(#368) Fake, Illegitimate Or Incomplete Information?

June 11, 2017

Just because you find a lot of information does not mean
you have found accurate or credible information

If, as famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright claimed, “An expert is a man who stops thinking because he knows,” then can we say the same for a person who claims one source of information as the fount of all legitimacy and contrary accounts to be illegitimate or “fake”? Has she stopped discerning because she “knows” what is legitimate and what is fake?

More than five years ago, I shot a quick video (see below) outlining four basic considerations when considering information to address an issue or task?

  1. What information do you need for the task at hand?
  2. Where will you find that information?
  3. How will you evaluate the information you find for accuracy and legitimacy?
  4. How will you organize and use the information for your audience?

Can we grow as individuals if we filter what we read, hear, and see through one source (or a number of like-minded sources)?  Are we motivated to grow–or just “be right” even in the face of confounding information?

Do we care?

A friend shared two stories this week.  I doubt they are apocryphal.

  • A neighbor asked my friend where she got her news. My friend rattled off a list of seven or eight sources. Out of hand, the neighbor dismissed the entire list as thoroughly “illegitimate.” When asked what her source of information was, the neighbor mentioned one source. Just one source. It was, according to her, legitimate. End of story. (See numbers two and three, above.)
  • My friend has found the same situation in her college classroom.  No matter the topic,  two camps emerge. Diametrically opposed. Refusing to listen and discuss with the other. Each considering their source(s) of information legitimate and the others’ suspect at the least and fake at the worst.

Is this a sign of intellectual laziness? A lack of critical thinking? Or is this sort of thing nothing new—just magnified because everyone can have a social media platform where we surround ourselves with “likes” and “shares” and then block opposing viewpoints?  (I still remember my mother often warning me (more than fifty years ago) not to speak about politics or religion.) It does seem like today’s volume, as well as the personal vitriol, has been cranked up considerably.

I offered a suggestion to my friend.

  1. Pick two sources of news that generally disagree on issues and stances.
  2. Find one current news story on which both of these sources present a similar account of the issue or event.
  3. Print both stories without any attribution (nothing that would identify the sources).
  4. Ask your friend (or students) to identify the “illegitimate source” based solely on the content presented. If both stories are drawing the same conclusion then how can the argument hold that a particular source is always illegitimate?

Perhaps you could do it as well to at least start a rational conversation. Start with common ground and move from there.


Video recommendation for the week.

Just because you find information does not mean you have credible information.


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.



For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#365) Listening For Stories Of Inspiration

May 21, 2017

Inspiration from a woman who did not let circumstance
dictate her outcome.

[Note to my readers: Today’s post marks the beginning of the eighth year of this weekly blog.  Thank you for following, sharing, and commenting.]

Stories. They surround us. Some have the power to illustrate, instruct, and inspire.

Minutes before I delivered my commencement address to the Florida State College at Jacksonville Class of 2017, I had a front row (literally) seat for a young woman’s touching story about her journey.

Lyse Medina, the FSCJ Kent Campus Student Government Association President, delivered a 4½ minute description of her journey as an immigrant, a daughter, a student, a leader, and a person with heart and determination.

Her tale is one of perseverance and resilience. “My past did not define me, but it did lead me to where I am today,” she told the nearly ten thousand people before us.


Video recommendation for the week.

Rather than tell you about Lyse’s speech, listen to it. Learn and grow from it. Her story in her words. A reminder of the importance of community colleges in our society. And a powerful dose of inspiration from a young woman who did not let circumstances dictate her outcomes. She envisioned her dreams and she will continue to define her journey. I am glad to have met and learned from her.

My appreciation to FSCJ for sharing the video and to Lyse for allowing me to share it with you. Note: The video should start with her introduction. If it does not, move to minute 52 for Lyse.


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#362) Small Acts of Gratitude

April 30, 2017

“Silent gratitude is not much use to anyone.”
– Gertrude Stein –

Saying “thank you.” Giving a cheerful “good morning!” Expressing appreciation. Providing a hug, emotionally if not physically.  Each of these requires a tiny investment of energy.  The result compounds in ways we may not anticipate.

I have been spending time lately listening to my podcast episodes and reacquainting myself with the wonderful insights of my guests.  After I re-listen to an episode, I take a few minutes to send an email thanking the guest for his/her contributions to the community.  Literally, the email takes about 180 seconds to create and “send.”

The goal is simple: recognition and validation of a person. A small act.

Almost to a person, their responses (which I was not expecting) said something along the lines of “you don’t know how much your email means to me.”  One individual was having a particularly rough week (which I had no way of knowing).  The email told me, “Thanks for the email…appreciate the little things in life!”

Five years ago, I dedicated myself to a year a gratitude. You can read about here.  I committed myself to a simple daily discipline—and it continues to give back to others.  (I still have people, to whom I sent a gratitude note, share that they have kept and cherish my handwritten note.)

Think of the small acts of kindness done for you—and that you do for others.  It does not take much effort to say thank you or recognize a job-well-done.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog. Thank you for the gratitude you share with your community.

Thank you.

P.S.  A few hours after I wrote this blog post, I received an unexpected “Thank You Note” from a friend. She simply wanted to thank me for being in her life.  A card that I will tuck away in my gratitude file.

Nice.

Thank you!


Video recommendation for the week.

I have shared this video before.  It never gets old because it helps us connect with one another on a personal, meaningful, and authentic level.


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#350) Regrets? Choices And Lessons.

February 5, 2017

A culmination of all those choices. Some small.
Some large. All help create the person you are becoming.

Would you, if you could, go back in time and change the choices that you made?  I know.  A wide open question and open to lots of interpretation. (I’m not thinking about those 1970’s leisure suits you might have bought…though I can remember that red crushed faux velvet suit I wore in 1974.  Insert hand against forehead here!)

In response to an earlier blog post, a friend shared a Mercyme music video with me last week. (I have posted it in the Video Recommendation section below.) The songwriter is writing a letter to his younger self. At one point he considers, “Even though I love this crazy life, sometimes I wish it were a smoother ride….”

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

While there have been some rough, tumultuous, and gut-wrenching times, I don’t think I would change my choices. Yes, some of the stuff was a real pain in the posterior. Sure, if I had the “power” to go back, I would be tempted to take back an ill-advised word, change a self-congratulatory action, or rethink an ill-conceived plan.  And while I might wish I had had more tact, diplomacy, and grace, I am willing to concede that all of those choices for good or bad made me who I am today.

I own the choices. I look at their culmination in the mirror each day.

I have had failures to be sure. As cliché as it sounds, they helped me grow.

Again, Mercyme sings it this way to the younger self:

…Or do I go deep

And try to change

The choices that you’ll make

‘Cause they’re choices

That made me….

Regrets? That’s a question each person has to answer. I do not make light of traumatic situations you may have faced or currently confront.  Consider, however, your overall life journey. The people you have touched. The differences you have made and the legacy you will leave (and build each day).  A culmination of all those choices. Some small. Some large. All help create the person you are becoming. Don’t be too quick to dismiss any of them. This does not excuse inappropriate behavior. It does look for lessons, though.

John Milton observed that “the mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

I titled a song on my second CD, “Love My Life.”  And old man speaks to a young person and shares:

Listen to what I say

Life’s too short to throw away

It’s filled with many threats

And too many do regret the life they’ve lived

But I choose to live my life instead.


Enjoy the entire recording by clicking below. (c) Steve Piscitelli. 2010. All rights reserved.


Video recommendation for the week:

Mercyme’s Dear Younger Me.


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#349) A Tangled Mess

January 29, 2017

We could ignore the tangles and hope they go away on their own.
What is the healthiest and safest manner to help us stop going in circles, loosen up, and prosper?

Ever had to deal with a root-bound plant? You know the kind. When you gently remove it from the pot for transplanting, you find the soil enveloped by the root system.  Plants in this condition need attention to survive.  If the tangle is minimum, you might be able to gently massage the root ball with your fingers to loosen it up.  At other times, when the root’s streamers are many and tightly wound, you may need to use a knife to cut through the tangle.

While the “violence” may shock the plant, it has a better chance for survival after this intervention.  As one planting blog states, “The only alternative is planting it root bound, and no root bound plant can thrive. It will be hard to water and it will live a short, sad life, always sickly and constrained, if it makes it at all.”

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Sometimes we might feel like that plant. All tangled up with the challenges of daily life. One tangle might come from work, another from our social circle, and still another emerges from our emotional state. We could ignore the tangles and hope they go away on their own.

They probably won’t. They will overtake our wellbeing. Perhaps we need an “intervention” of sorts. And while I’m NOT suggesting we “take a knife to the ball,” the level of the intervention will depend upon the severity of the tangle. Just how tied up in knots are we. The first step is awareness, followed by a questioning of assumptions.

If we want to thrive, we cannot ignore our challenges. And we must not subject ourselves to continual self-flagellation. Just like our root-challenged plant that has been sliced and manipulated, we also need some loving care. Like a massage, understanding words from caring friends and family (and ourselves), improved diet, uplifting readings, quiet time, a visit to a therapist, or whatever provides healthy solace and movement toward improvement.


Video recommendation for the week:

Continuing with this week’s metaphor, this video provides a quick 67-second strategy for dealing with root bound plants. As the horticulturist says, if we do not deal with the problem, the plant will wither. Listen to his words. They provide something to consider as we encounter challenges.  What is the healthiest and safest manner to help us to stop going in circles, loosen up, and prosper?


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#348) Repair The Bucket. Fill The Bucket.

January 22, 2017

Who can help you? Who can you help?

Do you sometimes just get tired?  Feel like you are getting nowhere fast? Might even believe you are moving backwards?

A friend reminded me of a powerful visual. This woman is the caregiver for a family member who recently has experienced significant health challenges. My friend, who has always been a ray of sunlight for those around her (read: positive, upbeat, whimsical, witty, a joyous person) told me she had hit the wall. She felt like a dark cloud had swallowed her up.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

In short, her resilience—for a moment—failed her. She felt crushed by the worry. She had run out of fuel. Nothing was left.

Think of resilience like the water in a bucket.  At times, we lose water. Other times, we add.  When we lose water, envision picking up a ladle and spooning a bit more water back into your bucket.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

But maybe the bucket springs a leak. You  lose a bit more water than usual.  You find a way to patch the bucket, stop the leaking, spoon in replacement water, and continue onward.

Consider the water as a metaphor for your energy, your resilience, your ability to cope. When you (the bucket, the vessel) are challenged repeatedly, you may start to show wear. Perhaps you spring a second “leak.” Then more hardship—and more leaks.  You do what you have always done. You pick up the pace and pick up the pace and pick up the pace of shoveling in more, more, and more water (fuel or resilience)—until you can no longer do it.  You’re spent.

Like the person with a bucket springing more and more leaks, at some point you cannot physically or emotionally keep up. No matter how fast you ladle, the number and size of the bucket holes overtake your good efforts.

Exhausted, you drop the ladle, and the bucket runs dry. You are at a loss. You know the bucket (you) needs repair but you no longer have the energy, or at least the amount of energy you need to repair and refill. You have difficulty taking care of yourself.

A few blog posts back, I spoke of The Six Fs of our lives.  When one area—the family member’s health for my friend above—begins to crumble under strain and stress, what other area can help you regain your balance (and repair the bucket, and regain your resilient self)?  For my friend, it was a friend of hers who made a suggestion which lead to an action which brought about relief (for all involved).  To be sure, there are still significant challenges (the bucket, after all, has experienced lots of strain) but my resilient friend has been able to catch her breath and begin to see the light from within the darkness.

Six Fs (Steve Piscitelli)

Six Fs (Steve Piscitelli)

Perhaps you feel like that straining bucket. Maybe you don’t, but someone close to you seems to be springing leaks faster than he or she can plug them.

When we are resilient, we tend to bounce back and adapt.  Grit, another oft-used concept, looks at our perseverance to continue onward.  My friend not only bounced back, she moved forward.  Will her bucket run low again? Probably. Will yours? Probably.

Think of a particularly difficult or challenging situation you have in front of you this coming week. What can you do to help you regain your strength and desire to move forward (plug the bucket)? And, what can you do to move forward (begin to refill that bucket) and move toward the goal?

Who can help you? Who can you help?


Video recommendation for the week:

How can we help our children build their resilience skills? What lessons present themselves for adults?


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

55031146_high-resolution-front-cover_6597771-1For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#346) Video Outtakes: Finding Humor And Moving Forward

January 8, 2017

Enjoy three-minutes-and-fifty-one-seconds of my miscues.
And consider how each miscue you make can strengthen you and maybe help someone else. Don’t be ruled by fear of failure.

President Theodore Roosevelt had a way with words. Growing up as a spindly and sickly child, “Teddy” would become an adult exuding energy, purpose, confidence, and resilience. Whatever your view of his politics, his fortitude stands out.

Nearly three decades ago, as I was navigating a major life transition, I gravitated to one of his quotes:

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

The quote reminded me of the importance of not allowing the fear of failure to rule my decisions.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

This week’s blog does not purport to be as heady or profound as our former Rough Ridding president. Nor am I discounting the disconcerting reality of life traumas.

But at times, a bit of humor can remind us to lighten up. Especially when we stumble.  Such was the case recently as I recorded forty-two videos to accompany my newly released book Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island.

My wife, bless her soul, served as the videographer.  We actually shot each video twice. Once as a “draft” to see how they looked. The second time was the final shoot.  So, in reality, we shot eighty-four videos over a four-month period.  (Did I mention how much I love my wife’s patience?)

And each video had a number of “do-overs” due to errors on my part, environment interference, or technical glitches.  I decided to gather up some of those clips and put them into one video of outtakes.  More than three minutes of my mistakes and frustration. And each time I watch it, I howl with delight.  I have to admit, there were times during the video sessions that I felt like giving up. For a variety of reasons, I’m glad I didn’t.

Again, Teddy Roosevelt said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

Or as Anthony Burgess is reported to have said, “Laugh and world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

So, enjoy three-minutes-and-fifty-one-seconds of my miscues. And consider how each miscue you make and encounter can strengthen you and maybe help someone else.


Video recommendation for the week:

So, you think it’s easy to make videos?


Make it an inspiring week, a wonderful holiday season, and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


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