Thursday, January 28, 2010

Assignment 4

I believe that a valuable lesson can be learned from everyone with whom I come into contact. Because each person is an individual with unique opinions and experiences, everyone has a different insight to share that can help others. A diverse and varied community of people contains many fresh lessons waiting to be discovered. However, since many new insights come from people who are different from ourselves, we as humans will often spurn opportunities to glean knowledge from those with whom we are unfamiliar. Often, we judge others before we allow ourselves to understand or know them. Condemning others based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other factor is not only cruel and hurtful, but it also limits opportunities to learn new things about others and ourselves through these people.
Being curious about different people instead of being critical of them broadens, instead of narrows, possibilities. By listening to and learning from others, one can glean knowledge or a new perspective that can aid in a future circumstance that cannot be foreseen. For instance, befriending a Chinese student in college could help a person to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture and attitudes, which could prove useful when he eventually attempts to adopt a child from China. Learning from different people also offers the opportunity to apply a new-found attitude to one’s own life in order to become a better person. Curiosity can not only improve life by providing knowledge for the future and for self-improvement but also lead to new friendships. Accepting a person who is different and getting to know him can reveal more similarities with ourselves than we thought existed.
I hope to remain curious and not judgmental throughout my life and to become more curious as I mature. Realizing that many opportunities for me to learn about others who are different from me will arise within the next four years of my life, I plan to listen to and befriend others who will teach me new things, expand my views, and be good friends. Following Whitman’s advice to "Be curious, not judgmental" will hopefully lead me to cultivate many friendships and to discover new truths about myself and the people around me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Assignment 3

Read the poem and write a response utilizing the questions on the wiki for reference.

The poem illustrates different frames of mind that a person can have when faced with a particular problem. The two main views of the problem, which in this case is the hole in the sidewalk, are a proactive view and a reactive view. The proactive view is demonstrated in stanzas four and five, while a reactive view is demonstrated in stanzas one through three. The first stanza describes someone who doesn’t know how to deal with a problem and does not recognize that there is anything that they can do to avoid the problem; this person takes a very long time to solve the problem and is reactive in his response. The second stanza describes someone who ignores a problem, thinking that it will disappear if he does not acknowledge it. This person also fails to see that they can do something about the problem, and he also takes a long time to solve it. The third stanza describes a person who recognizes a problem but fails to do anything to solve it because the problem is habitual. This person realizes that he has a problem and that he has responsibility to solve it, and he solves it quickly. This is the first step to being proactive. The fourth stanza describes someone who is well aware of the problem and demonstrates proactivity by sidestepping the problem in the first place. The fifth stanza describes someone who has learned from past experiences and has gained the skill of foreseeing problems way in advance and avoiding them. This person demonstrates the most proactive behavior. I believe a person can become proactive no matter what his current frame of mind is. We can change our frame of mind by recognizing the problems that confront us, taking responsibility for solving our problems, solving them, and learning to foresee and avoid problems before they even arise.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Assignment 2

Self evaluate your last project using the questions on our wiki for guidance.
200-300 words, due Tuesday, January 19.

The best part of the project was designing and planning our facility, The Underground. It was fun to decide what different areas to put in it, to see how all the different areas would work together, and to plan how it would actually operate in real life. Planning how the facility would make money and how the small aspects of an underground facility would work were also interesting. Leadership within our group was constant and reliable throughout the project. We all worked together to formulate the original idea and choose different attractions to put in the complex; we combined our ideas and efforts to figure out the logistics of the facility and the financial aspects of running it and obtaining money from investors. We also all took on specific roles dealing with different aspects of the facility and its operation and made sure that we completed our parts of the project. If this had been an individual project, I would not have thought to put in certain elements of the building, such as the bowling alley or swimming pool. If we were to do this project again, I would probably add new attractions to the complex and figure out ways to make it more energy efficient.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Assignment 1

#6 Lost Love: When a leader moves away from his first passion, he forgets the very reason he became a leader in the first place. If a leader starts to forget the issues that are so important to him that he decided that he had to be the one to do something about them, then he is no longer leading in the direction he intentionally set out to lead in. This can lead to a loss of followers and a loss of direction for the leader, causing him to fail.

#4 Ethics Slip: When a leader fails to uphold his own standard of ethics or the standards of his followers, he is in a very dangerous position. While the ultimate goals that a leader seeks to accomplish are very important, the means he uses to reach those goals may be even more important. The way a leader goes about reaching his goals reveals much about his character; when he shows a lack of integrity, followers will no longer want to participate in helping him accomplish his vision.

#1 Shift In Focus: When a leader's focus wanes, it is obvious that he has lost sight of the importance of making their vision a reality. A leader has to focus intensely on a broad, over-arching goal that he wants to see reached. Since the purpose of a leader is to provide a vision and lead his followers to that goal, if his focus shifts and he begins to be caught up in small problems and details, he can no longer be a very effective leader.

#3 Risk Aversion: An important part of being a leader is taking risks in hopes that they will pay off and help a leader move towards his goals. If a leader avoids taking risks, then he has much less chance of success. If a leader fails to try, then he can never succeed.

#2 Poor Communication: When a leader can no longer communicate his vision to his followers, then his followers become unsure of where he is leading them and even of why they are following. If a leader cannot convey his vision to his followers, then he cannot expect them to know what his vision is or to want to help him accomplish it. Without dynamic, purpose-led followers, a leader cannot accomplish his goals.

#5 Poor Self Management: When a leader "lets himself go", it is a sign to his followers and to other leaders that he is no longer fit to be a leader. After all, if a leader cannot take care of his own physical and emotional needs, how can he be expected to take care of the needs of others?