For Critical Thinking and an Equivalent, Creativity

Starting, for April, I participated in many of the new Discover challenges that WordPress organized, to help bloggers write posts during the crisis.  Each morning, 6 AM in most cases in my time zone, a new word with additional suggestions became available for WordPress bloggers.

Each word theme was accompanied by suggestions about what to post.  I found the exercises helped me feel better about blogging because some things I enjoy discussing became the subject of new posts at the same time other bloggers addressed the same themes.  With each post, I had several visitors, and if you are among those and returning, please accept my thanks.

Now, today is May the 4th, Star Wars Day.  Star Wars The Clone Wars concludes its season 7 run today, a season devoted to the Seige of Mandalore.  I think the entire animated series lives on Disney+.

Today is also the day that all nine films of the Skywalker Saga are available with a Disney+ subscription.  “This will be a day long-remembered,” to quote Peter Cushing in Star Wars Episode IV.

Star Wars Celebration last spring in Chicago meant a week of hours and hours of daily streaming on YouTube.  I said something about it:  https://findingenvirons1.blog/2019/04/19/star-wars-celebration-on-youtube-whered-you-go-chicago/

I have a new strategy, I am starting by trying a serious-in-tone critical thinking post.  I was already writing the odd observation about techniques that might contribute to someone’s existing take on the science of being a blogger, tempered with humour, I suppose.  I reckoned that I was enjoying myself, that’s mostly what counted.

Photo by Lukáš Rychvalský from StockSnap

A definition of a hobby is this:

hob·by

n. pl. hob·bies

An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

The pleasure of blogging comes from the interaction on the world wide web with people who also blog.  I believe that social interaction is important at any age.  Why is social interaction important for psychological health, I asked Yahoo!.

“Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults,” Yahoo! answered.  “This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer.  You will enjoy better mental health.

“Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression.”

There are so many avenues that if you have access to the web, there are so many ways to reach people, and fulfill that desire, I know you know this.  It is always about more than the dollar, as it should be.  I’m not out to make a buck at all, I’m just experimenting with being an optimist.  

Recently I found a website page that takes a gander at the satisfaction that goes with the joy of a decent diversion.  Human resources psychologist Jessica Beltran addresses it in The Value of Hobbies  https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/05/the-value-of-hobbies/  “We are at our best when we are relaxed and in tune with ourselves.”

Photo by Snufkin from StockSnap

While we are capitalists, the playing field becomes more narrow if you consider that you can address people with the confidence of having many of the skills that they have.  There is any number of stations in the lives we lead, but lots of motivation speakers give the advice to get started with your creations, however possible.  “Do hobbies help with their careers?” I asked Yahoo!.

“While it may seem counterintuitive to make time for something outside of work to get ahead at work, career coaches have confirmed that having a hobby can help make you better at your job. Having a hobby helps you learn how to handle work-life stress and think creatively,” answered the search engine.

“What skills are needed to be a critical thinker?” I went on to ask.

In response Yahoo! informed me of several qualities, ten in fact, that you need to be a capable critical thinker:

1 Accuracy.

2 Adept.

3 Analytical.

4 Creativity.

5 Critical thinking.

6 Detail-oriented.

7 Efficiency.

8 Industriousness.

9 Innovative.

10 Logical thinking.

I have additional input.

Accuracy, for starters, I learned about in high school science.  Accuracy in that environment is measurably collecting data.  To determine accuracy, you might perform the same process several times, with only minor variants, to learn if your method is accurate.

It’s important.  Troubleshooting a computer station, for example, requires accuracy.

You need to determine what changes have gone on before and after a problem has happened at your terminal.  There is a joke about hapless computer users calling the Windows system crash the Blue Screen of Death, dire-sounding, but which means that you are losing your unsaved work, a bummer.  By the way, I enjoyed computer science in high school a lot more than I enjoyed chemistry and physics.

If what you were doing meant nine out of ten times you got a system crash, and then one out of ten times it worked out, hypothetically speaking, you could, if the measurements were accurate, you’re determining that those nine times of system crashes mean that you can’t proceed in that manner.  If five out of ten times, your computer works, and five times it doesn’t, you don’t have an accurate idea of what of your commands are leading to the system crash.  The results aren’t too useful in that case.

You need to check variables that contribute to your procedure’s success or failure and come up with a more accurate idea of what’s going to work.  Once you establish the variables that work out okay, by trial and error, you can figure out which instruction is awakening the Blue Screen of Death.

The second term in Yahoo!’s list is the word adept.  Adept means are adroit.  Critically, you have to be adept at forming interpretations.

Those I think of as the external–the external is the object or scenario you’re critically thinking about.  You need to know what you’re examining, to form a critical judgement.  I have two ways for you to do this, and you can read about them a little further in.

Like for me, to decide whether, say, a popular film is “good,” in the sense that the motion picture proves that everybody involved did a good job, you have to understand enough about what makes a good film to be adept at reviewing it.  It would help if you’d contributed to the completion of a motion picture, to be properly critical, but it probably suffices to understand the structure of a film, the symbolism in the film visually, and previous attempts to make similar films.

The next term, the word analytical, this is a word like adept, but analytical is more about looking at a critiqued thing that calculates whether you should take it seriously or not.  You know what the thing is and what it’s for, but being analytical towards it means judging it in a way that you can comprehend additional specifics about it, forming your external.  What does it mean? is an analytical question that you might have about your object or scenario.

You would be analytical concluding that your problem works at all levels.

Photo by donterase from StockSnap

Next is creativity, a lovely word, for I feel I am creative, as would many bloggers regard themselves.  Creativity is reworking an established idea and making it yours.  It goes on constantly.

Like, back to film, when a successful film franchise follows up with a sequel, or a reboot, that’s an instance of creativity that is often quite impressive.  As with, say, the 1978 horror film Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, when two years later in 1980 the sequel Halloween II came out, again starring famed actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the film continued the story of the first movie by showing a lot more of what happened later that Halloween night, when the mad masked murderer had returned, (ghastly!).  However, John Carpenter was no longer directing the film.

Do you like horror films?

Halloween II has the same characters and the same locale and a continuation of the plot of the first film, all interesting for fans of the first movie, just with the point that somebody else is now directing.  That’s the creative part, in this example.

Next, Yahoo! repeats the phrase critical thinking.  I mean that Yahoo! includes critical thinking among the terms for critical thinking, which begs the question, Yahoo!.  I interpreted that as meaning that critical thinking refers here to the overall level of ability the interpreter brings to the noun being thought through critically.  It is having the skill to return to thinking critically, in a manner that applies other additional criteria.

In this case, we’re using the handy number ten.  The words, I derive, make an agenda for surveying an item or a situation.  It is redundant to include the phrase “critical thinking” in a list that explains critical thinking, pointing to a rabbit hole, a burrow that goes on and on when it opens.

You have to be firm with yourself what decisions you will make in the process of critical thinking or you will never conclude.  I have a little more to say about that in the conclusion.

Close up white cup of Coffee, latte on the wooden table

Detail-oriented refers to the organizer’s ability to put together a mental assessment of the details that have gone into the subject being thought about critically.  A job interview often includes a question along these lines, as in, “If you were taking this job, would you consider yourself a detail-oriented person?”  It means getting everything right.

Efficiency is the ability to get things done promptly.  You don’t lose time by making redundant decisions; everything works.  If you value efficiency, you want your scenario or your object to function smoothly, a swift external.

It means saving time.  A lot of people who need to complete many tasks highly value efficiency.

Industriousness refers to having the initiative to take bold steps.  Being industrious is good in that a person shows, say, leadership.  If what you are critical of is a tool for industriousness, it lends itself to a nature that assists people who have a success rate at reaching goals.

Innovative means thinking outside of the box.  Someone innovative has solutions that circumvent traditional stop signs that cause headaches.  Being innovative is positive.  You should recognize when innovation is happening and that it can have positive results.

Photo by Matthew Henry from StockSnap

Logical thinking is great for being “right.”  I first read a little about logical thinking in a high school English class.  I was daunted at the time because I’d never known that logical thinking existed like that, and I doubted I could learn enough about it to become competent, bizarrely, I suppose.

I was a diffident youth.  I wish I’d got that information earlier in life.  My teacher, Ms. M., outlined twelve specific styles of logical thinking and in fact, I wonder if I as yet have that same document.

I should have read it again and again.  At times I’ve been proud that I’m not completely obligated to be logical, but I don’t disregard logic.  I value things like the structure of an external, and that, for example, requires logic.

Logical thinking when it comes to being critical of a specific external is very useful, for if you can make a logical argument about the nature of your object or situation, you’re external, you are on your way to answering a riddle about it.  It is a regret I have that I didn’t take the introduction to logical thinking I got in high school more gravely and go to work at understanding it.

The ten criteria words stop at the letter L.  This is all about setting your sights on critically interpreting an external and taking it apart in a way that you can better understand what it means.  The terms are building blocks for evaluating your external.

There are some points where the process isn’t going to be scientific.  Starting with accurate, you need to look at more than one external and compare them to see how accurate your method is.  This word accurate is exciting because you can find parallels that aren’t necessarily immediately self-evident.

You are being analytical because you are trying to make a process occur that is accurate.  Those two a-letter words work together to open a method of diagramming your external to better understand what it is.

The next word, adept, is applicable because you need to run your process with adept skill.  What I’m doing here is being creative with Yahoo!’s list of critical thinking terms.  I’m making the argument that they are useful.

The search engine believes it.  So, too, should you.  Together the terms have an impact that you can draw upon for inspiration.

It does bother my sensibilities that critical thinking could itself be a term for critical thinking, but as there is a connection between all three a-letter words, so too I noticed a connection between the two c-letter words.  Critical thinking and creativity are two different sides of the same coin.

I’ve had to stir my reserve of critical thinking to identify what that means, but it is so.  Creativity is letting reason fly in the wind, whereas critical thinking is unearthing the truth about your external that wouldn’t be evident if you didn’t possess some definitions that assist in critical thinking.

For d, we have detail-oriented, taking your analysis and better developing it.

For e, we have efficiency, reducing creativity in favour of a strategy that is more pure critical thinking and not as open-minded as the word creative would imply.

Next, we have i-letter words, industrious and innovative, words that strengthen the process of analyzing the external by accelerating the process.  Those words apply to the analyst as much as they apply to the object or scenario being looked at.  Being industrious is keeping at it and being innovative is keeping open-minded.

Both these reflect the analyst as much or more than the external being explored.  Logical thinking is a phrase that means much the same as analysis.  If you took these ten terms, you could assemble them this way:   You have the creativity and you have critical thinking (the c-words).

If you want creativity to rule the process of investigating the external, what you have is industriousness and innovation for the matter at hand.

To proceed down the avenue of critical thinking that is more logical and detail-oriented, you can reduce your creative input and begin letting a process unfold without the benefit of a creative assignment.  In either case, you need to be adept at thinking, and further, to return to the a-letter words, you are being more purely analytical and accurate if you pursue critical thinking without the requirement of innovation ruling your process.  So, your basic process either follows one c-path or the other c-path, critical thinking or creativity and then to round out outreaching your external you have the accuracy, the analytics, the detail-oriented questions, the efficiency and the logical thinking; and down the other c-path, you have industriousness and innovation.

These are subcategories from the ten we started with.

Photographer:
Tim Gouw

The terms favour an analysis-heavy approach to critical thinking, meaning there are more components of more purely critical thinking than terms that include creativity.  Where that leaves us is what I started with, the word hobby.  A creative design is better for a hobby; analysis is better suited for more profound comprehension.

All the same, creativity can be as hard to comprehend as analysis.  If you reach an external by analysis, it is beginning to fall outside the field of the hobbyist and more closely approach the realm of the expert.

A more complicated external lends itself to critical thinking; a simpler external is suitable for creativity.  This isn’t always true, but that’s a guideline that you could start with if you are deciding whether you want to approach an external with a lens of more complicated and comprehensive critical thinking or with a simpler but also effective creative paintbrush, so to speak.

That’s the rabbit hole, that if you don’t have a handle on your creativity, flights of fancy can take you far afield of a suitable stopping place.  That’s why creativity isn’t a super useful strategy for analyzing an external that’s become complex.  That’s when your critical thinking approach needs to take over.

I’ve enjoyed writing about this, my first post since the April Discover challenges ended.  Do you like the idea that a simpler object might benefit from creative analysis and a more complicated object require a more detailed critical analysis?  You’re welcome to follow and/or to comment.

Read more about me here:  about.me/patrickcoholan

Happy Star Wars Day

Photographer:
Thomas Kelley

WordPress Discover: Book

Today is my niece Clara’s tenth birthday.  Happy birthday, Clara.
I have been perusing the April 2020 WordPress Discover articles.  This week they are again driven by Ben Huberman.
Today’s Discover Challenge:  book
StockSnap_1OBXVC1ARF
Clara is in the third grade.  At the point when I was in the third grade, I think my preferred intrigue was beasts, and obviously, she is a young lady.  However, I think my favourite book, when I was a third-grader, was the classic, The House with a Clock in its Walls, by John Bellairs.  It’s a 2018 film.
My nephew Mack, Clara’s brother, is in uni, and when I think back of books I read in college, that weren’t on the syllabus, I remember reading The Mosquito Coast, by Paul Theroux.  I think I wanted something familiar to read.  There is a film, the 1986 film featuring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren.  Harrison Ford had starred in the Star Wars films which saw son pitted against father.  I think he was following that set of motion pictures with another film that was about the idea of Father’s relationship with the child, and furthermore about the connection among machines and nature, likewise a topic in that first Star Wars three.
If my mother were to ask me, I would recommend Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life, by Richard Carlson.  It’s an antidote to stress.
For my dad, who has likewise been my supervisor for quite a while now, I would prescribe a progressively unordinary book, the novel Humans by Donald E. Westlake.  It’s a novel truly about a fight among God, and the Devil, for the whole planet.
If Kris was still with us, as she loaned me her Holy Bible, which I wish I’d demanded to return, I figure I may have gained favour with her if I’d brought her A Million Little Pieces, the splashy novel by James Frey, that transformed into contention, with Oprah Winfrey.
These books I felt were appropriate.

11 Freaky Reasons Teen Tv Shows Could Get You Fired

  1. Did you know you had to leave that at home when you took the job? I’m afraid you might have to. That being said, let us proceed.
  2. The problem-solving skills of a teen sleuth would benefit the team, but trying to emulate those same skills, in the office, will get you a reboot.
  3. The radiant physical beauty of teen heroes and heroines often softens the hearts of even the fiercest opponents, while your limited charms, in the office, will bring up excuses.
  4. The ability to resolve a dilemma in three-quarters of an hour, TV time, is completely impossible to replicate in the office. Three-quarters of an hour is the time it takes to install an operating system update that covers special keys, for languages of other continents, or an app checker that asks if it does check apps and the updated catalogue of word processor fonts.
  5. TV reprobates who are secretively pulled in by bravery and beguile, that have envisioned frightful closures for interfering adolescent heroes, and have gone the mile to complete such business, don’t measure up to how your supervisor is five to seven minutes late every morning for a ten-minute opportunity involving those last wisps of transmission that still don’t light the psyche.
  6. Spending your dollars for the drive, trying to forget genuine youngsters applauding, your data bill at home in the back of the kitchen drawer– leaves you mentally stranded until you are miles away, each day you show up for the privileges of cubicle life.
  7. Instagramming shock, in light of a most recent debacle of separation gossip, places you in the washroom crying, holding a paper towel to your face while attempting to quit hyperventilating.
  8. Remembering hands to your cheeks, in the wake of being checked for hang-ups, has you on the ground, showing you further inadequately made a decision that demonstrates those no-longer-so-charming goons truly came from that side of the tracks.
  9. Getting back on your feet, your jacket is torn, which while for you is quite embarrassing, to turn up back at the office in such a state, the more chivalrous task of lending a friend an intact garment, translates poorly between what’s on TV, and what your understanding is of the psychological underpinning of those same gents, who just turned your boxer briefs into a flowerbed.
  10. You’ll be back for that most recent five minutes of compromise throughout the show after work’s accomplished for the afternoon, a valiant effort to promise your supervisor that you won’t be in the vacant office much longer from when the last youngsters got terminated in the few hours on the clock that you expect to fill without one final fix of physical magnificence, and the sort of ability that simply the best and the most splendid have in general, which also excludes ensuring the addresses in the BCC: bar of the unforeseen doesn’t end up a large portion of an inch higher in CC:– Unlike real life, which stops the last minute of the same day that began the same time following your coffee, the TV episodes promise a forty-minute resolution, not the selfsame resolution that must be repeated dozens or hundreds of times over as part of reality.
  11. They said that could never happen in the course of teenage heroism, celebrated with such a passionate kiss that you can do yourself, of course, as soon as you find another job.
Photographer:
Kristin Hardwick

I hope the jury isn’t out on this one. It’s a little bit of fun. You know who your friends are.

Feel free to like the post, comment on it, and/or follow the blog. Adieu.

Photographer:
Ermin Celikovic

Why You Shouldn’t Watch Halloween Horror in Bed (Notwithstanding @DarkCorners3)

Today is the day that Canadians go to the ballot box. The results will become clear this evening, but the CBC cable news channel is having a great day as the sun stretches over the land.

I am not as interested in that as I am in enjoying these days before Halloween.

About last week, The Stupendous Wave said that Lucasfilm would air a trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker during Monday Night Football, but there was no such trailer. It was a rumor.

Geeks + Gamers discussed what happened with the spurious announcement, pointing out that Esquire picked up the story. Geeks + Gamers in truth remain skeptics of the possibility that the Skywalker Saga will get a satisfying resolution. They were none too happy with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

CNET reported yesterday that the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer is airing tonight on ESPN. There have been three official trailers.

The first shows Kylo Ren descending upon Rey, from the sky. It is certainly a bit of fun.

More recently, we got the eerie D23 trailer to enjoy. Many of the moments in that one are edited together from earlier Star Wars movies.

Dimensions: 5657 x 3771
Photographer: Alex Wong

As this month is October, certain film fans need to enjoy a horror film every night of the month, not an uncommon practice. Horror film devotees often have a custom of announcing a choice of horror film for each night of October.

It impresses me that these fans don`t begin dreaming of awful matters. I think I would begin to have nightmares, visually ingesting that much horror. All the same, I have been able to glean insights into what major horror film fans consider worthy.

Dimensions: 5184 x 3456
Photographer: Alexandr Baranets

There is a weekly horror film tweet by @DarkCorners3 who is known for the web-series Dark Corners Reviews. The gentleman has made many videos highlighting horror films. His channel is a library of both obscurities and classics.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7789792.Robin_Bailes

Earlier this month I made a reply to one of those weekly review tweets, that was not only brilliantly retweeted by @DarkCorners3 himself, but also by Hammer Horror Films (@FilmsHammer). So I looked again at Dark Corners Reviews.

I listened to his discussions of Peter Cushing, in the role of Dr. Frankenstein, in the 1960s and 70s, and F. W. Murnau, who directed the vampire film Nosferatu, in the 1920s. @DarkCorners3 has clear intelligence for such matters, elaborating on many details of those films that I wasn’t aware of.

I tried to again think of something to match the tone of the reviews of @DarkCorners3. The movie Thor occurred to me, the dark fantasy. Actress Natalie Portman is in the cast as scientist Jane Foster, as is actor Chris Hemsworth as Thor the Avenger.

“So is this how you normally look?“ Jane asks.

“More or less,“ counters Thor.

“It’s a good look!“ exclaims Jane.

Naturally, there was a sequel to Thor two years later, Thor: The Dark World.

Thor is a film that may spare you nightmares, so it could be perfect viewing this month, getting comfy under the sheets, for not feeling like you are dodging the custom of watching something too, too scary.

Thor isn’t a Hammer film, of course, but don`t be deterred, if you are fond of stories of defenders of Earth. Actress Natalie Portman fascinates. The film is also popular enough that there is a good chance you`ve seen it, but by going back to again enjoy the 2011 Marvel adaptation, you could do worse.

You`re welcome to like this, to follow, and/or to comment.

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part II

I’d been focusing when I could on five more ways you can dispense with some of the time you’re putting into video research.  If you do anything like that and if you think of consuming video content as being video research, then increasingly I don’t think there’s a consensus that anything like video research is useful.
I’m looking back in time when there were different attitudes to video.  I mean that it wasn’t as accessible as it today.  It occurs to me I should argue that if you are committed to any research activity utilizing video, and there’s a ready workaround, you should concentrate on the workaround.

Published on Nov 21, 2018
Free speech in Canada died today https://bit.ly/2BEP6cW

Photographer:
Rawpixel.com
Aerial view of black board with the letter forming hello greeting concept
  1. The first part for this post, about chasing an adherent to research, left off with points how you can turn some of your conclusions into blog posts.  Or if you don’t have a blog, there’s somewhere you could start.  I would like to make the point that the best conclusions you can form from watching a lot of videos can indeed be put somewhere, like in a blog, or a podcast, etc.  For example, on Patrick Bet-David’s Valutainment on the internet, I watched Bet-David and Robert Greene discuss Greene’s latest bestseller.
    Bet-David pointed out that Greene sat down with three hundred books to write his latest book, for the pay-off.  That’s the traditional sense of research that I don’t think you should disregard in any way.  There is no way that you can eliminate the process of reading the page, or perhaps your Kindle, from the actual work of doing research.  Sad but true.
  2. The traditional sense of video is taking a video camera to a wedding and then selling it to the wedding party.  The best research you can cultivate from a video of that kind is whether a particular family member was in attendance, or perhaps how the bridesmaids looked when they were standing side by side.
    Do you see many wedding videos, apart from celebrity weddings, that make it onto the Internet?  I am not sure there are, particularly as the advent of the handheld video camera has given way to the smartphone camera.
    If you are a young person reading this, and you don’t relate to the idea of a videographer at a wedding, it isn’t that different from a professional photographer taking pictures.  It is just that the videographer mingles with the wedding party and gets a little movie of the wedding.
  3. I’m writing there about commercial consumer video, not expensive TV productions.  The thing about the video you watch is that when it is a pricey production, I don’t think you can count on it for insight.  Particularly when focusing on video production for TV, in the nineteen sixties, seventies, and eighties, when the technology was useful enough to shoot material for television, and before computers were beginning to infiltrate it, there just wasn’t a lot of purely informative video.  The novelty on being on video overshadowed a requirement, to be honest.  As soon as the camera was recording, everybody was immediately acting at all times.
    That sounds like a polarized argument, but ninety-nine percent of the time if you were being paid to appear on camera, you were acting to do it.  Speaking jovially, you had to nail it.
  4. What happened in the mid-nineteen-eighties?  Computer effects were beginning to be integrated into more and more of the ready video, which starts to become interesting for the possibility that more and better information could be communicated by video.  With more information is born the reality that better information begins to come across.  Purists might disagree, but fast-forward fifteen years and amateur video is not only more accessible but could also be edited on par with the best of people in the trade in previous decades.
    There had been an explosion of video on cable TV which meant more ways to deliver information by video.  Did that mean you could derive better conclusions in the sense that by better I mean better located in reality?  I think so.
    You always want the past back, once you’re past a certain age, but there is some logic, or I am doing my best to apply logic here.
  5. The apparent irony is that the development of the computer industry accelerated at a much faster pace than did the growth of video.  I’m tempted once more to stop, but it’s true that by the time video was in its golden years, the computer industry was spritely, pardon the pun, spritely and skyrocketing for many, many people.  I don’t want to mislead you unfairly, but surely some blame for some of the big, really bad troubles that have hit people where there is free access to information lies with what’s just bad information.
    That caution gets sounded frequently, and where before I was tempted to stop then and there, now I really am going to stop.

I have promised one more post on the subject, with five remaining ways you might want to dodge video.  You’re welcome to like, comment, and/or follow.


Photographer:
Sticker Mule

I am humbled by the attention I receive and I shall make some effort to reciprocate interest if I am lucky enough to make a tiny ripple in this pond.
We need to go back to the future

supermarket
November 26, 2018

How Struggles Can Make You Sick

Abandoned supermarket cart

Too much stress, “bad” stress, can weaken you, deplete your resources and waste scarce time if you are not dealing with your lifestyle well.  Everybody endures stress.

 

Getting older, I believe that lifestyles of Generation Z are significantly common, but I am from a small town.  It is important to obey the Biblical commandment, to honor thy mother and father.  As the father did before you, if you are of a certain age, you too need to heed that you are following appropriately in his steps.

 

That being said, there is lightness.  I think with a touch of envy of the comparative ease of the generation of young people often collectively referred to as Generation Z.  That doesn’t mean that I can compete with the energy of the young and of the attitudes which characterize them, different than for someone my age.

 

Someone like me, I feel, is part of a culture that values stress, that putting a great deal of work into a lifetime is a necessity.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Abandoned supermarket cart
Shopping cart

However, it means fulltime people endure an enormous amount of stress.  The more hours of work we take on, to make ends meet, the more stress we cope with.

 

I believe stress can easily bend one to its will rather than the other way round.  It is all very hard to manage.

 

In the film sequence preceding the climax of the 1978 feature film Superman, Lex Luthor conquers Superman with a chain of Kryptonite, until Superman makes a personal promise to Luthor’s beautiful assistant in order that she remove the powerful amulet–but a promise that puts at risk the woman who has his heart, Lois Lane.  All in all, it is an excellent film.

 

What I did, in my life, is an irregular passage through the years.  In 2008 when my employer closed its doors, I went on to work a part-time job while reflecting on what to do with my future  Then I went full time on government disability, as it was felt that I’d been “compromised” enough to give up on making a living through the avenue of work.

 

I had been reading some books on self-management and I didn’t think the stress of a new workplace was going to benefit me enough to do it.

 

A few years later, my father, perhaps frustrated by my reluctance, had an idea.  He was retiring from many years with a municipal cemetery, where he’d helped manage it from its offices.

 

A small cemetery in our town was searching for new operators.  It attracted him, and the trustees of that property were pleased to turn it over to him, so that he could direct it, pleased to have a focus in his retirement.

 

To my surprise, my dad invited me to help handle the operation of the cemetery.  We commenced in 2011.  The church at the cemetery, formerly of the United Church of Canada, had disbanded in 2006.

 

Headstones under repair
Important headstones of family generations in Maple Lawn Cemetery

We maintain the property ourselves, and work in the interior of the church in dire weather, setting our sights on attending to the cemetery once a week.  We made a not-for-profit out of it.  While I am junior, and there is no certainty how matters will proceed, in the seven years or so, lucky seven, that we’ve handled the cemetery, it has been a luxury of time and experience for me and an opportunity to enjoy the company of my father in his golden years.

 

We have had outside help from brothers of my father, my uncles.   On a few brief occasions we have talked about growth, but I don’t know if I can turn this venture into something in which I can continue in the long-term.  This post is intended to be expository writing, but working for a not-for-profit, when financial gains are generally hard-won, can lead to burnout, and to a minor degree that is what I am experiencing.

 

You see, I contribute several hours a week of work to the cemetery, and as my dad has spoken reassuringly of the flexibility to set our own hours, I have lately started to reduce my workload to a four-day week rather than a five-day.

 

I can’t help, for example, but want to relax on Saturday.  I think the decision to work less on Fridays is somewhat deleterious in that if you want to get ahead, you should probably be hustling with the same energy on a Friday that you do on a Monday.

 

I couldn’t help, in the past several weeks, to admit that the stress of putting nonprofit work at the center of my life, was making me feel a touch sick, by which I mean I was experiencing burnout.  I am sure this is common.

 

Dimensions: 5456 x 3632
Photographer: Ylanite Koppens

Whether this transition, to four days of focus on the cemetery rather than on each and every business day, will contribute to a soul-searching decision by my dad to relieve me of my work, I don’t know.  I think what will determine my chances of staying on are the quality of work I can produce in the time I devote to the not-for-profit.

 

How this has me feeling, perhaps, “sick,” is that I do care about working and I do feel some prestige enjoying the privilege of doing work that is shaped by our own efforts.  This is in contrast to working for a firm that is structured in predictable ways, with employee equity and positions and demands which could easily contribute to a high-stress load.

 

I am taking this risk because I believe I can do better work if I make strategies to cope with the burnout before there are related consequences.  I am counting on my own experience and abilities to do the same quality of work in a four-day structure than I would be getting done by committing the entirety of the work week to headway and progress.

 

I am sick to think of losing what I have worked for, and I am sick to think of bringing shame onto my father if the quality of my work does suffer because I am having trouble being afield of all that we do.  I feel like I should write something about feeling troubled by what I have to do to manage my role as operator, and maybe even think on how I could express an appropriate apology for how I am feeling.

 

Writing is the act of discovery. – Natalie Goldberg

 

Dimensions: 4635 x 3090
Photographer: Freestocks.org

If my father does finally decide, which I know he won’t do lightly, that I should be dismissed, it will be a sad day and for that, I will pay a price, of having the failure on my shoulders.  If that scenario comes to pass I will take time to mend.  It may be a self-centered attitude, but the best that can be done in the face of failure is to learn from what happened.

 

Everyone has experienced failure, and usually many, many times, sometimes with adverse consequences.

 

If you have never failed, you have stayed well inside your comfort zone.  Life needs to change and grow.

 

If my role in the not-for-profit does end in failure, I will at least have work experience.  I think I can draw on the time spent at this to draw conclusions that will inform my life in the future.  The situation that I think could result, however, is not going to be completely ideal.

 

It will be back to being “sick,” resorting to making ends meet with the help of a pension for disability, and with the support of my mom and dad.  Ain’t no one got time for that.  I will have then have the opportunity to look for a job if I feel I can weather the stress, or return to freelancing and try to find my niche doing that.

 

Dimensions: 2500 x 1995
Photographer: Rawpixel.com

Many members of Generation Z work as freelancers in the digital economy, and I would be competing with all of those people, which is daunting.  That being said, there are a few paths ahead for me to take and I will have to ask for guidance from fate and the intentions of The Lord.  I know I shouldn’t emphasize feeling sick about all this and I know I shouldn’t take on a job post that gives me more additional stress than I can handle.

 

For now, I will bide my time–for as much clarity as I can muster.

 

You are welcome to like, follow, and/or comment if you have feedback.  Lately, the blog has been fairly quiet, in terms of visits it receives, but you never know when some I’ve published here will pique the interest of a reader.

 

I appreciate the time of those who are visitors.  I have been tying my blog to the not-for-profit, and also trying to be jovial as I know it is as yet an amateur effort.  I feel blogging will continue to play a role in the time I have to write, as it is a splendid little spot of fun that has a pragmatic purpose.

How Is It We Came Across This?

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word awkward. Here are a few words to the effect that being caught awkward is a compelling reason to rush a catch-up.

What catches me most off guard, most frequently, is the “brain fog” I get from being overwhelmed with too many new facts and figures. It is always a hard measure to make that new information could require a say so, or if it is better to sit back and let the storm take it course.

Dimensions: 4813 x 3213
Photographer: Nao Triponez

That’s the essence of demonstrating research skills–judgments about the usefulness of info that is easy to slip up on when nothing but smooth sailing was expected. It can resemble trial by fire.

The most significant decision is whether the new info is only a time waster, or if it does benefit you to react. Coming up with an appropriate reaction is the hardest decision to make in the whole process. It’s awkward because sometimes there is a sense of damage having been done.

When new facts are discomfiting, while I surely believe that a lot of people get angry in the face of trouble, I don’t find matters to be very easily resolved by simply getting mad and responding with contempt. It is necessary to see a positive in every negative scenario.

I belong to a not-for-profit operated by family and in the course the work I do occasionally experience unexpected problems which demand physical, real-world responses. The trouble of the “data science” variety feels a bit slimy in that you don’t know if the impact of what’s become apparent is going to have a measurable impact on your efforts. I am trying to candidly address the problem of being found awkward in the professional sense and to give a few thoughts on handling it.

Those are the most stressful times I encounter. Prompt is the word awkward.