Archives For Learning

Topics related to how we learn and grow.

Head Full of Doubt

joe —  Sat 23-Sep-17 — Leave a comment
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Calvin  gun powderAh, wisdom – that wonderful state we each believe we have today but somehow lacked when we were younger. In most cultures wisdom is highly respected. For a creative person, which I consider every one of you, wisdom can be your worst enemy.

Many of you know that I am a Calvin and Hobbes fanatic. Something about a naïve boy and his imaginary tiger unabashedly taking on the wisdom of the world captivates me. Calvin is the heart of many a creative soul.

Bill Watterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes, is a fascinating man. His inspiring life-story of right versus might, retiring early, and holding to his principles is one that I highly recommend reading. One surprising revelation is that Watterson never considered himself an artist, at least in the traditional sense. Continue Reading…

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Breathe In, Breathe Out

joe —  Sun 3-Sep-17 — 2 Comments
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Bad launch
It’s not very often you hear an expert telling you “you’ve been doing it wrong your whole life,” especially when it comes to something as simple as breathing. Those are the words I heard two years ago as I started to have some problems with my voice. I learned that I am not alone in this Venn diagram. Roughly 90% of us are breathing wrong and with some simple changes we can improve a number of important things in our life.

It’s been two years since I was taught how to breathe properly and I’ve discovered that breathing shares a lot in common with thinking – most specifically problem solving. Breathing turns out to be an excellent model for problem solving and likely shares a similar failure rate. I use the term cognitive breathing to represent the tight relationship between breathing and thinking. That’s what we will be talking about today. More on that in a minute. Continue Reading…

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Someone is wrong on the internetWhen was the last time someone asked you for your advice on who to vote for President? I thought so. Why is it then that so many of our friends offer their advice when no one really wants it?

Because someone did.

The people that want it are the people that already agree with the post – no one else. Oh wait, there was one other person – that guy that loves to argue. I’ve already unfriended him. No one ever said, “Man I hope someone will come along today and convince me I am wrong.” I have never seen an opinion swayed as the result of those posts.

If you are posting information trying to persuade others to change their mind, there is psychological research that says that not only are you ineffective at changing opinions, you are hurting your cause. It is this research that demonstrates why all the tactics to bring down Donald Trump are failing.

On the paved highway known as rational thought, we humans have quite a few illogical exit ramps known as cognitive biases. These exit ramps are like Stuckey’s, we can’t explain nor resist the lure of a good pecan log roll. Continue Reading…

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Quick, Give Me Three…

joe —  Fri 22-May-15 — 3 Comments
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ResolutionsIt was December 29th, 2009. I remember the moment well. For the first time in forever I had decided to cave in and make a New Year resolution. I haven’t made one since. Why should I? That one still stands as something I have yet to accomplish.

“Therefore, I hereby declare that in 2010 I resolve to ask more questions.”

It seemed like such a simple thing. I was really good at it when I was 5 – annoyingly so. Somewhere along the line to adulthood I decided that what I knew was more important than what I didn’t. Continue Reading…

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Knot Today

joe —  Sat 9-May-15 — 2 Comments
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AliensI am both fascinated and frustrated by knots. I love how, with just a couple of twists and turns, a simple rope can turn into a device that helps propel a man up a mountain or anchors a ship to a pier. I am frustrated by the fact that every piece of chain, string, or hose in my shop always ends up in knots just by laying in a box.

I was untangling my headphone cable the other day as my mind replayed a recent conversation with a friend. Pete’s job had given him a good beating over the past several weeks and he needed a place to vent. He was all knotted up, much like the headphones I had in my hands. Pete wasn’t mad or angry, just frustrated. The frustration came not from one particular event, but from a series of small events that started to overwhelm him. Continue Reading…

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Nice Tool

joe —  Fri 20-Feb-15 — Leave a comment
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Whatzan ipodLike many of you, I grew up poor. I also grew up jealous. Every kid on the street had a better basketball than mine, a newer football, or a more expensive horn. While inside I was stirring in a pool of green, on the outside I was mocking them. Here I was with my cheap, dented trombone sitting first chair to three others below me that had shiny new instruments with expensive attachments.

I developed a chip on my shoulder early in life when it came to expensive things. I used to laugh at those that were using ALTA A1 level tennis rackets while their game was clearly C3. They had money but no game. Same thing happened as a cyclist. Here I was on my first $1,200 bike riding much better than the guy with an $8,000 custom bike. I didn’t understand why people spent so much money on tools that had features that didn’t matter at their skill level. Continue Reading…

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I Resolve To Not Resolve

joe —  Wed 31-Dec-14 — Leave a comment
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Calvin resolutionsI’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. If you are like most, you are not either. Yet, on January 1st, 45% of Americans will make a vow to achieve a goal this coming year. 92% of them will be disappointed.

It’s not that I am against improving myself. I just don’t like the odds. I think the only resolution I have been able to keep was to not make any more resolutions.

Why do 92% of all resolutions fail? One reason I believe they fail is because we choose goals where failure is a viable result. The results are binary – you either succeed or you don’t. “I will lose 20 pounds.” “I will quit smoking.” “I will get pregnant.” There is no “kind of pregnant.” You leave no possibility for claiming partial success. Continue Reading…

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