The third brain… immersion: the secret to mastery of life and growth

There are, in my experience, three thinking brains, at least potentially, in every human…

  1. The first thinking brain, the mind, that is in cahoots, in collusion, working against you with the selfish gene. That is what creates a life of reactivity, full of fear, full of anxiety, full of sharp turns and devastating jerks. I’ve lived there… and I hated it.
  2. The second thinking brain, the one that evaluates, reasons, figures stuff out, is slow and plodding, and hard work. Creates real solutions, keeps you out of trouble… but not fun.
  3. And then there is the third thinking brain… the work of thinking is done in the background, on the back burner, while the foreground is silent, resting, or busy learning something new..
    That is where I live now.

I am getting a few questions about that third brain, and I decided to tell you as much as I can see… the mechanism is largely hidden from my view… It is in the background…

I’ll use myself, and clients’ and students’ stuff as illustrations…

In the past month I saw more maturing, more “going to the next level” than I had seen in all my career as a coach.

When observing the data for clues, I saw that the students that had the breakthroughs were either on vacation, or had an unexpected week or two of no interruptions, no demands on their time to do other things, social or otherwise.

Tai talks about integration of the different areas of your life, and he is onto something, although it isn’t quite clear of what he is onto… lol… Happens with anyone.

Military boot camps produce un-ordinary results for the young men in them: it causes them to become men, fully aware that it is them who cause their results… or if not: drop out.

If the same amount of abusive work were meted out INTERRUPTED with going home, watching TV, going out for a beer, or even work, the results would never be there.

I could call this “immersion”. When the work is a total environmental change… My 67-step coaching program works best if you do it as immersion… if you don’t even remember from step-to-step what ground you’ve covered, then your life is fragmented, and your results will be ordinary, as opposed to the epigenetic shift that an immersion would cause.

What happens is actually on the genetic level: the genes scramble to adjust to the new circumstance and negotiate a new evolutionary stable strategy, a new e.s.s.

Without immersion the genes would know it’s temporary, and would not bother.

The immersion needs to be long enough… so the genes believe this is the new world they need to adjust to.

A seamless life, inside the context of this work, the work of growth, is possible, but requires a person strong enough to not be pulled out of the context willy nilly…

For example, if you have a family whose self interest is to pull you out of your own life, of your own self-created equilibrium, only the strong can remain their own Self while being jerked incessantly by the family.

I haven’t tested myself… the thought of surrounding myself with “normal” people makes me scared…

But most people, you, live in a normal world where the normal people in your life, colleagues, bosses, friends are not on the side of their growth… and unless the context of growth is stronger than your desire to fit in, to be liked, to be accepted by those people, your life will become fragmented and you don’t have an immersion experience: no new ess.

No real growth is possible without a new ess.

This can be seen with diets, with your cell hydration, this can be seen with starting a business, a hobby, a relationship. You taking a course and not immersing yourself in it. You signing up to the 20-day skill learning challenge, and doing it willynilly… occasionally, halfheartedly, just for show.

The world of people (selfish gene) is not on your side. The chicken coop isn’t on the side of you breaking out of it. The world acts as a huge crab bucket where the other crabs will pull you back when you want to become yourself, when you want to escape the crab bucket to do something worth doing.

Consider that unless you protect your new Self, your new Self-interest, it will be destroyed by the people in your life on short notice. FAST.

  • Married men are the most vulnerable: wives hold the purse-string… or more precisely the panty-string, and men are too weak to let that go, even for a little bit of time.
  • Married women can have a lot more freedom… but not necessarily enough character.

So when you consider this journey, some of the predictors’ of success is the environment you live in… will you have an opportunity to create an immersion experience for your genes for a new ess.

Epigenetic shifts do not happen without this immersion. They also don’t happen without some friction that forces the genes to consider a new ess…

One of my roles is to provide the friction… as a coach. Friction is friction… never pleasant… but without friction no ess, no epigenetic shift, no new inner reality born.

The genes have no reason to scramble for that new “setup”, that new “set of rules”, that new ess.

Growth, human growth, personal evolution, goes through these periods of friction that forces the genes to re-arrange themselves in a new ess.

Inside the genome, one of the results is the release on the lock of spiritual capacities… they become expressed.

Students who pay for the activation of spiritual capacities but don’t generate friction are wasting their money: the new capacity needs to go back into “unexpressed” because no new ess, evolutionary stable strategy is needed…

Self-trust is a great example. Self-trust, the capacity, is the attitude of “I know myself. I can handle anything. Good or bad, well or poorly, but I can handle it. So I can experiment, I can risk, I can go down the unfamiliar path, because I can trust myself to handle whatever comes up.”

Nice idea. But you don’t need it unless you keep on going down paths that are unfamiliar and scary. If you always move sideways from a challenge, then you are just doing lip-service… capacities don’t respond to good intention, only to the friction… ugh, right?

No scary path? No need for self-trust.

Clear?

The Universe is not prepared to give abundantly to a bunch of undeserving people… I am paraphrasing what Tai quotes… but if you hope that you can be undeserving and pay for the kind of stuff that need to be earned: you surely didn’t earn your money either. You haven’t become a man yet. You have unearned riches, and you’ll lose them as surely as that the sun gets up on the East…

Now, onto the third thinking brain:

Once you managed to cause an epigenetic shift or two, you have less urges and less attempts from the genes to pull you out… and your brain can deal with more pieces of information at the same time, much like a plate-spinner circus performer: your brain can keep more spinning plates in the air than before.

The spinning plates will be the foundation of the third thinking brain: they can keep on spinning and doing work while you are doing other things, the kind of things that don’t force you to drop the plates. Drama, all selfish genes! will force you to drop the plates.

Looking back at the past five years of my life, I can count on one hand the number of times I dropped the plates.

I set the direction of the work, and my team: the third thinking brain, does most of the work. I supervise it, can observe it working, and have to present it to the world with my second brain, but otherwise my experience of my life is that I am never under pressure, never in a hurry, never late…

And in the foreground I can work on new stuff… as long as I manage to integrate it through context into my seamless life.

Integrating is not easy and not instantaneous… it takes work, it takes thought, and it is like any new learning, not pleasant.

The genes protest. Because every piece of new learning upsets the ess…

I am learning marketing. The genes want me to stop it… My job is to tread lightly… increase the discomfort slowly… like in the story of cooking frogs you raise the temperature slowly.

Even talking about it here the genes want to strangulate me… I need to tell them to relax, there is no danger.

The genes don’t like changes.

Anywhere I talk about genes, you can replace the word with another word: ego. It will be more familiar: ego wants you to stay the same.

So you need to trick the genes/the ego into a false sense of security.

Goal-setting, affirmations, campaigns tip the genes off about your intention, and they will kill it as sure as that it takes breathing to live.

Your diets: one step forward, two steps back…
Your income
Your happiness…

All fall victim to your careless following the current teaching: go boldly, loudly, and stupidly… I would laugh if I thought that’s funny. But I think it’s tragic.

People crowd around, rally for, and idolize teachers who teach that path… But what part of the people is so happy? The selfish gene. The selfish gene is happy, while people, the vehicles for the selfish gene, aren’t.

I watched a video and then read the book by “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” by Kamal Ravikant.

My first clue was that he was invited to the Awesomeness Fest of Mind Valley… anyone Mind Valley likes is a prophet of the selfish gene, pouting lies.

As I was reading the book, I was connected to the author who was obviously suffering from the guru syndrome (impostor syndrome) of being fully crap and knowing it… His vibration is 170, and what he is teaching is harmful. Much like all the other Indian gurus…

This is why I was hit in the stomach when a student of mine labeled me as “guruji” Sophieji… and Indian guru. I am anything like that, but if you find that I am… please kill me.

OK… I have been all over the place in this article… so let me pull it together for you:

  • You can live fully in the first brain, and a full 99 percent of humanity does. The selfish genes call all the shots in your life.
  • You can start using your conscious, thinking, problem solving brain at least some of the time… and start upsetting the apple cart, the dominion of the genes.

If you manage to create immersion experiences that are unpleasant, challenging, the genes might be willing to consider a new evolutionary stable strategy to adjust to the requirements of the requirements of the immersion, and make you a new man.

These immersion experiences plus an integrated life (integrated through context) will enable you to spin more plates than before, to activate spiritual capacities that are needed… and you activate the third thinking brain that does most of the work.

This is the pathway to the evolutionary stage of Human Being… less doing and more being.

How the brain works and how to learn new skill

To learn more about how brain works, read: Michio Kaku’s book The Future of the mind

What is the best ability of the brain?

Is it memorizing, remembering, imagining or analyzing? Well, even though, all of these are what our brain is what we use for, the best ability of our brain is forgetting. Yes, you read that right: forgetting.

Why is it the case then? Well, the major reason is because our brain has a limited storage. To store a new information, it has to remove the old and useless information by forgetting. And, how does your brain know which is useful and which is not? Simple. The stored information that is being recalled over and over again to be used are important and the others not so much. This is the general case and of course, all of us have a certain memory fixed in our brain because that moment was so drastic in some type of way (Rich Homie Quan haha). Also, it is much easier to store an information by associating the new information with the already established old information than trying to create a new information cell in your brain. Also, there are some rare and gifted people who can remember and store information like the character in the movie Rain man.

Then, how can we use this information to our advantage?

Whenever you are trying to learn a new thing or skill, then according to the brain function described above, we have to keep hammering the information for a prolonged period of time. It’s not about how much you do during one-time effort. It’s more about taking a small steps and effort for a prolonged period of time, i.e. 30 minutes a day for a month-constant effort and application through a long time-frame. This is the recipe for success as Aristotle once said that “Excellence is not an act but a habit” — which is very true.

Now, let’s say that you have learned a new skill to some level and hit the wall; then, what to do?

In this case, the first thing you have to do is a realistic self-assessment of yourself. However, we as a human-a product of nature, always tend to have a biased self-assessment. Thus, it is best advised to ask for others to do an assessment of you. Then, once you have that assessment, find ways and solutions to the mistakes and faults you are constantly doing. At last, start executing the corrected actions so that your old habit way of executing can be replaced with the new and corrected habit. There is no hidden secrete of success; this is the total, simple, and the most fundamental recipe for success. Sounds easy but most fail. Why? Because we are lazy and suck at applying this easy method of mastering new skills and concepts. We think that there is some secret sauce. But that’s not true. The secret is taking planned approach and taking actions. This is the reason why I always keep preaching taking actions after actions after actions!!!

Jedi Academics During War: A counterpoint to Dan Drezner

The trailer for The Last Jedi was released last week and we are a distant two months until the 8th chapter in the Skywalker Saga is in theaters. But there is a great disturbance in the galaxy. Begun, the overanalysis has. Fans are pouring through the details of the two minute trailer hoping to figure out the plot of the movie. What will happen to Luke, Leia, Rey, and Kylo Ren? Who is Snoke? Will Porg-mania take over?

As I am often prone to do, I read a lot of smart takes on Star Wars. I have an entire page of links of articles analyzing Star Wars — from military operations, religious understanding, to business and media. I am expecting to add to the list upon the release of The Last Jedi.

Beating the pack to overanalysis of The Last Jedi is an article on The Washington Post website by political scientist Dan Drezner. Drezner extrapolates a few scenes from the trailer and advances a theory that Luke Skywalker and other Jedi in the saga are flawed professors and it is this inability to properly teach that dooms their pupils and opens up opportunities for chaos in the galaxy.

Drezner cites as evidence several Jedi and apprentice relationships that failed:

I am increasingly of the mind that it is a saga about poor mentoring. Think about it: Obi-Wan fails Anakin, Palpatine fails Anakin, Obi-Wan lies to Luke (don’t give me that “different point of view” crap), Yoda fails to get Luke to stay in Dagobah to complete his training, and Luke fails Kylo Ren. This is an appalling track record, and it bodes ill for Rey. In the seven films that have been released, we only witness one example of competent mentoring: Qui-Gon’s tutoring of Obi-Wan. And even that was cut short.

I’ve read Drezner’s blogs for close to 10 years. I have his book International Relations and Zombies (review here). Normally I agree with his views or he at least makes me think. But here his analysis is missing a very important point. A point so large as to ruin his entire premise.

Drezner’s theory fails to account for the fact that all the training we see in Star Wars occurs during a time of war. As many military members with a collection of colleges and courses can attest, deployments and military exercises wreak havoc on academic aspirations. This is not the instructors’ fault, but the fault of circumstances.

(By the way, modern academia has three advantages over Jedi training:

  • No need for spiritual training.
  • Long distance or online classes. Rarely do we see Jedi training via hologram.
  • Diploma mills.)

In Star Wars, interrupted Jedi programs are not only the norm for a generation of Jedi, but a problem that becomes more prominent as time goes on. Unlike Sith training, which is highly emotional, Jedi training is a long, elaborate process of mind and body.

If we assume the Republic was at relative peace prior to the tiff between the Trade Federation and the Naboo, or there was at least no large scale galactic war (the Mandalorians were probably at war, as usual), then the first padawan we know of (Obi-Wan Kenobi) was taught in a much calmer time. There were no Sith or Inquisitors hunting Jedi and padawans had the full luxury of the Jedi Library and all the Jedi mentors at their disposal. Kenobi was basically trained in a Jedi University.

While Anakin (Obi-Wan’s padawan) also had the Jedi Temple, Library, and mentors to learn from, he was often in combat for the Republic. Time for study was not a priority during the Clone Wars, with deployments and missions on a regular basis.

If war does not make one great, there was no way Anakin could have become a great Jedi since most of his time was spent participating in war.

Anakin’s training was on commanding Clone Troops and training insurgencies as it was Jedi training. He was as much warrior as academic, almost equivalent to Special Forces training in both culture and combat. So although he passed the Jedi Trials, he probably had to rush through the training — possibly only memorizing the answers and not understanding them in context or meaning — a huge problem for spiritual understanding and the reason he was exploitable to social engineering.

The war climate also prevented the completion of training for two characters in the acclaimed cartoons: Ashoka Tano and Kanan Jarrus. In The Clone Wars, Ashoka was Anakin’s padawan and accompanied him on many deployments and missions throughout her teens and twenties. Her involvement in the war may have led to her unfortunate dismissal and subsequent shunning of the Jedi order. It is probable that without the overarching conflict, Ashoka would have become a strong Jedi Master. Due to the war and the politics of a Jedi Order woefully struggling with its new place in a government at war, she became a rogue Force wielder.

For Kanan Jarrus of Star Wars: Rebels, Jedi training was cut short as his master was killed on the battlefield during Order 66. Throughout the Rebels cartoon, Jarrus must mind the few lessons he learned during the war, picking up lessons along the way from Tano and the spiritual guidance of Yoda. From the cartoon, we don’t know if Jarrus went through the Jedi Trials. Was he ever a Jedi Knight? Did the war and the resulting rebellion allow Jarrus the time to reach any standard of training?

Jarrus continues to complicate Jedi training by taking a padawan, Ezra Bridger. At first, Jarrus is hesitant as he is unsure of his own abilities, but he is encouraged to train Bridger and does so the best he can. But is again during a time of war. There is no ability to visit Coruscant and the Jedi Library and gain any formal knowledge. While they visit random smaller Jedi Temples and we see Jarrus and Bridger interact with a Jedi holocron, the main institution of formal Jedi training is not available to a generation of aspiring Jedi.

Following The Clone Wars and Order 66, there is no longer any way to formally train a Jedi, especially in the far reaches of the galaxy. War made Jedi training catch-as-catch can.

And this brings us to the least formally trained Jedi in Star Wars saga, Luke Skywalker. While Luke had brief tutelage under Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, his training was often interrupted by rebellion and battle. Even if had stayed at Dagobah with the elderly Yoda, how much more could he possibly learn? Granted, he is a Skywalker and Dagobah is rife with the Living Force, but Luke would still never be as formally or thoroughly trained as Obi-Wan.

Luke’s lack of training is not Yoda’s fault. It is circumstantial.

By Episode 6 (Return of the Jedi), Luke has developed as a Jedi. Those of us who only see the movies and cartoons are left to guess how this happened. Did he return to Dagobah? Did he sneak into Coruscant to study at the Jedi Library? Did he find a holocron? Did he meet with other Jedi in hiding — perhaps Kannan, Bridger, or Ashoka Tano?

However he did it, Luke became so powerful that 30 years after the fall of the Empire, people searched the galaxy for his assistance.

Although we can postulate Luke’s power, based on what we know thus far, we can’t fully analyze Kylo Ren or Rey’s training. We know Kylo Ren has been trained — both by Luke and by Snoke.

From what we know about a generation of Jedi education and what little we know about what happens, it is impossible to blame Luke Skywalker for Kylo Ren or Rey’s skills or faults. There is no way to compare Jedi training during the Clone Wars, the Galactic Civil War, and the resulting conflict with the First Order to previous Jedi training or the luxury and relative comfort held by American professors and students.

To blame Luke is not true, even from a certain point of view.

Git Commands and GitHub Functions

This post contains Git commands and GitHub functions I learned from Udacity’s How to Use Git and GitHub Course as well as more things from self-work/study.

Key Things and Concepts

version control — a way to keep different versions of files saved at different points in time. Dropbox, Wikipedia, and Google Docs all have they own way of doing version control.

Git — a version control system. Saving versions is done manually and locally on your computer.

shell — a command line interpreter that executes commands. The windows command prompt is a commonly known shell.

Git Bash — a shell where git is a known command. Git Bash is a common way to use Git.

GitHub — a website that hosts online repositories via interaction with Git. Offers features for collaboration.

repository — a directory which utilizes git version-control, often called a repo. It contains commits (unless you’ve just initializied/created a repository).

working directory — the area on your computer where you make changes before committing changes.

staging area — the middle ground between the working directory and committing a change. Use this area to review changes and ensure your commits are logical.

commit — a saved version of a file. Multiple files can be changed in one commit.

branch — a history of commits.

remote — the online repository a local repository updates and/or gets changes from.

HEAD — the most recent commit on a branch. This updates automatically when a new commit is made.

master — the default branch in Git.

origin — the default remote.

upstream — a common-practice remote name for the original repository when you’re working with a fork but need to update your local remote (origin/master) with the original repository.

Common Workflow Situations

Making a repository — Create a directory, either with Windows Explorer (if you’re on PC) or in Git Bash with mkdir. Run git init and the repository is created.

Working on a project, updating it, putting it on GitHub — make changes in the working directory. Add the changes with git add. Note you can add more than one file. Commit your change with git commit. Write a commit message either with the -m argument in git commit or in your editor of choice. Create the repository on GitHub. Add the remote with git remote add origin URL. Put your local changes onto the remote with git push origin master.

Merging two branches, deleting a branch — checkout the branch you want to update. Run git merge other-branch-name. Run git add changed-file. Commit it. Delete the old branch with git branch -d branch-name.

Resolving a merge conflict — open your editor of choice. You can search for the conflict by searching for the repeated less than sign, like this : >>>>>. The part after the >>>>> is your code. The code
is the original code. The code after the <<<<< is the conflict code that someone else wrote. Make the appropriate changes, delete the marker lines, then add and commit the merge change.

Note: If you experience a merge conflict in a pull request due to changes in code in the original repository (not your fork), you’ll need to update your local remote (typically origin/master) by creating a new remote (called upstream) that points to the original repository. You’ll then fix any conflicts, push the changes to your fork, and your pull request should automatically update to be mergeable.

Contributing code to a project — make new code on separate branch. This is considered a common practice. Push it to your fork. Open a pull request on GitHub.

Git Commands

git init – use to create a repository on your computer. Do this in a directory.

git add – use to add a file to the staging area (also called the index). The file to add is the argument.

Ex: git add info.txt

Note the staging area is the place between the working directory and the master branch.

git commit – use to add a file to a branch from the staging area. With no arguments, you can configure Git to open up your editor of choice and write the commit message there. You can also write git commit -m then the the commit message in parentheses.

Ex: git commit -m "Fix typo"

git diff – with no arguments, see changes you've made between the working directory and the staging area. Run with the argument --staged to see differences between changes in the staged area and the branch. You can have two arguments after diff to compare to different things, such as commits or branches.

Ex: git commit master origin/master

git log – see history of commits of current branch with no arguments. Add argument of another branch to see commits of that branch.

Ex: git log origin/master

git status – see changes made in working directory or in staging area. Takes no arguments.

git checkout – switch to a branch to work on it. Needs the branch as an argument.

Ex: git checkout Korean

git clone – downloads a repository from GitHub onto your computer and automatically creates a remote. Add the url for the argument.

Ex: git clone https://github.com/ellereeeee/reflections.git

git branch – shows branches in repository when run with no arguments. Run with argument to create new branch.

Ex: git branch new-feature

git remote – show what remotes you have.

git remote -v – show the url fetch and push remotes. The -v arguments stands for "verbose."

git remote add – create a remote that lets you push and pull changes to GitHub (the cloud, so to speak). Takes two arguments, the name of the new remote and a URL.

Ex: git remote add origin https://github.com/ellereeeee/reflections.git

git push – update local commits to a remote repository on GitHub. Takes two arguments, the remote and the local branch respectively. Ex: git push origin master. This pushes the local master branch onto the origin remote repository on GitHub.

git fetch – updates your local remote branch (but not your working directory!) from the remote repository. The local remote branch's name is the remote name and branch name designed by a backslash (often called origin/master). Needs no arguments.

git merge – merges a branch into your current checked out branch. Only needs on argument, but some people may put two to visualize what is being merged.

Ex: The following commands are different but the outcome is the same.

  1. The master branch is checked out. You run git merge coins. The coins branch is merged into the master branch, assuming there are no conflicts.

git pull – updates your local branch (including your working directory) from the remote repository. This is the same thing as running git fetch then git merge.

GitHub Functions

fork — both a noun and a verb. Makes a copy of someone else repository onto your GitHub account. Allows you to modify your copy of someone else’s project without modifying the original creator’s repository. Credits the original author. Similar to cloning, except all copying is done on GitHub.

pull request — notifies someone else of a change or update you made for review, and to possibly merge it into a branch. Merge request may be a more approriate term since you a requesting someone to merge your code into another branch of code. It it named pull request because they may be pulling your code into the other piece of code. Not to be confused with the git pull command!

Blockchain game — the road to SXSW (cont’d)

Written by Jeroen

New flow as designed for SXSW

Blockchain Game @ SXSW series

As mentioned in the previous blog in this series, we have been invited to host the Blockchain Game at the blockchain conference at South by SouthWest this year (March 2019).

So far we have created a new version and played it with students of the Data-driven Design Master's program at the Hogeschool Utrecht. This led to a lot of learning and a complete redesign of the game materials and part of the flow.

On Friday March 1st 2019, we had a second play test. Here we used the new materials for the first time. We had 13 participants for the test. Some of our design changes were tested and found not to work.

Having a lot of loose materials on the flow did not work well with having to move the transaction cards around, so we returned to printing everything on the flow again. We will experiment with covering up the not-yet-relevant parts with sticky notes in our game at SXSW. It will be a real live experiment!

As mentioned in previous post, our creative colleagues from the Experience Center helped us with the new design of the flow. A new creative addition for the final version is original artwork for the three roles in the game.

Image of the distributor

Pictured left is the new original illustration for one of the roles we introduced at our full game in the fall of 2016. The distributor is the person in the (table)group that brings copies of inputs to the neighbouring tables.

For the game @ SXSW we will have one distributor per table. For very large games, like the one at the Creative Design conference in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, we use more than one per table.

This is a completely new version of the game, but we feel confident that the materials are in the right shape to play at SXSW. We normally learn from games and always adopt some part of the materials, but this is a complete overhaul of all the materials (except for the transaction cards).

The last blog in this series is going to appear after SXSW and talk about our experiences there.

But before that, read about the surprise role added to the SXSW edition in this blog.

Five Things About Writing M C Beaton Taught Me

I’ve been wanting to write an article on M C Beaton for a while. She is, without doubt, one of my favorite authors, for a number of reasons. But before I start, let me tell you a little bit about her, in case you don’t know who she is.

M C Beaton, or Marion Chesney, which is her real name, has written over 100 novels in 19 different series ranging from modern cozy mysteries, to regency romances. Her two most well known series feature Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth, both of which have been made into TV series (Robert Carlyle of Trainspotting fame rather gorgeously played Hamish in the 1990's), and her Poor Relation series is currently being optioned.

Now, that isn’t a bad career for a writer, is it? If I ever manage to get a smidgen of that sort of success, I’d be a happy bunny.

Having read a ridiculous amount of her books, here are the five things she has taught me as a writer:

Find Your Own Style

I love how her writing is so easy to read and timeless. Though she started writing in the late 1970’s, a lot of the time, you don’t know it — they could have been written yesterday. Often it’s only the odd political reference that gives the game away, but certainly for any of her novels set in the regency period, you wouldn’t know.

For me, her writing is a wonderful combination of just enough description, dialogue and action. I hate pages and pages of needless description telling me the exact color of the walls or listing different shades of leaves.

She also writes in third person omniscient, which is one of my favorites, even though it’s considered a bit old fashioned. Most of all though, she has such a wicked sense of humor that shines through and brings a smile to my face. She is completely entertaining!

When I read her books I feel like I’m being wrapped in a blanket. She doesn’t use overly fancy language and her writing is easy to understand. It goes to show that if your style of simple, but effective at conveying characters and settings, that’s fine! We don’t all need to write a literary epic.

Don’t Always Follow the Rules

Nowadays we’re told that in murder mysteries, the murder should happen in the first chapter, to grab the reader’s attention. In a lot of her novels , the first murder happens about a third of the way through.

The idea is that it slows the pace if you don’t have the action straight away and the reader might no read further. I think that if you have the murder too quickly, before you’ve built up the character the audience won’t care.

When reading MC Beaton, you don’t realize the length of time that has passed before anyone actually dies because you’re so interested in the characters and in the story, it doesn’t matter.

Be Productive

Marion Chesney has produced an incredible amount of work over her career. She clearly works constantly and can’t sit long between projects. By doing this she has become a constant in the industry and built a loyal readership.

I think if you want to make it as a writer you have to keep producing work and taking every opportunity that comes your way. You can’t just sit back, waiting for inspiration to strike and then think a literary agent is going to discover you. Get working, work a lot and chase down every opportunity.

Write What You Want

MC Beaton writes across the cozy mystery genre and regency romance, sometimes with a dash of mystery thrown in for good measure. I’ve come across a lot of writing advice that says you should stick to one genre because it’s too difficult to write across. I get this, to a degree. Marion Chesney may not be a typical example, but if you like writing romances, but likewise, bumping people off in a cozy mystery or nitty crime thriller, why shouldn’t you? After all, everyone has a dark side! And you can always use a pseudonym like Marion Chesney and JK Rowling did.

Anything is Possible

Marion Chesney started writing when her children were young and now she has an amazing career behind her. Two of her series are currently being optioned, with two already made into TV shows. Perhaps it’s because I’m a writer with young children that I find this hopeful, but we all should. Luck does play a part, but unless you try you’ll never know.

If you try, anything is possible.

J’apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Vous adorez apprendre de nouvelles choses, j’en suis certaine.

En tout cas, moi j’adore apprendre au moins un truc tous les jours.

Surtout dans mon domaine de prédilection, le Marketing sur Internet.

Et vous savez aussi que j’adore partager avec vous ce que j’apprends grâce à vous !

Alors aujourd’hui, quelle meilleure idée que vous donner une astuce pour apprendre vous aussi plein de choses.

Je vais vous présenter : LinkedIn Learning !

Voici ce que Laurent m’en disait ce matin :

C’est un sujet très intéressant Audrey. Mathieu a suivi quelques cours sur LinkedIn Learning, vas lui en parler !

Merci Laurent 🙂 Je me suis adressé à Mathieu pour savoir ce qu’il en pense. Il m’a même aidé à rédiger cet article !

Alors, c’est parti pour découvrir comment vous former grâce à l’offre de cours en ligne de LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Learning, c’est quoi ?

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Une offre en ligne de cours professionnels

LinkedIn Learning est une plateforme de cours en ligne proposée par LinkedIn qui propose des vidéos accompagnées de leurs transcriptions au format texte.

Les cours parlent de tous les sujets et sont très accessibles et progressifs.

Ainsi, “Monsieur et Madame tout le monde” apprend des choses rapidement et facilement.

Avant, LinkedIn Learning s’appelait Lynda.com

Un peu d’histoire (récente je vous rassure) pour commencer.

LinkedIn a racheté la startup américaine Lynda en avril 2015 pour un montant de rachat 1,5 milliards de dollars (source Usine Digitale).

Autant dire que LinkedIn trouve stratégique de proposer des contenus riches, pertinents et professionnels.

Normal, LinkedIn souhaite que vous soyez super contents d’utiliser leur réseau professionnel, et que vous y passiez un maximum de votre temps.

Qui donne les cours ?

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Les cours sont proposés par des experts qui doivent postuler auprès de la plateforme.

Les “professeurs” sont en général des membres de LinkedIn qui souhaitent :

  • Partager leurs connaissances,

Les experts qui donnent les cours sont le plus souvent américains. Mais on trouve de plus en plus d’autres nationalités représentées, dont des français !

Aha, cela me donne une idée. Mathieu et/ou Laurent pourraient peut-être que donner un cours sur Lynda, afin de mettre en avant leurs connaissances et donner de la visibilité à mon blog 🙂

Un peu plus de détails sur leur offre

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Voyons un peu plus en détail maintenant comme vous pourrez vous amuser un peu, en apprenant plein de choses, avec cet outil.

Combien coûte Lynda / LinkedIn Learning ?

Et oui, malheureusement LinkedIn n’est pas gratuit.

Après tout, rappelez-vous que Microsoft a racheté LinkedIn en 2016, pour une fortune.

Et Microsoft aime bien gagner de l’argent. Donc il faut trouver des sources de financement.

La politique tarifaire de LinkedIn Learning est clairement expliquée : environ 25 euros par mois, c’est-à-dire grosso modo le prix d’un abonnement Premium.

Que peut-on y apprendre ?

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Voici la liste exhaustive des sujets qui sont couverts sur LinkedIn Learning :

  • Compétences professionnelles : droit des affaires, animation de réunions, entrepreneuriat, …

Comme vous voyez, le spectre est large !

Je suis certaine que vous trouvez au moins quelques cours parmi toutes ces rubriques qui vont vous aider le développement de votre entreprise.

D’ailleurs, selon cet article de Siècle Digital sur l’offre LinkedIn Learning, rédigé par Mathilde Iger, il y a déjà plus de 4 000 cours proposés sur la plateforme !

C’est vraiment utile ?

Je vais passer la parole un instant à Mathieu qui a pas mal utilisé LinkedIn Learning :

Oui, c’est très utile de suivre des cours sur LinkedIn Learning. Tout d’abord les cours sont de grande qualité et m’apprennent beaucoup de choses sur le Marketing Digital. En plus, ils m’ouvrent l’esprit sur de nouvelles façons de travailler, de nouveaux outils. Enfin, je peux ensuite ajouter sur mon profil LinkedIn mes certifications. Et ce dernier point est un vrai plus pour crédibiliser mon profil professionnel.

En effet, je n’ai pas pensé à ce dernier point.

En bas du profil LinkedIn de Mathieu, vous voyez dans la rubrique “Réalisations” toutes ces certifications :

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Ces certifications sont la la preuve que les cours ont bien été suivis et assimilés.

En tant qu’entrepreneur, une telle preuve de votre expertise est toujours une bonne chose.

En pratique, comment se sert-on de LinkedIn Learning ?

Et bien c’est tout simple, il faut d’abord disposer d’un compte Premium sur LinkedIn.

Ensuite, connectez-vous à votre compte LinkedIn.

A droite dans le menu de navigation supérieur, cliquez sur LinkedIn Learning :

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Lire l’article sur Passionnée De Webmarketing, Je Me Présente : Audrey Tips

Chercher un cours en ligne qui vous intéresse

Vous avez envie de vous “auto-former” sur un sujet donné.

Alors cliquez dans la zone de recherche en haut de page ou encore sur “Sujets” pour voir la liste des sujets disponibles s’afficher.

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Ou bien, tapez vos mots-clés dans la zone de recherche.

Imaginons que vous soyez intéressé par un cours sur Google Search Console. Tapez “Google Search Console” dans la zone de recherche.

Voici le résultat :

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Les résultats affichent. Il y a 2 types de vidéos :

  • Des cours entiers : le premier dure 1h16min,

En effet, vous pouvez décider de :

  • Suivre un cours entier, composé de plusieurs vidéos,

C’est très pratique quand on maîtrise déjà un peu son sujet ou que l’on veut revoir une partie particulière!

Filtrer les résultats de recherche des cours en ligne

Ensuite sur la gauche, il y a plusieurs critères pour filtrer les résultats :

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Les filtres disponibles sont :

  • Le niveau de difficulté (débutant, avancé…),

Sélectionnez bien le niveau de difficulté. En effet, si vous n’avez jamais entendu parler du sujet qui vous intéresse, vous pouvez gagner du temps en partant des bases !

Lancer et suivre son cours en ligne

Une fois que vous avez choisi votre cours, cliquez sur le bouton “Play” ci-dessous :

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Si le cours vous passionne, les minutes vont défiler sans vous en rendre compte.

En plus, si vous devez vous interrompre entre 2 vidéos :

  • Les vidéos du cours déjà visionnées sont signalées par un point orange,
J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Enfin, vous pouvez aussi prendre des notes, comme en classe. Alors profitez-en !

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Pas mal, non ?

Et le top du top, les vidéos sont disponibles hors-ligne (dans le train par exemple) !

J'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn LearningJ'apprends Un Max de Choses Avec LinkedIn Learning

Il vous suffit de cliquer sur les liens ci-dessus pour télécharger le cours sur votre smartphone.

Pour conclure sur LinkedIn Learning

Dans cet article, je vous ai présenté l’offre de cours en ligne de LinkedIn et les différents sujets de cours disponibles.

Mathieu nous a aussi vanté les mérites d’avoir ses certifications de cours visibles sur votre profil LinkedIn pour augmenter la crédibilité sur votre expertise.

Enfin, pas à pas, nous avons parcouru ensemble comment visualiser des cours sur LinkedIn Learning.

Pour aller plus loin, je vous recommande de lire mon article sur la prospection commerciale efficace sur LinkedIn, qui est l’un de mes plus populaires !

En bonus, une petite astuce sympa pour apprendre 2 fois plus vite !!

J’ai mis une mini-astuce ce document PDF à télécharger via le bouton ci-dessous :

BONUS — Comment Apprendre Deux Fois Plus Vite Sur LinkedIn Learning

TELECHARGER

Avec cette astuce, vous pouvez apprendre 2 fois plus vite. En tout cas, c’est ainsi que je procède depuis que Mathieu m’en a parlé !

Qu’avez-vous pensé de notre présentation sur LinkedIn Learning et de l’apprentissage de nouvelles compétences avec cet outil ? Pensez-vous vous en servir ?


Originally published at Audrey Tips.

How to search is a skill.

Personally, I believe the primary purpose of school is to teach us how to learn. Not to teach us what we need, but to teach us how to update ourselves.

ALMOST ALL the information you will ever need in this life is currently already stashed somewhere in one book or the other, in one YouTube video, a series of articles or in the head of one of you friends or someone in your network.

If we were all left to discover fire, or invent the bow and arrow, or something as simple as the wheel, then we’d all understand and value the importance of building upon the information of those who came before us.

The people or organizations that grow fastest are those that have somewhat understood the art of search.

PS:

1) Reading and studying are two different things.

2) Studying is just one one aspect of search.

3) LOL if you don’t believe that studying begins after your degree certificate.

PS2: Frameworks are the best things that happened to wisdom. understanding.

But what do I know?in

Be the Apple to your iPhone

iPhone by Gonzalo Baeza (CC), accessed via Flickr.

Ten years ago, Steve Jobs took the stage and introduced the iPhone. It was beautiful, ground-breaking, one might even say out-of-this-world.

Year after year, Apple improved the underlying hardware. 3G, 4G, faster WiFi, a nicer camera, and now wireless charging. Technology didn’t stop.

Months after month, the iOverlords updated the software, now known as iOS. 3rd-party apps, faster Safari, voice-control, cut-copy-paste, calling over Wifi. And who knows what’s next?

And day after day, developers around the world have produced apps, ranging from fun games to helpful office-software, from our window to the world (Facebook) to our window to one particular person (WhatsApp). And apps won’t stop soon either.


Humans are much like iPhones (I have a feeling I will regret writing this sentence one day.):

  • We are made from certain hard-ware, aka our body.
  • We have installed some firmware or platform on top, aka our mind.
  • We have installed all sorts of “apps” on top, aka our skills and abilities.
  • And much like external communication on iPhone now often takes place via Apps, we communicate with the outer world using our skills and abilities.

Come to think about it, we really look much like this:

Well, some of us may look prettier. But then again, the iPhone is a pretty slick device, too.


I don’t advocate uploading your brain to a computer and living within your iPhone. We already have Elon Musk advocating that.

Instead, I’m asking you to channel your inner Steve Jobs or Tim Cook and be the Apple to your iPhone. Here’s what that may look like in practice:

Apple wants you to buy a new iPhone every year or two. Too bad we can’t do that with our bodies. Keeping ourselves current and defect-free may require a bit more work than hitting up the Apple Store. But we probably won’t explode like the Samsung Galaxy either. Keeping your hardware current is really a no-brainer that boils down to a few self-help bullet-points which you’re probably already doing.

  • Eat healthy. Drink water, not wine. Charge regularly.
  • Exercise and get fresh air. Avoid extreme heat or stuffiness.
  • Sleep regularly. Power off your phone and reboot.
  • Get your health checked out periodically. Do a factory reset once in a while.
  • [Some more Tim Ferris style recommendations?]

One final note: Nowadays, in phones and beyond, many things are “software-enabled”, or even “software-driven”. Less than 6 feet tall? Fear not, there’s an app for that.


Platform capabilities can be thought of as a broad set of system-level APIs. Apple calls them iOS Frameworks and they are very much the brain of the device. Let’s call them our mere mortals’ minds.

“My mind is just fine, thanks for asking”, you may say. What’s there to do with regards to mind? A couple of things, which are by no means inclusive or exhaustive

  • Develop mental resiliency and health. Avoid security issues by regularly updating.
  • Keep your mind agile and learn new foundational skills. Expose new APIs that can be used by multiple Apps. Think multi-tasking or push notifications.
  • Realize that you won’t be able to do everything. There might be an App for that, but wasn’t the world just fine without it?
  • Avoid platform bloat and overreaching. Master one or two things, not a thousand. Be a smart-phone, not a screw-driver.
  • Get user-training for things you can’t (yet) do. Hit the genius bar when needed.

Improving your platform — keeping your mind nimble, maintaining curiosity and a thirst for learning, staying agile and open to new experiences — will ensure that not only can you build and run today’s Apps, but tomorrow’s, and then some.


No iPhone metaphor would be complete without Apps. We’ve all used them. We’ve all loved them (and hated them). The average American has 90+ apps installed and uses more than 30.

Think of Apps as your skills and abilities. The stuff you do beyond just “thinking” (platform) and “breathing” (hardware). That specialised craft, or transferable aptitude. English, Chinese, any language. Coding. Pottery. An App can be anything that is specialised and serves a purpose, exists within a social context, has been learned, and allows you to do things better than your platform does.

Apps are the primary means we interact with the outer world, and they exist in a social context. When we go to work, we interact with our co-workers through our Social Skills app, our English app, and our Coding app, for example. Multi-tasking and background-processes, wohoo!

Obviously, that means you should be cool about your Apps:

  • Update your Apps and keep your specialised skills in sync with the outside world. Don’t just install an App and then never update it.
  • Be mindful about what you install. Some apps may be toxic, contain advertisements, have in-app purchases, or spy on you.
  • Don’t bloat your system and fill up your memory with useless stuff. There is only so much memory/storage in you.
  • Feel free to delete and don’t feel forced to use one particular skill forever. It’s not as easy as long-press + delete, but you can still replace old ones.
  • Installing is good, but building is great. Creating something used by millions will set you up for success. Build your own SnapChat.

Copyright © 2006–2017 How-To Geek, LLC. Link

We’ve all been there. We try taking a photo, and the storage is full. Should I delete some pics? Or an app? …Aaaand that moment we wanted to capture is gone.

I asked you to avoid bloating your system and filling up your memory with useless stuff, but I did so in the context of Apps. The same holds true in the context of other things on ourselves: Physical objects, memories, clutter, relationships, desires, hopes, aspirations.

An effective organizational paradigm could be one start. And that’s not easy. It took Apple 10 years for the Files App to reach our phones. And files on your phone aren’t quite as complex as real-world files.

Another way is to prioritize and let go. To recognize that one can not have everything. To appreciate that one should not have all things in the world. And to discern which ones are important enough to pursue.

That’s what Apple did with the iPhone. There are better phones out there when looking purely at specs. But they’re not the iPhone.

There are companies selling more phones. But they’re not Apple.

And there are people out there appearing more successful, happy, and beautiful. But they’re not you.

Why You Should Use Employee-Generated Content for Training

www.getsynapse.com

As Facebook, Amazon, and Yelp have proven, user-generated content is much more respected by consumers than company promoted content. So, wouldn’t it make sense for training departments to complement the company’s offering with employee produced content? It’s not to say that employees can build all of the content needed for training. Clearly, there is compliance and certification training that should be developed by specialized experts. But recent studies predict that up 80% of organizations will use employee-generated content for training in 2018.

For many companies, allowing employees to generate training content means overcoming some inherent perceptions and fears. For example, if you have a procedure on how to repair a product, some of these could be:

– Will the employee-generated content be correct?

– Will it look and feel like other similar content?

– Will it contain copyrighted images or video?

– Will it be too long or too short?

– Will it work on any device, including mobile phones?

In reality, these are the same concerns whether the content is built by the training department or by your employees! The only real difference is historical, where instructional designers working with subject matter experts were traditionally responsible for building training. If you change your thinking to allow employees to create training content, have a good review process to check that it is accurate, copyright free and works on your delivery platform (such as your Learning Management System or portal), it will work very effectively! And it will reduce the time and cost to build training content.

So how do you get started? Like any new program, communication is key. But given that most employee surveys indicate strong dissatisfaction with existing training programs, this will likely be perceived positively. Employees are already content creators, posting to social networks and using video and other tools on their mobile phones every day.

You will need technology to enable this new process, something that will allow employees to upload content that will be shared with other employees. You need to have a basic process like this:

  1. Allow employees to collaborate on content creation as training requests are approved.
  2. Allow participants to upload video, audio, documents, and presentations as easily as they can with other tools, like file sharing and mobile apps.
  3. Provide your training department with tools to organize the content and manage training projects. Training is now the manager, not the creator of the content.
  4. Make sure help and best practices are available as the content is created, submitted, reviewed and refined.
  5. Reward and provide recognition. Make sure your employees feel appreciated and are recognized for their efforts.

Want to learn more? Get Tips on Building Training with Employee-Generated Content.

DOWNLOAD FREE EBOOK

Another piece of advice is this. Do not try and train employees to use “eLearning” authoring tools. They are designed for highly specialized content, such as compliance and certification. But for the other 80% of your needs, allow employees to use simple tools that make it easy to write text, create links to other content, upload files, and embed videos. Make sure the experience is similar to what people do every day on their phones. They watch videos, play games, and read books and articles.They don’t use PowerPoint Slides on their phones.

Employee generated content can be created using a variety of available video, audio, writing and drawing tools. Providing a simple way to assemble this content into training is what you need to make it possible. Synapse provides a guided, step-by-step experience that makes it easy for your managers, employees and subject matter experts to do this. It’s fast to learn and takes less time than PowerPoint to build awesome training.