Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why Should I Spend Money on Educational Products?

Mark T. Joseph

Some of the most successful people in the world invest a small truckload of money on their education. Why? In this article we will explore these reasons. I find that when people reach a level of success, they spend money on their education. Successful people spend more money on education and products that help them see other view points because they understand their true value.

I have found this to be true in all fields. Some of my most successful coaching clients and marketing clients invest in everything that they can get their hands on. These people are successful and may already know ninety eight percent of what I teach but they still invest in the products and services.

Why would the continue to spend money when the already know 98% of what is being taught? Simple, they want to know the other two percent of what they don't know and they know the stuff works and makes them more money and solves their problems. These same successful people understand that just one or two more ideas will increase their business. Sometimes just one idea can make a few thousand dollars more for the company and it's owner.

I don't want you to feel like I am giving you a sales pitch, I am not. That was not my reason for telling you this. The reason I offer it here is simple, when you invest in your business from a financial standpoint or a marketing standpoint or a self-help standpoint - you will get better results.

There is an old saying and it belonged to the late Jim Rohn: "Work harder on yourself than you do on your job." I feel his reason for this is simple, you can go from job to job and that might change but knowledge can never be taken away from you. Someone can fire you tomorrow or you could get out of your business or whatever...but with your education and knowledge, that can never be taken away from you.

I have to be honest and this is from a personal standpoint, since I have started to invest more and more into my education - both time to study and books, ebooks, courses, websites and the likes...learning about my profession and business - my business and income has grown more than I thought it ever would. So I do not care if it is time or money you invest - or both...but invest somehow in yourself and you will be amazed with the results.

Mark T. Joseph is a Professional Magician and World Record Holder whom you may know by his stage name 'Mark Mysterrio.' Mark was on a bed of nails for 283 hours and 5 minutes to get into the record books. Mark does over 300 plus shows per year, has authored books, DVD and TV series for children and has three dogs Mojo & Sasha -his two chinese shar-peis and a small dog named tripper.Mark has started a global mission in which 10% of his income will go to UNICEF. We call it: Mark Mysterrio's Mission Aardvark., you can read more here:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

5 Magical Words to Say to Your Unemployed Friends

Marge K. Mercurio

We are living in a time when people are struggling in a quiet desperation. Whether they've lost their job, vehicle, health, home, marriage or something else they value - they are dealing with their troubles in silence.

It's embarrassing to lose your job and yet, there is the hope that another one is available. When resources, job possibilities and hope evaporates... people turn inward. Their dreams and plans for themselves, their family and the future disappear and fear sets in.

5 Magical Words:

When you encounter friends, colleagues or family members who are dealing with hard times, use these magic words to break down barriers and get the other person talking... "I've been thinking about you." Then become quiet.

These words could open the door to a conversation. They may have to be said a few more times over weeks or even months. But they will open doors because they are genuine and non-threatening. Unlike the question, "How are you doing?" which often leads to the quick reply - "Fine" when in reality nothing can be further from the truth.

When you let the other person know you've been thinking about them, you're not expecting a reply, report or update, instead you're stating a fact. People in distress try to stay under the radar so a simple acknowledgment from you can offer a glimmer of hope that they matter.

Talk Therapy:

Should the person decide to talk about their life, issues or struggles, do NOT try to fix the situation or assist them in anyway. Sometimes, it's good to just unload and share your problems without worrying that you're putting someone on the spot to help you find a job, mend a friendship, meet people, pay your rent... That can come later. For now, let the person talk.

Heartfelt Listening:

Make contact with that person and be a good listener. People in distress are good at concealing their situation. They stop attending events that cost money; they avoid any sort of entertainment such as dinners, going to the movies, attending plays or theater, sporting events, visiting museums, accepting party invitations or places where money is required.

The majority of unemployed people have never been in this situation before. They're used to earning a paycheck, paying their bills, making their rent or mortgage, buying their groceries with money (not food stamps) and having a future.

What they need is a job. Until that comes along, be a good friend and just listen.

Marge K. Mercurio, demonstrates the power of blogging with an engaging personal style.

Her blog at Marge Mercurio is about simple connections, everyday activities & personal interactions that make OUR world go round...

Friday, October 29, 2010

ducation For the 21st Century AKA The Hub Proposal

Phil Wagner and Patrick Yurick

Creating a Hybrid Learning Community

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

What might a 21st-century community look in which students direct their own education? In this world, the following scenario could take place: a student, engrossed in his favorite video game, puts down his gaming console and decides that he has an innovative idea for a new game of his own. From the convenience of his home computer he signs on to his profile at his school website and posts a bulletin within the "projects" section of the school's online network. His bulletin states the reasons why his video game idea is innovative and what kind of people he needs to help him bring his idea to fruition. After a few hours, seven other students have shown an interest in his idea and want to join him in the endeavor. The intended critical mass of interested parties having been reached, they must now seek out the relevant information and processes to make the project happen.

The group is assigned a teacher/mentor that will aid them in facilitating the achievement of their goal. A meeting time is set and the interested parties meet up in a conference room located at the online school's Hub complex. The Hub Complex is a state of the art building that acts as a meeting ground for the physical aspects of project based learning. In some rooms there are students working on massive science projects while in other rooms students are studying the fine arts related to current cultural topics. The video game designing student has contacted fellow classmates in the carpool list, but due to no one traveling to the Hub at the time he had to travel via public transit.

With notes scribbled on whiteboards and paper, the student's initial idea is fleshed out. It is determined that computer programming, graphic design, and physics are crucial aspects of the forthcoming project and, while the students have some experience in graphic design, their first challenge is that they lack the requisite programming skills. The group decides to sign up for a programming session where other groups are learning the tools necessary to write video game code. A student with a strong interest in the visual aspect of the project works with a student from another group to walk through an online tutorial in game graphic design. The project continues with the mentor acting as consultant, ensuring that the students are not getting overwhelmed and are finding the resources they need. When the video game is completed, the students reflect with the mentor on what was the most difficult part of the project. It may be determined that the project would have gone much more smoothly if a tutorial on some particular facet of the process had been made available to them. This would have saved some time on trial and error and unnecessary difficulties. The group works to publish documentation wherein their reflections won't just benefit their own future project endeavors, but will also serve as an available resource to future student projects and other users around the world.

How do we achieve this vision while working to simultaneously ensure that our students are well educated and allowed to pursue their passions? Perhaps the Internet is the answer public education has been looking for. Over the past decade, online schools and universities have opened at radically increasing rates while many colleges are adopting some form of hybrid online/traditional classrooms to facilitate learning. In the traditional classroom, students interact with other students and teachers, an interaction which creates a relationship that can be treasured for a lifetime. Online lectures and textbooks are still lectures and textbooks, which can be very difficult and confusing. Without another person to help us and without challenging projects that require human interaction the online classroom will be devoid of the life naturally attained within the traditional classroom. Lectures and textbook based learning is why the current form of "online schooling" will never be completely successful. Project based learning with a human face to face component must be included in this new online paradigm in order to facilitate personal and meaningful engagement of students.

One of the principles that our public education system is founded on is the idea that a well-informed citizenry remain strong, free, constantly interactive and capable of diverse thinking. Educating to diverse communication standards (both new and old) is vital to strengthening the community of a multi-cultural society. It is becoming increasingly apparent as we move further into the twenty-first century that education should dovetail with rapidly evolving practices in contemporary communications. In fact, institutional policies are reacting to this demand across the United States. (1) Public education must be flexible enough to follow communities within its structure no matter where they exist. Online education becomes inevitable in this scenario because, as it has become the popular means of mass communication, it has also begun to supplant and augment the traditional loci of communities world-wide. The modern classroom has become the Internet, and vice-versa. Because of the limitless potential of human interaction made possible by the numerous technologies we find at our disposal in the twenty-first century, communities based on instantaneous communication have formed within a new frontier that exists worldwide. Public education, if it is to stay relevant to the needs of the modern community, needs to find its place at the forefront of this frontier.

Online communities have replaced geographical ones. While many are unable to name one of their neighbors, they connect daily with hundreds or thousands of like-minded people for various reasons. These communities are in place, yet education has not effectively found a way to harness these connections for meaningful learning-even while meaningful learning is taking place within them all along! As public educators work to discern and define the function of the K-12 classroom in this new era of communication, they must strive to meet the demands brought forth by new and ever-emerging technologies while still working to create a school that will-above and beyond all things-facilitate learning for the K-12 student. But moving towards a methodology which no longer focuses strictly on the "traditional" means of communication does not mean that teachers need to abandon their basic instinct, viz. to learn we need to interact physically with one another. The traditional concept of a school as being a place where students come together to learn in the same physical environment is not a concept that should be abandoned. Rather, public educators need to change their preconceptions of how and when students come together to learn so that their education can support this new type of technology driven classroom.

Since very early in American history, educators have worked to ensure that all students are prepared and well rounded. Every year more and more people are choosing to enter a college or university; choosing to go beyond their required education in order to receive training in areas about which they are passionate. Yet, in the last couple of decades we have seen technology explode onto the scene, permanently changing the way we live, interact, and learn. While schools have worked hard to ensure that students are equipped with the tools needed in today's society, we can always ask: is technology being used its fullest extent? The above scenario, in which students utilize available technologies to the fullest extent in order to complete a complex project, outlines a possible situation in which students, rather than simply making use of technology to absorb disjointed and only marginally useful facts, employ such technology to learn and develop within a tightly-knit community.

Is it possible to envision a world where an online student body is able to complete a project that they are interested in while still obtaining the skills and facts necessary to fall in line with the National Standards of Education? How can schools stay in touch with the world if they are not part of the mainstream student communities of the 21st century? All humans have a natural inclination towards learning; whether learning to walk, read a book, or to take a car apart and put it back together again. It is the responsibility of public educational institutions to mentor these natural motivations and to encourage a productive and collaborative society. Can this be successfully achieved and supported within the confines of a hybrid school? If public educators are to rise to the challenges of our times, the answer must invariably be, "yes."

The Internet has become the unofficial 21st century method for learning. Almost anything can be learned by simply watching a YouTube video or following along on someone else's blog. News is transmitted instantaneously throughout the world creating an almost unlimited supply of information for almost any need. However, when we look in the classroom, we find information continuing to be disseminated in the same way it has been for centuries. Where information comes out of the Internet like a waterfall, students are asked to sit for eight hours a day and move through information at a trickle. This is why public education needs to follow the community, especially when the community is obviously shouting that it knows where it wants to be.

So how do we tap into those communities? If there is one thing that has truly kept the fire of learning alive, it has been the library. Imagine a super-library, a kind of K-12 learning center that has been built to be alive and able to act a resource for an online community. A place that would support a kind of project-based learning that could be facilitated anywhere there was an Internet connection. This online school Hub would be filled with teachers and experts who could be present both physically present and virtually for students to interact with no matter where they are. This place would also serve as an easy meeting place for the physically interactive parts of project-based learning that are required of its online student body.

We propose that this Hub be the school that actively engages with the 21st century community structures. This high tech Hub facility will be a place where teachers no longer become the gatekeepers of a rigid grading system, but rather start acting as mentors and facilitators within a complex hive of student activity. Why this hub would be successful as a base for an online/virtual school is because it would enable what public education has been seeking to accomplish all along - it would allow students to naturally gravitate to the school out of the want for learning. The basic idea is that human beings learn while uncomfortable, i.e. in new situations where they are forced to be alert. If students were able to first engage with a school from a comfortable place it is our theory that these students would in turn be not only motivated to come to school they will be drawn to it. A "Hey, what's going on here?" attitude will be fostered when a student is able to observe the classroom before entering it.

It is of our opinion that if a High School were to utilize new technologies to expand the classroom and support its communication between all parties involved the result would be a class that is no longer confined by the walls of one room. The classroom could then become earth and the world we live in would become the teacher. This "free from physical constraints" classroom would be populated with students who are able to communicate anywhere that they can receive Internet bandwidth. Projects could take place in the African bush or in a coffee shop in Bern, Switzerland.

As we move into the future of learning the question of how to combine truly personalized education and online learning becomes self-evident. There are many more conversations that must come up to answer this, but none can arise until we have a core understanding as a community of what we are trying to achieve and what we are trying to teach as educators.

1) For a detailed elaboration of this phenomenon, see John Watson, Butch Gemin, and Jennifer Ryan. "Keeping the Pace with K-12 Online learning: A Review of State-Level Policy and Practice." Rev. of K-12 Online Learning. Nov. 2008: 1-163.

Phil Wagner - Math/Physics/Robotics Teacher
Patrick Yurick - Graphic Design Teacher and Founder of the Graphic Novel Project.

Article Source:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life Coaching - How to Find a Life Coach

John J. Simmons

So, you have decided you need a life coach. Now all you have to do is find one... but which one?

As you have discovered if you do a search for "life coach" on the internet, you have plenty to choose from... and the choices get wider every day. So how do you choose the right one?

First of all, let me reassure you that this is not a life-or-death matter and that even if you go wrong, you won't go far wrong... and you can always switch to another coach. Additionally, the benefits of coaching are so strong, that unless the coach is a very poor one, indeed, you will still get gains from the coaching.

With that in mind, let me suggest a few pointers for finding a coach that will help you get the greatest gains from coaching.

Start with the right category

Life coaches come in many different flavors. Most of them can handle general-purpose coaching, but are at their best in one or two sub-groups (the ones that hold the most interest for them or they have the most experience in.) Examples of subgroups are: relationship coach, business coach, career coach, success coach, personal development coach, spiritual coach, recovery coach, parenting coach, dating coach... and the list goes on and on.

What is your style (and the coach's)?

What's your style? Do you prefer someone who is direct and forthright or someone who considers your feelings first? Do you need someone to hear you out or someone who can "intuit" what you are trying to convey and shortcut the process?

Once you know your preferred style, you can make sure the coach is going to honor that.

How important are in-person sessions to you?

Most coaching is done by phone. If it is important for your coaching to be in person, then you need to focus your search locally. You will need to ask the coach if he/she does in-person coaching (many will not). Also, be prepared to pay more as it is outside the norm for coaching.

If you are wondering how effective coaching over the phone can be, most people find it just as effective as in-person coaching.

Ask for recommendations

If you have friends, associates, or colleagues who have a coach, ask them about their experiences with the coach. Your goal is to find out if their coach would be a match for you in style, price, and effectiveness.

Sometimes friends or business acquaintances will have coached with someone in the past, even though they may not currently be doing it. It pays to let people know you are looking for a coach and ask if anyone knows someone they can refer to you.

Where to find coaches

After you have checked with friends and associates, the next place to look is the internet.

One good place to find coaches is in the directories of the coaching schools and certifying groups. Search for "coach training" to find these.

On Google (or Bing or Yahoo, etc.) search for "life coach" + the subgroup that you are looking for (relationship, or parenting, or business, or whatever). If you are looking for someone local, you can do the search for "life coach" + (subgroup) + the name of your town.

Should the life coach be certified?

Let me say that I am a certified life coach. From that vantage point, I will tell you that AT THIS TIME, certification is not very important. Certification is not the same as licensing and there are no universally accepted standards for certification.

Because certification will grow more standardized, it is still a good thing and indicates that the individual has passed a minimum level of assessment. On the other hand, there are really great life coaches who have many years of experience with successful clients who are not certified.

If you like, you can use certification as a "tie-breaker" between two coaches that are strong candidates for you.

Narrow the field

Having collected your information from friends, the internet, and any other sources you encountered, pick up to three coaches that seem to meet the criteria we discussed in Part 1.

Call your picks and ask questions. (Note: oftentimes these questions can be answered just by looking at the coach's website. Even if most of the questions are answered that way, you will still want to talk to them to get a sense of who they are as a person.) If you like the answers you get, set up a sample appointment. This should be free. If it's not, then simply move on to the next coach on your list.

Note: do not set up more than one sample appointment at a time. You are not doing comparison shopping, you are trying to find someone who will partner with you to help you make the changes you want.

What questions do you ask?

Here are suggested questions to help you find out more about the coach and his/her program.

  • Can you tell me a little bit about your coaching program and how you coach?
  • How often do we "meet"? Is it by phone? Do I call you or do you call me?
  • What kind of support would I get between sessions?
  • Can you give me an idea of what you charge?

Remember, the goal of your questioning is to determine whether this person might be a good fit for you and your coaching needs.

Attend your sample appointment

The sample appointment will most likely not be like the "real" sessions. However, that doesn't mean that you won't get value from it or learn from it.

The coach will ask you questions about why you want a coach, what your goals are, and other questions to determine how serious you are about moving forward. At the same time, you will be evaluating this person's style, insights, and ability to help you achieve your goals.

Make your decision

By the end of the sample session, if the coach thinks the two of you are compatible enough, he/she will have explained his/her programs and you may be invited to become a client of the coach. If you agree that the two of you are compatible enough and you think the coach can help you get where you want to go AND you can afford the coach's rates, then sign up.

Since you most likely picked what you thought was a best-fit from your search for coaches, don't decline to work with the coach simply on the hope that the next one might offer a bit more or be a bit better. Your chances go downhill from here. But if you don't feel comfortable working with the coach, by all means decline. Coaching will result in stretching you and you need to feel comfortable with your coach and be able to trust him or her.

If you decline to work with the coach, then call the next one on your list and set up a sample appointment.

Now get coached

Once you have agreed to work with a coach, commit yourself to it. Coaching takes several months to gain the full benefit. Additionally, because of the effort you put into finding a suitable coach, you are likely to have a better experience, receive even more benefit, and achieve your goals faster than others who simply work with the first coach they run across.

After you have begun to see results, be sure and tell your friends about your coach. Referrals are the best way to help your coach help even more people.

Happy coaching.

Copyright 2010 John J. Simmons - all rights reserved worldwide

For more information about coaching and more tips for success visit John J Simmons (a Certified Professional Coach) website at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Learning Mandarin For A Career in China

Rui Ming

There are many places in the world well worth visiting and a great deal of languages well worth learning. Few languages, however, offer the same bright professional prospects as proficiency in the lingua franca of the Middle Kingdom. China is happening and with it, so are Mandarin language studies. Today almost everyone knows that China is different type of country now compared to what it was even 10 years ago. Most people are not too familiar with the details about how that rise came about, with the start of market reform, to the opening of the first stock exchange, the entry into the world trade organization and the reform regarding the flow of capital from and to China. What people do know is that China is a rising power. We speak about an awakened dragon. China is country that accounts for one sixth of the world's population. China is the world leader in not only exports, but today also in high tech exports. When the giant dragon sneezes, like giant Gulliver, the surrounding nations take notice.

Most westerners can tell you a few stories of how one large company after another moved production to The Middle Kingdom. Already today, but more so in the future, other similar trends will emerge. When western economies foundered in the wake of the global banking crisis China grew at an annualised rate of almost 10%. A growth prospect that no western nation has seen for centuries. In all these ways China is less a country and more a continent in its own right, and a hungry continent at that. With average wages a fraction of American salaries the dragon has an immense potential to still continue to grow far into the future.

The future will see a different world from the one we see today. But what does business say about China and Chinese language studies? This is an interview with a leading human resources consultant with 20 years experience within the Nordic investment banking industry in leading management positions in New York, London and the Nordic region. We asked Mats the question: why should people study mandarin? This is what he told us.

The first reason is naturally the growing importance of China as a super power and its emergence as a major player in world trade. To set this into a perspective the value of European trade with China has grown nearly 500% during the last 10 years and since 1996, when China surpassed the US, China has become EUs most important trading partner.

From the first point it follows that western societies will face growing interaction with Chinese people. In this respect it is important to bear in mind that although trade is international, business is local. Therefore the ability to communicate in the Chinese local language, understand the culture, know general etiquette and business conduct - in essence to understand the Chinese mind - will become paramount in the future. Today in Europe there are about 250 million people speaking English, 150 million speaking German and 125 million speaking French. At the same time only X people are fluent in Mandarin implying ample opportunity for those wanting to acquire this skill to position themselves in a unique place in the labour market.

The third reason comes from having worked nearly twenty years in recruiting and training graduates I often get the question what makes up a good CV. In my opinion the number one priority is of course good solid grades from University. Then one looks for features that: stand out, show some special added value, show initiative, show interest in meeting new people, and show eagerness to take on challenges. In this regard even if one were not to use the acquired language skills directly, the engagement in serious Mandarin studies for an extended period of time will certainly fall into this category and set a person apart from the crowd.

Rui Ming works for a Mandarin academy that is a great option for those that want to learn Mandarin. If you are interested in more information about learning Mandarin in China, please consult the website of Beijing Gateway Academy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review With Michael Hewitt-Gleeson - Founder of the School of Thinking

Avil Beckford

Each week, how much time do you devote to thinking? Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, founder of the School of Thinking has devoted nearly half of his life to teaching people how to think. In this interview, you will learn the secret to Mr. Hewitt-Gleeson's success. The interview is insightful, and readers will come away with at least one tip that they can immediately start to use.

Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: Apart from the fact that I'm incredibly good looking (A big smile comes through the headset), I'm Australian, born and grew up here but for many years I lived overseas, mostly based in New York and North America. I run the School of Thinking, which is the largest program in the world for teaching thinking as a skill.

Avil Beckford: What's a typical day like for you?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: Like most people, while I'm still in my pajamas, I head straight to my computer and start looking at some of my emails that have come in, then I do about an hour's worth of work on the website where I run The School of Thinking. (I'm running it from my iPad as well, which could be a trap because it means I could be taking it into my bedroom). After that, I make a cup of tea and depending on the day, sometimes I have meetings, which means I get ready and go to those. Other times I might be working from my office which is right across from the beach here in St Kilda in Melbourne. The typical day if I'm not with a client or giving a talk somewhere then I'm doing research, writing, and running the School of Thinking on the internet.

Avil Beckford: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: It's a very good question, but I am motivated because I like what I'm doing. There are odd days when you ask yourself if you are wasting your time, but overwhelmingly I like what I'm doing, it's enjoyable, and it involves a variety of things. I get enough feedback from people around the world that makes me think that it's worthwhile. I don't have to do much motivating.

Avil Beckford: If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: I wouldn't waste so much time. Always in retrospect, you can see the amount of time that you've wasted. The posting I just put on the website is about the amount of time every one tells me that they waste in business meetings. You go along to the meeting, the truth is never told, no decisions are ever made, you play along until the meeting ends, and then you rush off to your next meeting. Fortunately since I run my own show, I don't attend a lot of meetings, but I do begrudge the amount of time that gets wasted. I try to look back on things that I've done and do them differently and not waste so much time. Maybe I'd spend more time at the beach, reading and enjoying some other things than just wasting time. But mostly I'm pretty happy with the way my life has progressed.

Avil Beckford: Describe a major business or other challenge you had and how you resolved it. What lessons did you learn in the process?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: The challenge was to provide a global school that anyone, anywhere, any time can access the lessons that we teach on how to be a better thinker with as little impediment as possible. This is an ongoing challenge and the way I resolve it is through finding, learning about new technologies, testing, and experimenting with them and as they work I add them to the system that we use. This has been going on since 1995, but in a very deliberate way. We are also always thinking about how we can broaden access, keep it free and keep it interesting and in so doing we have evolved in different ways and we get more and more feedback. Our students tell us every day what they like and don't like. We ask for feedback on a daily basis and we listen - we do a GBD, a good, bad, better, so what's good, what's bad and what we can do better, so this allows us to evolve a lot faster.

Avil Beckford: Describe one of your biggest failures. What lessons did you learn, and how did it contribute to a greater success?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: When I started the school, I started it with Edward de Bono, and we worked together for about seven years. We were very successful on a number of projects and ventures. We published the first book on thinking called Learn to Think and co-authored it, then we had a disagreement which was over a program we developed at the School of Thinking called Thinking Hats. Edward published the book Thinking Hats, which was his most successful book but did not give any attribution to the School of Thinking. This led to a disagreement and ultimately we split-up. We went separate ways and at the time that was certainly to me a disappointment, and it caused some distractions. Though we didn't go to court, it was very close.

From my point of view I then developed a new syllabus for the School of Thinking. I couldn't use the name Thinking Hats, and at the time the very first personal computers were coming out, and I was doing a lot of work for IBM, in the mid-eighties in Europe. It was a new development so I coined the phrase necktop computer, that's a million times more powerful than a desktop computer, but what we don't have is software. We are accustomed to using the old Greek logic software, that's 2,500 years old. The importance of your desktop computer that you've got is the software, surely we need software for our brain. I wrote my book Software for the Brain, which became a bestseller. And in a sense because Edward and I became what you might say competitors, things worked out good not only for him and myself, but also for the market because competition is a good thing and now people have choices. So this is something that at the time I thought was a failure, it was distracting, negative, disappointing and hurtful, but it evolved into something that was stronger, and I was then able to run the school the way that I wanted to do it, and we do things quite differently. Both programs are quite useful for the people who use them, but they are quite different, and people now have a choice.

Avil Beckford: What are three events that helped to shape your life?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: When I was about 20 in 1967, they put some marbles in a barrel in Australia, 366 marbles, one for every day in the year. They pulled the marbles out of the barrel and if you were a 20 year old man who was born on that particular day, May 22nd, then you went into the army. In the US they call it draft of national service. I was drafted for the Viet Nam war so I spent a year in training and a year in Viet Nam, and at the time I was halfway through a degree at Melbourne. In a sense you were plucked from your family and life, and taken off on to a tangent to something that changes your life forever. Like anything in life, there are pluses and minuses. I received lots of training that very valuable - leadership training that has lasted all my life, which a young man at 20 wouldn't normally get. It had a huge effect on my life, and there were negatives as well. I can't honestly imagine what my life would have been like without that experience. That was one of the biggest events that changed my life.

Geographic location: I was going to work with Edward de Bono in Cambridge, England when I left Australia. I visited New York on the way, really for a weekend, but I ended up staying there for 14 years. I went on and did a PhD there, and also started the School of Thinking, but I also experienced the fun and pleasure of living in New York in the seventies and eighties. Living in New York was a huge change for me. Had I not lived there, I would have lived a completely different life. I was lucky to be there and enjoy it.

Technology: If the right tools are available at the right time, the computer, internet and more recently the iPad and the apps we are developing for our stuff that can have a huge impact on your life. Just like the printing press came along for Martin Luther, without it, no one would have heard of him. So different tools that have come along at different times in my life have had a big impact and directed which way I headed.

Avil Beckford: How did mentors influence your life?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: There are people who come along, and sometimes they encourage you, or tell you what you do not want to hear. So one category are people who are wiser, often older and in a different circumstance, who are able to give you good advice, direction or point things out if you are willing to listen. Professor George Gallup and Edward de Bono were great mentors for me. Edward de Bono was my tutor for my PhD, he had one student, me. I am the only one in the world who has a PhD in lateral Thinking, and Edward de Bono and George Gallup were my examiners. They were two extraordinary individuals who spent a lot of time with me, and I have built a whole career around that.

Avil Beckford: What's one core message you received from your mentors?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: From Edward de Bono, professionally the message was to escape from your point of view, what he calls lateral thinking. It's a methodology that was invented in science by Francis Bacon and others and it's called the scientific method. For the religious method, we have the truth, and much of the intellectual effort is defending the truth, and it doesn't matter which religious truth it is, it is I'm right, you're wrong and we'll defend the truth to the death, my death or your death if necessary. So that's one longstanding historical model that we are all familiar with. The scientific method is that there are no absolute truths, there are just truths that are more likely than other truths, and how do we know? They are based on measurements and observation. Science and technology move so quickly because a younger science will come along with better tools for measurement, and now we say that this truth is more likely than the previous truth so science can move ahead. Mr. Bono taught me that, and to put it succinctly, thinking is escaping from your point of view, finding one that is 10 times better, not defending it. That was a big thing that was given to me.

Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and professional life?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: In my case, I have worked from home for a long period of time so it's all rolled up in one. I don't mind that because I like what I do. I'm my own boss so I can spend my days the way that I want to. I still have to do my work and get things done but I've learnt by now how to manage it well so I have a lot of flexibility. If something is happening in my personal life with family or friends, I can probably go along and be there rather than saying, "I cannot go because I have to travel here or there." Because the business is online, and I have the technology that follows you around makes it pretty easy. I have done this for a long time so I have been able to balance my personal and professional life pretty easily but I don't have to do it by doing 9-to-5 for one and 5-to-9 for the other, I do it as I go along.

Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: The main thing is to generate a lot of ideas because you cannot know if an idea is great until after the fact. You cannot generate a great idea, you can only see after the idea has been generated, whether or not it turns out to be great. You know when you buy a CD that's a compilation of all the bestsellers from last year, you can only pick the best songs from last year after you have all the songs from last year to choose from. You have to generate a lot of ideas then choose the best. I learned that, that's a very deliberate thing and I do it very deliberately. I generate lots of ideas and write them in books, and every once in a while I take a look and may see things repeating themselves. Sometimes circumstances change and I go back and try something and experiment with it, and in retrospect sometimes it turns out to be a great idea. Sometimes it occurs quickly and other times it takes quite a while. One of the things that I teach people is to multiple things by 10, and get into the habit of doing so. I used to do a lot of work with the Actors Institute in New York, and some of the actors would go for an audition and there may be 50 people there for that part and clearly only one person out of 50 is going to get the part. If she didn't get it, she would be depressed and go back to the apartment and smoke dope, fall into a heap and do nothing for two months and then go and do another audition. I would say to multiply the number of auditions you do by 10, because all you can do is go to auditions. You are not the director, or the producer, so you can't decide who gets the past, but you can decide how many auditions you go for. It's developing the attitude of multiplying by 10 that can give you an edge. If you want to have a great idea, have 10, then look back and see which ones are the better ones. That's what I would do.

Avil Beckford: How do you define success?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: Happiness! Having a $1 billion and being in jail or having your family turn against you, or devastating the planet to me isn't my idea of success. Possibly having no money in the bank and having a partner who cares about you, or kids who love you, or being able to sit and have a nice long lunch with a group of friends, that's what success is because you only get one life. There is no reason why you cannot earn a good income and still be happy. Finding the balance is difficult but it's worth striving for.

Avil Beckford: What are the steps you took to succeed in your field?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: I make sure that I do something that I enjoy doing. And I do them every day. In other words, from the point of view of virtuosity, it takes a long while, you cannot just pick up a book or video on something and become an expert. Some people think you can, but you can't. It may take 10 years, and you can do 10 years if you love what you are doing so it's a combination of loving what you are doing, and doing it every day. Enjoy success as you go and do the 10,000 hours it requires to achieve virtuosity, and then enjoy that kind of success as well.

Avil Beckford: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in your field?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: My advice to people starting out in the field of cognitive science is to ensure you get at least two things:

  1. A good teacher - someone who is in a position to ensure you are learning the most verifiable information in your field, and
  2. A good mentor - someone with a great deal of recognized experience and preeminence in the field. Otherwise, you may waste your time learning information that is just not true and without a mentor you will only have your own experience to go on which is limited and slow.

Avil Beckford: If trusted friends could introduce you to five people that you've always wanted to meet, who would you choose? And what would you say to them?
Michael Hewitt-Gleeson:

  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Pope John XXIV
  • Professor Elizabeth Blackburn
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee
  • Charles Darwin

I would ask them for their answers to the same questions in this interview.

Avil Beckford: Which one book had a profound impact on your life?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

If you had a personal genie and she gave you one wish, what would you wish for? Or, if I gave you a magic wand, what would you use it for?

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: I would wish for another 10 years.

Complete the following, I am happy when.....

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson: I am happy when I laugh. I am happy when I wake up in the morning. I am happy when I see a smile on my partner's face.

Avil Beckford is a writer, researcher and the published author of Tales of People Who Get It and its companion workbook Journey to Getting It. She resides in Toronto and blogs at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beware of Future Forecasting and Pathetic Past Predictions - Think Tank Topic

Lance Winslow

The future no one knows, but many will claim too. Worse, people make rotten predictions, or purposefully present a scary future scenario to propel action towards their cause. Whether out of irresponsibility, mental illness, fear tactics, manipulation, or wishful thinking we should all be forewarned to these realities. Still, we need to consider past history, present challenges and conflicts, and realistic probabilities as well.

Recently in our think tank online, and it was determined that when we went back and looked at all the future forecasts of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and the roaring to two-thousands that most all of the futurists that had made predictions were wrong. The book MegaTrends was quite popular in the early 80s, and it painted a future which never came. Today, many of the top futurists are painting pictures of tomorrow which will never come either. The other day we were discussing in the think tank on the Internet - what the online world might look like in the next decade.

Future of Internet

The Future of the Internet will be nothing like it is today. People will be permanently connected, and VR holographic meetings, events, etc. will be part of the social human experience, it's a whole new world, today, well all this fancy stuff with mobile web, social networks is nothing. Imagine it all in 5-years or ten? It is coming we can't stop it, and even if this current system crashes under its own weight, humans will build it bigger, stronger, faster, more secure, and safer in the future, or this current system will evolve to something which is truly out of this world.

If the Internet can change that mindset in the last 5 to 10 years, imagine what it will do in the future? In the future you may not be able to get a job, live your life, or even communicate with your family and friends unless you were online, unless you are plugged in, unless you have an e-mail address which is tied to your personal identification code, and your biometric ID or driver's license.

Does that mean the world of big brother is nearly upon us? Some would say it's already here, and for those who are worried about their personal identity, it's amazing that nearly 50% of all Americans freely put information about themselves online for everyone else to read. So it is doubtful if anyone is really serious about protecting their privacy in the information age, although, I'm sure few people can see the writing on the wall even though they aren't futurists or don't have a crystal ball.

I'd like you to think about this for yourself, perhaps jot down some predictions of your own, put them on a piece of paper and bury them in the bottom of your desk, someplace that you haven't looked in over five years, and perhaps five years from now you will see it, and laugh at yourself, and how wrong you were. It's not easy to predict the future, and perhaps that's my point here. Please consider all this.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow says this article was sponsored by; internet phone services

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Day of Full Appreciation

Virmared Santiago

I have gotten used to practice an exercise of appreciation before going to bed. In the morning, the second I wake up, I will do the same. It always keeps me in my vortex, as appreciation vibrates like Source. Today, while eating at McDonald's with my 15 years old, a little blind child, maybe in first grade, gave me a reason for going to sleep today appreciating all I can see through my eyes, and what I have in my son. This little child kindly reminded me there is nothing absolute love, trust and appreciation cannot do when you feel fearful or less than happy.

Throughout the day, I will stop for a second and appreciate anything on the hallways of the school. It is as easy and spontaneous as looking up the sky and appreciating the shape of a cloud, the tone of blue in the sky serving as its background or the dance of the flowers hanging graciously from the bougainvilleas. Sometimes, even the laugh of the students or the smile of those you thought would never smile at you, is more than enough for throwing my thinking into appreciation mode.:-)

Placing my attention on that type of thing, makes me feel in my vortex so whatever contrast I go through it quickly dissolves or never comes up at all. Keep in mind I start first thing in the morning, though!:-)

Nevertheless, even when all that is something common in my day, today, I felt like I was having a hard time keeping myself away from some fears. Leaving from home this morning, I reminded my son about how much I appreciate who he is in my life and how responsible he is of feeling awesome good at all times. I told him he should never be around anybody he does not feel exquisitely well because the purpose of his life is to build his day around that in mind: being absolutely happy.

To me, reminding my son about these things made me feel I was appreciating all he is, no matter my fears and attachments. All he wants to be and go through in order for him to trace his own route in life should also be something for me to appreciate.

After dropping my son off at school, I selected a "mantra" to take care of the uncomfortable feeling; it was so effective I started feeling better and better and better in seconds. Maybe that is why, the perfect situation arouse this afternoon at the McDonald's with my son when I saw the little child with his mom.

Observing the cheerful little child already with a blind cane at his short age, made me reflect on the fact that not even his blindness was stopping him from joy and being a delicious kid going over the soft drink machine, or leaving McDonald's enthusiastically because he was finally going to eat his "happy meal".

I told Jorge to pay attention to child and said to him: "Do you see how happy he is? That's how we should live. No excuses!!!"

My son agreed. I know it was huge for him. I am convinced we are doing our very best and that should be enough. I know he is already a stinky cute "appreciator" and me a firm believer on the Laws of this Universe!!!!

I feel much appreciation for you, reader.

Virmared Santiago

Virmared Santiago

Inspirational Speaker
Spanish Teacher

Virmared Santiago was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to Marta Rodríguez and Eddie Santiago, grew up in the small city of Yauco. For seventeen years she has taught in Puerto Rico and the United States high schools. His first ebook, "Plena Abundancia," ("Absolute Abundance") is a collection of inspirational quotes written with her sister Marta Santiago. Virmared and Marta also host a Blog Talk Radio show every Sunday at 10:0 am: Virma Creations. She is currently a happy teacher in a private school in Miami where she continues to get inspired by her students. Virmared is also an inspirational speaker, artist, and singer. She has a 15 year old son who is her light and the best co-creator of her life.

How A School In The Kingdom of Bahrain May Hold Keys To The Future

E Alana James

The world's education systems are challenged to transform themselves to meet the needs of the knowledge economy. For world economic growth their graduates need to be able to get jobs or start their own businesses. There may be validity in the idea that education needs to remain somewhat separate from the needs of business, otherwise we have schools becoming little more than factories that turn out that people required by industry. At the same time the products that education graduate are people, and people want to have jobs and employment as well as to enjoy not mere survival but also the luxuries that they see others enjoying. This is the second in a series of articles on the challenges and potential changes that face education in the 21st century.

The obvious direct approach to preparing people of all ages for new work, is to teach them that work. This has led educators to see education in two tracks: one the academic that teaches students to think, process ideas, problem solve and to be scientific. The other, alternate track was vocationally driven. This often implied a somehow "less than" status to vocational work. Students were slotted to go one way or the other. The modern world is less compartmentalized than that, and seeing vocation or academics as two separate ways of being will no longer function. The modern employee or entrepreneur is required to maintain many of the same skills as the academic. Everyone needs to research information, organize it to meet the needs of their particular context, publish it in digital and non-digital formats, and be prepared to engage in active debate on the ideas they are working with. This is as true for a group of tradespeople as it is for professors, managers, business owners. The disconnect is that while some of these skills may develop during group work or project-based learning, most of the world still learns in classrooms with rows of desks, a teacher at the front, and students madly scribbling notes preparing themselves to regurgitate the content being handed to them when it comes time to take a test.

What would a school look like if we started over? The answer to that question is being addressed in the Kingdom of Bahrain by their new Polytechnic University. This article briefly discusses those ideas in the hopes that they are interesting to others and that they start a debate about new possibilities that are can be employed to transform education.

Bahrain Polytechnic University

All good action research starts with delving into current circumstances and understanding what is needed, perhaps that is the reason I like Bahrain Polytechnic so much. They started to design a program by conducting a series of interviews with human relations department to find out what they expected from the graduates they hired. Their findings demonstrated that the current perception of employers was that 49% of college graduates did not have the soft skills they needed (i.e. teamwork communication and problem-solving), 44% did not have the requisite language, math, or vocational skills that were needed, and 42% did not have an understanding of professional conduct or were not properly motivated to do good work. This puts a heavy burden on employers because their recruiting and training process is expensive and if almost 50% of the people they hire do not have the basics, they are inclined to go out of country for their recruiting.

Using the interview process the design team for Bahrain Polytechnic then decided that they needed a curriculum that embedded these skills in the curriculum not just as an add-on or byproduct of the educational process. They concluded that traditional context and knowledge-based education must change and rapidly. This is not easy, it has a lot of things pushing against it. For instance, when you're starting something new people don't have confidence that you know what you're doing, especially if what you're doing implies that what they are doing is not good enough. Also there is a difficulty in finding staff through who will carry through on your vision, because, after all, your vision is new and likely to be misinterpreted. Finally, the facilities that you inherit from other models are, by definition, outmoded and get in the way of what you were trying to accomplish.

In spite of these challenges Bahrain Polytechnic has come up with three sets of skills, or types of growth, that will be overlaid and worked on concurrently throughout the students tenure at the University. There will of course be the academic studies, but alongside direct instruction will be employ-ability skills, and a continuously developing self-knowledge profile. In other words, these students will be continuously evaluated on their attitude, their delivery, and the coherency between those and how they see themselves. Marvelous!

Educators will say things like, "that all sounds great but how are you can measure it?" Although this is still a work in progress, Bahrain Polytechnic has made great strides in answering that question. Still two years away from their first graduating class, they see their graduates having three transcripts that they will bring to future employers. The first provides an overview of the range of achievement levels on academic content, the same as provided by universities worldwide. The second is what they call an employ-ability profile in which the student has had to demonstrate and been continually assessed by staff on what are considered the soft skills of communication, teamwork, problem solving, initiative and enterprise, planning and organization, self-management, learning and technology. Those same skills are evaluated by the students themselves in their self-knowledge profile. Then all three are graphically laid over one another in order to give the employer a visual representation of the whole person who is applying for the job.

How is this done? Through a curriculum that builds on the foundation program of strong English skills, the ability to research, use of information technology and math. The degrees offered are bachelors or diplomas in: visual design, international logistics management, information and communications technology, business, office management, web media, and engineering technology. They are just starting the process of design for the new campus, where the architecture of the buildings they inhabit will help rather than hinder their mission through wide-open spaces, easy places to meet, an atmosphere that promotes project work 24/7 etc. It was my pleasure to be able to sit in on their discussion with the architect, and that alone should dramatically increase the ability to think creatively, as the students will no longer be contained in rows of boxes. Their campus fits with the lifestyle engendered by digital natives, who jump easily between social, organizational, and project design work.

This article looked into an innovative solution to the problems addressed in previous writing about the apparent disconnect between education graduates and the needs of the employers who will hire them. Even as a start-up, this university has good management and solid backing from the Kingdom of Bahrain. At this points it looks as thought there is every likelihood that it will fulfill its mission. I said elsewhere, it is easier to start fresh in some instances such as when you are making dramatic change, then to refit existing structures. Future articles in this series will look into the ways and means in which action research can help when education and policy are faced with a "refit" rather than start over is good process.

If you are a student, a parent, an educator or any other type of concerned party who is interested in the future of education, you may want to look into the range resources available on: Register and we will keep you in touch with new ideas as they develop. Dr. E. Alana James, writes on and facilitates participatory action research studies where people research their own particular dilemma is an effective way to address complex issues that otherwise can cause despair. Through PAR, local adaptations can be implemented and evaluated simultaneously. This strategy allows for a world of individuals to work together through the net to re-design education.

Other works on action research for personal and professional innovation can be found on Alana's personal site at