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 Desire to become a better version of ourselves every day, without constraints, predisposition or outdated traditions.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!

Advertisements

It’s not you… it’s me

How we view the world will always predispose us to adopt points of view that are unique, unmatched and easy to confront when our reality is threatened. When our paradigms are challenged, our reaction can be unpredictable. There is nothing more comfortable than our comfort zone, and if that’s in danger, we will jump.

But… in the current state of our civilization, such mindset can be worth only a few moments in memory, and then it could turn into a quick transition to irrelevance. Even though being intolerant can cause annoyance, the person that irradiates this character is doomed to quickly become ostracized and ignored.

Opposite mindsets have historically led to chaos in many forms, and the ultimate impact is at a world wide level. Sometimes the point of view of a single individual dragged others to a situation that could be prevented easily without escalation.

The existing chaos in our world is the result of our own turmoil. There are problems where we want to see problems, and there are no problems where we want to ignore them.

Selective chaos… chaos created by me… by you… and you… and you.

Wait a minute… how many fingers are pointing back at me?

The truth is, if you and I stop defending our paradigms so passionately, and focus on the context of them, we would have a great opportunity to understand each other better, and would be able to confront them without prejudice and with an open mind.

Understanding the motif behind a paradigm allows for a holistic view of the paradigm’s owner. And that helps the counterpart to think before reacting to it.

If we stop seeing only problems, and instead learn to appreciate each other’s paradigms, that will lead to a compassionate way of thinking and to a better interaction among our peers, family members, loved ones, enemies and strangers… because that’s what the world needs… compassion.

Compassion requires knowledge. When we pursue knowledge, the road can be interestingly challenging, but the journey is filled with insights that make it valuable and totally worth it.

Do you care to share your paradigms? I’m open to share mine.

Let’s keep learning!

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!

 

 

51TZg1dT-1L

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:

Spring: flowers, allergies, and more…

flower_yellow_20170412.JPGLet’s focus on the “more…” part.

Before Spring, we complained about the cold Winter, although we have to recognize that this year gave us a very mild one. Now the cold temperatures are gone, and it’s time to get out and face the beautiful nature; no complains, no arguments. This is the time of the year when we get out of our caves and enjoy all the treats that surround us with colors, smells, leaves, flowers, fruits, all kinds of birds and so many animals that wander all over trying to claim their space to survive.

It’s time to breath and fill our lungs with new energy, new motivation, new stamina. Out with the old, and let’s bring the new… the new you… the new me. And, like anything that causes happiness and satisfaction, it has to come from within. It’s not in a pill, or a box from the store, it’s inside, bottled up, waiting to be liberated.

Learning is like living, the motivation is found inside the person, it can’t come from outside.

Let’s live happy, let’s learn more.

-Alejandro