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No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main.

John Donne

In good cartoonist form, Scott Adams starts with a killer hook: “Why do we make B students sit through the same classes as their brainy peers? That’s like trying to train your cat to do your taxes—a waste of time and money. Wouldn’t it make sense to teach them something useful instead?” in his WSJ article “How to Get a Real Education.”

He goes on to relate his personal experience of taking initiative and creating para-business ventures throughout his college years, demonstrating the fact that he learned management, loopholes, buy-in and other crucial business skills outside of a classroom.   He asserts that instead of filling students’ heads with art history,  physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature, we should be cultivating entrepreneurial skills by teaching them to (1) combine multiple skills rather than trying to master one, (2) fail forward and view failure as a process rather than an obstacle, (3) be where the action is, (4) attract luck by DOING something, (5) conquer fear by learning to enjoy things like public speaking that scare the rest of the population, (6) write simply, and (7) learn persuasion.

One part of me is very attracted to his line of reasoning.  I’m going to assert (with no expertise to back me up) that since the Industrial Revolution, most educational organizations are set up with a single directive in mind: create human cogs for businesses.  Unfortunately, the Industrialization is moving overseas and we are not training our kids to ride the wave of the Informational Revolution that began two decades ago–where creativity will be more important than conformity, and risk-taking more necessary than compliance.  If our schools are going to create worker bees, they need to create a new kind of worker bee, and training them to be entrepreneurs may be the perfect remedy.

Another part of me is repulsed by Adams’ definition of “Real Education.”  I believe education should be a whole-soul endeavor, training an individual’s heart, mind, and body to be unified in pursuit of the Good, the True and the Beautiful.  I’ll agree that art history may not be immediately applicable for non-curators, but it opens your eyes to see what human beings are capable of creating, trains you to recognize beauty, and hopefully, empowers you to walk confidently into an art museum or gallery with healthy anticipation and enjoyment.  Physics may be ruled by Einstein, Hawking, and Sheldon Cooper, but even just the elementary introduction I received from my dad in high school was enough to cause me to be blown away by the complexity of the universe, and I certainly play billiards and Angry Birds with a much keener awareness thanks to my basic understanding of vectors and velocity. What does it hurt knowing that there are over one hundred elements and you only know the abbreviations to two of them and the rest end in -ium?  While you may never be a rocket scientist, taking a class in calculus should at the very least give you a valuable dose of humility.  And, of course, my personal soap box: classic literature. Heck, literature in general. Why should we make ninth graders read Romeo and Juliet or freshman undertake the Iliad?  Because (1) reading well is an essential asset in a world of print, (2) reading literature thoughtfully develops the critical thinking functions of your brain which allows you to engage the rest of life with curiosity and the ability to problem-solve, (3) literature allows you to experience multiple lifetimes before you’re halfway through your own, hopefully deepening and broadening your soul with compassion and wisdom, and (4) it incorporates you into the fold of Humanity writ large so that you realize you are not an island, but instead the youngest of a long line of brothers.

My solution: Get a world-class, classical liberal arts education to become a good person, then go on to a master’s program to learn a useful skill. In my case, entrepreneurship.

C.S. Doemner

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Your Name: ______________________  Today’s Date: ___________

Where is your energy naturally directed?
Extroverts’ energy is directed primarily outward, towards people and things outside of themselves. Introverts’ energy is primarily directed inward, towards their own thoughts, perceptions, and reactions. Therefore, Extroverts tend to be more naturally active, expressive, social, and interested in many things, whereas Introverts tend to be more reserved, private, cautious, and interested in fewer interactions, but with greater depth and focus.
Extroverts often: 

Have high energy

Talk more than listen

Think out loud

Act, then think

Like to be around people a lot

Prefer a public role

Can sometimes be easily distracted

Prefer to do lots of things at once

Are outgoing & enthusiastic

Introverts often: 

Have quiet energy

Listen more than talk

Think quietly inside their heads

Think, then act

Feel comfortable being alone

Prefer to work “behind-the-scenes”

Have good powers of concentration

Prefer to focus on one thing at a time

Are self-contained and reserved

How would you describe yourself?

Very Extroverted

Somewhat Extroverted I don’t know Somewhat Introverted Very Introverted
1 2 3 4

5

What kind of information do you naturally notice and remember?
Sensors notice the facts, details, and realities of the world around them whereas Intuitives are more interested in connections and relationships between facts as well as the meaning, or possibilities of the information. Sensors tend to be practical and literal people, who trust past experience and often have good common sense. Intuitives tend to be imaginative, theoretical people who trust their hunches and pride themselves on their creativity.
Sensors often: 

Focus on details & specifics

Admire practical solutions

Notice details & remember facts

Are pragmatic; see what is

Live in the here-and-now

Trust actual experience

Like to use established skills

Like step-by-step instructions

Work at a steady pace

Intuitives often: 

Focus on the big picture & possibilities

Admire creative ideas

Notice anything new or different

Are inventive; see what could be

Think about future implications

Trust their gut instincts

Prefer to learn new skills

Like to figure things out for themselves

Work in bursts of energy

How would you describe yourself?

Very Sensory

Somewhat Sensory I don’t know Somewhat Intuitive Very Intuitive
1 2 3 4

5

How do you decide or come to conclusions?
Thinkers make decisions based primarily on objective and impersonal criteria–what makes the most sense and what is logical. Feelers make decisions based primarily on their personal values and how they feel about the choices. So, Thinkers tend to be cool, analytical, and are convinced by logical reasoning. Feelers tend to be sensitive, empathetic, and are compelled by extenuating circumstances and a constant search for harmony.
Thinkers often: 

Make decisions objectively

Appear cool and reserved

Are most convinced by rational arguments

Are honest and direct

Value honesty and fairness

Take few things personally

Are good at seeing flaws

Are motivated by achievement

Argue or debate issues for fun

Feelers often: 

Decide based on their values & feelings

Appear warm and friendly

Are most convinced by how they feel

Are diplomatic and tactful

Value harmony and compassion

Take many things personally

Are quick to compliment others

Are motivated by appreciation

Avoid arguments and conflicts

How would you describe yourself?

Very Thinker

Somewhat Thinker I don’t know Somewhat Feeler Very Feeler
1 2 3 4

5

What kind of environment makes you the most comfortable?
Judgers prefer a structured, ordered, and fairly predictable environment, where they can make decisions and have things settled. Perceivers prefer to experience as much of the world as possible, so they like to keep their options open and are most comfortable adapting. So, Judgers tend to be organized and productive while Perceivers tend to be flexible, curious, and nonconforming.
Judgers often: 

Like to have things settled

Take responsibilities seriously

Pay attention to time & are usually prompt

Prefer to finish projects

Work first, play later

Seek closure

See the need for most rules

Like to make & stick with plans

Find comfort in schedules

Perceivers often: 

Like to keep their options open

Are playful and casual

Are less aware of time and may run late

Prefer to start projects

Play first, work later

May have difficulty making some decisions

Question the need for many rules

Like to keep plans flexible

Want the freedom to be spontaneous

How would you describe yourself?

Very Judger

Somewhat Judger I don’t know Somewhat Perceiver Very Perceiver
1 2 3 4

5

Would you rather:

☐ Have everyone like you.

☐ Have everyone respect you.

Which expression of appreciation would make you feel most valued?

☐ Hearing words of affirmation

☐ Receiving a gift

☐ Shared acts of service

☐ Spending time together

☐ Getting a hug or handshake

☐ Other: _________________

How do you best remember information? When you have:

☐ Seen it in writing

☐ Heard it out loud

☐ Done it by hand

Please list in order the three most important things in your life:

1.

2.

3.

 

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Ghost Writing

I am in the test phase of serving as a ghost writer for a SEO company that promotes products in the guise of informational blog posts. I get paid two cents per word to write a blog post on almost any topic, but targeted at a particular audience and featuring two keywords at least twice each.

It’s a disillusioning process.

I am adding words, often poorly-informed words, to an already crowded blogosphere as a means of increasing a site’s hit rating on various search engines.  As a businesswoman I can see the value of such a device, but it makes me re-examine everything I read with a critically brand-conscious eye — what are they really promoting? Who knows how many writers have typed under a single pen-name… If I — who know quite a bit about quite a few things — am writing about stuff I have little or no real knowledge of, how can I trust anything I read online?

I am determined to get through the test phase.  For the money. For the experience.  As a comfort, I remind myself that even Dickens was paid by the word….  I wonder what keywords I would find repeated senselessly in Great Expectations

C.S. Doemner

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Interesting feature from The New York Times Magazine:

For the 10th consecutive December, the magazine has chosen to look back on the past year through a distinctive prism: ideas.  Our digest of short entries refracts the light beam of human inspiration, breaking it up into its constituent colors — innovations and insights from a spectrum of fields, including economics, biology, engineering, medicine, literature, sports, music and, of course, raw-meat clothing. Happy thinking!

R. Card Hyatt

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Time for my unveiling!  I am officially a business owner, with a website and everything:

After three months of “market research”, I have concluded there is a market for my whimsical creations. But not the lil’old grandmas I originally anticipated. Take Trent, for instance. He’s 26 years old and commissioned a Drag Racing Bear for his dad.  After he saw my sketch, he decided to add a Cowgirl Bear for his mom. I emailed him the following image:

He approved the sketch and paid me on PayPal (he saved 10% by filling out my Whimsy Friend form).  I went ahead and made the following bears out of polymer clay.

He also added the following 9″ x 12″ watercolor drawing of the bears to hang on the wall ($5.00).

So far, things have been nice and slow. My big Christmas rush consisted of selling 6 bears in 3 days!  🙂   I would love for you to check out my website, Facebook, or Twitter accounts (@WhimsyBears) and maybe tell your friends about my Whimsy Bears!

Caitlin Cogan Doemner

 

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I am in the process of starting a business.  Despite my Master’s in Business Administration, I do not have a business plan. I have no idea how I will scale the business so that it will be profitable. I do not have a elevator pitch prepared for potential meetings with angel investors. I have no plans to hire anyone, and so, have not established a proposed organizational chart. There is a marketing plan but no marketing budget. My accounting consists of a checkbook register.

In fact, the only thing my MBA has been good for is pointing out all of my insufficiencies and the potential pitfalls of my new venture. And I’m pretty sure I could have foreseen those $28,000 ago.

I do, however, have an exit strategy. Well, “strategy” might be misleading. The goal is to sell my company to Enesco, LLC in 5 years time for a half a million dollars. “Dream” might be a more appropriate term.

In any case, I feel the need for a logo to go with my website (currently under construction).  What do you think of the sketches below?

Which do you like better — Gift Bear or Balloon Bear?

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Dear Friends, Writers, and Friends of Writers,

Have you ever dreamed of authoring a children’s book?

I am holding a contest for a short story (no more than 2,000 words) based on a toy bear named Emma and a young child (between the ages of 5 – 12 years old) who have an adventure that is at least loosely connected with the Jane Austen novel, Emma. The winner will receive $50.00 and may be asked to participate in future commissions.  All submissions must be received by September 31, 2010. Please send submissions electronically as a Microsoft Word document, PDF, or compatible file format to caitlincogan@gmail.com, subject line: “Emma Contest_(Your Last Name).”  The winner will be notified of the decision within 30 days.

All entries will be judged by a selection of individuals of my choosing, based on the following judging criteria: (1) originality of plot, (2) development of the toy bear Emma’s character, (3) quality of connection to Jane Austen’s Emma, (4) age-appropriateness for children between the ages of 5 – 12 years old, and (5) fun to read.

You see here a picture of the toy bear Emma as I currently envision her and further below in this post you will find rules of the contest. Please email me if you have any questions. Please forward this opportunity to anyone who might be interested in participating.

Sincerely,

Caitlin Cogan Doemner

caitlincogan@gmail.com

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