Is it already December? Time sure has flown by the past year for me and as we approach the winter holidays and New Years it’s only natural to think back on the happenings of the past and excitement for what’s to come. In just the past three months since my last post while working as an Associate at Techstars, I have; explored new territories (mostly Utah), gotten to know my puppy Luna (a whole-year-old as of today!), and have landed a job at the Foundry Group.
I don’t consider myself much of a writer. I like to think I am proficient at communicating what needs to be said in an orderly and logical fashion when it comes to business and gettings things done but have not taken to writing for fun. Perhaps, this is because reading has never been a passion of mine until lately. Over the past two years, I think I have read more books than my entire life up to the point. I think I can partially credit my increased prowess as a reader to getting a Kindle because I always had a few books on hand. While I am an early adopter and technology enthusiast, there is something to be said for physically turning the page of a book and seeing the progress as your bookmark creeps from the cover to the back. Sure, the Apple Books has done a slick job in digitizing the page turn and Kindle has a bar to show progress at the bottom (and will estimate how long to finish a chapter/book based on your reading speed) but sometimes it is still nice to curl up in bed with a good old fashioned book. In the 21st century is reading even still the best way to get information?
It seems relevant to the original purpose of this blog to discuss learning I have done this past year and how I plan to roll that over into next year and beyond. As corny as they are, I love quotes. I even keep a (digital) Journal of interesting ones I stumble upon and want to remember. Here are a few ones I especially like and some thoughts on how I relate to them at this current moment.
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” -Einstein
Immediately following my graduation from CU, I had the opportunity to work for some awesome folks at Techstars. It is safe to say I learned more in 3 months at Techstars than I did in 3 years at CU. This is not meant to discredit my degree or education at the university but just how outdated the system is. If you haven’t seen the TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson “Schools kill creaticity”, 1st, you should, 2nd, he discusses the idea of Inflation on Education and a ROE (Return on Education). Pretty much he says the current system is broken and was great for the industrial age training people in a field that they would likely stay in for their entire careers. That is not the reality in 2016 and higher education needs to adapt. MOOC’S (Massive Open Online Courses)
“Your weakness is usually an exaggeration of your strengths” credit to Professor Boss from the Leeds School of Business for this one.
So after I just got done saying how much I learned after I graduated from school, I came across this quote from an immensely impactful professor at CU, Russell Boss. I have found myself dig back through his class notes, especially one of his final lectures on “How to Become Invaluable in the workplace”. In addition to great lectures, there was some fantastic required reading: 7-habits of highly effective people, Good to Great, Speak like Churchill Stand Like Lincoln and many others. Back to the quote, think of a normal bell curve and your strength benefits you up to the very top of the curve, but at a certain point that strength is so exaggerated that it actually can become a weakness and blind you to other aspects. For myself, I have always been proud to be a “Yes man”, I loved saying yes if I could help someone out with something but at a certain point I was too busy helping other people all the time to help or take ample care of myself. This is the quote at work; I think it’s a strength to help people but at a certain point it becomes a weakness if it gets in the way of you taking care of yourself. Yet another lesson from his course was to never expect an unrecognized need to be met; if you have a problem with someone you have to address it otherwise the other person may not even know there is a problem and you are mad for no reason.
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” Einstein
“If you are driving safely while kissing a pretty woman you aren’t paying enough attention to her” Einstein
“The best thing to do is the right thing, the second best thing to do is the wrong thing, the worst thing to do is nothing.” – Teddy Roosevelt
Speaking of personal growth… I owe much of mine to my equal and better-looking half, Hannah. Since we first met over 4 years ago, she has challenged everything I thought I knew and believed in. Some might find this jarring, and it is, but to be taken out of your mental comfort level is what personal growth is all about. Hannah has encouraged me to speak out about issues I am passionate about and to take a stance and being silent when something is going around you is dangerous and has led to historic tragedies. It is extremely helpful to have an intelligent counterpart and sounding board, I couldn’t ask for a better one!
“The pessimist complains about the wind the optimist expects it to change the realist adjust the sail” -William A. Ward
For those that know me, I think it’s safe to say I’m an optimist. I always try to look at the good in people and situations. While this blind altruistic sentiment is feasible in the perfect world, real life is much more complex. Lately, I have been trying to see the realist side in addition to the optimistic one. Yes, the world can be an amazing place but there are real problems in the world that need fixing. As with most things in life, moderation is key and the more you truly try to understand another person’s point of view the more you will learn and ultimately the more successful you will be in life.
That’s all, happy holidays everybody and enjoy the winter!