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Displaying items by tag: Education

Tuesday, 01 November 2011 01:53

Critical Thinking

The current class I am taking is called "Critical Thinking". I thought the "definition" below was interesting:

Critical Thinking: The art of thinking about thinking while thinking in order to make thinking better.

From the textbook: Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life
by Richard Paul and Linda Elder

My brain hurts.


1. Use "wasted" time.

We all waste at least some time in the course of our daily lives. We don't always manage it well or use it productively. Why not capitalize on the time you routinely squander by using it to practice thinking about your thinking? For example, say you regularly get stuck in traffic on your commute home from work or school. Instead of stewing behind the wheel while distractedly listening to the radio, you could use the time to mentally review your day, evaluating your thinking for its strengths and weaknesses.

2. Handle one problem per day.

Each day, choose one problem in your life to think through systematically. Identify its elements in order to figure out the logic of the problem. Ask yourself, what exactly is the problem and how can it be formulated as a question?

3. Internalize intellectual standards.

Every week, incorporate one of the following universal intellectual standards into your thinking:

  • clarity
  • accuracy
  • precision
  • relevance
  • depth
  • breadth
  • logic
  • significance
  • fairness

For example, say you focus on precision for the week. Try to notice whenever you are imprecise in communicating with others. Be alert to when your position in an argument lacks specifics. When you read, be conscious of the absence of details offered by the author to support a point.

4. Keep an intellectual journal.

Compose a certain number of journal entries weekly. Use the following entry format:

  • Describe only events or situations you care deeply about
  • Describe one event or situation at a time
  • Describe your behavior with respect to the event or situation (What did you say and/or do? How did you react?)
  • Analyze exactly what was occurring in the event or situation. Your analysis should plumb beneath the surface.
  • Assess the implications of your analysis. (What did you learn? What would you do differently if you could relive the event or situation?)

5. Practice intellectual strategies.

Choose a strategy from among those outlined in Chapter 17 (on strategic thinking) of Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life. Apply it. As you do, record your observations on what you learn about yourself and how you can use the strategy to better your thinking.

6. Reshape your character.

Select one intellectual trait (e.g., intellectual humility, courage, empathy, etc.) each month to aspire toward. Focus on what you can do to cultivate that trait in yourself.

7. Deal with your ego.

Be conscious of how your behavior is driven by egocentric thinking. To sharpen your observation of your own ego in action, consider daily questions like the following:

  • Did I behave irrationally in order to get my way?
  • Did I try to impose my will on others?
  • Did small things make me irritable?

The first step is to identify egocentric thinking in action. Once you do, you can strive to replace it with more rational thinking. The path from egocentricity to rationality is systematic self-reflection.

8. Redefine the way you see things.

How one defines a situation - the meaning one ascribes to it - drives how one feels about it and acts in it. Be mindful that nearly any situation can be defined in more than one way. This fact presents you a prime opportunity to make your life more constructive and fulfilling.

Many situations in our lives that we define negatively could be redefined positively. When we transform a "con" into a "pro," we gain rather than lose. So practice redefining the way you see things. Convert negatives into positives, mistakes into learning opportunities, and dead-ends into new directions.

9. Get in touch with your emotions.

Work to identify the causes of negative emotion in your personal experience. Ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • What, exactly, is the thinking that leads to this emotion?
  • How might this thinking be flawed?

10. Analyze group influences on your life.

Contemplate the impact on how you act of social groups to which you belong. Analyze what behavior is encouraged and discouraged, respectively. What does any given group expect, or even require, you to believe? What are you proscribed from doing?

Recognizing how one's social memberships influence what one thinks and how one behaves is vital to one's development as a critical thinker.

Published in Minutia
Thursday, 27 October 2011 02:25

Finding Your Career

I happened across this short article when doing some studying for a class. Thought it had some pretty good career advice! I feel pretty lucky, like I have found my career "Sweet Spot" as a geek.

 


Finding Your Career "Sweet Spot"

By D. Quinn Mills

We increase the likelihood of advancing in our careers if we can bring together what motivates us (our passion) and what we are good at (our capabilities). We call this intersection in a person's career one's "sweet spot."

Unfortunately, it may prove difficult to find our sweet spot because we may not be good at something that we feel passionate about. There are areas that some of us may have passion for - art, music, dance, sports, food, entertaining - but it is often more difficult for a person to develop a full-fledged career in these areas.

One way to help bring the two together is to try to obtain the skills and capabilities necessary to succeed in something that we're passionate about. Sometimes we rush to find a job that is in our sweet spot, but cannot, because we haven't the skills to match to our passion. In such cases, it's better to invest the time in acquiring the skills necessary to do well in something we care about, and then look for the perfect match.

Many people go into consulting early in their careers for this very reason. In consulting a person can pick up a wide variety of skills, and develop abilities and personal contacts that will help one get a position in a particular industry.

Looking for job passion

Another partial step that may be possible for many of us is to find an element of our jobs that we are passionate about. For example, a manager in a health services firm might not be particularly passionate about the administrative work, travel, and internal politics, but he might have considerable passion about saving lives with the company's medical devices.

In some instances it may take a long time to find a career that matches our sweet spots. But as long as we keep this goal in mind as we pursue our career paths, many of us will eventually come across a job that comes close to our own personal special intersection of passion and competence.

For some of us there will never be an intersection of passion and competence in the work environment. But all is not lost.

First, many people take jobs that have no relation to their passions. They expect to dislike the job immensely, but instead end up loving the job. Why? Because of the people and the teams they work with, because of the positive culture of the firm, and because of the energy of the place. While they may not be working in an industry whose products they love, they've found passion for their jobs nonetheless.

For many of us, finding this sort of passion at work, regardless of the industry, might be a more plausible way to embrace our sweet spots. In this situation, the sweet spot is a working environment that motivates us.

For example, a young man has spent a bit of time working in a capital markets role. Although he doesn't love the hours or sometimes the companies he works with, he does enjoy the excitement of doing a deal. The fun he has - and the enjoyment he receives from the environment - compensate him for the parts of the job that he doesn't enjoy as much.

D. Quinn Mills is the Alfred J. Weatherhead Jr. Professor of Business Administration emeritus at Harvard Business School. He consults with major corporations and teaches on subjects of leadership, strategy, and financial investments.

Copyright © 2007 D. Quinn Mills

 

Published in Minutia
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 03:48

Three Big Mistakes

Great story -- What a lesson for us all!!!

Here is a good history lesson I had never heard before.

Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, "Reflections on Pearl Harbor " by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

arizonaSunday, December 7th, 1941--Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.

He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?"

Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America . Which do you think it was?"

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?"

Nimitz explained. Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk--we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow everyone of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America . And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America .

I've never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredricksburg , Texas -- he was a born optimist. But anyway you look at it -- Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism. President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.

 

Thanks Mom!Cry

Published in Awesomeness
Thursday, 03 March 2011 12:21

Aaaaahhhhhh.... WHEW!

Frustration_Relief

Now I can finally put my kit away for a couple weeks. I am DONE with my ejumication for this term... I admit that I am happy I did not shave my beard yesterday morning because I only passed by the hair on my chinny chin chin! It was a pretty difficult test - not because of the content but because of the age of the test (12 to 15 years... a LOT of technology has happened in that time) and some issues with how the testing software posed the questions. Fortunately for those who follow, the new UPDATED version is being released in April so folks won't have to suffer through this one for much longer... WHEW!!! Glad that is DONE! Time to revert to redneck-geekdom!!! Cool

 

I forgot to add my CIW certs last time in my frustration, so here is my new list with my new JavaScript one included!!!

 

CIW_Associate web_foundations_assoc javascript_sp A_Certified NetworkCertified

I think I will be off the certification track for a year or so now, on to more traditional lernin like cyferin and cogitatin...

Published in ME ME ME!
Friday, 25 February 2011 03:11

FRUSTRATION!

Well as many of my site visitors probably are aware, I am working on my degree through Western Governor's University. This term has been pretty much computer geekdom term.

I am now A_Certified and NetworkCertified.

I have been studying and studying and working on JavaScripts and doing whatever for my CIW JavaScript Developer certification. Took the test on February 24th and guess what?

.

.

.

.

.

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I FAILED!!!!
37/50... I needed 38/50 to pass.

FRUSTRATION!!!

Mostly I am embarrassed because I have been using
JavaScript
for years. I admit I was probably a bit over-confident.

Published in ME ME ME!
Friday, 07 January 2011 01:08

The truth on the Internet

The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine.

- Abraham Lincoln

(courtesy of my friend Steve) Thanks Steve!!!

Published in Importance!
Friday, 31 December 2010 20:04

Woohoo!

After a month and a half of 3/4 hearted studying I finally took and passed my test on 12/29/2010! I scored 860 out of a possible 900. Pretty happy with that. I had to get at least 720... Now I am officially...

.
.
.

NetworkCertified

AND

A_Certified

Now on to other studies. My next class will result in a CIW Java Script Certification...

Published in Geeky
Tagged under
Friday, 24 December 2010 16:15

Irish College Entrance Exam

Here is an entrance exam I found online... Apologies to anyone of Irish decent...Yell Actually, once you click on the image below and read the answers you might see it takes a bit of ingenuity to answer the questions!


Click here for the answers

Published in Groaner