Archives for April 2011

Knowledge versus Understanding versus Wisdom

Knowledge.  Understanding.  Wisdom.

Which is best to have?  What is the difference between them, anyway?

Knowledge is simple.  It is about facts and information, just observing what they are.

Understanding is a little deeper – it is about realizing what the information (the knowledge) means.

Wisdom is deeper still.  It is like understanding the understanding – how you should react to or feel about the information, now that you understand it.

EXAMPLE:

Knowledge: The government is creating seven new programs this year.

Understanding: Either the government will dip into my pockets now to pay for these new programs, or it will add to the national debt so that many years from now it won’t bother dipping into my pockets – it will just take my pants away.

Wisdom: I should fight the new government programs.  Or, I should live it up while I can, while I still have my pants. Or, I should seek how I can milk these programs to get my money back and earn interest so that one day (when my pants are taken away) I can buy them back.

Which brings me to what inspired this blog post…a quote from Malcolm Gladwell.

Since my brain really only works in the morning, I try to keep that time free for writing and thinking and don’t read any media at all until lunchtime, when I treat myself to The New York Times–the paper edition. At this point, I realize, I am almost a full 24 hours behind the news cycle. Is this is a problem? I have no idea. My brother, who is a teacher, always says that we place too much emphasis on the speed of knowledge acquistion, and not the quality of knowledge acquistion: I guess that means that the fact that I am still on Monday, when everyone else is on Tuesday, is okay.

These days, people rush to get the latest information.  They grab the knowledge.  But do they take the time to understand?  Or even more time to gain wisdom from it?  No, they are on to the next piece of information.

Once upon a time we revered our elders for their wisdom.  Now we tend to mock them for being behind the times.  My parents can’t use computers or any of the new-fangled gadgets.  They don’t have the information-overload that so impresses us in today’s “whiz kids”.

But is knowledge alone worth very much?  I think most people will agree that there is a hierarchy where wisdom is at the top, then understanding and finally knowledge (OK, finally would be ignorance).  But how important is it to seek wisdom, or is knowledge “good enough”?

What do you think?

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European Fraggles and American Doozers

Happiness Is Hard Work…at least in America.

A new study published in the April issue of the Journal Of Happiness Studies reveals that Americans who work harder tend to be happier. The “Protestant work ethic” is alive and well – and making people happy – in America.

Americans tend to be like Doozers:

Work you cares away,
Dancing’s for another day.
Let the Fraggles play,
Down at Fraggle Rock.

In Europe, the story is completely different. Europeans are happiest working shorter hours.

Europeans tend to be like faggles:

Dance your cares away,
Worry’s for another day.
Let the music play,
Down at Fraggle Rock.

“Those who work longer hours in Europe are less happy than those who work shorter hours, but in the U.S. it’s the other way around,” study author Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn says. It seems that Americans are happiest working and building

The researchers speculate that happiness has less to do with actual hours spent working on each continent than about how people on either side of the ocean view success. The “American Dream” is about how anybody can make it big if they just work hard enough. Europeans seem to focus more on “quality of life”.

Not surprisingly, Europeans are surprised by the results of this study. The UK’s Daily Mail says it all in it’s headline: “America’s bizarre secret to happiness: More work”.

So what contributes to your happiness more – work or off-time?


This post was featured in the Working at Home Blog Carnival.

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Do What You Are Good At

Here is some good advice for young Aspergians (people with the Asperger’s syndrome) that really is just as good for any of us.  Related to Autism, Aspergians find social interaction difficult and might also have motor difficulties and tend to get lost in themselves sometimes.  That often makes it tough for an Asbergian to fit into society; but it doesn’t mean he can’t.

In his book Be Different: The Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian, John Elder Robison says:

“Find out what you’re good at and stick with it. In school, a lot of emphasis is put on identifying your weaknesses and then improving them. That’s important if your weaknesses are holding you back, but it’s not the path to greatness.Greatness happens when you find your unique strengths and build upon them. Building up a weakness just makes you less disabled. Building a strength can take you to the top of the world.”

Not everything requires ideal social interaction to be successful. Not everyone has those skills. But everyone has some skills, and those skills can be honed for success.. Find out what you are good at, train yourself to be even better, find ways to optimize your opportunities with those skills, and just keep riding forward.

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Eleven Life Lessons

This was passed on to me by my sister-in-law.  So much of it is just so true, great life lessons even for those of us who remember our school days as ancient history.

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School about eleven (11) things they did not and will not learn in school.

 

Rule 1 : Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: They called it opportunity.

Rule 6 : If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were
So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room..

Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. *This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. *Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11 : Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one..

 

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Dealing with Nit Pickers

Not everyone has the courage to be honest, straight-forward, and easy to deal with. In every situation, disagreement, or problem there are always two pictures; the “little” picture, how something is seen by one individual, and the much larger picture, how it is seen by everyone else involved.

Self-centered people cannot see the bigger picture. All they see are their own needs, wants, and desires. Their entire world revolves around them. When forced to fight for one of their desires they rationalize reality, make excuses, and attempt to get their way by nit picking and splitting hairs.

How many times have you been able to reason with an unreasonable person? The instant someone disagrees with them they dig in their heels, close their minds and begin to “yea but” everything said.

One absolute freedom everyone has is the freedom to be wrong. When we like someone we unconsciously enlarge their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. When we dislike someone we minimize their strengths and enlarge their weaknesses. Personal perceptions are modified by emotions, biases, and beliefs. This happens to everyone. It is that old saying, “Nothing is either good or bad … but thinking makes it so.”

For years I thought it was my responsibility, my higher calling, to straighten out the uninformed. We all know where that led. Hundreds of hours were lost trying to raise people’s awareness with logic and reason. Logic only works with logical people.

What I eventually learned to do with nit-picking and hair-splitting people is step away, knowing that their minds were closed and they would have to live with whatever they believed … not me.

Viewed from the much larger picture the nit-picking hair-splitting people are only sawing sawdust. So what? Life is too short to be little.


This was a Guest Post by Dick Warn, author of The Miracle Minute.

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Be Prepared!

If you think only boy scouts and firefighters need to be prepared, consider these words by 19th century US Bishop Phillips Brooks:

“Some day, in years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now, in these quiet weeks. Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process.”

Every one of us will face challenges. Every one of us will be tested. Every one of will have choices to make, judgments to cast, and paths to choose that we can not even imagine at this point in lour lives. Today, you laid the groundwork for those challenges, those tests, those choices, those judgments – and yes, you laid the groundwork for those paths you cannot yet imagine. Tomorrow you will lay more groundwork. And the next day. And the day after that.

Everything you do is a building block for your future. Some things will happen that are way beyond your control.  Other things will happen because you are in control.  And how you carry yourself through all of them will determine who you are and what you stand for.

Follow your values today, and your values will guide you down the right path in times of stress – when that path you never imagined suddenly opens up before your feet.

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How to Deal With Your Grief and Stay Happy

Every person in their life at some stage or another experience lots of worries. It could arrive by death for a loved one, money problems or probably a romantic relationship. Everybody on this planet experiences grief many times more than. What we need to understand is that grief is a regular part of our existence, and is something that you can’t avoid of. It’s normal for us to attempt and steer away from the emotions of grief as we generally don’t know how to cope with it.

Their are a several points that we ought to take into consideration when confronted with any form of grief. Down below, I have detailed these points for you to think about on how to cope with grief. This is a short stage procedure for anybody to adhere to:

  • Basically, we should accept what causes us the individual grief we are going through. Accepting the truth that we are encountering grief instead of denial brings us nearer to coping with grief.
  • We should analyze our actions and ideas and arrive to a last conclusion, regardless of whether we contributed to the grieving in one particular type or the other.
  • Lastly, as soon as we have analyzed all other crucial points, we then must begin the process of overcoming our grief since their isn’t a magical method to treat grief immediately. Like something in existence, issues want time.

With grief comes sadness; and sadness leads to discomfort, mentally and physically. These are some of the issues that accompany grief which sadly can’t be prevented for some, the best we can do is discover a way to soothe the process and move on with our lives. Usually keep in mind you are not by yourself, and whether you believe it or not time is the greatest healing that you could manage your self. Start with the crucial process and create down points on a daily foundation that lead you to the feeling of grief, sadness, regret and so forth, then perform on creating small adjustments to reverse these emotions one particular stage at a time.


This was a guest post by Live Life

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Treasure Your Memories

I wrote earlier about the first verse of Gary Allan’s “Tough Little Boys”, which has been ringing in my head this past little while. Today, I would like to skip to the third verse.

Here is the video once again, followed by the lyrics, followed by my comments.

Tough Little Boys – Video

Tough Little Boys – Lyrics

Well I never once
Backed down from a punch
Well I’d take it square on the chin
But I found out fast
That bullies just laugh
And we’ve got to stand up to them

So I didn’t cry when I got a black eye
As bad as it hurt, I just grinned
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again.

Scared me to death
When you took your first steps
And I’d fall every time you fell down
Your first day of school, I cried like a fool
And I followed your school bus to town

Well I didn’t cry, when Old Yeller died
At least not in front of my friends
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again

Well I’m a grown man
But as strong as I am
Sometimes its hard to believe
How one little girl, with little blonde curls
Could totally terrify me

If you were to ask, my wife would just laugh
She’d say “I know all about men
How tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again”

Well I know one day, I’ll give you away
But I’m gonna stand there and smile
But when I get home, and I’m all alone
Well, I’ll sit in your room for a while

Well I didn’t cry when Old Yeller died
At least not in front of my friends
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again

When tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again

Tough Little Boys – Commentary

I must confess that I never followed the school bus to town. That is probably because we had the girls already in preschool, which we drove them to. But I did feel like following the bus and I did feel something of a loss.

Mostly, though, this verse makes me recall how our eldest would watch for us in the first year of kindergarten. She would get on the bus and the bus would drive off, then turn around in the parking lot just down the street and double back past our house. Sure as the sun sets in the west, our little girl would be watching out the window, eyes desperate and hungry for our wave. And if it was a rainy day, or I was distracted and it looked like maybe I was not giving my full attention to her when we waved, I would hear about it after school.

This is a memory I cannot forget. Every morning when I put the girls on the bus, our eldest still waves to us and watches (with a little less hunger in her eyes) for me to wave back. And every morning, I see that four-year old that waved with such hunger and need in her eyes.

This memory is precious.

It is important to hold tight to those memories that connect us with our past, with key elements of who we were before we became who we are. It’s important to remember the smiles and the trials, the moments of courage and strengths, the challenges that held us down, the times we pushed back…and how we felt and why we made the choices we did.

We won’t all put those memories into song, but it might be worth a try.

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Don’t Back Down

This is Part One of a two-part discussion. Before you read my comments, you’ll want to be familiar with “Tough Little Boys”, a country song by Gary Allan that has been bouncing around in my head the past couple weeks. This is an extremely touching song that any parent will relate to, especially dads, but even my ten-year-old daughter gets it.

Here is the video, followed by the lyrics, followed by my comments.

Tough Little Boys – Video

Tough Little Boys – Lyrics

Well I never once
Backed down from a punch
Well I’d take it square on the chin
But I found out fast
That bullies just laugh
And we’ve got to stand up to them

So I didn’t cry when I got a black eye
As bad as it hurt, I just grinned
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again.

Scared me to death
When you took your first steps
And I’d fall every time you fell down
Your first day of school, I cried like a fool
And I followed your school bus to town

Well I didn’t cry, when Old Yeller died
At least not in front of my friends
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again

Well I’m a grown man
But as strong as I am
Sometimes its hard to believe
How one little girl, with little blonde curls
Could totally terrify me

If you were to ask, my wife would just laugh
She’d say “I know all about men
How tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again”

Well I know one day, I’ll give you away
But I’m gonna stand there and smile
But when I get home, and I’m all alone
Well, I’ll sit in your room for a while

Well I didn’t cry when Old Yeller died
At least not in front of my friends
But when tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again

When tough little boys grow up to be dads
They turn into big babies again

Tough Little Boys – Commentary

Today’s post is about the first paragraph, about the importance of standing up to bullies. I don’t think the typical adult is subjected to messages about bullying, and the bullying adults face is more subtle than with kids. Many people face bullying on the job that is harder to recognize as such than “Give me your lunch money or I’ll smash your brains into lizard spit!” More often, there is the underlying risk of losing one’s job or of being passed over for promotion if one doesn’t…

  • Work lots of extra hours
  • Fetch coffee for the boss
  • Sleep with the boss

I would like to think such occurrences are extremely rare, but I suspect they are somewhat more common than I would like.

Adults could learn from the kids’ messages, and sometimes it’s worth risking a job loss or promotion loss rather than a loss of dignity and self-esteem (I know, I know, this is not always an easy call).

I recall just four fights I was in as a kid. Just four because I was a coward. Yes, I would do just about anything to get out of a fight. But there were four times that my inner coward lost the battle.

Once the kid hit me good in the jaw. But I didn’t hit back. Just as in the song – “As bad as it hurt, I just grinned” – and after that first punch, it was over. I guess he didn’t know what to do with someone who doesn’t hit back.

I met the same kid a second time, just off school property after school, just as he challenged me to. He didn’t hit me that time. He said something about respecting me for showing up, and he let it drop.

The third time (I think I have these in chronological order) was a different kid, who also punched me in the jaw and broke his hand. I don’t know if it really broke, but he did go see the school nurse – either way, i like my memory’s version and I have no need to learn whether my jaw really was a fist-breaker or not.

The fourth time, I did run – but I will beg your forgiveness. The other boy did not try to hit me. Son a moved out of the way. He ran after me and tried to kick me. So I moved out of his way. Like this, he chased me around the school yard for about ten minutes before giving up. I actually recall him getting more and more frustrated and angry and I was finding it harder and harder not to laugh.

Kids have to learn to resist bullying, but so do adults. It’s worth watching some kids shows and learning from them. There are a lot of basic life lessons that many adults still need to learn, too.


This post was included in the Saturday Show & Tell – 8th Edition

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