Be Smart About Higher Education: A Six Step Assessment to Know Where You Are in Life

Where are you? Do you allow location access? Smart phones regularly pop-up this question in order to supply directions and relevant information to make the best choices available. The power of technology makes this happen in seconds, but it isn’t quite that easy in life.

In order to achieve anything significant in life or higher education, providing direction to the desired destination or goal comes only after identifying where the starting point is. Life is moving so fast for today’s student, the important things like taking the time to plan suffers at the expense of a hundred urgent things of little significance.

A planning problem occurs when self-deception creeps in making up a story that avoids getting to the core of the issue. If I stop smoking, I’ll gain weight (but actually, I get nervous and eat to calm down). I’m not good at names (because I don’t care to remember them). After starting college I’ll pick a major (because that’s hard work to figure it out beforehand).

Eliminating self-deception begins by describing things accurately. The brain works best when problems are clearly defined. Do not confuse this with negative self-talk that only leaves a broken spirit. Refuse to allow the “never good enough” and “who am I to think that… ” negative phrases to sabotage dreams.

An example of this is to think “I’m stupid” as opposed to “I did poorly on one test.” One is an opinion and derogatory while the other is specific and something the brain can work on a plan to make better. Words are powerful, especially self-talk that is continually bouncing around in the mind. Make it honest and positive!

Following is a Where Are You self-assessment with a P-E-R-M-S-F acrostic:

  • The P stands for Physical – weight, blood pressure, health, fitness (how many push-ups, sit-ups, etc.), nutrition, etc.
  • The E is for Emotional. Use a spreadsheet and list three positive things that were accomplished during the day. Categorize the entire day into one of three emoticons – sad, indifferent, or happy. At the end of the year a total for each emoticon can be calculated. Now how the year progressed emotionally is measured.
  • The R is for Relational. Married, parent, single, and in a relationship are the basics, but also include social circles and friends. A closest person category is limited to one or two people. Close might be two to three, good friends may range from three to 12, and Facebook friends don’t count.
  • The M represents the Mental or intellectual side of life. Note all formal education, but informal as well. A great book, 7 Kinds of Smart, is a good reference to combat a problematic stereotype in society. A professor is considered smart while the maintenance person is at best labeled less intelligent. The fact is both are smart and necessary for the institution of higher education to function. The maintenance person is smart at fixing things. Both are good at problem solving. The smarts are about specialized intelligence. Everyone is gifted, the challenge is finding, developing, and applying that gift.
  • The S refers to Spiritual and is the basis for decision-making. Whether a person professes allegiance to a particular religion or none at all indicates some type of worldview. What brings meaning to life? Is there a purpose to existence? Is humanity the result of intelligent design or a random arrangement of molecules?
  • Finally, F signifies Financial and is just a matter of digging up records or paying someone to do it. Identifying how money is earned and where it is spent defines what is important to you.

In summary, complete this self-assessment without getting over analytical. The objective is not to solve life’s problems with this article. Keep answers simple and straight-forward. The important thing is beginning a process of honest self-evaluation. The journey to a better life starts with a decision to take the first step.

Circumstances do not dictate personal response, you do. Diligently assessing where you are before and after the pursuit of higher education shifts thinking accordingly to determine what can be done. Dream big. As Les Brown quotes, “Live full, die empty.”

Hanna Somatic Education – Socratic, Promethean, Herculean

I realize, now, that the title of this piece might seem like hype. I thought Thomas Hanna’s introduction to his methods sounded like hype. What pathos! when the truth sounds unbelievable! when what sounds too good to be true IS true!

To understand the metaphors, “Socratic, Promethean, and Herculean” in relation to Hanna Somatics, we must understand some things about Socrates, Prometheus, and Hercules.

Socrates was a teacher and prominent personage of ancient Greece. As a teacher, he guided his students along lines of consideration, asking them leading questions so that his students might arrive at insight, themselves. His viewpoint of knowledge, topsy turvy to that of most contemporary ways of operating, is that we inherently know everything, but have forgotten nearly everything, and the teacher only reminds us of what we have already known but forgotten.

Compare the Socratic view with this conventional view of knowledge: We fundamentally know nothing and have to learn everything, and the teacher is the one who tells us what’s what. One who really knows what’s what ends up in Who’s Who, and if you’re not in Who’s Who, you’re nobody.

Kind of opposites, aren’t they?

So the Socratic method is “from inside, out, prompted by what’s coming in from outside.” The methods of Hanna Somatic Education produce, to quote Thomas Hanna, “an internalized learning process” by guiding clients through certain self-explorations of sensation and movement.

This is not the same as letting clients dictate the course of a session or do a poor approximation of our instructions or add irrelevant efforts to a movement; it’s not the same as our taking whatever they give us as a response to our instructions. Remember, they are amnesic and don’t usually understand their condition correctly.

Socrates led his students to conclusions interactively, according to their responses; we lead our clients to outcomes interactively, according to their responses. The instruction comes from outside; the learning comes from within.

Now, Promethean. Prometheus was the son of the Titan, lapetos, and the nymph, Klymene. The name, “Prometheus,” means “foresight.” According to myth, it was Prometheus who taught humankind the skills of civilization and gave us fire. (Crane, Gregory R. (ed.) The Perseus Project, www.perseus.tufts.edu, July, 2002).

The gifts of Prometheus were the technologies of civilization and a corresponding awakening of attention of a special kind in order to receive and use these gifts.

Somatics is exactly an awakening of attention of a special kind. It is an awakening of attention on many levels of the human being, bringing self-mastery. The process teaches the relationship between mind “and” body (the “two” being internal and external manifestations of the same thing, and therefore not-two). It awakens us to new sensations. It cultivates the ability to focus attention, to act deliberately, to recognize the relationship between effort and its outcome, to be self-correcting, to follow through to completion. It teaches how to direct attention and intention toward the same thing. It gives us access to more of our abilities.

For almost everyone, these learnings generate a significant awakening. You can see how they are all elements of a sound civilization necessary to responsibly use the gifts of Prometheus. My hope for working and playing with people in the somatic realm, is that their “pilot light” gets lit (they receive the gift of fire), and they are able to continue somatic awakening largely on their own.

And now, Herculean. Hercules, known primarily for his strength, has been described as the perfect embodiment of pathos, the experience of virtuous struggle against great difficulties that leads to fame and, in Hercules’ case, immortality. (Crane, Gregory R(ed.) The Perseus Project, www.perseus.tufts.edu, July, 2002).

Ever try to get someone to do something in a new way? Ever have anyone ask for your advice and then argue with you about it? To do somatic processes with people, even to get them to try it, even when they are interested in doing them, often “gets interesting.” It seems, at ti.nes, that a Herculean effort is needed to guide people through the process of change, even when they want to change.

Magnify that challenge to an entire culture accustomed to placing responsibility for health and wellbeing outside oneself, and you see the scope of our work. To get a culture to change its way of operating from that of dependence upon a DoctorPatient/Parent-Child system (that saves people from the consequences of their own actions) to that of responsibility for ones own well-being (reducing the need to be saved from consequences) is a Herculean Feat tantamount to cleaning King Augeas’ stables by redirecting a river. The feats of Hercules, of which cleaning King Augeas’ stables was one of twelve, required strength and the use of available resources in new ways. They required more than Hercules’ solitary strength, but also his acceptance of help and ideas from others, his persistence, and his ingenious development of new ways to overcome seemingly impossible challenges.

The College Education Conspiracy – What They Don’t Want You To Know

Do you believe in conspiracies? Perhaps you don’t think there is a massive UFO cover-up or that Big Foot is secretly being held in an underground bunker however, you do wonder about “the rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey might say. The rising cost of a college education has always been one of those topics where there seems to be more to the story.

Consider this quote from a college financial aid insider. “You go into massive amounts of debt just to get an education that you need as a prerequisite to get a job. Then you spend the rest of your life paying off that educational debt. There has got to be a better way.”

When I heard this statement it made me stop, think and question everything that I had experienced personally as a high school student approaching college admissions, as a student in college and now as a parent preparing to send my daughter to college.

Once Upon A Time…

It reads almost like a fairytale. We are taught form a very early age that if we desire to have a better quality of life than our parents, we must obtain a college degree. Try using Google to search the phrase “value of a college degree”. You would not be surprised to learn that most of the results are filled with charts and graphs that describe the earning “potential” of a college graduate compared with that of someone with only a high school diploma. It makes sense doesn’t it? In fact companies announce that to even qualify to work for them you must have at least an Associate’s Degree and most likely a Bachelor’s Degree.

Reality Sets In…

For those of us that are old enough to have experienced life 5 – 15 years after college we understand that the fairytale was only partly true. We were not told that while in most cases we do enjoy a better than income than our undereducated counterparts, we were not fully informed about the true cost of all of the student loan debt it took to fund that college education. We were also not told that while we did get our dream job, it was only after changing careers or industries multiple times. In fact, I wonder if as you read this now, you are currently employed in the field for which you received your college degree.

It Gets Worse…

What’s worse is if you attended a well-known expensive university only to find your self today, working at the same company, in the same position, with other people who attended less expensive schools. This would be bad enough if the story ends here but unfortunately it doesn’t. After all of this you would think that we would have learned from our mistakes but we have not. Without knowing it we now are preparing our children to make this high school to college transition no better prepared than we were.

Why is Education a Must For Everyone?

Each of us must have a good education. It is a requirement for us to do better in life. We all know about the quote that says “Education is the key to success.” This is true, in a sense that we are capable of being successful and will reach high in life if we are educated. Starting our childhood years, we are being educated. From primary education, to our high school years, then comes college, and even higher degrees. After we have our careers, we still continue to educate ourselves by researching and other activities.

Education is what broadens our horizons for us to have a better and wider understanding of the world around us. It will help us know how things are working, and how they should be operated. Being in a civilized society, we need to have more knowledge on what the modern world has to offer. If not, then we cannot live our daily lives the way other people do.

Also, we are in need of education because the economy encourages us to have the chance of contributing to it. We can develop talents that we can use in helping out country. The intelligence we can acquire from the people who educate us will give us the ability to be better citizens. We can all see how advanced our society is today. It was all the contribution from earlier people who were once just youths that educated them so that they gain knowledge of the world around them. Everything we see not that we are using is based upon what they have learned, and the ideas they came up with based on the things they learned.

Just imagine how the world would be 50 years from now if education will continue. The future generations would have easier lifestyles, greater success, and happier living. People might have longer life expectancies by developing modern medications or any science contributions. The governments might be more secured and strong. Technology can be in its peak. All of these things are coming from a single foundation and that is education.

Also, people that are well-educated are more confident. They are well respected by others. We can always gain the praises that we want when we get a proper education. It is our key to have a better life. Better, not only because we are secured financially, but also because we have the pride and self esteem that is built upon knowledge.

So before you think of quitting school and thinking you are tired of those study routines, think of what you might be letting go if you pause your education. Time never waits for you. We better act now.

Sustainable Education for a Healthier Future

Education gives knowledge which as Bacon rightly puts, is a “source of power to man”. However, it is crucial we note that this power can function either as one employed to build a better future or as one that destroys.

Our masters, the likes of Galileo, after much philosophizing and experimentation, discovered truths and initiated beneficial principles now observed in our educational system. Their great philosophies are perfect for numerous situations, but our system does not show scholars the path to think and understand the proper situations to apply them. This is chiefly because the concentration of teachings nowadays is not to make people think, which ought to be the primary goal, but chiefly to uphold existing laws, reasoning in the confinement of principles, and empowering indirectly an unsustainable world.

Acquiring Knowledge of established principles is good. But our educational system is leaving out an essential goal of growing our thinking faculty, by not grounding scholars with the understanding that the established principles are simply discoveries employed to help and should not be taken as final. Such limits our sense of discovery needed to address the diverse problems growing in our world.

Time or situation can transform valid principles to invalid; the superseded scientific laws or theories we had and will still have are examples. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” (Ralph Waldo). A good quote it is; however, students are not grounded to understand its context and scope: Sadly, one can now see a sadist employing similar quote to justify actions, causing mayhem.

At a tender age, it was like a law according to my parents and remarks from people that rain starts and ends in certain months. I remember asking: “What if it rains in January?” their answer was: “It cannot”. The reply came with some air of finality because the principle had been valid historically and probably because they had never experienced otherwise. The principle was true. To them it was irrevocable. But time has invalidated that principle through climate change. Now the months they had known to bring heavy downpours sometimes turn to be the driest.

Life gets more complex every day, luckily we have principles intended to help, not to mold or limit our future. Sadly, our recognized principles cannot fit in every situation, and sticking on them will only bring about chaos. For a sustainable world, we need a kind of education where principles are acknowledged as a stimulus and not a decree. We need Education where people have enough grounds to express themselves beyond established principles, laws or philosophies; one that develops our reasoning and thinking faculty without constraints.

Pitiably, the knowledge we now gain from education does not train one in the part of wisdom which grows when one begins to think. It only exposes some people’s wise thoughts or principles. Our system of education now yields educated fanatics: people that have acquired better knowledge on how to present and manage their fanaticism, planting chaos by training advanced erroneous people.

Due to life’s growing complexities, education that develops our discerning ability to avoid further knowledge misappropriation is needed. Adoption of fine principles helps, but we should avoid settling in a period where ¬≠scholars are chiefly concerned with following of principles, so we can elude a future of people that reason more with citations than their heads, like robots.

For a peaceful and sustainable future, we should stop the degrading practice of following principles thoughtlessly in our educational system, and welcome fresh educational scheme that stimulates our thinking faculty. That will enable all to understand the fact that time or situation can change anything. So, one would not be quick to conclude because of knowledge from recognized scholars or universal principles.

I believe in the future of education where people do not just copy principles or laws, but where people also philosophize on situations to know where the principles are usable. This will free our world from the problematic chains of principles. Some of our masters foresaw this ugly future of ‘scholaroids’; Socrates addressed it: “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”