Blog post #444 Big Picture

Coaching for Life Success:  Big Picture

For the past few weeks, I’ve looked at life success – from the overwhelming odds against anybody succeeding (with billions of people competing in the world for jobs you would like to have); to attitude, goals, big hairy audacious goals (BHAG), envisioning yourself as what you want to be; setting out plans to get there (‘sharpening the saw’); moving from Good to Great; being a ‘purple cow’ (that is, remarkable); to having passion and enthusiasm and getting up and moving on after failure.

As an educator, I know the first colleges in the United States were Yale and Harvard and both were largely seminaries to prepare men for ministry (or for teaching).  

Over the years, we have gotten more ‘vocation’ in our education with business schools, health sciences, teaching, journalism, and more.  Many major colleges in the United States started as land-grant colleges to teach agriculture.

Colleges have adopted more of a vocation thrust – let’s train you for your first job and for your career.   In my education, I learned how to use punched cards, how to program in Fortran and Cobol and more. In my math classes, I learned how to extrapolate values using tables in the back of our textbooks.  (Or using the many tables in our CRC reference books). More of my time in trigonometry classes was spent on arithmetic and algebra than on trigonometry. Now, with an average calculator, we can do what took me hours in a matter of seconds.  I learned how to use a slide rule. NASA sent people to the moon using computers which are a fraction of what today’s computers can do (and as speeds resembling a snail as compared to modern computers).

The concept of becoming great is more involved with critical thinking and creative thinking.  Innovation drives the world. Think of what is “fairly” new in our world (say 150 years or so); trains, airplanes, cars, radio, television, computing, internet, electricity, indoor plumbing, mobile/cell phones, and moving rapidly into such disruptive technologies as artificial intelligence, robotics, and a very different world for tomorrow.  We’ve seen warfare change from men fighting on a battlefield to rockets launched halfway around the world and the use of drones and unmanned vehicles. There is an ongoing question as I write about infiltration of foreign government and organizations into American elections.

Are you (or your team or your company) going to come up with the next big idea?  Will your critical thinking and creative thinking skills help to end poverty, injustice and warfare?  Can we find a cheap way to desalinate the oceans for water for the deserts of the world? Can we create a world using only renewable energy?  

Benjamin Bloom published a framework for categorizing education efforts – called Bloom’s Taxonomy.  From the lowest to the highest these are: (1) Remember; (2) Understand; (3) Apply; (4) Analyze; (5) Evaluate and (6) Synthesize/Create.   Creating ‘new’ knowledge is the highest level of educational efforts.

Can you take five random ingredients from your refrigerator/cupboard and create a new dish?  Can you take concepts from computing, finance and medicine to create an innovative way to approach cancer?

The ‘BIG PICTURE” is to be ready to THINK, to THINK CRITICALLY, to THINK CREATIVELY, to innovate, to create and synthesize centuries of knowledge to solve today’s problem?  

Don’t be complacent!!!  Be all you can be!!

Things to think about:

  • Autonomous cars:  can a country with fully autonomous vehicles do away with stoplights?  Will car insurance drop because of the safety features of autonomous vehicles?  Will autonomous trucks deliver the goods and services we need (and love)?
  • What about crime?  Can / will robocops stop crime?  Will ‘big brother’ be watching us? (From George Orwell’s book 1984)


Posted by Bruce White

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