I’ve known for a while that something has been wrong with me. My symptoms: melancholic, restless, apathetic, unimaginative and so on. And it shows: I haven’t written a post here in almost 2 months.
This morning, I signed up for a 7-day trial of SiriusXM online radio with all its channels and I am rejuvenated! My current favourites are Ozzy’s Boneyard (classic hard rock), Lithium (90s Alternative Grunge) and Little Stevie (van Zant) Underground Garage (50 years + of good obscure or notable tune-age). All variety of selections are played, not just the hits or ones viewed as safe by the notoriously conservative Toronto radio stations.
Oh, and by the way: no commercials. Just some clever folks who tell us what we’ve been listening to or wade in with some amusing quips and record release info. No more machine gun deliveries of 10 ads in a row about stuff I could not care less about.
A little known fact about Q107 is that the online personalities can choose from only a measly 2,000 songs. From Aerosomith, I hear only Sweet Emotion, Walk this Way or Dream On. From Judas Priest, Living After Midnight and You Got Another Thing Coming. From the Ramones, I Wanna Be Sedated: 1 song! And so on x 2000.
But what can you expect from a company owned by a conglomerate called Standard Broadcasting? Boredom and sameness as standard fare. Its commercial-driven radio. SiriusXM.com is fee-driven and online. At $15 a month, I figure to trade in my Audible.com monthly membership (I’ve heard enough of Audible) which has supplied me with topical business, sales and social media listens. Whereas “pure” music powers my writing genes – and that’s where I am now.
How long before I am compelled to get some kind of walking around music gizmo so I can join the horde of zombie-like people who live their bliss with headphones on? M-m-m-m, not very long at this rate.
I was just about to leave for a walk when Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold came on: I had to listen to that! As I became enraptured in its languorous solo, it brought back the immortal chords and rhythm work from his earlier work with The Amboy Dukes:
Contrary to what the The Isley Brothers wrote, then sang: The best things in life are (not always) free.
For the last 3 years, I’ve been using this Open Source software on my Mac and, throughout that time, suffered through its erratic nature; specifically, its word processor has a latent non-conformity problem in regards to setting tabs and bullet points. First 2: fine; Subsequent ones, Argh-h-h-h! As well, documents saved in MS Word format cannot be read by the software it seeks to emulate.
I’m returning to Apple iWorks whose Pages word processing software flawlessly saves documents in MS Word format. It’s also more powerful, feature-wise. i also use and older version of MS Word on my old Lenovo laptop – and it works flawlessly.
Why didn’t I stick with Pages after its purchase last Spring? It seemed too different from MS Word and its look-a-like: I errored on the side of habit.
I began this year’s networking schedule with a stop in at an event in Richmond Hill organized by The Networker last Tuesday afternoon. I was impressed by the turnout (325, as it turned out) and proceeded to widen my contact base.
Of note, near the end, was a brief exchange with handwriting analyst Elaine Charal. She was in the midst of packing up but indulged me by having me write out several lines of text. I did so, went on to have several more meaningful conversations and promptly forgot about the exercise.
Having joined Meetup Toronto’s Social Entrepreneurs Network a month earlier, I decided to attend my first function last night. The attraction? Toronto-based Chalkers, a tasteful pool hall-”bistro” which has about 15 billiard tables, a band stand, a good dancing floor and a lounge.
This book analyzes the factors that make people happy and therefore successful or more so. Half way through, the conventional perspective that was drummed into me as a ‘child of a hard working Scotsman’ is turned on its ear: “that if we work hard, we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow.” The opposite, however, has been proven to be true.
1) Our brains work better when they are “happy.”
2) There are concrete things we can do to make our brains “happier.”
3) We can also overcome our inclination to procrastinate and put off these exercises.
4) When our brains are “happy,” that state of positive feelings ripples out to others and can increase productivity.
Happiness measures I’ve adopted thus far:
- Painted my office area yellow (a happy colour) and now progressively laying on dots of complimentary colours like red, orange, green, sky blue.purple and even black for contrast
- Everyday, writing down 3 positive things every day – because the brain seeks out more of the same as it runs on patterns. Also 3 things I’ve grateful for.
My recently completed Introduction to Adult Education and Training course cast teaching in a new light.
Whereas every post-secondary course I’ve taken has followed the traditional instructor-led format, this one took a far different route.
Because adults have developed a body of knowledge over their lives and careers, “best learning occurs when students are actively engaged in collaboration with other students to accomplish a shared goal.” This is the Cooperative Learning Theory in practice.
The teacher’s role in adult education is to introduce information then assign tasks to small groups of 2-3 or 4 people who uncover key learning points together through activities and structured games.
Examples include: role playing between 2 people, brainstorming, matching several terms to several meanings, demonstrations, brainstorming focused on a problem, field trips to name a few.
I found these exercises unorthodox and a little irritating at first but noticed that my recall of the course material had increased substantially week-to-week. Especially when compared to my Spring marketing course taught the traditional way where concepts were barely remembered by the time the epic tests had to be studied for.
The course, taught by Bank of Montreal corporate trainer Alison Mitchell, is comprehensive and includes: readings; discussions; activities; class presentations on random topics (designed to overcome stage fright); a 15 minute structured teaching presentation; and a detailed learning plan that reflects the accumulated lessons.
My reason for taking the course?
I’ve sales trained several individuals of varied experience on a 1-to-1 basis with excellent results and wanted to develop a more diversified course for a group.
Although I’m not going to move ahead with those plans in the immediate future (3 months), I highly recommended this course to anyone seeking to upgrade their teaching skills.
And how did I do in this course. ‘Happy to say, very well: 90%. Sweet.
There’s word abuse going on out there and it’s gettin’ ugly.
Besides being flagrant and redundant, overuse of the word ‘passionate’ is driving me crazy. Everyone’s ‘following their passion, expressing their passion, stating their passion, talking about their passion,’ and so on and so on and so on.
What ever happened to words and phrases like ‘zeal, ambition, following one’s star, applying one’s gifts, wanting to apply one’s accumulated skill sets, testing oneself in the marketplace, doing something they’ve always enjoyed doing and so on. While I admit ‘passion’ seems to encapsulate these intentions in one neat little package – tied with a bow – it’s tiresome to hear it so often.
Up until a few years ago, use of the word was limited to romance novels and a scattering of Human Resources types. But now, everyone’s in on the act. Even men, older men(!), one of which you will read about a few paragraphs from now, feel comfortable tossing the word about like so much confetti.
Everyone’s friend, Dictionary.com, defines passionate as: having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling; fervid.
Well, that’s simple enough isn’t it? But what’s missing is a mention of competence, experience, knowledge, trustworthiness, ability to dispense wise counsel and proof thereof. Steven Covey stated in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that whereas people were defined by their character up to the late 60s, by the 70s, one’s personality defined them. It’s been that way since.
The appeal to emotion is represented in this decade by the overuse of the ‘p’ word. Earlier today, while idly glossing over some 2nd degree links (contacts of people that I am officially connected to) on LinkedIn, I came across a financial services fellow who described himself as “passionate about working with people making over $100,000 a year.”
Well, Mr. So-and-so, who wouldn’t be passionate about that! Think of the commissions! (Ah, a moment of cynicism on my part). But would this guy be as passionate about working with someone making $60,000? And/or more passionate about a client pulling in $160,000? How much more?
The key question that isn’t addressed is the why part. Why is this man passionate about working with people making this amount of money?
If I was in his target market, (and who knows, I could be soon), I’d expect his pitch or tag line to reflect what he’s going to do for me, not how emotional he feels about his profession. Emotion isn’t going to provide for me during my retirement or put my kids through college – if I had any – competence and expertise will.