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Archive for November, 2009

Never Miss An Opportunity To Be Fabulous

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

My passion for the moment (OK, for more than a moment – probably more like a lifetime) has been entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.  How can I get my students thinking more creatively, viewing problems as opportunities, rather than just problems?  How can I get pharmacy students (who by their nature are perfectionists) OK with trying new things and ideas out and failing?  These are the things that keep me up at night.

However, I had the chance this morning between study breaks to catch up on videos at Authors@google on You Tube and caught this one by author and Stanford professor, Tina Seelig.  I love her ideas, but my favorite was the last message she left her audience with – which is: Never Miss An Opportunity To Be Fabulous.

I’ll admit, I’m not always fabulous – I have bad days just like everyone else.  But I also think along the lines of Go Big or Go Home.  That also ties into the failure bit she discusses as well.  We need to fail fast and frequently in order to be fabulous.

failure x frequency -> fabulousness

Maybe an F isn’t so bad afterall.  But, I’d prefer to not get an F on either my Con Law or Property finals, so I’m going back to work…but try and ruminate on that one – and I hope that you too never turn down an opportunity to be fabulous!

Two Million+ Reasons To Be Thankful

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

A friend of mine recommended I watch a movie for an upcoming program I’m attending.  It is called Two Million Minutes. It basically says that, using higher math, a student between 8th grade and graduation from high school has about two million minutes to decide what the heck they want to do with the rest of their lives.  The movie follows 2 high school students here in the US (in good old Carmel, IN), two students in China, and 2 in India.

My first reaction to the movie as I watched it was, “we’re screwed”.  Our high school math and science stats are horrifically inadequate compared to students in other countries.  But my second response was, “damn, I’m lucky and thankful” because I had and am having the chance to not only go to undergrad and graduate from college, but I’m now working on my 4th degree.  I’m super thankful for the opportunity.  However, we’ve got to figure out how to get more of us through the system, and not only get through it, but flourish through it, in order to become our best selves, give back, and be up on that Maslow cat’s hierarchy!  If we don’t…guess what?  The American Dream is going to be severely and radically altered, and not in a good way.

The second not so gentle reminder this weekend I received was an email from a friend of a friend who sent along a Powerpoint of his tour of duty in Iraq.  He’s still there.  The pictures aren’t pretty.  The cities over there totally need to be rebuilt.  People are living in bombed out shells of buildings.  They aren’t lucky.  Furthermore, neither are our troops lucky while being in harm’s way, and neither are their families lucky because they are gone this Thanksgiving.

Maybe, by next Thanksgiving, we could pull all of our troops out of that area of the world, and take the money spent on guns and ammunition, and instead spend it on education and rebuilding.  That way, we can grow engineers and scholars to help us learn how to rebuild better, more peaceful cities.  Finally, maybe we can all learn some more lessons on diplomacy and how to get along as a global community.

I am thankful, for these 2+ million reasons this holiday that I live in this country and had all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had…but I wonder, how can we get more people to that thankful place?

A Rant (NOT from the Ivory Tower)

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel the need to begin…a rant.

This blog post was floating around the ether of the internet today.  And it’s not the first time I’ve heard that the tipping point of higher education is coming, if not already here.

Here’s the rant:  I get the feeling that a lot of people out there think those of us in academia are pent up in some aforementioned “ivory tower”, where we never converse with the “real world”, nor have any clue what’s going on out there in the “real world.”

I am here to state that I have never been in any sort or type of ivory tower.  In fact, my reflective statement and teaching philosophy is and has always been – to bring in the real world into my classroom.  It is not fair for me to pontificate regarding my profession if I’m not in its trenches on a daily basis.  I view myself as “educator”, to instead be a “connector” and drag the real world into the classroom, not vice-versa.

Specifically, the majority of professors who teach in my college actually work in the “real world” ON TOP OF teaching.  They have a site-based practice (in the “real world”) and they also come onto campus (or stay off campus at their sites) and teach.  The pharmacy program is constructed around didactic learning, but more importantly real world learning through final year rotations out in the ‘real world’ and even more ‘real world’ training before the final year.

I can’t speak for other programs at other colleges and universities.  But, I can speak for myself as an educator.  There really is no ivory tower.  And, after today, I doubt I’ll even utilize the term, because it really should only be reserved for fairy tales.  While I as a student certainly understand that the price tag of education is getting near-outrageous, one should be very careful to generalize all education programs to the masses as completely ivory tower and not practical.

Now, back to the real world!

It’s all about the LDP

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

As a student of the awesome,  I’m a little perplexed these days, or not.

We are still in an economic ‘downturn’ according to most. However, on the flip side, (and being a Twilight junkie) we have witnessed that New Moon, the 2nd movie of the Twilight series, had the highest pre-show ticket sales on, EVER, and a $26M opening at the box office for just the midnight show.  (As one of my friends said, one must respect the 15 year old with that number.  Agreed!)

As we awaited the midnight show ourselves, a group of friends and I had dinner and chatted about the usual stuff – but we then went around the table and described our favorite thing about the Twilight series…was it the books? The movies? Or, something else?

Here’s my favorite thing about it, and honestly, it really doesn’t have much to do with the books or the movies.  It was simply that Stephenie Meyer wrote the books because SHE wanted to know the ending to her story.  She was haunted by her dream of Edward and Bella in that meadow, and wanted to know if they in fact lived happily ever after, or went somewhere else in life.  Her love, drive and passion for finishing up the story for herself was and is my favorite thing about the entire Twilight package.

Also, Daniel Pink has a new book coming out on Drive – or intrinsic motivation.  I’ll be pouring over this one during the holidays (I’ve got a few law school finals to cram for before then anyway)…but intrinsic motivation, or drive, is a very, very powerful force.  It will be interesting to see just how powerful Mr. Pink deems it to be.  It certainly was powerful for Ms. Meyer.

So, after the love, the drive, there must also be passion.  Those who I know who rock at their work have passion for it.  They are rabidly, eagerly, and tenaciously passionate about what they do.  It is another force that compels them forward.  I’ve often asked many a successful entrepreneur, business person or brazen careerist what in fact makes them passionate about something.  I don’t always get a straight answer, but it might just be that passion, like other things, is what it is.  It’s on or off, just like a light switch.  And when it’s on, it’s on like Donkey Kong – it’s REALLY on!

I’m starting to think about my goals for 2010 as I often do near the end of one year and the start of the next.  Three elements I’ll be sure to cram in and seek out in this coming year’s goals?  Love, drive, and passion.  If I’m doing something and it doesn’t have the LDP contained within it, why am I doing it in the first place?

The Right to Rock

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

I’ve been following Jeff C’s blog on the Entrepreneurial Mind.  He posted recently on the unemployment rate in the US, and the theory that it might in fact go up.  Way up.  Even up to 20%.  That’s one in five, folks (using higher math).  I think this begs immediate attention and a refocus of our educational system.

That refocus leads to the following question:  Are we teaching and educating our kids how to go out and get jobs, or are we teaching them how to go out and CREATE jobs?  I argue we must be doing the latter rather than former, pronto, and forevermore should we wish to remain competitive.

Next, and if so, HOW does education change in order to get today’s students to become tomorrow’s job creators?  Last but certainly not least, this REALLY isn’t a specific industry or educational degree issue.  THIS ISSUE is a PROBLEM for ALL OF US!  It really doesn’t matter if we are a welder, a baker, or a candlestick maker.  Who cares what we are, if we can’t create some work and good for each other?!?

If you, like me, teach – I implore you to start asking yourself these tough questions, and start seeking answers for your classrooms.  Otherwise, we are all going to be out of work, and other countries will be creating gigs for their people, leaving our great, formerly (and currently) entrepreneurial country in the dust.

Kelly’s Angels

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Jaclyn Smith = Kelly Garrett -> on Charlie’s Angels.  ANYONE who grew up in the 70s and 80s totally gets it.

So, let’s revive the concept, modernize it, and make Kelly…CHARLIE! (I can’t claim this idea, I’m sure someone somewhere has already discussed it)  AND THEN, let’s make her Angels DUDES!  Here’s the list of actors who could be Kelly’s Angels:

Orlando Bloom
George Clooney
Rob Pattinson!
Ryan Reynolds
Will Smith
Gilles Marini
Ashton Kutcher
Rupert Friend
Hugh Jackman

Furthermore, let’s put a show on TV called “Ideation” and bring in a new smart panel of different peeps in each week to brainstorm ideas on national TV – like healthcare, the debt, homelessness, and other major problems. Or, make it an ideas contest…winner is the person who came up with the most, or most radical, ideas. Not only might we come up with some awesome implementable ideas, BUT it would SHOW OTHERS how to SOLVE PROBLEMS, and maybe that rub off would do even more good!

TV Execs and Movie Producers: if you need more ideas, call me…!  I’ve got more where that came from!!!!

Being John Malkovich…and Other Cool Peeps

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Being John Malkovich was a freaky movie.  Freaky in a good way!  The idea of being able to literally crawl into someone’s head is a really fascinating concept.  And while I’m happy being me most of the time, I think it would be SUPER cool to be able to crawl into the following people’s heads – just for an hour or a day:

1.  Alexandre Desplat – composer that makes some of the most beautiful music for movie scores…where does the sound come from that fits the movie and the characters so well?  One of my favorites he did was the soundtrack for the movie, Birth.

2.  Angela Merkel – the chancellor/woman/head of state for a G7 country in the world.  SIGN ME UP for what’s floating around in her head for a day!

3.  Takashi Murakami – artist that creates some wicked cool stuff.  Where do HIS ideas come from???

4.  The Dalai Lama – kind of a no-brainer choice…although, I’m sure his mind is pretty, quiet.  Which is a quality in a mind I could definitely use more of myself!

5.  Steven Spielberg – ditto to Murakami and Desplat on the ideas – !  Seriously, WHERE do they come from, and how do you take an idea in the head and turn it into an entire movie???

The big question: what heads would you want to crawl into, and what parts of the heads are you really wanting to know more about?  It is fun to think about!

Flat Stanley: The Whuffie Yardstick

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

So, I went to dinner at my brother’s house tonight (don’t let him know I said this, but he’s an AWESOME cook! I don’t cook.  I burn things.)  Anyway, his girlfriend, Traci, had a cut out laminated cartoon of a boy on the kitchen table.  I found this…odd.  Enquiring minds wanted to know.

“What is that?” I asked.

“It’s a flat Stanley,” she replied.

Ok, I usually think I’m semi-hip to stuff, but I had no idea what the hell a flat Stanley was.

Now I know.

One of her nephews was working on the project, where Flat Stanley had to travel to other places and have someone record his journey.  Kind of like the garden gnome in Amelie (LOVED that movie, BTW..!)  She was getting ready to send her nephew’s flat Stanley back to her nephew with a list of adventures he partook within while here in Indianapolis.

I have my very own little flat Stanley project – but sssshhhh…it’s top secret.  I can barely share it here on my blog.  But I think the Garden Gnome, or Flat Stanley projects can tell us something about ourselves. They are extraordinary tales about how we are all one, or how we are all socially connected to each other.  And this is the favorite part about such adventures by Flat Stanleys, Garden Gnomes, or…Bobbleheads (that’s as far as I can go on my own project).  These are fantastic exercises in social capitalism at its finest.  It is Whuffie!  It is a literal measurement of the power of social capital…and that rocks!

If you ever get a Garden Gnome, or a flat Stanley in your life, take it on a wild adventure!  You’ll surprise yourself at just how creative you can be, and all the while, you get to share your adventure with someone else along for the ride…

…not just flat Stanley, either!

The New & Exciting

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Super cool stuff as I float through the internet and blogosphere:

1.  Scent: the final frontier. Scented EVERYTHING – commercials, playgrounds, nostalgia, USB storage devices – you name it, it’s probably scented…somewhere.

2.  Mobile gourmet…and thanks, Twitter for the locale!  And listen up chefs – it’s cheaper to start up a truck than it is a restaurant…!

3.  There’s an app for that. Maybe. If not now, soon.

4.  Bling. On everything. Probably because we need shiny sparkly and fun anywhere we can get it these days.

5.  Giving back. Whether you’re starting a charter school like Tony Bennett or Andre Agassi, donating blood, or just helping out how you can in a way meaningful for you, congrats!

6.  And did you really think I wouldn’t put in something about the Twinomenon?  Try this parody by the Harvard Lampoon, Nightlight.

The Jane Goodall of Rock Stars

Friday, November 13th, 2009

If you know me, you know I love the term “rock star”.  I throw it around a lot, because I believe each and every person has a rock star within.  There is something that he or she absolutely, amazingly possesses and can totally contribute to the world to make it a far, far better place.  This is what I call the rock star factor within themselves.

So, then, sometimes people joke and say that I’m a rock star. One of my friends asked me today how I describe myself.  I am here to say, definitively, that I AM NOT A ROCK STAR.  Instead, I deem myself a rock star anthropologist–a studier of the rock star in his or her natural environment.  The Jane Goodall of rock stars!  Now THAT is a title I can embrace!

I’m a couple of other things too…in thinking a little more deeply about it today–part gemologist, part zeitgeist hunter.

I think people are a lot like rocks.  (While we are using the term rock star, let’s deconstruct…)  Rocks are fascinating to me.  When I was a little kid, I collected them…even before I collected stamps (I love those too).  My favorite thing about them?  They were multifaceted and rich in variety.

That’s why people are like rocks.  They are deep, multifaceted, and rich in variety.  So, that makes me a bit of a gemologist in my daily life too – because I like to see and unearth the facets, the variety, the sparkli-ness of each individual I meet.  I dig that….LITERALLY!

As for the zeitgeist hunter, well, I LOVE that title too.  I love chatting about and discovering the future.  To me, where we are heading IS the zeitgeist, so heck yeah, I want to chase that sucker down!  I want to know where we are heading, and then try to figure out how it all fits together.  Because we really are all one big bundle of collective energy – it just was split up in fragments along the way.

In conclusion, I am NOT a rock star, but I love collecting rocks, rock stars’ stories, studying peoples’ diversity and facets, and chasing the zeitgeist.

If they come up with a one word word for all that, BRING IT!