Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Learning Moments: Go to the source

Mission Ranch, Carmel, California

Many years ago, we were kayaking on the Sea of Cortez near Loreto, Mexico. Our good friend, Bill Bengele, was catching fish and asked if we wanted to eat them. I asked if they would taste good.

Bill looked at me for a moment and then said something I have never forgotten, "Glenn, the worst trash fish in the world tastes better fresh than the most expensive fish in your local grocery store will taste by the time you get it home and cook it".
And he was right.

I never liked artichokes as a kid. I could only laugh and repeat the line from the Little Rascals - "It might chock Artie, but it won't chock me!"
Now that I live in California, though, it's a different story. I love fresh grilled artichoke. Proving, once again, that everything is better when you get closer to the source.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quote of the week

"Live can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives".
- Viktor Frankl

I love this quote for the visual it forms of internal drives and external motivations.

Stop for a moment, think about something important you're about to do, and ask - Am I being pulled by goals? Or pushed by an internal drive?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quote of the week

"If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes".
- Andrew Carnegie

This statement is true for life, true for work, and very true for the classroom. Learning without goals is just fast food for the mind. Unless you have a goal to practice or use what you've learned, the learning is unlikely to 'stick'.
Students with goals typically outperform other students, by a lot!

Lesson - have a goal to apply what you intend to learn. It changes everything...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quote of the week

"Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit".
- George Carlin

George's observation aligns very closely with the research of the Gallup Organization, which shows that only 20% of US workers are 'actively engaged' at work. The rest are 'disengaged' or 'actively disengaged'.

Which are you? And why?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quote of the week

"The only reason for time, is so that everything doesn't happen at once"
- Albert Einstein

Albert obviously never worked in corporate America, where everything does happen at once - the fiscal year end. In my goals research, it's amazing to see how few goals include a date. That's why so few goals are achieved until the end of the year.

Something to think about...

Monday, March 8, 2010

A nice reward

For the past two days, Angie and I have been working our way through two months worth of mail. Most of it was worthless - or, more precisely, less than worthless.

This - my diploma for my Masters in Adult Education - however, brought a smile to my face. It's funny how something that was such a big part of my life for 18 months can just disappear, almost unnoticed, replaced by other things.

Though it's completely illogical, I expected the completion of an advanced degree to change me in some small way.

Did I think I'd feel more mature? No.
More confident? No.
More intelligent? Professional? Literate? No. No. And no.

And yes...

But it doesn't work that way. Any gains I made in maturity, confidence, intelligence, professionalism, or literacy were incremental (and certainly arguable).
What was gained was gained one fraction of an inch at a time, like the growing of hair. There's almost no change from last night, until suddenly you need a trim.

Well, it isn't like I need a brain trim (what would that be like?). But... even if the destination is anticlimactic, the journey was great.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I was reading "The Architect's Guide to Fame" and stumbled upon a brilliant quote that captures my (mostly negative) feelings about the current state of design for buildings, cars, clothes, and - yes - presentations:

"Bad design is smoke. Good design is a mirror."
- Juan-Carlos Fernandez

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One last thing?

Traditional Korean Music at Incheon Airport

Saturday, March 6th
Learning Moment: Incheon Airport, Korea

Just when I thought our Korea experience was over, another music performance cropped up. This one took place at the airport. For thirty minutes, we were entertained by some great traditional music.

I carry my camera everywhere and am often not rewarded for the effort, but today I was...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Le Grand Tour D'Asia: Day 58 of 58

Just did it...

Saturday, March 6
Learning Moment: Seoul, Korea

It's her Yu-naverse and we are just living in it.
COEX has been plastered with posters of Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Kim Yu-na.
This entire corridor to Samseong Station is lined with her image.

Today, we leave her universe and return to ours - California.
I'm not looking forward to a 12 hour flight, but it will be nice to get home.

Le Grand Tour D'Asia: Day 57 of 58

Lee Hyeon Cheol gives me a lesson in Janggu

Friday, March 5th
Learning Moment: Seoul, Korea

Today was my last day of leading workshops on this 8-week trip. We completed an excellent session of Managing at KT. I really enjoyed the interaction with the Korea business team.

After the session, Angie and I went to Central Seould to watch Miso, a musical featuring traditional dance performances. The show started at 8pm, but I arrived at 7pm for a janggu lesson with Mr. Lee.

The lesson was a lot of fun. Mr. Lee walked me through the basic rhythms of the janggu and taught me some of the terminology. He was assisted by Carina, who acted as an excellent translator and a darn good photographer as well.

The show itself was great. I really enjoyed the music.

Tomorrow we return to California. As always, my feelings are mixed.
It'll be nice to sleep in our own bed and get back to some normal rhythms. On the other hand, I'll miss the food, the forays into different cultures, and - of course - all our friends, old and new.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Le Grand Tour D'Asia: Day 56 of 58

6pm Bell ringing at Bongeunsa Temple

Thursday, March 4th
Learning Moment: Seoul, Korea

Every evening at 6pm, we can hear the ringing of the bell at Bonguensa Temple, across the street from our hotel.
Tonight we ran across the street to watch the ceremony.

The monks ring four different bells - the large bell pictured above, a drum, a fish bell, and a cloud bell.

The temple was quiet, so we wandered around a bit and enjoyed the atmosphere.

Votive Candles

After visiting the temple, we dined on Korean Barbecue and Cold Stone ice cream.
All-in-all, a pleasant evening.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Le Grand Tour D'Asia: Day 55 of 58

Jung Ji Hyun performs the Hwaseon Dance

Wednesday, March 3rd
Learning Moment: Seoul, Korea

Tonight we scored front row seats for a traditional dance performance at Seoul Namsan Gugakdang. The winter series of performances featured Jung Ji Hyun, a master dancer and professor at Kyungsung University.

We were the only foreigners in the building, which attracted the attention of her husband and producer. He gave us a warm and friendly greeting, wanting to know where we were from, what brought us to the theater and where we got our tickets.

The performance was stunning - easily the best traditional dance performance we've ever seen. The choreography was creative, the costumes were beautiful, the music was powerful, and the venue was perfect.

Of course, Jung Ji Hyun was outstanding - graceful, beautiful, athletic, and able to convey a myriad of emotions through her face and body. This was truly the highlight of our trip.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Le Grand Tour D'Asia: Day 54 of 58

The Lounge, COEX Intercontinental

Tuesday, March 2nd
Learning Moment: Seoul, Korea

The Intercontinental Hotel has a very nice WonderHour each night, where they offer unlimited wine, beer, and soju with a mini-buffet of meat, fish, salad, and appetizers for about US$19.

It's a tough deal to beat, so Angie and I headed down there tonight and drank our money's worth of alcohol. Oh yeah, we ate a little food, too.