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After COVID-19 – 5 in a series – A single reason why

April 24th, 2020 Comments off

As a rather pessimistic person myself, it has helped me recognize pessimism — and fear — in others. This pessimism can lead us to become stalled in life and frozen by fear. Like a deer in the headlights, we can’t decide what to do and are ultimately run over by the approaching car.

In the real world, it functions more like this. When faced with a challenge, we can find a million reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t take some action. I see this whether I am talking to friends informally or consulting with a client. Whenever we are faced with a difficult situation or looking for a new area of business, the negatives flow like water. We can’t do this because…They won’t allow that because… We don’t have the money to do that because.., This can go on for hours and leads us exactly…nowhere.

After COVID-19 - 5 in a series - A single reason why

Photo: Alev Takil

Partially this happens because we are approaching the situation from the wrong direction. We focus on the status quo. We focus on the problems. We focus on the can’t, shouldn’t, won’t of the situation. We can easily find a million reasons NOT to do something when, instead, we should be looking for the ONE reason we CAN do something. By turning the conversation on its head we can find the useful and productive things we CAN do and leave the problems behind. We have to break free of the pessimism that holds us in place. I am not asking, nor dreaming, that you will suddenly become a great optimist. I know this hasn’t happened for me. Rather, you and I need to work to change pessimistic inaction into realistic action.

Whenever I am faced with my own million reasons why not, I think of this quote…

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

No matter how dark the world becomes — no matter the adversity — no matter the roadblock — we can persevere. It is rare for us to find ourselves completely out of options, although sometimes it can feel that way. We find ourselves and our minds buried beneath the million reasons why not and can’t see the one reason why.

Part of what I do in my work is helping people find that one reason why. Sometimes, outside eyes can see things more clearly. I know that is true for myself. I often need the fresh vision of a friend or family member to help me clear the fog of my own thinking. It is simply a fact of human nature. We get locked into a single way of thinking. We also underestimate our own skills and intelligence just when we need it most.

So, take some time today and think about one of your most pressing issues. There are certainly more than enough issues these days, so picking one shouldn’t be a problem. Then, put aside the million reasons why NOT and start looking for the one reason, the one idea, the one change, the one single reason WHY you CAN and SHOULD do something different.

Once you find that reason, start working on making it happen. Take action. Then, as shampoo bottles everywhere advise — Rinse, and Repeat. Make this part of your everyday thinking and action. Take the next issue and find the next WHY and HOW, over and over. 

It matters little whether you are “running, walking, or crawling.” All that matters is the forward movement towards the next great step in your life and career.

 

After COVID-19 – 4 in a series – You’ve Got This

April 17th, 2020 Comments off

After COVID-19 - 4 in a series - You've Got This

Photo: NeONBRAND

I was chatting with a long time friend today on our private Discord server and he was telling us how he was about to start teaching his first remote class for his Junior High students. This man is one of the best educators I know. He is knowledgeable not only in technology, his educational topics of specialization but also in education itself.

It surprised me a bit when he confessed he was feeling very nervous about his first class. Again, this person is someone I consider an educator’s educator, but as with all of us, doubt can creep in at the oddest times.

Partly this is because we all consistently under-acknowledge and undervalue our own knowledge and skills. It seems to be a universal trait of human nature. Sure, there are the narcissistic and arrogant among us, but I believe the majority of us carry doubts and fears about our own abilities and in most cases these doubts and fears are baseless.

How do I know this? It is because I suffer in the same, human, way as everyone else. We always need to look for a trusted external source to tell us the truth about our own knowledge and skills. These are the friends who know when to tell us we are full of sh*t and know when we are not giving ourselves enough credit. It is here we find the truth which we can find so hard to see ourselves.

So, yes, it can be a little scary, a little stressful, even a bit panic-inducing but trust me, you’ve got this. You know how to do this and you know how to do it well. Will there be hiccups? Sure! Not every day in the classroom runs as smoothly as you might wish, but in the end, you (and your students) will be fine. You will get through this, together, and learn much along the way.

In fact, you might even find your skills growing with new innovations that you have been wanting to try but didn’t have space or time. Being forced into remote teaching might be the best thing for education in decades. Sometimes we need extraordinary circumstances — and the freedom to address those circumstances — to really grow in our profession, no matter what it might be.

Again, you’ve got this. I know because I know you. I can see the person you can’t always see in yourself.

What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments!

After COVID-19: A little blue sky thinking for a post-COVID19 world

April 4th, 2020 Comments off

A little blue sky thinking for a post-COVID19 world

Ok, a little “blue sky” thinking for  a time when this crisis (or at least the worst of this crisis) is over…

  • What are you planning for when restrictions begin to be lifted?
  • What will you change?
  • What will remain the same?
  • What new ideas/projects/habits will you begin?
  • What are you going to do strictly for yourself and your family?
  • How will the world be different for you?

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

How to Adapt to a Long-Term Crisis via kottke.org

April 4th, 2020 Comments off
How to Adapt to a Long-Term Crisis via kottke.org

From Dr. Aisha Ahmad, some advice for how to adapt to conditions of a long-term crisis like the pandemic we are currently facing. (This was written specifically for educators, but applies to anyone.) First, the necessary sobering bit (italics mine):

The answer to the question everyone is asking — “When will this be over?” — is simple and obvious, yet terribly hard to accept. The answer is never.

Global catastrophes change the world, and this pandemic is very much akin to a major war. Even if we contain the Covid-19 crisis within a few months, the legacy of this pandemic will live with us for years, perhaps decades to come. It will change the way we move, build, learn, and connect. There is simply no way that our lives will resume as if this had never happened. And so, while it may feel good in the moment, it is foolish to dive into a frenzy of activity or obsess about your scholarly productivity right now. That is denial and delusion. The emotionally and spiritually sane response is to prepare to be forever changed.

Read How to Adapt to a Long-Term Crisis via kottke.org


An interesting link found among my daily reading

Into 2020: California’s New Laws Starting Jan. 1, 2020 via LAist

December 27th, 2019 Comments off

Into 2020: Los Angeles County Public Works List of Holidays via Dept. of Public Works

December 26th, 2019 Comments off
Into 2020: Los Angeles County Public Works List of Holidays via Dept. of Public Works
New Year’s Day – Wednesday, January 1
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday – Monday, January 20
Presidents’ Day  – Monday, February 17
Cesar Chavez Day – Monday, March 30
Memorial Day – Monday, May 25
Independence Day – Friday, July 3*
Labor Day – Monday, September 7
Indigenous People’s Day – Monday, October 12
Veterans Day – Wednesday, November 11
Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 26
Friday after Thanksgiving – Friday, November 27
Christmas Friday, – December 25
 

Local Starbucks keeps adding more taps via Instagram

August 31st, 2018 Comments off

 Local Starbucks keeps adding more taps via Instagram

Local Starbucks keeps adding more taps

Now Peach Tea in Nitro and more

Instagram and Follow

Join me on Douglas E. Welch Photography on Facebook


Want to learn more about Starbucks? Check out these books from your local library or buy on Amazon

 †

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Arduino Day LA 2018: A bus turned art car/sound booth at Toolbox.LA

May 13th, 2018 Comments off

Reading – Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser – 15 in a series

April 3rd, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – Girl Code: Gaming, Going Viral, and Getting It Done by Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser – 15 in a series

This is an amazing memoir of 2 amazing women who learned fairly early in life that girls do indeed code (or program). They found each other during a “Girls Who Code” program and together helped change the world in a unique way — not only showing the programming can be a talent and profession but also addressing a women’s issue (menstruation stigma) that they had faced directly.

Tampon Run is a small, side-scrolling game that they created during the workshop, but it soon took on its own energy and power and led to international exposure for both Andrea and Sophie.

Read this engaging story told from 2 unique perspectives and learn how early experiences can shape the life and career of anyone.

Reading - Girl Code by by Andrea Gonzales  and Sophie Houser - 15 in a series

Play the game

Reading - Girl Code by by Andrea Gonzales  and Sophie Houser - 15 in a series

Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.

From Amazon.com…

Perfect for aspiring coders everywhere, Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous. The book also includes bonus content to help you start coding!

Fans of funny and inspiring books like Maya Van Wagenen’s Popular and Caroline Paul’s Gutsy Girl will love hearing about Andrea “Andy” Gonzales and Sophie Houser’s journey from average teens to powerhouses.

Through the success of their video game, Andy and Sophie got unprecedented access to some of the biggest start-ups and tech companies, and now they’re sharing what they’ve seen. Their video game and their commitment to inspiring young women have been covered by the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, CNN, Teen Vogue, Jezebel, the Today show, and many more.

Get ready for an inside look at the tech industry, the true power of coding, and some of the amazing women who are shaping the world. Andy and Sophie reveal not only what they’ve learned about opportunities in science and technology but also the true value of discovering your own voice and creativity.

A Junior Library Guild selection

A Children’s Book Council Best STEM Trade Book for Students K-12

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Business, Make, Science, Technology Tags:

Do It 2017 #13: Making Excuses

September 21st, 2017 2 comments

Do It 2017 #13: Making Excuses

Glenn Carstens-Peters

Do It 2017 #13: Making Excuses

“Stop Making Excuses,” is a phrase we often hear from our parents, our teachers, and even our employers. Making excuses is akin to be called lazy — a slacker — a loser. Making excuses isn’t the problem though. Failing to think deeply about why we are making the excuse is what is really required,

Yes, we all make excuses for a wide variety of reasons, myself included, but the worst part is that there is often a valid reason for the excuse. We might be missing an important skill. We might be missing the basic desire to do something. We might be fearful that we cannot do the task at hand. Typically, it isn’t the excuse that is the true reason we aren’t doing something, but rather something deeper. Something hidden. Something scarier. Something that keeps  you awake at night.

As bad as it might seem to others, we often dislike ourselves for making excuses, too. We know we aren’t doing the right thing, but it can be difficult to do the right thing, so we make the excuse so we can move on.

If you have recently offered an excuse for something, take some time to deeply think about why you made the excuse. Is there some smaller part of the issue that you can tease out and solve that might allow you to avoid the excuse in the future? Can you break the situation down into manageable chunks that you can address one at a time? If you are like me, you might surprise yourself with how many excuses you can avoid by taking them piece by piece and issue by issue.

First, do you have a good reason for learning new skills? Do you enjoy doing that kind of work? Sometimes it is the case that you simply aren’t interested in pursuing a particular area of work. If you aren’t, there is little that can persuade you to learn that new skill, much less become accomplished. Even if it might bring you better jobs or a higher income, you have to honest about where your interests lie.

If you decide you do want to learn new skills, how can you learn them? Can you go to school or training center? Maybe. Your next hurdle might be that you can’t afford to pay for school. Ok, that is indeed a reality for a lot of people. If you can’t pay for school, can you learn the skills you need online? Can you teach yourself from books? Can you ask someone knowledgeable to show you for free? Can you take out a loan – will it be worth that financial burden to obtain this skill?

The important part of breaking down any excuse is not to let one particular problem stop you. If you hit a roadblock, think about ways of circumventing that particular, smaller, issue. Attack each of the small issues in turn and see how far you can get. I think you will be surprised at how far you can progress through any excuse if you want to.

Of course, that is the real issue with any excuse. Do you really want to progress beyond the excuse, or is it simply easier, quicker, less stressful to use a blanket excuse and move on? I think for most of us — and most of our excuses, — we would feel better about ourselves if we made fewer excuses. It would have so many benefits in our lives, but it requires hard thinking to do this, and too many of us give up rather than face the hard work ahead. It is a constant challenge for all of us to see what we want and need from the future and how we can get there and not take the easy path out and make the excuse.

What is one excuse you have fallen back on lately? Can you break it down into smaller parts and slowly chip away at it? Do you even want to? Share your thoughts in the comments.