Sep 082013
 
Education v. Training -- many differences

As it becomes clearer & clearer how much of a difference there is between schooling and education, this particular page and a half in the most recent book that I’m reading (‘On Becoming a Leader’) really stood out to me, and will form the core of this evening’s post.

This conclusion is nothing original, as Twain, Einstein, and others have spoken of it in past  ages, and in the present day, more are making the seminal choice to focus more on education in lieu of schooling. This is a crucial choice, in my view, as what has been described so often as a ‘recession’ (in some cases with the word ‘Great’ added to amplify) wasn’t one — the past 4-6 years have been another of several waves that have been washing away the remnants of the agricultural, industrial, and corporate industrial ages, which is being replaced by the digital/internet/tribal/information age.

Therefore, this is a paradigm change, a ‘tectonic plate’ shift which is completely taking our economy in directions which, if you’re not prepared for them, will make life more challenging. The challenge, though, can be overcome and mastered by focusing on changing the information and the thinking on the front edges; once you work on your honeability, hunger, and humility, you are well on your way to flipping the switch from being reactive to this shift to being proactive.

Mr. Bennis did a terrific job with laying out the differences between education and what he  refers to as training, and which I’d contend is equivalent to schooling, as it is not a revelation that the past 3 eras of schooling tends to be heavily focused on career/vocation/job training in lieu of education. With all credit to him (see pages 42-43), here’s his table with my comments added in >

 

Education

Inductive, tentative, dynamic, understanding, ideas, broad, deep, experiential, active, questions, process, strategy, alternatives, exploration, discovery, active, initiative, whole brain, life, long-term, change, content, flexible, risk, synthesis, open, & imagination.

Training ( *what I’ve made = to schooling as a synonym for this post )

Deductive, firm, static, memorizing, facts, narrow, surface, rote, passive, answers, content, tactics, goal, prediction, dogma, reactive, direction, left brain, job, short-term, stability, form, rigid, rules, thesis, closed, common sense.

 

Bennis caps off his table with these words: “If the list [under education] seems strange to you, it’s because that isn’t the way we are usually taught. Our educational system is really better at training than educating. And that’s unfortunate.”

How true this is. I’d only swap out the word ‘educational’ for ‘schooling’. I, like many, many others have come to realize this when reflecting back, especially after beginning self-directed/liber education.  There’s a reason why past generations were more prepared for the previous shifts that took hold in America and elsewhere in the West:  They were well educated instead of being trained.

Another way ( see previous posts ) that this can be summed up is to look at it through the lens of the Latin language; ‘sensus solum’ would be equal to the latter, and ‘sensus plenior’ to the former. When you are focused on memorizing facts, rote learning, with rules and directions taking the place of ideas ( the “great conversation” ), learning to discover, synthesizing multiple genres at the same time, and retaining imagination and creativity to bring out inner genius, you turn out people into the world who are often unprepared for the shifts that come to the macro economy.

This is NOT an unsolvable problem. It is a challenge that I’ve embraced by walking the pathway I’ve chosen, and which I am privileged to share with others through the vehicle of being an owner with a business wrapped around Resolution 13 missions & Resolution 1 purpose.

May your days this week be filled with exploration, questions which lead you to look up answers in your library of books, and deep, metaphorical thinking which brings a hop to your step.  All the best, always!

Apr 242013
 
'Four Corners' of Friendship

Friendship. So very important, yet so many don’t put a time value on creating, building, and bonding with others in a healthy, win:win friendship: Why is that?

This type of analysis could fill a research paper, let alone an entire book, so this post will necessarily only address at a high level. I am using some content gathered from my own reading & the majority from a seminar that I attended a few months ago where the speakers did a tremendous job weaving together  a tapestry of just what true friendship really is.

First core is to separate the underlying skill set of attractiveness from maintenance. Both of these are learnable, and do not require luck nor talent nor false flattery (or teeth whitener 😀 ) – however, like with so many things in the consumerist, mass media culture, neither are taught all that well.

To Attract —-

Empathy

Responsive listening

Ask lots of questions

Keep good posture / stance & eye contact on the other person

Be likable & build confidence. Trust doesn’t grow overnight.

and …

Edification

Be a ‘good‘ finder at all times

Grace over law ( don’t correct )

Make the other person feel better after having been with you.

—-  —- —

This paves the way so very well for the second core:   To maintain —-

Enthusiasm

Be joyful & use big words to describe how you feel.

Focus on lending others your spirit ( especially if he/she/they are down )

Give ‘happy’

Encourager

Affirm the traits that you previously edified. (i.e., you admire how well the person speaks in front of people she doesn’t know; you think the person is very skilled in cooking steaks on the grill.)

Be a great ‘expect-or’ ( expect the best. Don’t reward mediocrity. )

Talk & share experiences, dreams, goals, & affirmations/resolutions together. Positive association is so very valuable.

—- —– —– —– —-

The talk started to wrap up through the discussion/listing of a terrific selection of books that buttress each of these four  – please feel free to comment on this post if interested in any of the titles:  Am happy to offer up personal testimonials/recommendations for them, as I’ve been blessed to have already read the vast majority of them.

The capstone was the visual of a graph of friendship achievement that looks very much like an exponential curve. In other words, the growth of true, principle based friendship may appear to be completely flat for quite some time, and you may be thinking, “Have I really helped this person know, like, and trust me (as a friend)?”    The answer is:  “Yes!” , and the pay-off, like any solid success or wealth building principle, is going to take some time to show up, but once it does, the reward will return so many blessings to your life.

Then, it becomes your responsibility to pay it forward into another’s life. Friendship isn’t Resolution 7 for nothing – it is central to ever-lasting, purposeful, resolved living.

Oct 212012
 

Today, I want to address a topic that can be sensitive to many, especially living in the economic times that we do here in the US, and that is the crucial difference between investment & expense(s).

This post will not go in depth into the textbook definitions, nor will it serve as a step by step guide, however, my goal is to just blow up a few myths and bad, or even obsolete, information re: these, and ideally, help you think deeply when it comes to your money.

First, high high level.  What is an expense?  I define it as something that you exchange your money for that doesn’t offer any long term value, return (ROI), or which grows your wealth or reduces your debt burden.  Let’s briefly cover each of these:

1. Long term value. Many excellent authors/business owners/entrepreneurs have made crystal clear that money is NOT something you simply trade in exchange for a good or object; it is much more – money should create memories, and most definitely, bring something back to you that doesn’t simply last for a day, a week, or a month. What you get back must have value that carries on a least a year, and even better, a decade or more.

2. Return ( ROI ). Rate of return, for the purposes of this post, is simply summed up as —  did/will you receive something of value back, over an adult time frame, for what you spent your money on?  ROI is not necessarily just measured in financial terms (such as if you were able to pay down debt quicker by buying a financial pack to apply principles that you were never taught); it can also be measured intangibly: Did you sign up any new clients in your consulting business due to that seminar on people skills you attended?  Have you been able to get on the career path/track that you wanted after pursuing more credentialist based (professional track) education?

3. Reduction of debt / Growth in wealth. Growing one’s wealth/assets runs inversely to lowering one’s debt(s)/liabilities. And, keep in mind, a mortgaged home is a LIABILITY, not an asset, unless you have rented it out and are receiving recurring rental income. From that perspective, expenses need to be reduced, including paying off consumer debt, and eventually investing in ‘hard’ assets, like bullion metals, later on down the line. Growing one’s wealth requires buying back time, having a systems based model, understanding the power of compounding (of interest, of invested monies, et al.), & delaying expense based gratification until you can truly pay or whatever you want in cash based equivalent(s).

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, let’s move on to investments. Investment is not what you may think!  Let’s start w/ understanding that investment in one’s mind most definitely counts just as much as investment in something paper-based ( like stocks, mutual funds, bonds, or REITs ). The vehicle of a 401(k) or its functional equivalent has only been around for 30+ years, yet it seems like it, or the becoming obsolete pension plan gets mentioned most when this word is discussed in the mainstream of society.

Don’t get me wrong:  these are all investments, however, how much stronger is your mental fitness if you just put 10% of your W-2 income into a 401(k)?   Will you be closer to true wealth?  Unlimited time & money choices?   Perhaps a step or two, or ten, yet think bigger and more metaphorical (in depth):  what about directing some of these monies into your mind?   That’s a key threshold to cross when it comes to understanding even better the critical distinction b/w expenses and investment.

Here are some examples of investment now that we’ve set this foundation in place:

1.  Building a library.  Whether its a virtual (read: e-book) library, meaning you invest in an e-reader/tablet & download books online or via app, or the other way, where you buy paperbacks or subscribe to receive them monthly, this is a perfect starter example for someone who wants to invest in the mind.  We’re all worth minimum wage from the neck down; all the great leaders of history, from Napoleon, to Teddy Roosevelt, to Thomas Jefferson — they read. A LOT. Books matter. They expand your horizons, expose you to lessons you can learn from by living someone elses’ experiences, and you can apply what you read to your life immediately.

2.  Audio Learning.  Subscribing to, or buying audio material – whether books, podcast downloads, mp3’s, CDs from seminars – they all count. Audio is an excellent complement to reading, as it engages different areas of  your brain, and rounds out further the investment in your mental fitness.

3. Attending Seminars / Streaming webinars. Association with other climbers, those who are on the success curve of life, and whom understand the critical importance of ‘You, Inc’ investing, know that being around others who are growing from the inside out, who value personal change, will put monies into this category.

4. DVD / web videos ( YouTube ).  Another option as technology continues to evolve is to purchase, subscribe, or click on a link to have vids sent to you to watch. Visual learning on your own time is still another investment vehicle that will pay great dividends on your leadership development/self help journey.

5. The final one I’ll list is a BIG one. I would strongly and unequivocally urge everyone to do this:  Start a business. Own something, an asset that is yours, which will generate income that is not subject to a third party and will allow you to direct monies away from expenses and into the above options I listed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To put a capper on this post:  I wholeheartedly believe that entrepreneurship and self-directed learning, investment understood in a much different way than what is the “CW” , and outside the realm of pure ‘credentialist’ institutions, is a crucial element to being able to maintain freedom (see my earlier blog posts) & to strengthen your financial standing in our internet/connected/information age world. The industrial age is gone, regardless of what the politicians are saying in this election cycle; the sooner you invest in ‘You, Inc’, and turbo-boost your mental fitness, the better off you will be.

All the very best & God Bless.