Network Leap 4

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The impact of the next leap remains non-obvious for too many people, and too far off in many individuals’ minds. But then, there is the alarming presence of all the obvious “whens” all around us.

When the AI gets so good that human beings can’t tell the difference between the computer program and the human being.

When the machine learning gets so good that human beings can’t navigate managing and strategizing about the flood of data coming at us faster than the machine can.

When the amount of collected data is so overwhelming that human beings are paralyzed by analysis rather than having the courage to act in spite of the implications of the data.

In a world of those “whens”—which are arriving to the present as fast as they possibly can, no longer “whens” but “nows”—the only areas remaining to categorize, atomize, and to deliver on spec at low cost to an eager consumer, will be the emotional content of individual, human-to-human interactions.

The next leap is not around AI, machine learning, the Internet, or social media applications.

The next leap is not around robotics, data analysis, electric cars, augmented reality applications or virtual reality.

The next leap won’t even be around the industrialization of outcomes to spec on price, cost, labor, and work.

The next leap will be people—individuals, corporations, businesses, churches, schools—preserving and paying for the texture that individuality brings to human interaction.

The companies that are playing the long game of digitizing everything—every human interaction, every job, every product, every process, every service, and every crumb of knowledge—understand this las concept innately.

Google’s next great leap from dominance in the digital world will be from industrialization of outcomes to spec in a digital environment, to dominance in the material world of emotional, human-to-human interactions where spec means something different from individual to individual.

Are you playing Google’s long game, or are you playing humanity’s long game?

Digital Wisdom

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Culture, Dysfunction, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Negotiation, Networking, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Twitter, Twitter, Virtue, Website, Workplace, Workplace Development

Many people who have the historical memory of a different communication world,  intuit that the digital world is moving too fast, taking away too much of the “old” world and values that used to be held dear, and is corroding what has remained.

There is also the unstated worry, that the world of digital is moving so fast that it has passed by the wise, in favor of the ignorant, ever seeking knowledge, but failing to ever find the Truth.

The list of problems and issues these people have with modern digital communication are endless:

Lack of relevant empathy.

Increases in narcissism.

Lack of ability to listen.

Loss of critical thinking skills.

Loss of interpersonal communication skills.

Valuing speed to being first over the patience to determine whether you could be wrong.

And so on. And so on. And so on.

I have immense empathy for those who believe that the world is passing them by.

There is an incalculable need for human wisdom from all areas and perspectives to add value by leveraging new digital tools, that it would be a shame to let people other than the wise, to have all the fun in our new digital paradises.

Don’t you agree?

Empathy in Your Peacebuilding Marketing

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Marketing for Peace Builders, Mediation, Networking, New Posts, Opinions, Relationships, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling

If you want more people to resolve more conflicts, your training organization, your mediation practice, or even your content and marketing around peacebuilding, must acknowledge the current state of consumer behavior.

When the reality set before you, is that you would prefer to shop on Amazon, date online, order food from a service that you can turn in to a pre-made meal, and watch whatever you want on-demand whenever you want it, you have to expect that the people in conflict you seek to serve are interacting with the market in the same ways.

This is market and consumer-based empathy.

You favor convenience, so do parties in conflict.

You favor speed to a solution with low friction, so do parties in conflict.

You favor paying attention to what you like and ignoring what you don’t, so do parties in conflict.

You favor the appearance of having access to multiple options, but only accepting one or two, so do parties in conflict.

This is market and consumer-based empathy.

If you examine your own consumer behavior in the market of ideas, products, and services, and still can’t find a way to change your training and mediation marketing to match consumer reality…

…then the reality is, you might have an empathy problem in your marketing.

Critical Thinking is a Byproduct of Education

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Culture, Education, Entrepreneurship, Networking, Neuroscience, New Posts, Opinions, Problem Solving, Relationships, Speaking, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Virtue

Critical thinking is a byproduct of education.

When a culture prioritizes the educational process as one that exists to indoctrinate minds, ensure conformity of behavior, and to socialize to a certain level, education transforms into something other than a vehicle for encouraging critical thinking.

When public education becomes something else, it serves to overpower and induct rather than something that serves to grow engagement and interaction with hard ideas—and tough (rather than utopian) choices about life, morality, ethics, and care.

Critical thinking becomes the byproduct of analyses, interaction, and engagement in a model that favors the development of such traits. In this scheme, critical thinking is not to be confused with “criticism-thinking”: where a conclusion is pre-determined and then the student is educated backward to make sure that their answers (and their thinking) conform to the “right” answer.

Whatever that answer may be.

Fake news” as a public information issue is exacerbated by the presence of a lack of critical thinking among college students: people who are exiting a public education system that overpowered their critical thinking (but not their “criticism-thinking”) long before they became encultured to the vagaries of choices and options in the world that only applied critical thinking could help them manage.

When the public focus is more on telling people what to think, because that process sells more papers, encourages more compliance, or makes better workers (but not better citizens) the public overall shouldn’t be surprised when, after a few decades, critical thinking becomes less of a byproduct of education.

The critical thinking for which the public is looking—to create informed voters, for instance—comes about through first determining what exactly the educational system is for.

Critical Thinking is a Byproduct of Education

By | Emotional Intelligence, Active Listening, Advice, Blog, Culture, Education, Entrepreneurship, Networking, Neuroscience, New Posts, Opinions, Problem Solving, Relationships, Speaking, The Future & The Singularity, Truth, Virtue

Critical thinking is a byproduct of education.

When a culture prioritizes the educational process as one that exists to indoctrinate minds, ensure conformity of behavior, and to socialize to a certain level, education transforms into something other than a vehicle for encouraging critical thinking.

When public education becomes something else, it serves to overpower and induct rather than something that serves to grow engagement and interaction with hard ideas—and tough (rather than utopian) choices about life, morality, ethics, and care.

Critical thinking becomes the byproduct of analyses, interaction, and engagement in a model that favors the development of such traits. In this scheme, critical thinking is not to be confused with “criticism-thinking”: where a conclusion is pre-determined and then the student is educated backward to make sure that their answers (and their thinking) conform to the “right” answer.

Whatever that answer may be.

Fake news” as a public information issue is exacerbated by the presence of a lack of critical thinking among college students: people who are exiting a public education system that overpowered their critical thinking (but not their “criticism-thinking”) long before they became encultured to the vagaries of choices and options in the world that only applied critical thinking could help them manage.

When the public focus is more on telling people what to think, because that process sells more papers, encourages more compliance, or makes better workers (but not better citizens) the public overall shouldn’t be surprised when, after a few decades, critical thinking becomes less of a byproduct of education.

The critical thinking for which the public is looking—to create informed voters, for instance—comes about through first determining what exactly the educational system is for.

Rejection Without Shame

By | Active Listening, Blog, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Networking, New Posts, Opinions, Organizational Development, Persuasion, Platform Building, Selling for Peace Builders, Storytelling

Rejection comes in a litany of flavors:

“We don’t have any conflicts here.”

“We deal with conflicts really well here.”

“We don’t really need your services right now, but if we do, we’ll give you a call.”

“[silence]. Who are you again?”

“How do you say your name?”

“I don’t understand how anybody can make money from doing what you do.”

“How do you monetize that?”

“Yeah, your rates are too high.”

“Yeah, your rates are too low.”

“I don’t understand what you are selling.”

“Why can’t you help me NOW?”

“Where did you get your degree again?”

“How do you make it here in this town?”

“Where are you from again?”

“Hmmmm. Ok. That sounds kind of interesting.” [Then wander off to get bread at the networking event ‘nosh’ table.]

“Have you tried working for a human resource company?”

“Have you tried working with [insert name of big company here]?”

“I don’t understand what you just said that you do.”

“There aren’t any people around here doing that are there?”

“Could you not charge me as much?”

“We’re strapped for cash right now and not really focused on retaining outside help right now.”

“Your rates are too high; you’ll never make a profit around here.”

“We are a family company. There aren’t any conflicts among family.”

“I handle conflict really well; I don’t see how I would use your services.”

“Have you tried working with lawyers around here?”

“We can’t pay you.”

“We’ll get back to you.”

“We can’t pay you.”

“Can you do this for free for us?”

“We can’t pay you.”

“Send us your information and we’ll look at it.” >click<

“I just don’t have time to talk to you, call back next week.” [Call back again next week]

“I just don’t have time to talk to you, call back next week.” >click<

“That sounds interesting, but I don’t want you to drive all the way to [name location 25 miles in any direction from locally] to meet me. It would just be a waste of your time.”

“You’ll never make a living doing that. You should get a ‘real’ job.”

“You went to college for CONFLICT!?”

“Why don’t you just volunteer?”

Very rarely have we ever heard “No,” “No thank you,” or “No this isn’t for us.”

Although ultimately, the fact is that all the forms of rejection really come down to such a consideration. All the forms of rejection can be given without personally attacking, trolling, tearing down individuals’ talent, and questioning people’s motives. But when rejection crosses the line from “No this isn’t for us” to “You don’t deserve to have a voice,” or “You need to be denied the ability to speak because I disagree with you,” then we’ve crossed over the line into another area.

And we must be careful with what lines we cross because sometimes, there is no going back.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 6 – Randy Shain

By | Emotional Intelligence, Blog, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Negotiation, Networking, Old Posts, Opinions, Persuasion, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Speaking, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, The Future & The Singularity, Workplace, Workplace Development

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode # 6 – Randy Shain, Author, 173 Pages Every College Student Must Read, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Mentor & Coach

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #6 - Randy Shain

Dear 2017 Graduates of High School and College-

Congratulations, you have come to the end of a long, traditional, mostly academic journey, whose steps and path were mainly decided for you by other people.

Now, upon graduation, you are in charge of your own decisions. And, where you may wind up at the end of the path known as your life.

I have been thinking a lot about your path, future conflict, and where you might wind up as adults.

I will not lie to you: Your seeming multiplicity of choices about when, how and why to start on your path really comes down to one deeply black and white choice. No matter what you have been told by professors, faculty members, or parents, the choice really comes down to answering unequivocally and thoroughly one black and white question:

Do you want to work or not?

Your work is not your job.

Your work is also not your passion.

I am not going to write here and tell you to “follow your passion.” That is often given, facile, advice provided to you by well-meaning, but misguided, people who operate organizations that may seek to hire you post-graduation. But more likely than not, they won’t.

But more likely than not, they won’t.

When you answer the much more interesting and pivotal question about whether or not to work in your own mind and heart, and to your own satisfaction, then you can make all of the other decisions that will cascade dividends throughout your entire life.

Let me paint you a picture:

I decided after the first ten years of being in the working world after college, that I wasn’t going to work a job—any job—another day in my life.

Think about that.

Now, make no mistake, I work at my business.

I work at my corporate training gigs.

I also work when I advise clients, take them through the sales process and get profit at the end.

I work when I write blog posts, do research, create videos and even do my audio podcast.

Like the one right here I did today with Randy Shain, author of 173 Pages Every College Student Must Read. But go get it after you read the rest of this.

In the traditional understanding of “labor,” both the Marxist and the Capitalist have it wrong: Labor is something that you can do for no money. And that labor—the labor that you decide needs no compensation—will assuredly be the labor that reflects your truest passions, desires, interests and goals.

And—trust me when I write this—money soon follows.

Your job (current or future) is not your work, college and high school graduates. Your job is merely a series of tasks that you accomplish in an organization in the pursuit of someone else’s passion.

This does not excuse you from performing in said job with excellence. As a matter of fact, it is your moral and ethical duty to perform any job task that you take on in the pursuit of working another’s passion, with excellence and moral verve.

At this point, you may be thinking, “This guy is crazy. First, he tells me that he’s not going to tell me to pursue my passion. Then he tells me something that sounds remarkably similar to that advice that I hear very often.”

Let me be even clearer: Many people, from James Altucher to Tim Ferriss talk a lot about “choosing yourself.” This is the idea that no one—not a boss, a parent, an authority figure in government or anybody else—can truly provide your life with security and meaning anymore. The rules, the safety net, and the promises of the Industrial Revolution are dead and gone. They represented a brief, flashpoint in world history and humanity is gradually and fundamentally, moving away from those promises, all the way from cradle to grave. What this means is you have to pick yourself and do the hard work of actually building yourself up. You have to research and employ the tools that are laying around everywhere for free on the Internet—but that you haven’t been fully integrated into for the last 22 or so years—to develop yourself and your truly meaningful work.

This is the work of your life that you have to choose to do. Or not

Yes, answering, truly answering, the question about whether or not you really want to work, means that you will have to commit to doing two—or more—things at once. You will have to delay gratification, show grit and persistence in the face of rejection, and preserve empathy and remain courageous, in the face of dismissal, passivity, and societal apathy.

School didn’t teach you how to deal with this.

Work—in the way that people traditionally think about it—won’t teach how to deal with this either.

The church and your volunteer civic life may have gotten close to teaching you these lessons.

These fine line distinctions that come from committing to one choice and doggedly sticking to it. But I can guarantee you that the rich, meaningful life for which you are searching, will become available to you if you answer this one question firmly, unequivocally and then act on it in the same fashion.

Oh, and by the way, don’t worry about all of those banks and student loan debt that you’ve piled up while dutifully learning and regurgitating the meaningless lessons of a dead, industrialized system. There are plenty of smart people out here who are tap dancing as fast as they can to undo the banking system, which is the second to the last edifice of the old Industrial system.

That is their passion.

Their true work.

If you really want to do something about your debt, go get a job working at one of these organizations.

They are growing, they are hungry and no one sees them coming.

So.

Do you want to work or not?

Connect with Randy in all the ways that you can below and click on the player above to listen to his thoughts on all of this:

Randy Shain on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randy.shain.7

Randy Shain on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/randy-shain-68b03010/

One on One Mentors Website: http://www.oneononementors.com/about/

One on One Mentors Blog: https://www.facebook.com/oneononecollegementors

One on One Mentors on Twitter: https://twitter.com/oneononementors

 

Culture of Immediacy

By | Advice, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Media, Networking, New Posts, Platform Building, Privacy, Problem Solving, Relationships, Resolution, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Virtue

The culture of immediacy that we have created with our digital social communication tools, has convinced our brains that problems of all kinds should be solvable immediately, to our specifications, and with little effort (or friction) on our part.

Here are a few examples. Your mileage (and examples) may vary:

Climate change could be solved tomorrow…if only the “right” people oversaw the solutions. Like the people who populate my Facebook feed…

Elections could turn out with the “right” outcome with results that I could see immediately…just like a Twitter poll does…

People could treat each other with fairness, justice, and equality in a pretty cool and hip way…if only it were the “right” people doling out the fairness, justice and equality…and all others who don’t agree (or aren’t hip or cool enough) could be blocked or never seen anyway….just like in my SnapChat feed…

Rights, responsibility, accountability, and freedom. These are human conditions that took centuries to adjudicate, argue over, and have conflict about, to come to the space of where we are now as a global culture.

They will not fall to the growing culture of immediacy anytime soon.

Netflix, podcasts, YouTube videos, search results. These are tools of communication that operate on the principles of speed to market (your eyes) and entertainment (your brain).

The slow, plodding things that need to change (i.e. systems) are hard to shift, require emotional energy in the face of human intransigence and institutional friction, and need conflict to change. It used to be that we recognized and passed on to the next generation, the idea that incremental change was enough and that lifetime change (on the scale of anywhere from 35.5 to 78.8 years) was enough to get a society and culture to where it could reasonably be expected to be.

But this idea of plodding, incremental change is slowly eroding in the face of collective minds, attitudes, and behaviors being transformed by the culture of immediacy that our digital social communication tools provide.

Combine this fact with the reality that the inner workings (both the how and the why) of our digital social communication have become incomprehensible for the average person and that we have elevated this incomprehensibility from a minor annoyance (think about how you could repair a car in your garage only 50 years ago) to a belief in the magical genius of self-interested companies (think Google and how the algorithm of search works), and we have a giant problem on our global cultural hands.

Relationships with people are boring, mundane, exciting, and thrilling.

Solutions to people problems cannot be solved through the clever application of another frictionless algorithm.

People cannot be inspired through speed, or motivated through impatience to change.

The hard work, the meaningful work, the work of people conflicting against other people, is the last thing that will survive the cult of immediacy we have built.

If we let it.

And the changes that can come about from that survival is worth leveraging all the immediacy-based, incomprehensible tools for good, that you can.

The Privacy of Memory

By | Active Listening, Blog, Conflict, Conflict Communication, Conflict Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Networking, Neuroscience, New Posts, Platform Building, Privacy, Relationships, Social, Social Communication, Social Media, Storytelling, Strategies, Strategy, Stress, Technology, The Future & The Singularity, Virtue

We lose a little of ourselves when we outsource our memory to Google.

But not in the obvious way that we think of.

What we lose in the privacy (some would say inaccuracy) of memory is the ability to forget.

And to be forgotten.

The privacy of memory and the palaces that we build in our minds of truths, facts, lies and stories is more valuable than we know to preserving the best parts of our fragile humanity.

In the rush to electronically preserve the truth in non-debatable, and factual ways, we are losing the pleasure (and the privilege) of the privacy of choosing what we want to remember—and what we have the grace, forgiveness and ability to forget.

When we can call out each other using facts we like that work for us (and avoid or dismiss the facts that don’t), our social media communications and interactions become about expressing the rawest of emotions with immediacy, in the face of overwhelming facts that are preserved as eminent, and indisputable truth.

Google can’t help us here. Neither can artificial intelligence. Neither can another social communication platform.

Only human beings can preserve the privacy of memory in relationship with other human beings.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #3 – Katie Vaz

By | Blog, Culture, Earbud_U Podcast, Earbud_U!, Entrepreneurship, Media, Networking, Old Posts, Podcast Archives, Podcast Episode, Storytelling

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #2 – Katie Vaz, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and Author of “Don’t Worry, Eat Cake”

Love is a many splendor thing.

…maybe that’s splendid…

Or so it is said.

When you get to do what you love every day, it doesn’t seem like work. But the thing is, many people don’t do what they love every day.

Many people, for a variety of reasons, do what they have to do, what they are required to do, or what they are told to do.

Our guest today, Katie Vaz, a graphic designer and illustrator, and author of Don’t Worry, Eat Cake, is living the life that she wants to live, doing what she wants to do, and creating a voice and an oeuvre of work that shows what can happen when you march to the beat of your own drummer.

And now, a word about coloring books:

There’s a growing movement of providing coloring books for adults, and Katie’s book is about tapping into this phenomenon.

I personally have never colored (with the exception of finger painting and whatever I did in college art classes for my major), but I understand the sentiment behind the idea in a world where love is the hardest thing to attain.

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.

That, and coloring books.

And cake.

Definitely cake….

Connect with Katie in all the ways that you can below:

Etsy Store (Use code EARBUD20 for 20% off orders for Valentine’s Day): https://www.etsy.com/shop/katievaz

Website: http://katievaz.com/

Blog: http://katievaz.com/blog/

Book: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Worry-Eat-Cake-Everything/dp/1449478123

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katievaz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katievaz

Katie Vaz Design on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatieVazDesign