Information is Not What We’re Worried About

For the new up and coming generation (my generation) we don’t need to worry about information.  Within a few clicks you can find pretty much anything on the internet today and it’s only going to get more cluttered with, non-other than, more information.  When I was in high school we struggled to find information in the text books we were forced to read, that were outdated.  If we had a question that wasn’t in the textbook we struggled to find answers because we didn’t have tools like Google, Wikipedia, and blogs filled with hyperlinked sources.

Today I’m not worried about lack of information, I’m worried about how we filter the information that make up our opinions and views. Many trusted news sources have been known to be wrong, more and more so-called news outlets have sprung-up online, and propaganda is thrown at us almost daily.  How do you cut through the clutter?  And who do you trust?

Doubt what you read, hear and watch.

Orville Wright once said; “If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true were really true, there would be little hope of advance.“  The next time you read a stat that seems a little far fetched find the source, keep digging until you verify it’s origin.  I listen to podcasts like RadioLab and Skeptoid because I trust their sources and I believe what they tell is the truth.  I get a chuckle out of people who jump on the Zeitgeist band wagon without checking the sources to see if what Peter Joseph preaches is actually true.  One I fell for was the Global Warming fan club, which after seeing Al Gore live is difficult not to support.  I can now say I was completely wrong, want to know where I formed my opinion?  Read SuperFreakonomics then tell me what you think of global warming.

Information is not what we’re worried about, it’s the opinions formed from the vast amount of information, when using the wrong filter.  We’re all guilty of it, but we can improve, get smarter and research our opinions better.  So what is your filter?

My Top 10 Podcasts

My friend Colter (@Codaclothing) asked a bunch of us to submit our favorite albums of 2009 to put up on his website.  Knowing that the song from the Amazon Kindle commercial or Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance will probably be vying for top spot so I thought I’d take a different approach.

Below are my top 10 Free Podcast’s with links to get them in your iTunes.  Enjoy!

  1. Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce – One of the best story tellers and authors of our day, this talk is almost six years old and still applies today.
  2. Seth Godin on Standing Out – an oldie but a classic, Seth is one of the foremost minds in marketing today having authored eleven books and is a captivating presenter.
  3. Stochasticity“A wonderfully slippery and smarty-pants word for randomness.” This is the explanation on the site of what Stochasticity means.  Very interesting podcast that you’re sure to find some tidbits to chat about around the water cooler.
  4. Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation – From the famous Ted conference this talk will change your mind on how to motivate people in the work place.  The surprising part is I think most people actually think the opposite of what research shows us.
  5. Deception – Why we lie, where it comes from; the startling science of deception.  This one includes a couple stories that’ll have you “white knuckled” on your steering wheel. Listen with caution.
  6. Numbers – a mind-blowing show on numbers, where they came from, why we use them and a some facts I bet you never knew.
  7. Seth Godin on the Tribes we Lead – Based on a book he wrote, Mr. Godin argues that the internet has allowed us to join groups of people who have the same ideas and values as we do.  Combined the group is much more effective at creating change than any single one of it’s members.
  8. Stress – Where it comes from, why we experience it and a bunch or stories in between.  Everyone needs to understand the implications of too much stress, so download.
  9. Do Schools Kill Creativity? – Sir Ken Robinson entertains the crowd the entire time he makes a compelling case for fostering creativity in our schools, rather than the opposite which is happening all too frequently in our schools today.
  10. Killing Babies, Saving the World – this one is number one because it was the first Radiolab podcast I’d heard and immediately I needed more.

Old Ladies are the Cutest!

When a cab driver goes out of his or her way to make the trip more enjoyable do you tell them how much you appreciated it?  When someone holds the door for you, do you say “gee, thanks a lot!”

Too many times we have positive experiences at the expense of someone else and we never tell them. Why?  Maybe we’re scared, maybe we think it will mean nothing, maybe it has never been brought to your attention until now.

I had teacher in grade eleven that told us;

“If someone ever does something nice for you, you should always tell them thank you, otherwise they may not know how they made you feel and may not ever do it again.”

We all like to be appreciated so why not show others when we are appreciative?  Even a small compliment on someone’s hair can go a long way, but generally speaking, our society doesn’t hand out compliments very easily.  But why not?

So how do you start?  The next person you see with a bright pair of shoes on or a finely tailored suit, walk up to them and say, “Wow! I sure like those shoes, they look wonderful!”  Then just walk away.  You  can be sure you just made their day.  My favorite is the little old ladies, I think they are just the cutest when you give them a compliment. So go on try it out, and let me know how it goes.

Do You Want To Be Smarter?

I was heading to the mountains this past weekend and I didn’t want to listen to music the entire time so I was going to download some podcasts.  But where do you look for interesting podcasts?  Doing a Google  search, the seventh or eighth down the list caught my eye, none other than Seth Godin recommended a site. If he likes it I’ll probably love it.

When I first went to Radio Lab I didn’t know what to think, but if Seth liked it then I’m sure there’s something here worth listening to.  I downloaded a few FREE podcasts, put them on my iPod and never thought of it until we put it on in the car.  Wow, this was different, not your regular podcast.  They asked weird questions, provided entertaining commentary, and you learned in the short time it took to listen to them.

Listening to educational podcasts can seem quite geeky but I assure you it’s not (I keep telling myself it isn’t).  Try an audio book in the car or for you lovers of education, iTunes offers a free podcast downloading centre called iTunes U.  Here’s a list of the top 100 podcasts from the most prestigious schools in the World.

If you hate reading then listening to books and podcasts is a great option.  In the car makes sense because you were just going to listen to music anyway.  And the last one is at the gym, why not give your mind a workout while giving your body one? Boom.

University of the Future

In University I took Business, when I began six years ago there were mandatory courses and there are still mandatory courses.  My problem isn’t with having classes mandatory but the fact that the courses I had to take six years ago are still the same courses new students have to take today.  Recently I discovered that the Business faculty does a curriculum review every five years, in a World where information changes daily you’d think the institution that is responsible for our “brilliant” business minds would adapt.  They don’t.

Instead of complaining about how I think the University should be ran, lets start small and brain storm the first five classes any student should have to take.  As of now, in your first year of almost any degree you must take psychology, a math, english, a social science and computer science (give or take a class or two this is what first years are forced to take).  What if those were changed to a different five?  A better, more relevant five?

We go to University to get jobs in the real World, shouldn’t the real World have a say in what we learn?  How about we vote on it, alumni that are prominent leaders in the real world should have a good idea what you need to learn.  How about all the alumni from the past ten years vote, what would they pick?

Obviously this would never happen but what if the University gave up control of just five classes and let a vote take place?  I think it would make the students happy and the future employers as well.  But wait!  The administration and professors are now unhappy.  At the end of the day who is University trying to please?  The administration or the students?

Here’s my list of Classes:

Critical thinking – put into situations where students must find a solution.

Teamwork – “People” skills are valued very highly among employers but we never really focus on it.

Attitude – The most important attribute of any potential employee.

Technology – From the internet to the iphone everything they need to know about the tech world.

Giving back – At the end of most motivational books about how to get the most out of life it almost always comes back to giving back and helping the less fortunate.  If this will end up being one of the most important aspects of our lives why aren’t our “prestigious” Universities teaching more about it?

What do you think?  I know this isn’t the perfect solution but our University system is flawed and I’d like to see a change.

Please leave you comments below.

Never Stop

Smiling

Helping

Thinking

Inspiring

Adapting

Learning

Laughing

Changing

Achieving

Researching

Pushing limits

Breaking rules

Being yourself

Making the World a better place