We (my wife and myself) have often asked ourselves what it is that draws people to camping. We’ve done no surveys, however, we think (for some) it is a sense of adventure, finding a more “inexpensive” way to see the world, “change,” and, perhaps, a safer way to travel (as opposed to staying in motels). The reason we even ask this question is that camping — especially if people regularly move from one campground to another — is not easy. It takes work. We have discovered, however, that with well-established, well-defined routines, it takes some of the work out of the process. Maybe the word “thinking” can be substituted for the word “work” in this context. One set of routines involves food. When we travel for long periods of time (3-4 weeks), my wife prepares food in containers that hold food enough for just two people. She freezes these, and they are pulled out a day in advance of when we plan to eat it. But that isn’t the strongest feature of how routines affect camping. Each of us eats exactly the same food for breakfast everyday. Although different from what we eat for breakfast, we eat the same food everyday for lunch. This means that packing cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables — and even stocking up along the way — becomes easier. (We can pack enough cereal for a month’s trip before leaving home.) When on the road, I make the lunch for the car the night before. I put just the right number of small carrots, grape tomatoes, and grapes we need in small, sealeable, plastic bags. There is one yogurt, one-half a banana, and the sandwiches are cut into halves for easy handling. For dessert, we have 2 small or one large cookie each. I place the bread, cookies, and napkins in one large sealable plastic bag (easy to retrieve), and all the other things into another one. I have coffee that I make in the morning along with my morning coffee, and my wife has milk. Except for my coffee, we put this into our refrigerator the night before and transfer it to a “Lil’ Oscar” using two, small, frozen, blue-ice packs. The “Lil’ Oscar” goes into the back seat of our truck to be retained whenever convenient while driving. It saves time while we make time on the road. Why such detail about our lunches? Because it is the same every day: easy to prepare, easy to remember, easy to eat, and nutritious. That is precisely how routines can be beneficial. Another set of routines is our daily ritual when traveling. We take showers at night when camping which allows us to break (or leave) camp earlier in the morning. Also, with two mirrors and two sources of bathroom water, we can get ready to go (e.g., shaving and putting on make-up) at the same time. In addition, morning coffee (a drip coffee maker), toaster/broiler, dishes, and cereals are all set out the night before. Whenever we break camp, another set of routines come into play. We have never actually discussed the division of labor necessary to prepare to leave a campsite; however, it has always been the same, and it has always worked effectively and efficiently. My wife takes care of all matters inside the fifth-wheel, and I take care of all matters outside. In addition to making certain everything is clean (she washes basins with anti-bacterial sprays, wipes off the table and placemats), she puts away any remaining dishes, silverware, and kitchen utensils. She then checks all windows and vents, makes certain the security locks are on cupboard doors and refrigerator, turns off lights, converts the refrigerator from electric to gas, brings in the slideout, sets out the trash, and locks the door. Trying to coordinate my activities outside with hers, I must prepare the truck to receive the fifth-wheel (unless we have had a “pull-through” campsite where unhooking was unnecessary). I must collapse our awning, clean and put away outside rungs, and remove all of our hook-ups and store the hoses and cords. I ask my wife when I can unhook the water, and directly following that, I unhook the sewer (but only if we have it and only when wearing plastic gloves). I leave the four corner jacks down until our slideout is in (the jacks give it support when opening and closing), but directly after it is in, I wind up the rear jacks, I slide the truck under the fifth-wheel coupler and then, using the electric power of the campground, I lift the front jacks and put them into their traveling position. Pulling the 30-amp plug is, generally, the last thing I do, unless we have used boards in front of, under, or behind our wheels (for leveling) which requires me pulling forward off the boards, then storing those. In general, my routines for handling all the outside chores get accomplished at about the same time as when all the inside chores are completed (about one-half to three-quarters of an hour altogether), and we are ready to leave. But, the point here, once again, is the importance of routines in finishing the work. Another important set of routines that make traveling this way enjoyable is that we totally depend on each other for cleaning up after ourselves. For example, we help each other prepare the dinner meal, and we clean, dry, and store our own dishes immediately when finished eating. If there are cooking pans, dishes, or utensils that need to be cleaned, whoever is there (or finishes eating first) cleans them, puts them into the drying rack, while the other dries them. Dirty clothes go into a “dirty-clothes shoot,” and when the laundry basket below is full, I wrap the clothes in a kitchen garbage-sized bag, and drop the bag into the trunk in the bed of the truck or under the front couch in a storage area there. No dirty clothes are left around to be picked up, and things, in general, are left clean, neat, and organized. Routines make this possible. When on the road, there is yet another routine useful to traveling, and that involves navigation. I do all the driving, and that is simply because my wife does not drive the Ford F-150 truck (although she could), but having a twenty-six-foot fifth wheel attached makes that likelihood zero. My wife navigates, and her word is law. She plans the routes, arranges the stops for gas and restrooms, decides what places we’ll see, and chooses where we’ll spend the night. Often, we consult and discuss while sitting on our bed at a campsite the night before, but it is difficult to tell how far we will get in a day, how tired I will get, or what the weather, construction, or traffic conditions will be. Now, these are some of our routines that make traveling in a fifth-wheel enjoyable. I am certain others have different sets of routines, but it seems clear that well-defined routines make the whole process easier and more efficient — especially considering the fact that traveling requires a good bit of work. In trying to answer the question, what draws people to this form of camping (or even, what draws them back to it year-after-year!), there have to be a number or routines that help reduce the stresses and strains of this form of travel. These are some of ours. - - - - - - - - At About.com: Senior Living, John Noble has an article, “6 RV Travel Tips for Beginner and Seasoned RV Enthusiasts: These RV travel tips will make your first—or 50th—RV trip safer and more fun,” that offers great practical advice.
At 1000TipsforTrips.com there are over 25 links to articles that offer travel tips. These are great links that cover most areas of travel from packing to traveling with pets. - - - - - - - - - - Copyright September, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing, L.L.C.
"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." --Carl W. Buechner
Day #276 - Hold your ideas with passion.
SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living
An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits. This is one of five motivational quotations for Day #276.
The first paragraph of the essay, "Well-defined routines," read as follows: "We (my wife and myself) have often asked ourselves what it is that draws people to camping. We’ve done no surveys, however, we think (for some) it is a sense of adventure, finding a more “inexpensive” way to see the world, “change,” and, perhaps, a safer way to travel (as opposed to staying in motels). The reason we even ask this question is that camping — especially if people regularly move from one campground to another — is not easy. It takes work. We have discovered, however, that with well-established, well-defined routines, it takes some of the work out of the process. Maybe the word “thinking” can be substituted for the word “work” in this context."
Thursday's Essay Excerpt - from the last paragraph of the essay
Now, these are some of our routines that make traveling in a fifth-wheel enjoyable. I am certain others have different sets of routines, but it seems clear that well-defined routines make the whole process easier and more efficient — especially considering the fact that traveling requires a good bit of work. In trying to answer the question, what draws people to this form of camping (or even, what draws them back to it year-after-year!), there have to be a number or routines that help reduce the stresses and strains of this form of travel. These are some of ours.
There are a number of things that I like about this book. First, it is extremely well-written. Not only does Schulz write well, but she injects humor into some of her observations and analyses. This, alone, makes reading this book a pleasure.
The second thing I like about this book is Schulz’s choices of examples. Not only is she a great story teller, the stories/examples themselves are engaging, interesting, and a joy to read. So many of her chapter-beginning examples are ones that readers may be familiar with; however, even if they are not, Schulz offers such great detail and vivid descriptions, that they are easy to identify with whether familiar or not.
Not only are her choices of examples terrific, but she uses those with which she begins her chapters throughout the chapter, referring back to them to support the points she makes. If you don’t get the point of why an example is chosen or why it is relevant, she reinforces the point effectively.
Third, Schulz’s writing is fact-based. She has about 45 pages of notes, and, in addition, she includes explanations (or the further development of ideas) in footnotes throughout the book. This is an extremely well-supported book. You know, from her facts, additional examples, and explanations, that she really knows what she is talking about.
Fourth, as someone prone to being wrong (me: with no excuses or blame-worthy referents), Schulz writes about things with which it is easy for readers to identify. We can easily see ourselves in many of her examples, and often she uses her own personal experiences to illustrate points. It is delightful. If you (as a reader of her book) cannot see yourself or put yourself into the examples, then I would suggest that you are probably not being honest with yourself.
Fifth, the sources she uses are excellent. You know that this author has done her homework. As you read you can be amazed, as well, at the breadth and depth of her knowledge, the extent of her reading, and the command of details she has. It is truly remarkable. (When she talks about great literature, for example, she speaks specifically of the characters in the stories and their motives and actions.)
Sixth, she doesn’t leave you with truisms regarding the nature of your wrongheadedness alone. She offers insights into how to correct your faults, what you can do to become more “right-headed.” Her suggestions are well-thought out, reasonable, and well presented. Anyone who is a member of the human race (tsk tsk!) can profit from reading this book.
Seventh, when I presented the book to my father-in-law to read (he is extremely critical, and I seldom provide him with “suggested reading”), the first thing he said was, “hmmm, interesting topic.” I told them that Schulz offers a complete explanation of how she became involved in writing a book on “Being Wrong.” I thought her explanation was excellent.
If you are looking for a book that is a great read, that will not just hold your attention but captivate you as well, and if you are looking for a book that is a bit unusual (in the choice of topics), but a book that relates to you and how you behave in the real world, then I recommend this one with complete confidence you will find it as superb as I did. It is well worth your time.
I am not a mover and shaker, a politician, captain of industry, government official, or on the social registry. I am not the director of a prestigious firm, the favorite son of the community, or on the board of directors of a business, board of education of a local school district, or on any board of trustees. I am not an advisor to the local parish priest, church ministers, rabbi, or mullah, and my name is not synonymous with power, influence, and accomplishment. So, why would anyone want to know my opinion on the issues of the day or accept any advice, suggestions, or direction I would choose to give? Because I have asked myself this question, let me share with you how I have come to justify it — and, believe me, I have struggled with it before. First, I come from a family of teachers. My father, with his Ph.D. from Dartmouth, was a professor of conservation, Department of Natural Resources, at the University of Michigan, and my mother, with a Master’s Degree from Cornell, taught junior-high science. Why would that have any influence on giving advice, suggestions, and direction — or on credibility? Because the family was highly educated, it influenced both the nature and extent of family conversations and discussions. Indeed, I married a Michigan graduate, the daughter of a professor from the University of Michigan. My wife’s father received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, so, from the outset of my own marriage, the quality of those family conversations and discussions continued. Our children have often referred to them. Such an environment cannot help but influence the way you think, believe, and act. Second, I have both a B.A. and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. Now, it is true that those credentials do not automatically grant a person license to dispense advice and counsel, especially any set of opinions not directly related to the field of specialty one studied. In some circles, I’m sure, a Ph.D. suggests a level of expertise that clearly doesn’t exist, but there are a couple of things it guarantees. It means you have spent more time in the process of formal education and, because the Ph.D. is a research degree, you have spent time investigating, supporting, and writing about ideas — what I like to call, immersing yourself in an ocean of knowledge and trying to make some sense out of occasional flotsam and jetsam. (Speaking of flotsam and jetsam, I wrote a dissertation of over 350 pages on the Michigan Lyceum movement.) One of the ancillary benefits of getting a Ph.D. is the automatic and important associations you have with a wide variety of highly educated people, whether they are your teachers, student colleagues, or the faculty and students on other campuses. Then, because I directed a large basic-communication course for over twenty years, I came into contact with hundreds and hundreds of graduate students who taught for me. They provided rich, varied, and hugely rewarding interactions and discussions. Third, I have been a teacher for over 30 years. What this means is that the act of giving advice and counsel is a natural one embedded in my behavior — and because of my family background, perhaps even in my genes. From the first moment students appear before you in the classroom, you have a responsibility — an obligation — to share what you know. You have chosen to teach—to help students learn. This means that you study students’ backgrounds, knowledge, environment, and learning goals. You deal with students of different abilities and those with learning disabilities too, and assist with learning outside the classroom as well. A fourth qualification in my case is that I have formalized a great deal of my advice and counsel in numerous publications. Including all the editions of my textbooks, there have been over thirty. There are close to 100 academic articles, chapters in books, and more than a dozen published speeches and the same number of published essays — plus over 200 essays on my blog. I could not have continued this stream of publications if many of them had not been well received. What this means is that there are people out there who are reading and appreciating my views. There is an audience for what I have to say. To those members of my audiences, of course, thank you. But publications mean something much larger than simply pleasing readers, although that is important. First, it provides a method for articulating — writing out in great detail — your thoughts and ideas. Getting them down in writing, then polishing and honing those ideas, is an important process for clearly defining what you know and what you don’t know. Second, because I write in the area of speech communication (my academic discipline), so much of what happens in the world applies. Thinking and languaging processes, managing and resolving conflicts, family and relationship issues, cultural and intercultural concerns, interpersonal, small-group, and public communication issues all relate to what I think and write. What this means is that to write knowledgeably requires that I read widely and broadly in order to bring new information, knowledge, ideas, facts, and opinions to bear on what I have to say. To be an informed writer means, necessarily, that I must bring into my own experience and understanding all the ideas from others I can discover that are significant, relevant, and interesting. It is this constant quest to reach out and to add to what I know that may make me somewhat different than others and add, in an understated way, to the informed substructure from which I write and speak. A fifth qualification is my own family. I am the father of four and grandfather of 10. I have lived through seven marriages, and I expect more. Having been an active participant in my family, advice giving and dispensing “wise” counsel had to take place on a regular basis. Just to be married to the same person for over 45 years suggests several things. It means that you are secure in your own skin. Such security gives you a base from which to operate and a solid foundation from which knowledge and ideas can grow and flourish. It means, too, that you are able to share advice with another person, take part in meaningful dialogue, engage in positive and rewarding conversations, resolve conflicts and mange dissension together, and learn from the insights, knowledge, and perspectives of another person — especially a person of the opposite sex. (It gives new meaning to “opposites attract.”) For relationship partners, thinking and behaving differently is part of a couple’s lifetime of education and discovery. A sixth qualification is the reading and viewing I do. First I read (or look at) more than a half dozen magazines each week and two newspapers per day. Second, going to the local libraries once a week, I search for and then review, on average, three or four new books each week. (I have written close to 200 book reviews for Amazon.com.) These are part of my Monday blog. Third, I am a news junkie, and I spend most of my television time listening to news and opinion shows. I have very few regular television programs that I watch unless they are news or opinion. Let me add as a final, seventh qualification the fact that I have been giving advice on my blog for four years now. That could reveal simple persistence or just an unwillingness to give up! For me, it offers a useful history, significant background, and a valuable resource of ideas and opportunities. It is the family of teachers into which I was born, my own academic credentials, my career as a teacher, my writing and publications, my reading and viewing, my experience, history, and background, as well as my own family that surrounds me with love and affection that form the bricks and mortar of the edifice known as me. It may not seem like much, but it’s certainly a great deal more than the credentials of many people who give advice, and whether or not it truly qualifies me to give advice, the foundation is there, and I make use of it often. - - - - - - The most significant and worthwhile “advice book” I have written is entitled You Rules - Caution: Contents Leads to a Better Life. In 50 thoughtful, relevant, and important essays, this book discusses the foundations for a good life, offers suggestions and guidelines about being healthy, moving successfully toward your goals, becoming more creative, maintaining your progress, and looking toward a positive future. It is practical, motivational, even inspirational.
There are two other “advice” books, too, that I have recently published. Public Speaking Rules: All You Need for a GREAT speech is based on over thirty years of writing on the topic in popular undergraduate college textbooks. Public Speaking Rules can be read by anyone who wants to know the basic nuts-and-bolts of successful public speaking. The second book, Relationship Rules: For Long-term Happiness, Security, and Commitment (with an outstanding cover painted by my son), is based on my best selling undergraduate, college textbook that went through seven editions. It, too, can be read by anyone who wants to know the basic nuts-and-bolts of forming - and maintaining a successful relationship. - - - - - - - Copyright September, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing, L.L.C.
"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children, to earn the approbation of honest critics; to appreciate beauty; to give of one's self, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived --- that is to have succeeded." --Ralph Waldo Emerson
Day #273 - Know what success is.
SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living
An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits. This is one of four motivational quotations for Day #273.
The first paragraph of the fourth anniversary essay, "What qualifies me to wrote essays?---The bricks and mortar of my ediface," read as follows: "I am not a mover and shaker, a politician, captain of industry, government official, or on the social registry. I am not the director of a prestigious firm, the favorite son of the community, or on the board of directors of a business, board of education of a local school district, or on any board of trustees. I am not an adviser to the local parish priest, church ministers, rabbi, or mullah, and my name is not synonymous with power, influence, and accomplishment. So, why would anyone want to know my opinion on the issues of the day or accept any advice, suggestions, or direction I would choose to give? Because I have asked myself this question, let me share with you how I have come to justify it — and, believe me, I have struggled with it before."
Thursday's Essay Excerpt - from the last paragraph of the essay
It is the family of teachers into which I was born, my own academic credentials, my career as a teacher, my writing and publications, my reading and viewing, my experience, history, and background, as well as my own family that surrounds me with love and affection that form the bricks and mortar of the edifice known as me. It may not seem like much, but it’s certainly a great deal more than the credentials of many people who give advice, and whether or not it truly qualifies me to give advice, the foundation is there, and I make use of it often.
Edited and with an introduction by Steven D. Price
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
I was skeptical of this book when I first selected it — only because what appears funny to one person often is not funny to me. At least that has been my experience. As I read more and more of the book, I kept thinking that the statements (not all jokes per se) selected were great. I even laughed out loud at some of them.
So, as a test of my perceptions, I gave the book to my father-in-law, Edgar E. Willis. For those reading this who are unfamiliar with that name, he is the author of that great book on humor entitled, How to be Funny on Purpose: Creating and Consuming Humor. His book is available at Amazon.com.
As an author of a book on humor, as a critical analyst of humor in the contemporary world as well as what it takes to be funny, as a teacher of how to construct jokes, as a lecturer on the art of humor, and as a true connoisseur of quality humor, I thought his reaction to the selections in 1001 Funniest Things Ever Said would be a true gauge of the book’s merits.
I was correct. He not only read the book from cover-to-cover, he wanted to have it for an extended amount of time. Also, with a question on a quotation from Dan Quayle (which he had used as an example in his own book), I even took the time to Google it and get a complete explanation. (It was a quotation attributed to him that probably was never said by him.)
All the way through the book, both Edgar and I came up with the same question: How in the world did someone discover all of this great material?
Although the book is 322 pages long, it is only 6-inches by 7-inches, and there are usually only 3 or 4 entries on a page; thus, it is a quick read.
You will undoubtedly discover jokes you have heard (or even used) before. I found, for example, the joke Dr. Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, discovered from his scientific experiment in 2002, to be world’s funniest: Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other man pulls out his phone and calls emergency services. He gasps to the operator, ‘I think my friend is dead! What can I do?’ The operator in a calm, soothing voice replies, ‘Take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’ There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the hunter says, ‘OK, now what?’ (pp. 232-233)
The reason I remember this joke so well is that it is the first joke I use in a chapter, “Using the Internet to Find or Develop Jokes,” in the book How to be Funny on Purpose: Creating and Consuming Humor. In that chapter I offer, as well, five pages of jokes (with explanations) from that same scientific study.
1001 Funniest Things Ever Said is the kind of book to make available to guests in the waiting room of a dentist’s or doctor’s office, put on the coffee table in your living room, or place in that special room in your house where short reading times are the norm. It is delightful, entertaining, and delicious.
In my experience, those communicators whom I most admired, or those whom I considered most effective, all had strong self-concepts—at least, strong self-concepts from what I could determine. Although there is no study to affirm the following conclusion, in all of my years of teaching speech-communication, I can report a direct, positive correlation between students with a strong self-concept and success in the basic course. Why is a strong self-concept necessary to have healthy, satisfying, ongoing interactions with others? The primary way to illustrate the correlation is to explain the relationship between a positive self-concept and a weak one. People with strong self-concepts seldom experience the same problems as those with weak ones—especially in ongoing interactions. Sometimes they experience no problems at all. The relationship between a weak self-concept and effective communication can be documented in four steps, but it relies on two basic principles of communication: Principle #1: We discover who we are through the eyes of others. Principle #2: The proper (healthy, strong, supportive) interactions with others help sustain effective communication. Now the four steps that clearly support the relationship between a strong self-concept and effective communication. Step 1: Those with weak self-concepts reveal their weaknesses to others, and because of that, those others often respond to them negatively. This is, it is true, a classic chicken-and-egg problem. Which came first? That is, does a weak self-concept come first and prompt others’ reactions, or do others’ reactions create the weak self-concept. The answer is clearly a combination of both. Since weak self-concepts usually emerge slowly, over time, others’ reactions and our own weak self-concept are likely to directly affect each other—negatively—as we grow and develop. Step 2: A weak self-concept distorts our perceptions. We know a person, for example, whose weak self-concept prompts his projection of all his weakness and difficulties onto his marriage partner. The partner’s attempts at support and comfort, in turn, are distorted by him to reveal manipulation and control. Most people come at the world in a normal, regular fashion, and they handle incoming information in an ordinary, routine manner. People with a weak self-concept, on the other hand, send incoming information through a sieve full of angular, odd-shaped, and irregular holes; thus, all their perceptions from others and the world are distorted. This is a second chicken-and-egg problem. Do the reactions from others create the distortions in the sieve, or do the distorted holes in the sieve create the incorrect interpretations? Once again, the answer is likely to be a combination of both simply because the problem emerges slowly over time. Neither came first; each contributed to the existence of the other. Step 3: When incoming information is being distorted in some way, we no longer receive accurate information about ourselves—since others provide the mirror through which we see ourselves. Not only that, most of the information we receive (when we possess a weak self-concept) is likely to be given a negative, non-productive, non-supportive spin. That is the kind of impression we are presenting to others, and the information from them causes increased insecurity and further undermines a positive self-concept and, too, further supports our already-present weaknesses. Step 4: With a weak and weakening self-concept, our communication becomes inaccurate, negative, and otherwise off the mark. This happens because the information on which our communication depends is false or warped. Without good information, we don’t see things as they are but as we think they are. One begins to see the potential, vicious, negative cycle this can create. For those who have lived with a weak self-concept for a long time, they live each moment of their lives within this well-entrenched negative cycle. Communication based on poor information relies on hunches, feelings, and impulses without regard for facts. People often assume things that aren’t true. They do not check out the reasons behind behavior they don’t understand. “Why check it out?,” they might say, “I’m right.” Also, they do not gather enough facts before making decisions. “Why gather facts?,” they might say, “I know I’m right.” Acting impulsively is convenient, workable, easy, and feels right. But the results of such behavior show up in communication that cannot be relied upon. More often than not, it creates confusion, problems, and complicates situations. Because of the negative reactions such communication attracts, further problems with the self-concept result in an ongoing, negative spiral of frustration, suspicion, and doubt. These four steps can just as easily be positive and not negative. Also, just because the negative process has begun does not mean it needs to continue. There are successful interventions that can be used to halt and reverse these steps. These interventions require time, effort, and commitment. Change must begin from within. Many of the ways to change involve the need to feel worthwhile. One way to improve self-concept is to shift our focus from self-centeredness to other-centeredness. That is, rather than thinking about ourselves and how things make us feel, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of others and ask how they feel. Another way to feel worthwhile is to feel valued in the eyes of others. When we surround ourselves with people who think we are worthwhile, it can change our perception of ourselves. To be part of a group where our membership, our presence, and our contributions can make a difference, our worth is reinforced. Another way to increase feelings of worth is to engage in projects and take on responsibilities in which we can do a good job and get positive results. To gain a positive self-concept is a continual, ongoing activity, but the benefits are worth it. Through belonging, competency, and feelings of worth, we can clearly and accurately delineate our likes and dislikes, make preferences, observe with a critical eye, and polish awkward pieces of ourselves. When we feel confident in our judgments and feelings, we begin to trust our interpretation of reality. As we learn to trust our interpretation of reality, our self-concept improves. After all, it is the single, most-important component that offers a clear distinction between good communicators and poor communicators. - - - - - - - - - “Develop a Healthy Self-Concept” is an essay at Essential Life Skills. Net which suggests that the following are the characteristics that constitute a healthy self-concept? 1) The ability to know yourself; to be able to assess your strengths, weaknesses, talents and potential. 2) The ability to love and accept yourself as you are, knowing that you can improve and develop any aspects of yourself that you choose. 3) The ability to be honest with yourself and be true to who you are and what you value. 4)The ability to take responsibility for your choices and actions. The website claims that the way to develop a healthy concept is this: “. . . [It] takes deliberate planning and concentrated effort. It takes acknowledging your intrinsic value as a human being, and then working to acquire the skills needed to confront the many challenges and adversities we encounter in life.”
“Fostering a positive self-image” is an essay at the Cleveland Clinic website where the following steps are listed: Take a self-image inventory. Define personal goals and objectives. Set realistic and measurable goals. Confront thinking distortions. Identify childhood labels. Stop comparing yourself to others. Develop your strengths. Learn to love yourself. Give positive affirmations. Remember that you are unique. Learn to laugh and smile. Remember how far you have come. - - - - - - - - - Copyright September 15, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing, L.L.C.
"This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult --- once we truly understand and accept it --- then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters." --M.Scott Peck
Day #271 - Realize that life is difficult.
SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living
An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits. This is one of three motivational quotations for Day #271.
The first two paragraphs of the essay, "Self-concept is the single most-important component that offers clear distinctions between good communicators and poor communicators," read as follows: "In my experience, those communicators whom I most admired, or those whom I considered most effective, all had strong self-concepts—at least, strong self-concepts from what I could determine. Although there is no study to affirm the following conclusion, in all of my years of teaching speech-communication, I can report a direct, positive correlation between students with a strong self-concept and success in the basic course.
"Why is a strong self-concept necessary to have healthy, satisfying, ongoing interactions with others? "
Thursday's Essay Excerpt - from the last paragraph of the essay
To gain a positive self-concept is a continual, ongoing activity, but the benefits are worth it. Through belonging, competency, and feelings of worth, we can clearly and accurately delineate our likes and dislikes, make preferences, observe with a critical eye, and polish awkward pieces of ourselves. When we feel confident in our judgments and feelings, we begin to trust our interpretation of reality. As we learn to trust our interpretation of reality, our self-concept improves. After all, it is the single, most-important component that offers a clear distinction between good communicators and poor communicators.
On page xi, the authors write: “This book reflects our concern about changes that are occurring. But we offer little in the way of nostalgia. In fact, it is the opposite. It is a cry for action to shape inevitable change in a manner that assures that America will have the journalistic institutions, practices and resources necessary to maintain what can credibly be described as a self-governing society. We do not know the precise character or content of the new media that will develop, but we do know that without bona fide structures for gathering and disseminating news and analysis, the American experiment in democracy and republican governance will be imperiled” (p. xi).
This is a well-researched (43 pages of notes), well-written (intended for the layman, not the technical expert), carefully developed argument designed for those who are interested in looking at “the past and the future of journalism in a more fundamental and critical manner” (p. xii).
They add, “This book proposes specific new methods for using public subsidies to generate a high-quality, uncensored, competitive and independent news media. These methods are founded on an understanding of and respect for the new technologies that make possible a journalism that is more adventurous, more exciting, more participatory and more valuable to society and democracy than any American has ever known” (pp. xiii-xiv).
The authors have based their approach and solutions on a “decade working on media policy issues in Washington and across the nation . . . We have worked with politicians from both major parties and all political philosophies on successful campaigns to stop media consolidation and government secrecy and to promote an open uncensored Internet and viable independent public media” (p. xiv).
I quote extensively from their preface for one reason: they deliver on their promise. This book is clearly and purposefully designed as a manifesto for change delivered by two extremely well-qualified experts.
The authors write of the crisis as well as the opportunity. Their statistics, charts, examples, stories, and quotations are absolutely captivating and convincing. I thought the story of Kate Giammarise was an incredibly well-chosen example of what is happening and has happened in journalism. “The naked and uncomfortable truth is that the business model that sustained commercial news media for the past century is dying, and cannot be recreated” (p. 74), is a statement the authors make that is well-developed and supported. They also state, “. . . we can see a new and dramatically superior caliber of journalism emerging as a result of the Internet . . . It will be a journalism that can truly open up our politics, in the manner democratic theory suggests” (p. 81).
Their discussion of solutions has four components: “1) immediate measures to sustain journalism, each of which transitions to a permanent subsidy if successful; 2) a plan to convert the collapsing corporate newspaper into what we term a ‘post-corporate’ digital newspaper, with print versions at the very least until there is ubiquitous broadband; 3) converting public and community broadcasting into genuinely worldclass civic and democratic media; and 4) spawning a vibrant, well-funded, competitive and innovative news-media sector on the Internet” (p. 159).
One of the essential keys to the success of their ideas is mentioned: “There are significant roles to be played by private enterprise, foundations and nonprofit organizations. But we no longer have any doubt that without the government providing subsidies comparable to what other leading democratic nations provide, and to what this nation routinely provided in its first century, the initiatives of these other actors will have limited effect” (p. 221).
This is an excellent — outstanding — book that deserves to be read by anyone concerned about the future of journalism. You may not agree with their arguments (but I think you will), but you will have to acknowledge that journalism must and will change. McChesney and Nichols provide a reasonable, well-thought-out, and well presented blueprint as they see it.
"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us,” said the comic-strip character, Calvin. "The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race,” Don Marquis is quoted as saying. "A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices,” said William James. Doesn’t it seem sometimes like everyone’s complaining? Everyone is negative. All you hear about is difficulty, failure, and disaster? Those with whom you converse all share the negative news they see on television or read in the newspaper?
It is a negative atmosphere such as this that feeds on itself and, thus, produces more negativity. It is as if negative talk offers a license (even encouragement) to be even more so. Examples increase, voices get louder, more people contribute, and if there was a positive environment before, it would completely disappear—vanished in a sea storm of adversity and dissension. And it is contagious! We have a society that focuses on the negative. The mass media affects the ways in which everyone thinks and acts. It influences behavior both positively and negatively, of course, but the negative grabs and holds attention and, thus, when ratings are important, negativity reigns supreme. Why is negativity a problem? Not only does it create problems in our lives such as stress, anger, helplessness, and depression, there are other consequences as well. At Personal Development Coach.net, the essay is entitled, “Negative Attitude: Causes, Consequences And Cures,” there are four main consequences listed for those who are negative. First, it can shorten lives. Every time you are negative—whether it’s anger, upset, or frustration—your life gets shorter. Second, negativity creates an unpleasant future. Because your present actions determine your future, “If you constantly moan and are dissatisfied with your circumstances, in the future you are sure to meet with more of the things you are unhappy about. The more you complain, the more things you will find to complain about.” It’s the same as what was mentioned above: a negative atmosphere is a catalyst that accelerates the speed with which more negativity follows. And it is contagious! The third consequence for negativity is that it harms others. “Your negative mood affects people around you. You should never make others feel bad because by doing so you are contributing not only to your own misery, but to the unhappiness of others also.” And closely related to the third consequence is the fourth. A negative attitude produces negative effects. “Every cause has an effect and so your negative attitude (cause) produces negative circumstances. Mostly people think it's the other way round, but that's not the case. Your thinking causes your circumstances.” Not only does negativity sap individual energy but the energy of organizations as well. Not only does it divert critical attention from an individual’s work and performance, the work and performance of organizations is negatively affected as well. Some people, too, get stuck in a cycle of negativity and find it impossible to improve their life or their health. When it becomes severe they think they don’t deserve happiness or money, and sometimes they close their mind, see no opportunities, and behave and react in such a way that they repel both people and opportunities. And it is contagious! First, it must be clear that change is difficult. The barriers to change are enormous. Attitudes become entrenched. Behaviors become automatic. Friends and family often support the negative behavior because it is expected and predictable. The environment offers support and, unless changed, becomes a prop or crutch in the negative process. The mental state lends support to a negative spiral, and it becomes worse and worse. In many situations, a professional is required since individual change becomes difficult or impossible. Because of the barriers to change, change requires a change in attitude, a commitment to change, as well as patience and persistence. Change will not occur overnight, but wanting to change can be the key to making it happen. Without these elements in place; nothing long term can or will occur. But, with these elements in place, you are on your way. The first step is to make the commitment to be more positive every day and to maintain a positive outlook. Start now and reverse negative thinking with positive thoughts. With any kind of start, you must allow at least 30 days for any kind of change to take hold. But know at the outset that just as negativity is contagious, so it a positive outlook and positive behavior! From the Simplicity.com web site, in the brief essay there entitled, “Overcoming Negative Thoughts,” there is a great suggestion for change: “The moment you catch yourself repeating the same negative thoughts over and over in your mind, use the STOP acronym. Research shows that people who receive positive distractions for just eight minutes show a remarkable change in their moods and in breaking the cycle of repetitive thought. “S-Say the word STOP to interrupt your internal destructive thoughts. Tell yourself firmly to ‘STOP’ over thinking. “T-TAKE a deep breath. Then, take a break: Go for a walk or a hike, read a great book, listen to your favorite music. Do something to take your attention away from over thinking and, if possible, to change the environment. O-Focus on the OUTCOME of your 30-Day Goal. Affirm why you are committed to your goal [destroying your negative attitude forever]. P-PRAISE and acknowledge yourself for the progress you are making. Remember, you're looking for progress, not perfection! “As long as [you] are aware of [your] own negative attitude and are willing to adopt a more positive attitude towards life, change can and will occur. Once [you] realize that a negative attitude is the biggest obstacle to [your] happiness, [you] can make a conscious choice to help [yourself]. There will be obstacles and setbacks on the road to personal change but [you] must remain focused on the bigger picture: [your] success and happiness.” This is the tenth item in an essay, “Ten Ways to Overcome a Negative Attitude,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, at the web site, InTek Online. There are no guarantees, of course, but this is a solid, productive, and potentially rewarding way to change both negative thinking and a negative attitude. The great thing is you can begin at once—and it is contagious! ----- At ZeroMillion.com, Bob and Jeff Griswold, of Effective Learning Systems, Inc., have an essay entitled, “How to become totally positive right now,” in which they list and discuss a dozen suggestions for changing negative thinking to positive.
David Spero, at the web site, HealingWell.com, has an essay entitled, “Get a Better Mirror: Overcoming Negative Thoughts,” in which he discusses where mirrors come from, when it’s time to change mirrors, and how we can get a better mirror. ----- Copyright September, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing, LLC
"We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee." --Marian Wright Edelman
Day #270 - Make a difference.
SMOERs: Self-Motivation, Optimism, Encouragement Rules! - Daily Reminders for Outstanding Living
An everyday guide full of quotations to uplift your spirits. This is one of four motivational quotations for Day #270.
The first paragraph of the essay, "Focusing on the negative: And it is contagious!," reads as follows: ""Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us,” said the comic-strip character, Calvin. "The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race,” Don Marquis is quoted as saying. "A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices,” said William James. Doesn’t it seem sometimes like everyone’s complaining? Everyone is negative. All you hear about is difficulty, failure, and disaster? Those with whom you converse all share the negative news they see on television or read on the Internet or in the newspaper?"
Thursday's Essay Excerpt - from the last paragraph of the essay
'"As long as [you] are aware of [your] own negative attitude and are willing to adopt a more positive attitude towards life, change can and will occur. Once [you] realize that a negative attitude is the biggest obstacle to [your] happiness, [you] can make a conscious choice to help [yourself]. There will be obstacles and setbacks on the road to personal change but [you] must remain focused on the bigger picture: [your] success and happiness.' This is the tenth item in an essay, 'Ten Ways to Overcome a Negative Attitude,' by Thich Nhat Hanh, at the web site, InTek Online. There are no guarantees, of course, but this is a solid, productive, and potentially rewarding way to change both negative thinking and a negative attitude. The great thing is you can begin at once—and it is contagious!"
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D. It should be clear from the outset that I am reviewing the 2011 (second edition) of this book, not the first. Most of the reviews at Amazon.com (as I write this) are of the first edition, and there have been significant and important changes since then.
Changes from the first edition? Shih writes of the changes on page 2: — Each chapter now ends with a summary of takeways and an actionable to-do list. — There are now two dozen case stuides and example that bring concepts to life. — Rather than discuss Facebook alone, Shih now offers extensive coverage of Twiter and Linkedin as well. — There are expert opinion sidebars from well known social media authorities. — Five new chapters have been added including one on customer service, one on innovation and collaboration, one on ways to develop an individualized Facebook Era plan, one that offers advice for small businesses, and one on advice for nonprofits, healthcare, education, and political campaigns.
The book is divided into four parts: 1. Why social networking matters for business 2. Social networking across your organization 3. Step-by-step guide to social networking for business 4. Social networking strategy
This is a basic book written for beginners. If you are a regular Facebook (Twiter, Linkedin, MySpace, Renren in China, Mixi in Japan, Odnoklassniki in Rusia), you may not find a whole lot that is new here, but Shih is not writing this book for you.
I found the book informative, easy-to-read, and comprehensive. If there is anything about Facebook that you don’t know, you will find it here. I found the gray boxes by other authors (“more than three dozen guest contributions from world-class experts”) interesting and valuable. The inclusion of actual pictures from Facebook pages was helpful.
Although I regret the fact that Shih avoided using any references (other than the boxes by guest authors who were all experts in their respective fields) or offered “Other Books to Read,” or even a bibliography, there is a great deal of information here to digest.
I found her hands-on techniques useful, her insights valuable, and her easy-to-use “To Do” lists solid. This is a book for anyone who wants a complete look at social networking.
There is no rhyme or reason for the order of aphorisms in this essay. The single criteria I used for selecting the aphorisms is that they touched me in some way. My addition in each paragraph is designed to explain the value of the aphorism to me—or the lesson I learned. The paragraphs are not connected, and there is no relationship between the various choices. Each paragraph stands alone. "People need to learn when to abandon pursuit, give up the race, and turn their attention to other matters. It was Norman Thomas who said, “I am not a champion of lost causes, but of causes not yet won.” Why is it that people of a certain religion or political persuasion, only read literature or listen to viewpoints that support the way they believe? “Most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do,” said James Harvey Robinson. “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored,” said Aldous Huxley. It’s a little like an ostrich burying its head in the sand, but you have to admit, it’s a whole lot easier speaking out against a position you oppose when you can simply ignore the facts that do not support your position. How do human beings explain their attachment to organized religion and all the trappings associated with their beliefs? It was Galileo Galilei who said, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” There is no excuse for not using sense, reason, and intellect in some instances and then abandoning them entirely in others. Have you ever wondered the difference between knowledge and wisdom? “Knowledge tells us that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom prevents us from putting it into a fruit salad,” said Miles Kington. Knowledge teaches you how to drive; wisdom is reflected in how you choose to drive. Have you ever discovered a better argument for possessing knowledge, being well informed, or getting an education? Louis Pasteur, said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” Louisa May Alcott said something similar: “I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship.” Whether it’s chance or preparing for storms, success lies in preparation, preparation, preparation. “He who has imagination without learning,” said Joseph Joubert, “has wings and no feet.” In my writing and research I often depend on serendipity—the chance discovery of information. It was Yogi Berra who said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.” I would add, “Even when you know where you are going, be alert and take advantage of winding up somewhere else.” When I talk with fourth and fifth graders about writing, rather than advocating learning how to write well (although important), I put my emphasis on learning how to read and read well. I am supported by Samuel Johnson, who said, “The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” “Grasp the subject,” said Cato the Elder, “the words will follow.” “Do not believe that it greatly advances a skill if you practice incorrectly over and over.” I said that. You would think that practice makes perfect; however, imperfect practice undermines perfection—and it always will. “Insanity,” said Albert Einstein, “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Einstein also said, “The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits.” Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Survival here could well refer to relationships, business, and most everything else in life. There is no better guide for writers than what E.B.White said: “The best writing is rewriting.” Along with William Strunk, Jr., he wrote the writer’s bible, The Elements of Style, and if imitation is the highest form of flattery, I modeled my book, Public Speaking Rules, on the handy size of theirs, and I even used the same color for my cover as they did for their first edition. Perhaps I am naive, but I seldom think about death; however, I believe that my goal (and that of everyone else, too) is to live a long and productive life. It was Leonardo da Vinci who said, “As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” You put your trust in politicians that they are not just familiar with history but, too, that they will be wise in their understanding and application of historical precedent in the decisions they make. David McCullough said, “To plan for the future without having a sense of history is like trying to plant cut flowers.” That is precisely why you don’t nominate or elect politicians who are educationally challenged, not well read, do not think well, or cannot answer questions in a reasoned, well-informed, and educated manner. Most people in a democracy both know and understand the importance of the freedom of speech they are granted; however, those times when their belief is most challenged occurs when those they dislike are granted the same right. Noam Chomsky said, “If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.” Over and over the aphorism, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is proven in individuals we at first admired and respected. Albert Einstein said, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” In organizations, associations, and groups, when such respect occurs, the result that often takes place is groupthink—long associated with faulty decision making. George Bernard Shaw said, “When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.” What truths might there be? The book, How to be funny on purpose: Creating and consuming humor , by Edgar E. Willis, offers instruction and insights. And your challenge to grow, develop, and change can take place at any time in your life. “You are never too old,” said George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), “to be what you might have been.” H. L. Mencken said, “You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Aim above the mark to hit the mark.” And, to end on a light note, it was W. C. Fields who said, “Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.” This essay is now “over with.” ----- At Thinkexist.com, there are “Deeper Quotes.” If you enjoyed those in this essay, you will surely enjoy those at this web site.
At the QuoteGarden, there are a large number of “Philosophical Quotations,” that offer insights, significant thoughts, and great language.
Mark Vernon, at the web site NewStatesman, wrote an essay, “The Art of the Aphorism,” in which he ends by saying, “This explains why writing a good aphorism, like constructing a good soundbite, is an art. The best are simple and the opposite of simplistic. In an age when the average attention span is apparently decreasing, the sagacious soundbite could yet become the solution to - rather than a symptom of - the tendency to dumb down.” ----- Copyright January, 2011, by And Then Some Publishing, LLC.