Friday, February 29, 2008


A Whole New Mind presented many ideas that I had never even entertained the thought of. It ultimately changed my thinking about a great deal of things, including my education, which I described in the posts about the six senses relating to my classes. The blog discussions we had in class not only covered the book, but issues related to topics in the book. I love hearing other people's views, and it was great to be able to read this book along with my classmates and hear their perspectives on it, which helped to mold my own. Our study of it allowed me to discover and think on my own, something that most classes do not even begin to offer. I loved that we were pretty independent in our reading and could take away what we wanted to from it. This book has forever changed the way I think.

The Six Senses in Science Class

Science is another subject, along with math, that I was completely convinced had no right-brain qualities at all. Once I read AWNM, my mind was opened, however. Design is highly prevalent, primarily in the design of experiments. Experiments must be extremely well-designed in order to run smoothly and gather optimal results. If not carefully planned out, they could herald faulty results, or, even worse, end in disaster. This is yet another example that material objects are not the only things which must be designed. There is also story in science. Some branches of science deal with the study of how the Earth formed, and from there, how life formed and the specifics of this, such as atoms, ecosystems, environmental studies, and so on. Science basically attempts to answer the question of how the Earth formed and studies various aspects of life on Earth. In this way it reveals the story of the Earth and everything on it. This is a rather monumental story!
Science is, in essence, a symphony because all of the individual branches of science come together in some way. Study of atoms and molecules leads to chemistry. Studies of ecosystems and environmental issues mesh together. As students progress, science builds upon itself, and one must have prior knowledge in order to understand and comprehend what is being taught. All ideas in science intertwine to create a scientific symphony!
Empathy and play can aid the study of science, because science can sometimes be difficult because of the many concepts one must grasp. If students have empathy for each other and help each other, yet at the same time have fun with what they are learning, the process becomes painless.
Because science attempts to pinpoint how Earth formed, it has great meaning. Humans want to know how our planet formed, and from this, how we got here. Because science tries to answer this and a great many people listen to these answers, science holds meaning for them.
Science is yet another subject that is left-brained, but with right-brain aptitudes mixed in. And if I had never read AWNM, my eyes never would have been opened to see this.

The Six Senses in Math Class

It is commonly thought that math has no right-brain aptitudes involved with it. I used to think this as well, but since reading AWNM my thoughts on this have changed. Math problems are actually a form of design! They must be designed to solve properly so that they will lead to an answer. Badly designed math problems can be extremely frustrating to the person trying to solve them. I used to think that design applied only to objects, but since reading this book I have concluded that it can apply to absolutely everything, including math problems.
Math problems can also have a story to them because often if one attaches a story to the numbers in the problem they are trying to solve, then it makes this process a great deal easier. Story problems help with this too because when something has a story attached to it, it makes it seem more important and valid, as opposed to simply a set of numbers that must be crunched. Symphony even exists in math, surprising as it may be! Each individual number in a problem or equation works with the other numbers to create a solvable problem or equation. If one of these numbers is off or wrong, the equation or problem will no longer work properly, again creating frustration. If one can have empathy for classmates having a difficult time with math, this helps immensely. Math can be a cryptic subject and one that is hard for a myriad of people. However, if everyone helps and empathizes with each other, then it gradually becomes easier. Play also is present in math and helps while learning math for the very same reason. Math has meaning as well because although numbers just seem like, well, numbers, these numbers can have real-world applications that help people with day-to-day life. One must dig deeper to see this, though.
Until reading AWNM, I was of the persuasion that math merely consisted of left-brain aptitudes and had no connections to the right brain whatsoever. This misconception is not true in the least, as I learned. Math is a left-brain subject with right brain aptitudes. Learning this has sent me on my way to developing a whole new mind.

The Six Senses and the Arts

Not surprisingly, the six senses are related to the arts; more specifically, band. Band is an extremely creative class and until now, I had never thought about it the way I do now. Design is a huge factor because each piece of literature (music) was thought up and created by a composer, who had to use design in order to arrange the notes and arrange the parts to make them pleasing to the ear. Music is full of design, and I am just now noticing this because I used to think that design was something that only applied to furniture and clothing. Story is an aspect because behind every piece of music there is a story and something that inspired the composer to write it. The story effects the way the piece should be played; thus, it is helpful to know the story behind the piece in order to play it correctly. There is a bigger focus on this in high school band than there was in middle school band because as high schoolers we have our instruments and technique mastered whereas in middle school, not as much. Symphony is an obvious aspect in band because of symphonies. We never play symphonies in band because they are very involved and take time to master which we do not have. But symphony has a connection to band through the music we play. Every note in the piece comes together to form a piece of musical literature. Each different section has a different part, but all of these parts contribute to the whole to create a lovely performance. Play is present because not only is band class fun because some of my friends are in there, but there is music that is great fun to play. This music tends to be upbeat and have fun rhythms. It also helps to have empathy for fellow musicians when they are struggling with a particular piece. Every musician knows what it is like to play bad notes and have a difficult time with a piece, so when we empathize with each other, it makes the experience much easier. Meaning is here as well because many of us in band find great joy in playing instruments, making music, and performing for packed theatres. It is our passion, and passions help pave the way to finding meaning in life. Reading AWNM opened my eyes to how much the six senses apply to band, and in changing the way I think about learning in band, it has changed my band experience!

The Six Senses in History Class

History is a class chock-full of right-brain aptitudes and the six senses. Up until reading this book, I had never thought about history in this way. It is obvious how much story is prevalent in history class because history is essentially the story of the world that examines the things people did, why they did them, and what happened as a result. This also relates symphony to history because separate events and people that are seemingly unrelated actually turn out to be, and their stories come together to form the fabric of human story through time. Empathy also helps in history because we learn about many tragic and sad situations, and if we have empathy for the people that these situations effected, then we can connect and learn about these events on a deeper level. In my class this year, we also manage to incorporate play because my teacher has an extremely sharp wit and applies this to what we are learning to make it fun and interesting. Meaning is found in history class too because almost all historical events have a deeper meaning than there is on the surface, and we as humans can learn from this and apply it to our own lives. Some historical figures, such as Martin Luther King, can also inspire us and change the way we think, which helps dramatically in finding meaning. Reading AWNM has definitely changed the way I think about my learning in history and has aided me in noticing elements that were always there; it merely took this book to point them out to me. This book has definitely altered the way I think.

The Six Senses in English Class

English class contains such a large amount of right-brain aspects that it is mind-boggling. Every time someone creates a piece of writing, this constitutes design. It must not only be neat and easy to read, but the words must connect and flow in a way that is pleasing to the senses. In other words, it must look and sound enticing. Good writing is always well-designed in order to look appealing on the page and engage people in reading it.
Story is an enormous part of English. In most every English class I have ever taken, novels have played a part. Because they’re obviously in story format, they are easier to remember. In fact, I can describe most novels I have read throughout middle school and high school. Teaching us how to read, understand, and examine various works of literature is one of the primary aims of English.
In English, play is not neglected. In seventh grade, while learning about poetry and other writings from Medieval times, we constructed miniature models of castles, since castles were an integral part of this era. I chose to build mine with sugar cubes. We were allowed to work in groups, and my group and I had a fabulous time building this castle (and eating a few sugar cubes along the way). Also, in most English classes I have taken, the teachers try to make the subject matter enjoyable even when it’s somewhat dry (vocabulary, grammar, Shakespeare, etc.). This helps liven it up. English is a deeply interesting subject to me, but as with all classes, it becomes even more interesting when the teacher incorporates play, makes jokes, and generally tries to inject some fun into the learning.
In some works of literature, empathy helps the reader because of sad situations or problems that the characters may have. Feeling empathy, even for characters in books, greatly helps in “getting into” the book more and understanding it.
There are amazing amounts of meaning in books; that is, if one digs for it and consciously tries to find it. It is impossible to get anything out of a book if one simply reads it. At that point, one is just reading words. When you look for meaning in seemingly meaningless parts of a book, you will be surprised at what you find. Sometimes your way of thinking is changed just by looking for meaning in books. Meaning in literature can open your eyes---if you only stop to look for it.
English is essentially a symphony without music. In writing, separate ideas come together to form one big idea or argument. When examined, all elements in a good piece of writing should connect. Most writing is about one large idea, with smaller ideas that connect to it to support it. Symphony can also be found in literature in the same way. There is one main problem or idea in the book, and the events are all related to this problem or idea. For example, in Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, the basic idea is that right-brainers and their qualities are becoming more prevalent in this new Conceptual Age that we are entering. Abundance, Asia, and automation are three pieces of evidence that support this. Design, story, play, meaning, empathy, and symphony are six traits that people who want to excel in this new world and develop “a whole new mind” must master. Any way you slice it, this is all evidence and ideas that support the idea of emerging right-brainers. Everything presented in this book connects in some way.

As with every other subject, AWNM has altered the way I perceive my learning. When thinking about learning in a different way, it enriches the entire learning experience, and English class is no exception.

The Six Senses in Foreign Language Class

Foreign languages are full of right-brain aptitudes. Symphony is a great example because one must see the language as a big picture, and put the individual words into sentences and phrases in order to make them mean something. And the verbs and nouns are sometimes in different orders, making this difficult, but it is something that one must learn nonetheless. It is beneficial to see the pieces of the language, and then put them together into the big picture, which is speaking the language.
Meaning is also used because when learning a different language, the culture is usually different as well and this comes through in the language. Different languages have different slang, and the words are interpreted differently as well. (This is where the phrase “lost in translation” comes from: since words have separate meanings, translations often do not sound the same as they would have originally.)
Empathy can be found while learning a foreign language because sometimes foreign languages are not easy at all, and if you have a teacher and peers who are willing to help you through the hard spots, this helps the learning dramatically. If the students do not support each other, then learning the foreign language will not be a good experience for anyone in the class. Often, if even an experienced teacher recognizes if a particular part of the language is the opposite of easy, then they will have empathy for the students, and this helps a great deal.
In language classes, story is involved. Besides being fluent in the language that they teach, many foreign language teachers have been to the countries where this language is widely spoken as well. (For example, both French teachers I have had so far have both been to France numerous times.) Because of this, they have many interesting, and sometimes funny, stories about their travels. These stories help make the class enjoyable, fun, interesting, and memorable. If the class has all of these aspects, then it will make learning easier. And because of the difficulty of learning a different language, this is always welcome!
In foreign language classes, there is also room for play. As with story, play helps make class fun and a bit easier. This year, my French teacher has showed us many music videos by popular French musical artists. Not only do we get to hear the proper accent and pronunciation of the words, but it is a good way to unwind and deviate from a normal class.
Design is a factor as well. This year in French II, my classmates and I have been asked to create a skit and present it in front of the class. The purpose of this assignment is to show that we can write proper sentences in French and pronounce French words correctly. It involves design, however, because we get to design the structure of the skit and put the sentences together in the proper manner. We can also have props if we wish. A skit (or any aspect of acting) is an example of design because it must be created then arranged and structured in order to create an effective one.
Foreign language classes are obviously classes that are packed with the six senses! Although I have always presumed this, I have now confirmed it and have thought much deeper on this then I ever have.

Reflections on the Sir Ken Robinson Video

This was an interesting and informative video. I liked Sir Ken’s sense of humor; the British have a somewhat quirky sense of humor that I like. I noticed that he inserted play into this video through his quips and jokes, so that it was a fun experience with both jokes and information. We weren’t simply sitting and watching a video filled with information. I also noticed that he and Pink agree on many points, including that we as students are not really being sufficiently prepared for the future. He had several great ideas about education, including that creativity is important in education, which I completely agree with. After all, without creativity from the teachers, the students will find it hard to be creative, which leads to boring learning and projects. And if the learning and assignments are boring, then the students will not remember what they are being taught easily.
He also talks about how education affects everyone and that everyone can trace their roots back to the education system. This is true! We spend roughly the first twenty-two years of our life in education. What we learn and the experiences we have in the education system will effect us for the rest of our lives. Basically, education shapes us as people. And sometimes I actually think that our education system is lacking. For most of my life, I have memorized facts and taken tests on these facts. The bulk of what I have done was merely for the grade. When reading this book and having blog discussions this hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never even thought about this before in my mechanical routine of going to school, doing homework, and memorizing facts simply for a grade. Maybe this is what our education system wants us to do…

Reflection on Daniel Pink's Question

I liked that Mr. Pink asked this question and wanted to hear from us. This really made it seem like he cares about what we think and wants to know our opinions.
The question was this:
If you had to create a new school -- or reform your current school -- so that it better develops the six senses, what one or two things would you do?
Here is the answer that I posted:
Mr. Pink, I agree with everyone who has said that open classrooms are best. If a room is open with many windows and light, then I find it much easier to think. When there are no windows and only artificial light, it isn't as comfortable for me because it restricts my thinking. Windows and natural light would also inspire creative thinking. I also think that if our school was more colorful, it would inspire more creativity and right-brain thinking. The white walls become a little monotonous after awhile, and color would definitely do some good.
I do believe that at Arapahoe, there is definitely too much white. The walls are simply this boring color, and there is room for improvement here. Color invokes creativity, and if students felt more creative while at school, this would most likely lead to an improvement in student grades and academic performance. Also, creativity leads to better work. In all subjects, it is beneficial to have creativity present because creative, interesting work is always better than dull, boring work. And, as I stated in my answer, white walls everywhere becomes extremely monotonous very quickly.
The artificial light is definitely a source of annoyance for me as well. Not only does it act as a vacuum for energy and natural resources, but natural light is better. I’ve found that it evokes a feeling of peace, which is a great anecdote to the stress in students’ lives. Since it is obviously impossible to have windows in every room, it would help to have solar-powered lights installed. Besides contributing a great deal more natural light, this would use considerably less energy. Thus, a side benefit: Arapahoe’s power bill would significantly decrease. So besides instilling a feeling of peace and calm, it would save money! It is a better solution for everyone, students and school district alike.

Meaning Portfolio Activity

I "took a Sabbath" for my meaning activity. I did not do this during this unit; I did it on a trip to New Mexico to visit my aunt and grandpa. I did not do this in the traditional religious sense. Instead, I left my cell phone behind and refused to check my emails, causing my aunt to think I was slightly crazy! I did take my iPod, however, because of the extreme importance music has to me. I listen to it every day and it is simply a part of me. Because of this, I do not really count iPods as technology, although they technically are. I found it extremely refreshing to not be using technology and to be unreachable, if only for a few days. I felt a sense of freedom in simply being on vacation, surrounded by family, and eating great Mexican food, with no texting or emails. This allowed me to completely escape on vacation. It filled me with a sense of peace that I do not feel very often. It was also summer, meaning that I was relaxed as well.
My point is this: technology is an amazing aspect of life, but sometimes it is great to simply turn everything off, leave it behind, and escape.

Play Portfolio Activity

I decided to "step on the humor scale" for my play activity. My friends have always told me that I'm a wit. My sense of humor tends to be dry and a bit sarcastic. I have always understood jokes immediately: when I was in kindergarten, my teacher was amazed that I was the only one who was laughing when she cracked jokes because I understood them when no one else did!
I went to this website to take the test:
This test consisted of about 20 questions, all dealing with jokes and humor. The results were divided into four categories: Creativity & Performance (my score was 13), Coping (my score was 9), Facilitation (my score was 11), and Appreciation (my score was 15). This brought my total score to 48; the maximum score is 64. I learned from this test that I have a subtle and quiet wit, yet a sharp one. This is true because although I am not timid, I am not exactly the life of the party who constantly cracks jokes. I also learned that I sometimes use humor to cope with difficult situations, though not all of the time. This was true as well because I will use humor if I see it appropriate. However, some situations are much too serious and somber in which to use humor, and I know how to recognize this. My facilitation score told me that I will sometimes use humor to ease other people's discomfort, but only if the situation has some tension. This is true yet again. I scored extremely high on the appreciation part of this test, which tells me that I really appreciate humor, which I already knew. Basically, my results on this test were exactly what I expected and not surprising at all.

Empathy Portfolio Activity

After completing the chapter on empathy, I thought it would be interesting to take an online “empathy quotient” test. This proved very interesting indeed. I went to this website:
I was then asked to enter my gender. After this, I embarked on a 60-question test to test my empathy level. I had to rate every question either Definitely Agree, Slightly Agree, Slightly Disagree, and Definitely Disagree. The questions were clearly designed to test how in tune one is with other people, and how well one senses other peoples' feelings, emotions, and thoughts. From the start, I was expecting to receive a high score because I identify well with other people and am able to sense their feelings and emotions. It turned out that I was correct, because I received a score of 59. (The average score for women is 47.) This was an interesting, informative test that proved to me that I am empathetic. And after reading the chapter on empathy, I am glad that this is a skill which I already have sufficiently developed, because empathy will be key in the Conceptual Age!

Symphony Portfolio Activity

For my symphony activity, I chose to listen to the great symphonies. I did not actually have to do this, though, because I have heard a great deal of them before. I have been to the Colorado Symphony before, both with family and on school field trips, so I have a good idea of what symphonies sound like and how they are structured. I am also a musician; I play clarinet in Symphonic Band here at Arapahoe. This causes me to pick out small nuances when listening to symphonies, or any other kind of music for that matter, that non-musicians would miss.
This chapter presented me with a new perspective on symphonies. As many symphonies as I have heard in my life, I had never thought of them in this way. But now that I think about it, it is blatantly obvious. Each symphony has many separate movements that all combine to form it. Some are played forte, some piano, some andante, some allegro, yet they all come together to form a symphony. Now, when listening to symphonies, I have a new way to think of them!

Story Portfolio Activity

My story activity was writing a mini-saga. It was extremely hard to keep it 50 words or less, because when I write it tends to be long. But I tried:

Headphones in, bags at her feet, coffee cup in hand, she sat. And waited. For the plane that would take her away from this town, these people, this life. A new life. Halfway around the world. Scary but exhilarating. She was finally leaving.

This mini-saga clocked in at 43 words. I wrote it based on how someone who is tired of their current life and town goes away to different country halfway around the world. The idea came from a book I read once about a girl who gets in a huge fight with her twin sister and decides to go to England because she does not want to deal with her. Also, I have seen people in airports whom this story might fit, so the idea came from this as well. I tried to capture the uncertainty yet exhilaration that would come from this, because even though I have never personally experienced this, the book I read was so well-written that it gave me a great idea of how this would feel. Since a mini-saga is only 50 words, feeling must be created quickly and as potently as possible. It is slightly difficult, but fun as well!

Design Portfolio Activity

Converse by Chuck Taylor are some of my favorite shoes. They're not only comfortable, but also extremely stylish, combining significance and utility masterfully. So for my Design portfolio activity, I headed to to design my own Converse shoe. To start out, I chose a low-top canvas shoe. One could also chose from slip-ons or high-tops in leather or suede. Then I moved on to the outside body color. For this I chose black. The inside body color become "Directorie Blue" (a bright blue). I made the stripe on the heel white, and the tongue of the shoe white. The lining of the shoe became black, and the rubber side of the shoe white. I made the stripe along the rubber side of the shoe navy blue. The stitching and the laces were both white. I chose not to personalize my shoes. I then created a portfolio on the site so I could save my design for later viewing.
When creating this shoe, I chose my favorite type of Converse, which is low-top canvas. I also strived to create a color scheme that would please the eye as well as incorporating some of my favorite colors. Since I love black and bright blue and they happen to work well together, I knew that this combination would make for the perfect shoe. I made the heel stripe, the tongue, the rubber side, the stitching, and the laces all white to contrast the bright blue and the somber black. To compliment the black side, I made the lining of the shoe black, and the stripe along the rubber side became navy to compliment the bright blue side. At first, I simply clicked on different colors for the shoe, and they ended up not going together well at all. So I started over to create the shoe described. Doing this activity taught me that design is a process that requires much thought. When done quickly, the results are sloppy and the very opposite of aesthetically pleasing. All elements of what is being designed must work together and accentuate each other in order to create truly great design. So besides being fun, this activity was actually extremely eye-opening for me!

Brain Examination Reflections

According to this brain examination, I am a combination of perfect melancholy and peaceful phlegmatic. However, I find that I possess many more peaceful phlegmatic traits than perfect melancholy traits. A great deal of perfect melancholy traits do not embody me at all, some of which include moodiness, depression, low self-image, persecution complex, social insecurity, withdrawnness, and remoteness. These do not apply to me in the least. However, depth, thoughtfulness, seriousness, creativity, musicality, philosophy, poetry, self-sacrifice, detail-consciousness, list-making, compassion, and desire to stay in the background fit me perfectly. On the other hand, almost every trait in the description of peaceful phlegmatic is an exact match for my personality. Of course, a few traits did not describe me well, but most of them did.
I have concluded that since how we view ourselves is different from the way other people view us, if we asked a friend to take this test about us, the results would be different. They would most likely be different yet again if we asked a family member to complete the same task. The parts of ourselves that we present to different people and in different situations are dramatically different, so if different people took the test regarding one person, this person might very well end up with high scores from all four of the personality descriptions. Although this appears to be a valid and useful brain examination, the results could differ greatly based on the circumstances. However, it is safe to guess that the examination taken by a person based on how they view themselves is the most accurate concerning their true personality and how they truly are inside.

Reflections on a Video Starring Daniel Pink

Today in class we are watching a video starring Daniel Pink. He begins the video by saying how he is disturbed by how everyone in school is always so concerned about the right or wrong answer and how schools are obsessed with logical, left-brained thinking. I find a difference in Ms. Smith’s class because we think “outside the box”, and, granted, it is an English class so it involves right-brained thinking, yet I find it different from any other classes I have taken because we don’t often do things with a lot of instructions or a sequence (as is pertinent in left-brained thinking). We are, more often than not, allowed to do a project in the way that we think is best and the way that we want to do it rather than by a long list of instructions
He then tells us the three key elements of a great speech: brevity, levity, and repetition.
He says that his biggest mistake in his life was going to law school mostly because his parents encouraged him to choose a career path such as law, medicine, or accounting. I can really relate to this because I had previously wanted to become a fashion designer or a writer, but instead many people encouraged me to become something more "practical" because it will leave me with a secure salary. I am starting to feel glad that I have been exposed to this book because without it, I probably would have gone on to the law profession without the knowledge that it can be done cheaper with a computer and that of people print legal documents off of affordable legal websites and then take them to a lawyer, it costs much less.
Mr. Pink makes it clear how left-brain abilities are still necessary but less sufficient and how right-brain abilities are staring to emerge. This is a relief for me because I'm primarily a right-brained thinker, and knew this before I even knew about this book.Mr. Pink then talks about "Abundance, Asia, and Automation." I remember these topics from the assigned reading and am now noticing that the content of this video is extremely similar to our assigned reading (Introduction through Chapter Three). He talks about how there are more cars than licensed drivers in the U.S., and how since 1974 the amount of living space per capita has increased by 65% in the U.S. He says how there are more self-storage facilities in the U.S. than the amount of McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s combined (which demonstrates how much “extra stuff” everyone has). In this age of abundance, people are not just looking for objects that function well, but for objects that are pleasing to the eye. Design is ultimately a combination of utility and significance. This means that objects need to have not only utility (function), but also significance (pleasing aesthetics). Being that right-brained thinking works with the significance side of this pair, it is needed more and more in this day and age. This explains why left-brained thinking is still necessary, yet not completely sufficient because these two types of thinking work together; however, right-brained thinking is beginning to emerge. Designers such as Michael Graves are now making even your average toilet brush more interesting through great design, because that’s what the age of abundance in which we live demands.
The part about how left-brained thinking based jobs are being outsourced (“Asia”) was somewhat disturbing to me, as it was when I read it recently because my dad is a computer programmer. This is a little frightening to think that his job could be outsourced to an Indian citizen that’s willing to work for thousands upon thousands of dollars less per year. However, just as Mr. Pink describes, when he was growing up and eventually continuing on to college it was not known that this could happen, as computers were just being introduced. No one had ever dreamed that jobs working with computers would be outsourced to India in the next few decades.
Mr. Pink says that the word we should all be afraid of is ROUTINE because anything that can be condensed into a formula or a set of steps can be done faster by a computer or cheaper by someone overseas. Abilities such as high concept and high touch that are mastered by the right brain can’t be outsourced or done by a computer. This is great news for me because I’ve always thought a career in design would be interesting, and now that I’m being told that this will give me an almost guaranteed career that can’t be outsourced or done cheaper by a computer, I’m very excited.
We are then presented with the three questions we should ask ourselves while considering future careers:

1. Can it be done cheaper overseas?
2. Can it be done faster by a computer?
3. Is what’s being sold in demand in an age of abundance?

He wraps up the video by stating a few more right-brain abilities that are now in demand, such as symphony and play. Although this video was interesting, it was almost an exact recap of the assigned reading, so for me it became repetitive after awhile. Hopefully, though, seeing this video will help me to remember the information better.

I am glad that he included the part on how being a lawyer is no longer the best job because in the past year or so, I’ve been strongly leaning toward a career in law. This video and the assigned reading have helped me to reconsider my possible career choices, and I am happy about this because it kept me from making a big mistake that I won’t have to go back and correct later.

Reflections on Introduction Through Chapter Three of AWNM

Even having read just the introduction and three chapters of AWNM, Daniel Pink’s thinking amazes me. It has such impressive depth. I had never thought of any of the ideas presented in this book until now. It almost made me think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” because his ideas seem obvious. In reality, although they are there, it is a matter of thinking deep enough to find them. This reveals that Daniel Pink clearly has a deep thinking capacity.
The section on “Asia” left me slightly frightened because of the talk about outsourcing. My dad is a computer programmer and has been for more than 30 years. Back when he was growing up and going to college, a logical/analytical career such as this was THE career to have. But as Mr. Pink adamantly states, we are moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age.
This is a welcome change in my mind. I have always favored right-brain thinking because it comes easier to me. In school I have always been a English/History person rather than a Math/Science person. I consider myself fairly creative. In fact, my childhood ambition, starting in first grade, was to become a fashion designer. In third grade, I wanted to be a writer. I stuck with this for a long time while being told by numerous amounts of people that these are not “practical” careers and that it is extremely hard to make it in theses industries. However, these are my passions. I have figured out so far that this book is helping me have the last laugh in a sense. It has assured me that my dream is not impractical and is in fact entirely valid in this new Conceptual Age. It is telling me that because of this new world in which we are entering, I might just make it in either of my dream careers.
While being amazing by his thinking style, it is my opinion that he is blowing outsourcing out of proportion. Although he uses facts and statistics to back up his points, I simply do not think it is as big as a concern as he makes it out to be. As I mentioned before, my dad is a computer programmer. About two or three years ago, his company tried outsourcing. Not only did it cost the company millions of dollars, it was a complete disaster, making this money go to waste. If a company as large and prominent as Great West Life has made this discovery about outsourcing, other companies are sure to discover this as well and follow their lead. If enough companies realize what a disaster outsourcing really is, then it will gradually become less and less of a problem.
The part about abundance was somewhat disturbing. When I learned that self-storage is a $17 billion business, making it larger than the movie business, I was shocked. This shock grew when I learned that America spends more on trash bags than ninety other countries spend for everything. This symbolized to me that we as Americans simply have way too much stuff! When we start spending more on trash receptacles than ninety other countries do for everything, we have a sad situation, in my opinion. And the self-storage was amazing too. Basically, if someone has so much stuff that they spend money to lock it away in some building where they never see it, not only do they have way too much stuff, but they could also stand to get rid of some of it! I also learned that in America, we have more cars than licensed drivers, which also struck me as weird. No wonder our pollution level is astronomical!
All of this abundance can lead to good: among all of the materialism, there is a search for meaning. I personally think this is great, because it is my opinion that we as people often do not have enough meaning in our lives. And meaning is something that everyone should search for, and if it takes materialism to achieve this, then maybe abundance is not as bad as we think. Daniel Pink provides an interesting viewpoint about how abundance leads to a search for meaning that I completely agree with.
I also found the vignette about Target very interesting, since I love Target and shop there for clothes. It was a terrific anecdote that helped me to remember that part of this chapter more than I would have had it not been there.
Something else shocking was how the computer beat a world-renowned chess grand master, Garry Kasparov, at chess. It is scary and poses a question: will computers one day be able to take over human abilities completely? This is definitely a frightening thought, and one which we have discussed in class (mostly while blogging) many times. This brings to mind the novel Fahrenheit 451, in which technology pretty much took over. However, no matter how frightening the thought is, it is probably not completely impossible for computers to take over human abilities entirely.
A point touched on numerous times in this section of reading dealt with the rising of right-brain aptitudes, among them creativity. This is truly reassuring to me because right-brain thinking has always come easier to me than left-brain thinking. (I am in honors English for a reason!) While I may not be the best at art, I am creative and I think this comes through in my writing and love of fashion. I can easily say that my impressions of this book are great so far! In just three chapters, it has simultaneously reassured me about my career aspirations and my dominant right-brain abilities! What's not to love about this book?