Saturday, January 19, 2019

Bring You Own Bedding While Traveling

Traveling brings you not only the opportunity to see new sites, climb new mountains, and ski radical slopes but also puts you into contact with less than stellar sleeping accomodations.  Unless you're going to stay in the Hilton you will likely stay in older motels abundant in recreational areas. Older motels have older mattresses that could contain bed bugs and other disgusting things.

One of the ways to overcome this challenge is is to bring your own bedding. While sheets, pillow cases and blankets may be impractical to carry around while a sleeping bag might just be fine.

Because I love the outdoors I usually have a sleeping bag in my car. Now I make sure I almost always have one.

As a suggestion you may want to take off the bed cover. Few places wash them on a regular basis and instead use the "spot check" method. 

 If you experience unclean motel go ahead write a review. Some owners don't concern themselves with cleanliness issues unless it injures their pocketbook. I have seen gorgeous trendy motels that have high occupancy rates. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Helping Republicans and Democrats to Compromise: Moving from Moral Disagreement to Practical Compromise

Our government may be failing to fulfill its full potential. Democracies foundation is based on the ability of people to publicly discuss and debate issues in an effort to create general consensus. While consensus is helpful it rarely happens. In today's political environment, politicians have been voting strictly on party lines. This may be encouraging encampment and general dysfunction of government that in turn causes other problems when great solutions are squashed before discussion. Moving from morality to practicality should be of major concern for political leadership to end Washington dysfunction.

Image result for political debate
Creative Commons
Politicians often vote based on values that may not be open to compromise. According to a study in Neuroethics, moral foundations have a significant influence on political disagreement (Sauer, 2015). When people vote on moral lines they sometimes fail to see practicality as an essential need of governance.

To move beyond moral codes to compromise it is sometimes necessary to....

-See the bigger picture of the ultimate goals. Sometimes looking at the "big picture" dwarfs smaller issues.

-Be flexible in defining how one fulfills their moral code. There are many ways to help people and help one's supporters.

-Understand that moral codes are not universal but essentially alike. While the methods may change and moral codes are different based on one's background they do share similarities that can be used for bridging differences.

-Be willing to see another person's perspectives. Understanding another's perspective may help in adjusting your own.

-Encourage across the isle collaboration versus party competition.

-Avoid personal attacks that leads to dysfunctional dynamics and encampment.

-Think of people as part of the same process and not as the "other".

-Focus on research and facts.

-Remove people who can't compromise.

-Listen to outside stakeholders like business.

Sauer, H. (2015). Can't we all disagree more constructively? Moral foundations, moral reasoning and political disagreement. Dordrecht, 8 (2).

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Training Your Horse to Slalom from Walk to Canter

Three rules I think of when trying to train a horse to slalom between poles. I think of walk, trot, canter. Of course there are lots of little rules but the slalom is really about mobility of the horse. Are you able to use the horse the way you need with the dexterity needed for the situation. Can you move around obstacles without risk or running or injury?

The goal is to continuously increase your timing and improve upon your horses flying lead changes. WikiHow has some pretty good tips for flying lead changes

I'm a firm believer that someone should start slow in most cases and then move faster. When you start slow you protect your horse and yourself form making mistakes. Yes....people do make mistakes and I don't want to be one who loses out on an expensive (maybe not that expensive) horse.

One must also take into consideration the need to ensure that you as a rider have the hang of it as well. Your horse should be following your commands. If you do not know what to do you may be giving the wrong commands and therefore the horse responds in the wrong way.

Riding is a source of enjoyment and should not be stressful for you or the horse. While constant and persistent practice is necessary it is not necessary to run risks that you are not prepared to take. If you continue to practice you will find that you will naturally get more complex and with more accuracy. Keep on checking yourself through the process.

Why Self-Paced Virtual Training Is an Effective Solution to Military Budgets

Education and training is moving forward quickly and changes just about every day. While we once used paper books we now use e-books. Where training was typically covered in face-to-face settings there has been increasing use of online training methods. Research has shown that the use of self-paced virtual training increased military effectiveness. It is also cost effective and helps in balancing budgets.

Image result for military online trainingResearch into the use of self-paced study with multimedia interactivity led to improved cost effective training (Wang & Egudo, 2018). When self-paced programs used sufficient technology, had parallel vs only sequential learning, and were developed well can teach military students the technical skills they need without as much cost as traditional methods.

As I see it there are three advantages which include:

1. Portability
2. Budgets
3. Accountability

This can be important in situations where troops are moving around a lot or need to update their skills while located out in the field. Portability means they can use learning devices, phones, etc... that allow them to continue to develop their skills while working. No matter where they go, the training can go with them.

Budgets are also a big concern for the public. As budgets become constrained and public stakeholders demand wise use of money, they will naturally want costs to decrease. Under this pressure it is beneficial to implement online training where it is feasible to do so. Much of the information that is used on the ground is learned in the classroom.

Online self-paced learning also offers opportunities for accountability. Not only accountability of the overseeing learning organization but also of the student that must show he/she has mastered certain skills before moving on. Online courses have developed powerful assessment tools to ensure some level of learning has occurred.

Today's world is different than yesterdays, and tomorrows will continue to change. Online self-paced learning is opening up new opportunities to create higher levels of portable learning that fits within government budgets and can encourage accountability. Face-to-face will continue to be an important part of military learning but by implementing new forms of education the military can save some of their budgets for other needed activities.

Wang, J. & Egudo, R. (2018). Introduce self-paced learning in military technical trades training. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology, 9 (4).

Carry NOT the Things You DON'T Need While Enjoying Nature!!!

Hikers of all kinds constantly pack too much stuff and then load themselves to the point of making their outdoor excursion less than fulfilling. Leave behind the things you don't need and keep your gear light. If you are an "over-packer" consider a much smaller strap backpack.

It all comes down to the same thing! Tooooo muchhhhhh stufff!!

Too much stuff can slow you down, put excess where and tear on body, and cause other problems such as slips and falls. Whether I am trekking through the streets of Rome or jumping rivers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan it is necessary to be light and nimble.

One way I force myself to take exactly what I need is to use a day pack. It holds the essentials such as water bottle, phone, wallet, fishing gear, etc... It is a versatile pack that can be stowed away almost anywhere such as your car.

This pack retails for around $11 delivered. You can review online below.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Painting Under the Blazing Sun

Painting is about expressing one's emotions and values onto canvas. It could be just a moment in time, or something that transcends time. This painting in particular is about the contrast between hot and cold. The desert is hot but in the distance is the mountains that have snow. That even in the hottest places on earth we only need to go up to reach a different environment.

While I can never pretend to be the best painter in the world, and I have experienced the knocks for liking things like painting in a lumberjack sort of place of growing up, I find that it is an enjoyable experience. It contains within it the ability to connect with one's emotions and understand what truly motivates our inner life.

Painting, like poems, like music, like acting, and like other activities is about development. It is about creating a refined sense of understanding of the world. It moves beyond our daily tasks and into something that pushes society forward. These are creative activities that lead to a better world and a better way of experiencing life. Those who "knock it" also knock themselves because they only add to the world and take nothing away.

Haiku Poem-Blazing Sun

Desert Sun, 
Burn Bright, 
Snub the Light!

If you are interested in this painting you may buy it on Ebay for relatively cheap. Its an original. :)

Friday, January 11, 2019

How to Improve Firm Performance Through Understanding CEO Personality

A company's success depends on the business leader's personality. Each decision becomes an extension and projection of one's inner core experiences. Whether we are discussing global policy or the internal dynamics of the business the CEO and their personality will percolate throughout the entire economic system. Helping business leaders and investors understand the powerful influences of CEO personalities on business decisions and their potential outcome.

Personality Influences Innovation and Business Management Outcomes

For example, we may want to look at small and medium size businesses and their leaders to determine if personality somehow impacts firms success. Based on the personality traits of CEOs they found that certain traits like conscientiousness, openness, agreeableness, and willingness to learn influenced company outcomes (Man-pil, Bong-ihn,& Joon-ho, 2017). More specifically, conscientiousness and openness to experience lent itself to innovation while agreeableness positively influenced business management outcomes.

Those at the very top of the organization influenced the rest of the organization with their personalities and choices. They provide signals to others on how to make decisions that will please their boss and so on and so forth. Such dispositions make their way throughout the organization to influence others who complete the tasks that make the "vision" possible. For example, it becomes increasingly difficult to run an innovative business with executive personalities that are adverse to risk and force managers to justify all numbers instead of take risks.

Personality Predicts Firm Policies:

What if we could predict firm performance through the personalities of their executives? Based on the Big Five personality traits agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience the executive personalities influence firm policies (Tgow, Kaplan, Larkcker & Zakolyukina, 2016).

How we view the world, and how we solve problems, becomes written in paper for others to follow in the form of a policy. These policies are direct extensions of personality. If we have fear of the world we may write policies that restrict information while people more open to experience are likely to write more policies open to information sharing.

Where Do Policies Truly Form?

The root of our policy decisions are made decades before people walk into the board room. Personalities are developed from our childhood experiences and how we formulate an understanding of the world around us. Cox and Cooper found that ambition, ability to learn from adversity, internal locus of control, and a high dedication to the job impacted firm success (1989). These personality traits were formed throughout childhood and impact every part of our decision making.

How Does Personality Impact Our Economic Choices?

Personality determines how we view the world and therefore impacts just about everything we think about. Research has helped highlight that even the concept of protectionism is driven by our inner most construction of our world view (Johnson, 2013). Whether one is more prone to open or closed markets is based in early formations of our understandings of life.

The Importance of Helping Executives Understand their Personality:

Helping executives understand the influence of personality, backgrounds, and how decisions improves upon their decision making. If one executive is prone to making rash decisions, he/she can learn to understand how their personality's influence on such decisions and how those decision impact the company. The development of self-awareness is an important process of development.

One must think before they act and evaluate all of the alternatives versus relying on automatic responses learned in childhood. Critical thought and depth of analysis helps to create higher levels of performance outcomes as actions are aligned better to desired outcomes. The stronger one's reflective control, the more likely they will be able to make choices that lead to the highest outcomes.

How can You Improve your own Decision Making?

1.) Self-reflect on behavior and choices.

2. Find patterns in your decision making and pay attention to what you do and think before making these decisions.

3. Consult with others and exports to determine the best approaches.

4. Take stock of your resources and potential outcome.

5. Check back with your business and personal goals before making a decision.

6. Make those decisions that provide the most options.

Cox, C. & Cooper, C. (1989). The making of the British CEO: childhood, work experience, personality and management style. Academy of Management Executive, 3 (3).

Gow, I., Kaplan, S., Larcker, D. & Zakolyukina, A. (July, 2016). CEO personality and firm policies. Stanford Graduate School of Business-Working Papers.

Johnston, C. (2013). Dispositional sources of economic protectionism. Public Opinion Quarterly, 77 (3).

Man-pil, H., Bong-ihn, S. & Jooon-ho, K. (2017). Effects of six personality factors of ceo's at small and medium sized enterprises on performance in business management: focusing on learning and growth. Asian Academy of Management Journal, 22 (2).

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Why are Short Videos Effective for Marketing? 5 Tips for Creating Videos that Sell!

Video content is quickly becoming a popular method of marketing products and ideas to a content hungry class of people. In an effort to improve marketing returns, companies are putting together short video clips a few seconds to a few minutes long with rich content that attracts interested customers. Thus far the strategy has been effective and leads to higher sales revenue.

For example, researchers found that short clips (i.e. trailers) increased the amount of people watching movies. They were motivated by their emotional connections to the content. The study tracked web-based facial-expressions to determine viewers real time intentions to watch movies (Xuan, Shi, & Teixeira, 2018). Well constructed short video clips predicted the emotional intentions to watch a certain movie.

That leads us to the question of why such online marketing videos work? Companies are finding that these videos are a cost effective marketing method of reaching their audience in a way that inspires them to act. With modern software they can also be relatively easy to products and put online.

Reasons why a company may consider video marketing....

-Short clips are quick and easy to watch.

-Short don't require a lot of effort to watch reducing customer investment.

-Short clips are fairly easy to create in a cost effective manner.

-Short clips can be spread by social media without major data costs.

-Short clips are like a business card that points people to a website/business.

-Short clips can have rich messages.

-Short clips are more memorable.

-Short clips are emotional and can create motivation.

Videos are not only a way of disseminating interesting information they also are connected to emotions that lead to greater purchase motivation (Kujur & Singh, 2018). Emotional content impacts our feelings and perceptions. In turn, these feelings and perceptions lead to greater emotional purchasing.

Videos creates feelings such as, "I wish I could climb a mountain like them" which may lead to something like purchase of hiking boots; perhaps even the same ones shown in the commercial. The buyer may not have thought about how likely they are to do these things but instead acted off of impulse to make an impulse purchase.

When a company is lucky they may have one of their videos go viral. When this occurs they get loaded with with millions of clicks. Sometimes viral videos even hit the major news agencies such as CNN creating a huge bump in sales and brand awareness.

We also find that online dynamics such as links and offline social capital predict whether or not videos will go viral (Khan & Vong, 2014). People will share a video if they can create links to it and they have an active interest in it such as environmentalism, music, sports, etc..

Short videos are relatively cheap to produce, depending on quality and need, and can be an effective marketing tool. There are a few tips that can help you create an effective video.

1. Be unique and create and experience.

2. Tap emotions with imagery and sound.

3. Keep the video under a few minutes in length.

4. Use the video in groups that share similar interests to create sharing and links.

5. Sell your company in the video with clear final messages.

Khan, G. & Vong, S. (2014). Virality over Youtube: an empirical analysis. Internet Research, (24), 5.

Kujur, F. and Singh, S. (2018). Emotions as predictor for consumer engagement in YouTube advertisement. Journal of Advances in Management Research, 15 (2).

Xuan, L., Savannah W., S., Thales, T., et. al. (2018). Video content marketing: the making of clips. Journal of Marketing, 83 (4).

Sunday, December 23, 2018

When Should You Bring a Shoulder Pack or Full Back Pack to Your Outdoor Adventure?

Hiking and hunting are a mainstay of life for people who create the outdoor lifestyle. When considering your next outdoor adventure make sure you choose wisely between a full backpack or a smaller shoulder strap pack to optimize your performance. The dirt trail and the type of excursion should help guide you when making an appropriate decision on what to bring and what not to bring.

I have seen it time again and again people head out on the trail with either too much or too little gear. On one hand they weigh themselves down with unnecessary items and on the other hand they risk having the extra gear they need to spend the night. Below are a few points you should consider if you are deciding which to bring.


-The trail is long or the terrain difficult with even the remotest chance you will be forced to spend the night.
-You are carrying any gear.
-Your humping other people's stuff.
-Your cell phone won't work.
-You have young people and need additional safety items.

Shoulder Pack:

-You need a place to store limited items such as wallet, cell phone, bottle or water, etc....
-You have less than half a day's hike and you know you have access to shelter.
-Your cell phone works and you can call for help.
-You are only carrying for yourself.
-You need lightweight and limited capacity.

If you need a shoulder pack I will make a suggestion here. I have bought a couple of these and they work great for day hikes. There is enough room to put your keys, wallet, water bottle, and small safety kit. Furthermore, when I travel I have keep it with me so I don't need to load down my pockets. It is also harder for people to steel your wallet.

There is one left at $12.00 with free shipping in the U.S. It fits almost all size people because the straps are adjustable. This is new and never used. The one I have hasn't broken yet despite continued use.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Self-Identity in the Development of the Gifted? Until.....

Gifted adults come from a long line of thinking, feeling, and acting differently when compared to other people. Their higher intelligence causes them to interact with their world in lush way that leads to a deeper understanding of the environment. Their biology impacts what stimuli they experience, while their child rearing influences how they feel about themselves in the world. That is true at least until.......

The gifted begin to understand these perceptual differences among people and how to navigate their social environment. When the gifted have formulated a core identity and learn how to interact with others, they can create a better perception of self.

Understanding the self makes a huge difference in whether they will under perform or move into genius status.

Morelock explains giftedness as.... "Trying to fit in at the expense of the Self leads many gifted people to feel like aliens from a different planet ..." ( 1998, p. 205).

The alien feeling is about knowing one is different and not knowing why. No one stepped up to see the potential and develop it fully so the genius can live a happy and fulfilling life.

Their quantitative and qualitative from the bell curve average puts them on a different path of trajectory. Strong environments will create a positive trajectory while difficult environments may derail the person into a world of mediocre. We lose our geniuses in our common everyday experiences.

Gifted students need support throughout their developmental process to ensure they truly understand themselves, the world around them, and their place within it. The process of developing and creating a sense of self will make the difference between those who perform and those who won't.

Why should we care?

Genius is a community activity raised from the crop of human development. If the community doesn't support it; or worse shuns it! The genius will hide his/her skills and move to more mundane activities that let them fit in. On the flip side, if our society develops the gifted to push them to contribute to society we create a stronger country and better world.

Morelock, M. J., (1996). On the nature of giftedness and talent: Imposing order on chaos. Roeper Review, 19, 4-12.