contradiction

A Mixed Bag of 10 Thoughts, Quoted

I collect quotations from various places. Books and online. I make notes on the stuff I read every day.

I thought I’d drop 10 examples your way in this post. Just because. Maybe something will inspire or interest you further.

You never know when a comment here and an example there can come in handy. I also collect random stories that are of no use at the moment, but are quirky. When the right time comes along, I use the stories to inject some fun into a piece of writing.

Always be on the lookout for inspiration. You may find nothing of interest in the examples below. But when you see anything that makes you stop and think, it’s worth making a note of it. The more you can collect, the more you have at your disposal later on.

Note it down. Save it for later.

Collecting little thoughts is one way you can start to make good use out of what you consume.

10 Thoughts, Quoted

1.

“You will find the future wherever people are having the most fun.”

From the Introduction to Wonderland by Steven Johnson

In other words, get playful!

1play

2.

“Ultimately innovation is local. You have a problem to fix, a group who want to solve it, and you come together in a common space to work it out.”

http://blog.hefce.ac.uk/2016/12/19/how-higher-education-can-make-the-industrial-strategy-a-success/

I like how the ‘local’ doesn’t always have to be in terms of physical placement.

2connect

3.

“…holding on to the idea that willpower is a limited resource can actually be bad for you, making you more likely to lose control and act against your better judgment.”

https://medium.com/the-mission/the-way-youve-been-thinking-about-willpower-is-hurting-you-8621b1e2b30f#.x9wtrfkte

Willpower is limited if you think it is. I will you to keep going!

3willpower

4.

“If takers are selfish and failed givers are selfless, successful givers are otherish: they care about benefiting others, but they also have ambitious goals for advancing their own interests.” – p.182

From Give and Take by Adam Grant

Giving is wonderful, so long as you remember to give to yourself at the same time.

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5.

“A sociologist at the University of Chicago surveyed the references cited in a database of 34 million scientific articles. He analyzed the citations with respect to whether the articles cited were available online. The more journals became digitally available, the more recent the references became, and the narrower their scope.” – p.61

From Words Onscreen by Naomi S. Baron

The book was published in 2016. That feels like ages ago…

5time

6.

“Student loan policy wonks have always assumed that if you provide guarantees and limit liability/risk on student loans, then students will be ok with debt.  But if the facts of the policy don’t change people’s attitudes about risk, then the policies will fail, no matter how well they deal with the actual problems at hand.”

http://higheredstrategy.com/does-student-debt-matter-if-youre-not-going-to-pay-it-back/

This is just as relevant for parents too. The idea of debt, no matter how it’s presented, is too much for some. Especially when there have been past problems with more traditional debts, or they have spent their life avoiding debt. What do you think those parents will say to their children who want to go to university?

6debt

7.

“Podcasting is sometimes dismissed as nothing more than radio in your ears, on your own schedule, but I beg to differ. It’s far more intimate than traditional radio. And news organizations that realize the power of this intimacy will likely have an advantage in the long run.”

http://www.niemanlab.org/2016/12/the-year-of-the-newsy-podcast/

On-demand audio for the win.

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8.

“Humans live peacefully with contradictions precisely because of their capacity to compartmentalise. And when contradictory statements, actions or emotions jump out of their contextual box, we are very good, perhaps too good, at finding justifications to soothe cognitive dissonance.”

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-our-contradictions-make-us-human-and-inspire-creativity

But when you recognise this, you can use the abundance of contradiction in wonderful ways too. Embrace the push and pull.

8contradiction

9.

“Crucially, our ‘social orientation’ appears to spill over into more fundamental aspects of reasoning. People in more collectivist societies tend to be more ‘holistic’ in the way they think about problems, focusing more on the relationships and the context of the situation at hand, while people in individualistic societies tend to focus on separate elements, and to consider situations as fixed and unchanging.”

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170118-how-east-and-west-think-in-profoundly-different-ways

Specific generalisations. The article has some thought-provoking stuff.

9fixed

10.

A reason why conservatives tend to use nouns more than liberals is because nouns outline greater stability. Describing someone using nouns “implies more certainty and permanence about their state of being”.

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2017/01/12/why-conservatives-like-to-use-nouns-more-than-liberals-do/

Pay attention to how people describe things. Do they “feel positive”, or are they “a positive person”? You may get a better insight when you listen to how the sentences are constructed as well as what’s being said.

10stable

Think of the little thoughts and stories you collect as stepping stones. Each step can take you closer to new ideas.

Over to you. It’s time to create out of what you curate.

Learning Leads to Changed Perspective

We change more dramatically over time than we expect.

Look back five or ten years. How different were you back then? Probably a lot.

glasses (photo by hotblack)

Perspective changes

It’s no wonder that we look back on our past work and flinch at some of the stuff we did and said. Especially in public forum, like online, changes in opinion look more like contradictions if you’re not careful. Old blog posts or tweets where you make one argument will look strange–weak, even–when you write something new and argue the opposite thing.

But this is natural. Perspective changes.

“A major challenge for me is that, in spending a lot of time learning, my opinions grow with time. Hopefully my minor reversals and shifts in emphasis don’t irk or confuse longtime readers too much.” – Scott Young

I would be more worried if I didn’t feel challenged and if I didn’t sense any kind of development as time passed.

Plus, I like to consider other people’s perspective. Don’t live in a bubble. Explore views that aren’t your own.

For instance, I have offered advice in the past that I wouldn’t use myself, but that I knew would be useful to others. The type of information that I’ve seen others thrive off, despite it leaving me cold.

Why? Because I don’t assume that only my choices bear fruit. Especially when giving subjective advice. One size does not fit all.

That’s why, if I give two opposing pieces of advice, it could look misleading at first glance. On further reflection, the contradiction may highlight two perfectly valid options that require a choice (or exploration) on your part.

As with my previous post on planning your day, I suggested options to play with. And I regularly ask questions like, “What works best for you?” so the discussion can continue. The more we join in with offering and exploring new solutions, the greater the chance that we uncover even more treasures.

Don’t sweat the change. We all do it, though we don’t always notice it.

What has been your biggest change so far?

When Transferable Skills…Aren’t

My last post looked at transferable skills and telling your story. But are transferable skills what they’re cracked up to be? Are they truly transferable? Are they actually skills?

When employers look for these common traits, does that mean everyone is looking for the same thing? Nope.

Can things like customer service, motivation, and self-awareness really be classed as skills? These ‘skills’ are generic, thus problematic.

Maze (photo by MarcelGermain) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Which direction to turn? Where is the context? (photo by MarcelGermain) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When it’s hard to identify your transferable skills, how they came about, and what they have helped you to achieve, does that make them less than transferable? Creative Studies lecturer, Mimi Thebo, sums it up neatly:

“So where does it all go wrong? Well, the problem with transferable skills, is that they don’t. Transfer, that is. People tend to associate a skill with the context in which it was learned. Take the Creative Writing workshop as an example. Many of the skills and abilities mentioned above are learned in workshop. But this is a very restricted setting, and students may feel these skills are uniquely valuable in this setting. Indeed, they may not be aware of the skills and attributes they have acquired.” [SOURCE] [My emphasis]

Moving from one context to another is a challenge in itself. You’re telling a different story each time. Where you place yourself in the context is just as important as considering where other people might place you. That takes more than transferring a skill.

Multiple contexts are even more confusing. Take customer service. Who is the customer? What is your aim?

I have used so-called customer service skills in so many ways over the years that I know how different each situation is. One size does not fit all. Whether it’s answering queries from household-name clients, dealing with questions from library customers, sorting out issues with students I’m responsible for, or helping an individual with a request via a phone call I wasn’t expecting, these situations require different approaches and cannot be boiled down to a single ‘customer service skill’.

While there is overlap, there is also a lot of subjectivity. We are dealing with constructs.

Skills are particular abilities and often measurable in one way or another. There is still subjectivity in skills, but not to the same extent as more generic terms. Take what I said yesterday:

“So much potential, so much choice, so many stories to tell.”

“You can highlight your strengths and transferable skills in numerous ways. You have so many stories to tell. Which stories are you telling?”

Transferable skills are ‘soft’. The stories you tell make a difference, the way those stories are interpreted by others make a difference, what people are looking for in you makes a difference…Everything makes a difference.

Therefore, nothing is directly transferable either for you or for those you are communicating with. By the same token, this highlights a problem with the term ‘skill’.

Identifying what you can do, what you have achieved, and how you are developing all require skill, but not a wholesale reliance on a particular set of criteria as if they form a bunch of boxes that can be easily ticked off, one by one.

Go back to where I quoted Prospects at the beginning of my last post:

“Every vacancy requires a unique set of competencies but some transferable skills are commonly requested”

These traits may be commonly requested, but that doesn’t mean an employer has a common view of those traits. Their view of these skills is no less unique than the set of more specific competencies they have listed.

When you don’t take this into account, you risk relying on a false understanding of ‘transferable skills’.

When you do take this into account, you are in a better place to define yourself through both using transferable skills and rejecting their existence at the very same time.

Patchwork (photo by leslie.keating) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Create your own patchwork (photo by leslie.keating) CC BY-NC-ND 2.0