Learning How to Live

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We live in a world of skills. Skills are endorsed, encouraged and praised. What's not to like?

One thing.

Ever notice how learning how to live is a forgotten skill? Learning how to live can be equated to terms like:

From my expereince, I didn't have many people in my life who Deliberately sought to advise me on how to live life effectively. Besides my mom, a teacher here and there, or a book selected by random, it seemed like the real emphasis was on the other types of skills. Like:

  • Managment Training
  • Reading, Writing and Arithmatic
  • Consultative Selling
  • Business
  • Communication

This post is not an indictment of skills development inside of the organization. It is the indictment of leaving life skills in the dust for the sake of an imaginary outcome (retirement, promotion, economic status) that will never satisfy. Running into the same walls again and again, won't make things as good as they should be. And don't be surprised when you see someone making major dollars with the social skills of a baboon. As I'm sure you know, many of our organizational (work, family, school, etc.) problems can be traced to a lack of life skills development. It truly is the 800 pound gorilla in the corner. If you or your organization flipped the priority and began to make "life" number 1, I think we'd see the needle move.

Let's face a fact that we all know deep down inside; if leaning how to live is essential to our well-being, then we best place it at that level. Anything short of this will lead to a major helping of regret-lifetime. 

Faith in Business

What level of faith (belief in something that is real, but unseen) do you have in your business? How about your people? Do you act on this faith even if the brilliance is not seen by many?

The answer to the three questions I posed will tell you a lot about the soul of your business and its true health.

This is the "hard" in hard work.

A Favorite Song

Just felt this was important to post for me today. Hope you feel the same.

Time Stand Still

I turn my back to the wind
To catch my breath
Before I start off again.
Driven on without a moment to spend
To pass an evening with a drink and a friend

I let my skin get too thin
I'd like to pause
No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim
Who learns to transcend
Learns to live as if each step was the end

(Time stand still)
I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away

I turn my face to the sun
Close my eyes
Let my defences down
All those wounds that I can't get unwound

I let my past go too fast
No time to pause
If I could slow it all down
Like some captain, whose ship runs aground
I can wait until the tide comes around

(Time stand still)
I'm not looking back
But I want to look around me now
(Time stand still)
See more of the people and the places that surround me now
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each impression a little bit stronger
Freeze this motion a little bit longer
The innocence slips away
The innocence slips away…

Summer's going fast, nights growing colder
Children growing up, old friends growing older
Freeze this moment a little bit longer
Make each sensation a little bit stronger
Experience slips away
Experience slips away…
The innocence slips away

Lyrics by Neil Peart

Why You Should Consider Education ROI

The following is a guest post from Phillip Reed. Phillip is associated with Westwood College in the Colorado area.

There are many ways one can look at higher education:  you can look at it as a way of spending several years immersing yourself in the history, culture and philosophy of the world around you; you can look at it as an effective way of broadening your employment prospects; or you can look at is as a financial investment.  It’s this last perspective that we will discuss here, as return on investment (ROI) is a significant issue in higher education today.

Thinking of higher education as a financial investment is important, because, like it or not, it’s expensive.  Any expense of that magnitude should ideally have some lasting benefit in your life, and in this case that benefit is a substantially increased level of knowledge.  While it would be difficult to argue a direct ROI from higher education, it’s clear enough that it can be achieved in an indirect way.  That is to say, you pay a certain amount for the knowledge, that knowledge translates to a higher level of employment, and that employment brings you a larger sum than the amount you invested.  Simple, no?

Again, though, that’s an ideal situation, and it’s not something that everybody can count on, or should count on.  For those who are looking at education as an investment and not strictly as an opportunity for personal growth and enlightenment, some up-front planning and research is crucial.

Higher education, after all, can be expensive.  And, as we know, high salaries are by no means guaranteed.  It’s important, then, to weigh two things:

1)  The Cost of the Education

2)  The Potential Salary in a Given Field

So far, that’s straight forward enough.  And, fortunately, you have a bit of wiggle room in both areas. 

For starters, the cost of education can vary depending upon whether or not you qualify for grants, your place of residence, the nature of the institution (community college or online college are often significantly less expensive, for example), the speed with which you complete your degree, and other factors that are relatively within your control.

In terms of your potential salary, there’s a lot less control you can exercise.  You can, however, understand that salary can increase over time, and by working hard and investing yourself more deeply in your work you can potentially expect your annual income to grow.  If it doesn’t, you may be able to leverage yourself a better deal with a competitor or, depending upon your given field, by going into business for yourself. 

This kind of versatility is not consistent across disciplines, so research yours in particular before you count on being able to write your own ticket.  For instance, a computer programmer may well go into business for himself if he is not satisfied in his job in a particular company, but a medical assistant may not have that luxury.  A computer programmer may also find himself in demand enough that he may be able to negotiate a better salary or benefits in return for staying with his current employer, while a clerk or receptionist may not enjoy the same element of irreplaceability, and can therefore expect a level of compensation determined by his or her employer.

When you stack up a rough cost against a rough expectation of payout, you’ll want to see the latter much greater than the former.  If the former outweighs the latter, then you have a problem with your investment.

For instance, take a look at this article from Financial Highway.  They highlight several majors that may not have an acceptable ROI in today’s economic climate, including Social Work, Liberal Arts, and Horticulture.  (Sorry, horticulturalists…we didn’t create the list!)  Of course they don’t delve into exactly how much a representative degree in these fields would cost…they couldn’t do that, as the possibilities are too vast to consider in a general article like this one.  That’s the student’s job. 

After all, ROI is relative.  It may be true that the money you spend on a Criminal Justice degree at one college might not see its cost easily recouped, but a similar degree obtained at a less expensive school might just tip the scales a bit, and make the job that much more profitable.

For a sunnier counterbalance to the above list, check out this article as well.  It’s a list of degrees with high ROI, and this time they do try to break it down by dollar and percentage.  As always, you will need to do your own research (after all, they sure didn’t contact your college of choice and future employer to get this information!) but this might provide some food for thought when considering what to take into account when making your decision. 

Weighing your options beforehand can help you to avoid regret and disappointment down the line.  As unromantic as it might sound to say, a focus on potential ROI should be a deciding factor for those considering higher education for the sake of employment.  For those who see college as a chance to grow as human beings, it’s less important…but anyone who wants to secure their future financially would do well to do their research up front, rather than struggle to make up for a lack of research later.