As a follow-up to seeing my sister’s kids last night in their Halloween costumes, I offered to take her boys to Jabbers so she could have some time to herself. Those boys were excited to spend time with their favorite uncle, although in reality they didn’t spend much time with me directly because we went to Jabbers. It’s a place with lots of open space and toys for children to play under the supervision of a parent or guardian. I’ve never been here before, but the kids have, so they knew the drill. As soon as they were in the door, they took off their shoes and wanted to go play.
Eventually I was helped by the one staff member present who didn’t seem to have much interest for providing efficient service. She was slow as molasses and nowhere near as sweet. But once I got in, I was somewhat impressed by the offerings. There’s lots of things there to entertain the kiddies and some really nice seats for the adults.
They also have a café with the usual overpriced fare. When my nephews started asking for a treat, I gave them a choice. They could help me do some grocery shopping and get a treat there at the store, or they could just play longer at Jabbers. In the end, they manipulated me into getting both. They started by saying they wanted to play. Then at the end when we went to leave, it became apparent that they were going to be a huge problem for me without some sort of treat to satiate them somehow. So we rushed to Winco where they were good helpers (for the most part) in helping me with my shopping and got a treat in exchange.
As they were quietly consuming their selected goodie in the back seat of my car, I realized that this is why the candy and soda pop industries are thriving. This is why McDonald’s happens even though it’s not high in nutrition. Parents worn down by the day and their kids are susceptible to giving their kids whatever just to get them to be quiet and contained. I’m not sure how I’ll be with that challenge since I’m still single. Wait — actually I do know because I just succumbed to it today! I guess that makes me normal.
I did enjoy my time helping out my sister and hope that I can do so again in the future. Only next time, I suggested to her, maybe I could take just one of the boys instead of both and then take turns spending time with each of them. Unless of course we go back to my place to watch Legend. They were pretty mesmerized by that movie last night!
Wednesdays are my busy days this semester. It starts with a hybrid class at 8:30 in the morning at CWI in Nampa, after which I meet with students during office hours, grab a quick bite for lunch, rush over to BSU in downtown Boise for an engineering lab in the afternoon, then rush back to Nampa for a stats class followed by another math class, and then another quick bite to eat for dinner followed by my one-a-week stats class that starts at 7:00 pm. By the time that class starts I’m beat, let alone when it finishes.
So when my sister and I talked about her bringing her kids by to visit and show off their Halloween costumes, we recognized the realities of my schedule on Wednesdays. I said I would text her when I got in.
And I did. Since I didn’t know how long it would be before they came over, I started chomping on a jack o’ lantern pizza I had picked up on the way home and started a movie. I’ve got several choices appropriate for Halloween in my collection, but this year I decided to watch Legend, the 1985 classic cult fantasy film starring a very young Tom Cruise as well as Mia Sara (think Sloane from Ferris Bueller) and Tim Curry.
Curry does an outstanding job with whatever he does, but his portrayal of the evil character Darkness is hands down outstanding, especially buried beneath all that prosthetic for his costume. This was 1985, so no green screen or CGI at work here. His look is absolutely impressive, and when you combine it with his superb acting skills, you get a real dynamite performance. Sara also delivers a solid performance, and Cruise — well, Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise, especially in the early portion of his career. There’s a certain innocence to this performance, though, because he is awfully young. Plus it’s well before he went crazy while married to Nicole.
At length, the kiddos arrived, and they looked great in their costumes, especially my almost-two-year-old niece dressed as a hippo. She was rambunctious and full of energy as always. My nephews, on the other hand, were really interested in the movie Legend. So I gave them a brief introduction, and let them watch the movie while I visited with my sister.
It wasn’t long before both of those boys became mesmerized with the movie. I can’t say I blame them. We were watching the theatrical version with the Tangerine Dream soundtrack. Jon Anderson of Yes fame (one of my favorite rock groups growing up) has a style that is perfectly fit for this film. I’m sure the Jerry Goldsmith track on the director’s cut is great, too, but come on. I know it’s Jerry Goldsmith, but it just doesn’t work as well for me as Tangerine Dream. Too bad that version of the film is really hard to purchase. I don’t even own a copy; I have to watch it streaming through my Amazon Prime account.
At length, my sister needed to go, and so I offered to let her boys come back and finish watching the movie another time. They eagerly agreed and then expressed excitement for our play date tomorrow — which reminds me. I need to get to bed. It was great to have them visit and see their costumes. I’m not sure what next year will bring since I’m likely to be out of state somewhere attending grad school, but whatever the future brings, I’m not letting it stop me from enjoying the present.
I was shopping for groceries the other day and saw a stand at the end of an aisle offering English muffins on sale. It was then that an idea hit me. Why not use an English muffin to make French toast? It sounded intriguing, so I decided to purchase some English muffins and conduct a small experiment in my kitchen.
I started by mixing together the following ingredients:
1 Tbl vanilla
1 tsp sugar
½ cup milk
In retrospect, I should have used only 1/4 cup milk, because it gave me way more egg mixture than I needed, and it was a diluted mixture at that.
Once my skillet got up to heat, I dipped halves of English muffin into the egg mixture, holding it down with a fork for a few seconds to let all the nooks and crannies absorb more egg mixture.
As you can see, my skillet was large enough to cook four pieces, which is all I wanted for an experiment. I tried pouring additional egg mixture on the individual pieces in the skillet, but I just ended up dumping egg mixture in the skillet, which I separated from the French toast pieces with my spatula.
After flipping the pieces, I tried spooning extra egg mixture into individual pieces, but that didn’t get me very far. Again, I should have used only 1/4 cup milk.
In the end I served my finished experiment with butter and maple syrup along with a side of hash browns and sausage links. Again, I think using half the milk would make it better, but as it was, it turned out pretty good! I might be making this again in the future, but with winter just around the corner, I have some other experiments I want to try as well as some tried-and-true baking standards to fill my kitchen time. I’ll be sure to post on what glories come forth from my kitchen.
Having decided to back to graduate school, I registered to take the Graduate Record Exam. It’s a requirement for all the PhD programs that interest me, so there was no way out of it.
I took the test a couple of years back when I was playing with the idea of going back to school. My scores weren’t as high as I would like, but I didn’t study all that much for it — just a few hours in the couple of days before the test.
This time around, I’m much more serious about entering a PhD program, so I invested money and about 10-15 hours of study a week for two months before the test. During the test, I felt the pressure of time in each section but didn’t feel the test was any more difficult this time around. I felt the money and time I invested to deepen my preparation were paying off — that is, until I finished and saw my scores. The essays have to be graded by a human being, of course, but both my verbal and analytical scores were lower than when I last took the test!
Yes, that’s right. I spent money and time to prepare more and did worse! This is Exhibit A in my case that the GRE is a scam.
The GRE claims to provide an indication of how well a student will do in graduate school. But I’ve been to graduate school for my master’s degree and can tell you that knowing the definition of some obscure word that no one beyond the top 1% of the most hibernated on the planet use or deciphering a simple math question asked with tricky wording under a time crunch do not prepare anyone for graduate school. In fact, the only thing I can determine the GRE measures accurately is how well one can take the GRE.
So if the GRE doesn’t make a difference in grad school, what does? Here’s my top-three list:
1. Hard work
In grad school, I observed that master’s programs are like indentured servitude whereas doctoral programs are outright slavery. Though not a slave to my major professor since I was after only the master’s degree, I still had to work hard to complete the program.
Early in my grad school days I learned that graduate credits are not the same as undergraduate credits. You often have the same book and course content, but you do at least twice the work, having extra homework problems or special assignments that the undergrads don’t have. And then there is the research, which is no fly-by-night and run-from-your-garage sort of gig. You’ve got to do what is needed to make measurable progress in reasonable time. That means no slouching!
There’s no way the GRE can really test that. I worked hard prepping for two months for that test and look where that got me!
Speaking of no slouching, grad school requires perseverance. You got to have grit to see your journey all the way to the end of the road, because very often the plans you make — especially in terms of research — don’t go the way you planned. Sometimes the answers you need aren’t immediately forthcoming, and you have to keep searching until you find them. There’s no back of the book to check for the answer, and very often you begin looking without really knowing where to look.
The endurance and tenacity needed to complete grad school go way beyond what any timed test can ascertain. On a standardized test, you can complete your section that lasts 30 or 35 minutes, and it’s OK to give up because you’re done. Grad school is a very different animal. I remember weeks of doing research followed by even more weeks of writing and rewriting again and again my thesis.
The essay portions of the GRE are only a half hour each, and there’s no way they can reveal anything more than the ability to construct a basic structure for a document. Producing a thesis requires so much more. I can only imagine that is even more true for a dissertation.
3. People skills
And then there were the endless confrontations with my major professor. Let’s just say we didn’t get along. I just didn’t take well to cutting remarks about my religion. Were my major professor to get that treatment, it would just motivate him to prove the other person wrong. Because it would work for him, he thought it would work for me. But instead it motivated the man I was 15 years ago to find the nearest cave and wait until the storm blew over. Some times that saw me through, and other times I needed to grab my rain gear and face the storm.
Problems like that aside, no one succeeds alone. Everyone needs help along the way. There’s a whole host of folks who support different steps along the journey in a grad program, and knowing how to work with people effectively to procure the result you desire is essential. I learned early in my career that appreciating the “invisibles” — the ones who do the jobs no one else wants to do or who do important work back stage or outside the limelight — can often be the difference between having a really easy job or a really difficult one.
No standardized test can certify the ability to work with people. But that fancy piece of wallpaper in my office that says “Master of Science” might. So might the decade I spent working in industry.
Could I score higher on the GRE? Probably. But when I consider the time I would need to invest to do it, I’m not sure how to make that work. I have to spend a minimum number of hours working so I can pay rent and other expenses. If I had that paid for and could spend whatever time I needed to do it without sacrificing this sleep thing I love, I could score higher. I could do just about anything.
But my end goal is not getting into a particular program or even getting the PhD degree. My end goal is a full-time job teaching college-level engineering classes. The PhD degree is just one step along the way to make myself more competitive. Certainly graduating from a top name school carries some weight. But there’s other factors, like building a good network of contacts, that play just as much if not more so into getting the job I want.
I won’t be scammed into spending more money on a test that scores me lower after I spend substantially more time preparing for it. All told, all my scores for different test administrations are in the same neighborhood, so I’m resigned to take my GRE scores as they are and do the best I can with them. I’m going to play to other factors that influence the outcome I want, some of which are real strengths for me.
The top three qualities I’ve mentioned for grad school success are among my strengths. The decade I spent working in industry taught me that I don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to succeed. I can be (and am) a work horse and keep working hard, persevering until my goal is reached. I also persevere in continuous improvement efforts, always looking for and striving after that next level of performance. And forging partnerships with the right people can help with achieving that success as well.
If a particular school or program is insistent that I have a higher GRE score for admission, then to me that simply indicates that school is not somewhere I am supposed to be. Doors will open to the place where I need to be and close to the places where I do not need to be. That’s been true all my life, and I don’t see why that should change any time soon. So now I move on to the next step and whittle down my list of potential schools for applications!
No, I'm not talking about a classic Hootie and the Blowfish tune. I'm talking about Facebook.
I've put this off for a while. I knew it was coming, and I didn't want to face it. I wanted to hope -- indeed, I did hope -- that it would not come to this, that somehow I might escape what seemed inevitable. For years I never gravitated to social media. It just never attracted me. There's probably multiple reasons for that, but the biggest reason is probably that the whole virtual reality deal just seemed fake to me. I still remember a few years back when I reached a point in my life where I hungered after real and declared that I wanted real in my life. Social media just seems so fake, the opposite of the real I hungered after then and still do today. And so I turned my back on social media, which had no place in my life.
And now that is changing.
Why?, you might ask. The question is more than fair. I've staunchly opposed my own participation in social media for years. I wanted real. And in that search for real, I entered a self-improvement kick that transformed into creating my best life. And then I started wanting to help others create their best life. And that's where it stopped.
You see, I reached a point where I could not progress further towards accomplishing my goals without other people. And sadly, those people are where just about everybody is these days. Yep, you guessed it --- social media, and specifically Facebook.
It's been about three years, I think, since I last logged into Facebook. Clearly I'm not dependent on social media to enjoy my life. I'm not sure how often I'll post or what I'll post. I am sure that I still won't put Facebook on my phone. I'll probably check in no more than once a day, if that. But I need to be where the people are, and unfortunately, it's inside this fake space of social media.
That said, I've reached a point in my life where I'm more determined than in past times to chase after my dreams and find ways to make them happen. I'm more willing to commit myself to whatever it takes to make those dreams real. Again, I'm not sure on all the details of what my relationship with Facebook will be going forward. But I do know I'm going to do what I need to do to achieve my goals and make my dreams reality.
Everyone loves the Fourth of July. And what’s not to love? Hamburgers, hot dogs, fireworks — everyone loves that, right?
Hey, I’m all for that, except maybe the fireworks part. My metabolism has shifted enough now that staying up that late just to see something that in large measure I’ve seen countless times before just doesn’t make sense to me. But hey, if that turns you on, go for it.
Unless you want to do it in my neighborhood. This brings me to why I hate the Fourth of July. My neighborhood is filled with yahoos who think the Fourth of July is excuse enough to keep everyone up late at night. How am I supposed to get a good night’s sleep when my neighborhood is turned into a war zone?
The only way I can get that good night’s sleep is to get a room in a hotel. I’d rather go camping — fireworks are prohibited in the forest — but since I have to teach classes the day before and after the holiday, a hotel is my only option. I have to spend money — and good hotels aren’t cheap — all because the yahoos in my neighborhood want to turn the place into a war zone. And this year I get to pay for four nights because July 4 is on a Tuesday. They’ve been shooting fireworks off since Saturday night. Not that much, but enough to get on my nerves.
I hate that I have to spend money this time every year because I can’t sleep in the house I call home! All this is because the “happiness” some yahoos have decided to pursue contradicts my pursuit of my happiness, which at night includes a good night’s sleep. Apparently, their desire to party takes precedence over my pocketbook.
Somehow I don’t think that’s what the Founding Fathers sacrificed so much for.
That’s part of why I don’t celebrate the Fourth of July. The Fourth of July has become all about a huge party that starts during the day and lasts late into the night. I celebrate Independence Day and the birth of a country founded on the idea that people should be free to pursue their own happiness so long as it doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s freedom.
Our country hasn’t always lived up to that idea, but I think it’s still woven into the idea of America itself and therefore something that at least a portion of the populace will always strive to realize.
If your happiness is partying, I don’t have a problem with that. Just don’t prevent me from having the happiness I find in a good night’s sleep without having the extra expense of going somewhere else to get it.
And with that, it’s getting late, so I’m off to bed. :)
In my last post reviewing the autobiography of Andrew Carnegie, I promised a review of his famous essay included in the end of that tome. Carnegie was wrote numerous books and articles, but he is probably best remembered for his essay “The Gospel of Wealth.” In this essay, Carnegie sets himself apart from his multimillionaire colleagues by declaring his philosophy towards wealth.
First, Carnegie clarifies what he means by wealth. We’re not talking here about the 401k retirement account of some middle-class factory worker. We’re talking about so much money you could fill an ocean and swim in it. Wealth in that sense is possessed by a small percentage of the population.
Carnegie defines the problem presented by wealth — the kind that absolutely boggles the mind — in the very first sentence of his essay: “The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship.” In other words, how can the mega-wealthy be mega-wealthy without the impoverished classes rising up in a repeat of the French Revolution?
Carnegie begins his solution by defending the existence of the mega-wealthy:
I agree completely. Those “refinements of civilization” benefit all who embrace them.
He then enters a brief and very general examination of history as a background for competing economic theories of socialism, communism, and individualism. He defends individualism by referencing the great accomplishments made by men of creativity and industry, accomplishments which have benefited society as a whole and which could not be possible in societies in which the government distributed the rewards of those who worked to those who did not. I agree wholeheartedly. As Carnegie says, socialism and communism are “not evolution, but revolution.”
As much as I agreed with Carnegie during this first half of his essay, I would agree with him even more during the second half. The question he posed in his very first sentence now takes a new form: What should the mega-wealthy do their wealth? Carnegie presents three possibilities:
Carnegie takes something of a side road here by defending the estate tax. In my younger days, I thought estate taxes were an affront to freedom. But reading Carnegie, I find myself agreeing with him that high estate taxes are beneficial for society and therefore a good thing. High taxes on an activity discourage that activity, and I agree with Carnegie that distributing wealth after one’s death should be discouraged. The wealthy should distribute it for the public good before they die. But Carnegie takes it one step further.
I don’t like the arrogance implied towards the end of the paragraph-length sentence, but I do like that the man of wealth is the one who decides how his wealth should be distributed. Some of used this sentence to argue that wealth does not really belong to the mega-wealthy but rather to the community because that wealth would never exist without the labor of the community. It’s not far then to step into socialism or communism with the idea that the State is best disposed to decide how to distribute wealth because they really own it after all.
I disagree there. The laboring classes do not own any of the wealth amassed by the captains of industry. They own only what they are paid, and that is according to the agreement they made when they gave their labor. If the captain of industry have paid them according to that agreement, then they have been dealt with justly because they have received all that is their own. They didn’t agree to labor for the wealth of the mega-wealthy; they agreed to labor for their wages. So long as they receive those wages, they have what is their own. That’s what they agreed to.
Again, I like how Carnegie proposes the man of wealth to be the one who decides how the wealth that he amassed should be distributed. This arrangement is entirely consistent with the principle of individualism Carnegie defended earlier in his essay. Carnegie also goes on to decry almsgiving, saying that means should be provided only to those who are willing to help themselves. Put together, this proposal provides a wonderful solution to the question Carnegie proposes at the start.
But Carnegie saves his best punch for last.
Wow! That’s something else. “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.” What a powerful philosophy! As I said in my last post, I don’t admire everything about Carnegie, but I can’t help but admire this. And it’s really made me think about my own philosophy towards wealth. In large measure I agree with Carnegie. I intend to die as penniless as I came into the world. I’m not sure exactly how much money will pass into my hands, but whatever the amount I’ll gift it all away before I die.
There’s much more I could say about Carnegie’s essay. And I’d love to write something tha continues the conversation about the essay based on someone who disagrees with Carnegie or who thinks his essay actually supports socialism or communism. But for now, I’ll simply express my gratitude that I read the essay and had the moments of reflection that it gave me.
I’ve started to take some advice I’ve heard repeatedly over the years, that advice being to learn from the best. You don’t have to know someone personally for that someone to be your mentor. I’m very glad for that, because I have a certain admiration for Andrew Carnegie. I use the word certain to qualify my admiration. No man or woman is perfect, and so everyone has flaws. This means we have to separate the wheat from the chaff in our mentors — receiving the wheat while rejecting the chaff.
Why admire this man? Wasn’t he one of those robber barons from a past century? Yes, he was an extremely wealthy man, at one time the richest in the world. But he was far different from his millionaire associates. Long before he made his fortune, he determined that he needed only so much and that the excess should be given away to help others. He truly believed that it was the duty of every wealthy person to give away whatever fortune had been acquired.
That’s why I was thrilled to find his essay “The Gospel of Wealth” included in the book when I went looking for a copy of his autobiography. I’ll have more on that important work later, mostly because I have quite a bit to say about it. But for now, I’d like to review the main event, which is his autobiography.
Being autobiography, there is that temptation to gloss over events and make the result seem more glamorous than they actually were. Such is certainly the case with Carnegie’s description of the Homestead riots. Notice I said riot, not strike. It may have started out as a strike, but it turned violent and so became a riot.
I find it most interesting that Carnegie barely mentions Henry Frick at all and passes off the unfortunate turn of events as the responsibility of his associates whom he doesn’t name but to whom (as he claims) he left control of affairs. He also repeats like a broken phonograph the mantra of “Well, everyone knows that if Andy had been here, nothing drastic would have happened. Everyone loves Andy, and so he could have calmed the situation before it went too far.”
The truth is a far cry from that. Carnegie’s mail correspondence with Frick paints a very different picture. Carnegie knew what Frick what doing and how he was approaching the labor problem. In fact, Carnegie had hired Frick precisely because of how he handled labor problems. Frick had a reputation for ruthlessly destroying unions and leaving the hands of other associates “clean.” The idea that Carnegie had no idea how Frick was handling the Homestead riot or that he would not have condoned Frick’s actions is believable only to someone who doesn’t possess more information than what Carnegie presents in his autobiography.
Not all of what Carnegie presents is a shady tale. Some of his lessons learned about life and business are really valuable, and these lessons are one of the principal reasons why I admire Carnegie. Some of his social and religious views are interesting as well, although I must especially part ways with him when he declares himself a fervent disciple of Herbert Spencer. This popular late-19th-century philosopher was most famous for applying Darwin’s theory of evolution to social, economic, and political settings. Carnegie adamantly believed that everything would get only better and better as the stronger elements of society gained power and control while the weaker elements faded away.
I don’t think history has told that story. Are our political institutions less corrupt today than they were 100 or even 200 years ago? Is society more free today than it was in those days? I would argue that we are much less free today than we were then given that the government controls and regulates much more of the activity of its citizens today than it did then. Add to that the taxes we pay today (income tax didn’t really catch on in this country until the end of Carnegie’s life), and what we see is the devolution of society, not its evolution.
Throughout his text, Carnegie tries to make that evolution argument in the realm of religion, but again I would counter him. Carnegie believes that man is progressing towards a more and more refined understanding of God. I don’t believe that is true of society as a whole, especially given that more and more people today don’t even believe in God. Among those who do, we have more churches today than we did 100 years ago. You would think if our understanding of God were being refined we would come together more instead of splintering apart.
All that said, Carnegie’s autobiography is a very pleasant read, especially for someone like myself who has an abiding interest in the late 19th century and early 20th century, the true dawn of the modern technological revolution that drives our society today. My only real gripe with it is that Carnegie never finished it. He worked on it off and on in the years after Teddy Roosevelt was President, but then the text abruptly ends.
Again, it’s good to have information not provided in Carnegie’s text. His text ends just as what we know today as World War I begins. That war absolutely devastated Carnegie, so much so that he entered a very deep depression. Had he lived just one more year longer, he would have seen the end of that war. I’m sad to see the life of a man I admire end that way, but I’m glad that those who came after him did not try to finish his work. Let it stand or fall on Andy and Andy alone.
Overall, I recommend the book to anyone interested in hearing more about Carnegie’s life from his own mouth. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. His abrupt, unfinished ending and the points of disagreement I’ve already outlined really drop it to 3 stars, but the life and business lessons are really quite valuable and so raise the rating up a star. I did enjoy reading the book and look forward to reading a more exhaustive biography on his life in the near future.
Reading this book and thinking back on my own career experiences, I found myself nodding my head in agreement and saying “Yep!” over and over again. I wish I had this book when I was starting out so that I didn’t have to learn those lessons in the School of Hard Knocks. I might also have had a very different career as an engineer, since some of the hard knocks that taught me important lessons also closed the door of opportunity to me on occasion. Now that I have a new career, I can learn from the past and then put it behind me.
Perhaps the best idea I gained from this book was the need to be more careful in who surrounds me. We all tend to become our social orbit, because we are biologically hardwired to acclimate our sense of “normal” from the people immediately around us. Mediocre performers often are surrounded by others who think that mediocre performance is good enough. If you want to be more successful, then surround yourself with the people who have the type of success that you want. Do what they do long enough, and the success they enjoy will be yours to enjoy as well.
Given my recent retreat, which I continue to hail as my best vacation ever, I found this book refreshing and energizing. I give the book only 4 out of 5 stars, though, because the ending was . . . well, not really there. There’s no epilogue or final chapter that brings everything together or provides a summary. The book just ends. Ironic indeed that an author writing such a great tome on self-discipline couldn’t muster a little more of that virtue to “finish the job.”
Be that as it may, I still recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about specific ways to become more successful in any area of life, be it professional or personal. It’s definitely a quick read (well, at about 300 pages, quick for me) but packed with powerful information. I’m glad to add this tome to my library and even happier to get it in hardcover for such a bargain price!
Today I completed what appears will become an annual tradition for me. I took a vacation that I am calling Retreat 17. The idea was to get away from everyone and everything in my world so that I could reassess everything in my life. This last semester especially was rough on me, notwithstanding the great love and appreciation my students expressed at the end of it all. Add to that some bleak circumstances in my personal life, and you get my need to just get away, reassess, and rejuvenate myself to embrace a clear path with better alignment to what I really want out of my life.
I chose Wyoming’s Star Valley for several reasons: surrounded by scenic mountains, fresh air, cooler temps from the higher elevation, and not a lot of people and certainly not anyone I knew. I spent most of my time there (4 days in all) doing some deep thinking about everything in my life. And I didn’t just tackle anything randomly. I made a list of all the aspects of my life I wanted to reassess and start anew. With that list in hand, I took each aspect individually and applied a five-step process:
I used this book very successfully in my first-semester-experience course this past term. It uses social science research to support a model for making positive changes that last. This model cites six influences that can derail our change efforts unless we account for them. Most people plan for one or two of these influences at the most, leaving the rest of those influences to work against them. It’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
I followed these steps for every individual part of my life, so little wonder I filled 71 handwritten pages in my notebook. From those pages I extracted the individual action items (271 in all) that can get me started taking my life to the next level. Admittedly, 271 action items is a lot, but I need do only one item at a time. And having lots to do is great. It gives hope I’ve got endless opportunity to turn my life around, a realization that brings with it great empowerment.
I returned home yesterday feeling very powerful and very hopeful I can live the life I want. I spent some time today finishing the process for the final few items on my life aspect list. Now I have a new attitude. In that sense, my vacation was truly recreational because I came back re-created. This truly was the best vacation I’ve ever had. I’ll have to do this again next year!
Here you can find news and announcements I want to share. In between I'll include reviews of the books I read. Find me on Goodreads.com for more book reviews.