New Technology

Technology takes time to learn. And those who are wise among us understand this and take the time needed. Technology offers new ideas and new ways, which save time, money, and often lives. Yet if you do not learn the necessary technologies, you are often left worse off than before.

I encourage everyone to put aside time to learn new ideas and new ways of accomplishing their work. Consider a few hours upfront equals a small investment in a positive future.

I remember when people told me they could not learn the computer. I asked them if they were born knowing how to drive or did they need to take lessons. No one I talked to had been born knowing how to drive a car or a truck. I must, although, let you know that I only know a tiny percentage of the overall population.

I explained to everyone asked that it was OK not to be born knowing how to drive. I also told the person that if they could learn how to drive, they can learn how to use a computer to type a letter, make a simple spreadsheet, or put together a PowerPoint. In a simple six-week course I used to teach, they learned everything about the computer to get a job, fill out forms, and write resumes and cover letters.

Are you facing something you think you cannot learn? Were you born with the knowledge to drive a car or a truck?

Each Step Adds Up

Learning is like climbing a flight of stairs. If you want to learn one particular task, it’s like taking a step up. If you want a college degree, your climbing the Empire State building. Each thing you learn is founded on what you learned before, and how well that knowledge was grounded. A solid foundation can allow you to climb as far as you want. A muddy or sandy foundation is going to give you problems as you reach higher.

We talked about how difficult it sometimes is, to find time to learn new things. If you wanted to learn how to tie fishing flies, you could start off with a few YouTube segments. YouTube has many videos on fly tying that are well under 15 minutes. You can learn all about the fly tying tools needed in 11 minutes. Fly tying for beginners is only 14 minutes. And you can even make an Olive Woolly Bugger in seven minutes and 24 seconds.

After you watch the YouTube videos, you might want to get a small tie flying kit. You can find them in fishing stores or online, and I have seen some for between $25 and $35. Remember, if you haven’t done something before, do your research, start small and then build up as the need arises.

Budget your time. Maybe you could tie in the evening, or after watching the videos, break up the fly tying into segments. I know some people who write by getting up an hour earlier in the morning to do so. I don’t know if early morning fly tying is a good thing or not. But if you really want to learn it, and don’t have the time to just go to a class on the weekend, this is an alternative that could work.

So what do you do with the flys after you’ve tied them all? The first thing to do is to go fishing and see if they actually work. Once you know their catching fish, it’s time to start letting people know you got flies that can catch fish. The second thing you want to let them know is you’d be glad to tie some for them. The rest is just price points and marketing.

Oh, wait a minute, I’m the one who always wanted to learn and tie flies. Our question here is what do you want to learn? Well, I’ll make you a deal. Figure out what you want to learn. If you can’t break it down into segments, write to me, and I’ll help you do so. And at the same time, I’m going to start watching tie flying video’s on YouTube, and I will post a picture on my blog the first time I catch a fish with a fly that I tied.

Doing anything is just one step at a time. Each step we take becomes the foundation for the next step that we are about to take. Taking a step barely takes a moment, climbing to somewhere new takes determination. And yet, you can get there. Just take one step at a time.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Needing to stay current

You need to keep learning. If you do not keep up with new technologies and ideas, you will be taken over by the tide of technology and time. This wave could quickly push you to the backwaters of change. If you do not continue to keep up with those changes, you might find yourself wondering why people are not writing to you. Today, regular mail is texting.  It is why you now have a phone that is with you all the time. And why everything is happening so fast these days.

I know many people, even some who do read and play with technology who permanently plant themselves in the mindset of 1965. Then they wonder why everybody else is so different and ask the question, “What is wrong with the world.” They are confused because they think everyone else is out of sync and needs to come back to conform to older and outdated ideals.

There’s nothing wrong with the world learning and growing, and expanding its abilities to communicate and collaborate. In the last hundred some years, look at the diseases that have been cured, life expectancies that have been extended, and the abilities we now have because of better communications and shorter travel times. These are great things. And sometimes, newer technology and values will trump older thoughts and patterns.

I almost believe that some of our older ways of dress, communications, entertainment, and philosophies on work are holdovers from the mass marketing done in those earlier eras when the messages were meant to drive both consumerism and the 8 to 5 office and factory mindset.

As we move forward, we might act differently, dress differently, and hold different mores compared to former eras.  It is mainly because of the changes we now have and how fast they happen.

The office is now on a tablet or even an iPhone. Eight to 5 is replaced by the 24/7 as more people work worldwide from a single location. I have personally worked for clients in the United States, Australia, and England all at the same time, from Colorado Springs. To do this, I had to balance schedules with the use of a world clock on my laptop. 

This does not give permission to today’s generation and workforce to write off older generations out of hand.  We need to remember that we would not have the tools, technology, and collaboration of today without those earlier generations leading the way in their era.  We owe everything we can do to those who fought to make our future ready for us to take it through the next 30 years.  We need to hope we can do as much for future generations to come.

Thank you for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Are You Willing?

We can all step up to the occasion and do something positive if we have to. Anyone can get lucky one time or another. The question becomes, are you willing to apply yourself to your endeavors? Faced with being put on the spot most people can Buffalo their way through most things, even with not knowing all the facts that are pertinent to the subject. Therefore, the question becomes, “Are you willing to do what it takes to become good at your craft?”

Everyone knows some things, no one knows everything. You have to figure out what you already know and what you are willing to learn? If you want to know about something, reading a book is a good start. If you wish to know some more about anything, you take a class. Taking a class provides you with somebody who you can interact with and ask questions. This is also a good step. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much to really teach you.

If you genuinely want to learn about something, you need to teach what you know on the subject. If you’re thinking, “I can’t do that, I don’t know that much.” In my answer to that is both yes and no. Yes, you don’t know as much as you’re going to have to you teach the class. And no, you know more than the people you are teaching. Remember, you are not trying to make them gurus of the subject. You are only trying to teach them what you know.

I’m sure your next question is, and please correct me if I’m wrong, “How are people who do not know as much as I do, going to teach me more than I already know about the subject matter?” This is a very fair question. And probably because I have done this, the most straightforward question for me to answer.

You are teaching people who do not know as much as you do, which means you are helping them by teaching them what you know. The class, in turn, helps you because they will ask you questions you never thought to ask, yourself. You may feel that this puts you on the spot. And it might. Just thank the person who asks the question and let them know you’d prefer to research the right answer and bring it back to them. Explain that it is better than just giving something made up off the top of your head. The class will respect you for that.

When you’re given a question that you do not know the answer to, make sure it is written down. Bring it back to the next class. And explain it not only to that person but to the entire group, because other people will want to know the answer. The more you do this, the larger your reputation for understanding and sharing the truth will become. Also, the more you do this, the more you will learn. You must, because you have a whole class counting on you to do so.

The only question, “Are you willing to put this much work into knowing more?”

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tom

A New Generation

Back in the late 1960s, America was changing. The Air Force knew that it had to change its ways also. There was a need for better management and leadership systems and better leadership training for the enlisted men and women.

I joined the Air Force in 1972. I was part of that new Air Force generation and benefited from excellent training. The old guard of senior noncommissioned officers (NCO’s) was still in place. They were always respected by the rank-and-file, and their orders were always followed. As a new member of the Air Force, I had a career of leadership training before me. I went to leadership schools and other events every few years. I went to an NCO Academy for 6 weeks in Texas. And, I even took a Senior NCO correspondence course while working in the Azores.

The big thing that I learned from this was the fact that you can teach a new generation and have them succeed without first getting rid of the old guard that came before them. I think that is an important thing to know. We honor our past, even as we learn new ways to do new things.

This week I have been writing on trying to curb violence in America, especially deadly violence. Today I start to look at the ‘how’ to get it done. First off, we come from a long legacy, and we must recognize that and honor it. The next thing we need to realize is that as the world changes, we need to learn and adapt our ways to meet new needs. I do not mean to make this sound like a contest. It is merely a fact of life. Those who learn, grow and succeed. Those who stop learning and stay with only what they knew up to that point, stagnate and fall behind.

We need to develop new ways to engage people from many backgrounds, lifestyles, and societies. We need to find ways to learn from each other, and we need to find ways to understand and empathize with one another. We do this while honoring those who have come before us and taught us their ideals, and at the same time recognizing that for us to grow and succeed we must also find and develop new ways where all can equally benefit.

Maybe we need to forgive and be forgiven for old sins and felt slights. Perhaps we need to reach out in understanding and realize we are really one planet with one people who have a very diverse past. As we celebrate our diversity, we should remember that we are, at the core, one people.

Tomorrow, I will talk more specifically on some of the ‘how’s.’ I am also wondering if you have any ideas on how this could be accomplished. If you have any, please let me know in the comments. I would be glad to share any thoughts or ideas I receive.  Until then, I want to thank you, my blog readers, for being here with me. No one person ever does anything alone, it always takes a team.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

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