Review: How to live before you die

Speaker: Steve Jobs
Stanford University
Date: June 2005
Location: Stanford University

Description from TED website:
TED Editor’s note: This video is a TED “Best of the Web” pick, featuring a remarkable idea freely available on the internet.

At his Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO, and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks — including death itself.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

I know, I know… I’ve missed a few weeks of doing these reviews… but this is a great one to pick back up with!

In this graduation speech, Steve Jobs focused on three life stories that brought out three specific “points” that he wanted to leave the graduates with to ponder.

#1 – Connecting the Dots

While he didn’t graduate from college, he did benefit immensely from his college experiences. He talks about taking a calligraphy course that taught him about serif and sans serif fonts, and how that knowledge became useful 10 years later when developing the Mac.

Looking back on my past 20 years of work experience, I can also see how earlier experiences have connected to put me in a place to be successful in my own career.

As he states in this talk, you can only see how the dots connect when you look back. This means as you move forward in life, you have to trust that you are making decisions that will have meaning and “connect” in the future … even if the future you think will occur isn’t what actually occurs (as in my own case).

Your turn to reflect: Looking back on your life, what dots do you see that have connected to place you where you are now?

#2 – Love & Loss

Steve talks about how he was fired from Apple, and that while that seems like a horrendous loss… it was actually a blessing in disguise. Because he was no longer burdened by the pressures that weighed on him in the leadership position at Apple, he was able to enter a new phase. This new phase allowed him time to “start over” … remembering what it was like, the ups and downs, and so on. He got to be creative again and was able to establish other companies! The best part of it all was that he found his wife through the process.

As he talks, he reiterates the fact that he was focused on doing what he loved … not settling for anything less. He says that this will help you be truly satisfied, doing what you believe is great work.

Personally, I can say that I love the job that I started in September 2020. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I feel like I’m doing great work! And I love how he says that, as with any relationship, it will get better and better as the years go by… and while it’s only been a year, I can say that is definitely getting better and more enjoyable.

Your turn to reflect: Do you love what you do? Have you settled in your career? What do you believe is great work? If you aren’t doing it now, start making a plan to get yourself to where you want to be!

#3 – Death

A bit of a morbid topic, and one that we often try to avoid, Steve Jobs brings it to the forefront and suggests that keeping death in mind all the time is one of the best ways to help you live your best and fullest life. He talks about his experience with pancreatic cancer and how that it made him think about death even more so than prior. Looking into the mirror each morning, he would ask himself something like “Is what I’m about to do what I want to be doing if this were my last day alive?”

It’s a powerful thought. It’s an interesting way to help you put your “to-dos” into perspective.

Our turn to reflect: Think about the priority items that you’re rushing to do, then ask yourself, “If this were my last day on earth, is this really a priority?” If you re-evaluate your priorities in such a way, how much of a change would it make in your day-to-day life? If you did this for a month, what type of change would you see at the end of that month?

There is a lot to unpack from his less than fifteen-minute speech. I believe that I only scratched the surface. I certainly believe that this is a video everyone should watch and reflect upon. It would be great for high schoolers to do as they prepare to venture out into adulthood. It would be great for new college students as they prepare to begin their higher ed academic career. What do you think? How might you incorporate this video into your curriculum to engage and inspire students?

Until next time … live long, life-learner!

Review: Never, ever give up

Speaker: Diana Nyad
TEDWomen 2013
Date: December 2013
Location: San Francisco, California

Description from TED website:
In the pitch-black night, stung by jellyfish, choking on saltwater, singing to herself, hallucinating … Diana Nyad just kept on swimming. And that’s how she finally achieved her lifetime goal as an athlete: an extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida — at age 64. Hear her story.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

This is an amazing story of the power of resilience and persistence. The first person, ever, to swim from Cuba to Florida … and at the age of 64! This is an amazing story!

I can see this talk used as a great way to teach about the power of persistence. This could be used at nearly any age. I don’t have experience teaching children, so I’m not sure what the minimum age would be for showing this video … but I suspect it could be used at least with middle-schoolers and up.

I think this would be a great talk to show students and then have a group discussion on… I can certainly see coaches leveraging this video with their athletes! However, I think there is more to this than sports. I believe that this talk could be a great way to help teach young people about the power of persistence in any effort.

I can really see this as a great assignment for those studying psychology. A great way to start a talk on the power of persistence and/or resilience. It would be great for discussions, but also papers, especially reflection papers. How powerful would it be for students to watch this and then reflect on their own endeavors?

What about using it for a project with grads students? They could observe people as they watch the video, and then interview them. That might make for an interesting learning experience for those students. It would certainly give them some interesting interview experience.

What do you think? How can you see leveraging this powerful story? Would you use it in the education realm? Or perhaps use it in the public/private sector to inspire employees? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time … live long, life-learner!

Review: How to turn off work thoughts during your free time

Speaker: Guy Winch
TED Salon: Brightline Initiative
Date: November 2019
Location: New York, New York

Description from TED website:
Feeling burned out? You may be spending too much time ruminating about your job, says psychologist Guy Winch. Learn how to stop worrying about tomorrow’s tasks or stewing over office tensions with three simple techniques aimed at helping you truly relax and recharge after work.

Select the image to go to the actual video.

My Review / Notes / Thoughts

For someone like me … someone who is out of school and working, this talk hit home. HE basically says that we don’t feel stress about work AT work …. we feel it in our free time …when we have “time” to think about everything. This is the time we should be using to relax and recover, but most of us don’t do that.

He lists some side effects of “ruminating about work” during our off hours. He’s pulled these from various studies and these side effects include:

  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Eating unhealthier foods
  • Worse moods
  • Increase risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Impairment of executive functioning
  • Negatively affects relationships and family lives

He does make a point to differentiate between “ruminating” about our jobs (and corresponding problems) versus thinking creatively and problem-solving. The latter is different because it does not cause emotional distress, and they are in our control. Unfortunately, the things we ruminate about are typically involuntary, which makes it hard to control, and they create emotional distress.

He kept a journal for one week to document how much time he lost to ruminating … and found he lost 14 hours in a week to it! And all it did was increase his stress. He recommends that we try this as well to get an idea of how much time we’re losing to the “ruminating” process.

He won his war against ruminating … it took practice to establish the new habits, but he was successful. So in this talk, he goes on to tell us how we can do it too! I’ll give the highlights here, but you need to watch the video to get all the juice details.

  1. Establish clear guardrails, especially with technology.
  2. Ritualize your transition from work to home.
  3. Use problem-solving to turn ruminations into productive forms of thinking.

Ok, so now that we have a better idea of how to control our own ruminations … how do we help others? How do we bring this to the classroom and teach our students so that when they hit the workforce, they have these skill sets and habits already in place?

I certainly think high school students could benefit from learning these skills. Unfortunately, I’m not as familiar with K-12 programs, so I’m not sure how these skills could be worked into the curriculum.

For college-level programs… well, first let me say that this talk is a great one for psychology majors … as the speaker is a Psychologist. This talk could certainly be used as a prompt for an assignment or discussion for these students. This may also be good for other similar majors, such as counseling and social work.

As far as teaching these skills, I think this could be worked into a First-Year experience program where students watch the video, then require them to keep a journal for a few weeks. At that point, they could start learning about the three techniques and start establishing these habits in their lives. With some practice, this may even help them be more successful in their academic career, let alone when they get out into the workforce.

What thoughts do you have about this talk? How can you see incorporating it into your curriculum? What types of assignments might you use to help them learn these habits?

Until next time … live long, life-learner!

Goal Setting the SMART Way

Goal setting is a task that is often overlooked until the New Year when people decide to set resolutions. However, these resolutions are nothing more than wishes and are far from what we would call “goals”. Hence these “so-called” goals have very little chance of being realized. Just ask any fitness club owner when the greatest number of sign-ups occur and when the greatest number of drop-outs occur. Clearly, these “resolutions” don’t work!

Photographer: Markus Winkler | Source: Unsplash

So just what does work?

When it matters and you really want to accomplish your task, you will want to use tried and true goal setting techniques. Among the more successful methods is the SMART method of setting goals.


  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-sensitive

Goal setting starts with making sure that your goals are indeed SMART. Let’s examine this briefly, shall we?

Photographer: Markus Winkler | Source: Unsplash

A goal cannot be something general. It must be substantial and detailed. The goal must answer the questions: who, what, where, when, how, and why.

As an example, if your goal is to get a raise, this is not specific enough and doesn’t meet our criteria. If your goal is to get a 10% raise within 6 months, this is specific.

Photographer: patricia serna | Source: Unsplash

Measurable means exactly that. Your goal must be able to be measured or quantified. In the above example, a raise is not quantifiable, but a 10% raise is definitely quantifiable because the 10% number can be counted and verified.

A goal is attainable when it is realistic or feasible given your skills and resources. If you wish to be a pilot in 2 days and you have no money and no one to teach you, this may be considered “unattainable”.

Photographer: Robert Collins | Source: Unsplash

Realistic refers to your goal being “reasonable”, meaning you are not 35 years old and setting a goal to have 3 kids before you turn 36! Your goal must be reasonable or surely you will have no chance of achieving it under any circumstances. This doesn’t mean that goals that are “impossible” to achieve should not be attempted. History has shown us that what seems “impossible” to achieve for most people is indeed quite possible for others to achieve under the proper circumstances.

Photographer: Aron Visuals | Source: Unsplash

Lastly, “time-sensitive” refers to all goals having a completion date. This is what separates goals from activities, activities do not require an end date. This is a very important distinction between a goal and an activity. Using our previous example, obtaining a 10% salary raise during your lifetime is not the same as a 10% raise within 6 months.

We certainly hope the above information will aid you in setting and achieving more goals during your lifetime. For further information, be sure to check out the many goal setting resources available to you online. In fact, make that your first goal!

Note: This content was curated from a third party.


Welcome to my brand new blog site. Since COVID-19 has corralled us to all be indoors and working remotely, I’ve really had to come to terms with the rut I have been in for quite a while. Let me give a bit of backstory…

I must first admit that I am a lifelong learner. I love learning new things, reaching new goals, etc. I went straight to college after high school, with the unconscious goal of finding a husband (it didn’t work). After graduating with my Bachelors of Science in Political Science, I ended up back at my parent’s home in my old bedroom…and depressed.

Because she didn’t want me just wallowing in my depression, my mother gave me an ultimatum – either get a job or go back to school.

My response? Both! I ended up getting a job at a local two-year college and also taking courses on campus (after all, that’s one of the big perks of working at a college). Despite my educational background, I landed a job in the IT department at the institution. Since I didn’t have a lot of formal education in the field, I started taking courses in that area to shore up any shortcomings I had … and I took certification exams to help provide evidence of that training.

After a few years of this, I admittedly got bored and decided to pursue the next level of my education – a Masters. I knew I wanted to stay in technology, but I didn’t want to learn more coding … so I found what I felt to be a good alternative – a Masters in Instructional Technology. I love this field because it is constantly relevant because technology is constantly changing. And, if it is constantly changing, that means that people need help learning the changes – especially people who’s full-time jobs are not in technology. I mean, who has time to keep up?

I graduated with my Masters in Instructional Technology in 2008; however, I didn’t see any promotion based on it. But soon after I graduated, the college underwent a change of sorts. You see, our institution had two technology departments …the Office of Information Technology – where I was employed, and Instructional Technology & Distance Learning. Around that time the decision was made to merge the two departments into one. Not too long after this I was given the opportunity to be one of the backups to the Learning Management System (LMS) administrator. Finally! A job that went along with my degree!

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, because the institution, along with the sister institutions (we’re in a big state-wide system), decided it was time to change LMS platforms. I was able to participate in testing and critiquing the different platforms being considered, and I was on the ground floor when the final selection was made and training was offered. It was a very unique and educational experience.

Around 2012 I began considering going back to school, either for a second masters or for a doctorate. I applied to an institution for a Masters of Science in Computer Science and was accepted into the program. However, the more I considered the program and its requirements, the less interested I was in. Programming just wasn’t the niche that spoke to me, I didn’t want to remain stuck behind a monitor for the rest of my career. I did, however, want to find a way to enhance my instructional technology knowledge and experience. I wanted to find a way to grow that into helping faculty and improving the quality of courses being offered.

Based on my desires, I found a great fit in the Doctorate in Adult & Career Education and began my coursework in 2013. My logic being, if I learn how to teach to adults, then I can take my previous knowledge about technology and apply that to helping faculty better understand the technology they were using to teach and thereby improve the quality of their courses. In fact, my dissertation looked at if burnout levels in faculty affected their ability to accept technology.

During the middle of my doctoral studies my work institution went through a big change. We were to merge with another institution in the same city as us. This created a lot of turmoil and due to the added work load, caused me to slow down my progress in my doctorate. However, I persisted, and in the Spring of 2019 I successfully defended my dissertation and graduated May of 2019.

That was nearly a year ago, and I’ve been in a rut ever since. My father and I took a vacation in June, going to see family, etc. Unfortunately, we came back sick, which certainly has not helped my rut.

Photo by Dustin Tray from Pexels
Photo by Dustin Tray from Pexels

It’s as if my brain is going – you’ve hit the peak, there’s nothing left to pursue. What are you going to do now?

Between all the work from the merger and finishing my doctorate, I admit that I’m burnt out. My brain is tired. But I also have an issue with setting large goals – because my experience has been that of failure. The only goals that have succeeded for me have been educational…and if I’m burnt out from studying, what is there to focus on?

Well, I’ve had a year to “recover” and COVID-19 has forced me back into learning. After all, one of the items that we get to “work” on for work – is taking the training. I have been studying a lot on LinkedIn Learning, and I am currently watching the course of “Breaking Out of a Rut” and it seems appropriate that I force myself further out of the ruts I’m in by getting this site going.

So, on this blog I will be making an effort to:

  1. Write about things I’m learning
  2. Post reviews of different software I try
  3. Discuss my research from my doctoral studies (after all, I put a lot of work into that)
  4. Post links and other information that I find relevant to the concepts of technology & education.

So, if you’ve gotten this far, congratulations! I hope you will continue to visit and encourage. (Right now comments are turned off, but I’m debating changing that in the near future.) I hope that this site can become a resource for others trying to expand their futures as I work on expanding my own!

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