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Developing One of Our Most Important Skills.

Most of the people I know had a great sense of relief and renewed hope when 2020 ended. I am confident that I am not alone in saying it was one of the most challenging years of my life.

Of course, the elephant in the room was the COVID-19 pandemic, but there were other issues that made the year so challenging. Racial and social injustice, excessive force by police against unarmed citizens, economic downturns, and warring political ideologies brought to the surface the division that is present in the country.

The divisiveness that exists in America was on clear display in 2020 and increasingly exploited to a large extent by people in positions of leadership.

I firmly believe one of the primary contributors to the divisiveness that remains a part of American culture is a lack of critical thinking skills. The lack of critical thinking skills leads to being moved by our emotions instead of the facts, and to being manipulated to take actions we might not otherwise take.

Without critical thinking skills, we accept and act on beliefs that have no basis in fact, no evidence or proof, and sometimes, we can become so stubborn that we reach a point where we vehemently reject facts or evidence when presented.

The ability to gather, compare, examine sources, and test information before deciding on courses of action is an essential skill to develop.

Critical thinking skills are also essential in the workforce. This topic is important for educators and my colleagues in workforce development. In terms of the workforce, a recent report “Keys to the Future: Align Workforce Readiness Skills to Ensure Student Success” from the International Data Corporation (IDC) notes:

“The most required skills across all occupations include oral and written communication skills, detail orientation, marketing skills, integrity, and customer-service orientation.”

Critical thinking is an important part of all the skills mentioned.

In further discussing the sets of skills needed in the workforce, the report says:

“This set is more important than any specific technology skill, deep science or math, or even great business skills. This set represents skills that are both important and widely required across positions. And the vast majority of them are ‘soft’ skills that are applicable across a wide variety of occupations. Many of these skills aren’t foreign to most contemporary curricula. In fact, critical and creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and detail orientation are relevant across all knowledge and domains.” (underlines mine)

Restating an important point in the report; critical and creative thinking are relevant across all knowledge and domains. This includes both our personal and professional lives.

As a workforce development professional, I have committed to making sure we are including critical thinking skills in all our training programs. Not to tell people what to think, but how to think and make informed decisions. Both personally and professionally.

There will always be different points of view and disagreements on the issues and how to go about changing things; but we owe it to ourselves to seek facts, to find credible evidence for the positions we take, and remain open to changing if additional information becomes available. That is the essence of critical thinking.

Not only is this relevant in the workforce, but it will improve communication and relationships in our personal lives, our communities, and the country.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Greater Paterson OIC, its Board of Directors, or any other group or individual affiliated.

The Post: Developing One of Our Most Important Skills appeared first on transformationtraining.net

The “Secret” of Success

Photo by Nour Chamoun

Countless books and articles have been written on the subject of success. Many of them entice readers by teasing that they have the “Secrets of Success”. However, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us would confess that we know what it takes to succeed in virtually any endeavor. There is no “secret” to success. While success does mean different things to different people, what it takes to achieve success is not a secret.

In this article, the working definition of success will be achieving the economic, family, health, relationships, and community goals you set for yourself.

In my work I often encounter people who are capable of achieving far more than they have and are living at levels below what is truly possible for them.

So, using our working definition, the question becomes: if we know what it takes to achieve success in life, why do some fail to achieve it? Generally, there are two essential things I have observed regarding this question.

First, to succeed at anything, you have to know what it is you want. The “just hanging in there: “going with the flow”; “taking it one day at a time” mentality is not a formula for achieving success. Time must be taken for reflection and getting to know who you are. It means becoming clear on what you like or dislike, determining the person you want you be, and defining in your own terms what you want out of life in each of the aforementioned categories. If you are content with where you are in life, stop reading. I am happy for you. But if not, this is something that needs to be done.

Second, and this is key. You must believe with all your heart, mind, and soul that success is possible for you. Without the belief that success is possible, everything else falls apart and you will never get beyond the dream state. The actions that we take, or do not take, stem from what we believe about ourselves and our possibilities.

There are all sorts of influences that will impact the development of your belief system; some good, some not so good. Odds are, if we are not where we want to be in life, and are not taking steps to change our conditions, the not so good ones are probably having the greater impact. It means we have accepted the belief that there is little we can do to change our current condition. This is referred to as a fixed mindset; accepting that “it is what it is – so let’s make the best of it.”

Here is a tip on how to determine if something is possible for you or not: You cannot consistently, with any serious heartfelt emotion, entertain the thought of something that is not possible for you. Sure, a thought can pop into our minds on what life would be like if, but it passes just as quickly as it comes, and there is no intense emotion connected to it. We know we are only dreaming.

On the other hand, anything that you consistently think about is possible. If the thoughts persist, if they keep coming back, and you feel something in your soul, if that thing will not leave you alone, it means it is possible for you to achieve. Only the false belief that you cannot make it happen is what holds you back. The challenge becomes finding a way to break through those false beliefs and begin the process of setting out to achieve your goals and achieving success in your own terms.

Breaking through limiting beliefs takes mental effort, commitment, and perseverance, but it can be done. Start by looking back over the course of your life and making note of any, and everything you have ever accomplished, no matter how big, or how small. We have all accomplished something, and if we take the time to do an inventory of those things, we will find that despite our limiting beliefs we have achieved more than we give ourselves credit for.

Next, start setting small daily goals for yourself. Decide on one thing, each day you intend to accomplish, just one thing. What category that one thing falls under is not important. Just determine what that one thing is each day.

Accomplishing 1 thing a day becomes 7 things a week, 30 things a month, 360 things a year, and ultimately the development of a new belief system built on past successes.

There is no secret to success. There are only those who are determined to succeed in spite of any odds, and those who are not. The choice is ours. It is a decision we all must make. Whichever way you choose, I wish you much success.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Greater Paterson OIC, its Board of Directors, or any other group or individual affiliated.

The Post: The “Secret” of Success appeared first on transformationtraining.net

 

How to Engage in Positive Change

Image by John Hain

At the time of this post our country is in a very interesting place; a crossroads if you will. We are still in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, but in addition to that, in reaction to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, protest against systemic racism, police brutality, and social injustice are taking place not only in America, but around the world.

Each of these situations is changing “business as usual” in our society; the likes of which we have never seen and still cannot totally predict. I remain hopeful, and cautiously optimistic that at the very least, what will emerge will be a greater understanding of our connectedness to one another, and the building of a better world.

Each of us must decide what role we are going to play in making that happen. And yes, we all have a role. We all have our own unique set of skills and talents that we can use to contribute to building a better world. I believe that is why we are here.

While the success stories of African-Americans does not lead in mainstream media news, I have noticed through social media platforms that in the midst of everything that is going on, we are still pursuing our goals and dreams, and despite all the roadblocks and obstacles placed in our way, we are succeeding in accomplishing them.

I’ve seen stories of a mother and daughter who both graduated from medical school and are now serving in the same hospital; stories of first generation African- American young people graduating from and being accepted into law, business, medical and technology schools to name a few. There are stories of African Americans launching businesses of all types, while still engaging in the fight for equal opportunity, social justice, and an end to systemic racism. This speaks to incredible internal fortitude and demonstrates the faith in our ability to be as successful as any other group in whatever we set our minds to.

In the midst of this fight, one thing that we can all do, in spite of the obstacles placed in our way, is make the commitment to being the very best we can be in all we do. This too is a part of the fight for change. It is not about seeking anyone else’s approval, it is about lifting ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and the rest of humanity to bring about a better world. Fighting for justice is right! Fighting for positive change is right! Striving to be the best that you can be is right! None of these excludes the other.

The Kwanzaa principle of Kuumba/Creativity states “To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.”

In my role as an instructor and educator, I have recommitted to that principle. While all of us may not be able to get out and join street protests, applying this principle is something we all can do. My challenge to my brothers and sisters is to take some time to think about what gifts, talents, and skills you have that can contribute to enhancing the lives of others and making your community a better place. I implore you: do not just sit, watch, and talk about what is happening, get up, get out, and start making things happen.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Greater Paterson OIC, its Board of Directors, or any other group or individual affiliated.

The Post: How to Engage in Making Positive Change appeared first on transformationtraining.net

Rule of 72

The Rule of 72 is a mathematic way to determine how much our money will increase over the years. By dividing 72 by the rate of return investors can get an estimate of how much your money will double in a few years. Using the Rule of 72 can allow you to retire happily in a stable financial environment. The money you earn is in your hands so why not make your money work for you while you don’t have to lift a finger?

This is how. 

Returning to Work After a Break is Not Impossible

Returning to your career after a break can be difficult but, with the right preparation it is achievable. Show employer in an interview that although you took a break you are committed to the business. In today’s society the biggest set back is technology. People who have been away from the working life for a while may not be up to date in the current technology use of their department. Volunteering in your field is also a good way to keep your mind and body active.  Provide examples of your work experience prior to the break that show you are willing to be fully invested. Don’t apologize for being out of the game prove to them that you are at the same level if not above your peers because of your break. Stay positive you are not the first person to take a career break and you will not be the last.

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