Tag Archives: learning

Wisdom 101: A matter of time

By Jim Selman | Bio

The older I am, the more I reflect on the aphorisms all around us and wonder why it is so difficult to accept and live with this obvious wisdom. Robert Fulghum memorialized many of them in his bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. All of these little ‘nuggets’ of wisdom we’ve accumulated over the years are generally, well, wise. It is befuddling why so few people take them to heart.

Why do so many spend a lifetime learning these kinds of lessons the hard way? Actually, why is it that any of us continue to act badly, do things we know won’t work, or become engaged in behaviors that, in any of a hundred different ways, are harmful to ourselves and others?

Theologians, psychologists, teachers, philosophers and parents have been occupied by these questions for a very long time. The larger underlying questions at the heart of this inquiry are:

  • “Who am I?”
  •  “Do I really have a choice about what I do?”
  • “Is it really possible to learn from our experience?”

If by ‘experience’

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Why Don’t We Ever Learn?

By Jim Selman | Bio

As we watch the devastation in Haiti on television, the world recoils at the horror and the suffering, mobilizes its resources and tries to clean up the mess and help the survivors. The media forages, looking for who to blame (usually corrupt or incompetent politicians). We’ve witnessed this scene following earthquakes countless times: in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake 2008 when 69,000 died in China; in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake when 230,000 died in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand; in the 2005 Kashmir earthquake where 86,000 died in Pakistan; in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake when 142,800 died in Japan; and even in 1908’s Messina earthquake when 100,000 died in Italy. If we think about the hurricanes, volcanoes, fires, tsunamis and famine, it seems the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” are doing a fabulous business these days. The fact is that natural (and some unnatural) disasters happen all the time.  But if you look at the impact of these events in developed countries and compare them to the impact in underdeveloped countries, the contrast is shocking.

The reason for this has been clear for a long time. The extent of damage in any earthquake depends on many variables, including the magnitude of the quake and the aftershocks, what type of soil buildings are on and the distance of population centers from the epicenter. Underdeveloped or developing nations face particular challenges—especially when dealing with high population density areas—because they lack the necessary infrastructure to respond. In addition to this factor

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Learning and Environmental Choices

By Rick Fullerton | Bio

I continue to be struck by the environmental challenges facing planet earth. With signs of increasing public awareness about the deepening climate crisis, it is gratifying to sense a noticeable shift taking place in my own and others’ behaviour. For instance, I see more and more people supporting recycling programs, choosing Energy Star appliances, and driving fuel efficient cars. And we change our light bulbs! Yet is it enough?

At best, such actions represent well-intentioned

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The Medium is the Message

By Jim Selman | Bio

Forty-five years ago Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message”. I wonder what he would have made of today’s media-on-steroids. Someone sent me a fascinating YouTube piece called “Social Media in Plain English” , which was followed up with a dramatic piece on the extraordinary impact of all that is going on in the Social Media Revolution. It includes a new term I had never seen before: socialnomics. It’s getting easier and easier to feel ignorant and out of touch.

The general consensus is that the phenomenon of social networking/social media is as potentially revolutionary as the Industrial Revolution. Whether this is hyperbole or turns out to be fact will remain a question for history. What is a fact is that the medium is changing faster and in more dramatic ways than many of us can keep up with. I was just getting comfortable with email, blogging and my own websites. And now, almost overnight it seems, I am confronted with Twitter

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Cooking and the Generation Gap

By Sharon Knoll | Bio

Cooking with my daughter, Krista, is bliss. We were making Crabby Crabcakes, an incredible recipe from Mark Bittman at the NY Times. They were 99% crab with a little bit of stuff we purchased at the Queen Anne Farmers Market to hold them together: brand new potatoes baked with olive oil and rosemary, and sautéed summer squash and caramelized onions with  herbs. (Can you stand it? Are you ready to rush out and cook and enjoy the wonderful tastes of fresh grown

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Goodbye Mimi

By Jim Selman | Bio

This has been a sad week. My partner’s mother died at the age of 94. Even when the end is expected (and perhaps even welcomed after a long period of decline), it nonetheless has a powerful impact on those who cared. All of the clichés aside, there just isn’t much to say to the bereaved other than “I am sorry for your loss.” As we get older, death and dying becomes a larger part of our day-to-day reality as we lose friends and loved ones

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Following Your Bliss & U-Turns

The following segment from Tom Freston’s 2007 commencement speech to the graduates at Emerson College contains four pieces of wisdom about ‘being in action’ that are timeless. This man built MTV and Viacom’s cable empire, was fired by chairman Sumner Redstone, accepted a $60 million severage package and is now helping Oprah build her new TV network while you travels to Afghanistan, Burma, Rwanda and beyond and works with Bono to reduce global poverty and AIDS. 

One

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Not Easy: Just Clear

By Jim Selman | Bio

Yesterday I was coaching a friend of mine. I was sharing a bit of how important it is to ‘come from’ your vision for your life. Our future is always a product of our actions, and our actions are always a correlate of how we relate to the future. When we act as if the future has already happened, then it is only a matter of time before that future is realized or we learn what we need to learn to achieve it. Her response was, “Well, you make it sound so simple, but it is too abstract and I need to know ‘how’ to have what I want in the future.” This was my response. "I understand. Everything is abstract until we learn it.

I
don’t think learning a new way of being or a different way of observing
the world is simple. I think it is clear when we can set aside our
conventional wisdom and ‘try on’ a different mindset. Not easy, but
clear.

If you are 100% focused on ‘how’ and ‘doing’, then it is impossible to learn a different way of being.

We normally try to BE different (or become resigned that we can’t change the way we are) by trying to change what

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Learning from Experience

By Rick Fullerton | Bio

Over the past few months I have been an absentee blogger, a consequence of having accepted a full-time work assignment that I expected to last two years or more. I was enticed by a personal request for my services to lead a strategic initiative that would call on my experience and skills. So after nearly 10 years as a freelance consultant, I returned to work inside an organization at age 62.

Any major decision like this comes with many implications. Besides the desire to

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