Friday, June 24, 2011

Microsoft's Bing Maps augmented reality TED talk

Free Superpowers! (Hint: You Already Have Them)

Free Superpowers! (Hint: You Already Have Them): "

If you want the superpower of feeling good all the time, then you can have it.

Here, go on and take it. It’s yours, if you really want it. In fact, you’ve had it all along and you never realized it. You’ve just never decided to take the leap and tap into your own power, my friend. But trust me — it is there, and it will be there for you if you want it.

Of course, it comes with a price: in order to keep the superpower, you must, for 30 minutes a day, sit up straight (or lie down, whichever you prefer; all that matters is that your spine stay straight), and don’t think. If you make that 30-minute session a ritual, I guarantee that your superpower will be working all the time.

Free Superpowers! (Hint: You Already Have Them)

The Power of Meditation

What do you call sitting up straight and not thinking for extended periods of time?


And, truly, my readers, it is far and away the best habit you could ever pick up. Nothing I have done in my entire life has changed my life as radically as meditation has – when I’m in a meditation groove and I’m doing it well (as in, no thinking and being very present) for 30 minutes a day, I feel amazing. I feel like a superhero, without the other cool superpowers; I really wish I could fly, but, unfortunately, meditation doesn’t confer such powers upon me. It only makes me feel virtually unstoppable — I can remember one day when I was really well rested and meditated a lot the night before, and I went around giggling all day, saying to myself, ”I’ve got lightning coming out of my hands!” And, truthfully, I felt incredibly powerful that day, kind of like Darth Vader.

Actually, I felt exactly like Darth Vader, just without the cool voice and the evilness.

There is nothing – and I mean nothing – better than the high that meditation gives me. It’s incredible. Everything that would normally annoy me or cause me to be reactive just slides right on by, as if it never mattered at all. I begin to enjoy the little things in life more, from breathing to the wonders of modern technology, and I feel like saying, Whoa every time something cool happens as part of a pure appreciation of life. I feel much more creative and The Resistance is weakened a lot when I’m in a stretch where I’m really into the meditation habit; I’m a much smoother writer and new ideas come to me effortlessly. I also become a kind of social butterfly, even though I’m extroverted already. Sharing things and being expressive are a lot easier.

Predictably, though, when I go without meditation for a little while (even one day!), things go south. I become extremely reactive, the quality of my work everywhere, from school to writing, drops precipitously, and I get hit with massive writer’s block. I don’t feel like talking to anyone, and a general sense of apathy washes over me, which makes it hard to get myself out of the rut.

I’ve also noticed this bizarre pattern that, whenever I’m keeping the meditation habit up, great things tend to happen to me, and the opposite is true too: when I stop meditating, bad things start to happen, like meditation gives me good luck in addition to making me feel amazing.

One piece of advice for all of you: if you start meditating and you begin to observe positive results, you’re probably going to think that you don’t “need” meditation anymore and you’re going to stop doing it. That’s wrong. Once you stop meditating, you’ll stop getting the benefits, then you’ll have to start the cycle all over again. It’s much easier to maintain the habit than it is to keep starting and stopping and starting over again.

I don’t think I can say enough about meditation, so I’ll cut it short here. Meditation is absolutely fantastic, and you’d be a fool to look down on it as New Age nonsense. I was a skeptic once, too. That is, until I tried it. Then there was no doubt in my mind that meditation was and is a great and incredibly rewarding practice that everyone should pick up. I have no idea why it works; it just does. That’s good enough for me, and it should be good enough for you too.

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Common Sense Advice: Sleep More!

Common Sense Advice: Sleep More!: "

We Americans are a sleep-deprived bunch. We don’t get enough sleep, relying instead on stimulants like caffeine — why do you think coffee is so popular? — to give us an energy boost, and we don’t perform as well as we probably should as a result.

One thing that I’ve found immensely helpful is taking a quick 20- to 30-minute nap in the middle of the day. During hockey season, this was especially crucial, since napping would restore my energy after a long day at school, so I felt fresh and energized when it came time to hit the ice.

As I experimented, I realized that the nap boosted my performance so much that I had to make it a habit. There was really no comparison: with the nap right before practice, I felt at least twice as good in practice, and the benefits of increased energy and alertness carried on for the rest of the day. They didn’t just make me better at hockey; they made me better and more efficient at getting writing and my homework done.

Telling to sleep more seems really obvious, but taking a nap and making a concerted effort to get more sleep has made my performance improve more than just about anything else.

Common Sense Advice: Sleep More

Valuing Sleep

The reason why we are so okay with not getting enough sleep is because we can’t really see the effects while we’re in a sleep-deprived state. Not getting enough sleep on one night, in isolation, won’t do much to hurt our performance, but not getting enough sleep for 3 or 4 consecutive nights will (and your body will let you know). However, most people try to be tough and continue with an overloaded schedule — witness college students, for example — because their body eventually adapts to getting less sleep. Once they’re in that adapted state, they can’t really tell that their performance is being hurt because they’re so tired, so they continue to deny their bodies the sleep that it needs, which further locks them into that adapted state of perpetual sleep deprivation.

In addition, it’s hard to break out of a schedule that demands that you’re awake for 18-20 hours a day; it’s much easier to make commitments than it is to give some up. Most people who don’t get enough sleep actually have very good reasons for doing so: they take on too many commitments and sacrifice sleep in order to meet them all.

The problem is this: we don’t value sleep enough. We don’t get enough sleep because we figure that we can stay up an hour later watching TV and we won’t feel any worse for it. We don’t get enough sleep because we value every possible commitment that we could possibly take up more than we value sleep. We value “doing” over rest and recovery, and that paradigm has to be shifted.

Rest Is Just As Important As Action

The truth is, in order to perform well, you can’t be performing all the time. Endless practice without ample time for rest and recovery is terrible for athletes, so why do we think that we’re any different?

Our bodies operate best in cycles of rest and recovery. That’s why it’s best for us to work in intervals — work for an hour and a half, take a 15- to 30-minute break — and that’s why we live in intervals as well. Ideally, we should be awake for 16 hours, then asleep for 8, and carry on that cycle every day.

Sometimes, the 8 hours of sleep isn’t the best. For, grabbing 7 hours of sleep at night coupled with a 30-minute nap in the middle of the day, works just as well, if not better, than getting 8 hours of continuous sleep at night.

If you want to discover the value of sleep, I’d do a simple sleep experiment to determine how much you’ve been missing out on. It’s very simple:

First, write down how you feel at certain times in the day — 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM, for starters — with your current sleep cycle. Detail how focused/distracted you are, how good you feel, how energetic/aware you feel, and how “fresh” you feel. Please do this without the aid of stimulants, like caffeine, especially if you use them all the time.

Second, make sure to get 8 hours of sleep for 4 straight nights. Do whatever you can to make this happen, even if you have to drop some “important” things. This will make sure that you “recover” from your previous sleep-deprived state (if you have a bad sleep cycle, that is).

Third, on the day after your 4th night of getting 8 hours’ sleep, detail your feelings like you did in the first step for your old sleep cycle. Compare your notes to see just how important sleep is. Most people will see quite the jump in their awareness and performance — proof that sleep is incredibly valuable. Even if you have to cut back on some things in order to make a good night’s sleep a regular occurrence, it’s worth it.

Readers – I’m curious to see what you’ll do with this experiment. If you’re living a life of fatigue and low performance, I think getting something as simple as sleep handled may be the thing that brings you back to life. You shouldn’t be living a life where you’re constantly tired of work; you can and should be able to go to work feeling energized, focused, and alive.

How much do you value feeling on top of the world? If you want that feeling, go to sleep.

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The 7 Signs of Greatness

The 7 Signs of Greatness

1. Skills: Every great person is “great” because they are great at something. However, just because you’re great at something doesn’t mean you’re a great person. The truly great are “great”, first and foremost, because of their skills and talents, though — if you’re trying to be great without being great at something, you’ll fail. Start here. Hone your skills.

2. Integrity: Every truly great individual has integrity. This means they act as they choose, and think freely. They do what they say, and they stick to their convictions. Integrity means that you are willing to stand up for what you believe in, even against strong opposition.

3. Ambition: Being ambitious means that you have high goals and standards to meet – and you take the action necessary to meet them. The only caveat here is, if you want to be great, you have to make sure you meet your goals fairly and don’t let your ambition get the best of you, a la Macbeth. Being ambitious is good; being Machiavellian and power-hungry is not.

4. Persistence: Great people don’t let their failures discourage them. Instead, failure is only an incentive to push harder. There’s the oft-cited example of Edison, who failed over 100 times to produce a working lightbulb and kept going – he eventually changed the world as we know it because he kept going. Don’t let a rough patch of work get you down; keep working and make it to the other side. Speaking of Edison…

5. Do-er-ness: I don’t really know what to call it, but great people are people of action. They didn’t sit around reading newspapers or blogs or whining about the weather. They acted. They honed their skills through constant practice. They were always doing things and didn’t spend a whole lot of time planning (even though planning is good) or worrying or wasting time. Going back to Edison: he thought of more than 100 designs for the lightbulb. In theory, they all should’ve worked. But because he acted and tested all the bulbs, he found out that only one worked. That’s why action and testing things out in the real world is so much better than languishing in theory.

6. Introspectiveness: In every great man’s life, there was a man who, at one point, was better than he was. This better-than-great man made the great man look inferior, whether because of their superior skill, intellect, passion, ambition, planning, whatever. However, the great man eventually improved and surpassed the better-than-great man, and, because of it, the great man is known to history, while the better-than-great man ceased to be better-than-great (more like “good” or “mediocre”) and isn’t known to anyone. Why did this happen? After getting defeated, the great man surveyed why he lost and asked himself what he could do to make himself better. He then proceeded to make himself better, accentuating his strengths and improving his weaknesses. When he met the better-than-great man again, he won. This is because the great man was introspective and was capable of good self-criticism. To become great, you’ll need to know yourself and be able to make yourself improve.

7. A “Why” or Driving Force: Every great person has a reason why they’re doing the things they’re doing. It’s what wakes them up in the morning, it’s what makes them take relentless action, it’s what makes them want to improve, it’s what makes them practice for hours and hours to improve their skills, it’s what makes them want to be great in the first place. Their “why” creates a burning desire within them to make their dream of greatness come true.

Too many people are trying to become great without knowing why. Is it the money that you think you’ll get for being great? Is it the legacy you’ll leave? Is it the boost in self-esteem you’ll get for being able to think of yourself as great?

Figure out your why, then leverage it. Use it to become great – and not just great at your skills. Great at life.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Golgotha: "(GOL-guh-thuh)

1. A place or occasion of great suffering.
2. A burial place.

After Golgotha, the hill near Jerusalem believed to be the site of Jesus's crucifixion. From Latin, from Greek golgotha, from Aramaic gulgulta, from Hebrew gulgolet (skull). The hill was perhaps named from the resemblance of its shape to a skull. Earliest documented use: 1597.

'The attack has turned the once peaceful serenity of a plateau state to a Golgotha.' — Chris Agbiti; How Not to Govern a Volatile State; Vanguard (Apapa, Nigeria); Apr 1, 2011. (© Wordsmith Words)"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thoughts on Leadership

Thoughts on Leadership: "

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates delivered this year’s Commencement Address at the U.S. Naval Academy.  In it he reflected on his 46 years of public service—Air Force, CIA, White House, and Pentagon, serving under eight presidents.  He states, “From this experience I have learned that real leadership is a rare and precious commodity, and requires qualities that many people possess piecemeal to varying degrees, but few exhibit in total.”

Gates’ leadership qualities:

  • Vision—”the ability to get your eyes off your shoelaces… and see beyond the day-to-day tasks and problems.”

  • Deep Conviction—“a strength of purpose and belief in a cause that reaches out to others, touches their hearts, and makes them eager to follow.”

  • Self-confidence—“the quiet self-assurance that allows a leader to give other both real responsibility and real credit for success.”

  • Moral Courage—“the courage to chart a new course; the courage to do what is right and not just what is popular; the courage to stand alone; the courage to act.”

  • Integrity—“for a real leader, personal virtues–self-reliance, self-control, honor, truthfulness, morality—are absolute.”

  • Common Decency—“treating those around you—and, above all, your subordinates—with fairness and respect.”

One of the six outcomes of our transformation plan is the creation of an agency of leaders—fostering a culture of leadership as the way we all do our work.  I am inspired by the Secretary’s words and intend… [ Read all ]


Creating Thought Leadership

Creating Thought Leadership: "

Every company, to some degree, wants to be considered a thought leader in their industry. Vendors want to drive new sales and reassure their install base. Consultants/analysts want to have potential clients knocking on their doors for answers. The final side of the triangle, Buyers, they want their competitors to follow them and attract talent to work for them.

(Note that roles shift from market to market. Nuxeo is a vendor in the Content Management market but a Buyer in the ERP market.)

The importance varies, but it is a goal that any company wanting to be a leader in their industry wants to achieve. It isn’t easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. So the question is, how do you do it?

Taking the software market as my example, given my experience there, I am going to explore the process.

Know Your Market

This first step seems obvious, but people like to rush through it. To be a thought leader, you need to actually know the market. You need experts. You can’t lead in an area you don’t know.

This is more than one person, assuming that you aren’t able to clone people (if so let me know). It has to be multiple people because each expert can only visit one client at a time and if they decide to leave, where does that leave you?

What is really needed is a set of internal process to build, support, and reward experts. If you haven’t solved that issue, then you have work to do before establishing leadership.

Hiring is not an Answer

There can be a strong temptation to hire people to provide the leadership. This is expensive and tricky. A single thought leader can be expensive. They also don’t automatically bestow thought leadership upon a company. They also can’t create domain experts out of nothing either.

Hiring a though leader can be useful if done correctly. If you have expertise and want to take it to the next level, hiring a thought leader can help the company gain exposure and nurture existing experts into being thought leaders of their own.

Of course, when you hire a thought leader in an area where your organization doesn’t possess perceived leadership, there is another challenge. How do you take the leadership of the individual and infuse it with the company.

Company versus Individual

Which Consultant would a Buyer rather hire?

  • Dave Johnson, a Director at ABC Consulting

  • ABC Consulting’s Dave Johnson

All else being equal, they likely rather use the latter because Dave is characteristic of ABC’s expertise and leadership. The Buyer is establishing a relationship with a set of experts and not just one expert. If Dave leaves ABC, they will be okay. If Dave IS the expertise, then his departure could put the buyer into a bind.

Making the Leap

So given all of the above, how do you achieve thought leadership once you have the base expertise? For one, you plan on it taking some time. There are several things you can do to help out:

  • Talk at Industry Events: Start with case studies and evolve. Make sure that multiple people represent the company. You want people looking for your company at the event, not just a single speaker.

  • Get into Social Media: The mediums vary based upon your target area, but multiple participants on multiple platforms will draw attention. Company blogs, individual blogs, twitter, community networks, and the like. Each expert don’t have to be on all of them, but they should be aware of each other’s efforts so they can cross-promote.

  • Success: Be ready to have an ever changing list of success stories. If you can’t do that you may as well hang it up.

Of course, if your company isn’t putting forth quality in these endeavors, it will not work. If you truly have the expertise, this shouldn’t be an issue.

It is difficult and takes a solid set of experts to achieve. Not everyone is cut-out to be engaged publicly, so it takes a critical mass to cross the thought leadership threshold for an organization.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Miracles of Jesus - 37 New Testament Miracles of Jesus

Miracles of Jesus - 37 New Testament Miracles of Jesus

Wonder why people always get the wrong impression? How to See Yourself as Others See You

Wonder why people always get the wrong impression? How to See Yourself as Others See You: "
Mirror, mirror...
Mirror, mirror...
It is common, and commendable, to be curious about how others see you in general, or in specific situations. The more insight you have in this area, the less time you are apt to lie awake at night, wondering. And even when you may have acted differently in a specific situation, upon review, this insight generally provides the best answer for moving forward.

It is quite possible to see yourself exactly as other people see you; however, this takes courage, and the development of some insight. So, if you dare, have a peek in the mirror...

Edit Steps

  1. You even saw what happened...
    You even saw what happened...
    Understand that other people are your mirror. A simple concept, yet one that many people are either unwilling, or unable, to grasp. Summed up, it is simply that other people reflect you. Your emotions, your traits, and your feelings are reflected back at you from other people either through in-kind responses or through predictable reactions to the emotions or feelings that you're issuing. Perhaps even more surprising is the reality that the reflection is perfect, even if the 'reflector' is almost invariably not. For example, you might feel condescension, irritability, or dismissive toward another person, which lowers your estimation of them and causes you to treat them less seriously; yet in doing so, you ignore the fact that they reflect your negative appraisal of them.
    • Intellectually 'challenged' people can provide the highest quality 'reflections' for others' behavior, while being personally oblivious that a 'mirror' exists; this has to do with their lack of inhibition and their inability to dissemble. Such people more innately reflect the signals and body language you are 'sending' them.
    • It is quite easy to go through your entire life, in many Western cultures at least, and never develop the innate skill of spotting yourself being reflected in other people; any development in this area will improve you self-insight and your relations with others.
    • This 'mirror-gazing' skill is more developed of necessity in people of diminished means who need to learn quickly how to read people well in order to survive; however, just because you have never been hungry, left alone, or impoverished, does not mean you have to be clueless about yourself.
    • See that a big part of 'seeing yourself' is recognizing that some little behavior of someone else's, witnessed by you, is in fact exactly what you look like when exhibiting that same behavior, and that your rationalization of it as 'different from yourself' is what is incorrect about your interpretation.

  2. "Oh she really gets on my goat" "And you on mine..."
    'Oh she really gets on my goat' 'And you on mine...'
    Recognize that people say things to you, or about you, for a reason. While it can be easy (in fact it's human nature) to dismiss anything not felt to be relevant, or not seen to be complimentary, and to see it rather as a reflection of the person saying or commenting about things you're not comfortable with (to an extent it's about them but that's not the whole story), for the most part it probably has a grain of truth in it for you. Even if it is painful and your ego tempts you to reject it out of hand, be alert to this probability. It is less important that you identify with what may have been actually said here; rather, what matters is connecting it with the times that you say the same thing to another. It is perilously easy to con yourself into believing that 'those times were different.' They invariably aren't, or weren't.
    • Given enough development in identifying the source of comments about you, you will begin to see when someone is sniping at you simply because they are envious, or jealous and you can then react accordingly, instead of adopting the normal 'knee-jerk' reaction you had most likely planned (and they, quite possibly, hoped to incite, to 'show you up').

  3. I wonder why I said that?
    I wonder why I said that?
    Recognize that this person-to-person mirror is a two-way mirror. Just as people say things to or about you for various, possibly obscure but knowable reasons, recognize when you do the same thing. Examine why you may have said a certain thing; usually, this self-examination will occur after the fact. Don't be afraid to ask someone you trust to help you work through the reasoning; for example, if your best friend heard you, they almost surely already know why you said something and what personal motivations, quirks, and needs lie behind it. Asking your friend with open honesty and a willingness to reflect together can take a friendship to a whole new level. Asking another how our words and demeanor come across to another is not something we stop and do much but it is definitely a worthwhile activity to try.
    • People who are unwilling to reflect on how their words and actions appear to others can end up not caring about how they are viewed and in turn, this shows up as not caring about others either. This can make them seem selfish, aloof, and perhaps even vacant and after an initial enthusiastic encounter with such a character, you may have initially felt they were attractive, or interesting, only to quickly realize that they are blinded to their effect on others and have little to share because they hide within themselves.

  4. Consider that a person whom you detest is invariably your perfect mirror – they are just like you. While this may seem strange or even offensive to you, experience often bears it out. The reason is that we invariably overlook behaviors in ourselves that we can't tolerate in another. By allowing the other person to carry the burden of our own disliked inner quirks or weaknesses, we shield ourselves from having to meet our less likable aspects head on and choose instead to view the unlikable traits as the fault of the other person. Often we see this as insurmountable because we choose to believe that the other person is the one generating the unwanted behavior. However, this blinds us to realizing that we're just locking horns with traits we haven't yet learned to deal with well inside of ourselves.
    • It is generally not even necessary to get as far as the 'observation of behaviors' stage; people who are very much alike often detest each other on sight, because behavior patterns are ingrained, and similar, if not universal - meaning that behavioral twins can sense each other in the merest gesture.
    • Most of us have experienced the trip home, with a friend or relative, from some gathering, with the friend or relative sniping about someone they just met who has essentially exhibited no untoward behaviors; when pressed, the friend or relative is hard-pressed to explain exactly what they mean; in this case, it's most probable that they have just encountered a perfect mirror.
    • As humans, even though we tend to assume that two of our very similar friends, unknown to each other, would really like each other, experience will show you that this is very often not the case.

  5. Stop sparring with the other; start looking within
    Stop sparring with the other; start looking within
    Recognize the opportunities in a relationship challenged by your intense dislike of one another. While you may never learn to like each other, opportunities exist here for personal behavioral modification. Indeed, often the most rewarding of outcomes can result when you push yourself to cope with people whom you find challenge you in this respect because you ultimately learn to manage, if not learn to tolerate, a part of yourself that you didn't even want to face before. Experience dictates that even if you initially do not communicate any of your intentions to modify your own behavior to your mirror, being that they invariably feel the same about you as you do about them, they will eventually (usually, pretty quickly) notice that they aren't able to push your buttons. If you are using this experience for self-improvement, it will be clear that you aren't taking advantage of opportunities to push theirs. This is going to be noticed (and not just by your mirror), and credited to you as maturity; bonus points for having the courage to come clean with your mirror, and tell them about your insight into this matter, leading to future mutual progression. And even more kudos to you if you do this personal development in the public sphere; as it's no easy task, it impresses people to see such maturity and rest assured that anyone within earshot will be enthralled.
  6. Seeing yourself reflected in others is a lifelong opportunity
    Seeing yourself reflected in others is a lifelong opportunity
    Continue seeing yourself as others see you throughout life. This isn't a one-off exercise. It's something that will benefit you and your relationships for all time, and as such, it's essential that you continue to remain alert and willing to see yourself reflected in others around you. Once you have refined seeing yourself, exactly as others see you, by witnessing the reflections in and from others, you will find yourself more forgiving of others, more willing to reach out and pull people through awkward moments and difficult times because you see not only your own struggles but theirs too, all intertwined as one. And all this takes is constant self-examination, self-honesty, and a willingness to step outside yourself regularly.
    • Seek balance rather than control. Controlling behavior is negative behavior and can lead to perfectionism, unreal expectations, and can easily transfer to wanting to control others to make them stop reflecting the part of ourselves we're not liking. Instead, try to balance your negative self with your strengths and positive self. We cannot be whole until we embrace the parts of ourselves we don't always like and we do best when we acknowledge our shortcomings and learn to treat them with humor and openness rather than attempting to stifle them or blame their existence on someone or something else.

Edit Tips

  • The types of behavior that we don't like in others that we're likely to be indulging in just as frequently ourselves includes anger, gossiping, whining and complaining, criticizing, acting like a martyr, etc. Each of these behaviors can easily be one in which we're complicit and acting out ourselves and when we are especially bothered by seeing these behaviors in others, it's likely the mirror is telling us that it's time for us to learn a lesson and put a stop to our own negative behavior.
  • When being about someone makes you feel negative, this is an indicator that you need to look inside, not at the other person. What about that person's behavior is especially bothering you? Pinpoint it and then look for it within. It may be obvious or it may be something you've repressed; the more you've repressed it, the deeper you're going to have to dig to get to the nub of it.
  • You don't need to assume that you are completely smothered by the negative trait that you dislike in another. It may simply be that your radar is alert because you've started allowing yourself to gossip too much lately, or you've been giving in to complaining instead of acting, or you've started to be lazy instead of thoughtful. The trait that bothers you is likely to be one that is recent, something you know you need to deal with, and is magnified simply because it is the trait or behavior that you need to deal with at this point in time. Over time, the various triggers may change, and that's as it should be, because we are always growing and changing through life, including awakening new negative aspects of ourselves that need to be dealt with!

Edit Warnings

  • Much unconscious mirroring is happening all the time; it is more pronounced in our close relationships and we are mirroring others just as they mirror us. Learning to see yourself as others see you is an important way of breaking this unconscious bind and injecting balance into our lives by seeking to give out the best of ourselves and to mirror back the best of others. Learning to balance mirroring takes practice, compassion, and a willingness to keep trying; in that way, not only do you learn from others but you become their positive teacher in turn.
  • When you stop spending time with someone because you ceased to get along with them, if you haven't faced the negative reflections they presented you with, you are most likely to go and find a very similar person to take their place, just so that your negative self continues to be reflected back at you. The only way to stop this pattern is to face up to those negative aspects as belonging to you first and foremost and to stop blaming the other for your reactions.

Edit Related wikiHows

Article Tools


How to Lead to Be a Great Teacher

How to Lead to Be a Great Teacher: "
The difference between a high quality learning environment and a chaotic disaster will be whether you, the teacher, accept the overriding responsibility to blanket every aspect of your classroom with persistent, fair-but-firm leadership, all the time. Expect good initial efforts from yourself first, flowing into your class results, every day (there are no days off).

Don't allow yourself to become part of the herd – lead. If leading does not come to you naturally, then you must learn how to persuade others to follow you. Here's how you can be a great leader, so you become a more effective, great teacher with characteristics of greatly effective leadership in the context of learning and teaching.

Edit Steps

  1. Realize that the awe of a new school year in a new class on day one won't last, for 'you as teacher in name and position only'. The needed cooperation and respect comes on the basis of leadership into successful learning opportunities every day.
    • Students, also, lead in groups or have the floor when you call on them, and help with what is seen as necessary to follow you to receive the promised good results – if you can deliver them.
    • Busy-work will not bring ultimate success. But, the students need new learning activities. Assignments need to be successful for and understandable to the students.
    • Have definite (certain) accountability, but with a focus on renewal including reteaching and retesting for excellence. An athlete does not learn the playbook in one session or get in shape in one instance of brutal conditioning, alligator crawls and wind sprints. No, the brutal wind sprints are day-by-day-by-day; with teaching, it is a form of student centered learning. The coach/teacher/leader facilitates athleticism (namely, successful reps for learning without boredom).

  2. Expect resistance against excellence that is gained by discomfort (temporary embarrassment, fear, confusion or boredom). Discomfort is a critical element of daily renewal, coming out of moments of confusion and embarrassment, but not from boredom.
    • Confusion motivates learning – if the students are allowed to demand clarifying of confusing elements. It is critical to be renewed by clarifying confusion again and again, and to pass on renewed viability to your class.
    • Super-focus (without interruption) and then take a break: 'work from bell to bell with breaks in the stress – being on the edge of your chair leaning toward the future,' may be one way to express this.

  3. Earn attention in your class by success in achievement. However, be sure to share the floor, as needed. Ensure that others have the floor at your behest, and at the same time keep a sense of overarching authority and contagious enthusiasm in order to maintain the students' cooperation. Retaining the initial starry feeling that 'this is my awe inspiring new class/teacher' (or regaining) that first day kind of awe of the new-teacher/subject is tricky, but aiming for this is a precious goal.
  4. Avoid ungraceful meanness and abusive shouting. Such negative approaches to marshaling attention and action is not 'leadership'. Leadership consists of acts or instances of guidance; direction; leading; for example, 'They prospered under his/her leadership toward their shared goals for learning.'[1]
  5. Instruct positive expectations that translate into assisting you to have authority in your class. These positive expectations will help you to do what you expect as you manage the circumstances that are benefiting the whole. Maintain this initial position every day by showing that you are not allowing a vacuum of leadership to lead to a loss of the initial unquestioned position of the teacher as the main leader in the classroom. Insist on your finding ways to:
    • Engage students,
    • Involve students,
    • Promote student-centered learning (and enjoy their learning).

  6. Depend on progressive discipline within your/their classroom. This involves step-by-step calm, firm, and fair discipline, that will impact not only their learning with you but their education as a whole and eventually pass through to their careers. Instill discipline by your plans and by having the students working and learning to become successful without frenzy.
  7. Depend on student centered goals, but question: 'Are we enabling unacceptable behavior in order for us to appease those persons (who are causing disruption) in order for us not be rejected, confronted, challenged, or hated by them?' Avoid fusion with the role of students and confusion of goals for the teacher-leadership role within the class learning unit.
  8. Show confidence which overcomes doubt and fear, anger and anxiety by creating a peace of mind that helps both you and your class. Nourish and nurture good expectations. Criticize or praise the work, never the student. Ask for students to agree and praise their work. That is as simple as asking, 'You see?' and praising them 'You got it! Okay?' Leadership inspires confidence in others and draws out the trust and best efforts of the group to complete the task well. A leader who conveys confidence towards the proposed objective inspires the best effort from class members.
    • Present a positive and also authoritative (not authoritarian) demeanor: Students have the handy ability to be able to tell, if a teacher is not confident. So you must consistently show confidence as a person and in your leadership role. If they suspect your lack of confidence, then they will take advantage of the situation, attempting to get away with everything while largely ignoring you, making poor choices, being disrespectful or even disruptive. They may pretend to give in: 'Oh, I'm sorry. Oh, okay I'll stop.', but 'not' for long.

  9. Create daily successful discipline. This will bring the opportunity to give motivation and much more than just hope. Hope has limitations. Success elicits your faith, love of learning and expectation to experience change by believing in it, expecting it, but not just hoping for it.
    • Backing off and relaxing from your few consistent rules can be based on circumstances where you share power when students work in groups, but then you must regain that consistency – or suffer the loss of your position as 'leader-one' and your control of that classroom to chaos, boredom, or frenzy, if you allow a free-for-all or loss of your position to a student(s) who wants to run the class, or ignore you.

  10. Know what to do as a leader who is out in front of the class or group, followed by the others. If you are not being followed by at least one other person you are not leading and the following proverb applies to you: 'He who thinks he leads but has no followers is on a lonely, individual walk.' Do more than survive in the classroom because you can't be taking a walk all alone; the real leaders in your class may run right over you.

Seven Rules of Leadership

There are seven personal characteristics that are foundational to good leadership. Some characteristics may be more naturally present in the personality of a 'natural leader'. However, each of these characteristics can also be developed and strengthened. Diligently and consistently develop and strengthen these characteristics (whether they come naturally or not) in your leadership role.[2]

  1. Be known to live honestly with integrity. “Walk your talk” and in doing that earn the right to have responsibility for others' success. True authority is born from respect for the good character and trustworthiness of the person who leads them to opportunity for success.
  2. Be enthusiastic about your and the students' work (praise the work not the student) or cause and also about your role as leader. People will respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication. Leaders need to be able to be a source of inspiration, and be a motivator towards the required action or cause.
  3. Roll up your sleeves and get dirty. Although the responsibilities and roles of a leader and follower may be different, the leader needs to be seen to be part of the team working towards the goal. This kind of leader will not be afraid to work.
  4. Be orderly and purposeful in situations of uncertainty by portraying a confident and positive demeanor. People look to the leader during times of uncertainty and unfamiliarity to find reassurance and security.
  5. Tolerate ambiguity (wait and see) and remain calm, proactively composed and steadfast to the main purpose. Storms, emotions, and crises come and go and a good leader takes these as part of the journey and keeps a cool head. In turn, students learn to follow suit.
  6. Focus on the whole to think analytically and break it down into sub parts for closer inspection. So then, the goal is in view – a good leader views the situation as a whole, and also in part:
    • Always be breaking the course down into manageable steps and making progress towards each part and the finish line. The course changes each day. It is not one race, but many sprints.

  7. Raise the bar. A good leader is committed to excellence. Second best does not lead to the best success. The good leader not only maintains high standards, but is proactive to advance the goal forward in order to achieve excellence in all areas.

Texas Teaching Fellows on Leadership[3]

The following section is primarily focused on children from under-privileged backgrounds who can easily give up on their academic pursuits without adequate teacher encouragement and leadership. Not all of these steps will be applicable to your situation but see which elements best fit your own teaching context.

  1. Energize yourself to lead enthusiastically to press goals for student motivation.
    • Focus to bring out student ambitions: by leading to reach goals in student achievement.
    • Face and overcome obstacles by leadership: to improve achievement.

  2. Help students believe that they can achieve. A study showed that teachers who lead many students in low-income (at risk) areas to as much as two to four years’ worth of academic progress in a single year had used unusually ambitious, 'measurable goals.[4] Rally your students around the idea that they begin to believe that they could double their learning this year:
    • Urge them on to demonstrate 'at least two years' of measurable reading growth for improving in all subjects, and to achieve eighty percent (80%) mastery of rigorous, attainable, measurable math and science standards. But a clear focus is not enough to get many of them to where you want your students to academically achieve even more by the end of the year.

  3. Break a cycle of student, self-fulfilling low expectations. This cycle all too often characterizes 'disbelief in learning' because of your students’ lower sense of academic self-worth and perspective on the value of purposeful activity in school. To break through this:
    • Instill encouragement (by successfully achieving early and often) and a need for students and families to be enthused to work harder to achieve bigger goals.
    • Change students’ belief that it is already decided what their intelligence will be: No, it is not really set. Improve. They are young and still can grow and change for the best, in many ways!

  4. Show them how they will “get smart' if they work hard enough. Maintain high expectations at all times, while still inspiring your students from right where they are academically.
  5. Ensure your students 'begin to believe that they can' succeed by trying.
    • Call, email, or text parents throughout the day with updates on their children. Each week send home student work with 'Post-Its' for parents to make comments on; when they’re returned, laminate the comments and put them on the wall to keep students proud and motivated.

  6. Plan to purposely create a vision in students for success. To succeed in the challenging environments where an achievement gap is prevalent, teachers must backwards-plan to begin each idea from individual lessons through the year calendar, with keys:
    • “Where are my student's current achievement levels versus where I will lead them to move and to reach?” and
    • “What is the best possible use of time to move them forward?”.

  7. Infuse your goal-driven purpose to create efficiency in every aspect of instruction and classroom management. Not just organized learning objectives in units, but lead them in logical order so that the skills are built on each other, with the school’s calendar taken into account. For each week’s unit plan look at the objectives for that unit, then write five assessment questions per objective, and only then plan lessons.
  8. Execute plans with judgment and adjustments. Strong classroom leaders are effective executors, making good judgments about when to follow through on their plans and when to adjust them in light of incoming data. They offer their students consistent, caring, demanding leadership, and constantly seek to maximize the time students have to work hard toward their goals.
  9. Offer and accept handshake greetings at the door when students first enter your room to a high five that you receive on the way out.
  10. Be consistent and clear with your few rules, many procedures, and student-centered lessons. Your kids will know what to expect from you and may be excited on a daily basis by what you have in store for them that day.
  11. Continuously increase effectiveness to accelerate student learning. Be a strong leader as your own toughest critic, constantly seeking ways to improve your skills.
    • Use data to reflect and improve on your teaching and to ensure that you maximize your impact. You might even consider occasionally videotaping your morning classes and fast forward viewing the footage that day, slowing it to play to critique your instruction and to tweak lesson plans for the afternoon classes.

  12. Work relentlessly to navigate challenges. In many low-income communities, schools with the least capacity serve children with the greatest need. To make significant academic progress with students, highly effective teachers go above and beyond the traditional role of “teacher” and do whatever it takes to lead their students to academic success. Successful teachers refuse to allow the inevitable challenges that they face to become roadblocks. Instead, they see these as obstacles to be overcome on their path to achieving ambitious goals.
    • Make it your personal mission to do everything humanly possible to help students get on a college bound path (or to know how to make informed choices about taking an alternative but equally successful path).
    • Offer tutoring during lunch hour and after school every day except for the day reserved for faculty conferences.
    • Consider special Saturday school from 9 a.m. until noon.

Promoting Critical Thinking in the Classroom

  1. Become more tolerant of 'conflict,' 'inconsistency' or 'confrontation', in the classroom. By raising issues that create dissonance, you teach children how to deal with disharmony and to value having their ideas stretched in new directions. Refrain from expressing your own bias so that students have the space to debate and resolve problems without being directed by any preconceived notions.
  2. Be aware that encouraging critical thinking can promote (some) kind of a psychological discomfort in (some) students as conflicting accounts of information and ideas are argued and debated. Such discomfort may motivate them to resolve their opposing views on issues.[5] [6]
    • Engage student-critical-thinking, those students must encounter the dissonance of conflicting ideas.[7]
    • Dissonance discussed by Festinger (1957) promotes a psychological discomfort which occurs in the presence of an inconsistency. Inconsistency when found in opposition can motivate students to solve, stir, and resolve issues.

  3. Promote and facilitate logical and emotive ideas by both: (1) 'analysis' involving dis-assembling/digesting concepts into constituant parts (recording data and statistics) and (2) 'synthesis' which involves assembling concepts from information and data that may have been found by analysis. Synthesis is of the higher order of thinking compared to analysis because synthesis is creative: as in writing, designing, forming or inventing a process, system or story. Analysis is similar to detailing the elemental framework of existing concepts as in opening, displaying, explaining parts of ideas.
  4. Help students develop skills for resolving such dissonance. Frager (1984) models conducting critical thinking classes and provides samples of popular issues that promote it, for example: 'banning smoking in public places', the 'bias infused in some sports stories', and 'historical incidents written from American (individualized) and Russian (socialized) in opposing perspectives'.
  5. Allow conflicts and confrontational thinking. If you find this to be useful from an instructional point of view and you're prepared to develop materials for promoting engaged thinking, and if you practice (repeatedly) using exciting, topical critical procedures, then using critical thinking activities in the classroom can produce positive, involved, and enthralling results.

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Edit Tips

  • Realize that much of teaching is leadership: It is the framework of the foundation of teaching.
  • These efforts require contagious enthusiasm to move upward toward grade-level goals, when successfully aligned with established objectives/standards for learning.
  • Leadership is the framework of into which the solid material can be built and includes several principles of effective teaching.

Edit Sources and Citations

  • This article is partially from: -- TTF, Texas Teaching Fellows is a program in direct partnership with certain local school districts in Texas to promote, recruit and help train new teachers.

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How to Change Your Relationship Status on Facebook

How to Change Your Relationship Status on Facebook: "
Together on Facebook (and off)
Together on Facebook (and off)
A momentous event has occurred in your life. You are newly engaged - or single – and you want to tell the world! Read this article to learn how.

Edit Steps

  1. Go to Facebook. Be sure that you are logged in.

    wikiHow's Facebook page

  2. Look at the upper right hand part of the screen. Click on 'Profile'. This  will bring you to your Facebook page.

    Edit Profile

  3. Go to 'Edit Profile'. This will bring you to the page where you can edit all parts of your profile, to include your relationship status.
  4. Click on 'Featured People'. This page is where you can change the status of the people you have friended, such as family, work, etc.

    Featured People
    Featured People

  5. Go to 'Relationship Status' and click the arrow button. Choose your status from what you see in the drop-down menu.

    Engaged? Single?
    Engaged? Single?

  6. If your status involves someone else, Facebook will prompt you for their information. This assumes that they have a Facebook account.

    Adding info
    Adding info

  7. Save your update using 'Save Changes'. This is located at the bottom.
    • Note: If the person claims that they are in a relationship already, Facebook act as your moral compass and not let you make the change!

  8. Wait for the person's response. That will have to be accepted before you are able to link publicly with them. You will get an email link to confirm once Facebook is satisfied the change is warranted.
  9. Consider which privacy setting you want for your relationship status. Facebook also allows you to set the public or private nature of your relationship status. So this as follows:
    • Go to 'Privacy Settings'.
    • Click on 'Customize Settings'.
    • Look for 'Relationships' and click on it.
    • Select your choice of who can see your relationship status from 'everyone', 'Friends of friends', or 'Friends only'. This is in descending order of most public to most private. You can even customize which of your friends see the status by clicking on 'Customize' and selecting 'Specific Friends', then listing them under the 'Make this visible to' option. You also have the option of using the 'Hide this from', and selecting relevant names.

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  • If the person being alerted to your status change doesn't get an email link or can't find it, tell them to go to 'Notifications' where people invited you to things, tag things, etc., and the relationship request should be there.
  • Facebook allows the following relationship choices, many of which are LGBT-friendly (these may vary depending on your access region):
    • Single
    • In a relationship
    • Engaged
    • Married
    • In a domestic partnership
    • In a civil union
    • It's complicated
    • In an open relationship
    • Widowed
    • Separated
    • Divorced.

  • To remove a relationship status completely: Select the first option (this is blank). By doing this, no relationship status will show on your Facebook page.
  • Note that removal of yourself from a relationship is a 'silent' action. It won't be notified, it simply just changes on your page and those who can see your page will be able to see a change without fanfare. The person you've broken off with won't receive a notification of the status change.

Edit Warnings

  • You don't have to show a relationship status. Not everyone likes doing this so publicly. Moreover, you may wish to discuss it with the person you're seeking to connect with in a relationship on Facebook before doing so, to be sure you're both on the same wavelength.
  • If the person you are trying to become engaged to (if that is your choice) is already in a relationship, Facebook won't allow the change.

Edit Things You'll Need

  • Facebook account
  • Relationship

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