The Summer of Learning

There’s no perfect time for learning. No perfect place, website, school, group of people, weather or learning style. There’s only desire. Desire to become a better version of ourselves every day, without constraints, predisposition or outdated traditions. When we let go old ideas like “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, or “if ain’t broken, don’t fix it”, we liberate ourselves from limits imposed by people no smarter than us. We then jump into a world of possibilities that allow us to exercise the only muscle of the body that doesn’t get tired, but instead becomes stronger every time we feed new information to it.

And it’s right there, inside our brains, where the seed of desire originates. It’s a small idea, a simple thought, a short statement that makes all the difference: I can do it.

Mark Twain said: If you believe you can do it, you’re right. If you believe you can’t, you’re also right.

Simple, yet challenging. Clear, but scary.

So, It’s not a matter of luck, at least not in the form of unexpected good fortune, but a quest, a resilient desire to continue the journey of learning while finding time, resources and the perseverance to confront the obstacles ahead and be ready to experiment, create, try, fail and repeat until the goal is accomplished.

Another toxic idea is this: “everything has already been invented”. This suggests that creativity and invention are not needed anymore, and that we must simply consume everything around us, with no hope to improve. But this mindset produces lack of progress and stagnation, and keeps us from investing in ourselves, which is necessary to keep finding new goals, new ideas, new dreams.

Let us have a Summer of learning, and keep extending such learning journey forever. It will make us better, and it will make the world better!

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March Madness… time to learn something about sports

These days are all about basketball. College players and their respective fans are geared for living the time of the year when the academic interest is not the number one priority for some, because the game of basketball draws in all eyes, with the hope to be the team that cuts the net and closes another cycle, to then enjoy the taste of victory and start the a new chapter now trying to repeat the same success.

But while the college tournaments generate a lot of euphoria and other behaviors, some fans are oblivious about the origin of the sport, and in many cases they don’t know the rules of the games, because in fact they have never practiced the game.

The history of basketball has been published in may sources, including the NBA (National Basketball Association), in its article History of Basketball in Canada, which indicates how the sport was created out of necessity, to provide an indoor activity that could be performed by the physical education class in the cold weather of Massachusetts.

Today basketball is not a game, or a sport, but an industry, and industry that generates business, dreams, careers, money, and sometimes bankruptcy, failure and deceit.

Basketball
Imagine: It all started with a soccer ball and a peach basket…

The amount of adrenaline that is generated at a game can produce emotions never experienced before by the fans, and being part of the game is something that cannot be replaced by watching the game on TV or other devices. That kind of atmosphere is the main attraction that creates chaos on the streets surrounding the arenas, massive consumption of food and soda and other snacks, as well as happy or sad exodus back home.

It’s great to celebrate sports, to be part of the game, to chant, to cheer, to enjoy. But it’s also great to play the sport, to enjoy the rush of the dribble, the pass, the block, the three-pointer, the charge taken, the free throws…

And to enjoy playing the sport, knowing the facts and the rules of the game is necessary. Here are a couple of nuggets, for those of us who are interested:

  • A men’s ball is about 9.55 inches (24.26 cm) in diameter and a women’s ball is about 9.23 inches (23.44 cm) in diameter.
  • In the National Basketball Association (NBA), the court is 94 by 50 feet (28.7 by 15.2 m). Under International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules, the court is slightly smaller, measuring exactly 28 by 15 meters (91.9 by 49.2 ft). 

The facts above were found in Wikipedia, but they can also be found in any other source. Before the electronic information conquered civilization, paper books were read around the world to know these facts.

March Madness is the culmination of a sport journey that has transformed parts of the society. Such transformation is a parallel of other times during the year when people support their teams in other sports. Sports that produce emotions, emotions that people cherish continuously, anxiously, and sometimes inevitably.

It’s another wave of late nights, next-day no-shows, and lots of fun.

Let the fun be great, and let the sport be not only viewed, but practiced, as it was originally intended.

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Nothing to worry about

I have an inside joke with my wife, when she wonders why I have no gray hair… yet. I’m approaching 48 years young :), and still can show a black mane with no hints of snowed threads. She sometimes wonders if I get up in the middle of the night to dye it. Now, that would really be stressful for me!

My answer to her frequent inquiry is usually the same: “I try not to worry too much”.

That is a little of bit of an understatement. I have a lot of things in my mind, and certainly enough to keep me busy and sometimes overwhelmed. However, when I say that I don’t worry too much, it’s a form of saying that I don’t let the problems get the best of me.

But wait… let’s go back to the beginning… is there a correlation between stress and gray hair? Or is it more accurate to say that there is a correlation between age and gray hair? Or even further, a correlation between the combination of age and stress that produces gray hair?

I’m clueless!

And while the challenges keep coming, I’m confident that I have enough character to conquer them, or enough humbleness to decide when not to pursue them, without lamenting anything later.

Let’s remember: 10% of any situation is how it presents itself, and the other 90% is how we react to it.

I have enjoyed writing this blog, even though I’ve been absent for a while, but I hope to keep connecting with people, to make more friends.

And gray hair or not, I’m learning to age gracefully, because every phase in life is worth enjoying!

See you soon!

myblackhair

Hey, no dandruff either!  🙂

To be an expert, act like a student

During our scholar life, earning a title or degree is something that becomes a life goal. To be able to say that one is an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, or some new ones like entrepreneur, or knowledge worker, is the carrot in front of us that drives us to learn as much as we can in order to achieve the status of an expert in any field.

While there’s nothing wrong with becoming an expert, the problem is when we assimilate such title as the end of the learning process, like we don’t need to learn more, like it’s time for those behind to catch up to us and for us to just laid down and enjoy being called such titles. The worst of the worst… being incapable to say “I don’t know” when blubbering about a topic and ending up like a fraud in everybody else’s mind.

learn

 

 

 

When we’re students we’re hungry for knowledge, asking all sorts of questions, trying to master the discipline that will get us the coveted degree of something, with minor in something else. And this is a life event to be proud of, no question there and nothing wrong with that.

However, the real merit of becoming an expert is not the fact of being an expert itself, but the journey that the person had to go through to get there. Such momentum must not stop after graduation, it has to continue to purse the next phase, status, step on the ladder, or any other tag or label that we pursue. Some of the most approachable people do not hold fancy degrees of credentials, but they are learners that enjoy being students at any stage in their life.

Let’s keep on learning, we will always be life students!

 

 

 

24 hours a day

We all have the same time in a day, but that is not difficult to figure out.

The challenge is to figure out what to do with all that time. Some people say this is too much, some say is not enough. Everyone can come up with a list like the one I’m going to propose, and the time we spent on it also counts against those 24 hours.

So, what are you doing with your time?

  1. Sleep. I sleep 6 hours a day, but some differ and sleep less, what  about you?
  2. Walk. Mi body is getting older, father time is not waiting for me to keep delaying this. If I’m not as active as I was in my youth, then walking is a good choice, and it’s becoming easier to use that time for thinking, meditating, finding some alone time, although walking with someone is highly recommended as well.
  3. Learn. The brain is a muscle that never gets tired. While we sleep, it opens the door to dreams and thoughts that sometimes we cannot conceive while awake. Learn something new right away, no matter how crazy it is, challenging your brain will pay down the road, maybe we can delay the visit of Mr. Alzheimer.
  4. Care. The more you care, the more endorphins you will generate in those who are the recipients of your caring, and in return you will be rewarded. Such reward will not come from anyone, it will come from you. We spend a lot time judging ourselves for our bad actions, we need to reward ourselves for our good treats.
  5. Travel. Even out of your own state gives you a different perspective of the world, it rewires our mindsets and helps us re-evaluate our current paradigms.
  6. Work. Although important, for many people their job is the center of their lives. It’s a normal trend due to the conditions of the world that we live in. A job also creates a huge distraction, a paycheck, which constrains our efforts, our potential, our dreams. On the other side, investing time after your job is done, will allow for a future endeavor that will fulfill the dreams that no job can, including more time for sleeping, walking, leaning, caring and traveling.

Put together your own list, including your life priorities, so you can steer your life the way you’ve always wanted.

Let’s learn together!

 

 

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From typewriters to a cloud world

When I was in junior high, back in Acapulco, Mexico, a friend and I were sitting on the sidewalk talking about what the next prank was going to be. I don’t remember the details, but such idea soon changed because suddenly through the corner of my eye I saw an unidentified flying object (UFO) coming out of a moving car. It landed roughly a hundred yards from where we were plotting some childish joke.

As any young curious people would do, we rushed to see what the UFO was, which landed on the same side of the street where we were discussing our very important endeavour. It was a science-fiction book named The Foundation, by Isaac Asimov. The cover of the book was different back in 1983, and it was in English. My friend showed no interest in the book, so I decided to keep it because at the moment I was taking additional English classes to the ones from school, so I though I could eventually read it. Later, Isaac Asimov would write several Foundation books, and now you can have the entire collection, if you enjoy this kind of reading.

As time passed, I kept learning English but still could not comprehend the book. So I took on the goal of translating the book to Spanish, so I could read it. It was a daunting task considering that the book had almost 400 pages, with no images. So I bought a couple of dictionaries and used the typewriter and some paper at home and started typing.

Hold on… if you are 30 years old or younger you might have have not seen a typewriter. Such device was not kept at my parents’ house or mine, so I can’t take a picture of it, but I’ll give you an approximation of it with a cute picture of a vintage, emotionally charged fake typewriter that I got last year (it’s actually a bank).

Vintage Typewriter

Vintage typewriter, no electricity or Wi-Fi required

Also, if you did not use a typewriter, you should know that there was no “Delete” key to correct a mistake. If you made a mistake, that implied to start the page all over again, until a marvelous thing was created: liquid eraser, a white coating that covered the wrongly typed word and allowed to write on top of it (awful when used on non-white paper).

Fast-forwarding to 1988, at my last year of High School, and after five years and countless nights of typing, along with trying to decipher the idiomatic expressions in order to translate them in a way that made sense in Spanish, I was able to complete the task.  A lot of effort went in it, and it allowed me to dive deep into the intricacies of translation. By the time I finished it there was no need to read it, because I became very familiar with the story both while translating the easy parts, as well as when trying to fill the gaps. At the end, the stack of paper that the book formed was higher than the typewriter (letter size).

In our current world, the typewriter can only be found in museums, or the basement or garage of highly sentimental people who like to hold on to these things. But I doubt they keep using it. New devices have taken over, so fast, so radically. Change is a wave so powerful that nobody can stop.

The rapid pace of change produces such an incredible tale of two realities. That from two o three decades ago, and the one from today. Stories like these seem themselves like science-fiction, but they’re not. Here’s today’s tale:

During the past few months I have translated two books from English to Spanish, and I’m on my way to finish the third one. Of course I’m leveraging the experience (gay hair) and the tools I didn’t have back then. I use the website Babelcube to find the books that I want to work on, and after a quick handshaking process I’m typing, proof-reading, editing, and submitting the work, without using a single sheet of paper, or liquid eraser. The best part is that I’ll get paid for, based on royalties. I like to plant seeds for the future…

The books I refer to are:

It’s a whole new world we live in. Distance, language, culture and other barriers are quickly fading, and those who refuse change will eventually end up in a museum, like the old typewriter.

Adios!

P.S. If you want to check the books in Spanish, here are the links:

Hard work always pays

Reading successful stories is always inspiring. It helps our conscious mind to relate to the story and find similar reasons to start something, to get into action, to make a plan.

This story from Entrepreneur is one of those. I enjoyed it, and it inspired me. However, the reason for this to be inspiring is not the money, as we have learned that money does not give happiness. It is about hustle, determination, action and purpose. Those are the treats that help a person become a better human being, and that can give you or me a lot of happiness. I hope you find it inspiring as well…

5 Success Tips From a Multimillionaire Who Used to Work at Kmart

Life is beautiful… enjoy it!

Education for entrepreneurs

“Any person can produce a lot of ideas in a day, there’s no merit on that. Investing time and effort to transform one idea into something meaningful is what makes the difference between average and awesome!”

Learning from other bright minds is a double benefit for those who decide to invest in their own education. It provides an outside approach to problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration that will always result in new knowledge and ideas that fuel the innovative brain with a cornucopia of possibilities. Also, it helps to learn not only from their successes, but also from the failures, which can prevent the wanna-be entrepreneur from making the same mistakes.

A great resource at the perfect time in Cincinnati is the creation of the local chapter of the Founders Institute, The World’s Premier Idea-Stage Accelerator and Startup Launch Program, with the mission to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and help promising entrepreneurs launch companies that create one million new startup jobs.

The brain power found within this organization is truly amazing, and the expectation for the Queen City’s new FI alumni is really interesting and promising.

The deadline for application is August 7 for the current year.

Do you think you have great ideas? Find out if one of them is worth one million dollars!

I signed up for the program and will be sharing my experience as I become a better entrepreneur.

 

 

 

Help your kids become programmers

Just like Math helps us all solve problems, Programming helps us develop out logical brain and also promotes innovation and creativity.

I asked my son (10) to try Scratch and he loved it. It comes with a variety of options that make learning fun and motivational.


He’s working on a programming sequence to animate some of the characters provided by the site. He’ll be busy for the summer.

It’s worth trying, it has no age requirements.