It has been a LONG TIME since I have posted. I am going to try to do better...
WOW! Penny and I started Taekwondo at Frederick's ATA at the beginning of December. It has been SO MUCH FUN! Mrs. Frederick is so nice and an awesome instructor! Everyone else has been really nice and supportive too! If you are looking for a fun way to get into shape, I want to recommend trying this out!
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:
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.
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
I am not a HUGE Tron fan but how could you NOT think this is one AWESOME ride? Me likey!
A blonde woman boards an airplane. She is extremely exhausted and just wants to take a nap. She finally finds her seat and sits down next to a very curious young man.
He wants to test the whole dumb blonde thing and possibly make some money out of it. "Hey, wanna play a game?" he asks her. "No thank you, I just want to take a nap." "Please, its really easy, all you have to do is answer the questions that I ask you. If you don't know the answer, then you give me five dollars, and if I don't know the answer to your question, then I'll give you five dollars."
"I really don't want to do this. I just want to take a nap."
"Oh but PLEASE pretty please. Okay, how about if I don't know the answer to your question, I'll give you five hundred dollars." The blonde woman became interested and decided to play the game.
"Okay. How many moons does jupiter have?" the young man asked. The woman reached into her purse and took out a five dollar bill then asked; "What goes up the mountain with three legs and comes back down with four?".
The young man, determined not to lose, gets out his laptop and searches all over the internet for an answer. Flustered and confused, the young man hands the blonde five hundred dollars.
After a few hours, the young man was itching to know the answer to the question."What was the answer to the riddle?" the blonde woman reaches into her purse and hands the young man a five dollar bill.
Last year I replaced all the windows in my house with that expensive double-pane energy efficient kind, and today, I got a call from the contractor who installed them. He was complaining that the work had been completed a whole year ago and I still hadn't paid for them. Hellloooo............ just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So, I told him just what his fast talking sales guy had told me last year, that in ONE YEAR these windows would pay for themselves! Helllooooo? It's been a year! I told him. There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally just hung up. He never called back. I bet he felt like an idiot.
I have a soft spot for animated movies. This is one of my current favorites. If you haven't seen it... Check it out!
"Here's my day so far: went to jail, lost the girl of my dreams and got my butt kicked pretty good. Still, things could be a lot worse. Oh, that's right... I'm falling to my death. Guess they can't. How did it all come to this? Well, my end starts at the beginning... The very beginning!"
"No matter how hard I tried, I was always the odd man out, the last one picked, the screw-up, the black sheep... the bad boy. Was this my destiny?... Wait. Maybe it was! Being bad is the one thing I'm good at! Then it hit me: if I was the bad boy, then I was going to be the baddest boy of them ALL!"
Yesterday I was on the phone with a person from tech support representing a well-known security company whose equipment we use. He wanted to do a “WebEx” so we could try a few things on some busted equipment. When he connected up, he saw my current background image and actually started stuttering and stammering. He commented that it was a beautiful bike! I told him it was my dream bike. He said, “Mr Cope, that is everyone’s dream bike!!!” It actually took him a couple minutes to regain his composure! Now, I suspect that this fellow was from India or something like that. I could see how in a country full of scooters and tiny cars that a phat Harley would be a popular dream… Props to Harley Davidson for creating one of my favorite Street Glide photos of all time!!! I think it is a very sexy picture.