2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Don’t do more than necessary, Your anxiety will say enough is enough

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We’ve all heard the terms of praise for the hard worker, the achiever: go getter, dynamo, spark plug, workhorse, mover and shaker, eager beaver.

But as you work hard and often, how much is too much? And in doing too much, do you really gain greater opportunity or lose ground?

Sometimes, in our enthusiasm to achieve-maybe even enthusiasm to please-we overdo it and ruin rather than encourage opportunity. Case in point:

Author of Thick Face Black Heat, the Warrior Philosophy for Conquering the Challenges of Business and Life, Chin-ning Chu speaks of her desire to get a book to print at one point in the text. In meeting the deadline of Feb 15, 1991 she pushed her publisher and herself to the limit. The result? Because all of the media attention was on Desert Storm her book disappeared in the war’s media maelstrom. Chu believes that if she had not rushed, if she had stayed on a steady pace, her book would have been brought to light under much more favorable conditions. Because she did not listen well to her anxious heart, she misinterpreted a need for calm as one for greater action.

In learning, I have often found a point of saturation. I read a lot to obtain insight and knowledge as to greater understanding of the human condition outside of that which I gain from my limited perspective and experience. Infrequently as I seek and discover, I obtain a point where enough is enough. At this point I discover that I have the insight I need for my message, my anxiety to discontinue inquiry a demarcation point of discontinuance.

Sometimes as we seek to achieve we ignore the message our anxiety is attempting to convey. Instead of doing less and accepting conditions we do more and feed the anxiety even moving ourselves to failure. But even in times of failure, we are often better off accepting it than wasting time and effort by pushing to do more to right an alleged wrong.

On several occasions in my attempt to achieve greater prosperity, I’ve chosen a particular path. For example, I’ve taken a job that I thought would tide me over until I was able to move laterally into a position that would allow greater upward mobility. Yet while in this situation, I have been fired from several jobs, often due to no fault of my own. Each time as I’ve remained calm and accepting, I’ve moved into greater opportunities than those I anticipated following my preconceived or more forced, unnatural plan.

Sometimes we do too much out of lack of control, but even through the greatest preparation in regards to success in business and life we can never know it all; there is a point where we must simply trust in the fates.

“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be a fish.”– Ovid

And one must certainly push oneself to find the limits in ourselves, our plans, and life. For it is only in the doing, in having faith that all will ultimately work out that we stretch our intuitive muscle to learn of that which cannot be found in books but only in experience.

“Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you explore as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.”– A.E. Hotchner

Ultimately, success is part tangible, part intangible. The tangible is what which we consciously do in an effort to achieve. The intangible is what we listen for and feel along the way as we adjust for greater if not greatest success.

“Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person we become.”– Jim Rohn

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”– Bill Cosby

Here’s to your success.

In Today’s Economies, Diversification and Awareness Lead to Financial Security

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To win today’s game of financial security in the here and now into retirement, one must understand the playing field, first and foremost. What’s afoot? Capitalism, or rather, state-crony capitalism where the rich minority and government control a good portion of what has transpired economically. The push for the Federal Reserve began with Senator Nelson Aldrich and his friends J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, two of the world’s richest men in the early 20th century. What the rich want, the rich get. But the government has certainly stepped in with all its recent bailouts. So we don’t have a pure capitalism per se, but it is capitalism nevertheless. But even though these two influences on the economy are great, there is a larger presence out there: what people are willing to buy.

More importantly, capitalism is about the next, latest-greatest service and / or product. Electricity replacing kerosene, the car replacing the horse and buggy, television replacing radio, Netflix replacing Blockbuster, and Amazon taking down B. Dalton’s Bookstore. And on and on it goes. Now the most important point here is not the mere history of these points but the fact that in capitalism things change, and that change is picking up. I refer you to Allen Greenspan’s Age of Turbulence. Yes, the former head of the Federal Reserve. So what does that mean for you?

First of all, it dispels the myth of job security, for the “creative destruction” of capitalism ensures it. But don’t panic. Even though jobs are being destroyed, jobs get created at a high rate as well. And even though there has been a lot of complaints about unemployment in the U.S. of late, we are still better off than the majority of those in the world. Consider that if you make more than $3 / day, you’re doing better than three billion or half the world. And if you have clothes on you back, money in your pocket and bank account, along with food in your fridge, you’re doing better than 80% of the world. But best of all, you’ve got knowledge and understanding on your side. So let’s get to more of it.

So let’s get back to the issue of job or financial security. Adding to the creative destruction of capitalism is the fact that wages have stagnated, cost of living is up (loans for higher education alone have increased 50% over the last ten years), and savings is down. In the mid-eighties the savings rate, or money people were able to put into savings, was some eleven percent. Today, we are in the negative, meaning that we must take loans out or pay with credit cards for our basic necessities. So what’s a poor single-source of income to do? Especially if that income can barely pay for things. Diversify.

Many are coming to the realization that one must invest: property, gold and silver, stocks, intellectual property, etc. But invest you must, or when that job dries up because of capitalism’s creative destruction, what is one to do? Investment goes outside the scope of this post, but it is best to invest early and often, opening up as many streams of income for greater, greatest financial stability.

But there’s more, much more. In the days of old, survival of the fittest meant being a great warrior and physically tough. Today it is much more important to be mentally tough. What does that mean? Not only being able to think thoroughly and accurately but with an open, humble mind (accepting error in judgment) with considerable control over thought and emotion (EQ or emotional intelligence). Today, more than ever before, because of capitalism’s creative destruction and the sped-up economies, the average worker will have three to five—some experts say up to ten—career changes. This change requires an agile and adaptive mind, along with the ability to learn quickly. Therefore, it is essential that one know how to think well or critically—analyze, synthesize, judge. Again, this post will not go into details here (look for related articles on my blog).

Like never before, you must learn to be adaptive and self-sustaining for your career and financial well-fare. No longer can one simply rely on one skill or company to see one through to retirement. The world has changed, and we must change and adapt accordingly. Please feel free to drop a line with any questions or concerns. Your future and all who rely on you depends on it.

Come ON! I’ve been trying and trying, but just can’t get the job. HELP!!!

This comes up often, and I usually have to qualify it by saying, well, that’s a loaded issue. I’d have to know more: what’s your education? experience? what are you applying for? how many is “trying and trying”? How long have you been looking? what’s the industry? area? and so forth. There are a LOT of variables involved. Regardless, here are a few things in general you might be able to use. Personally, I’ve interviewed dozens of times and know the ropes so well that if I wanted to I could interview with about a 90% chance of getting the job. If you do it right, you can almost will the job right into your lap. Yes! just that easy, with a lot of hard work leading up to it.

Here are some tips:

1. Know the questions. Practice some of the general hiring questions and then the industry specific questions. Over prepare. WAY over prepare.

2 Keep your answers short and to the point.

3. Don’t comment on the interviewer’s hair, clothes, suit, office .. . Keep it completely to the interview. Believe it or not, some people think that by doing this you’re socially a loose cannon. Go figure. Anyway, you can be social, but keep it professional and to the point, especially if you’re not coming in with a lot of experience or background. Nothing worse than an uppity upstart.

4. You should go into the interview not caring if you get the job or not. Why? Have you ever seen an uptight athlete do well in key, high pressure moments? One of the biggest killers is nerves. There are ways to get over this. Personally, I never get nervous. I used to all the time. Now, after considerable training and focus, could care less. I know I’m great and that’s that. Oh, that leads to the next one.

5. Confident. Be it.

6. People hiring don’t have the upper hand. If you think they do, you’re going to come across desperate. Desperation is not pretty. You are amazing. You are great. You are the person for the job (If you don’t think so, why are you interviewing? And if you are but don’t come across that way, well, then, come across that way).

7. Research the company. Research the company. Research the company. Did I say research the company? ’nuff said.

8. Go there the day before or get there real early, like an hour before the interview. Feel the lay of the land. Look around. This will help in, #1, not being late; #2 getting relaxed; #3 maybe you’ll run into a few people who might give you some tips and pointers on how to get a job there. Oh, yes! hardly anyone thinks of this. You might also try talking to a friendly secretary or gate person several days before the interview. And that’s not the person at the gate, but the gatekeepers or those who filter contacts for the big guys and gals upstairs.

9. Referring to #7, and not directly about the interview, really, but consider that if you interview at a company that is not conducive to your personality or style–the co.’s culture is at odds to your personality type–what a huge waste of time that’s going to be as you might get the job, work there for a few months, come to hate it, and then want to leave. Not good.

10. Do your homework. About EVERYTHING. The company, as stated above, the company’s work culture, who you’ll be working for and with and what they’re like. Believe me, I’m sure there’s at least one or two interviews you had that didn’t work out just because it was a mismatch between you and the company culture. Don’t worry. No biggie.

Finally, keep in mind that if you don’t get the job or a call back it can be for numerous reasons. You may have gotten into the back end of the rotation where the company already found the new-hire and they’re just going through the motions of finishing out the interviews. Or maybe you’re just not a match, as I mentioned above. Or sometimes the job has been recalled because of lack of funding or restructuring. On and on it goes. And even if you got the job because you were not a match to the qualifications, well, if you want that job get the qualifications and go back and get it. And it might not be right then and there but later down the road after you’ve been working for a while.

But don’t ever get desperate. Always be professional, no matter WHAT happens. One semester I was desperate for another class just so my wife and I could pay the bills. Out of the blue, like a Christmas miracle movie, I got a call late one December evening from a chair at a college I had been shooting for, for some time. And just like a miracle movie, I was given the job, but just like that miracle movie, I got a call back the next day the chair telling me sorry, that a full time professor who had priority took it. I said, not a problem and calmly said goodbye wishing him a Merry Christmas. And guess what? The very next day the chair of the dept. called back and told me he had another class just come free, (yes! just like in that miracle movie) which he was so happy to have because he had felt bad having to turn me away, and he felt that since I was so nice he just KNEW something would come up.

Stay in character. Be professional at ALL times. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. And work like a dog to make sure that you’re the go to guy / gal so that you get to the point where they come after you, not visa versa. You WILL get the job. But better yet, the CAREER that will not only sustain and maintain you financially but emotionally and spiritually. To your success!

Ethics: a call for non-dissing of difference for an empowered national ethic

ethics_thumbOver the coming weeks, I will be speaking of ethics in my career / life classes, specifically: Ethics: A call for non-dissing of difference.

It appears that most ethical philosophies are problematic. Dr. Sterba of Notre Dame regards the “seemingly greater disagreement in ethics” as creating a point in which “there is little or nothing that can really be established in ethics.”

But if we look to the public arena one can find a philosophy that is quite agreeable, one in which all sides express their views, abiding by majority rule, as long as the will of the majority is constrained by certain minority rights. Of course this should sound quite familiar to most Americans. But to find greatest ethical appeal, or doing that which is best for the majority, we need to look past color, race, creed, culture, religion, sexual preference, socioeconomic status … to that of human need, for ours are all the same; it is here where the most empowered, most accurate wrong / right decisions of ethics may breed and breathe. But we need to do a few things first to, shall I say, clear the air.

It appears that in group difference (political, religious, cultural, social) there is often a sneering at, smearing of those who differ in opinion or stance. Since this world, specifically this country, is founded in difference this won’t do in creating a national ethic to greatest benefit for all. Thus, in our ethical model, it is best to be respectful of difference. For difference will never change and may continue to increase–if looking at all current indicators–and thus we will be able to treat others more equally, in a more utilitarian model to maximum benefit for all.

To see best where we need to be, let us look at all humans from an ignorant, blind perspective. Consider that none of us can see or know that difference in sexual preference, political leanings, culture, race, class … exist. So what is at the core of basic human need?

According to Tony Robbins, there are six core human needs that must be met:

  1. Consistency
  2. Variety
  3. Uniqueness or desire to be seen as special in some capacity
  4. Love / connection
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

Most can obtain the first four needs, but for the last two most must be made aware of human need for growth and contribution. This is good, but we need a little more clarity, detail as to basic human need.

We can also go to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to aid us:

MaslowhierarchyofneedsWe all need food, shelter, love, affection, and connection, acceptance and belonging.

We need to achieve, feel competent, order and beauty in our lives.

Once all the above is in place, we need to find personal fulfillment and full human potential.

Here is our ethical model. But to obtain all that humans need we must optimize the environment. Bottom line, all should be privy to being free enough to seek and satisfy these basic human needs. So lastly we must consider environment where one has the greatest physical, social, political, and economic freedoms to satisfy these needs. And we have that in place in the United States.

But what’s holding us back are narrow minds, ignorance, and conditioning that negates the individual based in sexual preference, race, color, creed, sex, class, religion, culture, political leanings. It is only in the ridding of such bias and creating the most open of minds and hearts where we will find the greatest application of moral and ethical appeal. Tolerance is the key, for how can one equally different, equally fallible ever been seen as superior, or inferior, for that matter.

May we all find and encourage such open, free, and unbiased space in our lives and those of all we meet.

If you’d like to keep up with the continual flow of information found here at Inner Projection, one of the best places to get such information in an entertaining, insightful, up-to-the-moment fashion is by subscribing to our Career Coaching Newsletter. To your highest achievement.

College Tips to Help Save Time, Money, Aggravation and Your Sanity

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Let’s begin with whYale_University_Old_CampusWikimediaat you’re all shooting for in the first place (I hope): Career satisfaction and success

In college, generally one thing is acquired: knowledge. Very rarely will you learn the critical skills and attitudes needed for success in your career or, for that matter, life (family, social, political, etc.) However, for now let’s just stick to career concerns. To let you know it’s not just me spouting inaccurate wisdom, I’ll let Amanda Colwell, Unigo Campus Rep at Boston College give you a couple of critical after-the-fact “should haves.”

  • “Didn’t get an internship junior year or yet. Lesson learned: Most employers look for and expect work experience. Not having that experience makes for a rather unpleasant applying for jobs’ experience.”
  • “Waited too long to visit the career center. Lesson learned: People enter through the doors of the career center before senior year and those people seem to be the ones who get jobs first.”
  • “Listened to my parents more than I should have. Lesson learned: So maybe their paying the bills, but it is your life and your future. You don’t need to tell them everything if they are going to make you feel guilty about skipping class to go to the Boston Red Sox Parade then don’t tell them. Some things are better left unsaid anyways.”
  • Cared too much about my GPA. Lesson learned: Grades shmades. Your GPA will fall senior year, anyways. Spend your four years in college learning about yourself.

Number one, if you don’t get experience along with your degree you are one big dummy. Sorry, I’m not holding back the punches here.

What? You thought your grades and that prestigious university would just let you walk in the door of a company falling all over themselves to get you? Think again. (Actually saw a couple of posts on the Internet between students: “Yeah, with (name of prestigious university here) my ticket is punched. All I have to do is show up.” Hey, even if that were true, that attitude (remember, one of those things you don’t learn in college) needs to be put down quickly like a lame filly with an infected hoof.

Also, consider that after you get a couple years experience under your belt where you went to college is as important to those hiring as the size of your hat, which actually might be more interesting to most if it’s also real colorful and in season.

Number two; you’re at college to get into a career, so get to the career center by at least your junior year. Maybe even sooner if you know for sure what you want to do. Don’t waste too much time with theory. Get into the real world as soon as possible. That’s where it’s happening.

Another consideration is grades, as mentioned above. Yes, way too many focus there. A big, big mistake; however, not entirely the student’s fault. Students too often and too early work to the grade and not the knowledge (often purged after paper / test / exam), a result of too much parental and school pressure early on.

If you’re not learning or don’t care about what you’re learning, its a waste of time. If you don’t care about what you’re learning, why are you taking the courses? This isn’t please the parents or society or whoever time. You are the one who’s going to be going to your job day after day, month after month, year after year. If you don’t like it, you’ll bail, as in get out. Consider the following statistic of those who’ve wasted four years in college and too many years after.

Within 5 to 10 years, 70% of college grads no longer work in a field related to their major.

Why? Too much listening to others and not themselves, or in your case yourself. Who knows best? Mother? No, not in this case. It’s you.

Back to the grades issue. If you’re not learning how to think critically, intuitively, and creatively, or how to synthesize existing knowledge with insight of experience, you will not last long in today’s economy which requires adaptability and self-educating. With a potential of up to 10 careers staring you in the face over the span of your work life (high end estimate; more likely 3 to 5, but best to be prepared) in these economically turbulent, global job market times, you best learn how to think and learn well on the run. You’re welfare and the welfare of your future and future family relies on it.

Number three, what do you know about the details of what you’ll be doing on the job?

Time and again I know of and have heard of grads leaving their jobs months after beginning. Why? No one told them that, for instance, biology was fun to study but lab work day-in and day-out is stone cold, stifling-boring. Or that working as an attorney requires endless hours of paperwork and not that much time in the glory and limelight of the court scene. But if you’ve been to court, you know it’s generally not that exciting. Nothing like TV. Well, unless it’s on TV and Johnny Cochran has a camera pointed at him. But that’s the exception.

Or maybe you’ll be like the one student who interviewed three of her neighbors about their careers only to discover that their greatest concern had little to do with work but more with what type of work they did and where they worked would affect spouse and family.

There are so many intangibles that go beyond what’s happening in the classroom or on the college campus. You need to do your homework, do your research, and really dig deep to see not only that what you’re getting into is something you love, but what the day to day environment will be like of the career you desire. College is generally only 4 years. The working years span half your life. Know what you’re getting in to.

Here’s to your success.

The People’s Constitution: Academics and Lawyers go Elsewhere (excerpt)

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[Everyone who is an American citizen should know the basics of the Constitution, a given. Yet few learn it anywhere, even in school or college. It should be as required in the United States as science and math, more so. There are even those who raise their arm to the square pledging their alliance to upholding it (naturalized citizens, police officers, lawyers, politicians, military personnel), who know little of its content. Why? Probably because the books written on the Constitution are dry, boring, detailing even that which is no longer relevant. This is where I come in. In my book, The People’s Constitution: Academics and Lawyers go Elsewhere, I lay it down in a brief, hopefully interesting manor that the average Joe and Jane can understand. Personally, I’m no Constitutional lawyer, why I had a friend of mine who is look at the book when I was done. Here’s the first few pages to give you a taste of what’s critical for all Americans to know. Hope you find it useful. ]

Why I’ve Written This, What You’re Getting, and What You’re Not Getting

OK, I am going tell you right off the bat why I wrote this book. A basic understanding of the U.S. Constitution is as essential for ALL Americans as it is for us to get out and buy the latest game system. OK, maybe not in theory, but in actuality, YES! Why? Well, more Americans know of, desire, and play games than have a basic understanding of Constitutional law.

Why are games so popular while Constitutional ignorance abounds? Well, outside the obvious—video games are a heck of a lot of fun—most people may want to know about the U.S. Constitution, but have you ever sat down to read it? Let me tell you now that without some type of down-to-the-layperson’s level interpretation there is going to be little to no understanding. PERIOD!

Why?

Well . . . it’s law, silly? Have you ever read any law code? (OK, it’s more general than law code, but it is law. You get the point.) Here’s an example. Try to stay awake while reading. But don’t fret, a living, breathing human is just on the other side. I will be right back with my inane comments. Here is a little light reading from Title 18: Part II, Chapter 208, § 3161, section (d) (1). Enjoy.

(1) If any indictment or information is dismissed upon motion of the defendant, or any charge contained in a complaint filed against an individual is dismissed or otherwise dropped, and thereafter a complaint is filed against such defendant or individual charging him with the same offense or an offense based on the same conduct or arising from the same criminal episode, or an information or indictment is filed charging such defendant with the same offense or an offense based on the same conduct or arising from the same criminal episode, the provisions of subsections (b) and (c) of this section shall be applicable with respect to such subsequent complaint, indictment, or information, as the case may be .  .  .

COMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Really, who goes to school to actually, and truthfully mind you, use a God-given human mind to not only understand this stuff but have also been convinced that they did the right thing by going to school to ingest this stuff for years? Look me in the eye, lawyer person, and tell me the truth.

Ah, ha! I knew you couldn’t!

I digress.

Regardless of the number of people lying to themselves because they became a lawyer simply for the prestige, the exposure, or, in some cases, the money, this law stuff is downright nasty. More specifically, some of the most boring stuff this side of your high school history teacher.

Therefore, I am here to the rescue.

And what’s good about me is that I’m just some average non-lawyer, non-politician, non-whatever who doesn’t care to protect his image by talking down law and its being boring, or convoluted, or mistreated by those in power in government at the federal and state level. Actually, I have read those books that explain the seven articles and twenty-seven amendments of the Constitution, and many never give you the layperson lowdown of the nasty or under-belly of law, government, and its adherents.

No problem here. By telling you a lot of truths and not holding back on some of the foolishness of humankind in regards to law, the Constitution, and our illustrious government, I am not going to lose tenure, my job, or my seat in the Senate. So there, you Constitutional commentary-ers.

In addition, I am not going into a lot of boring detail or history of the Constitution because I am lucky if I can get just a few people to understand the basics using everyday non-legalese language and minimal historical minutia. If you want extensive history about stuff that is moot or no longer applies to us Americans today, you will have to go to one of those books written by a Harvard law professor or historian with endless credits and half the alphabet after her name. Not here. Sorry.

As an American who has little time to spend on things outside of work, family, a little leisure and play, I just want the basics. For it certainly is important to know the basics, so that when making political decisions, when voting for a political figures, we all have a little better idea of what is out there regarding our God-given or Constitutional rights. We do not want to go back to monarchs and despots, for sure. Equally important is keeping our politicians on the up and up with our basic understanding of Constitutional rights and obligations. For we certainly do have them.

However, just to let you see why this stuff is important, consider the mere fact that you as an individual do not have a Constitutional right to vote. That is right. Moreover, that your right to privacy is protected only so far. In addition, that a great number of Constitutional rights are at the federal level only, not at the state level, meaning, that many of your Constitutional rights are null and void by state constitutions. A lot of time the Constitution says “Here’s your rights, but only if We (federal) are involved.” State? What say ye?

OK, now you know why I have written this book. My approach. Why you should read it. And what you need to do right now. That’s right. Read!

Go to it. I will see you inside.

The US Constitution: Introductory Summary

The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It provides the framework-key word here-for the organizing of the US Government. It does not lay down laws in specifics, but was left open ended enough for interpretation and, ultimately, changes or amendments. For there are many things that the founding fathers could not and did not foresee that required changes.

But the Constitution was and is not found to be perfect. Justice Thurgood Marshal stated that the US Constitution was “defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today.”

And even though it still has not been perfected, it is reaching toward perfection, and even from the outset with great chance for perfection coming from imperfect composers, a minor miracle occurred: “For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection it does” (Benjamin Franklin).

Perfection is not something that comes easy, nor should it be in regarding the legal ramifications of a document that protects the rights and freedoms of hundreds of millions of citizens. One can observe the strength of the document and the will of the people to maintain its integrity in the sheer volume of rejected amendments. Over the years, there have been hundreds and hundreds of proposed amendments. For example, from the 101st to 106th sessions of Congress over 800 amendments were proposed. As any captain knows, to maintain the integrity of the hull of his craft is primary in keeping the ship afloat. So far, the craft has yet to reach perfection, but the hull’s integrity is on the up ‘n up.

However, what specifically does the US Constitution entail? What is it all about above and beyond getting too lost in the details and sometimes moot points or arcane language? This we will get into as we go through the seven articles, their sections, and the twenty-seven amendments over the coming months, but for now, let us take a general overview of the Constitution.

The US Constitution defines the three main branches of the government: the legislative branch consisting of Congress; the executive, with the president at the head; and the judicial or Supreme Court. These branches are said to provide checks and balances and a “separation of power”‘ or those powers given; however, others believe that this power is not so separate that there is an overlapping of powers: “The constitutional convention of 1787 is supposed to have created a government of separated powers.’ It did nothing of the sort. Rather, it created a government of separated institutions sharing powers” (political scientists Richard Neustadt).

More than anything, however, can be found the importance of the human element above and beyond any words one may find on paper: “I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the heart of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it” (Judge Learned Hand). One can see the limitations of this document if the minds and hearts of a majority of the men and women who use it become corrupt in the extreme.

The Constitution has inherent “checks and balances” beyond what many may understand: “you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself” (James Madison). This document is meant to be a guideline, but it is up to the majority of those superior in insight, moral and ethical appeal to do what is best to protect and serve all; but even more importantly, those in the minority whose inalienable rights may be infringed upon must be looked after, for if the few can not be served then the many have no right being borne up by Constitutional law. But it is the human element in the equation that is the most interesting, important, and often times, humbling.

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself” (Mark Twain).

And our humanity shines imperfect in the very statement that set the stage for aiding us in reaching toward mass-character perfection: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”

This written by a man who owned slaves and signed by many in the same situation. This written by a man full of contradiction, a man like you and I, imperfect yet working toward betterment, working with a vision of perfection in mind—that which motivates but can never be obtained by mere mortals. Who else but a man of contradiction would say of Thomas Paine’s simple prose in Common Sense:  “No writer has exceeded Paine in ease and familiarity of style: in perspicuity of expression, happiness of elucidation, and in simple, unassuming language.” –Thomas Jefferson

But who can raise his or her hand and not claim contradiction, that which is so difficult to see by its possessor yet seen plain as day by friends and acquaintances. As humans, this is our inheritance, but it is something that we have worked to amend from the start of these United States:

Many found themselves deselected: the slaves of Massachusetts petitioning for their “unalienable rights to freedom” in 1777; white men without property seeking the vote; The Cherokee Nation believing that American Indians should be protected under the Constitution; women arguing that they too were a part of “We the People.” As stated above, the biggest human contradiction came from the founding penman himself, Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner, owner of men not free physically or politically. Nevertheless, it is the document that began it all and has—as its composers and ancestors—matured over time, working toward an inherent ideal through the imperfect natures of the men and woman who mold and shape this work of political and ethical art. Please follow along in this year of the vote (2008) as we take a compulsory look at this most liberating of documents known to humankind.

The Dominant Money System: We Are Fish Not Knowing the Very Water In Which We Swim

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 Most Americans would have a difficult time defining capitalism or the current dominant economic system in the United States. If you were to ask Noam Chomsky, he would say that capitalism, per se, hasn’t existed in the U.S. since the 1920s or 1930s. He calls today’s dominant economic system “state capitalism.” But let’s take a step back to first define what capitalism is. It is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods via investments that are determined by private decisions, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. Well, let’s break down that definition term by term to get a feel for where we are with today’s definition of capitalism.

According to the definition of capitalism above, it is an “economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods.” Today, as most know, that private ownership is becoming more state-owned as bailout after bailout occurs. The term “capital” implies stock, holding capital, advantage or gain or, best definition, net worth—how much a company is worth. That capital in a true capitalist system is owned by private companies. But that has changed considerably even since the Great Depression of the 1930s, as capitalism has leaned more and more in the direction of state ownership. So according to Noam Chomsky’s definition, we are not a true capitalist country any more or one dominated by “free enterprise”: business not restricted by government interference, regulation or subsidy, but by the laws of supply and demand. And this “free market” spoken to in our above definition is no longer free, nor has it been so for many a decade, worsening mores so in recent years. There is less and less “private ownership” and “private decisions,” and “prices, production, and distribution of goods” are not as determined by “competition in a free market” as our definition of capitalism would want us to have. To a great degree, you can take that word “free” right out of the capitalist definition, thus Chomsky’s “state capitalism” term.

But there is more going on here than meets the eye. Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, the Federal Reserve Act was passed by government, setting up a private, non-government banking entity set for control and domination. In The Creature From Jekyll Island, the author, Rothbard, states that “the financial elites of this country, notably the Morgan, Rockefeller, Kuhn, and Loeb interests were responsible for putting through the Federal Reserve System, as a govern-mentally created and sanctioned cartel device to enable the nation’s banks to inflate the money supply in a coordinated fashion.”  Those who control credit control the economy. The Fed is put in such a position to do so. And even though the Fed is beholden to Congress, technically, Congress knows who pays the bills. Big business.

The oddest thing about the current, dominant monetary system is its debt and growth based imperative, meaning that to stave off economic catastrophe we must keep growing the economy in a debt based fashion. The majority of the money in this country is on the books or in accounts, only a fraction of it represented in active bills and coins in circulation. The banks lend money for cars, homes, businesses, credit, and so forth at an increasing rate of interest or that which is more commonly known as compound interest. But while banks lend, the lendees run around competing for money that is never in enough supply, thus the failure-insured state of a fair percentage of the citizenry I spoke to earlier. Banks must continue to lend, lend, lend to stave off collapse of the global monetary and financial system. And one place it gets a lot of this accomplished is the government or big-ticket debt, as many are already too fully aware.

Here’s what Thomas H. Greco Jr. (The End of Money and the Future of Civilization) says about our current dominant money system: “The way in which money is created by the banking system today causes a debt imperative, which drives a growth imperative—this forces destructive competition for the available supply of money, which is never sufficient to enable all debtors to pay what they owe.” It also results in fewer and fewer with more and more money, the destruction of the middle class, martial law to control and restrict an uprising from the proletariat, and the potential for world-wide environmental and economic disaster resulting in a world-ending WWIII.

Now that I have your attention. This is, of course, a worst case scenario. It doesn’t have to be this way, and few are signing this off as the inevitable right now. But those awakening to the reality of the economic situation and those who have already awoke (see Occupy Wall Street)must put their best foot forward in taking the reality of this message to the world. For it is only through awareness that recovery and economic health can be restored. But many of those who advocate Occupy Wall Street don’t yet have the full picture. Some of those they attack are not directly responsible. For every American it is critical to understand not only what’s going on in the United States but globally, including in their understanding what has occurred over the last one-hundred years historically that has gotten us here. Here’s to a real capitalist society reigning again.

Thinking to Success in 2013 and Beyond: Critical, Creative, Intuitive Thinking

Critical, Creative, Intuitive Thinking to Greatest Solution

Critical, Creative, Intuitive Thinking to Greatest Solution

Right up front, let’s define this simple yet vital tool so its meaning is clear. Remember, to achieve one must define specifically whatever one is working with to move forward with precision and purpose.

Critical thinking is that which goes deeper than obvious surface meaning. For instance, in the movie Matrix, the main character Neo is attempting to escape the matrix for he knows something is amiss. He comes to realize that the reality he is living is a virtual one. Plugged into programs to replicate human existence put together by the machines that have taken over the earth, humans are being used like batteries to power the machine city . This is all mere fiction. However, lying under that basic story is a critical metaphor for life, for we all live in matrices that ensnare us physically, financially, intellectually, and emotionally. The brothers who wrote the Matrix had this intended underlying effect in mind when writing the script. This is critical thinking, but what is creativity, specifically? In achievement, we want to deal in specifics for greatest forward movement and accuracy in achieving our goals, thus we need to get definitions as accurate as possible.

Creativity is the ability to create solutions, to come up with an answer, invention, product, service, story, anything that begins with a need to produce an initially unknown outcome, creating a bridge from need to outcome. It is also the ability to diverge or to see a manifold of options. For example, it allegedly took Edison over 10,000 attempts to create a solution for the incandescent light bulb. Often, solution does not come easy or overnight, thus the need not only for divergent thinking but tenacity and patience.

Finally, there is intuition. Knowledge plus intuition often leads to creative solution. For Newton to discover the law of gravity, he had to study considerably, but it was only while at rest, allowing his mind to incubate solution was he able to understand or find solution to his quest. How important is intuition? According to Einstein, “The only real valuable thing is intuition.” Without intuition your chance of finding the best path to solution may never happen. Einstein relied on his intuition knowing that he was right “without knowing the reason.” Even though Einstein felt that the rational mind the “servant” the “intuitive mind the sacred gift. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

So why is all this of the utmost importance to you today?

How Critical, Creative, Intuitive Thinking will help you

First, let’s take a step back to see the whole picture. Remember, in order to move forward with focus and power, you must see or understand as thoroughly as possible not only where you’re going but where you are and where you’ve been.

First of all, regarding the workforce few understand the very water in which they swim. What are the economic conditions or what are you up against in not only trying to gain employment but maintain it. We live in a capitalist society, and America is one of the freest of societies. What does that mean to you?

It means not only more job creation but destruction than in any country. That means things are going to change and change often. According to Allen Greenspan, head of the U.S. Federal Reserve for nearly twenty years, we are in the age of turbulence where economic change is an assured thing. The creative destruction of capitalism ensures job loss and creation. Thus, if you believe in job security, even through obtaining a college degree, you believe in a myth. On top of that, because of such change, if you believe that a sole source of income is your best bet, you need to think again. More and more are becoming aware of the need to diversify their monetary portfolio, putting some money in stocks, some in real-estate, gold and / or silver, and other investments. Relying on one source of income in such a changing economic environment is like living in earthquake country and putting your house on stilts. Yes, I’m talking about those people who live in Hollywood Hills. Not me. But that’s another issue, back to the one at hand.

Capitalism is about entrepreneurship. It’s about millions coming forth time and again attempting to come up with the latest, greatest service and product. If this weren’t true, we’d still use outhouses, water wells, and horse and buggies. Even in your own time I’m sure you’ve seen Blockbusters come and go as Netflix took flight, B. Dalton’s go away as Amazon took hold, and record companies lose money and power as the Internet, MP3s and self-recording / marketing artist took over. Because of all this change, if you are just starting out, over your working lifetime you will have, according to experts, some three to five and as many as ten career changes. So ultimately, the skill sets will change but not the need to learn, learn quickly and adapt in the same way. Thus, you must learn how to learn. How do you do that best? Through critical, creative, intuitive thinking, of course.

So what is this tool? Let’s get into the details.

So you have a problem. You’re trying to get something done. Say you are trying to determine how best to engage students in class, how to twist the plot of your new book just right, streamline production at a place of business, even study material for a class, and so on. All of these require critical, creative, intuitive thinking.

So where do you start?

First you need to do your homework. This often entails research, reading, conversation, viewing of materials, and so forth. How do you do this best? Know what you’re looking for before you begin and then find the key points. Let’s look at an example. Here’s a passage from Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Prosperity. I came across this book as I used critical thinking to determine what my new education / career program would entail. After some researching and brainstorming, I came to the conclusion that I needed to look at what most people needed most of the time in most situations. What is the most common denominator in general human need? Well, one of them is to understand how our economy works, not only for the benefit of the individual concerned, but for all concerned, all Americans. So here’s a passage from a very important book (I suggest you read it).

1.      Incentives Matter

“All of economics rests on one simple principle: that incentives matter. Altering incentive, the costs and benefits of making specific decisions, alters people’s behavior

Understanding incentives is an extremely powerful tool for understanding why people do the things they do because the impact of incentives can be seen on almost every level, from simple family decision making to securities and international trade.”

Before reading, we’ve come to an understanding of how important economics is. We understand that it will enable us to know more accurately how best to deal with economic outcomes in regards to our career and our personal financial health. But we also understand that this is not just about us that it’s about everyone not only in the United States but countries around the world. We will gain a greater national and political understanding to make better choices in voting decision-makers into office.

Now that’s a LOT!

So before reading, we are not only ready to read—we have great cause—but we are motivated. Motivation is essential in not only getting things done, but it enables us to have the energy and concentration needed to learn rapidly and thoroughly for greatest knowledge retention. It is all about motivation and enthusiasm when it comes to learning and problem solving.

Getting to the work above, we need to look for key words and phrases that tell us to stop skimming and pay close attention. While reading critically, you should have a five-speed gear box. Most of the time you will be skimming working for general comprehension, then you will slow down or stop for key words and phrases, downshifting to first or second even parking it. It is this material that you will most likely commit to memory. Einstein said that if you don’t need to memorize, leave it in the book, look it up later. Important information must be committed to memory.

We know we have to slow down even stop and take note when we read such words and phrases as “All of economics rests on one simple principle,” “understanding incentives is an extremely powerful tool,” and “the impact of incentives can be seen on almost every level.” Especially the words “all,” “extremely,” and “every level” speak to importance. We have motivation, we have key words and phrases, but there’s more. We need to know about the limitations of our brain.

What about learning how to learn?

This is critical. Most students never learn how to learn, yet are expected to go off to school and college and do an outstanding job. Few have the first inkling as to how to study, look at, dissect, process, and retain critical knowledge. That is what you are getting here.

Our brains are limited in their intake. At most we can take in knowledge in strings of threes and fours. For example, take a few minutes and commit a phone number to memory before you go out of the house for awhile. See if you can recall the number without writing it down an hour or two later. Most will get distracted and forget it, for several reasons. First, our short-term memory is limited—as mentioned above—and we have not transferred it to long-term memory. There are other things that can disrupt memory—lack of sleep, poor diet, anger, drugs and alcohol—but we will not be exploring this aspect of memory.

In order to commit that number to memory, you have to use a technique to overcome the brain’s shortcomings. You must read the first three numbers, or put them in your verbal memory, and visualize the last four. Keep repeating the number this way for a few minutes. In all likelihood, you will remember it longer. I have found in using this technique that I have gone from remembering the number a few minutes up to a few days without ever writing it down.

Why does this work? We need to see what we are learning more than merely verbalize it. Pausing to draw out, write down, or simply look away and visualize material enhances memory. This is why teachers have you write. When you write, you are seeing the material more clearly, plus you are putting it into your words, processing it trough your mind in differing combinations of words. The more angles that you can address the material from using a greater array of senses, the better you learn. As you write you are including the physicality of writing using pen or pencil or keyboard enabling another sense increasing your ability to learn the material.

Rarely does education stick; only when it does are you truly educated.

In reality, education or the stickiness of knowledge rarely happens. First, most students are working to external or extrinsic motivators, such as grades, income, desire to satisfy parents, peers, or society, or to satisfy pride, such as in earning prestigious degrees merely for the prestige. Without a passion for the material, taking it in, researching it from many angles, writing about it, and rolling it all around again and again in the mind, one rarely owns or really knows the material. THIS is education.

Here’s another tip. In order to transfer knowledge from short- to long-term memory, you need to be exposed to the material some five to ten times from varying angles before it is owned. Yes, to learn something you must own it. It must become a part of your being. That’s why when you’re learning something it’s best to put it in your own words.

Also, you must learn to chunk it down. Take information and put it into chunks of threes, fours, or fives preferably. We can handle six, maybe, but after that it gets a bit much for us—for most of us. For example, in putting across the concept of critical thinking to my classes, I take the first two chapters on critical thinking (reading and writing) and chunk the knowledge down to four or five groups of knowledge containing only three to five elements, so the brain’s ability to remember is not taxed. You can’t always do this, but for greatest retention, this is what you should be shooting for any time you study. I will show you what I mean by how I teach the very thing we are talking about: critical thinking.

  1. First, we need to define critical thinking. It is the process of going beyond surface meaning to that which is deeper or of greater merit, use, and purpose.
  2. Second, we need to understand its components as a tool. What are its main useable elements? They entail analyzing, synthesizing, and judging. First we must analyze the problem at hand. What is it? What is the problem? Just as we must look at all the components of a car to determine what is wrong, the same goes for other problems. As we analyze, we bring “us” into the analysis. This is what we know, who we are, our background, biases, experience, conversations, acquaintances, family, and friends, what we watch, read, and understand. We see through these elements to understand or interpret what we are reading or the problem at hand. Unfortunately, because of limited understanding, biases, and weaknesses it is critical to keep as open and objective a mind as possible, ready to make changes to our understanding as more knowledge and greater perception comes forth. Finally, we make a judgment. What is the value, worth, import of what we have discovered. And move forward from there.
  3. Next, how best to use this tool critical thinking. It is best used via writing. Many a writer has said, “I don’t know what I’m thinking until I write it down.” The writing process enables greatest focus and concentration. There are many tasks that can be done in conjunction with others, multi-tasking, but because writing requires the greatest of concentration to perform well, it is also the greatest learning, discovering and analyzing tool. So what are the main components of writing, as we go about writing about our problem. Some things to consider are the following: 
  1. Audience
  2. Purpose
  3. Thesis
  4. Evidence
  5. Coherence
  6. Unity

Who are you writing to? Some of the time it may just be you. Why are you writing? What is your main point? Support that main point with evidence, so it’s not just mere conjecture. Then make sure that what you have makes sense, coherent, and is not lacking in logic and reason all the while keeping it unified or sticking to the main point, thesis. This all aids in getting to solution in the best way possible. However, there is a catch. Let’s go to the Don for more insight.

Intuition to take it to the next level.

Yes, Donald Trump states that in order to solve a problem one must do the work, do one’s due diligence. However, you will never know it all, so at some point you must just move forward using your gut instinct or intuition. At the same time, even though you have done your homework, allow it to sit for awhile and go play. Yes, greatest solution comes when the mind is at play. Many eurekas have come while walking, sitting, relaxing, playing, experimenting when just not focusing on the work at all. Let your mind go in as many possible directions to solution as you can think of. Get as divergent as you can. Be as a child.

According to research, 98% of young children, five or six years-of-age, have genius level divergent thinking. Their imagination is not only at play it is thriving. The greatest thinkers throughout time have been noted for their childlike nature. It is certainly a part of you that you need to hold onto, not only to solve problems but to maintain mental health and happiness. Even if something comes to you that seems odd, farfetched, impossible, even useless, don’t throw it away. It could be just what you’re looking for.

Let’s get back to the three points above. If you look at the material we need to commit to memory, you’ll see that it fits our three to four or five elements-in-length requirement. The critical thinking definition can be broken into two parts: 1) going deep 2) greater merit, use, purpose. 2) the tool: analyze, synthesize, judge 3) writing components: audience, purpose, thesis, evidence, coherence, unity.

We must become a better self-educating society for the future. As stated above, the skill sets will change three, four, five times or more over our working lifetimes. Thus we must learn how best to learn. We must be able to ask ourselves the right questions to get at the information we need for our careers and jobs. For example, even in teaching something as simple as comma placement, I don’t have students memorize all seven or eight rules. Most of the rules are known (such as commas in dates and addresses) or little used. What do most students need most of the time in most cases? Since 98.8% of the time I’m not teaching English majors or grammar scholars, I give them what they need to write well. I break the rules down to four, even combining those that overlap or are not put into any logical, useful order in regards to application or purpose. What are they? In most academic writing they are:

  1. Commas come before, around, and after words phrases and clauses that appear before, within, and after the sentence.
  2. Place a comma and coordinating conjunction between two sentences in a compound sentence.
  3. Place commas after words in a list of three or more words, phrases, and clauses.
  4. Places commas after adjectives when there are two or more in a row.

There are other punctuation rules, but the above are applicable the majority of time. Note that there are only four, so they fit our three to six element limitation rule. Plus I have combined those that overlap, and would take up excessive room in your head, into a rule or two.

In today’s quick paced world, you must learn how to learn and do so quickly. What I have given you in this essay will help you considerably to not only learn, but to discern quickly between what is necessary and unwanted, trivial and of merit. And remember that all the techniques in the world will only help so much. If you really want to maximize your abilities across the board (creativity, comprehension, accountability, knowledge acquisition and retention), have a love and passion for what you are doing. Don’t do something because parents, peers, society, your pride, or simply a desire for money is your priority. As Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.”

Here’s to your success in the rapidly changing future and to your success using this great tool. Here’s to your success, however you may define it.

Study skills or what you’ve probably never considered

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Ashs-students-studyingMosborneWikimediaorgWhat are study skills and techniques that can improve your comprehension and understanding?

Let’s set the groundwork. Most students think that study skills are all about sitting down to memorize facts and data just long enough to pass a test. Proper study skills can and should help students do more than merely improve test taking abilities or decrease test taking anxiety. There are many sources out there that will give students simple, surface study tips, but they usually just scratch the surface of the work needed for greatest achievement in school and college. And with the competitive job market the way it is, it will be the ones who go the extra mile who will not only get the jobs but build a career.

“All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him, will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity” James F. Cooper

Students who look at the education experience as more than just getting good grades or keeping teachers and parents happy are the ones who often not only are the greatest achievers but most content students. According to Dr. Deci, author of Why We Do What We Do, if the focus of the student is extrinsic, or outside self-motivation—motivation is for grades, prestige, respect, to please parents or teachers, and so on—the child begins to lose a sense of self or bury true self down inside. Doing so can have long lasting repercussions. He also states that for those who are intrinsically motivated the student has a “richer experience, better conceptual understanding, greater creativity, and improved problem solving.”

This is the going deep I spoke of earlier. If you want mediocrity, just go for tips and tricks. If you want to truly excel, there is some additional work to be done. Let’s get back to the issue.

So getting properly self-motivated is the first step in being able to study well and not to merely gain knowledge short term but to own it and possess it for lengthier retention. Once again, if the student is merely studying to the grade, education–or great stickiness of education–rarely happens. For example, regarding the show Are You as Smart as a Fifth Grader? most are not, and  it has little to do with smarts and more to do with motivation and retention. If you haven’t worked with fifth-grade material in a long time then it has certainly dissipated. And if you are not motivated or need to refresh that knowledge no matter how smart you are you are likely to have forgotten what you learned even within months, certainly years.

But to be truly motivated to improve long-term and even short-term comprehension and retention, there must be self-motivation or a solid reason why the student is studying beyond mere grades or the desire to go to college. What specific thing or things does the student want to accomplish in life? Be of help to others? To make a difference? To express an idea? And so forth. It is the expression of a personal desire or want that will motivate best through school into college and career. But let’s move on. So what are those study skills and techniques?

Understanding limitation to greater retention and learning.

First one must understand limitations. Understanding limitation helps the student to define how best to study and retain knowledge. For example, our short-term memory is very weak. According to some education experts, it takes up to twenty times of going over material before it is truly learned or the student owns it so that it is transferred to long-term memory. It is only in the owning of the material where true education takes place, where the greatest stickiness of education occurs. Cramming is temporary and not for the serious or motivated student or potential employee, worker.

 How and where to focus when studying.

This is a complex issue, and I can’t give the student everything she needs to maximize study skills and learning techniques, but I will touch upon some main concerns.

Where reading comprehension is the main focus of study, there are several things that must be done to maximize comprehension and understanding. Here I will be discussing non-fiction (history, science, anthropology, psychology). Literature is a separate issue.

  1. Know what you’re looking for. The student can use test questions, questions in the back of chapters, or other means for focusing in on specific points to understand the material. Often key-words will help the student focus in on important, potential test material. Some authors will tell you outright that “this is important” “critical to understand” and so forth. But at other times, key information will not be so obviously stated. But you should look for key words and phrases that point to important information. If such words and phrases as “most” “often” “frequently” “a good portion of the time” “most of the time” appear, this is where you should down shift and take some notes or annotate.
  2. Know where the thesis or main point resides. It is usually placed somewhere near the start or end of the chapter. Sometimes it is stated obviously at others more subtlety. It is also hinted at and might even contain words or phrases from the title. The title, if written well, should give you great direction in understanding what the thesis is. You really need to get this down before going too far in the reading. For if you don’t, it’s like trying to get a degree without declaring a major.
  3. Bulleted lists and checklists are key study material. Bullet lists usually summarize important information in a more easily memorable way. Checklists perform a similar function. They may occur at the end of the chapter or within it. They often summarize material, so best to read everything for comprehension and then use checklists to study from.
  4. Throw out your highlighter and annotate. Humans are highly forgetful and limited in retention and recall. In twenty-four hours, we forget eighty-percent of what we read without review. So rehashing or going back over material is critical. Unfortunately, some students are highlight crazy. They mark the whole page except for a few sentences, to what end? Now you just have to go back and read it again anyway. Use annotation or mark key words and phrases, put brief summaries in the margins, add questions to be answered later after the first read through and so forth. If the student does annotating correctly, when she comes back a second, third, forth time she has to merely read the key points and summaries not the entire chapter.
  5. Talk, talk, talk to your teacher. Don’t be shy or just guess. If the teacher doesn’t give you a study guide or tell you what to focus on in the reading, find out. Don’t go it alone. If you’re shy, ask someone else to ask or grab their hand and go up together. Ask, ask, ask is key in many areas of life and is a critical success skill. It may be the difference between a decent and excellent grade.

 In such a short article, I am not able to cover all areas of study skills and / or study tips thoroughly, but you’ve got a good start here. My next article will focus on study skills related to literature, math and science. Until then, happy studying.