WOW! AGAIN, WOW!!!

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Are you familiar with Quora – the website and app? It was recommended in a recent discussion that I check it out. Which I did. It’s a site where anyone can submit, read, answer, and rate (upvote, downvote) questions and answers on topics that interest you. I registered, completed my profile, and chose topics that interest me. For example, I checked the civil war among others because of my strong interest in anything dealing with this part of USA history.

So, now I can go to the Quora website / app and find questions associated with my topics of choice – as well as those aligned with my profile. For example, I see questions associated with Lehigh University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Connecticut because of my profile. And I get questions (I presume because of my faculty career) dealing with major college period choices and their impact on life and career beyond college.

These questions have really astounded me – to say the least. A few examples: How do I get over lost years (2 years) in college? Why is everything in life a competition? How do I find my real purpose in life? Should I prioritize earning money or getting a education in my early 20s? How do I deal with failure as I have failed in every field of life? Get the drift? To be sure, some of these are likely from individuals seeking to ask that question from hell, the one that didn’t come to mind until they decided “I need a really good question.” But I’m sure that some of them represent true personal concerns. Hence this post’s title – WOW!!!

Some of these honest questions, maybe most, are from people at troubled points in their life. Regardless of whether they should be “there” at this point in their life or not, they are AND they need to get help – including but certainly not exclusively from the Quora answers and comments!

Here’s my real concern: Where were the family, teachers, clergy, and community that should have facilitated the development of skills / responsibilities these people need to at least recognize these questions and concerns? And, if the answer is something similar to “We did our part to help them develop those skills” – my response is “No you didn’t; you need to revisit those efforts and revise how you can really make a difference!!!” Your lack of success and all of our lack of understanding that we need to be more vigilant are the reasons, to me at least, there are so many instances of devaluing one’s value and ability to contribute, leading too often (once is too often) to the suicides or law-breaking behaviors we read and hear about so often. Please note I’m not pointing fingers; I include myself when I say WE can and must do better. Contributing to Quora postings might be a good effort to add.

As an educator, I am a absolute believer that the number one goal of formal education must be the facilitating of all students’ development of at least four skills: Effective Learning, problem identifying / solving, communicating, and working in groups. Absolute, number one… Troubling situations / concerns in anyone’s life is, indeed, a problem to be solved! With these skills, our students and all of us can recognize the existence of the problem at least. And our students and all of us can get any assistance we need to deal with this problem.

As always, thanks for Considering this post. If you have thoughts, feedback is always sought If you believe it has value, I’d appreciate your sharing it with others.

LEARNING -RANDOM / NON-LINEAR

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My belief: Learning (and any situation faced) will yield a better result more quickly IF approached as a ‘problem to be solved.’ That procedure used will be random and non-linear to achieve the optimum learning.

My personal problem solving procedure has the acronym, OSCAR. THE ‘S’ is for Speed Bumps, the random brainstorming of topics that might have importance to the situation at hand. The point is to not miss topics, should this step not be taken. Imagine looking to learn deeply about any topic, leaving out input because of the rush to learn.

The bigger problem results from the list of steps typical for the procedure. Suppose our ‘problem to be solved’ is learning how to write a blog post. The procedure might be something like: choose a subject, develop a title, write an introduction, discuss major points, and finish with an important takeaway – a list. Do you think anyone could draft a valuable post ‘addressing step one, addressing step two, … ???’ Of course not; as you periodically self-assess efforts, new ideas will arise, parts will be thought out of order if not inappropriate – you will ‘loop’ back to previous steps (NON-LINEARLY). That’s why we call them ‘drafts’ / why we edit our efforts!

We must help our students learn that this is routine in learning. I would add that it’s important to honestly accept that it is a problem to be solved, invoking a sometimes random, always non-linear procedure.

What We Do/What We Get to Do

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One of the blogs I hate miss, learn from, and quite often post comments to is “Leadership Freak” written very capably by Dan Rockwell. Today’s post was particularly interesting to me. I clearly agreed with the topic of the post, gratitude, and its importance to effective leadership.

But my attention was drawn to another sequence of short statements transitioning from what we do to what we get to do next – the opportunities we are offered. As I considered it further, I understood the attraction to this portion of the post and posted the following comments:

“No question that gratitude EXPRESSED is so important to trusting relationships. But there’s another part of this post that grabbed my attention and Consideration:

“You become what you repeat.

Repetition is consistency.

Consistency is predictability.

Predictability is reliability.

Reliability creates opportunity.”

Thoughts and concerns (these ALL fit together):

1. Your REPUTATION is from what you repeat. To me, at least, there is only ONE repetition that leads to that produces the consistency that at least I would find worthy of predictably: considering new and previous options when dealing with situations.

2. Consistency is predictability. Really?? Not always. Favorite Einstein quotes: ‘We can’t solve the problems of today with the same knowledge and skills with which they were created.’ And ‘Insanity: Doing the same things over and over, expecting different results.’

3. Predictability creates CONFIDENCE (most times). That impacts reliability but reliability should require more – e.g., considering new and previous options when dealing with situations.

So how about a rewrite on the part of your post copied above:

You reputation comes from what you repeat.

Reputation for repeated sound problem solving is valuable consistency.

This consistency is useful predictability.

This predictability is worthy reliability.

Reliability creates opportunity to address meaningful situations.

My key point (and the reason I repeated  these thoughts here) is the process we use to deal with situations faced: Everyone must expect new approaches will be necessarily considered. And only then should what is done previously lead to additional opportunities.