The current episode of Star Talk is about a interesting tool, that could have the ability to improve how we consume news. Neil and Chuck (yes I am on a first name basis with them) interview Max Tegmark: a physicist from MIT and the developer of ImproveTheNews.org. This open source site allows/ encourages the reader to "choose your news diet the way you aim to choose your food: deliberately rather than impulsively" with the use of sliders.
The video (about 5 minutes) explains how to use the website. I also encourage you to give this episode of Star Talk a listen as the guest speakers do a much better job explaining the current issues with news and journalism than I could.
I believe ImproveTheNews.org could be a great asset to students and teachers in the classroom.
How could you implement this tool?
"Victims have big TVs, leaders have big libraries."
-The Tycoon, The 5 am Club
"Poor people have big TVs, rich people have big libraries."
-Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author, and speaker
The 5 am Club: Owning Your Morning, Elevate Your Life by Robin Sharma is an interesting book. I am on my second listen on Audible. I may be a little bit in love with this book, even though I almost quit listening to it the first time.
The formatting of this self-development (formerly known as self-help) book is different from any book in this genre that I have ever come across. Instead of the author telling us how to make our lives better, Sharma has taken himself out of the equation. The concepts covered in the book the reader learns about via a hallmark movie type story (I mean that in the best possible way). The main players in the story are:
"There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches."
As the book opens, the tycoon is described as a homeless man. Although a bit skeptical (guess which one), the artist and the entrepreneur trust the homeless man/ tycoon and take him up on his offer to go to his island "called solitude." Even if you are not a religious person, we have all heard stories of characters who aren't beautiful (or are different in some way from the norm) offering help to the protagonist. Sometimes the protagonist refuses to help (or refuses to receive the support offered), and they are punished. Disney's Beauty and the Beast comes to mind. In other stories, the protagonist (sometimes against others' warnings) takes the help, and their path to the goal is eased. But I think that modern media gives us very few of these stories. The different are usually just plain ole bad/ evil and have nothing to offer.
The central learning from this self-development book can be simplified into three points.
Granted this those points are not just with Sharma but with self-development books in general.
The pull yourself up by your boot straps/ all you have to do is...
The artist and the entrepreneur both have the time/ resources to just up and leave to go on an adventure with the billionaire. I have been a single mother since 2001. If I had gone to this conference and meet the homeless man, I would not have been able to go (as much as I would have wanted to). Both characters also have freedom in their careers (the entrepreneur owns her company, and the artist is a freelancer. What about those who have to clock in/out of a 9 to 5?
And if we forget about the fictional opportunity of the adventure (gosh, Jamie, that's why the man wrote the book). The book's main concept is waking up at 5 am and using that first hour to change your life, but although we all have 24 hour days, not everyone's 24 hours are equal. Beyonce can get more out of her 24 hours than I am. She has a staff that probably includes a chief, trainer, personal shopper, and things I haven't even thought of. I can get more of my 24 hours than someone who has to work zero-hour contracts (and therefore has to work multiple jobs). I have health insurance, some savings, and I don't have to worry about having enough to pay my bills.
This book and many others like it do not acknowledge that resources (even time) are not applied equally to everyone in society.
"When people talk about the good old days, I say to people, 'It's not the days that are old, it's you that's old.' I hate the good old days. What is important is that today is good."
In the past, they had the answer. If only we didn't have modern technology, we all would be perfect people.
It erks me when authors use the past as shorthand for all that is right and good and paint technology with the brush of evil. There have always been humans who are exceptional (the overachievers and the layabouts), and there have always been humans who are just getting through life (the majority of us). I do not understand why writers feel the need to compare the imperfect present with the supposedly perfect past. I think this comparison takes away from the actual message. The message that no matter your place, position, or personality, if you follow the prescribed plan, you to can be great.
Why is every self-development writer a Luddite? I wonder if they were writing their books if they would hate on using the printing press, the steam engine, or the loom. I agree that all new technology comes with contemporary issues and consequences. Still, the answer is not getting rid of the technology. Like your daily coffee (from your coffee house of choice) isn't making you poor, having a smartphone isn't making you stupid and lazy (I can be lazy without using my phone, thank you very much).
The 5 am Club doesn't include any new innovations in the world of self-development; it is a nice easy listen. If you purchase the Audible, it comes with a PDF that contains the models that are covered.
Have you read the 5 am Club? What did you think about it? Do you have any self-development suggestions (I am looking for suggestions written by people of color and women).
2020 was interesting
Wow! It's been quite a while, and so much has happened in the world since September 2019 (my last post). I almost don't know where to start.
I am the mother of a high school graduate (Class of 2020). Yeah! But he was unable to attend his chosen university (boo! Pandemic). So he decided to take a gap year (which I think makes him sound very posh). He has used this year to continue to work on his art skills. He's taking French classes in preparation for making his move (name it and claim it) to an art academy there. In the next month or so, he should be hearing back from the schools.
We no longer live and China. We are now residents of Turkey. I am attempting to learn Turkish (we will see how it goes). I know some of you may be thinking that I decided to leave China because of Co-Vid19, but the decision to move to Turkey was made before the outbreak. Moving across the world (twice during a pandemic) was a bit daunting. We made it safely with no significant incident (canceled flights and long layovers aside).
Being a teacher at a new school in a new country is always a challenge. And I sure picked a doozy of a year to make the change. This past year has been tough (to say the least). I have yet to meet my students properly. It has been challenging building relationships with the kids, their parents, and even my fellow teachers.
This school year has been very isolating for everyone. I try to give every child the time to talk, share jokes, and show pets. In Turkey, children (and the elderly) are on a much stricter lockdown (only allowed out during a four-hour window). Not only are kids not getting social interactions from school it is also much more difficult for them to engage with people outside of their households. The word on the street is starting next month; some grades will start back with in-person school (families may decide to opt-out), but this may change.
I'm off to finish dinner.
Be smart, stay safe, and I wish you good health.
A teacher from the United States of America, currently teaching abroad. I teach science to middle and high school students. I enjoy reading and doing nerd things.