20:03 – 22:38 Interesting response on the ranking of formal and informal education.
20:03 – 22:38 Interesting response on the ranking of formal and informal education.
College ins’t enough, at least it wasn’t for me, and I don’t think I’m alone. I know way too many intelligent and talented people that have one or multiple degrees and currently have no job. I also know a ton of folks who have lots of schooling, but are working in a job/career that either (a) has nothing to do with their degree or (b) is not engaging their full potential and talent. Maybe you fit one of those descriptions.
Fact is – college just isn’t enough.
So what is lacking?
What is the missing ingredient?
I will give you a hint – it’s not graduate school.
Based on my experience, research, and observation, the missing ingredient is….
All our lives we have been told that, if you go to school, make good grades, and participate in a few extra-curricular activities, all of that = a job.
To put it simply, that is false.
Deep down in your heart your already know this. You all have relatives and friends that went to college and are without a job. Maybe you are in the post college job search and are still empty handed.
We all hear people complaining about the economy and the lack of jobs. (Side note: Complaining is a huge waste of time).
The people who still think that they can graduate from college and along with their diploma, society will just award them a job, are in for a rude awakening.
Okay, at this point I am probably preaching to the choir.
You need to educate yourself. Take it upon yourself to learn the necessary skills that set you apart from everyone else and obtain you the position you need in order to best create value for yourself and others.
What are those skills? Here are a few:
Don’t worry, we will discuss each at length and from many different perspectives and how they apply to folks currently in school, out of school, or not associated with school.
Last note: I don’t have all the answers; nobody by themselves really does. That is why I will be sharing links to helpful blogs, guest posts, book recommendations and tips from some of the mentors in my life. I would appreciate if you share similar things with me. I am still learning as I go.
How do you relate to this post?
Post your pithy comment below contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading,
Marketing author and blogger, Seth Godin, once posted the following on his blog:
“This is controversial, but here goes: I think if you’re remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular, you probably shouldn’t have a resume at all….
If you don’t have a resume, what do you have?
How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?
Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
Or a reputation that precedes you?
Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?
Some say, ‘well, that’s fine, but I don’t have those.’
Yeah, that’s my point. If you don’t have those, why do you think you are remarkable, amazing or just plain spectacular? It sounds to me like if you don’t have those, you’ve been brainwashed into acting like you’re sort of ordinary.
Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for… those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.”
I think that this is fantastic and very timely advice for many college student’s, recent grads, and anyone who is seeking any form of desirable employment.
Seth mentioned 4 things that he believes are more valuable than a resume:
1. Three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people [your potential] employer knows or respects
2. A sophisticated project they can see or touch
3. A reputation that precedes you
4. A blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up
Over the next few weeks we will be discussing these 4 items to determine how we can obtain them.
What do you think about this list?
“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”
- Herbert Simon, recipient of Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, and the A.M. Turning Award, the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science”
Hebert Simon (1916-2001) was one of the earliest pioneers in the field of Attention Economics. Hebert spent a lifetime of researching how information is managed and he determined that human attention is a very scarce commodity.
I wonder what old Herb would have to say about Facebook?
As you well know, Facebook is one of the greatest attention consumers of our time.
Maybe you already have experienced the kind of “poverty of attention” that is the result of too much Facebooking. Maybe you are experiencing it right now.
We need to allocate our attention more efficiently.
So, what to do?
Deactivate your FB account (again)? You know you can’t do that. Facebook is like the Terminator crossed with a phoenix.
Give it up for an early Lent? You could, but FB is a pretty sorry thing to give up for Lent in the first place, and that would’t really fix the problem long-term.
Curate your FB page/habits so that you spend less time online, improve you image and become a better stalker (ahem viewer)? Yes!
1. Clean up your News Feed – Start with the main source of attention consumption – the News Feed. Now I know what you are thinking, “my News Feed is the portal through which I gain access to a world of valuable information produced by my deep thinking friends and relatives who provide me with insight into the most fascinating and educational facts, ideas, and social opportunities” – or maybe that is not entirely true. Clean up your News Fees by using the following criteria:
(If the answer to any one of those questions is “no” then unsubscribe)
(If the answer to any of of those questions is “yes” then unsubscribe from them yesterday)
2. Avoid internet debates – This is a hard one for some people. I will allow my friends at Blimey Cow to explain.
3. Control your image – Facebook is for having fun and connecting with friends and family, but it is also a representation of who you are to the world. Looking stupid on Facebook is 100% preventable.
Here are some simple do’s and don’ts:
Your attention is a scarce commodity. Don’t waste your attention mindlessly on Facebook, but rather use it as a tool to better your life and better the lives of others.
Have a pithy comment? Post it here or e-mail me at email@example.com
[The following is a guest post from a respected educator (and my good friend), Caleb Coy. You will find that Caleb offers some valuable insight into the risks and rewards of online learning. This is just the beginning of a dialogue. I hope you will join in. Enjoy!]
Virtual learning really began in the 60s with computer-assisted learning, but also had its roots in correspondence courses. Most people were completely skeptical of online learning until the millenium. In ’92 Congress passed a bill denying aid to any school that offered most of its courses online. Since then it’s been lifted. Today, online colleges have to be approved by government-approved agencies. However, a non-accredited college can offer all the online courses it wants.
Back in 2001 MIT came out with its “open courseware” program, offering lectures to the public. This inspired the “open teaching” movement. Now a lot of teachers provide their stuff to the public. Virtual learning is changing schools at an accelerated rate. And it’s controversial, because it changes how we think the very nature of what learning is and how it takes place.
Maybe you’ve seen one of these annoying commercials:
The appeal is strong: If you don’t like anything about how you’ve done school, there are so many benefits to virtual learning, among them the following:
There are perils as well, among them the following:
Certainly, online learning is a great litmus test for internal student motivation. It reveals a lot about what people expect from education, and from themselves.
We all know about the reputation for places like University of Phoenix, offering a completely online education, or the diploma mills that could give your pet pug a BS in Business if you just pay up.
But even some high schools are completely online now. Consider PA Cyber. No, it’s not an adult video site, it’s a charter school completely online. Students stay at home and video conference class with teachers online. The video below give the full story.
Here you can see the range of issues at play.
My experience with virtual learning has left me incredibly skeptical. I taught an online course in English Composition designed by another teacher one semester. The students had learning modules they were to go through, and then submitted assignments to me and I graded them. I had problems with the website, and so did students. I didn’t really know any of them at the end. The experience didn’t seem very rewarding.
Soon after, I took an online course in Assessment in education. I had to read through an entire textbook, one chapter a week. There was a multiple choice test to do each week, and a final one. That was all that was required. We could contact the teacher at any time with questions, but the problem was that the only way I could schedule things was if I read the chapter and took the quiz the day before it was due. There was no time to wait for feedback on a question. And the material in the book was very new to me. There was no interactive learning, only PowerPoint modules and a book.
I don’t have much faith in virtual learning. I would never recommend anyone get their entire degree online.
However, we are living in a tech world. You can’t avoid it. Students need experience learning online, I suppose, to succeed. When I saw this TED conference video, I was given some opportunity to consider how I could approach virtual learning with a handful of optimism:
Norvig brings up one grand point about virtual learning: Especially concerning what is sacrificed in the way of loss of personal connections, you really need to be creative with the process.
But even when we use virtual education, is there not still a text, a sage, and a guy sleeping in the back? When we teach, we are teachers, and what we teach is a text of some sort, a body of knowledge, and there will always be the sleepy guy in the back. And let’s not forget that Socrates was one of the most interactive of teachers. Did he not question his students over and over? And though the Greeks had writing, they didn’t use it all the time like we do. Aristotle showed his students the Parthenon and had them use the geometry of it to learn, in its very presence.
“Sitting in a bar, with a really smart friend, explaining something you’ve found really hard to grasp, but are about to.” We can only dream of such one-on-one tutoring. The filthy rich can find a tutor for their kids for life. When in graduate and doctoral programs, we are often guaranteed such mentors if we want them. If you go to a tutoring center you can have that for a few moments. As an English teacher, I find many of my students learn best when I tutor with them individually.
Making this happen online can be easy if you have the resources. Could these guys pull this off in a public school deprived of federal and state funding?
I didn’t feel I was “actively practicing” when I was taking that Assessment class, just answering questions out of a book that, incidentally, defends standardized tests as essential to education. I had no way of knowing if my students were “actively practicing” in the online class I taught.
“We didn’t want students to memorize the formulas; we wanted them to change the way they look at the world.” This is great. Well, I’m sure they need to memorize some formulas, but the latter goal is the better. There’s no sense in giving students the keys to changing the world if they don’t know how to change the world.
Norvig also had a great solution to the problem of accountability to one’s own learning. Since students are lazy and can always put off tomorrow what is never due, he made it so that even the material can only be experienced within a certain time frame.
Let’s look at some innovations that really should be included in virtual education, not because it’s virtual education, but because it’s necessary to education in the first place:
Then he talks about further innovations. What should they be? Given that Norvig talks about these innovations only bringing virtual education back to the principles that govern traditional education, perhaps we need merely to look at the innovations that excel traditional education:
Even amidst all this, I find it important that “teachnology” be used to serve education, and not the other way around. And that’s not a new idea either. But technology should only be used when it actually improves the education situation, not just because the world is “going digital”. When radio came along we didn’t decide to end public schooling and just have students sit in their living rooms and hear lectures on radio. Why? Several reasons: They need interaction, they need teachers to be there, not every kid had a radio, even back then their attention spans would not have lasted so long hearing lectures. Yet at the same time, radio could have been used more than it was to help learning (I’m not aware of any ways in which it was used in schools).
When online classes are merely linear, they are usually dull experiences. They may provide some information and be an easy grade for some, but these experiences run counter to everything the human experience in education should be.
I recall Wendell Berry’s rules for new tools from his 1987 article, “Why I’m Not Going to Buy a Computer”. Interesting perspective.
1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.
So now it’s your turn, folks. What do you think about all this? What have been your experiences with virtual education? What innovations do you think could help keep the rise of virtual education from becoming a machine in service of technology companies instead of a tool in service of people learning?
[Read more from Caleb Coy at http://calebcoy.wordpress.com/ ]
The inspiration for this poem came from one of my favorite authors and bloggers, Timothy Ferris. For his birthday this year Tim is raising awareness and support for http://www.vittana.org/. This is a perfect example of taking a betterment opportunity and turning it into an empowerment opportunity. Please check it out!
A sunrise taught me to start anew
A father taught me to provide
A mother taught me that too
A multi-millionaire taught me to invest
A poor man taught me to take nothing for granted
A preacher taught me to confess
An atheist taught me to question everything
An elderly man taught me to work hard
An elderly woman taught me to be forgiving
A child taught me to imagine
A grownup taught me that life gets difficult
A dog taught me to be a faithful companion
A cat taught me to be independent
A sister taught me to give a hug
A brother taught me to take a hit
A professor taught me to think critically
A student taught me to study and play hard
A wise man taught me to learn perpetually
A guru taught me a better way my time to spend
A mentor taught me to learn something from everyone and everything
A sunset taught me to let things come to an end
Pithy - brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor,substance, or meaning; terse; forcible *
I have a serious problem – I like to talk. I don’t believe liking to talk is inherently bad, I just honestly love interacting and communicating with people.
As a self-curator, I am constantly working to cultivate my love of talk into a love of dialogue.
Dialogue is not about talking to, but talking with.
A mutual exchange of ideas.
You can be a great dialoguer if you develop two skills.
1. Be pithy not preachy.
2. Practice active listening.
This post focuses on skill #1.
So, without further ado…
5 Practices for Pithy Prowess
1. Practice using BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front).
BLUF is a US Army acronym that reminds us to get to the point right out the gate. Lead with your main point(s) and then provide the supporting information.
2. Keep it brief.
Before you speak or write ask yourself, “How can I say less and communicate more?”
3. Be confident.
You might not know everything, but as long as you are willing to listen and graciously receive correction, then your audience will likely appreciate and respect your confidence.
4. Express yourself.
Let your excitement, heartache, concern, ect. come through in your communication. Speak from your heart and let your personality shine (unless you have a boring personality) In that case go read: http://thecuratedself.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/stop-being-bored-start-being-awesome/
5. Communicate love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” – I Corinthians 13:1
Have any pithy remarks? Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Being bored is miserable and in the words of Kid President, “awesome is the best.”
Here are 5 steps to decreasing your boredom and increasing your awesomeness.
1. Stop being boring.
There is an old maxim that says, “only boring people get bored.” While I do not agree with the statement when it is applied to every situation, it does make a lot of the sense in general. The truth is, if you are a boring person the chances of you experiencing a boring existence are greater. So how can you stop being boring? Here are some tips:
- Surround yourself with non-boring people. As you will see this relates to point #2. We tend to become like the people we associate with. If you want to become an interesting and exiting person, make a point to interact daily with people who are already how you want to be.
- Cultivate depth in knowledge, wisdom, skills, experiences, relationships, (everything) . We live in a society that is permeated with shallowness. Stand out from the crowd by cultivating depth. Think deeply, love deeply, breath deeply.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Seriously, don’t do it.
- Dance. Don’t worry, you will find out at the end.
2. Maintain a group of diverse and interesting friends.
- Invest wholeheartedly and unconditionally into the friendships you already have. Be the friend you only wish others would be.
- If you know of someone who is doing something you would like to get involved with, then take the initiative and reach out that person. Follow the guidelines in 5 Productive Steps to Connecting With and Maintaining Great Mentors.
- Try to have lunch with at least one or two people a week. They can be new or old friends, but try and mix it up. Breaking bread with others can be extremely valuable when building and maintaining meaningful relationships.
- Spend time with people you disagree with or typically wouldn’t associate with. Nothing will contribute more to your own personal development and well-roundness than getting out of your comfort-zone and engaging with people who think and live differently than you do.
- It is also important that you spend quality time with people of like-faith to reaffirm and strengthen your shared convictions in a positive manner.
3. Be authentically selfless.
Discovering new and better ways to help and improve the lives of others through hands on involvement rarely get boring. It might be challenging and it may even be downright discouraging at times, but it won’t be boring. Helping people is productive for others and for ourselves and productive people engaged in service tend to be happier and more awesome.
4. Invest in experiences over possessions.
New toys are great, until they break, run out of batteries, or are no longer the latest and greatest. Experiences (not diamonds) are forever.
5. Take action!
Do it now. Send this post to a friend, minimize the screen and go make things happen.
Stay awesome my friends!
Before you go, you should know that my inspiration for this post came from a very distinguished world leader. He is known by the people as Kid President. Check him out.
This post pertains to several areas of interest on the Curated-Self To Do List.
But there is more…
The instructions outlined in this post can have a positive effect in almost every aspect of your life.
Seek and Obtain Mentors
Whatever you want to accomplish in life, for your self or for others, you will drastically increase your chances of being successful in your endeavors if you seek out and obtain a mentor or better yet a group of mentors.
Abraham Lincoln is often times lauded for surrounding himself with people smarter than himself. Lincoln’s strategic use of mentors and advisers likely contributed greatly to his success as a president and as a vampire hunter.
As curator I want access to the best mentors who can provide me with the most valuable insight and benefits.
Quality resources produce quality results. The same is true in mentor-mentee relationships.
So here they are – 5 simple steps:
1. Make a connection
Odds are all the great mentors in the world don’t have “call [insert your name]” on their to do list for the day. That is why you need to take the first step. Take the initiative to reach out and make a connection with the person you want to mentor you. Contact that person through e-mail, phone, or in person and keep your introduction brief and to the point. Lead with something like… ” Hi my name is ___ and I really admire your work in ___….” and then proceed to step 2.
2. Determine what makes you specifically valuable to the person and then tell your story
People connect through stories. When meeting new people you typically go through the common ritual of exchanging introductory stories that explain what you do. Nobody really cares about what you do as much as they care about what you can do for them. Understand that you will be a more effective conversationalist if you can transition your own personal story in a direction that explains what you have to offer the listener. This is true whether you are trying to make a new friend, get a date, or gain a mentor. Explain to the listener why they should care. Here are a couple things to keep in mind that will help you do just that:
- Remember that people will take interest in you if you explain how their work/example has inspired or influenced you in some specific way. Also, explain how you have or plan to take action on what you have already learned from them.
- People will want to engage with you if you can offer them a piece of advice or some sort of service that will enhance their own endeavors.
Once you have made the connection and presented your story, ask your potential mentor if he or she would have time to get together either immediately or at a later time. Be specific with a date, time and place so that he or she can check his or her schedule. Be clear that you would be happy to meet at an earlier or later time at his or her convenience. Let him or her know that if they can’t confirm immediately or get back to you soon, that you understand and you will happily make contact at a later time to talk about scheduling a get together.
3. Follow through with your story.
This should be an implied task. Be the resource that you want others to be for you. You might not be able to offer as much as someone who is already established in the field, but you do (and you must) have something to contribute. Sometimes all you have to offer is an interesting perspective, but as long as you have shown genuine interest and established value then your perspective will most likely be appreciated.
4. Be a good listener.
The key is to establish dialogue. A lot of people can talk ad nauseum about themselves (you probably meet individuals like this everyday). Don’t be that person. Master the art of dialogue. A dialogue is more than a simple conversation, it is a mutually beneficial exchange of comments and ideas. A key ingredient to a productive dialogue is that all parties engaged are good listeners. Isn’t having the opportunity to listen to someone smarter or more talented than you part of why you are seeking a mentor in the first place?
5. Don’t be a brown noser.
It is one thing to become a resource to those you admire and respect and it is an entirely other thing to be a suck up. Mentors, especially experienced ones, are pretty good at detecting brown nosers. I am not suggesting that someone who brown noses is not genuinely interested in helping out or learning from a mentor, but the way they go about it is so obnoxiousness that is often cancels out their genuineness. Here is how you can keep yourself in the right:
- Understand your place as someone learning at the feet of a great mentor, but maintain your confidence and don’t grovel. Remember you have something to teach them as well.
- Be respectful of your mentor’s time. Don’t be a nag.
- Don’t be a spotlight ranger. The idea here is don’t do or say things simply for the praise of your mentor and do the right thing even when no one is looking.
- Finally don’t seek out mentors simply for the purpose of having a name to drop. Be a genuine learner.
Bonus #6. Learn something from everyone.
Don’t just use these steps when engaging with people who are more accomplished than you, but rather use them with your friends, family, peers, superiors, subordinates, and everyone you come in contact with!
So what do you do if none of this works? Find a better mentor. Or a better blog.
A curator is an individual who is given the charge to take care of something – often times a collection. The first time I heard the term used was in reference to an art curator. Whether they are working for a museum or a private collector, the curator is ultimately responsible for the maintenance, presentation and acquisition of art that is both appropriate and enhancing for the collection. A good curator takes great pride in his or her work and is personally involved in the preservation of the art as well as educating others about the collection.
Considering the devotion that an art curator puts into his or her own work got me thinking…
What if I had the same sort of pride and sense of duty in taking care of my self?
What if I became my own self-curator?
What if I spent time focusing on the maintenance, presentation and acquisition of things that are both appropriate and enhancing for my well-being?
What if I took pride in my own personal development and personally got involved in the preservation of everything that is good in myself and the elimination of everything that is bad?
And what if I got involved in educating others to do the same?
What if you became your own self-curator?
Now I know that this idea is not new, but I believe that it is a concept worth engaging myself. Many people throughout history have written about and experimented with the idea of “self curation” so the resources abound.
As I develop myself into my own self-curator I encourage you come along too. Through this blog I will log my own experiences and as we go along we can share stories, lessons and resources. Together we can develop our own Curated-Self.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
- The Apostle Paul, I Corinthians 6:19,20