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Archive for the ‘Self-Improvement’ Category

Leo Gura – One Rule For Acing Life

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Nikolas Schreck Examines Tantric Buddhism

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How Do We Cultivate Mindfulness As A Society?

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The illusion of progress – Idaho State Journal

Posted: November 5, 2019 at 12:46 am

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I have been thinking about this article for a while now. It feels like one that comes from a place deep within and contains a piece of my soul. As I sit down to write it, I question why it has taken me so long to put pen to paper. Some would say I was procrastinating, but I prefer to think I was letting it percolate until it was ready.

A few months ago, I read an article by Jari Roomer. He titled his article "Are You a Self-Improvement Junkie Or Are You an Action Taker?" In it, he revealed how he was a self-improvement book junkie.

He said the habit started when he read "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." From there he spent the next 18 months consuming as many self-help books as he could. All the while feeling like he was making progress towards changing his life.

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Yet, after 18 months he reflected on his status and realized not much had changed. The realization of little to no movement had a profound effect on him and his approach to the next few months. As I reflected on his thoughts, I realized I have been a victim of the same issue the illusion of progress.

For many, myself included, the key to success lies within the next book, blog article or online course. We think that by consuming knowledge, we are making progress towards our goal. Yet no real movement occurs.

What I have discovered is the self-help genre does have value. When one is stuck in a rut or struggling, the books and courses can provide some thought changing direction. But that is where their usefulness begins to fade.

Changing or opening one's mind is only the beginning of the path. I remember being in college and having a paper due. I spent time in the library researching and taking notes. I spent time thinking about the paper and the direction to take.

I even interviewed a couple of people on the subject. All the while, my mind tricked me into thinking I was making progress writing the paper. Yet, as the due date approached, I soon realized I hadn't made much progress at all. I hadn't even started writing anything!

Some would argue that I had made great progress. Because of the research, thinking, and interviews. While true, I hadn't put any actual words on paper. I wasn't much further along with the writing than when the assignment was given. This is the problem with consuming knowledge without acting.

Because we consume, we believe we are making progress. Yet without action, there can be no progress. Progress is an illusion created by our minds to trick us into happiness.

We want to feel good about ourselves, so the mind creates the illusion to help us feel better without ever taking a step. Consuming knowledge is easy, but taking action is difficult.

Tony Robbins says, "Knowledge is not power, it is potential power." Author/Psychologist Phil McGraw says, "Awareness without action is worthless."

The beauty of the world we live in is the ability to consume knowledge. Yet the ease with which we can consume knowledge makes us lazy and hinders our ability to do something.

The answers we seek lie in action. Success comes from taking the first step, then following it with another and another. It comes from stumbling, falling and getting back up.

Real knowledge and progress comes from overcoming fear and moving outside of one's comfort zone.

Nothing of value was ever discovered on the couch. The real self-improvement discoveries occur from the "trenches" when we push the boundaries of who and what we think we are.

They come when one takes action and pushes past the illusion of progress.

Jeff Hough is a business writer, blogger and speaker in Pocatello.

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The illusion of progress - Idaho State Journal

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Why Self-Improvement Is the Best Investment You Will Ever Make – Thrive Global

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As the classic saying goes, work on yourself first and love yourself before anyone else can love you or appreciate you for the person you are. There must be the desire within you, to know, understand and change yourself, so that you can leave this world confident that you have done your best. One of my favorite quotes has an unknown source but Mahatma Gandhi and Ralph Emerson are famous for saying this: Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your character. Your character becomes your destiny.

If you read my previous articles, you now know why it is important to master your mind. You must control your thoughts, or they will wreak havoc in your life. If you believe you have no control over your life, you are wrong. You have control over what you think, feel and do. Your mind is a magnet, attracting everything you think, effectively creating everything in your reality. In other words, you are what you think, and what you think about you bring about. Every thought, positive or negative, has a vibration that attracts situations or people with the same vibration. It is a universal law that two drops of water will merge, but a drop of water and a drop of oil will repel each other.

You must make your mind strong so that your negative thoughts dont rule you. Practice meditation, yoga, read good books, keep good company, eat good quality food, get enough sleep- all these things will help you.

Problems come in everyones life; its how you handle them that makes you strong. Failure is all about perception. It is a test of your strength, will power, belief and faith. Thomas Edison once said: I have not failed. Ive just found 10,000 ways that dont work. It took him years to find the right formula. When difficult times come, as they do in all our lives, watch how you handle them. Learn to accept that not everything happens the way you want it to, to forgive yourself and others for mistakes, and ask for support from those who care about you.

Consciously think positive thoughts. At the end of every day spend time with yourself and think of five things in your day that you have gratitude for anything, like a beautiful sunset, the sound of laughter. Your brain will, over time, automatically rewire itself to find the positive. Following these tips will pay off in dividends, being the best investment you will ever make.

Why Self-Improvement Is the Best Investment You Will Ever Make - Thrive Global

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November 5th, 2019 at 12:46 am

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You Are Wild, Free and Untamed – Thrive Global

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Angus and I facilitated a corporate training recently and the target audience was millennials. We were a curious pick as we are old enough to be their parents and maybe even their grandparents in some cases.

Fortunately, what we shared with them is timeless.

As we prepared for the training, I noticed age labels cropping up in my awareness. I reflected on how we are all born free of any label and how that experience of freedom is available when we are simply being rather than defined by a concept. That freedom is what we are all seeking freedom from the labels we accumulate over a lifetime.

However, many of us dont recognize the source of suffering is the labels themselves. Sometimes a label is so familiar it is completely invisible to us and we dont even realize we are limiting ourselves with it. And when we areaware of labels, we often dont think to look beyond them and instead spend time and energy trying to improve the labels rather than seeing them as made-up concepts that do not define who we are.

For example, I bought into the label of insecure. Rather than seeing that as an experience that comes and goes. It became a label that I identified with. I defined myself as insecure: I am insecure. And with that definition came a lot of suffering. Rather than seeing the self-imposed label as a problem. I instead gave it more meaning. I decided the label meant I wasnt good enough: I am unworthy. So then I tried to change the label. It tried to turn my label of insecurity into one of self-confidence. But my trying to change the label only made it look more real. It is impossible to change a delusion by trying to improve it. The only way to escape a delusion is to wake up from it and see it as a delusion.

If I am in the nightmare of an anxiety dream finding myself naked in public. It is much easier to simply wake up from the dream than to stay in the dream desperately searching for clothes that are impossible to find or that magically disappear as soon as I put them on.

The way I sought to escape the suffering of my label of insecure and now the additional label of unworthy was to prove my worthiness. My logic was that if I could prove I was worthy then I wouldnt be insecure. So I tried very hard to prove my worthiness by being good, by not upsetting anyone, by being the best at what I did etc You can imagine how exhausting this was. I now had this ideal version of me in my mind that was my holy grail. When I am that then I will be good enough. Of course, through all my attempts at self-improvement, my imperfections became magnified. I became woefully aware of how I wasnt measuring up in a consistent way, AND the ideal version on me kept changing. If I did happen to achieve some aspect of the ideal me, the ideal me would up-level. There was always a better version of me to live up to.

It wasnt until I saw that my experience of feeling insecure and unworthy was not the problem. The instant I was no longer bewitched by these labels and realized I was just having an experience that didnt mean anything I fell into an experience of who I am beyond my labels. At the time I didnt know what was happening to me. I just knew I felt a peace inside of me I had not experienced before. My mind was quiet. I felt a depth of joy that was unconnected with anything outside of me and I didnt need anything.

This is what I had been looking for in all my striving for self-improvement. I had not really been looking for self-confidence and worthiness. I had been looking for an impersonal experience. And that experience of being nobody and no thing felt AMAZING.

I had not known that was what I was looking for, and I certainly didnt know what was getting in the way of it.

The obvious question is how did that happen? How did I have an experience of being beyond my labels? By identifying the how, then the formula for how to get there would be revealed. All I can say is it was grace. For whatever reason when Linda Pransky told me that my feeling insecure was normal and that it was me trying to change my experience that was causing my suffering, I heard what she said on a very deep level. And the labels fell away. I was no longer insecure Rohini trying to be good enough. I was no one engulfed in an experience of love that had me not want to be anyone.

I was unlabeled and free.

And then about a week or so later my mind wasnt as quiet. I wasnt living in this feeling of bliss constantly. But I knew what it felt like to be free, and I knew that it was my own judgments that got in the way of that experience. I was no longer on the improving labels bandwagon.

And it is just today that I saw more clearly that in the experience I had there were no labels. I was experiencing bliss, but I was not the usual me. I was just experiencing. And then the experience of me came back, but in a freer way. I hold the labels more lightly. I see the cracks in my sense of me and know that is just a label among others even if it feels real.

Some have criticized me for employing personal pronouns. Some do not like that I speak about thoughts and feelings as if they are real. And in the greater freedom, my current me experiences I know it does not matter. I am not my labels, and I am also not enlightened. My personal mind can never know the impersonal, but I do know the feeling of unconditional love. I do have a reference point for freedom and kindness. I am not rigorous with my language because it isnt adequate any way so why bother? Know that whatever I say is imperfect and more importantly look within to your own experience of being unlabeled? How does that feel? Who are you when you are untamed by definitions and free?

Whatever I say or do, no matter how unenlightened my humanness is, my intention is to point you in the direction of who you are beyond your labels. Forget about how imperfectly I do it. I am no longer in the self-improvement game and you can leave that game too. Forget about me and how I show up and you and how you show up. You are good enough exactly as you are. Look to where I am pointing. Look within and see who you are. There is no improvement required. Forget about what others say about you. Forget about what your own thoughts say. Lean into the feeling of unconditional love. Feel into who you are. Let the feeling of your okayness and wellbeing draw you in. It is a feeling of love and peace that you can trust. It is familiar because it is who you are. That is all that matters. Drop the struggle and go there.

If you are ready, it wont actually matter how I say it or how anyone else points you. You will fall into your Self. This can be an experience of dropping into an ocean of love and mercy or just a simple the feeling of being okay. It doesnt matter what the intensity of the experience is. Only the ego measures that. They are both the same. Any time you drop out of your personal mind no matter how brief or how profound, recognize it for what it is you are coming home to your Self.

Let go of any preconceived notions of what this looks and feels like. Just remember who you are, who you have always been, and who you will always be wild, free and untamed.

Rohini Rossis passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, a regular blogger for Thrive Global, and author of the short-readMarriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1)available on Amazon. You can get her free eBookRelationshipshere.Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. She is also the founder ofThe Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks.You can follow Rohini onFacebook,Twitter, andInstagram, and watch herVlogswith her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website,

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You Are Wild, Free and Untamed - Thrive Global

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November 5th, 2019 at 12:46 am

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Glossier, #NoMakeup, and the authenticity myth – Document Journal

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From Maybe Shes Born With It to You Look Good: how beauty brands sell us on the compulsive labor of self-optimization

The Glossier girl is carefree, charming, and preternaturally beautiful. We watch her swipe sheer gloss onto smiling lips, or dab a dot of concealer under bright eyes; she uses her hands to apply the color, finger-painting on already-flushed cheeks. Rather than showcasing the products effectiveness, the Glossier girls conspicuous lack of before and after underscores the importance of experience versus result. Her coy smile suggests that with the right combination of product and lifestyle, we too could attain this state of perfect imperfection.

Digital and millennial pink, Glossier entered the beauty scene in 2014 when the industry was in the midst of a body-positive rebrand. Drugstore titans like Pantene, Covergirl, and Dove had successfully leveraged womens empowerment as a mainstream marketing strategy, tackling female-centered social issues in viral campaigns such as #ShineStrong, #GirlsCan, and Real Beauty Sketches. The widespread success of those campaigns ushered in a new era of advertising, with brands now required to become fluent in the language of contemporary feminism while continuing to profit off mainstream beauty ideals.

Glossier was perfectly poised to fill the new demand for beauty products that integrate the feminist ideal of self-acceptance with the capitalist imperative of self-improvement. The launch of Glossiers original product line also coincided with the popular rise of multi-step skincare, a beauty regimen which similarly blurs the experiential boundary between ritual and result. As makeup, [Glossier] promises to mimic the effects of impeccable skincare, wrote Haley Mlotek for The Fader in 2016. As skincare, it promises to replace the need for makeup entirely.

This demographic restriction of no-makeup makeup is, of course, part of the appeal: much as Brandy Melville profits off the exclusivity of their limited sizing, Glossier provides a self-improvement ritual for women who already fit within a hairs breadth of dominant beauty ideals.

Glossiers cultlike following is due in part to Emily Weiss, the companys founder, CEO, and resident New York It-Girl, previously known for spearheading Into The Gloss, a popular blog about womens beauty routines. With only two brick-and-mortar retail stores, the brand has leveraged their social following and philosophy of hands-on community engagement to cultivate both an avid fan-base and a high degree of visibility. Glossiers signature pink poucha free gift easily repurposed as a chic makeup bag, travel case, or even a handbaghas become an omnipresent accessory among millennial women, much as the free canvas totes that come with a New Yorker subscription became an iconic status symbol on the streets of Manhattan.

The Glossier Flagship, which is located within spitting distance of my workplace, routinely draws crowds of millennial devotees waiting in line while brand representatives dole out boxed water or free umbrellas (Isnt their entire business model making you pay crazy amounts of money for repackaged vaseline and oxygen? asked my colleague when I brought this up on Slack.) Indeed, Glossier has been criticized for the practical limitations of their sheer, barely-there makeup products (Glossier Announces New Line of Makeup For Women Not Already Beautiful, reads the title of Mara Wilsons 2017 article for Reductress, where she describes the brands popularity among models, future models and Instagram models, introducing a new parody product line, Prettier, that will contain actual tints.) This demographic restriction of no-makeup makeup is, of course, part of the appeal: much as Brandy Melville profits off the exclusivity of their limited sizing, Glossier provides a self-improvement ritual for women who already fit within a hairs breadth of dominant beauty ideals. The Prettier satire is made all the more ironic by the 2019 launch of Glossier Play, a new sub-brand of dialed up beauty extras that encompasses everything the original brand shied away from (though it includes sparkles, glitter, and primary colors, it still stops short of doing any cosmetic heavy lifting when it comes to concealing problem areas.)

In her 2019 essay on the compulsive labor of self-optimization, Jia Tolentino describes the ideal woman: Everything about [this woman] has been preemptively controlled to the point that she can afford the impression of spontaneity and, more important, the sensation of ithaving worked to rid her life of artificial obstacles, she often feels legitimately carefree. Rather than compulsively applying makeup before she heads out the door, this woman has paid a premium to identify as low-maintenance. This affords her an experience of freedom from the oppressive force of beauty standards, while maintaining a level of physical appeal that has proven benefits.

Much as the rise and fall of hemlines is informed by norms surrounding womens modesty, the history of beauty has been marked by its fluctuating relationship with the natural.

There is a wealth of options available to the customer looking to maintain the illusion of beauty low-maintenance: from microblading and eyelash extensions to injectables, plastic surgery, and veneers. By offering rotating discounts for services such as teeth whitening, facials, and long-lasting gel manicures, the advent of the mobile couponing app Groupon has broadened the pool of people with access to luxury cosmetic treatments previously reserved for the wealthy.

With todays abundance of online beauty resources, makeup tutorials, and access to Facetune, everyday opportunities for self enhancement now extend beyond upper class demographics. Yet as the pursuit of beauty is becoming more egalitarian on an individual basis, the authority of the natural and the policing of fakery remain a dominant principle in maintaining the social order. Much as the rise and fall of hemlines is informed by norms surrounding womens modesty, the history of beauty has been marked by its fluctuating relationship with the natural (one might consider the trajectory of womens eyebrows from the needle-thin pluck of the 1920s to the fashionably bushy eyebrows of today.)

Beauty isnt the only economic signifier subject to revision. In the 1900s, the advent and popular adoption of plastics like celluloid and synthetic resin challenged the implicit value of material by creating identical replicas of luxury items such as ivory and amber. Suddenly, plastic imitations of powerful class signifiers could be cheaply reproduced, and stigmatizing imitation materials as fake was one way to ensure that the value of luxury materials was not entirely eclipsed by their synthetic counterparts. More than a substance, plastic is the very idea of its infinite transformation, writes philosopher and cultural critic Roland Barthes. It is this, in fact, which makes it a miraculous substance: a miracle is always a sudden transformation of nature. Today, the recent increase in beauty mobilityand the popularization of transformative editing tools like Photoshop, Facetune, and Instagram filtershas spurred increased scrutiny towards artificial forms of beauty, much as the fashions of the elite change when the aesthetic becomes more widely available.

The appeal of natural beauty is nothing newsearch #nomakeup and you will find some 18.2 million posts on Instagram, ranging from close ups of skin texture to smiling models to acne scars to eyelash extensionsbut Glossier has undeniably played a role in turning the aesthetic of natural makeup into an aspirational image of effortless glamour. And yet, while Glossiers championing of real beauty seems like a harmless extension of the self-acceptance narrative, focusing on the concept of authenticity precludes makeups more substantive power to enable self-actualization and personal expression. Its this same assertion of natural value that serves to ensure beautys exclusive status, ignoring those whose natural beauty hasnt seen layers of expensive treatments or who dont meet impossible beauty standards with a morning routine consisting of a splash of water and a well-placed dab of rose-flavored vaseline.

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November 5th, 2019 at 12:46 am

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I’ve Spent 4,000 on Online Courses and I Still Feel Like a Fraud – VICE

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This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

I type my bank details in and wait for the confirmation email. As the initial wave of excitement hits, I start thinking about how different my life is going to be thanks to this purchase. Ive just bought another online course and have spent almost 4,000 on this type of learning in the last three years.

So why do I still feel like a fraud?

I've taken courses in everything from creative writing to salary negotiation. The most expensive purchase was a $1,000 course that promised to teach me how to make and sell my own courses. That was more than two years ago. I still havent become a course creator. No matter how many books I read, podcasts I listen to, or online courses I take, I dont feel smart enough to monetise my knowledge.

The cheapest course and the one least likely to progress my career was the one that made me realise I had a problem. When I paid 29 for access to OMGyes, a platform devoted to the science of female pleasure, I knew things had gotten out of hand. I can usually get myself off in the time it takes to microwave a bag of rice, so why was I paying to get better at it?

Im not alone in my obsession with becoming a better version of myself. According to one survey, 94 percent of millennials reported making personal improvement commitments and are willing to spend over $300 a month on self-improvement.

Millennials are better educated than previous generations, so why are we so willing to invest in learning when many would argue were already pretty smart? Competition has a lot to do with it. The days of standing out in a crowd due to having a degree are long gone. Instead, youre just as likely to be judged by employers on your productivity (read: side hustle) outside of work than you are for your contribution to the nine to five. (Tellingly, I recently saw a job advert that listed moonlighting as an admirable candidate quality.)

Emma Shearwood, 29, has spent around 2,500 on online learning this year, focusing primarily on business and social media courses.

I always feel like I should be improving something which is like saying Im not enough already, she says. I think society often tells women were not enough and so we spend money to become better than we already are. I see it in a similar way to how I see the beauty industry.

With the social media highlight reel telling us our peers are getting promotions, writing novels and becoming CrossFit champions, its easy to feel under pressure to better yourself. But with so many free resources available, from YouTube videos to library books, it may come as a surprise that people are so willing to spend money on online courses.

Lauren Hutchinson: "The main issue with these online courses is the lack of accountability to finish them." Photo courtesy of Lauren

New Yorker journalist Jia Tolentino writes in her book Trick Mirror: We pay too much for things we think are precious but we also start to believe things are precious if someone makes us pay too much. In programmes designed to teach people to become course creators, theres often pressure to set high prices so that potential students consider the course valuable. And it works! If I see a free course, I assume its not going to be very good. If, however, I see a course for 499, I start to wonder whats inside and begin to fantasise about how it could change my life.

Lauren Hutchinson, 34, has spent 5,000 on online courses over the last few years and is in the early stages of running her own business. The courses included digital marketing, photography, and crystal healing. She believes that course creators have a knack for tapping into our insecurities and offering us costly solutions to fix them.

Often when were on social media its a time when you can feel at your most fragile as youve seen everyone elses highlight reel, she says. It drags you further and further into the youre not as good as these people spiral. Then you see an ad for something which can help you catch up.

The reality is rarely anything like the dream. Investing in online learning hasn't given me confidence, it hasn't drastically increased my income, and it hasn't notably progressed my career. I spend all this time trying to expand my knowledge and yet all this learning is stopping me from creating anything. Often, one course just leads to another, unlocking further insecurities I didnt have before.

Sian Melonie: "One course gave me the confidence to go for a new job role but I still signed up for more. Its a vicious cycle." Photo courtesy of Sian

Sian Melonie, 35, is currently job hunting in London after spending five months travelling around India, Bali and Vietnam. Shes spent around 2,000 on online courses.

For me it's definitely a confidence thing and a pressure to always upskill, she says. I take the courses when Im low in confidence and to feel like I'm continuing to learn. One course gave me the confidence to go for a new job role but I still signed up for more. Its a vicious cycle.

I got in touch with business psychologist and womens leadership coach, Jess Baker, to ask her the big question: why are we like this?

Baker believes that an obsession with online courses can be rooted in imposter syndrome, the often-used term that can see those affected doubting their accomplishments and worrying theyll somehow be exposed as a fraud.

Imposter syndrome is very much driven by fear, she says. It also gives you unrealistic standards which often can never be met because those with imposter syndrome are usually perfectionists.

Baker explains that online courses can be incredibly valuable and helpful, but only if you act on the lessons you learn. She added: We constantly have this unconscious battle between how we are now and how we see ourselves in the future. Buying a course is a sign of wanting to better ourselves but we have to be realistic about how able we are to commit to that. Knowledge doesnt equal action.

Lauren often finds it difficult to complete the courses she signs up for and believes her ADHD, which she was diagnosed with in April this year, may play a factor. She often signs up to the courses impulsively and loses interest before getting to the end.

In 2018, Lauren purchased a 3,000 coaching programme that she was unable to start due to the loss of her dad. She said: Not once has anyone checked in to say hey, we notice youve not done anything with this course. Are you having issues?

The main issue with these online courses is the lack of accountability to finish them. With a degree, youll have assignments and a tutor to nag you. Course creators should make sure that the courses are completed and if theyre not for whatever reason, they should try to understand why.

For those who sign up for online courses and struggle to finish them thanks to motivation issues or a lack of confidence, its worth questioning whether youre seeking an external solution to an internal problem.

Professor Binna Kandola has done extensive research into how imposter syndrome can affect your career. Although online courses can feel productive, those with imposter syndrome may still end up holding themselves back in their jobs and failing to make necessary changes.

He said: I know of someone who has a collection of all the positive feedback hes received over the years and when hes feeling like a bit of a fraud, and that hes not capable of a particular project, he pulls this folder out and reads through it all.

Many of the people I talk to recognise that imposter syndrome is a part of them and that it might never go. You might never get rid of it but you can minimise the impact it has on your life, treating it like a critical friend.

I asked Lauren if she regrets signing up for so many courses. She said: I dont regret signing up for them, I regret not completing all of them. Ive definitely still learned a lot throughout my various courses but if Id have implemented even half of what Id learned, I wouldnt be struggling to pay my bills after starting up a brand new business.


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I've Spent 4,000 on Online Courses and I Still Feel Like a Fraud - VICE

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November 5th, 2019 at 12:46 am

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Supporting staff means spending money on additional training – Automotive News Canada

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EDITORS NOTE: This is the second of six stories celebrating ourlatest group of 25 Best Dealerships To Work For in Canada.

When it comes to career development, many of Automotive News Canadas Best Dealerships to Work For do just talk the talk.

If [staff] have any interest in any development course, Ill pay for it, said Michael Norris, dealer principal of Volvo of Edmonton. Every dealership says ... we support our staff, but then [an employee says] you want to take a self-improvement course and youre told to pay for it yourself.

It comes down to the way that we internally treat each other. Talk is cheap.

Lally Ford in Tilbury, Ont., 60 kilometres east of Windsor, stood out as the only one of the 25 winning dealerships to tell Automotive News Canada that it offered paid sabbaticals.

About two or three employees per year take advantage of the dealerships education and sabbatical opportunities, said Vince Lally, president. Its something we celebrate. We make sure everyone is aware of it, Lally said, adding that the goal is to make sure every employee is performing as best as they can.

That means more education in a lot of cases.


While sabbaticals could help recruit a candidate, I think its more of a factor that the employer cares and he wants me to be more comfortable with my job and what Im doing, Lally said.

Many dealerships also reported going above and beyond the training that is provided or mandated by automakers.

Trent Hargrave, partner at Riverside DodgeChrysler-Jeep-Ram in Prince Albert, Sask., 350 kilometres north of Regina, said the dealership regularly brings in speakers from outside of the industry to get employees to think differently about their jobs and their approaches. The car business is large and powerful, but its so myopic that you need to go outside of the industry to get the proper perspective.


For employees, hearing from someone outside the auto industry can provide a new perspective.

Sometimes well plant seeds and theyll fall on real fertile soil and those employees respond, he said. But some have a modest response, but maybe down the road it clicks because another thing from another source comes in.

Managers at Audi Brampton, 40 kilometres west of downtown Toronto, identify career opportunities upon recruitment, said Roberto Fazio, vice-president of finance and administration at the dealership.

After hire, we engage in regular evaluations to ensure that the emplo ee is on track both within the department and the dealership group overall, said Fazio. We recently implemented a high-performance leadership training program to accelerate staff development, which is modelled on similar training from the NADA [National Automobile Dealers Association]. Participation in this training is highly coveted by our staff.

Development is a priority at Riverside Dodge, said Hargrave.

If youre a young person and you want to gain some skills that will serve you well later in life like accountability, show ing up on time, working hard, we ca work with you on those, he said.

Sometimes were a career and sometimes were a job. Both are goo in our view.

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Supporting staff means spending money on additional training - Automotive News Canada

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November 5th, 2019 at 12:45 am

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To halt the crisis in the humanities, higher ed should rethink its classification of knowledge (opinion) – Inside Higher Ed

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Its time to bring the crisis of the humanities to a close. Efforts to track student numbers in the humanities, especially in America, now read like a long-running soap opera with high (and even modest) hopes dashed by more bad news.

As far back as 2013, one observer in The Atlantic claimed the crisis was largely over. What had been a steep drop in numbers was now only a gentle slope. She was wrong. By 2015, The Washington Post reported that the number of English majors at the University of Maryland, a public flagship, drop[ped] 39percent over five years. Maryland wasnt alone, and other numbers have been telling the same story -- including declines not only in undergraduate majors but also in applications for doctoral study.

The primary responses have been to blame or to tinker. The people who play the blame game have turned on others, dwelling on what presidents, deans, career-minded students and neoliberalism have been doing to us. The tinkerers have tried modest forms of self-improvement. In the United States, they include research departments in literary study that are adding creative writing tracks to their majors to bolster numbers.

In all of those efforts, however, one simple survival question hasnt been asked: If the humanities is in crisis, then what are we doing in the humanities? Thats a question that leads to other, fundamental queries. What is this thing we are in? How did we get in there in the first place? Whats at stake in staying? Could we leave?

To close the crisis of humanities, we need to put the humanities into a history that can give it closure. That means first identifying its origins. How old is the label humanities? Why was it applied, and to what? What does it share with its sister terms, sciences and social sciences? The answers to these queries are surprising enough to pose one other: What might happen if we peeled it off?

First surprise: far from being the venerated, age-old enterprise often depicted by many people who defend the humanities, the term acquired its primary modern meaning less than 200 years ago. The branch of learning, reads the Oxford English Dictionary with a first citation of 1855, concerned with human culture; the academic subjects collectively comprising this branch of learning, as history, literature, ancient and modern languages, law, philosophy, art and music. That formulation was a genuinely new mix of two dynamic concepts: humanities and culture.

Only a few decades earlier, humanities had meant something very different. Through the 18th century, it was used to distinguish classical from modern languages and secular as opposed to divine learning. Culture was even more in flux; in its modern senses of a particular way of life and of the best that has been thought and written, it was a new term, first emerging into the language in the early 19th century.

Second surprise: when the modern disciplines first emerged from the European Enlightenment -- the 1797 Encyclopedia Britannica called them the newly detached parts of knowledge -- they werent parts of a pre-existing entity called the humanities. In fact, all three of todays standard categories -- the sciences and social sciences, as well as the humanities-- were not primary but rather secondary classifications of knowledge imposed on the disciplines between 1830 and 1860.

A Zoning Strategy

Our modern word for this type of arrangement is zoning. As in our cities, zoning strives to minimize encroachment while maximizing growth. The result is what the New York City Zoning Board calls a pleasant environment in which everyone has a neighborhood as well as a home. When homes are threatened, owners come together to defend their neighborhoods. They answer the call.

The call that formed the humanities was culture. In Matthew Arnolds 1869 formulation in Culture and Anarchy, culture became a catalyst of social cohesion, reordering knowledge as it aspired to reorder society. In harmony with cultures project of social improvement and aesthetic uplift, a subset of disciplines bonded that subject to a set of methods and took on the label humanities, per our earlier OED citation.

By the first half of the 20th century, that community -- and its sister groupings, science and social science -- began to take up institutional residence as organizational divisions within universities, with the labels themselves etched into campus buildings. World War II proved to be a watershed, thanks especially to the rise of general education as embodied by the Harvard University Redbook report of 1945, a curricular manifesto written to manage the flood of college-bound vets supported by the GI Bill.

That strategy was deliberately devised to counterbalance the relentless growth of science and technology during the war with required curricula in other disciplines now grouped conveniently in the humanities and social science. Those requirements were supposed to broaden and democratize access to a common, American cultural heritage and disperse citizens into a wider array of careers.

The Big Bang of modern higher education ensued with more universities of more kinds providing greater access to a wider range of students. The rapid period of inflation from the 1950s into the '60s filled every available neighborhood of the university -- humanities included -- enabling an exuberant expansion in faculty members, graduate students and scholarship. It was the bubble in which so many of the people currently debating the fate of the humanities first entered that community. During that expansion, the strategy of zoning -- disciplines collected into gated communities -- was extraordinarily successful. As the populations grew, so did their outputs. By 1965, this sense of mission and progress was institutionalized and monetized by new endowments that sought to warm the public to their agenda: the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

But things have now cooled off -- majors have shrunk, doctoral applications have dipped, the endowments have been on the chopping block -- and passionate defenses have failed to heat them back up again. The more victim-centered those defenses are, the more they veer into a bait and switch: humanities in distress becomes shorthand for culture, and saving the humanities becomes saving great art.

But thats not, of course, what the research disciplines that populate the humanities produce. Disciplines in research universities produce knowledge, and the crisis of the humanities is not about conserving culture but changing knowledge.

Weve sketched this history to pinpoint what should and can be changed: the zoning of the disciplines. The crisis of the humanities is the crisis of the strategy of zoning itself. It is an early-warning signal that the entire system of second-order classifications has outlived its usefulness.

Zoning did fulfill its historical purpose: creating an environment in which the disciplines could grow while hived off into separate groupings. But now that they have grown, that success needs to be succeeded by a new strategy. The currently ubiquitous desire for interdisciplinarity, and its weak results, sends the same message as the crisis about life in the gated communities -- its not so pleasant anymore.

And we shouldnt be surprised. Humanities, social science and science are artifacts of zoning; they are not and never were permanent portals to the future. Its time to revamp an organizational project that is neither as old (these are modern, not ancient, categories) nor as new (it reflects 19th-century priorities) as most people think.

Reaching Its Shelf Life

Lets start by agreeing on a historical fact: knowledge projects begin, and they can get stuck. The intellectual sciences stand like statues, Francis Bacon wrote of the Aristotelian schemes of Scholasticism in 1620. Bacon called for what we need now: a comprehensive reorganization of knowledge. Our renewal could begin like his by clearing out intellectual clutter. He pushed aside systems and methods that had stalled, blocking access to things as they are. His purpose was to make room for doing new things with those things -- progress made possible by what he called the good fortune of new resources: printing, gunpowder and the nautical compass.

As we enter our own moment of new resources -- including the digital technologies of the information revolution -- our 19th-century zoned communities are now our clutter. Features of zoning that had once nurtured productivity -- from physical and institutional barriers to conventional pairings of subjects and methods, such as culture with close reading -- are in the way. We no longer need -- indeed, we cannot afford -- that extra layer of difference.

By opening the gates and remixing subjects and methods, we can take a decisive first step toward renewal. We can re-expose the disciplines to each other. Without the blunt, binaristic borders between zones -- humanities versus sciences, humanities versus social sciences -- the disciplines could connect across the much more complex and multifarious surfaces and interfaces they have with each other. Scholars could interact with their counterparts in all fields without the burdensome assumption that they represent more -- an entire community more -- than their specific area of expertise.

Literary historians, for example, could do literary history without also having to be the experts in the human in the room -- an act of humility that our fellow humans across the disciplines might appreciate. They could be professors of English first and foremost and not of humanities -- as they were when English departments first formed in 1813, when the first professor in English language and literature was appointed in 1828, and when the number of English majors peaked in the late 1960s.

The recent huddling under the label "humanities" -- the defensive reaction of so many of our colleagues to the current crisis -- is the great irony of that crisis. If the history we are telling here is correct, our colleagues are turning to that label at the very moment its reaching its shelf life. To use it past its expiration date is not only to put a target on our backs; it also obscures our specific forms of expertise. The consequences are most immediately dire for those in the humanities, but the longer-term liability is the entire tripartite system. Institutions that keep the old knowledge zones in place will undermine their own efforts to reshape the university to meet the newly complex problems of modernity. Its time for faculty and administrators to let go.

A Decisive Step Toward Renewal

The alternative we all face across the zones is to face the future rather than trying to hold on to the past. However difficult the transition, this is the time to emerge from zoning into a new set of relations among the disciplines. We call this future compatibility. We use this term -- rather than "interdisciplinarity" -- to articulate how dezoning might work out in practice.

Interdisciplinary desire simply hasnt paid off because its energy dissipates as its channeled through the zones, often into neighborhood headquarters such as humanities centers. Unfortunately, those efforts too often work like an invitation to a conference at such a center. We can accept or not, spend more or less time and energy there, and then return home -- our, primary, first-order disciplinary homes. Such party-over experiences have left many of us searching for an alternative.

Compatibility will be different from current interdisciplinary efforts in two ways. First, its ventures across disciplines will not be limited to our familiar neighborhoods. Most interzone efforts are actually intrazone efforts. Second, we see compatibility as an ongoing obligation rather than a night out. It is a new attitude toward knowledge that becomes desirable and possible once we forgo the comfort and complacency of the zones. We take it to be a sustained effort in all disciplines to be adequate to each other rather than loyal to their neighborhoods. By adequate, we mean creating knowledge consonant with the best explanations in other disciplines. "Explanation" is the key term here, for better ones are what we need to take advantage of new resources. To be compatible is to proactively engage each others explanations. As the stability offered by zoning erodes -- as signaled by the crisis of the humanities -- compatibility articulates how we might navigate the organization of knowledge as that organization changes.

This is a moment of striking new opportunities to set sail. We took our own first journey -- between literary history and physics -- not as delegates exchanging perspectives across the humanities/science divide, but as two disciplines trying to solve the same problem: how to insert the new resource of information -- the digital, (big) data, computation and knowledge itself -- into our different fields. Doing that is no easy task, and doing it without balkanizing the term is even harder, since information is already being invoked in startlingly incompatible ways. Even as we worry about information overload, we are overloading information.

To our surprise, we discovered that this problem of integrating new resources is as fundamentally difficult in physics as it is in literary study. Neither quantum mechanics nor general relativity, the most fundamental theories in physics, David Deutsch, the father of the quantum computer, has observed, provide a meaning for information or even a way of measuring it. Information, he concludes, demands of physics a new mode of explanation. Deutsch calls his effort to open physics to information Constructor Theory, a regrounding of his field in a counterfactual distinction between possible and impossible tasks. To us, this focus on the possible and the counterfactual read like an invitation to be compatible, a reading confirmed by how Deutsch chose to launch the theory.

In addition to the turn to the history quoted above, Deutsch decided to publish a philosophical paper first, not a mathematical one. And at the core of the philosophy of Constructor Theory is a significant literary component: one of the theorys primary strategies is linguistic -- the development of a new precise language for integrating the concepts of information and knowledge into our explanations of the real. Informed by a theory constructed in this way, physics emerges into compatibility as something that looks like it woke up in the wrong neighborhood -- appearing almost entirely as, in Deutschs words, the theory of the effects that knowledge can have on the physical world, via people.

History, philosophy, language, knowledge, people. Instead of citing Deutsch for a zoning violation, we should accept the invitation and be willing to wake up somewhere else. What matters -- after dezoning -- is not whether knowledge is in science or in humanities, but whether our explanations are compatible and what compatible explanations do to the disciplines that make them.

Every crisis contains opportunity, and the crisis of the humanities is a chance to put disciplines to work in a new way. If we open the gates that currently divide them, disciplines energized by a new compatibility could develop shared protocols for newly conceptualized research questions.

Its a first step, not a cure-all, but a step that we can take now. Knowledge grew before it was subdivided into the humanities, social sciences and sciences, and there will be new opportunities for growth across all the disciplines after it.

Read more from the original source:
To halt the crisis in the humanities, higher ed should rethink its classification of knowledge (opinion) - Inside Higher Ed

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November 5th, 2019 at 12:45 am

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