Monday, February 8, 2016

If you must have liberty

On Sustainability, a meta-exercise in the collective human experience.
子曰
不患無位
患所以立
不患莫己知求為可知也

(Do good work, earn respect. - The Analects

Let's start with the “self-premise" – that all human activity are self-interested. This presents an interesting puzzle, doesn't it? How would you reconcile the self-interest with collective drive towards sustainability? How would you set the proverbial Wittgensteinian fly out of the bottle? It is a game we play after all; what are the rules?

There are a few philosophical premises that can serve as a starting point. For example, some believe it is possible to connect passion with work; and from here we begin a pursuit in the self-interested sustainability: that we are happy doing what we do and therefore we are willing to grind the labor for the results. For this premise to work properly on a collective human level, we'd have to ignore human nature such as greed. Our world becomes an endless moment of now perfectly distilled to the best of possible. Greed is irrelevant because all things are simply preordained. This is something Leibniz has well established as a theory long ago and one that a self-disrespecting religious person would gladly accept. The cliché goes, ignorance is bliss after all.

But given the deteriorating political climates around the world these days, it is at least questionable if we are indeed living in the best of all possible worlds. Could this really be the best we must suffer? If not, however, how would we reconcile with the paradoxes of time's arrow?

An imagination unconstrained is an unreliable guide. Leaving theoretical physics (time's arrow quandaries) aside as a constraint (as you are welcome to dispense of the time's arrow arguments at your own pleasure), for the moment let's put some societal constraints around our imagination to the act of “doing good work”—put a context around it so to speak:

What does “doing good work mean?” A notable western legal scholar, Robert M. Cover, once pondered this constrained premise and wrote:

“The rules and principles of justice, the formal institutions of the law, and the conventions of a social order are, indeed, important to that world; they are, however, but a small part of the normative universe that ought to claim our attention. No set of legal institutions or prescriptions exists apart from the narratives that locate it and give it meaning.

For every constitution there is an epic, for each decalogue a scripture. Once understood in the context of the narratives that give it meaning, law becomes not merely a system of rules to be observed, but a world in which we live.” 

The normative world, to Cover, is something that enriches the self-interested world through the rule of law as its means to an end in a better world. In this regard, we are not predestined but we chose to practice civil society, with rules and laws and all that good stuff to ensure the self-premise fits properly into the collective experience. Here, we are able to intelligibly talk about how to connect passion to our work, and we find meaning in the phrase “doing good work.”

Yet, appearance of simplicity can be deceiving. Connecting passion to good work is tremendously difficult. Passions are often abundant and talents can be trained. But translating passion and talent into productive work towards a sustainable end requires a certain guidance of wisdom that comes only from the deep introspections into experiences. Experiences are trials and tribulations, and introspection almost certainly requires patience and fearlessness. Trials and tribulations, well those are the things one must tolerate in life. But more often than not, we have little patience for their introspections in the modern productive public life. The seeds have already been planted. Nothing is left to be grown, and all must be simply tended to as they are required to produce. The agrarian way of life has ended and the industrial and information age has begun. But without the outwardly projected introspection (yes an irony, I know) of the self-premise in growing something, we would not be able to frame the context around the meaning of “doing good work.” Without a context, we cannot conduct and direct our collective discourse. Only a directed collective human experience can help us move towards a sustainable future. We are just not going to stumble on it by accident by ourselves.

But politicians and magicians, corporations alike, are able to manipulate our attention spans into fractions, incoherent, and demand that we be productive and not attempt to grow. We are distracted, by the glitters and glory, by the busyness of life. While connecting passion to work is tremendously difficult and unavoidable, it has become more or less meaningless. Our discourse becomes irrelevant because someone else is setting the rules. We are merely here paying to play. The pursuit of life, liberty, and property carefully disguised as pursuit of happiness. A miserable life it becomes as we assume something else as the normative universe, someone else's normative universe. Where is the liberty in that? How would you explain freewill?

Freewill in society is extrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation is something money can buy and over which power can be exercised. Upon this theory we confer citizenship, credit, and all the other modernly things we come to know as law. There lay the answer to the paradox: in the ages we struggle to find freewill we have completely turned freewill into a right and privilege, not an obligation and responsibility. Duty and loyalty gradually lost their own respective context amongst the heroes of history. Freedom fighters are equivalent to terrorists in the modern sense and it is a dangerous thing. It divides our collective human experience into parts unknown. Terrorist, after all, are cowards. Freedom fighters are heroes and they stand for better things.

As I invoke the ancient Confucius saying in the beginning of this essay:

不患無位
患所以立
不患莫己知求為可知也 

I mean to point out: freedom is the self-recognition earned through one's own responsibility to doing good work in a context of what good work means for others—a unattainable goal but forever perpetuating a harmonious and sustainable society moving forward in time, or so I hope.

If you must have liberty, then take the duty to defend it. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cincinnati (updated Feb 1, 2016).

子曰
君子喻於義
小人喻於利 
(The mind of the overman is conversant with righteousness; the mind of the lesser man is conversant with gain. - The Analects)

I've always liked the story of Cincinnatus, the irony of it.

Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was a military man and once Aristocrat. His notorious son cost him his fortune and he lived simply in the Agrarian Spartan ways. Yet his family's sometimes venomous opposition to the legal commons certainly excluded them from the prominence of history. But known for being virtuous for giving up twice his near absolute power to Rome, Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus deserves some fundamental respect. Put aside the sins of misdirected political agenda, the intrinsic motivation for civic service to defend one's people transpires civic leadership—qualities our own congressmen and senators lack.

I live in this City. Cincinnati, Ohio. I live in its strange times. Being a combat veteran, I feel a special connection to the story line. At least to the extend that I can pretend the war I fought was for the better of my city and mankind. Like I said in the beginning, I like the story for the irony of it.  

Every time I walk pass the statute of Cincinnatus, I cringe a bit. But then I feel a certain pride of living here: of being just another food-bucket and lacking of any personal ambition. That is very Taoist of you, someone once said. But I don't think it's about being a Taoist. It's more of a relief knowing that I only need to do my part and inspire others to do more. Let karma come around so to speak. If people didn't worry about what they were getting out of it, then they wouldn't mind putting in their whole effort to help one another. Life becomes communal and in harmony. It's kind of like being a medic in war. Healing is my only mission, and the man made rules tells me how and whom I can with my limited capacity. The rest, including my own life, is in the hands of the infantry -- there is a saying in the military, God loves the infantry -- and I trusted.

Cincinnatus is in fact in every culture's story and in each of us. But we have long forgotten them because the competition is fierce and wars made no sense. Selflessness is weakness that others can exploit. Our government does it, businesses do it, we do it to each other. It's illogical to be selfless, but that conclusion hinges on an illusion of the need for competition. What are we competing for, for competition's sake? If so, how do we keep it from being out of control?   

Our society is not build upon populations of perfect individuals. No such thing. Individuals are going to differ and argue because of our own faults. But it is nice to know that we can chose to serve despite such imperfections and aspire to be something better amongst others for a common good. In the end, walking away from power is perhaps the easiest thing to do for Cincinnatus. But choosing to act in the first place and seeing through the work never finished, is perhaps the hardest thing.

Like I said, the irony of it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Reclaim Philosophy.

Philosophy is not a bad thing. It takes on a bad rap. It is not taught in schools any more, so I guess it's just more often misunderstood. As I come to see, it may be one of the reasons why we are faced with a global sustainability crisis. Because we just don't take the time to think anymore. Not that we lack the kind of instructional-thinking, they are common in establishments. But we lack the kind of unhinged and mindful thinking. The kind that poets drink and painters take intravenously. The kind that is looked down upon because it's “too philosophical” but would elevate the pursuit somehow and therefore threatening.

So yes, we neglect to “mind the gap” so to speak. We pride ourselves on being pragmatists after all and philosophy is useless. In our busy lives, we'd much rather embrace religion and let someone else do the thinking for us. Keep the thinkers in their ivory towers.

Yet when preachers preach only to the wealth he is entitled, when matters of personal affairs are more important than spiritual awakening in these establishments of gods, our religions are relegated to being mere tools. Philosophy being the only re-tooling method is all the much more important. Otherwise we are doomed to perpetuate the worst in our enemy's eyes.

St. Elijah's Monastery
Today, the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq was reduced to rubble by the Islamic State. I had visited the St. Elijah's Monastery of Mosul on Easter, 2005. It was a memorable experience. The whole day had seemed quiet and peaceful. I long to return one day in the future as a mere tourist, but that is no longer possible. I sat in mourning for a brief moment. To me, “mind the gap” seemed all the more important.

Not being too philosophical is the reason for extremists to be all the more religious. Not being too philosophical is why monopolies are able to be more powerful. Each group has recognized to some extent the power of philosophical minds and are using them to the extent they can for their own perverted interests. The fall of St. Elijah's Monastery resulted from a lack of our philosophical courage to confront religion; the fall of modern civilization results from the same lacking but to confront ourselves.

Reclaim philosophy my friends. Be it for your business, for your church, for your community, for your country, and for this planet we call home. Thinkers and doers are not mutually exclusive. Ivory towers must have doors and stairways down to earth. Thinkers and doers are dependent on one another, in fact symbiotic.

Reclaim philosophy and remain ever vigilante.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Reclaim

2016 is for reclaiming societies—by the people in our common pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

Much is at stake and we confront desperate times. Guns and violence are on the rise. Governments endorse them abroad in righteous and popular wars; radical terrorists of all walks of life use them as ways to advance religious and political agendas they know won't pass the common sense muster. Police are ever more incompetent and we are ever more radical in our methods of opposition. While civil law enforcements now have tanks and automatic rifles, we citizens now idolize violent resistance (Guy Fawkes). The rest of the flock of sheep are caught in the middle of a waging war of many sides: private interests, deliberate or indirect censorships, caught amongst the mess because there are profits to be made, fame to be gained, power to be had.

Fame and fortune direct the flow of things and irresponsible politicians take advantage of the situation; we see the uglier side of the human experience: fear, hatred, and all sorts of “-ism's” that we use to identify our self-imposed superiority. We waste time talking bans, exclusions, building walls and justifying wrong-doings with lies.

The public debate is a joke. The punchline is that we actually believe things can be different. All sorts of professionals spend their time turning the conundrum of how to solve the world's problems ignoring the politics. I commend them on their focus and dedication, but like the rest of the herd, I fear they tread dangerous waters. Academics once created terms “sustainability” to encompass what they had hoped for: social, environmental, and economical solutions working in unison. Business professionals coined “social entrepreneurs” to advance the agendas. Yet somewhere along the path everyone got lost to the big ideas, big technologies, big leaps forward. They forget that progress is often made step-by-step, incrementally and purposefully, and must account for all factors of sustainability: environmental protection and conservation, social progress and stability, as well as economic efficiency.[1] Big ideas, big technologies, big leaps forward are rare and are often only recognized after-the-fact. Why do we obsess with them and separate progress from success?

Social entrepreneurship and sustainability are not two different creatures of alien worlds. No, they are one and the same. Civil participation begins there and meaningful passive resistance for change begins with a case for its economics. One has to be productive in society to part-take and enjoy its benefits. The productivity generates economic, environmental, and social value. The exchange of this productivity for social benefits defines the nature of the social contract, from which our national constitutions governs the finer details. We are one human race experiencing one lonely planet. We have to reclaim it from those who have not paid attention to the meaningful path forward.

We are living now,
not in the delicious intoxication induced by the early successes of science,
but in a rather grisly morning-after,
when it has become apparent that
what triumphant science has done hitherto is to improve the means for achieving unimproved or actually deteriorated ends. 
                             - Aldous Huxley (1963)

2016 is the year for reclaiming societies, healing wounds, confronting terrors no matter who or where they are created. One can, after all, idolize Guy Fawkes not for the "Fifth of November" but for the tragedy and betrayal onto those who would stand and hope for better things. Guy Fawkes is a story of tragedy and reminder, not of triumph and success.

Neither violence nor ignorance are the answer, so 2016 is the year for reclaiming our sanity and strength to do battle against the divisions.       


I ask for divine strength 
  to meet the demands of my profession. 
Help me to be the finest medic, 
  both technically and tactically. 
If I am called to the battlefield, 
  give me the courage to conserve our fighting forces 
  by providing medical care to all who are in need.
If I am called to a mission of peace, 
  give me the strength to lead 
  by caring for those who need my assistance. 
Finally, help me to take care of my own 
  spiritual, physical, and emotional needs. 
Teach me to trust in never-failing love.

  - a combat medic's creed.


A student said to his master: "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?"

The master replied: "It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war."
_______________________

[1] Take micro-packaging for example: it is sometime touted as a genius of an idea for selling products to the poor and therefore a prime example of social entrepreneurship. But what about the environmental factor of economic and social impacts the micro-packaging can cause? Does it create more jobs locally or shift packaging and labor to other places? Does it create more or less trash for the environment? Or were these types of conversations not often taken in those board rooms where the idea is pitched? Highly likely never even mentioned.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Hello Open World - Satyagraha 2.0 - (updated Dec 30, 2015)

I've been once drunk tossed out of a bar, 
but I aspire to get tossed from a café for my unread verse. 
It has to be said. 

That the rooster was once a leaf. 

生当作人杰 
死亦为鬼雄 


China on its surface may glitter wealth and prosperity, but beneath the facade is a troubled nation with moral decay and spiritual voids. The rotting roots are in part created by the anchored practice in information and media censorship robbing the Chinese people of their freedom of the arts and expression; in fact robbing the people of its soul. Censorship is counterintuitive to maintaining China's national stability and advancing the Chinese characteristics in a global community. China is in desperate need of opening its society's access to information from around the world, opening civic participation in the global governance structure, opening its media to its own public as the “fourth estate” not just to account for profits, and allowing the arts to flourish to deliver the needed social commentaries reinvigorating a new era of Chinese exceptionalism.

Things are easier said than done. Since China entered the “belly of global capitalism”, the Chinese government sees social stability synonymously linked with political stability through sustained economic development. See Ching Kwan Lee & You-tien Hsing, Social activism in China, Agency and possibility, RECLAIMING CHINESE SOCIETY (Routledge, 2010). This itself is not problematic, but China's censorship renders its economic developments void of certain moral courage to do the right thing. Despite aggressive circular economy laws and political rhetoric, China's provincial political elites are leading us to a depleted world with accelerated climate changes, social unrest, and human rights violations; all the while, the central government keeps the Red Curtain over its people and make empty promises to the rest of the world. To date, the Chinese people see the authoritarianism and corporate greed as the price to pay for better lives; the world turned a blind-eye to China's problems for profits' sake. We stay silent and let the self-imposed censorship consume what's around us, detrimental to our global moral core.

A critic would gladly stop at this static view of the problem. A careful China observer, however, would see the beginning of China's peaceful and quiet transition through its uniquely linguistic leverage, connecting to the world through the Red Curtain. In China's civic environmentalism, for example, activists have created a new language master-frame of “greenspeak” directly reflecting global citizen actions (Rom, Brockmeier, and Muhlhausler 1999: 2). See Guobin Yang, Civic environmentalism, RECLAIMING CHINESE SOCIETY (Routledge, 2010).

This type of linguistic “quiet activism” (hereinafter, “Satyagraha 2.0”) is not surprising. The Chinese language itself is riddled with ancient verses and on-the-go rhythmic prose. There is a rich field of symbolism people use daily for their humor and discontent. It is one of the few ways by which the Chinese people have empowered themselves. They set the rules and influence the rhetoric. They then make positive changes in incremental and gradual ways passively disarming the bureaucracy that resists change. Poetry in particular is an even more powerful thing to be leveraged. Properly understood and directed, it is something that can rekindle the Chinese exceptionalism we desperately need.

However, Chinese poetry, like other forms of art remotely suggesting any varying opinions, is unmistakably hunted towards extinction.

To restore the Chinese moral core and fully leverage China's Satyagraha 2.0 through language and poetry, the value and dignity of the individual must be respected. The voiceless must be read and heard. In particular, Chinese poetry must be revived in the modern context and be given a global voice. Without poetry, China will not have an open society and the world will not have a future. But once the Chinese poetic exceptionalism is awaken, it is capable of great things. With one-fifth of the world's population, China's will-power aligned can transform our future for the better, or worse if we let it be.

 The choice to change is ours.


_______________________

Believe in the Future 
When spider webs seal my stove without mercy 
When ember smoke sighs over sad poverty 
 I spread out the despairing ashes stubbornly 
And write with fair snowflakes 

(-Shi Zhi, translated by Michelle Yeh) 


仁 礼 誠 人 
人 必 治 法 
法 修 其 德 
德 治 其 國 

jin (2011)

____________________________________________________________

(Update: I recently discovered two other posts I've written on this topic. 
(1) On Language and Games – the Wittgensteinian Fly From a Bottle; and 
(2) Imaginative Re-Colonization.  I'm sure there are more, but you will have to find those on your own. Cheers, jin.)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dear China

Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and, then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.
                                              - Mahatma Gandhi (1896)



The universe has a funny way of toying with me sometimes.

A few days ago I had a conversation with someone about authenticity of “green” marketing. You can read my post here. Today, I had lunch with some friends and had an interesting discussion about China's travel obsession for buying luxury goods abroad. Some fantastic stories were told, most of them true I am sure. They all involve Chinese tourists coming to America clearing out some luxury brand store, or electronic “brick-and-mortar” such as Best Buy of their latest iPads.

From what I'm hearing, the Chinese these days are all about touring and visiting not for culture's sake. Instead, their travels are more about buying the latest or the greatest of brands for the cheaper prices. (China puts a heavy tax on luxury goods to curb its corruptions.) This trend, I'm guessing, is all about China's struggle for its value and identity in the post-Mao consumer world. As my generation (30-40 year-olds) of Chinese were raised in the money-for-money's-sake era, the youth today is attempting at a existential emergence with the money they inherited.

I left lunch in disrepair. Is there really no hope for China's future besides consumption?

I went to the inter-web to find solace. This Huffington Post article brought some sense of relief:

"Brands take heed: in order to win over Chinese youth, you must stand for something. Youth crave values, and fancy brand names don't stand for much but exclusivity, elitism, and in the worst case, corruption. In their time of need and self-exploration, how will you guide them?"

But the question remains: what must a brand stand for to guide the China's tomorrow?

On the one hand, China represents the largest consumption market and companies stand to make a lot of money from its future. On the other hand, China represents a great will power that can transform how goods are sold and how businesses are done to promote our global sustainability goals in the future. While the China youth today is half trapped by the money-for-money's-sake mentality, and slowly finding their identity in the “small luxuries” of indulgences in things crafty and sentimental, western brands holds immense power over the future fate of our common human experience.

What a challenge indeed. How would China recognize and be guided by the authentic brands? 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dear "Mr. Macy" - A Challenge

Someone asked me the other day: How does a corporation stay authentic in an ever more green-washed market place?

Fair question. My immediate response is to say: don't market anything. Because that's not what we do. Marketing intrinsically means selling something your customers don't need. That's why people are inherently suspicious of marketing regardless of how true the content may be. But the big open secret is that customers will indeed buy based on marketing, so it is easy to get tempted. Some corporations try to use the sustainability movement as a marketing opportunity, ruining the playing field for the rest of us.

So, how a corporation approaches their marketing (philosophically, fundamentally, and responsibly) is very important. In this way, corporate social responsibility achieves authenticity and not mere window dressing.

Recently the movie “Miracle on 34 Street” has been on TV. It is a movie about Macy's and all advertising points to the other scheduled show times, sponsored by Macy's

Fair enough, it's a good movie; but one scene struck me in particular: there was an 'apparent' angry customer stopping Shellhammer to rant about Kris Kringle (“Santa”) directing Macy's customers to other stores. Shellhammer was shocked to find out the customer wasn't angry at all but praised Macy for the Christmas spirit to do the good deed. The dramatic dialogue ended with this customer pledging to be a loyal returning customer and Mr. Macy's advent approval to extend the practice beyond just Christmas.

And there you have it, an authentic moment on the silver screen.

Being the ever optimist, I assume a corporation sells widgets or service that customers actually need. But that's the hard part, isn't it? Corporations are so focused on selling more that they forget there is more than one way to sustain a brand and a business. So when competition gets fierce, corporations think they will have to race to the bottom. A tragedy of the commons.

But the simpler truth and escape is just as Mr. Macy (in the movie) pointed out: something authentic must be authentic. You can't fake it because it will never make it.

So I stand by my recommendation then and now: the right path is to look at this as an exercise of actual engagement. Yes, you the corporation must engage your stakeholders.

Get to know them, understand them within the framework of sustainability. What are their social and environmental problems? What are their goals? What can they do to then contribute? What are the barriers to change and what are the benefits to change? How do you initiate change? How do you test and measure for improvements?

From there, the engagement then becomes a community based action. Based on the maximum effective solution possible and stakeholder engagement, a corporation can find a new path to create new models of doing business. This is the only way to make the business responsible and sustainable to its community. This is also the only way to authentically continue your corporate brand.

As I said before in an another post, this process based approach is slow and painful. It is incremental. It requires trust and collaboration which we Americans seem to lack these days. I therefore remain doubtful that any corporation is willing to embrace the challenge.

Or perhaps this is my challenge to all the corporations: MAKE A CHANGE. STOP MARKETING AND START CARING.


Merry Christmas and happy holidays. 

- jin [Challenge issued to "Mr. Macy" in particular. Cheers.]

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Project Management from a Social Sciences Perspective

- by Lauren Campbell-Kong

My background is in psychology. I only have a bachelor’s degree. I say that like it isn’t an accomplishment, but it is. Anytime an individual takes the time to pursue learning, it is an accomplishment, especially with how expensive ‘certified’ learning can be.

That’s what it is like living In the information age, where information is readily available and individuals can make millions of dollars without a degree, just like they can make 30K a year with one.

I love psychology. I have since I was young, I’ve always been interested in how people think and why they think. On my 16th birthday my stepfather gave me a subscription to Psychology Today. I had that subscription until I went to college to study psychology.

Back then the magazine was more ‘journalistic’ in its ways. It provided research and recently published studies. I recently started receiving the magazine again. It’s not like it was… it’s much more commercial and mainstream, including cover lines like “How People See You.” That’s not the psychology I know or love. The magazine is meh… I rarely read it because when I do I get shitty about the loss of quality.

I started college at Indiana University. At the time the psychology program was ranked 2nd in the country under Stanford.

It has the oldest continuing psychology laboratory in the America, and has produced famous psychologists like B.F. Skinner and Alfred Kinsey, and (my favorite attribution) even made its way to the show Home Improvement when in the last episode of the sitcom, Jill tells Tim that she was accepted to teach psychology at Indiana University in Bloomington and the family will be moving.

The Psychology department there is still comprised of dedicated individuals. My first professor ever, like legit an 8am class on the first day of school, was a well known neuropsychologist who worked with some of the most famous ‘cases’ that psychology has ever seen. He even did work with Oliver Sacks, the gentleman who was able to make psychology fun for many people and helped shine a light on how interesting this area of study can be.

The psychology department at IU has made a global impact and for a while I was a part of that. I’m saying all of this because for me, psychology runs in my blood and is a core part of who I am and how I think. But, I’m not a practicing psychologist, I’m not licensed, I don’t give counseling, basically, I’m not a ‘psychologist’.

But I am...

Adjusting to the corporate world has been difficult for me. Growing up I always pictured myself in academia, but experiencing the political rhetoric around the institution drove me from wanting to be a part of it. And I could never figure out how the churning wheel of academia gave back to those who needed their work. A core part of what I want to do with my life.

So I thought I will just take what I love and make it into what I want and how I want it

Easier said than done.

So we started a company; one where I can use my passion for psychology and where I get to define how it is used. Where PhDs aren’t required, and where the stigma around having one vs. not having one doesn’t stifle a room full of people to near choking.

This doesn’t mean we don’t learn, this doesn’t mean we don’t challenge ourselves. But it does mean we don’t judge others for what they do or do not have. Where we respect everyone who comes to the table as long as they are willing to stand for something and to maintain a curiosity about it; a curiosity that motivates innovation and acceptance. And in the process, empowers others.

This is how I found myself in the position of managing projects for the City of Cincinnati. A project where we get to better understand the psychology behind curbside recycling behavior. A project that I was tasked with managing…and had very little experience doing so.

The projects have gone well. It’s been an intense learning curve for myself. It is through these projects that I have learned what my strengths and weaknesses are. What I find important in a project and what I need to make a priority.

What I find most important is the relationships that I build with people; the networking, the discussions, the follow-thru.

What I need to make a priority is organization, preparation, and execution of the project.

The big picture if you will

Project management is no easy task. Nor is it something that I ever studied, experienced (outside of volunteer projects), or thought about in a ‘professional’ way. But I’m learning. And I’m learning about not being embarrassed to learn. I’ve joined some online courses, through Coursera, and I’ve enjoyed the discourse so far.

I notice that many projects provided as examples are engineering and medical projects. Very few discuss dealing with people and how to create a system of human beings vs. machines.

This is where I hope to bridge the gap.
As we move into the age of Social Sciences, many projects are going to involve the building of people not just monuments. I hope to be at the forefront of what can be done with a small bachelor’s degree, some passion, and a little bit of learning from an online platform. 

The Psychology I love is curious about the human condition. Why we are how we are. Each of us is unique and we each offer something important in this world.

The Psychology I pursue is about how to bring that out in people and how to use that momentum to create positive impact that lasts longer than any constructed monument.


And that’s going to take one hell of a project manager….