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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Am I Speaking Your Language?

Learning a new language can be terribly difficult. Taking the time to try to speak to someone, only to sound like a two year old is utterly frustrating.

But a little success with a new language can go a long way.

I spent two weeks in France this summer and in the year preceding, took at least fifteen minutes every morning learning new words, phrases, and tenses in French.

When I finally arrived in Paris, the real education began. I only began to make real strides in mastering the language when plunged into conversation with its native speakers. 

A few fun French to English translations:
  • A “speed bump” is literally translated to “back of the donkey”
  • Taking off on an airplane flight is literally translated to “ungluing”
  • … on second thought, I’m not going to translate all those fun gros mots (bad words) I learned. :)
Beyond the fumbling of the masculine and feminine nouns, and trying not to sound like a noob—I found a hidden gem on learning a new language.

There are a multitude of ways to get your general point across, but it’s the ultra specificity and the mastery of your native language, that allow one to make their message succinct, specific, and generous to the benefit of the listener. Great communication is at the heart of ever success, poor communication at the center of every failure.

PS. Some great ways to learn a new language if you want to do it:
  • Duolingo (duolingo.com)
  • the ever classy Rosetta Stone
  • emailing or Skyping or meeting up with a non-creepy native speaker of another language and practicing conversation with them
  • TPRS publishing has some rudimentary short books and fantasy novels designed to help you learn new words and phrases (unfortunately pretty limited to Romance languages)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Summer Time… and the Reading is Easy



For almost two years, I’ve been working on two books: an anthology of short, powerful, true stories, and a young adult fantasy novel. In my spare time, on every train ride, I try to sneak in reading time for inspiration, for knowledge, and for fun. The three books below are several that I consider five star reads.

Alexander Hamilton—(Ron Chernow) a full length biography. This is a good one, a look into the founding of the upstart republic, The United States of America. How Hamilton put the wheels into motion of the financial levers that created the first central bank. Also an opportunity to see how the U.S. experiment has shifted since its founding and to understand why things are the way they are today.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief—(Rick Riordan) this is a fun one. A young adult read about a young boy with ADHD and dyslexia who finds that he is a demi-god with tremendous superpowers. A fun, light read with positive messaging that someone with behavioral health issues can be seen as an asset rather than as a liability.

48 Laws of Power (Robert Greene)—this one is non-fiction, and I had to digest it in pieces. A fascinating read on how people have gained, lost, and regained power throughout recent and ancient history. Examples include Chinese emperors, P.T. Barnum of circus and showman fame, and members of Louis XVI’s court. While some of the methods for obtaining power are a bit amoral (in my humble opinion), Greene also surmises at a reversal of certain kinds of power-grabs, that can protect you should you be on the wrong end of a tyrant’s big stick.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Your Voice is Wanted: The Importance of the Peer-to-Peer Experience


When buying an oven, tractor, or easy-to-assemble nightstand
When debating whether or not to take part in a controversial medical treatment
When looking for a new school district for your children

You rely on peer-to-peer advice and mentorship, or product reviews.

In this magnificent digital age there are so many avenues to be a peer mentor or product reviewer that don’t begin and end with Yelp, Amazon, or Google Plus.

You want to make a difference and help change the world but don't know how? Share your experience by starting a blog, sharing a post(s) on Facebook, writing an oped for your local online newspaper—tell us what you think of Sir Thumps-A-Lot brand pacemakers, how to design your ostomy bag for a day at the beach, or which new upstart phone company has the best customer service.

You will eventually find a tribe—be it minuscule, moderate, or gargantuan in size—who will appreciate your honesty and your voice.

We need each other, we demand better than self-validating marketing and advertising, we are part of a new movement for better through mass connectivity.

#shareyourexperience #peertopeer

Thursday, August 6, 2015

How Many Roads Actually Lead to Rome? Pivoting Your Idea for Success


Can your idea, project, goal, or task it succeed in another way?

Do you absolutely have to take the route you set upon?

If you double back, even for a moment, will it allow for more room, growth, or ultimate success?

Rarely is there one road to victory.

Often, an inflexible nature leads to pain and a *temporary defeat.

*Defeats are only what you make of them, and always temporary. Redemption is always on the table.