Friday, July 20, 2012

When it Comes to Decision Time

When it comes to a point in time when you need to decide -- either you make the decision or you let circumstances dictate it.  Take possession.  Decide to decide.  In order to decide you need:

1. Identify and fill in the gaps of what you need to know.
2. Find someone reliable that you can ask for information or at least, you can ask to hear out your thinking process.
3. Determine how much you need to find out for yourself versus how much you can ask others for (and rely on others for).
4. Remember my comments on thinking fast and slow.  Make sure to gear your decision based on its priority and your intuition about it.

Overcoming the Unfamiliar

As the world grows more complicated and complex, we face the unfamiliar more often.  Philosophers postulate that there is growing complexity in the world.  To me it seems true that we have to handle more communications and from more varied platforms.  I do have the following: desk computer; laptop; smartphone; and telephone.  That's just the devices.  Then I have multiple email accounts and multiple other accounts online.  Overcoming the unfamiliar comes down to two key actions.  First is to commit to mastering or learning the new device, task, or area.  Second is to set aside the time to spend on it.  If you cannot tell me your commitment level, I cannot help guide you in your Find & Learn activities.  Gearing your learning has to do with commitment and priorities.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trends #7: Dangerous Education

It's long been a truism that our education system kills curiosity.  It certainly is shown that the number of questions students ask diminish as they progress through the K-12 grades.  Given the challenging subjects and dynamic state of knowledge, they should be increasing.  In a recent Forbes magazine article (see http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessicahagy/2012/05/02/nine-dangerous-things-you-were-taught-in-school/2/), called "Nine Dangerous Things You Were Taught in School," it suggests some reasons.  Many of these relate to our discussions of Find & Learn.  The following are key misleading and untrue lessons that we absorb while in school.  I have chosen the ones I see as most important; they are:

#1 The people in charge have all the answers -- we do listen to voices of authority.  But we must concern ourselves that the authority has been achieved legitimately and that it is the voice of wisdom.  We need to confirm the conclusions of anyone.
#2 Learning ends when you leave the classroom -- now more than ever this is not true.  While employed in the Bell System, I earned CEU credits worth about another degree (BA in Marketing), since I had to learn so much about market research, product management, and marketing principles to be effective in my role as market analyst.
#9 The purpose of your education is your future career -- again, this couldn't be further from the truth.  It would see that in an economic downturn, you would need to focus this way.  But thinking skills, writing skills and a generalist background will get you much further in life.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Desert Pete

Still puzzling over the meaning of the Desert Pete story.  Came upon a further explanation of its sources (see http://www.businesstoolchest.com/articles/data/20000703154126.shtml).  This led to one of the additional meanings of the story (quoting from article above):

"So, even today, some 30 years after I first heard that song, I am still trying to be careful to: 
1) Follow the Instructions of others who have gone before. Many other people have passed this way before me, and many others will come along after me. In the word of Business, I believe I need to learn to do what was done by those who have been successful in Business. I should follow their example; copy their success; and do what they did, in order to succeed! There's no need to make a new road! No need for me to re-invent the wheel! I should use the wheel that another invented. I need to follow the road that another has paved! 

Much of information seeking is to find this trail.  To find out what others learned before striking out on my own.  There is a cautionary note to "pay heed" before failing.  I think this applies to the approach we have to finding information too.  Do we just rush forward and aim for and accept the latest comments about a topic?  Or do we look back, spend the time, to mine what was known before?  Think about it.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Food or Faucet Analogy

Have you heard about the food analogy to information consumption.  Yes, you might think of the content you absorb - television, radio, web, newspapers, etc. as eating.  How much do you eat?  Is what you are eating satisfying you...good for you?   We complain that we cannot find what we need but that we are constantly hit with news.  The better analogy is a water faucet.  You can gain control over what you see and read.  You just need to think of it that way.  Consider what you spend time on and what content you obtain from an outlet.  Turn it off and on as needed.  Turn it down to the level you need also.  These controls with media and news is possible.