Since the average person doesn’t read another non fiction book after they finish their formal education, it doesn’t take much to be above average in this category. Library cards are free or very cheap. Take advantage of your library. You don’t need riches to read up on things that interest you.
The average person doesn’t have enough in their savings to last them through one missed pay period. That takes a little more work, but with some persistence you can achieve that goal too. Start with a budget, it sounds limiting, but it is really quite freeing!
The average American eats out about 18 meals a month! I am not saying never eat out, but if you cut that in half, you could save yourself a significant amount of money.
The average worker doesn’t try to pick up any new skills after they are trained in their job unless they are forced to do so. What if you embark on a personal quest to learn a new skill set? It might be something that would help you advance where you are working currently, it might be something completely unrelated that you can use as a hobby or to jump to a new job in a new place.
The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day. That is nearly 2,000 hours of wasted time a year. Think what you could do to advance your situation in life with an extra 2,000 hours this year! At very least you could work a second job and more quickly get out of debt.
The choice is yours. you can be average, or you can be growing and learning.
Whether you lead a football team, an international corporation, a local restaurant or a dance scene, one of the issues that comes up is: How do you keep your team moving forward?
I want to propose the good old idea of a book club. In my opinion, it is well worth the cost of the right books if you give a copy to each person on your team and then use that information in the running of your group. Bring the books up in meetings. I am not mentioning what book to have them read. It will depend on your situation. I would say that YOU as the leader in your organization should pick one that promotes your values, method of leadership and goals for your organization.
When your whole team is on board with the vision of your organization, when they believe in what you corporately are doing, then your team will surpass the competition that is just going through the motions. Your lowest level employee or volunteer will move your group forward as they have a feeling of ownership in the success of what you are attempting to accomplish.
To put that in concrete terms, say you run a coffee shop. (I am typing in one now, so it shall be my example.) You are the owner or store manager, but your team seems disjointed and uncaring about things like showing up on time, high absentee rates, un-attentive to customers etc. You could threaten them, tell them to shape up or they are fired. (I am not against firing people if it is needed.) You could have them read a great book on the subject of customer service, or perhaps one that helps them see the value of coffee in American society or to the world economy. When the barista sees herself as a part of something bigger instead of just working a job that pays barely over minimum wage, she is much more likely to take that job seriously, putting in the extra effort to show up on time every time. She will greet each customer with a smile. She will make that customer’s drink with pride and serve it in such a way that it makes a positive inspiring moment that the customer will want to repeat. This makes the manager/owner’s job much easier. People with a cause are much more valuable than people with a paycheck.
In order to pull this off, you, as the leader, cannot just pull a book with a nice cover off the shelf. This means that you need to be reading like crazy in your field in order to find the right book to motivate your team.
Have fun reading!
In a few weeks, I am going to be moderating a round table discussion on the future of liberal arts education.
Webster defines Liberal Arts as: areas of study (such as history, language, and literature) that are intended to give you general knowledge rather than to develop specific skills needed for a profession.
I have to say, I don’t like that definition. I get the point, but in a world where people change careers every 7-10 years on average, shouldn’t we be preparing people for whatever profession they end up in? I know, that isn’t as catchy as an RN program where in two years, you get a job as a nurse. (What do you do with that interdisciplinary B.A. in Physical Education/Spanish?)
The struggle I see is that too many schools are treating liberal arts education as if it were vocational education. They assign a set grouping of courses and upon completion, VOILA! You are educated!
Sadly, the average american doesn’t pick up another non-fiction book after completing their formal studies…so are we succeeding in that goal of educating people liberally with general knowledge for life?
I wish I had more answers. Most of the answers I do have are so against the grain that I dare not push too hard for the reform. A few of my tamer ideas:
- Upend the general education to core study ratio. At my school, an average degree is about 130 credit hours…with about 30 of those hours being in the core area of study and the rest are general education or “supporting” courses. This isn’t odd or unique, most liberal arts colleges and universities would have a similar structure. What if we switch that around? What if we gave more emphasis to the core of the major? Would it be better? Or would the student miss out on all the general knowledge they are supposed to glean from the liberal arts education?
- Instead of just having an academic adviser, have life mentors for the student. It might mean that one degree ends up being 250 credit hours and another one is 45 credit hours. Who cares? Have a person who takes an interest in the student’s life individually and helps them achieve their goals in life. (Just a side note, the students with whom I have built real relationships with while they were in college did much better after college than those who simply took classes and didn’t connect with a professor.)
- If you would like to follow up on this, fee free to e-mail me
When given options A or B to choose from, sometimes the best action is to choose C.
When you follow Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher. He had a dispute over a trade slogan with Stevens Aviation. Instead of choosing to go to court or settle out of court in a traditional way, he chose C. He challenged the CEO of Stevens Aviation to an Arm Wrestling match to solve the issue. They undertook the competition in a packed stadium full of cheering employees from their respective companies. Whether he won or lost doesn’t matter in this story. He chose C and you can bet that moment was much more memorable in a positive way for all involved than a court ruling in front of a room full of corporate lawyers would have been.
When Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance faced the dilemma of ignoring or capitulating to Wall Street analysts request for quarterly profit expectations. He chose C. Under his leadership. Progressive Insurance began publishing monthly financial reports which would more honestly allow investors to make predictions.
Maybe your option C has yet to be discovered. That is your job. When your town needs something that it doesn’t currently offer. People tell you that you have to choose between option A or B…you can choose to say, nope, I am going to build a C option!
In the last few weeks, our world has seen trucks mow people down, racial unrest, Pokemon Go taking over the streets, police being shot, government coups, and people coming together for peace…so I am taking a break from my normal blogging fare to share some thoughts from my heart.
People, by and large are going about their daily routine. You are likely reading this before, during or after a day at work where you do your job to make a living. Most people have hobbies and interests they like. People volunteer to help causes we believe in. People love their families. We all have people we care about. Most of us just want to get through the day without anyone close to us, or ourselves, being hurt or killed.
So what makes some people make a plan to take the lives of others? Who sits down one day and says, “Gee, I think I will do my best to ruin everyone’s day by killing a bunch of innocent people?” I don’t have an answer. I don’t believe anyone just jumps to that idea. Most sane people would revolt internally at the mere thought of it.
This brings me to one thought. We must all do our job. Not just the one that keeps food on the table. The one of looking out for our fellow humans. What can you do today to help someone else’s life be a little more manageable. Can you give a kid a word of encouragement? (It might make the difference in their life that keeps them from growing up to be a terrorist.) Can you buy lunch for the person behind you in the drive thru? Can you tell a woman that you like her earrings? What good deed can you do today? You might not change the world, but you could change the world for one person.
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