Conversations First, Social Media Second

Conversations First, Social Media Second

Sherry Turtle once said, “I’m not anti-technology. I’m pro conversation.” I agree with her very often. We are creatures of habit who make sense of the world by living in community. The act of speaking and engaging with a fellow human being, AKA having conversations, is something that cannot be taken for granted even though too many people are ignoring the act. We were born to live in community, experience the human heat and speak with others for survival for thousands of years.

I see hundreds today choosing to start conversations with people in social media networks first with the hope that these interactions will lead to more friendships and therefore conversations. I don’t like this approach.  Let me say this differently. I don’t think it will work.

Why complicate if you can simplify? Start your conversations off-line.

I like meaningful conversations, off-line and on-line. What I’ve come to observe is that having conversations off-line first helps us to engage with our friends and acquaintances off-line better. Go figure! Human beings tend to speak with others when they establish boundaries and rapport first. We may live in a modern world where social media communication is a reality. I beg to differ that on-line communication, by itself, will generate great conversations off-line in mass by many.

Despite the many avenues we have these days to communicate with friends and strangers on facebook, instagram, peach… the secret to having great conversations off-line and on-line, is is to start the conversation off-line. So I say, “Conversations First, Social Media Second.”

If your goal is to build relationships and have meaningful conversations…

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Choose Off-Line Communication

Choose Off-Line Communication

I would rather converse with people off-line rather than online. Why? Because when we make the decision to speak with others face-to-face, we tell relational stories and engage in meaningful conversations together both verbally and non-verbally.

This is John, a student in my social media class. He understands the value of a great chat which I find it awesome. Good for him! I suspect that he will live a long life with this mentality. We all must communicate with others in order to live in community.

Engaging in interpersonal communication is a necessity. It is good for the soul to speak and listen to what others have to say. I most definitely do and you should, as well.

Intrapersonal Communication Trumps Technology

When I was young, I chose to engage in intrapersonal communication activities like playing competitive golf and chess because I’ve always felt better doing “my thing” alone. Like a typical introverted person, I didn’t need the attention of others to gain my daily energy then and I don’t need the attention of anybody today to be energized either. I wish that hundreds perhaps thousands of teenagers in Bradley County could experience what I have experienced early on in my life because working on your own forces people to get things done without having to abide by the approval of others. I bet that many of them would realize that what other people do or don’t do in social media is actually irrelevant to their lives. The same is also true for the opinions people form online based on what people share in social media networks.

This is what I’m saying: If people focus on activities involving them only, they will build a stronger capacity to do things on their own and ignore the mad ideas people sometimes form about them. There are way too many people these days caring too much about what other people say about them in social media. Who cares what people think of you if you are secure in yourself? I feel that your grandkids are growing up without that much needed resilience to face adversity which in itself may be causing them to be depressed sometimes suicidal. Listen carefully: Instead of using technology as a pacifier, teach them how to play chess young. If you don’t know anything about chess, find them a tutor. If you cannot find anybody to teach chess theory to your child, give me a call. We can negotiate a reasonable fee so your grandkids can engage in deep thinking early on in their lives rather than growing weak with moods that are dependent on what others think of them online.

If your grandkid doesn’t like chess, try golf. You won’t regret it. Let me reveal a secret to you that is related to what we are talking about. I used to play chess alone and loved it. Playing chess taught me that I didn’t need the approval of anybody to be happy. I know, I know… this is the pinnacle of individualism but hey, life is interesting. Your grandchild can benefit from doing things by him or herself and not depending on the goodwill of others to be happy in life.

We see so many kids today anxious and depressed about life because their “friends” didn’t like their posts on facebook. Others are partially depressed because not too many people like their posts in general. Some are suicidal because nobody liked their posts. Is this the kind of life that a kid should have? In fact, is this the kind of life that people should have? No.

This is precisely why I advance the idea of engaging in social media communication in moderation. Why should anybody allow others to make them sick for the sake of technology use? Give me a break. Nobody needs that crap. I most definitely don’t allow people’s opinions about me to taint my internal happiness.

I’m stunned by the number of people who admit to having a problem with anxiety and depression in social media networks today yet are doing little to nothing to solve their problem. Public admitting of a problem isn’t a viable solution to any problem. A systematic solution is. Go learn chess or golf! Spend time with yourself and God. You won’t regret it, trust me.

There is hope. Your grandkids don’t need to grow up thinking that what others think of them defines them. What they really need is to have a couple of intrapersonal communication activities that force them to engage in deep introspection. They need to “converse” with their inner selves and realize that social media communication and interaction aren’t to be seen as the all in all in their lives. Everybody has an opinion. Fortunate are the kids who form an opinion by engaging in an activity that forces them to think critically about difficult situations and scenarios. Ladies and gents, chess and golf do just that.

Intrapersonal Communication Trumps Technology

When I was young, I chose to engage in intrapersonal communication activities like playing competitive golf and chess because I’ve always felt better doing “my thing” alone. Like a typical introverted person, I didn’t need the attention of others to gain my daily energy then and I don’t need the attention of anybody today to be energized either. I wish that hundreds perhaps thousands of teenagers in Bradley County could experience what I have experienced early on in my life because working on your own forces people to get things done without having to abide by the approval of others. I bet that many of them would realize that what other people do or don’t do in social media is actually irrelevant to their lives. The same is also true for the opinions people form online based on what people share in social media networks. 

This is what I’m saying: If people focus on activities involving them only, they will build a stronger capacity to do things on their own and ignore the mad ideas people sometimes form about them.  There are way too many people these days caring too much about what other people say about them in social media. Who cares what people think of you if you are secure in yourself? I feel that your grandkids are growing up without that much needed resilience to face adversity which in itself may be causing them to be depressed sometimes suicidal. Listen carefully: Instead of using technology as a pacifier, teach them how to play chess young.  If you don’t know anything about chess, find them a tutor. If you cannot find anybody to teach chess theory to your child, give me a call. We can negotiate a reasonable fee so your grandkids can engage in deep thinking early on in their lives rather than growing weak with moods that are dependent on what others think of them online.   

If your grandkid doesn’t like chess, try golf. You won’t regret it. Let me reveal a secret to you that is related to what we are talking about. I used to play chess alone and loved it. Playing chess taught me that I didn’t need the approval of anybody to be happy. I know, I know… this is the pinnacle of individualism but hey, life is interesting. Your grandchild can benefit from doing things by him or herself and not depending on the goodwill of others to be happy in life.

We see so many kids today anxious and depressed about life because their “friends” didn’t like their posts on facebook. Others are partially depressed because not too many people like their posts in general. Some are suicidal because nobody liked their posts. Is this the kind of life that a kid should have? In fact, is this the kind of life that people should have? No.

This is precisely why I advance the idea of engaging in social media communication in moderation. Why should anybody allow others to make them sick for the sake of technology use? Give me a break. Nobody needs that crap. I most definitely don’t allow people’s opinions about me to taint my internal happiness.

I’m stunned by the number of people who admit to having a problem with anxiety and depression in social media networks today yet are doing little to nothing to solve their problem. Public admitting of a problem isn’t a viable solution to any problem. A systematic solution is. Go learn chess or golf! Spend time with yourself and God. You won’t regret it, trust me.   

There is hope. Your grandkids don’t need to grow up thinking that what others think of them defines them. What they really need is to have a couple of intrapersonal communication activities that force them to engage in deep introspection. They need to “converse” with their inner selves and realize that social media communication and interaction aren’t to be seen as the all in all in their lives. Everybody has an opinion. Fortunate are the kids who form an opinion by engaging in an activity that forces them to think critically about difficult situations and scenarios. Ladies and gents, chess and golf do just that. 

Developing Your Brand In Social Media

Developing and growing your brand in social media is a daunting task. It requires a strategy, a team of people, time, effort, tactics, techniques and a way to measure the overall campaign. In theory, social media enables us to reach a large number of people on-line and when promotional campaigns are well implemented, social media technology can really make a difference in the way others perceive brands in cyberspace and in real life. Let me break something to you, ladies and gents. Doing social media is both a lot of work and it requires an advertising budget which can be quite costly in order to work to its capacity. Delegating your social media tasks to an intern with zero to little budget will backfire, don’t even think about it.

Let’s start with the obvious. I don’t know anybody who can dedicate 30 hours per week to help anyone to grow their social media campaigns for free or for cheap. Composing social media messages is complicated, expensive and stressful. It takes a particular kind of communication professional in order to do the work right. This person must have the ability to write with a tone that represents your organization, have the discipline to post frequently on your accounts and, at the bare minimum, this person is to interact with other users when required.

I get it. — You have a brand and can’t ignore your brand’s social media presence when either developing or growing a business. You need social media labor and capital but have little to no money to spend on both. Listen carefully: Because of all these uncontrolled advancements in social media, people are now between a rock and a hard place because they need to do the work of three people and have funding to have their voices heard in this “free” media platform. Good luck with that!

You won’t find anyone who will manage your social media brand for you for free long-term because it’s too much work. Let me break this to you. You shouldn’t take this approach anyways because the youth doesn’t know as much about social media as you may think they do. I think you will realize that doing advertising using google or Facebook ads isn’t bad or anything but you absolutely need to invest some money in order to reach your audience. Our contemporary social media algorithms assume that you are going to invest some cash in order to have your message out. 

By the way, how much money have you gained by spending hours on end on Facebook? Have you made any profit from your Instagram posts? I have met only a handful of people who profit from this technology we call social media. All these advances in social media have made branding and advertising work very tedious and expensive. I doubt that anyone will join your social media team for free to help you to advance your social media accounts long-term.

I strongly suggest that you work with a communication professional who knows how to craft a social media plan if your goal is to grow a brand on-line. You are going to need to invest in human resources and have a budget for producing quality advertising and copy. Just because social media technology is free doesn’t mean that it is actually a free service. Be careful to delegate your whole social media campaign to a kid. It is unlikely that he will be staying long-term anyways. If I was in your shoes, I would start by reading everything there is about your social media of choice and saving funds for advertising. That’s what I think.

The value of speaking

“You cannot not communicate.” Some of us communicators live by the former statement. Whenever we engage in interpersonal communication endeavors, even when we don’t verbally exchange messages, we are still communicating even if is only through body language. When I give a public speech, my hands and body move in coordinated ways that are both predictable and understandable by most Americans. I am constantly engaging in communication. In fact, we are all communicating constantly.

Thousands of years of human evolution have helped man to be better communicators through necessity. By communicating well, rewards are given and achieved. If a speaker fails to communicate eloquently, he will inevitably be judged and possibly punished for his own speaking pitfalls. It pays off to communicate well, that’s for sure. We often see evidence of the former by critically investigating those individuals who hold a position of leadership. Anyone who is given the privilege to lead others must communicate effectively in order to both establish rapport and earn credibility. Being a great communicator is a requirement if one is to lead people; it comes with the territory if that makes sense.

I am not seeing evidence that the youth has bought the idea that they must be able to communicate interpersonally. What I often see is this obsession with smartphones and the need to text and engage in mediated environments. There is nothing necessarily wrong with communication via text messaging if used in moderation. The problem is that all these “fake” communication maybe causing more problems than good. Are our smartphones destroying a generation of fine speakers? In the end I think they are.

In order to be a great speaker, you need to do what great people do — practice! In order to speak well people need to write well, I would argue. A cable TV giant has made a prediction that America is going to become a nation of adults who have the writing skills of an 8 year old because of technology. I wonder how our children are going to end up speaking in the future because of the smartphone. My prediction is that the levels of communication apprehension among adults will increase exponentially overtime because pupils aren’t practicing enough public speaking in order to reach competency. How good is all this technology if our sons and daughters lose the ability to eloquently give an eulogy? Cleveland has a lot to lose by having its  youth handicapped by technology. When we fail to communicate interpersonally, we lose an opportunity to influence others. If you can’t influence, you will be influenced. Doesn’t that go against your own model of leadership?       

Mastering the art of communication is an ideal that should be achieved by us all. When I was in college, everybody was obligated to take a class in public speaking. I am glad I had to take one. This speech class, along with the two other acting courses I took in the theatre department, have served as a foundation for studying and developing my own style of communication which I literally use now five days a week, multiple times a day.  As a person who make his living speaking to others on a college campus, I cannot afford to lose this public speaking skillset unless my goal would be to teach courses for an on-line educational institution. I have no desire to join such organizations.

I have taught in a number of universities where public speaking wasn’t a requirement for graduation. However, classes in micro computing are often mandatory for students to take. I don’t have anything against students taking courses in technology but failing to recognize that a course in speech might have unintended consequences to a student’s life concerns me. When we train our kids to speak better, without technology distractions, they inevitably become better speakers. Students versed in public speaking have a higher chance of becoming unit heads which can work out to be a financially rewarding career. Be one of them! Put that smartphone away and get a class in public speaking! You won’t regret. 

Keep Communicating! In 2018, Communicating Is Everywhere Even In Person. :)

Change is coming; technology is the fuel

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Glory be to God, always… Credit for this article is given to the most high. 

Let me break some news to you: We are approaching the fourth industrial revolution. Energy, transportation, health and communication will change drastically in the coming years.

Get ready!

The life of tomorrow won’t be anything like living how we live today in 2018. Our living systems are evolving at light speed. Isn’t it true that we now have alternative methods for generating energy, new ways of transporting ourselves, receiving health care and communicating? Open your eyes. The future of humanity is already here.

We are going to witness a boom in smart power, or the technology that is able to self-manage, in our lifetime. Don’t be surprised if you get a smart roof next time you change yours.

Some of the ways we have traditionally moved tangible products in the past is already changing. We are seeing a peak in the adoption of labor robots in companies like Amazon and Walmart, and a plethora of self-driven cars being introduced into the market. This trend won’t go away, by the way.

 Telemedicine will explode within a decade, I bet. The technology is already here. Our systems are robust enough to accommodate this obvious trend. Medicine is expensive! We need an alternative to the high costs of health care. Can technology help us with making care more affordable? Probably, but at what cost to the local economy?

 The way we are going to communicate with each other in the near future will make us laugh about how we used to communicate in the past. Do you remember the movie “Superman” back in the late 1970s? Many of the things we saw in that movie, such as holographic images, will be mundane for most, if not all, of us.

Get ready for the idea of wearing third-party mechanical parts in your body. People are going to need them in order to make a decent living in the future. Some are predicting that we are going to increase our economic growth in the years to come, probably because of wearable technologies. I don’t know about that.

Sure, technology in this instance is good because it may help us to make a better living. Would you be comfortable wearing an RFID chip in your arm? I’m not comfortable with that. How about you?

I am skeptical that human labor alone will be a big part of this boom in productivity. We may see an overall increase in our gross national product because of technology advancements, but in an age where the natural and the artificial are merging, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that companies will look for the superhuman employee or the perfect robot.

The employee of the future is going to perhaps be a merge of digital and biological.

Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the world economic forum, goes further to state, “The fourth revolution won’t change what we are doing. It changes us.” I concur.

We are living in a period of transition where the unknown will meet innovation. Don’t be anxious about what is about to happen tomorrow in regard to technology and employment in our society. Focus on today’s problems and trust that God will take care of you regardless of how much you may think that technology is taking over. Don’t lose focus on what is important. Everything in life is changing, including you. God is in control. You are not God.

 Change is imminent. Citizens of Cleveland, you will eventually be affected by the fourth industrial revolution and everything that is associated with it. Four of our most fundamental systems we have — energy, transportation, health and communication — will evolve.

You will be transformed in one way or another. You may become a hybrid of man and machine, for your own sake.

The machine is expanding its lead. We are becoming an obsolete commodity in this old world of ours. I am not sure if the future will be necessarily promising for us. It will certainly be a technological one.

 We live in a wild world.

——— (Previously punished 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). 

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.”

Speaking Your Mind With Reason Is Critical In Life.

Speaking Your Mind With Reason Is Critical In Life.

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

All that I ask you is: Be reasonable. We already live in a world that is so unreasonable.  We most definitely need to be vocal about the former because acting without reason is dangerous and always backfire. In fact, being unreasonable is both dangerous and oppressive as it can silence the voices of people who might otherwise change the world for the better. Our goal is to make things better not worse in this world. It is to carry and advance honorable agendas in a timely fashion. Be patient, be kind, be loving and strive to be great in the eyes of others. Speak your mind with reason and defend what is right and honorable once in a while. Remember: Being impartial or overly judgmental of others, especially if your life depends on the same people you criticize, isn’t wise. One thing is for sure — Your goals are not that different than mine. it is to move forwards in life by being a reasonable person. Is it that complicated? I don’t think so.

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

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

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

The Amite Street Dilemma! Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

The Amite Street Dilemma! Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

Jackson.pngIn your life, you are going to eventually hit a bifurcation point in your professional career which in turn will force you to make what we call, “A life decision.” It will go a little bit like this — You can’t go right, left deviates from the plan, you may need to hold in order to go forward… Long story short: Many times, the best thing to do is to just wait and reflect. Just remember that the prize awaits you at the end of the tunnel so embrace the unknown adventure and celebrate the journey that the good God has given to you.

RED LIGHT! Two minutes and twenty five seconds of waiting and then going… Calm down and be patient. Life is about giving time to time and seeing what the Lord wants you to do next. Don’t be emotional and make an thoughtless decision. We are all different. Lets celebrate that! I am a college professor, you might be an accountant or perhaps a physician. Some of you might work in real estate and I know that many of you work with your hands on a daily basis. Regardless of how you make a living, never lose track of what is the most important of all — loving God and identifying the “Amite Street” moments you will eventually have in your life’s journey.

Decisions, decisions, decisions… this is what life is really all about! We make them everyday for better or for worse. Perfecting our decisions is a skill set that we all need to master and reflect constantly. Don’t forget: Living is decision making. My day is all about making decisions. I am sure that your day isn’t that different. Our days are both about making the very best decisions we need to make under the circumstances we are in. How many life changing decisions have to made today? I am sure that you have made as many tough decisions as I have had to make. Keep making them! Learn to see how close you are to “Amite Street.”

The beauty of life depends on it.

God Takes Care Of His People.

God Takes Care Of His People.

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If God is with you, who can be against you? Nobody can, I say. Don’t worry brother or sister, the good God is in control and won’t leave you alone in the darkness. Everything that happens in this life happens for a reason and there is nothing that you and me can do about it. The love that God has for us is not only contagious but literally impossible to describe. We all need the grace of God as we don’t deserve the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. Who is perfect among you? Nobody is, I scream! Life is about development, mercy and having a smile on your face. The Lord takes care of His people, that’s for sure. He puts people in your path to teach you lessons and to develop yourself for Godly service. Are you doing what God has asked you to do?

Don’t be jealous of others because God’s people complement them. Be patient because your time of glory will come. Life isn’t about getting attention all the time. Sometimes, God takes care of His people by making them live a low profile life. Nobody is perfect and sometimes, things are not what they seem. Be careful to not hold hate or discord. Most people are self-centered, egoistic and quick to temper.  Be different! Be a true Christian and chose love over hate. It is amazing what God can do in your life when you make Christ your priority not people. It is in fact shocking what comes your way when you don’t even expect or plan for it.  God will open your eyes to the beauty of this world if you ask Him to. God takes care of His people — In the morning, in the afternoon, in November or during the Summer months. Learn to trust God, live a life of no regrets, and make an effort to see the world with positive eyes. In the end, you will quickly realize that in this world, the Lord is in control not you or me.

There are a lot of ways in which God takes care of His people. In this article, I will share with you three ways God does take care of me and you.

  1. He puts extraordinary people in our paths. A caring God takes care of His people many times by showing to His children that only God is supreme. Nobody is always victorious and along your life journey… you will eventually find other people who have more talent than you. Don’t take the former to heart but as an opportunity to better learn about yourself and be humble. Only God is perfect. I am not perfect. You are not perfect either. God cares about you and me. You are to focus on Him not me and you.
  2. He humbles us by making us different. Simplicity is the name of the game, folks. As a young boy, I was trained in a polymath school where we all had to learn art, science, sports (golf and chess), and linguistics. We were trained to excel in these four areas at the highest level. I chose music and theatre, chemistry, golf/chess, and latin. Others chose dance and drawing, mathematics, soccer and greek. I know latin, you know greek; I make the first move and dominate the chess center board… you close the argument using pure Aristotelian thought.  We both complement what we do by doing what we do best. I am not better than you. You are not better than me. We, however, are better than most. I say, “synergy.” A united people can never be divided.
  3. He performs miracles when you least expect. If you are in hell, don’t stop… keep moving. There must be a very good reason for it. God takes care of His people. The miracles that the good God performs many times can’t be described or understood. Life is a miracle. This former fact, in itself, is worth celebrating the mercy and love of God. What are the odds one can get a hole in one in golf? 1 in 12500. How likely is it? Very unlikely. Do you know how tough it is to live and learn in another country whose language isn’t your own? The mannerisms, culture, values, etc… It isn’t that simple but God opens peoples’ eyes to see reality through love and care. God takes care of His people. Look, sooner or later you will experience a miracle. Ok, I say you have a 1 in 12 chance to see a miracle being performed in your life. Why 12? I don’t know let me see — Jesus had twelve disciples; There are 12 inches in a foot; There are 12 days of Christmas; In English, twelve is the largest number that has just one syllable… Thank you the#FACTsite.com. You were my miracle today. Tomorrow, I might be yours.

If God is with you, who can be against you? Nobody can, I say. God takes care of His people. It is amazing what God can do in your life when you make Christ your priority not people. God takes care of His people by putting extraordinary people in your path. He also humbles us to make us different for our own sake. He performs miracles when you least expect it. Keep your eyes wide open. God takes care of His people, all the time.

Family Should Always Come First, After God.

Family Should Always Come First, After God.

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We have the duty to live our lives for God and our families. God, above all, is to be glorified and always be made a priority. The smile of a child is definitely something we need to take into account when deciding where you need to live. Is your daughter happy living in the state of Texas? Is your son excited and making friends near the city of Chicago, Illinois? These are important questions that we all need to think about and consider when making a decision where to live long term.

Don’t rush, think and analyze. Be critical and examine all the available options. What do you have to lose by being picky? Nothing, I would say. Family should always come first after God. What is God telling you? Listen, test, and be a leader that fears the lessons and teachings of God. When we were kids, we thought like kids. Now that we are grown men and women, we need to think accordingly. Life is always about others not yourself or me. Life is about loving God and doing what is best for our family, I say.

There are too many ways we can love God and do what we can for our children. In this article, I will share with you three ways in which we can love God and advance the wishes of our kids. Let’s maybe get started.

  1. Make God a priority in your life.  Go to church, choose to lead a bible study, be a man or women of character. If you can help the poor financially, do so. By giving we also receive. By praying we definitely learn to love. In this life, God takes precedence. We need to think about life in terms of what God wants us to do, not according to our wishes. Make God your main reason to live and celebrate. In the end, you won’t regret it.
  2. Listen To Your Family. If you are a father or a mother who loves your children, you can attest that listening is perhaps the very best way of making your family second to God.  What are they telling you? You must learn how to listen to them by asking them the tough questions. Nobody is perfect, including your family. Only God is perfect and we need to accept that. This is why God comes first and we all come second. Learn to critically listen to what your heart is telling you.
  3. Pray hard and often. You heard that right. Never forget that God communicates with us through prayer. Having a regiment of prayer is an absolute necessity in this world as it helps us to better connect with God. Prayer also helps with family bonding. Pray hard and often. Family members, listen carefully: It is only through prayer that God will show his glory to you and your family. Be with God and pray. This is your duty.

We have the duty to live our lives for God and our families. God, above all, is to be glorified and always be made a priority. Life is always about others not yourself or me. Life is about loving God and doing what is best for our family, I say. Here is what I recommend. Make God a priority in your life. Listen To Your Family. Pray hard and often.Go to church, choose to lead a bible study, be a man or women of character.  God comes first and we all come second. Never forget: Be with God and pray. This is your duty.

Focus On Things That Really Matter To You.

Focus On Things That Really Matter To You.

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Life is full of distractions and can be annoying sometimes but in the end, you need to really focus on things that really matter to you. I live my life thinking, chatting, sometimes chatting too much, interacting, accomplishing and sharing. What matters to me probably won’t matter to you as much and that’s perfectly fine. You have to live investigating, testing and observing… living and learning, standing for what you believe and being reasonable so that you live a long and satisfying life. I personally have little patience for stupidity and love to make people smile by giving them unexpected gifts and surprises. We all have our own desires and needs and that is absolutely fine and expected.

Live your life in the moment. Give a hand to someone, forgive often, listen more and be real. There is no need to pretend or act in disagreement to what you believe in. Life is too short to not live in the moment. We all need to find out what we love the most and stick to it. There is no shame in admitting that the future will be better than the past or that the present is to be celebrated forever.  I focus on the needs of my family and what I perceive God to ask me to live for. In my 43 years, I’ve learned not to give up very easily but history has taught me through experience that reconsidering sometimes is the best thing one can do to experience exactly what God wants us to do. At this point in my life, I don’t need to prove the obvious to anyone anymore.

People are unreasonable, selfish, dramatic, emotional, and often times so ridiculous that all that we can do sometimes is to just move on and investigate what exactly the good God wants us to do in the long run. Who cares if today you work and live in Nebraska in the auto industry as a mechanic. Tomorrow, you might as well be living in Bangladesh as an activist looking for another adventure in the far east. Have you ever asked God what He thinks you should do? It starts with understanding which talent the Lord has given you. Do you know the answer to this very important question?

My wife says that I have the gift of exhortation. Ironically, my parents have said the same thing, indirectly. Today, I know that I have this gift from God… The gift of being a cheerleader and telling others that they can do it! No wonder why I became a college professor! I am often the shoulder for others in need. When folks are sick, I visit them. When situations are difficult, I write prayers on a piece of paper and give them to people in crises. When they cry, I cry. But this is just me. The former might be why my career in higher education has been so heavily influenced by communicating during office hours and student advising. This is what excites me. This is what I live for. I focus on what excites me and you should do the same, as well.

A sense of purpose is what you need. Don’t forget to keep trying and giving yourself a chance to win the big prize. Many times, the big prize isn’t money or anything related to finances but a great attitude towards life. I don’t live life regretting my actions or seeking attention from anyone as I think that these two former life decisions destroy who you really are. You need to be yourself and once in a while look in the mirror. Who are you exactly?  Many have asked me to serve as a Department Chair in my career. I didn’t ask for it. We all have our own beliefs and value system. I certainly have mine and won’t give them up. You have yours and we all have to respect that.

Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. Yesterday? Who cares. I will keep moving forward and thanking all the people who believe in my life mission of goodwill and happiness and pray for those who persecute me. I have no time for pride and unreasonable actions. They can be as far away from me as possible. In fact, I hope they are. This world is too complex for us to live life complicating the obvious. I am here to be me. You should be there to make your own mark with reason. My advice to you?  Focus on things that really matter to you and live your life to the best capacity you can.

Understand First — Judge Second.

Understand First — Judge Second.

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Blind judgements are overrated. Understanding is a necessity. A world without reason and goodwill will only result in chaos and misunderstandings. You don’t want to live life this way. The principle behind treating others well is quite simple. We need to understand people first and judge them second. Isn’t that simple? We can agree to disagree. In which ways? In this life, some say tomayto — others, they say tomahto. Do you say Eether or eyether. I say neether do you say nyther? The reality of the matter is that we are very different from each other often and that’s okay. The former is precisely what makes living on this earth so interesting and unpredictable. Despite our differences, we have many similarities.

Forcing beliefs on others is a dangerous practice because we all have our own unique set of experiences. The moment you try to force others to believe what you want them to believe, an eminent defeat is heading your way. Ideas and words can be used to convince people about a topic or a thing. Forcing anyone to see the world the way you do without taking the time to better understanding their circumstances will backfire. Be careful with assuming things about others without really knowing what they know or their circumstances. Preconceived judgements just makes you less noble and more difficult to get along with in the long run. You need to look at life for what life is. Trying to live a life of fantasy or a make believe one will only hurt you in the long run. Be very careful when misjudging anyone who can really help you to better understand yourself.

Listen carefully: Nobody is perfect in this life, not even you or me. Only God is perfect. Don’t forget this: God is paying attention.  Are you giving yourself a chance to be helped by God by being reasonable with others? I am. I hope you are, as well. You can’t always get what you want. That is just a fact. Complaining and blaming others for your misfortunes and lack of luck will not change the fact that we need to work with others in order to operate with distinction. We need to keep trying and believing and avoid judging too quickly. Act that way, if you please.

Be extremely careful to not lose the good people around you because of pride. If someone is helping you out, you have to be careful not to mock them or make them angry — or make left hand judgements directly or indirectly. What am I trying to say to you is that you can’t keep having fun forever without control, judge and think that life will run like a disorganized mess forever. Eventually the fun will stop and reality will be made transparent. Remember: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Never forget that.

Rather than passing judgements, make an effort to understand. Don’t be mean, ever. Be a happy camper and celebrate. Understand first, judge last… don’t judge if you can. Honesty is the best policy. There is no reason to lie. You can gain the world with a happy smile. As the proverb says, “There is no time like the present.” Do it now! Don’t wait until tomorrow to do good and to be understanding. Strive to be a better person now. Learn how to value others as much as you value yourself. In the end, we are all in this boat together trying to make solid societal sometimes educational contributions and glorifying God. We might look different but in our core, we are more similar than dissimilar.  We are all part of one race — the human race.

Why judge? Be sure to understand first. This is my motto.

Don’t Be Upset: Learn To Deal With Ambiguity.

Don’t Be Upset: Learn To Deal With Ambiguity.

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Don’t be upset. Learn how to deal with ambiguity and celebrate the fact that you have a good life after all. Be positive! In this world, you will find in your path to success both uplifting and nagging individuals in which you are gonna have to learn from and live with. It is part of the life that God has planned for you. Somedays, people will make your life heaven; Other days, they will make your life a living hell. It is a rollercoaster. Don’t forget this, though. Stress, celebrations, non-sense frustrations and victories is all good and part of the game. Listen carefully: Most people are self-centered and could care less about your thoughts or feelings. You have to learn how to deal with them and move on. Your days will be many if you choose to live a nonchalant and happy life journey.

Let me tell you something this Sunday before I go to church. It is literally impossible to control people’s mindsets and values or the decisions they want to make in all levels of society. Do your work with distinction and dream big. Be the very best you can be regardless of what might come after you. Believe God and pray often. Dream big then dream bigger. What do you have to lose in order to think big anyways, right? Nothing. Live your life to the maximum without regrets. Smile often, play with your kid, enjoy your wife and have daily chats with your close friends. God is in control.

Don’t let others poison your thoughts by making you believe that this life sucks or that this world is mostly composed of misery and negativity. Remember: God is in control and things happen for a reason. In the book Experiencing God, Blackaby talks about the importance of living a life that God wants you to live and that God should be the center of your life not you. What a great advice that we all should follow verbatim. Life isn’t about you or me. Life is about glorifying God.

So far in my blog, you have read a large number of articles dealing with a wide variety of topics ranging from technology to workforce tips, discussions and reflections. Of course that my posts aren’t necessarily directed at anyone specifically but as a general rule of what I’ve seen in my life both in the places I’ve worked for and in society. This, folks, is what makes me happy. Self reflection and daily chats about workforce topics, along with critical discussions about technology is what I like. What do you like? Don’t be closed minded. Instead, be open minded. Don’t Be Upset: Learn to deal with ambiguity. Life may not be what you think it is.

Smile. Write a book maybe two. You only live life once anyways. Do what you like.

 A Way To Lead Good to Great Teams. The Challenge of Contemporary Higher Ed.

 A Way To Lead Good to Great Teams. The Challenge of Contemporary Higher Ed.

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Leadership isn’t position — it is action as Maxwell has said repeatedly. Leadership isn’t about you, your wishes or your legacy. Leadership is de facto about others and developing them to be better in what they do, unconditionally. A true leader doesn’t use their team as a mechanism to be “known” or “look good” to others. Leadership is about others and what we as leaders can do to make them look better. Of course that along the way… many will end up not being appreciative to the extra efforts that we put into it but this comes with the territory and is part of life. Don’t take it personally, I advise you. In the end, life (and leadership efforts for that matter) is about glorifying God first, as Mother Theresa once said.

If we lived in a perfect world where everybody’s skills and contributions were ranked in the 1%, folks were motivated, reasonable, committed, loyal…  leadership would then be easy and only a small variable in the mix of what makes good organizations become great. The problem, my friends, is that we live in an imperfect world where most people are not motivated to do their best, are many times unreasonable with what they say and do, are not committed to the organization and tend to backstab others once in a while instead of choosing to be loyal and follow when helped. The reality is that the majority of the people we hire doesn’t belong in the 1%. Let’s keep in mind that the bell curve does exist for a reason. You will never have a perfect team despite of how hard you try. We need to be realistic — Let’s not forget that 68% of the population belongs to the mean and that the 1% is in fact an outlier. Your goal as a leader is to find good hires and turn them into great ones.

I am an Interim Department Chair of a research intensive university in Mississippi where I work with good people who seem legitimately invested and interested in the educational development of our students. The former is a blessing that produces fruits every semester. If we were a small liberal arts teaching university, I would consider our team to be in perfect alignment with the mission and goals of the university, a good to great team. However, we work in an institution that is being quickly transformed into the heaviest category of research production and grantsmanship. These types of institutions tend to make teaching secondary and only grant tenure to a few professors who are prolific and bring funding to the department and the university and have a record of helping students to complete doctoral dissertations. Only a small number of tenure-track faculty members actually survive the cut.

Now, this is a dilemma — What would you do if your faculty doesn’t have the academic credentials to fulfill the contract of a true research university yet you really like them? It is quite atypical and certainly very challenging for any department chair to lead a department with a division 1 status planning to operate under the protocols and guidelines of an R1 university with only 25 percent of faculty trained to conduct empirical research studies. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this is a very difficult position for a department chair (and its faculty) to be in. An intervention must be planned immediately and checked often. The hope, of course, is that you don’t have to deal with accreditation along the way because if you do, life will then be a living hell for you.

This is the reality of our times. Higher educational institutions’ Carnegie classifications are changing rapidly. The operational nature of public institutions of higher learning has changed to a more lean model of “getting your own funding,” replacing tenure-track with temporary faculty, and in only committing to a very small number of professors being funded indefinitely. If you don’t have what it takes to be a college professor, e.g., a PhD, outstanding writing skills, and the ability to construct and complete empirical research studies, life will be very tough for you until you retire, pending on you surviving the transition.

I predict that folks who find themselves in such positions will have a very short tenure in higher education. The department Chair must inform his/her team of this reality and can only do so much. Remember: We live in 2017 where the support for colleges and universities are decreasing by the year. Tuition is increasing yearly to offset state funding deficits. Don’t believe me? Go and check the percentage of state appropriation that your state gives your public colleges and universities. In fact let me make your life easier. The American Council on Eduction (ACE) does cover this topic in great detail. Check it out –> State Appropriations overtime. Please refer to the graph below.

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Leadership is tough. Resources are limited and decreasing. Unemployment is sky rocketing. There are no widespread unions to protect you and me. So, how do you lead an academic unit with very little funding to recruit the very best faculty members on the market yet being expected to advance the mission of the university with distinction?  Stay tuned, we are going to talk about this in a bit. Let me say something first. Are you ready? We live in a world of formal protocol. we need to follow the protocol more than ever. This is the reality, are you ready? Listen carefully and take notes : Old friends won’t be able to save you from losing your job because we are heading towards more accountability and frequent school audits especially in higher education.  The powers to be are paying very close attention to both credentials and competence.

Those used to operate in what we call “the buddy-buddy system” will struggle tremendously in this new system and will be forced into retirement by higher ups. I am a retired APSCF union member and learned by training and mentoring how to navigate and operate under a clearly defined set of higher education protocols. I had no option to even consider running anything via the “buddy-buddy system” because APSCUF makes all its standard operating procedures of its universities transparent to both administration and faculty. There is nothing to hide. There is no room for esoteric practices.  You simply learn the protocol and put the protocol into practice.

Back to the discussion of leading an academic unit with little funding to hire the best people for the job… I am still struggling to find the best answer to this question. What I do know, however, is that being a department head in some college departments these days is like having a small subway franchise operating with staff who isn’t trained in making all available subs for sale on the menu. I am not saying that the employees working in that subway aren’t capable of learning how to make subs, of course. With good training and time, many will turn out to be great subway artists but at what price to the manager?

What would you do if you lead a team of talented professionals yet may lack the basic credentials to fulfill their contracts? Some might say, “you need a new team.” Others would say, “You are the leader, do what is right.” I reply… Ok, I will do what is right. We need practical faculty to teach our practical courses! We need to keep them all. To me, this is right. However, the former doesn’t always solve all the problems. In my world, good teaching rarely pays the bills, unfortunately. By the way — Even when we increase tuition dollars, e.g., increase enrollment for both undergraduate and graduate students, tuition dollars rarely cover the cuts in yearly state appropriation. This is why, folks, hiring talented PhD’s is an absolute necessity these days if you want to transform your academic unit from good to great. The reality is that if you can’t generate your own funding, your unit will cease to exist or will be merged into another operation as the last resort to get “sh&T” together.

I do agree that as a leader of an academic unit, I must do what is right under the realities and circunstances of my authority under the recommendations and vision set by the Dean. Of course that doing what is right often means more work on the part of a leader. I am okay with that. So the question then is, “Are you ready to sacrifice your time and efforts for the benefit of your team?” This one I can answer more easily. YES! If you are not sacrificing your efforts for the benefit of your team, resign as the leader of your unit right now. Clearly, you are in peter principle. Just remember that you are not God. You can only do what is humanly possible to accomplish what needs to be done.

There are too many ways a leader can sacrifice his/her time for the benefits of others so you make them look good and give them an incentive to be extraordinary. In this article, I will share with you three approaches I take to transforming good teams into great ones.

  1. I write proposals and put their name on it. If the team wins, everybody wins including the leader. Leaders must help the team and celebrate their successes even if you have to do most of the work. This blog’s photograph was taken at the Mississippi Communications Association, a regional conference in Mass Communications that took place in Pearl, Mississippi… about 20 minutes away from our office in Jackson. Because I care and want to see my colleagues succeeding and having a job next year, I made a self sacrifice and wrote an entire panel proposal for an academic conference using data from my own research studies and included them as panel participants to talk about their specialties pragmatically. My goal was to ensure that the team had the opportunity to attend and present in an academic conference and have a taste of what is required of them to do next year as faculty members of a research university. Sometimes, leaders just have to write proposals and put their teammates’ names on it, pending on them accepting the invitation and with the understanding that next year, they themselves will do what they can do produce their own scholarship. Be inspiring and do what you can to help others.
  2. Lead by committee. We don’t live in Rome anymore. Avoid taking what I call the “Caesar” approach which can be easily spotted —  A leader making all the decisions and stating, “This is the wish of the senate and the people of Rome” when no decisions were vetted by parliament and the people had no say in the decision making process. Lead by committee instead. Team members will appreciate that and if they are reasonable, will be loyal to you. If the team isn’t capable or is unwilling to do the work then an intervention must take place even if it requires replacing people on the team. Leadership isn’t about self. Leadership is about making others great. A great team can only be great if it is already good. Give your team the benefit of the doubt and empower them to come up with solutions. If they prove to be incompetent, then an intervention is the answer. The only exception to this rule is when the department is in a state of crisis and little knowledge exists without the unit. Then, perhaps, having a more authoritative approach is the only answer.
  3. Avoid closed door conversations and despise esoteric meetings. The moment that knowledge in your unit becomes esoteric, it is only a question of time for the unit to be dismantled. It is difficult to empower others and motivate them to do great work by having selective communication. The former, in fact, can turn great working units into unproductive, dividi et impera like toxic environments. Great teams will rarely if ever come out of such places. Typically, constant closed door policies and esoteric meetings are evidence of toxicity in workplaces. There is a wide body of research to substantiate this claim. Business Insider has published a concise article in 2015 on the topic.  Bustle.com has also written on toxicity as well as Forbes.com. Having an open door policy and less esoteric meetings should be the norm not the exception. Never, under any circumstances, use esoteric meetings to plan sabotage against others directly or indirectly. The former always backfires. Be transparent and caring and do what you can to help. Transforming good units into great ones requires both talent and ethical leadership. Be careful to not lose your very best employees by being sneaky. It is going to cost you your reputation and much more. Don’t do it.

Leadership isn’t position — It is action as Maxwell has said repeatedly. Leadership isn’t about you, your wishes or your legacy. Leadership is de facto about others and developing them to be better unconditionally. Please refer to the lessons of Maxwell and his level 5 leadership teachings. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you might want to consider reading his literature on the topic, immediately. If it is too much for you to handle, consider employment alternatives or retirement.

Every leader faces challenges when accepting a position of leadership. If you are in public higher education, your challenges will be many. Transforming a good team into a great one might mean seeing great people leave, for the long term health of your unit. You are going to have to make some pretty difficult decisions in order to do what is best for your unit, that’s for sure. If you want to lead, sometimes you’re gonna have to write proposals and share your victories with your team, lead by committee and avoid having conversations with a few and having esoteric meetings for self gain and aggrandizement. The former is known for destroying teams and resulting in very high levels of turnover.

Losing talent can be deadly for any organization that wants to grow and be great. If you don’t have continuity in vision, there is no leadership. Leader! It is your job to make the team move from good to great. Never forget that. If your goal is to make your unit to move forward. You need to do what is right for the benefit of the organization.  Do your part and be vigilant. You have no choice.

 

American Culture Does Exist.

American Culture Does Exist.

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Yesterday, I heard a blogger say, “There is no such thing as American culture.”  Really dude? In which world are you living? Of course that there is an “American Culture” and you know exactly what it is composed of. I can’t resit — Now, I have to write a blog post about “American Culture” because clearly… there are too many folks out there in a state of denial about their own cultural values and beliefs. Let me help you. Are you ready to learn the obvious and celebrate your culture? The American Culture? Here we go.

Americans are de facto a people of quite unique characteristics who for the most part have come from somewhere. It isn’t uncommon to meet USA citizens who have family roots in Germany, Spain, Ghana, Japan, India… You name it. It is common, however, for many to believe that because the composition of the country is ethnically diverse, culture is then also diverse. No it isn’t. In this article I will share with you evidence to support this former position and perhaps once and for all — prove that America has a clearly defined American culture. So Let’s get started.

  1. Americans are individualistic. I don’t care which color you are, which state you were born in, if you are a member of the low or high class, you name it… American citizens are individualistic. There are exceptions to the rule I am sure. I have to admit that after living in this country for 18 years, I haven’t seen too much display of collectivism around here. The American people rarely if ever value the value of a group over the value of an individual. How do I know this? Look at how depressing federal income tax day is “celebrated” in this country. If we were a collectivist country, we would celebrate paying 30% of what we owe to others in the name of collectivism.  Do we celebrate giving away our returns for the benefit of others and smile?  You answer this one for me.
  2. Americans are very independent. Most Americans I know of don’t rely on help from others to get stuff done. People just do it even at an older age. It is no accident that the country has created basketball, baseball, American Football, and many other games. Perhaps, there is an American culture where individuals look at the act of being independent positively. I have seen 80+ year old employees working full-time at Wal-Mart which to me is an incredible accomplishment. There is no question in my mind that Americans are much more independent than most countries across the globe.
  3. Like to be different from each other. Let me ask you this. Would you like to buy a nice colorful sweater and witness another person using this same sweater in a meeting that you will need to attend? I don’t know about you but I would rather have my clothes be specially done for me. I like being different and it seems obvious to me that you like it, as well. We are different. You are small — I am big. You are short — I am tall. I am a meat person; you are a fish person. I play backgammon in the morning; You play solitaire at night. I do A — You do G. It is cultural.

Let’s not forget that asking “How are you?” is simply a greeting and is not a question about your health. Isn’t it true that when the service is good in a restaurant, tipping is expected sometimes to be 15–20% of the bill? Usually, when buddies meet at a public restaurant they each pay their part of the bill or split the bill in half. Isn’t the former notoriously American? Do you go to somebody else’s house uninvited? Do you give money to a deceased family member in a funeral? No, right?

Yesterday, I heard a blogger say, “There is no such thing as American culture.” Really dude? In which world are you living? Of course that there is an “American Culture.” Americans are individualistic, very independent, and like to be different from each other. Some like to play bridge where others play a great game of chess. I have never seen two people dress the same way with the same clothes since I arrived in this country in 1998. If Americans don’t have a culture, I am the queen of England.

Initiative Means Commitment, Got It?

Initiative Means Commitment, Got It?

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I am not aware of anyone who has a strong drive for developing new initiatives and isn’t committed to the values and overall well being of an organization. Being able to produce and have the stamina to implement a well planned idea is at the core of what we consider an effective emotionally intelligent leader to be. New initiatives bring with themselves the need to achieve, maybe drive and a lot of optimism. It is a required mindset that anyone who is interested in leadership development should pay close attention to.

In order to start any well thought initiative, people are going to need a number of well known EQ skills including influence, content management, political awareness, optimism and adaptability. Self confidence alone won’t do the trick for you, I guarantee it. When crafting a strategy for implementing a new initiative, it is important to be able to adapt in your quest for making your initiative a success but adaptability alone won’t generate the outcome you need to design, develop, implement, evaluate any campaign with distinction. Another caveat — IQ alone won’t help it either. You will need to have people skills, team building capabilities, collaborations and cooperation.

In this article I won’t cover everything there is about planning and running effective new initiatives. There is too much to write in one blog post. I will, however, elaborate on three components of this challenging puzzle that we call, “Initiative.”

  1. Influence. You need to be influential. You need to have the capacity to make others do what you want them to do, without having to pay them a single dollar for it. If you are a master of persuasion you are by definition a man or woman of influence. The good news is that if you lack the ability to influence others, you can definitely learn it by developing emotional intelligence skills. EQ is a skill set that you can legitimately learn and develop. Do yourself a favor — This upcoming week, if you don’t know if you can influence others positively, read a book on persuasion and give yourself a chance to influence others with distinction and discretion by applying the basic tenents of emotional intelligence.
  2. Optimism. Look, if you don’t believe in your organization or yourself, why are you doing the work you are doing today? I know, I know… It is because of the money, right? Is it maybe because of the benefits? Regardless of the reason, make sure that optimism is a priority in your career. You are going to need the former in order to make initiatives to workout for you and your team. Optimism isn’t synonymous with realism even thought realism can be a part of optimism. There will be times when the best thing to do is for you to cut your losses and move one to the next challenge.  Hopefully, there will be only a few of those in your career. Be optimistic and believe that you can do it. You might even convince yourself of who you truly are — an optimist!
  3. Political awareness. Be ready to be a half-politician… Smile and take note about who you know or don’t know. It is well worth 2-3 minutes of your time.  In order to have a great impact on your community, you will need to befriend key political figures in your region. Is it a difficult task to accomplish? I guess that it depends on how many influential people you know and your ability to carry on a great conversation in the right environment. Everyone likes to chat especially about themselves. Be a good listener and seek to better understand the needs and wants of others. This former tip can help you to receive access to attend important political functions.  You must have the capacity to gain public awareness if you are serious about implementing initiatives in any organization.

I am not aware of anyone who has a strong drive for producing new initiatives and isn’t committed to the values and overall well being of his or her organization. Remember:  In order to start any well thought out initiative, you are going to need a number of well known EQ skills, including influence, optimism and political awareness. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start developing the required skill sets you need to develop great initiatives.  Life is too short for giving up strategic thinking and analysis. Do me a favor: Start on them right now! I bet you will thank me later.

The Underdog Already Has Too Many Sympathizers.

The Underdog Already Has Too Many Sympathizers.

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In this world, we have read, cheered and celebrated the misfortunes of the favorites and elevated the dreams and aspirations of the underdog with unbelievable odds yet showing little mercy for those who dominate or are extremely gifted. It is perhaps the way that the weak and the common man cope with defeat and gets back at those with talent. I’ve seen this phenomenon occur repeatedly in two countries my whole life. I’ve seen little to not even a shadow of remorse for cheering against the top guy. In the bible alone, we have read and came know and appreciate a number of favorite underdog stories that illustrates the former including the story of David and Goliath, Gideon versus the Midianites, Moses against Pharaoh, and Daniel and Babylon. Have you ever heard anyone celebrating the strength of Goliath against David? I haven’t ever heard anyone cheering for the Midianites over Gideon, either… Have you?

I am not sure if always cheering for the underdog is necessarily ethical, fair, or for a lack of a better word… right. Don’t you have pity for those who are talented or have an alternative reality to what you might see if what they have to offer is of value, ethical or right? I do you should have also. Why am I saying this? Because in my life, I have had in a number of occasions been in the shoes of the favorite and man I tell you… It sucks to have everyone on the face of earth going after you because you are using your God’s gift, being successful, and they aren’t. In the 80’s, I cheered for Ivan Lendl in tennis against his arch enemy, Boris Becker. Why? Because Ivan Lendl was ranked number one in the world. Back then, I was ranked number one in my state ranking in golf in my state. You know? I sympathized with Lendl in tennis where everyone else I knew hated him because he was too good. I have always cheered for Mike Tyson not his opponents because I appreciated the myth of Mike Tyson and the history he was making. I also cheered for Larry Bird and became a fan of the Boston Celtics because they used to win big. Celebrating talent is as important as cheering for the underdog. At least, it is in my book.

There are a number of ways in which you can cheer against the underdog and still justify your position with honor and respect. In this article, I will share with you three ways that you can do that with dignity.

  1. Use the favorite’s talents to teach your kids life lessons. I am not aware of too many talented athletes, engineers, educators or therapists who  win games and make fun of others directly. The reason why is because if they choose to be a jackass, sooner or later their talent will dry up and they themselves will pay a huge price for it. In golf, I have always cheered for Arnold Palmer. Why? Because he was very talented and won several major golf championships. Today, I use a number of his well known talents, e.g., being honorable to his family, having a strict regiment of professional practice which leads to perfection, and never giving up to teach students to succeed. I emphasize to many of my students and coworkers that working in your talent is paramount for success. I don’t use underdog stories to teach them lessons. I would rather cite talent.
  2. When a well executed strategy is put in place, winning becomes a consequence. Contrary to what many believe, those who are successful and are leaders in their crafts aren’t lazy and strategize like anyone else, and want to win.  Why is the former a bad thing? Why is seeing Pete Sampras win 14 majors in tennis a bad thing? I see no need to cheer for anybody simply because they are the underdog.  In my opinion, success is rarely (maybe never) an accident. Quite frankly, I think that success is a consequence of a series of very well executed strategies combined with talent. Why should we condemn that in the name of the underdog? We should celebrate victory regardless of whether a person is an underdog or not because in this life, there is always a need to explain to others the importance of starting and ending tasks with success and dreaming.  Sure, if the underdog does his work and wins the cup, great! But wishing for anybody to lose simply because they are great will never fly with me.
  3. In reality, the odds are against both favorites and underdogs, anyways.  I am not aware of anyone who has always won every game or got all the available job promotions.  In fact, the odds of success are quite slim if we put into the equation the the options that we are given in this life. The great American general George Patton was fired, despite his many victories in world war II. The iconic Charles Schwab was so successful for a while in finance but died in bankruptcy. Even Jack Welch, the great GE CEO experienced defeat and got fired early on in his career. Where is Ian Baker Finch? I know, I know… You may not even know who he is which in itself proves my point that in this life, nobody, absolutely no one can win every time and forever. In the end, lads… it is like Vegas. The house always win. Sooner or later, Pete Sampras is faced with a Rafael Nadal, Magic Johnson meets Lebron James, and that good President you had leading your company or school is replaced by the great new incoming President. Today, Tom Brady became the most successful quarterback in the history of the NFL. Tomorrow, I bet somebody will take his crown and he will become more human to everyone. It is just like how life evolves and progresses, I guess.

In this world, we have read, cheered and celebrated the misfortunes of the favorites and elevated the dreams and aspirations of the underdog with unbelievable odds yet showing little mercy for those who dominate or are extremely gifted. I’ve seen this phenomenon occur repeatedly in two countries my whole life. What if I tell you that perhaps, we shouldn’t always be against the favorite or leading authority in a field or sport? There is value in celebrating talent, I must say.  There are a number of ways in which you can cheer against the underdog and still justify your position with honor and respect.  You can use the favorite’s talents to teach your kids life lessons, you should be able to share with others the importance of implementing a well executed strategy, and that in the end, nobody wins all the time and forever. Do yourself a favor — celebrate success regardless of if the person winning is the underdog or not.

Sometimes Less Is More.

Sometimes Less Is More.

James Meredith

It is easier to start with next to little or nothing in order to be truly great and achieve tremendous success in this life. I didn’t say it is easy but easier… Whenever you have literally nothing to lose and everything to try and gain, a predictable urge to succeed occurs and impetuous behaviors take precedence in your calculated decision making process. Under such guerrilla style circumstances, men or women have a reason to believe in him or herself because the alternative ends in ruin, destruction, or defeat. The great golfer Gary Player is a living example of the self made man who has achieved the pinnacle of success in sports by creating his own way to excellence with next to nothing. Without question: Not having a four time Masters Champion dad with millions of dollars in his banking account has helped Player to craft his own life strategies and training regiments resulting in the one and only, “Gary Player.”

When you have little to no guidance on how to succeed in a particular domain and have a dad who isn’t ultra successful, you can be creative and draw upon your own path to success by observing talent and working smart. The reality is that too many resources and a silver spoon (or golden crate if you were born in Brazil) can be detrimental to a youth’s career progress and achievements. At least, this is what I’ve seen repeatedly: Inheritance and a rich dad often handicaps a large number of talented young men and women as these pupils grow lazy and live a life of leisure due to the extravagant lifestyle that they had their whole lives. In fact, the sons and daughters of wealthy men and women tend to become cowed and often terrified of losing financial face in this world, as Greene would put it. No wonder! This bunch has lived under the shadow of greatness and fine red wine their whole lives. Losing such a privileged position in society can be terrifying even suicidal. After all, who wants to lose prestige and possessions in this vain world that we live in.

There are a number of reasons why the former arguments hold a degree of veracity. In this article, I will present to you three reasons why it is easier to start with little or nothing in order to achieve tremendous success in this life.

  1. When you don’t have anything, you have everything. When you don’t have restrictions in what you can test and try, you will find more than enough space to be creative, make your own world, and achieve greatness. You don’t have to necessarily oppose others in order to deliver an innovative solution. You don’t need to put yourself in the shows of others and limit your contributions by bracketing your available options. You can dream and achieve freely which can be argued to be the pinnacle of freedom and creative thinking. You are free to attain the heights of power and influence. You can do the impossible and share the unpredictable with mobility and strength.
  2. You are more free to change your style. When you don’t have a frame of reference, you can design and develop multiple ones without reprimand. Remember: Over time, one’s inabilities to innovate and adapt tend to result in self destruction and chaos. The act of being truly great isn’t an exact science and it definitely isn’t achieved by static and myopic decision making, planning, and style. Dynamic innovation is the name of the game and always will be. You have to recreate yourself and your strategies once in a while. Napoleon, perhaps the best military general that has ever lived, lost the Battle of Waterloo because his enemies learned his ways. He became too predictable. His opponents learned his moves and were able to corner him and destroy his empire. The same can be said about the great Bismarck and many other great leaders. You need to have continuous originality, as I say. Always innovate if you want to be great in anything.
  3. Underestimating your contributions reduces competition.  Competition is good and required for any capitalist society to function well. I am not against competition. Far from it. In fact, I embrace a good chat with competitors every time I can. It is good for your business or brand to have competitors. There is a lot of evidence to support that. However, having too much competition can be a problem because it might result in market saturation. The fact that some might underestimate your contributions can be quickly turned into a competitive advantage which you can capitalize from. What appears to be a hurtle is in fact an asset. Every time someone underestimates you, you win.

It is easier to start with next to little or nothing in order to be truly great and achieve tremendous success in this life. I didn’t say it is easy but easier. Inheritance and a rich dad often handicaps a large number of talented young men and women as these pupils grow lazy and live a life of leisure due to the extravagant lifestyle that they had their whole lives. It is easier to start with little or nothing in order to achieve tremendous success in this life. When you don’t have anything, you have everything — you win; When you become more free to change your style — you win; When someone underestimates your contributions it reduces competition — you win. It is goofy but it works this way.

Never Let Anyone Mistreat You.

Never Let Anyone Mistreat You.

Self Portrait

In this life, you will eventually be mistreated. Mistreatment might find you by accident, will be initiated by your enemies, sometimes will be revealed by friends, even close friends, co-workers, and often by some of the members of your family. The reason why I am so certain about the former is because most people are egoistic, self-centered and believe that life is all about themselves. Ego plays a large role, if you know what I mean. The bigger someone’s ego is, the higher the levels of mistreatment. It is clear cut.

The moment that people realize that they are at a deficit, be aware, because they will eventually find a way to mistreat you directly or indirectly once, maybe multiples times a week. Be aware: Life is all about them not you. They might celebrate your successes once in a while but in the end, work is about them. Sometimes, you have no option but to leave the environment and let these egocentric maniacs up to their own devices trying to maximize their retirement checks on the shoulders of others. It is an ugly world out there. It happens to us all everywhere. Don’t be judgmental and specific. Stop!

One thing is for sure: Mistreatment is just one of the ways evil people retaliate against others and it can take many forms. Mistreatment is easily observed and felt and can be described systematically. In reality, there are a number of cues associated with grotesque interpersonal mistreatment. People might mistreat you by simply speaking sarcastically towards you, by gossiping against you behind your back to others, and many times by screaming or confronting you head on with mean words, actions, and non-verbal clues. Some even write ALL CAPS WORDS to belittle you.

Micromanaging is a form of mistreatment. Whenever you suspect that spies are sent out there to give intelligence about you to the source, you reached the pinnacle of toxicity and mistreatment in a group, club or organization. Nobody who is truly a Christian, is nice or has any integrity, sends spies out there to gather intelligence on you for self gain. The former is better described by Aristotelian Scholars as manipulative and insecure often incompetent individuals who are often hiding something. It is a learned behavior that is easily displayed and caught. Just because people decide to be quiet about the former doesn’t mean that they don’t know.

Stopping someone from making progress is a well known mistreatment tactic used by individuals with authority to slow talent down. Flooding a unit with unreasonable requests at the last minute is both poor planning and usually a strategy to set people up for failure. Keep this in mind — life is about timing and effort. If you change someone’s timing, many times these changes will be for the worse leading to temporary conquest. No wonder why football coaches often stop decisive games in critical moments in an attempt to disrupt their opponent’s timing leading to error. No matter the form, you will be mistreated in this life. In fact, it isn’t a question of if you will be mistreated. It is a question of when. There are a number of ways you can ensure that you won’t be mistreated long term. In this article, I will share with you three ways to confront mistreatment at the source.

  1. Don’t be political. Be straightforward and firm.  Some people might and probably will assume a lot of things about you and temporarily mistreat you on this basis alone. However, the moment you firmly confront those who mistreat you one-on-one, without being political or being politically correct, mistreatment will flee away from you, you will flee from that person or group of people or both. At that exact moment, you will be able to judge if the mistreatment was a misunderstanding, was an innocent mistake, was mean spirited or an act done by a coward. It is amazing what people revel under stress. Look out for the details and act objectively not emotionally. Don’t be political. You don’t have to. Be straightforward and firm. Be the person who calls the bluff. Give them back a dosage of their own poison. Chances are high that they will think twice before treating you poorly again, at least for a while. Don’t let anyone bully you, ever.
  2.  Create alliances and peripheral support.  As the proverb goes, “The world goes around and around…” If you are being mistreated by a player or a group in a system, chances are high that other members and units belonging to your macro system are also being mistreated as well. The good news is that generalized, or should I say, purposeful systemic mistreatment calls for organized union affiliation. You need to create alliances and peripheral support in order to retaliate back and cause quantifiable damage. Here is the good news: Your opponent grows weaker and weaker when confronting a unified and concentrated force. He/she (or they) will pay a big price for mistreating you because the result of that backfire will cost the coward(s) a high price which often includes his/her (their) reputation. Mistreating others will only result in rash retaliation many times fired by a consortium.
  3. Look for alternatives and leave. There are times when you just have to leave and let others fix their own problems with their own resources. We live in a free and wonderful country that allows us to have choices. Nobody is obligated to stay in any establishment anywhere in the United States if he/she doesn’t want to. I personally don’t believe in quitting any appointment unexpectedly or in bad terms with any organization because life is about building bridges not burning them. The former isn’t to say that you should be married to a bad situation for twenty years or accept unreasonable terms forever. Sometimes, the best and right thing to do is to break affiliation and fulfill the destiny that God has planned for you elsewhere. There is more to life than trying to fix the broken if you break in the process.  Look for alternatives and leave even if you lose some funds in the process. Money comes and goes… You should control your destiny.

In this life, you will eventually be mistreated. The reason why I am so certain about the former is because most people are egoistic, self-centered and believe that life is all about themselves. Mistreatment is easily observed and felt and can be described systematically. The best way to tackle mistreatment is by being proactive.  Don’t be political. Be straightforward and firm. Create alliances and peripheral support. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to look for alternatives and leave. Don’t be afraid to make a big move. I have done a big one before and will do it again if necessary and you should do as well if required. Be a person of principles and stick to what you value and believe. Never let anyone or any group mistreat you. Confront them back accordingly your way.

 

Life Is Short: Do What You Want.

Life Is Short: Do What You Want.

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Life is Short — Do what you want. Do yourself a favor: Don’t complicate:  Instead, simplify. Act with boldness, live your life to the fullest, rock and roll in the process and sing a little along the way if you can. Be the owner of your own destiny. Never, under any circumstance, let others tell you how you should live your life. Remember: you make your decisions not anyone else. Always strive to move forward and don’t move or look back, like a kangaroo or an emu. In this life, you have to follow your dreams and live a life without regrets. Be the pilot of your own destiny.

Do you want to be a musician. Just do it! Are you in your late thirties working as an investment banker contemplating starting a subway franchise or a bed and breakfast business in the south pacific? Don’t think anymore. Make that phone call to corporate and start living your dream of being a sandwich artist entrepreneur. Are you contemplating finishing a college degree in your lifetime, enroll yourself today in a college or university, get your degree and tell the world… “I did it!” Start your dreams today because you never know if there will be a tomorrow.

I have known so many people who are constantly thinking about what others are going to think if they decide to become a ping pong champion. Who cares what others think? What really matters is what you think.  As I’ve said, “Life is Short — Do what you want.” I’ve decided to be a media professor who critiques media once in a while. Odd, isn’t it? Not to me. I kind of like it! Being a critic of technology has been a riot and is something that I don’t plan to stop doing anytime soon. Somebody needs to talk about both the positives and negatives of technology.

I know, I know… sometimes it is tough for people to simply turn on the “who cares” sign and really do what they want to do in this world. In this article, I will share with you three proven ways to be able to live life to the fullest and do what you want.

  1. Be open to losing friends at first. In order to do what you like, you are gonna have to re-define what you mean by friends or friendship and certainly lose many in exchange for doing what you want. When I decided to come to the United States to do what I wanted, I lost a lot of friends… too many. Childhood and club friends; school and gym friends; girlfriends and other friends. You name it! However, by losing them I gained more of them. Maybe a different kind of friend but still. A small tradeoff to be paid to really do what you want. If you are too attached to friends, especially close friends, chances are high that you will do what they want not what you want.
  2. Be open to gaining new friends. This one is a corollary to the former.  The more that you are willing to accept others in your world, the higher the chance you will find someone who will truly accept you for who you are. It is a statistical fact — The more you play, the higher the chance you will eventually win. I am a person who many would consider to be pretty weird. My favorite animal is a Koala. I drive a white VW Passat turbo with a pink kid’s seat in the back and drive golf balls with a Walter Hagen! I am a professor of Mass Communications with a PhD in Instructional Systems and have read more about leadership and marketing than most MBA’s you and I know. I speak Galician fluently and understand a lot of Romanian.  I make new friends easily and constantly because I am open to gaining new friends and replacing old ones when necessary. In order to do what you want, you need to be who you are. Don’t forget that.
  3. Be closed towards others when required.  Negativity must be avoided at all costs if you want to live your life under what I call a “do what you want” philosophy. If someone tries to diminish your accomplishments or tries to make you look small in any way, flee from them. Don’t be emotional about it. Just do it! Remember: Life is short. You know, let me ask you a question. Do you diminish others for personal gain? Do you purposely make others look small so you can appear grande? If you do, shame on you. You shouldn’t. I don’t and never will. I choose to elevate others, instead. If you elevate others, they often elevate you back and reduces the chances you will have to be closed towards others. We are de facto supposed to elevate people not to suppress anyone. Got it?

Life is Short — Do what you want. Do yourself a favor: Don’t complicate:  Instead, simplify. I do admit that living this type of lifestyle is rough and can be quite difficult because letting friends go often is a daunting activity. Who wants to invest in the unknown as a strategy to living a life you want to live. In another words, to do what you want. The irony of the former is by losing you often gain… friends, courage, boldness, action, respect, life. Life is short. Do what you want. Live with no regrets. Don’t complicate. Just do it.

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.

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.

The United States Is Divided: The Role of Technology In This Current Reality.

The United States Is Divided: The Role of Technology In This Current Reality.

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The United States of America is divided. What concerns me about our current state of affairs is that division often leads to dismantlement or conquest. The country is divided in so many dimensions that even a well skilled group of economists and sociologists would have a difficult time finding a solution to our core challenges and problems. Some might say that our problems are cultural — The culture of white American and black America are in constant struggle with each other which leads to the many problems we experience these days. Others claim that our problems are political — Liberals can’t see the world like conservatives do, despite any efforts to find political compromises. The north and the south are de facto very different in stature and culture. Most of the states in the north adopt to a certain way of living which in a lot of ways contrast life in the good old South. Many believe that we should destroy public education and invest in private educational enterprises; others are from the believe that we should invest in public universities and provide affordable education to a large portion of Americans as the former has been claimed to be a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Let me ask you this… Why are we so divided as a nation? Some might say, “it is because of the head of the state,” others might say, “multiculturalism…” I say, “It is probably not possible to single out only one single variable that is causing all this mess. It is more likely to be a combination of variables. One of the main variables, to me at least, is how we see and use technology as a means to solve our problems. There are a number of ways I could explain to you this former statement. Let me focus on providing three examples of how technology itself might be the main problem behind the many issues we experience in American Society today.

  1. Technology empowers but sometimes it backfires. Just because we have access to any technology doesn’t necessarily means that we should use that technology in whatever way we wish. Indeed, using technology in the form of MRI and cat scan formats help us to maybe discover internal medical problems we experience which leads to us living a healthier life. Innovations in the auto industry can in fact make us safer in the roads reducing the number of auto death fatalities per year. Nano technologies assist us with manufacturing products that are lighter and more powerful often results in people having the capacity to capture the very best video footage out there for a cheap price. However, for every single positive attributes these technologies possess, there is a negative aspect to them. We have seen a number of patients being burned and experiencing hearing loss after using MRI technology. According to Motorburn.com, we have seen the semi autonomous Audi A7 breaks down with Florida governor on board, Volvo pedestrian detection tech failing to detect pedestrians, and Mazda experience rear-end collision failure. The latest failure of nanotechnology was seen throughout mainstream media when the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caught on fire in dozens of American households last year. Just because technologies exists and are available don’t mean they are free of side effects or unintended consequences.
  2. Technology gives voices to dangerous groups out there. The latest revolution in Egypt was powered by technology. The same can be said about the revolution in Tunisia, Bahraini, Libya, Syria, London Riots, San Francisco Bart Riots, Occupy wall street and many more. The latest technology has divided peoples in many countries in quite dangerous ways since the inception of available mobile technologies. The resurgence of the KKK in the alternative media and other extreme groups are clear examples of how complete access to technology can indeed be detrimental to society and divide us. The problem of technology is that sometimes technology gives voice to groups who perhaps shouldn’t have one. The consequences are predictable — division among groups involved.
  3.  Technology is seen as an “idol worthy of worshipping.” Have you ever try to tell others that technology isn’t always beneficial to them? I actually have done this difficult task in a number of occasions including in academic conferences, open debates, public speeches, and sometimes at church. The vast majority of people receiving these messages aren’t always receptive to the idea of hearing that technology often times have substantial side effects worth discussing. Technology, nowadays, is seen by many as an “idol” that deserves worshipping. Every time someone tells them that technology isn’t anything more than a tool, folks get upset, and many times creates division. In the academic world, where we often discuss phenomenons like the positive and negative effects of technology in society, more understanding is seen. In the “real” world, the reality is much different, unfortunately. Some folks are ready to go to war anytime somebody claims that computer technology is like any other form of media out there with many benefits and side effects. The outcome? Division.

The United States of America is divided. The country is divided in so many dimensions that even a well skilled group of economists and sociologists would have a difficult time finding a solution to our core challenges and problems.In my view, it is impossible to single out the main reason why we have so much division in this country. However, technology is at the core of this discussion — overuse of technology and access. Every time hate groups possessing extreme ideologies get access to democratic media outlets, a disposition for division is likely to occur. These days, a wide variety of groups can aggregate within themselves on-line and boycott their counterparts by association. We have seen this reality in race relations and lately with the political spectrum. Don’t you like blue? Join us… the Green group. It is that simple. Media is polarizing our viewpoints and beliefs more than ever.  We need to be careful and discern what is make believe and what is reality. We have no choice but to do that. What will be our biggest challenge in the future? More technology. How ironic. Mignon Clyburn, head of FCC once told me in a private chat… Sooner or later, we will need to regulate the internet. It would be best for everybody. She may be right about it. Thoughts?

Interior Design Photography Can Be Quite Tricky.

Interior Design Photography Can Be Quite Tricky.

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Capturing interior design images that take your breath away isn’t very easy. Even though we have seen an explosion of what I call “photodemocracy,” where the regular person now can take a fair amount of photographs at very low costs with okay quality, the more intricate types of photographical work is still very tough to do. Being able to frame and shoot an interior design photograph without much space and light to work with is a quite challenging endeavor. It is pretty tricky actually — Taking interior design professional photos in tiny rooms is like trying to fit seven fishes in a 10 gallon aquarium without a filter and a proper light. A much as we would love to have available technologies to help us to photograph interior design real estate,  I just don’t see how modern machinery will make our jobs any easier in this domain. There are a number of ways in which you can make your job a bit easier when taking interior photographs. In this blog posting, I will share with you three tips you could use to take your own interior design photographs.

  1. Use a tripod.  In order to take great interior design photographs, you will need a great tripod. Tripods allow photographers to frame shots at slow shutter speeds without running the risk of producing blurry photographs. A great tripod will cost you at least $200 but hey… who said that photography is cheap? It is the price of quality, my friends. I don’t recommend the alternative — Taking interior design photos without a tripod. Well crafted tripods significantly help professional photographers with keeping photo movement to a minimum. There is no reversal to this one. You will need a great tripod in order to capture great interior design photographs.
  2. Great glass. Without the appropriate lenses, interior design photography can become a daunting activity which could turn into a very stressful experience. I personally recommend the Nikon 14-24 f/2.8G ED AF lens. This is a very sharp Nikon lens possessing a quite good focal length and f stop. I know, I know… this lens will cost you almost two thousand dollars! Its price is steep but the images you will be able to capture with this lens will justify its cost. It is a no brainer. As we have said in this article before — Who said that photography is cheap? It is the price of quality, my friends. I don’t recommend the alternative.
  3. Master photoshop. Chances are not very high that your rough interior design captures will be your last. You will need to fix your photos in order to make them presentable to a client. Fixing exposure, camera lens distortion, manipulating shadows and highlights, and reducing camera noise and aberration are some of the many attributes that you will need to control and manipulate in order to produce outstanding interior design photographs. In order to do the former, you will need to master Photoshop or its alternative.  Failing to fix your shots will cost your reputation. You just have to be able to make your photographs better after taking them in raw format.

Capturing interior design photos that takes your breath away isn’t very easy. In fact, they can be quite tricky at times. You will need photo equipment and software expertise in order to produce great photo products. Owning a tripod and great glass is paramount. Mastering photoshop is also a necessity if you are planning to capture outstanding interior design photographs. Are you ready to embark in such challenging journey? The rewards can be quite gratifying.

Wisdom For The Common Man: How To Deal With Jealous People.

Wisdom For The Common Man: How To Deal With Jealous People.

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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, they often fold and seek rescue from familiar sources. If we pay close attention to nature, we can unfold a number of quite amusing familiar behaviors. Contrary to what most believe and promote… life isn’t always full of surprises if we decide to observe this world with our eyes opened. Let’s take a close look at jealousy, perhaps one of men’s most dark traits along with pride, for a minute. When someone is jealous of you, your position at work, the car that you drive, the wife you have married or the latest book you have written, a predictable pattern of behavior occurs. Psycho analyzing how the regular men react against your successes is a gift in itself. There are many ways that we can identify human jealousy. In this article, I will share with you three jealous people patterns and what you can do to disarm them.

  1. They disdain you and your best efforts. If somebody tells you that they are your friend but they don’t celebrate your successes, be aware. Chances are very high that these people would rather see you fail than celebrate your latest accomplishment. Look out for patterns of disdain, no replies, disgusted facial expressions, and unusually shared humble words. The former is particularly problematic if off guard humbled words come your way without precedence. Chances are very high that the person speaking humbled words back to you, without having a history of doing such acts, is trying to rearm and attack you foundations somewhere in the near future. Listen carefully: Jealous people ignore you and do what they can to minimize your successes and accomplishments. Genuine allies won’t flee from you. They will like and share secrets with you. Remember to not be emotional with jealous people. Rather, be objective. If something appears to be, it often is. It they disdain you, flee from them. Keep achieving and doing your work to capacity. It will keep irritating them. Sooner or later they will fold because jealousy is tiring. At the time of lowest resistance, give them a compliment and see how they react. If they fold and join forces with you, you got yourself a friend. If they resist, keep course. Sooner or later they will either join forces with you or will flee to a distance land under the sun.
  2. They stick together in an attempt to make you look small. It is quite simple to identify what we call in Portuguese invejosos. These bunch tends to stick together with their clicks in order to gain internal strength. The former is the facto a great counter-attack strategy as union makes force. I strongly suggest individual talent to form close ties with other talented people in order to build a solid foundation for calculated retaliation. There are a number of civic clubs out there that can assist you in this capacity. Remember: You need to build a solid group foundation and develop enough concentrated force in order to ultimately counter-attack the jealous. It is good, once in a while, for jealous people to realize that you are unpredictable and a bit crazy. Trust me: They will think twice before playing games against you overtime because they know you will fire back . The best defense is the offense. Look for strong associations to avoid the risk of being destroyed by lack of force. Give yourself a chance to look bigger than the universe. Make your work seem easy to others. Nothing can be more irritating to the jealous than complete victory and success. Give them no rest. Advance your ships towards their territory and make them play the game according to your rules.
  3. They create a reality they want to see about you.  Jealous people have a difficult time understanding why you achieve and they don’t. These poor souls underestimate natural patterns of leadership and often live in their own fantasy land sometimes for a lifetime. Don’t be discouraged by their actions and predictable behaviors. Much like a good game of football, you must vary your moves, be unpredictable, and in some instances, conceal your intentions. Make your enemy wonder about your next move by mastering your emotions and by educating yourself in strategic thinking. Don’t share too much, say very little and critically analyze speech patterns and associations. If someone is putting yourself in a category you know you don’t belong, be extra cautious. Somebody is already trying to control you by bracketing your strengths and natural gifts. You are what you believe… If the jealous infiltrates your psyche and persuade you to believe that you are what they think you are, you lose. Rather, mimic him, irritate him, and show him that you not him control your destiny. It is the best course of action. Create a reality that you want to see about you and resist politics.

Life is very predictable if we pay attention to certain clues. If you don’t receive email invitations to events you should be a part of, if too much disdain is heading your way, and if others are trying to define who you are to fit their own biases, it is time to make a bold move and retaliate. War is never good yet sometimes is a necessity. It is better to lose by fighting than to lose for not giving your best effort. Even when someone loses a fight, they win in respect. Never, under any circunstances, let anyone define who you are on their own terms alone. Strive to make your own decisions, show allegiance to those who support you and look at the world objectively. Always be ready to leave the premises of any enterprise in order to defend your principles. In the end, you live to work for God not to make friends.

Non-Verbal Behavior: Knowing What Others Are Thinking Without Giving Them A Polygraph.

Non-Verbal Behavior: Knowing What Others Are Thinking Without Giving Them A Polygraph.

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We are all masterpieces. Some of us seduce well, others speak well, a few write well and many hide very well. What if I told you that you can, without a polygraph, read most people you know and don’t know simply by analyzing what their body parts are telling you. Facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, posture and tone of voice are mechanisms we can further analyze in order to verify whether a speaker is telling you the truth or not. I personally prefer to read legs, walk patterns, and hand geometry. They tell me a lot about a person as the former can’t be faked or learned that easily. It is much easier to learn how to stare at someone and appear interested in what they have to say than changing your gait or controlling your hands under pressure. No wonder why the FBI and many other federal agencies use gait patterns and hand geometry techniques to track criminals. Non-verbal behavior research is a fascinating field which I love and master. There are many ways one can better decipher whether a speaker is being genuine or not. In this article, I will share with you three tips you can use to find out if someone is subconsciously acting aggressive, dominating, or feels superior than you.

  1. Hands on hips equals dominance. If a speaker has his hands on his hips, chances are very high that he is trying to dominate you in some respect or intimidate you. The act of placing one’s hands on his/her hips can be tracked back to dominating animal behavior in the wild. Anytime you see somebody making themselves look bigger than you by making their arms look like a V shape, be aware. When we place our hands in our hips in that form, we are de facto opening our body to others yet making us look larger than the universe which is unconsciously telling others that you don’t seem threatened by them and that you control the flow of the conversation. The former is definitely an act of dominance. The wild turkey engage in the act of strutting to establish social dominance. Strutting makes the wild turkey look larger than the universe… Check it out. Next time someone speaks with you using what we call the police pose, investigate. He might be trying to dominate the situation or establishing a dominating relationship with you by displaying this kind of behavior.
  2. Thumb tucking in someone’s pants is a sign of aggressiveness. These one is pretty clear cut. If the speaker is tucking his or her thumbs in their pockets, they are holding a quite aggressive attitude in them unconsciously which is often accompanied by over confidence leading to an authoritative stance. Strong and trained speakers can use such techniques consciously or unconsciously to make their points more clear to an audience or simply to intimidate others. Behavioral aggression is real and can be spotted pretty easily by studying thumb tucking patterns. One might fake his/her intentions with words but very few can fake meaning when displaying thumb tucking uncontrolled behaviors.
  3. Protruding thumbs from pockets mean superiority. Be aware when someone tells you that you are both equal when they chat with you protruding their thumbs from their pockets. What the speaker is indirectly thinking or feeling is that he thinks he is superior than you. If the speaker thinks he is superior to you intellectually, physically, psychologically, mathematically… is impossible to tell. What is definitely possible to confirm is that if in fact the speaker protrude his thumbs right in front of your eyes, it is very likely that he believes that you are inferior to him in some regard. Thumb behavior is an intriguing science that reveals quite a lot of information about a person’s true intentions.

What I just shared with you are elements of a well known field of Communication called non-verbal communication. Differently from traditional speech communication where scholars investigate and research patters of speech, communication apprehension and rhetorical sensitivity, non-verbal behavior science studies one’s conscious and unconscious uncontrolled behaviors. It is worth studying deeply and getting better at it. I have been studying non-verbal behavior now for eight straight years and can decipher, after knowing the person for about a week, precisely what they are thinking without them have to speak back to me a single word. Once you acquire such skill set, you will change.