or are motivated by them.

I get it. An expensive house, kids, titles, a BMW or a Mercedes Benz… along with that “prestige” you got is too much for you to give up, isn’t it? I don’t let money or titles control my life. I make my decisions based on scripture — based in the bible. The moment that you make God the center of your life, the former struggles totally disappear. You will quickly realize that possessions and job nomenclature in this world is meaningless in the long run.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t overextend yourself. In the volatile market we live in these days, having the capacity to maneuver is without question a necessity for long-tern job sustainability. There is tremendous power in calling the shots even if authority resides in the hands of others. You can pretty much control your destiny if you don’t extend yourself financially. Got it?

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.

The Smartphone Is The Vice Of Our Time

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I grew up in a traditional Brazilian family where piercings, long hair on males, drugs and alcohol were heavily forbidden, especially for the oldest grandchild of the family.

Under no circumstances was I to be near such things or get together with people who made the choice to approve of any of these four things.

Looking back, I am glad that my parents raised me the way they did. I have no desire to have facial piercings or long hair or drink rum and smoke pot. The vices of my youth are probably the same vices you had as a kid, with little variation.

What if I told you that the new generation has one additional vice among these four things. It is called the smartphone!

Of course, the smartphone isn’t just a vice for the youth. It can be a vice for you and me, as well. The difference is that many of us grew up without a smartphone and we kind of know what it’s like to live without one. Your child or grandchild hasn’t experienced a life without these devices, which in many respects makes it more difficult for them to disconnect.

Do you remember when you were young and everybody used to smoke cigarettes? I do, and I hated being beside anybody who did. The good news for me was that I could just get away from smokers and live my life in peace. Today, kids can’t really disconnect that easily, because our society has made heavy phone usage the ideal.

Look, let me share something with you. I have lost a number of friends for believing in what I believe: TechnoModeration.

In the age of the smartphone, when the political left curses the right, and vice versa, and politicians fail to compromise, heavy use of computerized devices is without a doubt the ideal for many. How dare you or I say anything otherwise?

I am starting to believe that the smartphone is very much like a drug or a vice. Much in the same way that my family would disapprove of me having long hair, many today disapprove of others for those others being lesser fans of technology! People today go the extra mile to completely cut contact with you because of your stance on technology!

Listen to me: If you are not a TechnoHitler (in lockstep with blind worshippers of all things new-tech), many today may “disown” you for what you believe. How do I know? Because it has happened to me, repeatedly.

You may not believe this, as it can be a bit hard to fathom. Can you believe that some of my closest acquaintances don’t speak with me today because of my position on technology use? Sounds hilarious, doesn’t it?

Maybe I should start a telephone game with anybody who decided to give up chatting with me online because of my position on defending humanity over the machine. I would start the game with the following phrase, “It is OK to believe in technomoderation even if you are a technologist.”

In no time, many of these people — who are now so consumed by this drug we call the smartphone — would change my message to, “Ignore Luis. He talks about technology in moderation, but we — technologists — must resist him at all costs.”

What a crazy world we live in these days. From what I have read about drug use, the effects of such things make people a bit delusional. Are druggies that different from folks who suffer from the many side effects of the smartphone? Delusion is definitely a side effect of using the machine in excess, I defend.

Listen carefully: Every generation is cursed with a societal vice. The vices from the high culture of Brazil were having long hair, piercings, drugs and alcohol. Today, in middle class America, it seems that our vice is technology.

I have no problem losing friends for taking the position of technological moderation. Why? Because it is the right thing to do, and let’s face it … we lose friends there, but make new friends here.

Let me finish this column by saying this to you: “There is only one God, and His name isn’t smartphone.”

Be bold and join the movement! You don’t need to be a tech druggie to live a good life.

——— (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 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.)

You Need To Equip Yourself With Knowledge

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“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 have 10 Life Secrets: Let Me Share 1.

I have 10 Life Secrets: Let Me Share 1.

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?

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.

 

Three Ways To Be More Patient

Three Ways To Be More Patient

Do you really know who God is? It can be an amazing experience when you fully know who God is and what makes Him so awesome. God loves you and wants you to succeed all the days of your lives. In this blog post, I am going to talk about God and patience.

In Exodus 34:6 we read, “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.”  In Psalm 103:8 we also learn, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”

It is worth realizing that the Lord is not only slow to anger but compassionate and abounding in lovingkindness and truth. We need to realize that God’s slow to anger doesn’t mean that God doesn’t get angry. The wrath of God has been mentioned over 600 times in the bible so brethren… let’s follow what God tells us to do!  Here are three ways that we can be more patient in life.

  1. Don’t judge first. Try to understand why people act the way they do, instead.
  2. Put that pride of yours to the side and engage in introspection.
  3. If you lack patience… ask. Patience is a virtue.

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Victory belongs to those who wait. We live in an anxious society that is constantly wanting to get things done in a hurry. That’s not how you should live your life. Be different! Pray and reflect. Remember: Victory belongs to those who believe it the most and the longest! Don’t forget that.

 

 

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). 

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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.”

Do No Evil…

Do No Evil…

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“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!

Advice: Stick With Your Talent

Advice: Stick With Your Talent

The Lord has given you a gift for a very good reason — to glorify Him with it. We all are good in something and brothers and sisters… we need to make sure that we stick with the talent (or talents) that God has given us. The actual gifts given by God to us are many. So the question is… What is your gift? Seek to find what you are good at and use it! Keep in mind though that the gift that you have received came from the creator of the universe. 


God be glorified, always. Be blessed, 🙂

Listen Carefully: The Lord Will Never Abandon You.

Listen Carefully: The Lord Will Never Abandon You.

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“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.

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“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 And Possessions

God And Possessions

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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:19-24). 

We must focus on the Lord or what we say in Brazil, “Nos temos que concentrar no Senhor.” Believers and unbelievers, God is wonderful and worth abdicating possessions for being close to God. We don’t need treasures. All we need in God on our side! Either we glorify God or we make money our God or shall we say… Idol.  Don’t love your possessions. Instead, choose to love the God of the universe.

Blessings.

God Disciplines You Because He Loves You.

God Disciplines You Because He Loves You.

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“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 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. 

Gifts: We All Have Ours.

Gifts: We All Have Ours.
“Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise Him in his mighty heavens. Praise Him for his acts of power; praise Him for his surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with timbrel and dancing, praise Him with the strings and pipe, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals” (Psalm 150:1-5).  These are the kids at the Westmore Church of God. The Lord gives us different gifts for his glorification. Hope you enjoy this clip as much as I did. God bless!

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!

Words of a Godly Man, Age 92: The Problem Of Self Denial.

Words of a Godly Man, Age 92: The Problem Of Self Denial.

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life[a]will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26). 

Only God knows the right way. We just have to follow… Life isn’t about us — Life is about God in Jesus Christ.

Don’t Be Afraid: God is In Control.

Don’t Be Afraid: God is In Control.

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

Are you A Great Leader?

Are you A Great Leader?

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Leadership is action not position. You can be a great “leader” simply by acting like one. Great leaders don’t “need” titles, a big salary, a secretary, or a bunch of groupies following them around in order to do what leaders do best — to lead and solve problems. A great leader understands that actions speak much louder than any given title especially when the topic is influence. They also understand that compensation is a consequence of great and consistent work done overtime not as a result of having the title, “Director of Operations” necessarily. When given administrative support, great leaders never delegate tasks that they can’t complete themselves because asking someone to complete their own work is evidence of their own hidden incompetence. Great leaders are also aware that groupies tend to be more interested in advancing their own agendas at someone else’s expense than to truly listen to what a great leader has to say. Therefore, great leaders don’t always cater to groupies’ self-centered tactics of self-advancement due to their known and predictable behavioral nature. Before I go any further, let me summarize what I just told you so that you never forget…

Just because an individual is placed in a position of leadership doesn’t automatically turn him into a “great leader”. Authority is part of leadership but leadership that works isn’t always authoritative.

By the way, just because some leaders are given the authority to make decisions over a person or a team of people don’t mean that they have the “right” to scream at or belittle them. A great leader doesn’t need to scream at others in order to have his voice heard. The moment that an authoritative figure starts screaming at you and your peers, or make you feel small, its time for you to start looking for another opportunity. There is nothing worse than working in a toxic working environment long-term. It ain’t worth it, trust me.

I am not saying that a leader shouldn’t have a distinctive job title, be well compensated or lack administrative support. I am not saying that a leader shouldn’t have people interested in following in his footsteps during his tenure at a particular position, either. Leaders can (and often deserve) having such benefits. However, one of the main jobs of a great leader is to hire and retain talent. Without talent, the leader is dead… or shall we say, “Alone.” Great leaders need to be very careful to not abuse their own “benefits.”

Again: The job of a great leader is, among many things, to hire and retain talent. If a leader acts like a follower or is too self-centered, then they won’t be able to retain talent overtime. The former is, de facto, evidence of leadership incompetence.

You might be asking, “How do you act like a great leader?” Let me share with you a few tips on how to act like one.

1) Be a man (or woman) of integrity: If you say that you are going to do something, do it.. It is plain and simple. DO NOT gossip about anyone. If a work relationship isn’t working, don’t pretend that it is. Always tell the truth.

2) Be loyal to your company’s brand: As long as your company is writing you a paycheck every month, be loyal to them. Here are my ways to show loyalty to the universities I’ve worked for: First, I share posts on social media about their events, accomplishments, recruiting efforts… for thousands of people to see. It shows them that I care about them — which I do. Second, I immediately buy a school’s t-shirt, take photos with it, and make sure that my colleagues, family and friends see me wearing the t-shirt in public and in social media. Lastly, be yourself and be creative. You only live once so you might as well have fun in the process and do what you like.

3) Do the work yourself with the assistance of others: The moment that you need others to do your work, its time for you to retire or look for another career. Great leaders work very hard and often work alone with the input of others in order to complete challenging tasks. If your plan is to be a great leader, do the former.

4) Don’t be afraid to listen to the ideas of others: It is impossible to do everything as a leader no matter where you work at. Listen to your team, put your ego aside and make well thought decisions taking into account the opinion of others. The former builds trust and leadership klout. You are going to need both in order to be a great leader.

5) Trash the idea that title and popularity equals leadership. Just because a person is given the title of a Manager, Director, VP, or Trustee doesn’t mean that they are a leader per se. The same can be said about folks who are well know in their communities… Popularity isn’t synonymous with leadership. Although a great leader knows how to communicate with constituents, and can be charismatic, he knows that popularity by itself won’t make anyone into a great leader. In fact, pretending that popularity and charisma equals great leadership can be quite destructive overtime. Jim Collins, in his best selling book, “From Good to Great” talks about the former in great detail. I recommend you to start reading his book today, if you can. It is a great resource to have without a doubt.. if your goal is to be a great leader.

Leadership is action not position. You can be a quite influential “leader” simply by acting like one. Leaders don’t “need” titles, a big salary, a secretary, or a bunch of groupies following them around in order to do what leaders should do best — to lead and solve problems. A true leader understands that actions speak much louder than any given title especially when dealing with influence. In this article, we spoke a bit about great leadership. Hope that the content written in this article was useful to you. What is great leadership to you?

The Lord Is With You Wherever You Go.

The Lord Is With You Wherever You Go.

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” The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:8); “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psalm 23:1-6). 

There is no reason to be alarmed or worried, brothers and sisters. God is good and He will take care of you and me. We don’t lack anything in God as he owns it all. Our God is a generous one. He is a protector — a fair and honest God. The Lord is our strongest shield and will comfort us in times of distress and pain. Quiet waters are coming our way because God is good and just. In this life, we need to look at things objectively and be willing to accept the fact that we are, more often than not, in control of our own destiny and that’s okay.  Christians must keep the faith and move their lives forward despite the many challenges that we face on a daily basis. It is the nature of life and many times… the Lord’s will. Everything happens for a reason under the sun.

One thing is for sure: Don’t be discouraged… “Be strong and courageous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). 

Say No To Astrology.

Say No To Astrology.

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God has cautioned us against the dangers of astrology in Deuteronomy verses 4:19, 18:9-12, and Daniel 2:2-17. Seeking guidance from a star isn’t exactly what a Christian is supposed to do. Astrology is idolatry plain and simple and is highly condemned by God. Back in the old testament, the prophet Isaiah declared that he who who practices this craft won’t be able to save themselves or anybody else. God also warns us all about such practices in 1 corinthians 6:-9-10 declaring that anyone who engages in astrology won’t inherited the kingdom of God. We are to flee from such practices, period. We need to seek guidance from God and celebrate His name.

Without A Strong a Mentor, You Will Fail To Reach Your Career Potential.

Without A Strong a Mentor, You Will Fail To Reach Your Career Potential.

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One of my favorite books in the bible is the book of proverbs. The main reason why I love this book is because of the many practical lessons we learn by reading this piece of scripture. In the book of proverbs we learn that, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14); “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future” (Proverbs 19:20); “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15); “For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs 24:6). It doesn’t take too long for anybody to realize that a Christian leader must have an abundance of counselors in order to bring glory back to God.

In my life, I have had many counselors who have played a critical role in my development as a professional but one in particular has made a tremendous impact on how I see both life from God’s point of view and higher education. His name is Kurt Dudt, a former United States Marine combat veteran who taught me how to lead academic departments with a heart and ways to shoot guns competitively. The immense amount of wisdom that I’ve learned from Kurt can’t be paid back. I am indebted forever to him. During the literally hundreds of walks that we had for five days a week (sometimes more than once a day) for two years, Kurt has shown me why most higher education leaders fail and only a few de facto succeed. In this article, I will share with you some of the many secrets that Kurt has shared with me throughout our daily 2:00pm walk conversations. Are you ready for this? The content you are about to read is pretty revolutionary and critical if your goal is to lead others with success.

Here are twelve (out of the 100) pieces of advices that Kurt has taught me on how to become an academic unit leader.

1) Before any major decision, pray.

2) Let the members of the team have a say but implement your vision. You were elected to lead and it is your job to get things done. Implementing your vision is your job.

3) Before making any major decision, ask faculty about their concerns and prepare for them, to ensure your goal is accomplished.

4) Let faculty teach the classes they want so that you can have your final decision when you need.

5) Be proactive and defend the department and faculty members if necessary, especially if the faculty member is too inexperienced or there is faculty conflicts involved.

6) Make time to speak with students, be available.

7) Speak with faculty on a regular basis. Invite them to lunch sometimes.

8) If a faculty member faults, try to bring him back.

9) Listen to the non-mainstream faculty memberʼs contribution. They often provide wisdom in their responses.

10) Donʼt be afraid to tell you are not happy with something.

11) Recruit talent. Every time “Luis” is doing something well, Kurt Dudt receives praise.

12)  If a colleague is in trouble, help him even if it is 3:00am. If a colleague is in the hospital, go to the hospital… if a colleagueʼs mother dies, go to the funeral/viewing. Address faculty as a body (he is one of us) and defend the faculty member.

Without a strong a mentor, you will fail to reach your career potential. Nobody is born knowing the operation of leadership. The bible provides tremendous help in this regard along with a friend who is willing to coach you. Be aware: A leader canʼt have an evil stream otherwise, problems occur. A leader bring (unite) people together, as much as possible. Remember: Donʼt expect followers to be leaders. The moment you see an organization empowering non-leaders to positions of absolute authority, flee from them quickly because disaster then becomes inevitable and eminent.

When undecided, pray… When in question, ask… When in trouble, resolve… When you know, share. Never under any circumstances, forget that. Pray often! Pray for an advisor! Remember: The almighty God listens to your prayers. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

Say Goodbye To The Job Fat — Be Multidisciplinary.

Say Goodbye To The Job Fat — Be Multidisciplinary.

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For years, people were able to get good jobs by simply fulfilling the requirements for a bachelors degree in any field which meant that college training in egyptology, nautical archeology, popular culture, leisure studies, and many other cool but weird college majors were viable options for employment despite of the skillset students gained in these obscure majors. The system has changed drastically — both inside but also outside of a college campus.  Listen carefully: Say goodbye to the job fat. Are you really ready to compete globally for a high paying position job?

I don’t think you are. Chances are high that you are behind in this quest and is likely to be missing a clear cut path or plan towards contemporary success in the contemporary American job market landscape. How do I know that? Because human beings are creatures of habit. We only change when is absolutely necessary for us to do so. Many graduates or graduates to be are literally sleeping or refuse to accept reality. Let me explain. Yesterday, we were told that the service industry was the future of the American economy. The lack of jobs found in post-industrial cities like Buffalo, NY or Detroit, MI would be short lived as manufacturing jobs were to be replaced with service jobs, anyways. Hmmm… That backfired.

Today, Macy layed off almost 10,000 retail employees. Sears and K-Mart also closed its stores nationwide laying off too many service industry workers. Staples reported a 548 million loss and is closing 70 more stores resulting in more job loss. Where is Circuit City? Where is H.H Greg? They are bankrupt because of the advent of Amazon. I like to add, “They closed because of the advent of an on-line retail giant and their low cost technology driven infrastructure or shall we simply say due to their advancements in technology.” The service industry era is dead. Our country is driven by information not manufacturing or the service industries. 

By the way, the industrial age ended in the year 2000. I honestly don’t know where retail workers are going to work at in the years to come. What I do know is that they will make less per hour due to supply and demand rules and logic. In my opinion, retail workers won’t be the only bunch to make less and struggle to make a living in the United States this century, unfortunately. Not sure if I would recommend my daughter Sophia to study career such as accounting, print journalism, law, or be a sales professional. As Gitomer once said, “We don’t like to be sold but we like to buy.” The former makes the job of a salesman obsolete. With Lex Machima technology, the field of law will never be the same again. The machine is already doing the job of dozens of lawyers for much less. When was the last time that you hired an accountant to do anything to you other than your taxes? By the way, have you head of turbo tax? Journalism, as we understand, is near extinction but the skillsets that a journalist has, e.g., reporting, writing, editing will never die which is the saving grace for folks pursuing a degree in journalism. Print journalism is not dead but it will be near death in a decade, I bet. 

If you major in certain areas of Mass Communications, you will struggle. Radio isn’t dead yet but it has its sentence set. Communication (singular) will be a viable option for students in the social science as speaking interpersonally, across culture, non-verbally and through mediated communication will de facto exist in this new and challenging upcoming job era. Film production will rise as a logical alternative to broadcast media production as the opportunity to create and produce new, relevant, and engaging media artifacts is higher. I am not saying that film in itself will help students to find jobs, necessarily. What I am saying is that film students will have a higher chance of producing a high quality piece of art that could indeed be seen by potential buyers as a true media asset or what I like to call, “an intellectual stock” potentially generating a sizable return over a film producer’s investment of their time and resources. Art will be an important variable in the upcoming job revolution as one’s ability to think critically is already a necessity. Public Relations will not die and shall be seen by many as a saving grace for students of Mass Communicators along with traditional Communication (singular).

The employee of the present is multidisciplinary. If you are in media, for example, it will payoff to know how to deliver a speech publicly, learn ways to talk with people of different cultures and backgrounds, design and develop deliverables, write well, know a bit about modern languages, how business enterprises function and operate, how history connects the economic dots and much more. Trash the idea that mediocrity (simply completing a bachelors degree) will help you and in itself will sustain yourself and your family economically. The former is farther from the truth. Even when you have more education than 1% of the world’s population, if you are not careful… can backfire and put yourself in a vulnerable position which could lead to job unemployment or a severe pay cut. We are seeing too many phd’s jobless out there, especially in the humanities. 

We have no option but to be excellent. We must be eclectic in order to fully contribute meaningfully in the current economy and defend ourselves against the woes of our modern times — uncertainty and unemployment. If you are graduating from college right now, my advise to you is for you to take what I just wrote in this article very seriously and understand that the game has changed. The excess job “fat” is gone. If you are graduating with a degree in Mass Communication, read the former paragraphs closer as some of these examples will definitely apply to you and your future. Under any circunstances, do not think about buying a house anytime soon. Scarce jobs lead to lower wages — extreme competition and advances in technology lead to unexpected layoffs. Unless you can buy a house cash, choose to rent. You can’t afford to lose your credit in an economy where we can only survive long-term on credit. Don’t be tempted. It is okay to buy a nice car, though. It is much easier to trade a car loan in than to sell a mortgage. Well, a car you take with you when you move. You can’t take a house with you. 

Learn to be ready to quit your job at anytime, if necessary. Be prepared to make a bold move to keep going forward. Be alert and observe trends. The over abundance of jobs in America is gone. Our reality is much different from the reality lived by our parents when they were our age. It is much more difficult for us, these days. Never forget that, okay? Be very careful with every decision that you make as our current circumstances don’t allow us to make too many errors without paying a tremendous price for making them.  Be versatile and learn continuously. Be a productive citizen of the USA in 2017 not 1917. You will thank me later — Just do it! 

 

 

 

Do Not Neglect The Gift You Have.

Do Not Neglect The Gift You Have.

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“Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.” 1 Timothy 4:14. 

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 that “something” we are great at is and go deep so that we can glorify God all the days of our lives with it. Our gifts aren’t to be used for man, like many do in the music industry. Our godly gifts are to be used, without question, for God’s glory.

Who are we without God? We are nobody, I say. Spend some time this week to find your true talent so that you can glorify the almighty with distinction. Remember: You work for God not man. Once you find that special gift, dedicate your life to that talent so that the Lord is glorified continuously. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).

Scatter-Brained, Stressed Out Friend: Not Me and You, Right? You Got It.

Scatter-Brained, Stressed Out Friend: Not Me and You, Right? You Got It.

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One of the secrets to living a great life in our modern technological society is for you to have the ability to balance your on-line versus off-line commitments. There are 8760 hours, 525600 minutes and 31536000 seconds in a year. If you spend 12 hours a day using technology/media devices, by mid-year you would have spent 2190 hours, 131400 minutes, or 7884000 seconds processing information with your only brain. I am not sure about you but I can tell you with certainty that I can’t process a dozen hours a day of media stimuli without repercussions. Not sure about you but I don’t want to experience constant short-term memory dysfunction or display constant scatter-brained behaviors to my family, friends and co-workers.

In all honesty, I don’t think you would benefit from engaging in such digital behavioral choice patterns either because nobody in this race, the human race, can handle to mentally process all this information at once without experiencing a variety of severe cognitive repercussions. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out that being on a machine for twelve hours a day isn’t good for anybody. Yet, there are several people across the globe who still believe that they can handle this inhumane technological demand imposed by people. I call the former a result of many today living in what I’ve written — the human robot syndrome; A period where humans behave more like a robot than a human being.

I am not alone in being skeptical about one’s ability to process a dozen hours a day worth of information and be in good health. “Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain,” according to Dr. Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Center in Seoul. Thankfully, we have a number of researchers and watch dogs today paying close attention to this very important sociological issue we have in the United States and abroad.

Listen carefully: You need to technomoderate and do what you can to resist consuming too much technology a day. You might be asking, “Okay, but how can I do that?” Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Choose a paper book versus your kindle. You don’t have to read a book on your iPad or kindle. You can still read a book on paperback. Open your book, get a pen, and take notes about what you are reading. Be immersed in your analog book experience when you come home from work. Resist playing a video game, watching hours of television, or gosh forbidden… being on social media for three hours at night. Why are you tying to kill yourself before your time? Don’t do it.
  2. Have an open conversation with you boss face-to-face. Do yourself a favor. Sometime tomorrow, go see your boss’s secretary and ask him/her if you can schedule an appointment with your boss this week or the following. Be open, transparent, and kindly inform your boss about your goal of living a balanced life. Tell him/her that living a life where you exercise your body, mind and soul is important to you and to be able to do the former, you simply can’t work from 9:00am to forever. You are to ask questions, listen but above all follow through with your plan to live a moderate life. In the end, yourself and your boss will thank you. Trust me.
  3. Exercise your body and your brain. Sure, go exercise. Go for a walk, a run, a bike ride, play Marco or Polo or jumprope. Move the great body that the good God has given you! We were made by the creator to live and appreciate nature in this life. Therefore, go outside and appreciate all the nature that surrounds you and celebrate the fact that you are alive tonight. Do an organic self-thinking in the process. Try to memorize non-job related stuff as you enjoy your nightly self-reflections outdoors. I don’t know… maybe you can try to memorize the planets from the sun, the capitals of the world… you decide. Don’t forget this: You never know what will happen to you next day. Appreciate your invaluable moments everyday. Live your lives to the maximum. Carpe Diem! Seize the day. Don’t forget to live your lives extraordinary.

One of the secrets to living a great life in our modern technological society is for you to have the ability to balance your on-line versus off-line commitments. Don’t live a scatter-brained, stressed out life my friend. It isn’t worth it. I’ tried… It sucks. I got sick and burned out. The vicious cycle never ends; it only restarts after rebooting. Be different, be yourself, be in control. Read books on paper; chat with your boos about your plans to control your life; exercise both your body and your brain without technology. Be an agent of change and an example to your children. Be a TechnoModerator! You won’t regret.

 

You Can Do It! Just Be Creative And Dare A Little Bit.

You Can Do It! Just Be Creative And Dare A Little Bit.
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Dr. A Meeting A Group of Strangers (Other than one) At Moving Day In School.

I know that you are probably struggling and questioning this whole idea of having to transform yourself into an extrovert in order to have more influence in social media outlets. Most people would agree that becoming an extrovert isn’t that simple of a task at first. As we discussed in the last blog post, just stop thinking that you are always going to be an introvert is a tough task to accomplish in itself because we are ingrained in a society that promotes the idea that many times things don’t or can’t change. Sometimes and often people fall into the false impression that we have to be confined by our nurtured learned beliefs which only results in putting ourselves into a limited box. Do me a favor right now. Forget the box; don’t think about any box; in fact, think with no box. Just do it now. I will explain it to you later. Being an extrovert is attainable and you are going to be able to do it. By the way, did you register for guitar lessons? Maybe a voice lesson or two? I am paying attention to you and will be asking you sporadic questions like these ones to keep you on your toes.  On another note, did you have a chat with a telemarketer last night to help you with losing inhibition? If you haven’t, make sure to do it tonight. If you have conversed with a telemarketer stranger yesterday, congratulations! You have made a significant attempt to evolve into an extrovert and believe me… you will benefit from being an extrovert. Those traits will be used in your social media campaigns. There are so many other ways in which you can practice to be an extrovert on-line. Today, we are going to talk about three more ways in which you can expand your ability to develop this timely social skill that we call extroversion.

  1. Remember your prior commitments. Let’s start with this one. This series of blog postings are a cumulative effort to help you with becoming an extrovert and dominating the social media realm. Question: Are you still thinking that you will be an introvert forever? Did you really stop by that music store near your house or on-line? If not, maybe you need to call that buddy of yours who is musically inclined in order to help you to buy a six string. Why a six? I don’t know… The Mishnah contains six sections, you can buy a six pack, there are six features in a person’s face, there are six vertices on a hexagram, six is the top number on a dice. I don’t know but make sure you buy your six strings yesterday. You need to start jamming in order to break away from the old you. Before I forget, make sure you engage in a conversation with a telemarketer or two tonight.
  2. Go to the bank and ask for the manager. Give yourself a chance to speak with a local commercial bank manager and start developing your interpersonal skills. Why do you need to speak with a banker? For six main reasons: Bankers help people in moments of crisis; they are able to persuade others;  they tend to be good negotiators, they are good at outmaneuvering people, they like to win and they are available.  You can learn a lot from them and the cost to speak with them is literally zero. Your return over investment after speaking with a banker is extraordinarily high. If successful meaningful conversations with a banker, one-on-one, were a bet category in Vegas, the odds of success of such pursuits would be 1 to 1 success on the side of the introvert. Making long story short, go speak with a banker today or tomorrow.
  3. Work for a week as a dishwasher. Why a week? Because it has one hundred and sixty eight hours or ten thousand and eighty minutes that you can spend with someone chatting for long periods of time. When I was an English as a Second Language (ESL) student, I did just that. You will be amazed how much you will talk and chat with a complete stranger during this time. What I came to learn and realize from my experience, being a dishwasher for a week, was that it is literally impossible for these underrated cleaning professionals to spend eight hours a day without speaking a single word. Do yourself a favor: Put your pride aside, go to a local kitchen and volunteer your time to serve as a food cleaning professional. This experience will change the way you communicate.

I know that you are probably struggling and questioning this whole idea of having to transform yourself into an extrovert in order to have more influence in social media outlets. How can anyone ask and remind you that you need to start playing the guitar and singing, talking with bankers and joining a dishwasher team in order to be more successful in social media. Let me help you with better understanding these series of requests. Think of Mr. Myagi. Do you remember wax on, wax off… I am him guiding you through this difficult yet critical process to transform you into a black belt of social media.  Trust your trainer and start doing. I will check with you again on the flip side tomorrow!

Stop Thinking That You Are Always Going To Be An Introvert.

Stop Thinking That You Are Always Going To Be An Introvert.

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In social media, like in any other living and evolving environment, being strategic is a necessity with the difference that in this new and ever growing area of communications media, you have to be an extrovert or learn to be one if you want to be successful and have lifelong influence in cyberspace. I am not aware of any influential social media strategist and/or new media key player or celebrity who is quiet about his or her participations in the social media arena. Let me give to you some real yet interesting numbers for your review and reflection. Donald Trump has twitted (or shared his opinions, right?) 34.4 thousand times since he started his public twitter campaign in 2009. Oprah Winfrey has shared her thoughts another 11.9 thousand times and growing. In one posting on Instagram alone, Hillary Clinton and her 12.7 million followers have interacted 72,532 times complementing the 659 thousand re-tweets and 29 thousand personal replies displayed on her pin message on twitter today, January 28th 2017. Sean Hannity, from Fox News, averages 400 interactions per posting on Instagram and Andrea Mitchell from MSNBC has probably tweeted more than you and me combined totaling 29.2 thousands times. Clearly, these influential and leading individuals aren’t shy about sharing what they know or what they think you want to hear whether you like it or not. It doesn’t matter if you are a liberal, a conservative, a buddhist, a catholic or a citizen of Belize. You have to be able to connect with people you know and don’t know on-line whether you feel comfortable engaging with them or not. The well established and good strategy of war, “Raising an icon from the past,” which can be understood as using your past victories to justify or influence your present cause or situation won’t work for you in social media alone. As Cantrell once said, “Empires rise and fall in the make of details.” You need to get used to the reality that you must be an extrovert on-line by birth or by training, and understand how the game is really played in this new and ever evolving age of social media interaction. There are a number of ways in which you can be more extrovert and better communicate with others in social media even though you might not necessarily be used to it or comfortable about it. I will provide to you three ways in which you can start developing this important and timely social skill… being an extravert.

  1. Stop thinking that you are always going to be an introvert. I am an extrovert. My wife, many of you and several others can easily attest this fact because I am not afraid of start conversations with people I don’t know quite quickly. I am talkative, sociable, enthusiastic, friendly and outgoing. What if I told you that as a teenager, I was afraid to talk with others, was quite reserved and quiet, non-sociable and able to play chess by myself for hours non-stop. It is quite shocking that these days, I have no problems speaking on television, expressing opinions publicly and in some instances… be attention seeking without feeling bad about it. If I became an extrovert, you can become an extrovert, as well. Please don’t believe others when they tell you that you are always going to be an introvert. It is a plain lie and can be argued to be unfounded. I came to learn and realize that your life circunstances and personality can change based on the many environmental variables you are exposed to and experience. Perhaps, nurture overcomes nature after all, I don’t know. What I can tell you for a fact is that I was an introvert yesterday; I am an extrovert today, and you can also make this transition. In social media, you will need this to possess this kind of personality if you want to influence others effectively.
  2. Buy yourself a guitar and study music. You heard that right. Sell your computer and buy a guitar as Tom Petty once said. The act of jamming your six strings and singing alone but preferably in front of a group of listeners, friends, enemies, groupies… overtime can do miracles for you ad will help you to reach your goal of being extrovert. The act of playing the guitar and being in front of others is one of the first steps you need to take in order to become comfortable when speaking with strangers. Why do you second guess yourself? You can be an extrovert overtime. Yes you can! Let me repeat: Yes you can! So do me a favor now. If you are an introvert, legitimately wants to be an extrovert and have more influence in social media, stop reading this blog post right now and go get yourself an acoustic guitar and schedule some guitar maybe voice lessons. I will be here when you come back. You won’t regret.
  3. Randomly call telemarketers for a chat. A-HA! This one you were not expecting, right? I hope not. In order to be able to communicate like a true extrovert, you need to be a bit crazy sometimes and get away from your comfort zone. It is payback time buddy! It is your time to call these professional salesmen who called you several times during your family suppers on Friday evenings and have random chats with them on their own time. I know that this act can be quite intimidating at first but the repeated act of calling a 1-800 number telemarketer customer service representative inquiring about how you can get a free credit card can be life changing for an introvert. You need to be able to speak with strangers without feeling weird or bad about it. We are going to start this process by using the telephone medium at first because you know… if something doesn’t work right, you can always hang over the phone and start the whole process again right after. Eventually, we are going to engage in conversations with strangers to develop additional extrovert skills but not now. It is to early for that. You have to give yourself a chance to becoming an extrovert so you can then be more influential in social media outlets remember? By the way, how much spam or unwanted credit card application requests did you receive this week? Do yourself a favor: Please check your mail pile and start making some phone calls tonight. Who knows, you might make some friends along the way. I did. In fact, one of these goofy telemarketers ended up being a short term girlfriend of mine in college. It might be your destiny, who knows!!!

You have to be an extrovert or learn to be one if you want to be successful and a have life long influence in cyberspace. Stop thinking that you are always going to be an introvert for life. The former isn’t a death sentence. Buy yourself a guitar and start jamming! Make some random phone calls to telemarketers and break aways that inhibition. Who knows, you might even meet a mate along the way. In fact, it might be your destiny to meet somebody this way! You can do it. Just go out there and do it. Go now, close this book and act, see you tomorrow.

Re-Create Yourself Once In A While.

Re-Create Yourself Once In A While.

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There is a lot of value in recreating yourself once in a while. IBM in 1984 was a much different company than it is today. Steve Martin became a dad when he was 67 years old. Betty White wasn’t a well known person by the public until she was fifty one years of age. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a body builder, then he became a widely known actor, served as a politician and is now a philanthropist. You need to champion the need to innovate and control your destiny by not allowing others to define who you are. This doesn’t mean that you should be mean, treat others with disrespect, turn yourself blue when common sense calls you to be yellow or dreaming of becoming a rockstar without having any talent for music and how to act and react in the entertainment industry. Don’t get me wrong — engaging in creative and continuous self-analysis and advancement isn’t an easy task but is one that is of paramount importance. In 2o17, we all need to be able to maneuver in order to gain or shift terrain and advance our own careers and life campaigns. In many instances, the former requires that we recreate ourselves. Every seven years, our body cells change allowing us to recreate ourselves in the literal sense. Perhaps, the good God has created us that way biologically so that we eventually learn to think about ourselves in terms of re-creation. In reality, there are a number of ways in which you can re-create yourself.  In this article, I will share with you three ways in which you can re-create yourself and advance or change your career or life focus as an outcome.

  1. Be a source of pleasure. No matter which career you are in or want to pursue, don’t be grumpy, melancholic, egoistic or egocentric, self-centered, or arrogant. Be the type of person you and your friends want to be around with. You don’t need to force your new image on others, either. Be a source of pleasure and celebrate creating harmony by making others to celebrate themselves.  Eventually, others will invite you in their circles and will legitimately enjoy being around you for the right reasons not because of  your position or authority. I see too many people today failing to re-create themselves into someone better because of a false belief that they need to stick to their century long traditions. Their stagnation is eminent; Loss of talent is predictable; lack of self-innovation and brand depreciation is likely.
  2. Question your assumptions once in a while. Be careful when making lifetime assumptions because when you assume, you make an… you know how the saying goes. Things change, life evolves, and people learn lessons. Not always but you know what I mean. In the spirit of wanting to recreate your image and questioning some of your lifelong goals and objectives, you have to be open minded to the possibilities that might head your way. One of the ways to accomplish the former is by questioning what you may think is untouchable to you. If I was so defensive about ever changing my upbringing instilled ideologies from childhood, I would have never turned into a college professor of any kind. In the country club culture in which I was born and raised in, becoming a college professor was seen as the ultimate sign of failure only after lacking a formal college education. I knew then and certainly know now, however, that the truth is far from what I was once told when growing up among the ultra wealthy elite society  but it took me “questioning my assumptions” in order to be able to see life as it is. Many today live their lives in a world of fantasy and make believe because of their inability to question their own circumstances, values and inherited biases. There is tremendous power in re-evaluating what you believe, feel, and care about. This doesn’t mean that you should be mean, treat others with disrespect, turn yourself blue when common sense calls you to be yellow, or totally ignore your history for the sake of change and advancement. Common sense plays a variable in the transition, of course.
  3.  Seek, investigate and council once in a while.  The bible teaches us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Just don’t forget that investigating and seeking counseling with the right people for each occasion is also a variable if you are seeking to re-create yourself for the better. When becoming your new you or re-creating your old self, eventually you will need to find your “future you” which quite often isn’t found by you because we are creatures of habit. Plans are established by council as it is written in Proverbs 20:18. Don’t forget that.  Question — Are you doing God’s will? Let me ask you differently, “Are you working with your godly gift so you can glorify Him and help others?” Most folks aren’t… at least it has been my observations. GOOD! It may be time for you to recreate yourself! We all have received a gift from God. Every single one of us we did regardless of color, creed, nationality… The gift of exhortation calls believers to become great counselors/advisers maybe teachers. Are you in the construction business when you should be in counseling?  Are you disorganized yet you wish to manage operations but possess the gift of piety? Maybe you belong somewhere in the devotional business. Some have the gift of love or prophecy yet they choose to ignore their calling because of family tradition and fear of change or shall we say boldly, “to recreate themselves” using the gifts that the good God has given to them.

It is impossible to control anybody’s destiny or image despite the many attempts made by many in our society. People can be temporarily conquered but long-term control is only achieved if the mind or shall we say people’s hearts allow it to happen. Re-creating yourself once in a while is perhaps the only mechanism you can use to keep yourself and others in line when living this arduous journey we call life. There is a lot of value in recreating yourself once in a while. The act of recreation gives you hope, can energize your persona and give you life strength. No wonder why retirees tend to live longer when they re-create themselves and keep a steady line of work after officially declaring,  “I am a retiree.” You need to champion the need to innovate and control your destiny by not allowing others to define who you are always seeking ways to do God’s will. Be a source of pleasure, question your assumptions once in a while, seek, investigate and council with a wide variety of people and constituents. Life evolves and we need to be fully aware of that. We have to re-create ourselves one in a while. It is a must. It is good for you and it is good for me. It is good for us all.

Build Long Lasting Relationships: What To Look For.

Build Long Lasting Relationships: What To Look For.

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As it is played in Disneyland, “It is a small world after all.” The relationships we build, the friendships we make, the conversations we cultivate and the sacrifices we endure aren’t be be taken with a grain a salt by a true friend. A person who is truly genuine, is on your side and wants to maintain a great relationship with you don’t treat you like a subordinate, will never do anything to jeopardize your trust, will do what he/she can to honor your reasonable requests and are likely to ask you to go to lunch once in a while. Avoidance, extra protocols and procedures, ultra selective and divisive associations, left hand complements and gossip are true signs of someone who is egoistic and probably afraid or intimidated by you. It is even possible that folks displaying such behaviors are simply in the state of denial and are finding ways to justify their incompetence and appear adequate. Behaviors and actions will always speak louder than words, regardless of what folks may think or believe. We all have relationships in church, with family, at work, and also with our children and spouse. In all of the former, we need to cultivate great relationships and avoid destroying them but is better to have no close times with someone than associate yourself with the wrong crowd. As colleague of mine once said, “Many judge others by the people they associate themselves with.” There is truth to this former statement. My grandfather used to say the same thing.  The bible states in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” It seems that God wants us to flee from bad company, right? It seems clear cut to me. There are a number of ways we can guide folks to build better relationships in many areas of our lives. In this article, I will share with you three ways in which you can build more solid and long lasting relationships with a spin of Christianity.

  1. Choose good company because the alternative corrupts character. The Bible says in1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” In order to build relationships that last, you need to choose good company first. It is a pre-requisite that must be followed. There is no reversal to this rule. The tricky part of deciphering who is good or bad company. Individuals who provide good council are great ones to associate yourself with. Typically these folks are unselfish and have an encouraging heart. They tend to be reasonable and understanding of a wide variety of circunstances. You will know when someone is a great advisor and had the gift of exhortation because hate isn’t part of their nature. These folks tend to be great company and worth of your time.
  2. If they don’t spend time with you, flee from them. Relationships are all about commitment. You need to choose carefully and pay attention to details. A dedicated ally won’t let you hanging in there and are likely to seek rather than be seek for a conversation. If someone wants to have a great relationship with you, sooner or later… they will extend an invitation for you and your family to go to lunch with them or to join their church or civic groups. They will  introduce you to people they know publicly and eventually will ask you to go to their house as guest for supper. If you request a meeting one-on-one with a person and this person chooses to have a group meeting instead you know that his/her priorities aren’t you but him or herself. Remember: If they don’t spend time with you, flee from them.
  3. Be loyal and test for consistency. If you find inconsistencies in your relationships, e.g., “Hey Almeidas! Nice seeking you here today.” and then in a public event the same couple who told you the former ignores you… You might as well say goodbye to having a long lasting relationship with them.  If a person is really on your side and desires to keep a great and open relationship with you, they will not betray you in any way. Make sure you spend some time “testing spirits” as the bible teaches us. Which disloyalty can you clearly see and observe? Are there any inconsistencies that include you specifically? Let me give you an example. I am a member of a local civic club. In a number of occasions, Jackie — one of our senior club members, was very kind and open to a great chat with me during our weekly meetings seeming excited that I was a college professor in a public university. However, in another yet more selective event we both attended, where being a public school professor wasn’t seen as prestigious, this same person who was so chatty and nice totally ignored me due to fear of retaliation, I bet. Being associated, in that event, with a public school professor wasn’t sophisticated enough for her to maintain her appearances. Only if she knew that I had a working and close relationship with the president of that organization she was trying to build connections with. Moral of the story:  Be loyal and test for consistency, always.

As it is played in Disneyland, “It is a small world after all.” Sooner or later, people will discover who you truly are by the relationships you have and by your actions and reactions. Make sure to choose good company and that your company wants to have yourself in their company. Otherwise, you might need to develop relationships with other company. Test your relationships with a dose of loyalty and consistency. In order to build a long lasting relationship with someone, you must make sure that they are indeed on your side on a consistent basis. Otherwise: Be aware.  Remember: Behaviors and actions will always speak louder than words, regardless of what folks may think or believe.

Change Is Inevitable: We Might As Well Get Used To It.

Change Is Inevitable: We Might As Well Get Used To It.
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Change crowd at AECT, 2015.

Chameleons and leaves change colors. Caterpillars change into butterflies, car models and colors change, fashions change, seasons change…  everything changes yet folks are still afraid of change. Change is part of life and should be widely celebrated instead of being avoided. Change is good, necessary and an important process in the develop of any living system.  For some goofy reason, however, change rarely occurs in higher education which in my opinion is a sin. Presidents come and go; Governors start and finish their mandates; Representatives are elected and re-elected and little is done to make public higher education institutions better funded. What is often certain and also don’t change is that school operating budgets will be cut every year, professors will have to learn to do more with less in public colleges, and most taxes payers will complain that colleges and universities are a burden to their pockets and their state finances. In fact, many would rather see you and your family go into poverty than being financially generous for the common good. The truth is that change is difficult but it shouldn’t be. Public universities are fat dinosaurs draining a self-destructing system that refuses to re-invent themselves for the sake of tradition. Although there are a number of ways in which public universities can change, I will discuss in these article three ways in which schools could change for the better.

  1. Hire more practical professors.  Public universities would be better places if they reduced the amount of “theory only” college professors from its body of docents. The age where scholars just came to class to share knowledge with students is coming to an end quickly as knowledge is now available for free on-line. Why should anyone be hired today as a college professor to teach a course using a book and give students quizzes, only? This antiquated system and approach only creates the illusion that passing the course with an “A” grade equates success. Do you really think that companies want to hire students who can perform well on standardized tests, only? I am not saying that we should abandon the quiz system and all that type of stuff. My suggestion is that this former education protocol becomes complementary to the practical skill-set that students receive from professors who de facto practice their crafts. We need more professors who can train students to be doers not reciters.
  2.  Identify faculty talent early on and train them to be administrators. One of the most challenging tasks of any university is to find faulty members with talent for leadership. I am not aware of any academic unit that can properly function without a Chair and Dean who are versed in budgeting, sophisticated technology skills, foresight, the ability to focus and manage resources, have open meetings with constituents, and know and implement processes and procedures of higher education according to the rules and regulations of the institutions in which they work for. Just because a professor is a good teacher doesn’t mean that he/she will be a great administrator or even read the faculty handbook. The skill-set that is required for a Department Chair to have is much different than one of an Associate Professor whose primarily responsibilities are to teach, research, and serve. People who speak about others are small minded and often incompetent and unsuitable for a long-term career in administration and leadership with success. Identification of talent must occur early in any public university and should occur during what we call the tenure-track years of potential candidates… which is the time where senior education administrators can mentor potential faculty stars into a career in educational leadership.
  3.  Spend money in people first, technology second. It has been my experience that students like to speak with professors not a machine.  In the three universities I’ve worked for, students along with their parents and siblings made the choice to attend our universities because of a full-time professor that they have spoken with. I myself have recruited literally hundreds of students simply by returning phone calls and hosting them on campus; by answering their questions with enthusiasm and care; by giving them information about our schools and the surrounding communities, and such.  A lot of what I’ve told potential students was available on-line but parents and students want to talk and speak with people. If the overall goal of colleges and universities today is to attract more students, I recommend hiring more professors first, and invest in technology second. Let’s not forget — a public university without students isn’t going to be in business very long, despite having all the technology in the world available.

Chameleons and leaves change colors. Caterpillars change into butterflies, car models and colors change, fashions change, seasons change…  everything changes yet folks are still afraid of change. Educators are terrified of change but they shouldn’t be as long as change is done with planning and care. Change is eminent in life. I have learned, served and contributed to a number of systemic change projects in my profession in the public sector and quite frankly, I am pretty proud of it. We need folks who care and are able to plan real change. The future of the enterprise depends on it. I am confident.

If You Are A College Professor, You Just Have To Be Dedicated And Care.

If You Are A College Professor, You Just Have To Be Dedicated And Care.

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If you are a college professor, you just have to be dedicated and caring. Caring means going to class and be prepared for teaching the greatest lesson you can ever deliver; Dedication means coming to your job everyday and be ready to help students when they need help the most. Being caring and dedicated also means attending university sponsored recruiting events where prospective students choose to attend and ask questions about potentially majoring in your program.  The photograph above was taken during one of our high school recruiting events in which we have designed and delivered a series of media workshops for graduating seniors. In my book, there is no room for uncaring behavior and egoism in education. If you are a true educator, you have to care and serve your students with dignity, respect, and passion. There are a number of ways in which rookie college professors can develop a caring and dedicated demeanor.  In this article, I will share with you three ways in which college professors in training can have a better attitude as an educator by the time they start teaching college courses.

  1. Go to church and get involved. The act of church attendance transcends the walls of whatever church denomination (or no denomination) you attend. Choosing to going to church with the right attitude and with the goal of genuinely helping others is a habit that is transferrable to a college classroom. When someone takes the initiative to join a church congregation as a volunteer, chances are high that this person is at the least dedicated to the faith and probably caring towards other believers.  The heart of a volunteer can change mountains and is to be celebrated by the community in which they belong. A first class college professor must have the right attitude towards his/her profession and be a champion for the needs of his/her students. When you have the “right attitude” caring and dedication follows suit making you into a valuable piece in the life puzzle of a developing young adult.  College professors must serve in the former capacity if they are to succeed in the profession with honors. Failing to do the former, on the other hand, tends to result in dismissal from the profession, prematurely. My advice? Go to church and get involved. Develop yourself in the areas of generosity and be a champion of goodwill before joining a college or university.
  2. Avoid using the word “I.” Professionals of education who constantly use the word “I” rarely make the greatest impact in the life of others especially students. If you hear someone constantly use the pronoun “I” in conversations, be aware. Chances are very high that “I” means excluding you. A caring and dedicated educator must learn to use the word “you” or “we” 95% percent of the time because he overuse of the word “I” only leads to contention and suspicion.  As a college professor, you need to create harmony and transparency… A star college professor champions equilibrium in the life of his/her students and puts him/herself second to the needs of the students. A great way to accomplish such pursuits is by replacing the word “I” with the better alternative… “You” or “We.”
  3. Start creating connections with employers. A caring and dedicated college professor has professional connections. A good way to start thinking this way is by getting involved with civic organizations in your hometown, in addition to joining a church and volunteering. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce or the Rotary Club. These institutions tend to attract businesslike individuals who can help your students to get jobs after they graduate. Remember: A caring and dedicated college professor helps his/her students to get jobs. I promise to you that the act of recommending and/or placing students in jobs is priceless to both themselves and you.  Don’t forget… It is our responsibility as college professors to connect and develop relationships. Our prefrontal lobe is already developed. Our student’s prefrontal lobe is still under development, for the most part. Be proactive and network. It is the only way and the right thing to do.

If you are a college professor, you just have to be dedicated and caring. There is no reversal for this one if you want to have an impact in your career as a college professor. Start early and often. Don’t wait and act in a proactive manner. Be ready to serve and and care with the dedication that the good God expects of you. Don’t be like every other college professor… seeking to spread his or her legacy at your student’s expense sometimes turning the lives of his/her students upside down for no goos reason. Be different. Be fair. Be caring and dedicated. Be a real college professor.

The Importance of Being Original.

The Importance of Being Original.

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In this life you need to be original. Originality or the ability to think independently and creatively or the quality of being novel or unusual is an important human condition that should be cultivated throughout life. I am not aware of any important thinker who was unoriginal. The master of suspense, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, through his originality and genius introduced to the world the “MacGuffin” a plot device that was essential to the characters on his films but without any relevance to the audience making history. The great Miles Davis re-invented jazz by his stylistic innovations. Walt Disney challenged the world when he tried to do the impossible — he achieved what was possible. By serving as a passive aggressive Pacifist,  Gandhi  changed the world of diplomacy and power forever. Life is full of examples of notorious individuals who have changed history by being original. It is a good thing to be original and creative. As a matter of fact, I argue that one’s ability to think independently and creatively is a true gift from God to others as the benefits it can reap are countless. I could share with you probably thousands of ways you can be more original in your life. In this article, I will share with you three ways to be more original.

  1. Be yourself. In this life, nobody wanting to be original can be a carbon copy of somebody else. The qualities that made Napoleon great were not the same qualities that made Patton extraordinary. The great Patch Adams cared for his patients more than any other physician ever dreamed of. Yet, we have obtuse doctors who just get things done making them as great. Women are from Venus and men are from Mars and that’s okay. Whatever unique traits the good God has given you, He gave you your uniqueness for a reason. There are a number of things in this life that are possible — by studying one gets better grades; By practicing, one gets better scores; By forgiving one becomes a better man. What isn’t possible is to strive to be unique by emulating others. It simply doesn’t work regardless of what others may tell you. The great Jim Furyk would have never made it into the PGA Tour by swinging his clubs more like Ben Hogan. The earlier you realize that you need to be original, the greater your impact in this life will be and the most glory to God you will be able to give.
  2. Challenge yourself. History is full of cases of individuals who put themselves in a bubble and accept mediocrity in exchange for complacency and security. Just because you can play football in a AA division doesn’t mean that you are ready to compete against the Quad A state champions. You need to be original or should I say — be different. What you really need is to ditch the idea that you should work for money and rather… work in the talent that the Lord has given you by doing the former, you will be able to be great in your area of strength which if you keep course, success will go your way when you least expect. Give yourself a chance to be challenged and embrace the opportunity to achieve high grounds by challenging yourself.
  3. Create something worth sharing. Whenever you create something out of nothing, you are obligated to think with no box yet generate a working prototype of your imagination.  With the former comes conceptualization, production, revision, re-engineering, more and more revisions leading to a final product or outcome.  Even if your creation is a failure financially, there are great lessons to be learned by going through the motions of raw creation. The uniqueness of your efforts in many ways speak louder than your inability to take a chance.  If you want to be unique, you will need to take risks and give yourself a chance to achieve the unimaginable. Creating something worth sharing isn’t the test but a task and duty. Next time you think about being unique, create something worth sharing.

In this life you need to be original. You need to be unique and challenge yourself and create something worth sharing. By being unique you gain both respect and admiration. Be yourself and be genuine. Be like Walt Disney – try to do the impossible. Create your own style and keep course. One day, after many hours of sweat and perseverance, the waves of success might come your way. Always be with God, regardless of the circunstances. Keep your faith and pray. In the end, what really matters is… if you want to be original.

You Have To Stay The Course: Building Anything Isn’t Easy.

You Have To Stay The Course: Building Anything Isn’t Easy.

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In this life, you must stay the course if you plan to achieve any form of success. If you have owned a business of any sort, you know that running a start-up is never easy and somedays can be quite frustrating. You must, however, do what is required to keep fighting the good fight. What you are seeing above is Dr. Almeida Photography LLC’s society 6 product store, laptop and iPad skins section. We started our shop with society 6 back in late Fall 2016 with the hope we would provide high quality photo products to the masses in the central Mississippi area. I have to admit that selling art in this highly competitive technological world is rough. However, with persistence and much follow through, we have had our successes. Giving up isn’t an option for us and it shouldn’t be an option for you if your goal is to develop a profitable enterprise. Be aware though: Success, for the common man, doesn’t occur overnight. If you are eager to start your own side business, be ready to spend long hours working on a wide variety of tasks associated with the firm, ranging from producing, cataloging, budgeting and promoting the business. It won’t be easy, I guarantee you. Why?  Because friends don’t buy, strangers don’t know you and resist buying anything from you at first. If you are new to an area, good luck infiltrating local markets. In such environments, people tend to work with their long time buddies and friends rather than working with you. So, what do entrepreneurs need to do in order to gain access and start selling their products in a new market. There are a number of solutions to this problem. In this article, I will share with you three proven ways to increase your business.

  1. Partner with locals. One of the most successful strategies you can use is to parter with an influential local buddy. By abdicating part of your business in exchange for access and q-ratio, you can launch your business much quicker than your competitors and start competing for real dollars much sooner than having to build the business through traditional means of advertising. I can guarantee you that will take more capital to advertise a start-up than negotiating a 2-3% partnership with a local resident. As soon as you work with a local, he/she will (at least in theory) do some of this work for you. Even though friends don’t buy, friends refer business clients to their friends first. Sure, you need to be very careful not to partner with whatever person from your community. You need to interview him/her and make sure that they are well known and connected in their neighborhood.
  2. Create a publicity campaign. Don’t waste your money in advertising at least not at first. Ads are expensive and often don’t pay off the way that they should. The reason for the former is because ads don’t influence already established client perceptions about a similar product in any region. Let me explain: There is no advertising campaign, regardless of price, that will change people’s minds about sending their kids to another gymnastics facility. Madison County Gymnastics dominates the market, period. Sure, one way to break into their gig is to partner with them but what if they aren’t interested in partnering? I bet they won’t be interested in partnering with anyone because they don’t have to. So, what could you do then? The answer is publicity. You need to convince folks overtime that what you have to offer is worth them having. This, of course, takes a lot of time and effort. Who said that working for yourself is easy?
  3. Sell outstanding products. The market is flooded with great products. You have the duty to produce/create products that will challenge your customer’s perceptions of what outstanding means. There is zero room for mediocrity and a lot of room for improvement, every time we offer a new product. Back in 2016, we used to manipulate our photographs using my 5 point editing process to ensure the highest possible photo quality one can find in the market. In 2017, we have added two steps in the editing process. Is it more time consuming on my part? Yes. But hey… Are you in business to gain market share or to be seen as just one more guy out there trying to sell a few prints a year? Be ready. In 2018, we shall add one more editing step!

In this life, you must stay the course if you plan to achieve any form of success. If you have owned a business of any sort, you know that running a start-up is never easy and somedays can be quite frustrating. Your role as an entrepreneur is to strategize locally, create publicity campaigns and master your craft. In contemporary USA, competition is fierce and expected. You need to be a starter if you want to “make it” in today’s global economy. In order to be a successful small business owner today, you must know how to compete and know how to win and lose. Remember: Building anything isn’t easy.  Are you ready for the challenge?

If You Dream and Have Faith… God Will Help You To Achieve.

If You Dream and Have Faith… God Will Help You To Achieve.

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If you dream and have faith… God will help you to achieve. We need to realize that God is in control and that we need to keep the course of believing without seeing in this short journey we call life. It is truly amazing what God can do in your life when you surrender your life to God. Christ will bless you if you ask Him with the right motives. I am a witness of His glory and covenant promise to us all. God likes to give us blessings and He opens many doors to you also if you make your priority in life to glorify Him. It is written in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” It is also written in psalms 50:15, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” In Mark 11:24 we read, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Clearly, God wants us to dream and count on Him for receiving blessings, at least from a Christian point of view. How would you call a God who wants you to be blessed and receive God’s favor?  I call Him Awesome. Our God is an awesome God.

We shall, however, be very careful with what and how we ask as the bible also teaches us that it is okay to ask if we ask for the right reasons. In James 4:3 we read, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  We have to always ask in His will as it is written in 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Ask with good faith, believe and you will receive.

Today, my recently published book, “Becoming a Brand: The Rise of Technomoderation” has made the #19 best selling book list among memoirs of educators (kindle edition) on Amazon.com. Considering that my book was ranked ahead of worldly renowned celebrities including Michele Obama, Ronald Reagan, Ben Franklin, C.S Lewis, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington… I take the former as a major blessing given from God. Wow! I can’t believe it. Is this really happening? Yes, it is. Our God is an awesome God, indeed. Who are we without God? Nothing, I would say.

You can enjoy His blessings, as well. The recipe? Faith, prayer, and scripture reading. This life is about God not you or me. God’s blessings are not about us though. Remember that. If you dream and have faith… God will help you to achieve.

 

Dr. Luis C. Almeida | Wisdom For The Common Man: How To Deal With Jealous People.

Dr. Luis C. Almeida | Wisdom For The Common Man: How To Deal With Jealous People.


Life is very predictable if we pay attention to certain clues. Geese fly in a quite predictable pattern and teach the world the importance of shifting leadership. River waters eventually reach the oceans in a quite predictable pattern. When men (and women) are confronted with a challenge they tend to have a difficult time handling,…
http://bit.ly/2jyoiR7

The Importance of Being Nice

The Importance of Being Nice

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Life is too short for anybody to be mean to others. We must celebrate the gift of life with joy, a smile on our faces, and an eye towards the great Lord of the universe. In Ephesians 4:29 we learn to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Proverbs 11:17 also teaches us the importance of being kind, “Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.” In Colossians 3:12 we read, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Why be mean to others especially when they have done nothing against you? Let’s not forget that human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires, James 1:20. God takes care of its people, though. Our God is a just God who is merciful. There are a number of ways in which you can be kind to others in this world. In the paragraphs written below, I will share three ways anybody can use to be more kind to others.

  1. Make God the center of your life.  Live for God by faith all the days of your lives. Remember: Your life doesn’t belong to you but to God.  We are to do God’s will and live by faith in this life. We need to be thankful not vengeful or angry. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we learn that we are to give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Why should we reject God’s teachings? We shall not, that’s for sure. Whenever you make Christ the center of your life, you find true happiness and tremendous freedom.
  2. Seek love and avoid contention.  In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  we read, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Love is without question one of the most incredible qualities of a Christian. If we choose peace we shall find the kingdom of God. The bible is quite clear about contention, “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So abandon the quarrel before it breaks out” (Proverbs 17:14). Love one another and abandon the need to fight. Choose love over evil.
  3. Pray for those who prosecute you without a cause. In Matthew 5:44, we learn, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Pray and pray hard for those who act without honor against you. The good God is a Lord of forgiveness and understanding. Be the salt of the world by adopting a lie philosophy that is based on prayer and forgiveness. Be the light of hope in someone’s angry unjustified demeanor. In the end, their prosecution of you is an act of insecurity. Make them more secure if you have an opportunity. Be a witness of understanding and always take the high ground. Most folks are egoistic. be generous especially with prayer. God wants you to pray and serve others.  Do your part — be obedient.

Life is too short for anybody to be mean to others. We must celebrate the gift of life with joy, a smile on our faces, and an eye towards the great Lord of the universe. In the end, we are all in this world together seeking our biggest gift of all — salvation. Turn your eyes to God and pray. Be the hope you want to see in others.

The Importance of Being a Gentleman

The Importance of Being a Gentleman
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Dr. A and Josh Jackson Anchor WAPT Jackson, MS.

No matter how old you are, 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 posting, I will briefly introduce to you three important ways you can become more gentleman like. They are…

  1. A gentleman knows how to listen.  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 listen to what others have to say, and consider alternatives if the alternatives received prove to be a better explanation for a particular phenomenon under investigation. A true gentleman listens to others and strive to make decisions that take into account the voices of others sometimes. A gentleman understands that listening is a skill that can be mastered.  A gentleman waits until others finish what they were saying.
  2. A gentleman does not spread rumors. Under any circunstances does a gentleman engage in the act of spreading rumors because he knows that 10/10 times, these rumors cause hardships on others and eventually comes back to 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 asks, “what do you think.” 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. Of course 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 does need to act like an “I known it all” because they now than nobody really knows it all and because the former is a quite impolite practice. A gentleman would rather be quiet than confronting left-hand contributions.

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 on how to listen, not to spread rumors, and to ask the opinion of others in a number of matters. Being a gentleman should be a lifelong goal for any man. It is important to be a gentleman.

Teaching Universities: A Crisis Of Identity In The Name of Advancement.

Teaching Universities: A Crisis Of Identity In The Name of Advancement.
Self Portrait
Self Portrait

Lack of funding has been slowly destroying the public system of higher education of the united states. A system that once has received 75% of its allocated funds from the state is now battling to keep its 27% of state funding allocation it currently receives. State governments, especially in red political states, are allocating flat funding or state cuts in an attempt to privatize one of the jewels of American society and transform its populist mission into an elitist system of higher learning driven by market trends. Because of lack of funding, traditional public teaching universities are trying to be what they are not: To become research universities.

What a dangerous evolution of events and a sad reality in American society. The consequences of attempting to be what you are not are easily predictable — Slow academic death and more lack of funding in the long run. Let me explain. What would happen to Sugar Ray Leonard if he had to fight Mike Tyson heads on? He would die or would be severely incapacitated, right? I think so. Realistically, Sugar Ray Leonard has a very small chance of beating Mike Tyson because Tyson is stronger. Mike Tyson was developed to fight opponents like Mohamed Ali, George Foreman, and many other heavy weights of boxing. Sugar Ray Leonard isn’t the competition!

The same analogy can be applied to the industry of higher education. What would happen to a weak division I or a strong division II university if they shift its focus from being a primarily teaching institution competing against other teaching universities to becoming a true research university and competing against big research schools? How in the world can a public university in Chicago whose primary mission is to help first generation college students with limited funding compete financially and scholarly with the mighty University of Chicago? Are higher education administrators choosing to ignore the tenets of competitive advantage? Are they going mad?

Let me give you some fun facts — Stanford has a 22 billion dollar endowment fund. XYZ public teaching university often has something like 55 million dollars in its endowment account if the institution is lucky. Entry level student SAT scores at the University of Texas-Austin are much higher than the SAT scores of Praire View, a HBCU located in the state of Texas. At Penn State, faculty members teach two courses per semester sometimes one. At Indiana University of Pennsylvania, faculty is to teach four courses a term sometimes five due to lack of full-time faculty lines. Ohio State has a research and development office full of staff that literally assists professors with grant acquisition and support. This is the same for Harvard, Cornell, NYU, and many other tier one large research universities.

The office of grants and acquisitions of a teaching university in Mississippi  only has 5 employees in order to assist faculty to write, manage and receive grants. A true research university in Massachusetts employees 53 staff members to assist with its yearly operation. Teaching institutions are not set up to compete against research universities in what they do best — Research! Much like Sugar Ray isn’t set to beat Frank Bruno.

Unless teaching universities totally redesign their systems to be in alignment with research institutions, e.g., reduce faculty load per semester, hire dozens of staff in the grants and acquisitions office, refine internal procedures and efficiency, give millions of dollars for faculty coming [Assistant professor] in (lab support) in order to fully conduct meaningful research, teaching colleges attempting to become research universities will only hurt their bottom line in the long run. Is it possible to do? Maybe. Evander Holyfield did it. He did pay a high price to adjust. Is Public higher education system in the position to redesign itself? We all know that in the draconian times we are living today, such undertake would be too costly! By the way, did anybody asked the students if they like this colossal change, anyways?

Let’s not forget that students coming to a teaching university attend these types of schools to have a more hands on interactive relationship with their professors and to learn skills to get positions in the workforce. They rarely attend these kinds of institutions to “learn for the sake of learning.” They are often interested in attending them to “Get a job.” Having an open door policy where students feel welcomed to speak with professors is critical for the survival of such universities. The moment professors in these institutions are asked to close their doors and do more research — Inevitably students will ask, “why should I be here? “My professors are not around anymore! I thought they would be here to help me out. Maybe I should just go to another teaching school where my professors will teach me something practical. Or perhaps… I should transfer to those research universities where I can cheer for a bigger football team that is always on television on Saturday afternoons. If I have to do all the work myself anyways, I might as well benefit from getting a degree from the University of Wisconsin! It will look great on my resume.”

Being what you are not for the sake of money is like telling your kid that they should become a doctor because physicians make a lot of money. What if your kid isn’t good enough to be a doctor or have little resources to becoming one? I personally don’t buy into the idea that we can be everything we want to become because nobody can perform at the highest level in every thing they try. As one of my professors once said, “There are individual differences.”I would never have made it as a petroleum engineer. NEVER! The good God didn’t bless me with engineering skills. I am okay with that and more importantly, I am not ashamed of it.

Media departments in teaching institutions whose goals is to becoming a research powerhouse experience tremendous stress in the transition. If accreditation is added to the bill, it becomes literally unlikely that the institution will attain such credentials unless continuous support is given by administration and time to receive the honor isn’t a variable. Media departments by craft are hands on departments. Differently from departments of philosophy where production isn’t a part of their curriculum, media departments are to teach students to produce artifacts. Therefore, asking media professors to close their doors in order to conduct more academic research is much more problematic because students need to literally learn hands on skills in production. A research paper published by a faculty member in media studies academic journals mean next to nothing to a student of media wanting to become a TV anchor. The irony of all of this is that professors of fine arts and theatre deliver a performance and their performances count as scholarship in most universities I’ve worked at. Media artifacts are often counted as service not anything scholarly in media departments! The former hurts our operation tremendously.

Here is my dilemma. So, what would you do? Risk losing a great production faculty who help the students to get great jobs yet he/she has a deficiency in research productivity or keep published professors who ignore their students and teach them outdated skills they don’t need? The “somewhere in between” isn’t a good option, either. Students of media must gain advanced skills in the field as advances in technology have changed the composition of the workforce of our industry forever.

In reality, this teaching university crisis isn’t going to be seen in media departments only. The systemic implications of this national trend of turning teaching colleges into research universities due to lack of funding will have a much larger implication than what I have described so far.

Faculty and staff turnover will exponentially increase. No institution of higher learning can achieve anything great if leadership and faculty changes so frequently. Talent won’t stick around for long if they become overworked which in turn will cause a higher wave of student anxiety, a burden for Human Resources as now HR will need to allocate more funds and resources for internal training, as well as an impact on shared governance. Although everybody is replaceable, not everyone coming in to a university understands the culture of the institution and its standard operating procedures. There is also not a guarantee that the faculty member coming in will be of any quality. Therefore, there is a tremendous risk in asking star faculty and staff to do the impossible. Here is what I think will happen. Faculty are likely to use these type of upcoming institutions to build their CVs and move on to another university, eventually landing in a research institution. Teaching four sometimes five courses a term is a lot of work. If you have to now produce heavy scholarship and acquire a grant on the top of that… why stay?  Faculty might as well work for a well equipped research university under such draconian and toxic conditions.  Walt Disney might have done the impossible but he didn’t do it alone.

In trueness, this whole mess that we are in is a consequence of decisions made in the 1980’s. Alan Greenspan once stated, “If the workers are more insecure, that’s very healthy for the society, because if workers are insecure they won’t ask for wages, they won’t go on strike, they won’t call for benefits; they’ll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that’s optimal for corporations.” Which adjective would you use to describe Greenspan? His economic policies of never rising the interest rate to “stimulate the economy” as a means to compensate for his free market ideology (outsource) and Reagonomics in the 1980’s caused the mess that we are in today, in my opinion. His policies have transformed the United States into India. India is known for two things, poverty and inequality. Okay, India is also known for corruption. Does the former ring a bell to you?

Greenspan accomplished what he wanted — reduce democracy and profit from outsourcing our jobs overseas. Now, he has the audacity to state, “Income inequality “most dangerous” trend in America today. Really, Mr. Greenspan? The educational system is in turmoil because of your economic leadership and ideology.  Where is the tax base necessary to support higher education? Some of us know it. Transforming institutions into something they are not won’t solve this reality. In fact, I hypothesize that it will only cause more turmoil.

The United States is a republic in which its citizens are guaranteed by law to have liberties and justice for all. At least, this is what it is written in the pledge of allegiance of the flag for the United States,  “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it  stands — One nation under God indivisible with liberties and justice for all.” I have bad news for you, readers. Our republic is in serious trouble. Higher education is one of these troubles. The biggest one I see, however, is the overall crisis of identity we are facing today. God bless America… We are going to need him.

The Inevitable Side Effects of Innovation

The Inevitable Side Effects of Innovation

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I don’t care which culture you live in. Whenever a group of innovators decide to design, develop and market a technological product for mass adoption in a society, side effects are very likely to occur and there is little we can do to avoid its unintended consequences to the system. The invasion of newly developed technology in any society can and probably will result in unintended consequences in several subsystems of a macro system because these technologies produce ecological changes, as Neil Postman once said. Technology, by itself, won’t fix too many of our problems but it will surely destroy well established systems of operation. Let me share with you two important systems that have been severely attacked by the advancements of technology: Law and Order and Education.

No orderly society can exist without a strong and dedicated body of police officers. The police exists to prevent uncontrolled chaos from developing and escalating in society as well as to help and guide well-behaved citizens. The police also exists to enforce the laws of a particular society and the rules of a culture. The force is in business to perform their duties to the best of their abilities so order is maintained. To a high degree, the police’s job isn’t to socialize with the public, despite popular belief. The cops are to act as a frontline for order in its essence. The police isn’t in business to abuse citizens, under any circumstance… even though abuse does occur once in a while and we all know it.

The mass adoption of the smartphone in society has had a severe impact in the well established system of law and order in America. Because of technology, the system of police is in jeopardy and I guarantee to you that it will make police change its standard operating procedure.  Why? Because technology has effects that far suppresses its original intentions… technology is “often created” to serve as technique with the “intentions” to make our lives better. The former, in practice, is far from the truth. Don’t believe me?

Let me ask this question, “Did technology make law enforcement operation better or worse since the adoption of the mighty smartphone?” “Which side effects do law and order professionals experienced after smartphones became mainstream? Shouldn’t law and order professionals also carry a body camera (smartphones) in order to defend themselves against litigation? Of course they should but why don’t they? HAAAA, because the judicial system prevents them from using such devices, right? I think so. The judicial system wasn’t created to accommodate the numerous side effects created by the smartphones. How can the police do their job when folks tape them while they perform old analog protocol?

See? when technology is adopted in society, a number of side effects occur across the system. It is ecological. One change here can result in implications up, down, left and right. Ignoring these undeniable facts is to a large degree naive and myopic, in my opinion. The side effects that smartphone technology has done to the police are irreversible. Is it all bad? Not really. Among informal channels of society, violence has occurred against minorities and the poor for years and we all know it. So, to a degree… these changes have done good but at what cost?  The moral of the story, smartphone technology has had impacts in our law and order operational system worth discussing in public domain.

I wish the side effects of technology were only seen in one subsystem of the American macro system. I wish… Smartphone technology has made the life of educators hell on earth since its mass adoption in 2008, despite the ludicrous call for educators to use more technology in the classroom. Let me ask you the following… How can you educate anybody when they are constantly tweeting or chatting about their girlfriend on Facebook? What do you tell the students when they say they are tired and can’t pay attention in class because of sleep deprivation? Experienced professors know they feel this way  because they were constantly on their smartphones until late the day before and minutes prior to classes start. How about the excuse, “but the millennials just don’t like to read” or God forbidden “Let’s use more technology in the classroom to accommodate cliente.” If professors simply grants a F grade for students with inappropriate behavior, students transfer or they (professors) are repremended by their own system for educating the students. Give me a break.

See? Smartphone adoption has caused impacts far beyond its original intentions also in the field of education. Let me share this with you. It has destroyed the system, along with the idea that we should provide customer service to students. Students need to be treated well, of course. In good customer service, the client is always right. Nobody is always right. Mobile Technology has changed the system of education forever and in my opinion for the very worse.

To make matters worse, how can we change behavior when both students and parents are constantly on the smartphone at home, on vacation, in school, in church, at lunch, in meetings, while driving, you name it. It is an epidemic! It is everywhere! We are now robots! Okay, half-robots. The game has changed tremendously because of technology, especially smartphone technology. Only those who are in self denial ignore this fact, in my opinion.

We have a crisis in this culture. A big one, in fact. We have a “too much innovation” crisis (too much technology) along with systems of operation that are dated when associated with all this technology we live with. So, we have two options… 1) Use less technology by regulating use. 2) Change our systems and subsystems to accommodate technology. I choose choice number 1. Why? Because I know it can be done. How about you?