Get Back into Sync (Centering Yourself)

The Middle WayGet Back into Sync (Centering Yourself)

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If we all get out of sync sometimes, then how do we get back in sync? That’s a question I been asking myself for some time, and I believe there is no perfect answer, only tools we can use when stress and the feeling we are falling off the beam occur. One of the most important things in my personal experience has been first acknowledging that I am out of sync. I realize this may sound overly simplistic, but so many times as I am falling further and further out-of-sync I find myself struggling harder against the tide. So the first thing which I try to do is, release, acknowledge something isn’t working and allow this to be OK. From here I can release some tension, and many times I will feel it leave my body. This leads next to giving myself a “moment of personal peace,” and this to me simply means just raising the time-out flag where ever you are and even giving yourself 30 seconds of peace (off-line). Next I will use one of my tools: deep breathing, chanting a Mantra (everyone knows OM,) and then one of the most important things I have found is allowing myself to be humble, admit I may be looking at things in a closed minded way, thinking about if there was a different way to handle the situation, how would I do it.

The Intention behind the Moment Creates Value (or destroys it)

The intention of my mind and heart, is where everything bad or good starts. The mental energy is like a beam of radar which reaches out, and touches other people. When I give first emotionally, I always receive. It’s sort of like the energy between two people functions on a micro-level, the same way giving first and then receiving seems to work well always everywhere in the universe.

I have worked in the technology field for almost 30 years, and I can say that having good intention and giving value upfront to people (clients), before asking some something in return is a great tool. In all the Cybersecurity breaches we are seeing occur these days, a major factor in the fall-out, and public relations damage done is in the way the company handles the unfortunate incident. These days it’s not if, but when and how often you will be attacked successfully. Incident response becomes critical, and being honest, humble and truthful. I bring this up because this is a direct example of how applying these principles can have a positive impact, even in difficult scenarios.

Simplicity, Humbleness, Honesty, Value Creation, and Being Continuously Aware are very powerful.

Christopher

Most Businesses Protect Their Customer List, But Not Their Customer Data

Most Businesses Protect Their Customer List, But Not Their Customer Data

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I recently attended an Internet start-up event which featured various internet start-ups pitching to an investor panel; and a live audience to listen and ultimately vote for their favorite start-up. I also had the opportunity to personally speak with several start-up founders. I asked the folks I was able to speak with what they did regarding Cybersecurity and protecting themselves from hacker attacks. I was stunned to receive answers such as: “my security guy just opens the ports we need,” or “Google will handle it.” Even more shocking I observed that as the Investors gave the start-up founders feedback in the audience none of them mentioned information security concerns once. I certainly understand that Cybersecurity and protection from hackers is not a budding start-ups main concern, but in my opinion it needs to at least be on the radar.

There are several well documented examples of brick and mortar, as well as Internet only organizations being put out of business completely by miscreant hackers and in short order too. Recently a 1.5 million dollar California organization was put out of business after hackers stole a majority of the funds in their bank account. Sadly most operations don’t realize they’re in trouble until they experience a major loss; these losses can be financial, customer data or in many cases both. What’s the point of building a great new brand only to have it pillaged and destroyed by the bad guys?

As the evening wore on and I listened to some of the presenters in many cases I noted they were handling highly sensitive customer data and would essentially be a black-hat hacker’s dream come true. I don’t think many of the people at this wonderful event realized how much liability they had which was not being adequately addressed.

So where can you start in your efforts to build a fortress around your business that keeps the bad elements out, yet does not interfere with encouraging healthy flows of commerce on your site?

One answer is to understand where your customer data resides and protect it. The data which you need to protect can be on your servers, on hard drives, traveling across the internet, and even in the minds of your staff and vendors who service your organizations. The first step is to assess how safe all this highly sensitive stored data really is. One way to start is by performing what is called in the security industry a vulnerability test. Simply put, this means a security professional will spend some time with you and your organization using special tools which are able to determine how secure your computers and data really are.

The most important point I would like to get across is simply to start. Cybersecurity is a journey not a destination, and it all starts with the first step.

Best of luck to you in protecting your customer data – Inbound and Out

As always I am happy to answer any questions you may have!

Three Books I Love

Here are three books which I really enjoyed reading and love. One common thread that all three books share is they are about building a quality inner life.

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Book #1 “Writing from the Inside Out: The Practice of Free Form Writing”

Last year I took a course in poetry from the Southern New Hampshire University which was run by Professor Stephen Lloyd Webber who I highly recommend. I discovered his book “Writing from the Inside Out: The Practice of Free Form Writing” which is not only a wonderful book for creative people to help them in connecting their creative processes with their spiritual existence, but really had some great tips like “The Writing Marathon.” I tried a writing marathon which was four hours long, and it resulted in the production of a 14 page screenplay. I highly recommend this book not just for writers, but anyone looking to get more in touch with their creative side.

book #1

Book #2 The Tao Of Health, Sex and Longevity

This is a great introduction to the Tao, and how to integrate it into our daily lives. I have used the exercises, practices, and dietary recommendations over the last 14 years to be happier, lose 40lbs, keep it off, and get more in touch with my inner life and dialog.

book #2

and finally book #3: Life Story of Milarepa
This book is about the story of Milarepa who lived in Tibet a long time ago, but is considered a saint in Tibetan Buddhism. While this book is mainly aimed at Buddhists, it’s also an amazing story of perseverance, courage and great spirit. It’s a short great read and highly recommended.

book #3

I’m always happy to share a dialog on any of these books, so feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

Christopher

Three Daily Principles I live by

Three Daily Principles I live by

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Principle #1: It’s what in my Heart and Mind Which Is Most Important

As I go through the journey of life, I have seen time and time again, that what’s in my mind and heart in any given situation is very critical. This has been really engrained deeply in me by my Buddhist teacher. Once he told me to let go of “what I think I want,” and be open to where I am to be guided too. I know that many life decisions which I have made based on emotional self-serving ideals never seem to work out, yet when loving kindness and generosity in is in my mind and heart things seem to work out fine. I have found that in today’s hectic society that we live in, and with the noise of materialism very loud (especially in America society,) that things are not really as important as they seem many times. I have found for myself that in a given day, no matter how filled up it maybe, only a few things are critical. I have found some non-electronic down-time is a great idea. I meditate daily and this helps me keep things in prospective.

Principle #2: Optimistic Caring Intention Creates Value in my Human Interactions

What is optimistic caring intention; it’s a technique I use when I run into people who are suffering or upset about things in life. I start by listening deeply to what the person is saying, and I have found that one of the greatest gifts you can give to another person is your ear and your time. When I listen, instead of filtering on fear or pessimism; I try to focus on the optimistic (hopeful). I have found in almost all the stories of life and challenges in this world I listen too, there is always something optimistic if I listen deeply enough. Once I have extracted this nugget of value, and speak it back to the person I am with and I let them know I can see and hear the value in them. Almost always this results in a smile and the person feeling better. I always feel better when I give then when I receive, especially in these situations.

Principle #3: Humility and Sincerity are two of my most Important Life Tools

For me the above concepts are all in words as opposed to deeds unless I can focus on humility and sincerity. Sincerely being open to facing my own character defects has always been a challenge, yet all the years of putting up my defensive shield has been even harder. When I can be OK that I am a flawed person trying to improve, it’s easier to see the positive in what I could view as criticism. By making it OK for me to be wrong, and sincerely trying to exercise humility I have a chance to live principles #1 and #2. I can tell you that having a deep spiritual life has been essential for me, because in a world of challenges it can be an intense experience to walk my talk, and I am trying to improve a little every day.

These three principles for daily happiness connect back to giving ourselves the gift of “Still, Down and Quiet Time.”

In an article “lao-zhuang and heidegger on nature and technology” in the Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Graham Parkes states that “our current environmental problems stem from damage to the natural world through excessive use of modern technologies” (Parkes, 2013). This statement is stunning both in its reality, and metaphoric representation of technology eliminating “Still, Down and Quiet Time,” for the human race. Technology is incredible, and has done so much good, but we can’t allow modern life to extract us from our primordial selves which are pristine, perfect and wonderful just as they are. When I went to school built upon Quaker ethics early in life, they had enforced quiet time in the mornings. — I believe we can all live a better life by treating ourselves daily to “Still, Down and Quiet Time.”

Referencestao

Parkes, G. (2012). Lao- Zhuang and Heidegger on Nature and Technology. Journal Of Chinese Philosophy, 39112-133. doi:10.1111/1540-6253.12005

Critical Thinking on The Internet can Change the World!

Critical Thinking on The Internet can Change the World!

After reading the paper by Elder and Paul critical thinking titled “The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking,” I came away with some thoughts on critical thinking and some of the elements of the critical thinking process which might be: definition of purpose, framing within context-point of view, illumination of assumptions, implications-consequences, data-facts-experiences, inferences-judgments, concepts-theories, and answers to questions/recommendations (Elder, L., Paul, R., 2007).

Critical Thinking

I was thinking on the Internet today while there is some amazing thinking going on and wonderful communities developing; we all could benefit by greater levels of critical thinking on-line.

I like the idea of greater integration of critical thinking into the online world in general, and I think the possibilities for knowledge growth and value creation are tremendous. In many cases on the Internet because getting lots of eyes on your content equates to monetary gain, I wonder if critical thinking is not really at the forefront of people’s minds (especially in a day and age when so many people are simply trying to survive).

It follows that a guided critical thinking process in on-line communities might be an interesting idea that has the potential to raise the quality of the content on the Internet. Introducing artificial intelligence into on-line programming and using it to facilitate critical-thinking processes is a fascinating, powerful and very scary possibility.

Artificially Intelligent computer programs could encourage a greater level of critical-thinking instead of emotional based responses on the Internet, but these processes might also have the potential to be influenced in a negative way by the bot-masters who run them. On-line automated “bots” flying around the Internet have the potential for evil or good. Artificially intelligent critical thinking engines” might facilitate good on-line thinking and better content. The training of on-line facilitators to encourage critical thinking might also be a great direction for us to go in.

Here is the outstanding paper by Elder and Paul, “The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking.”

I also think Benjamin Franklin was a great critical thinker ahead of his time, his principles include:

  • Conversations purpose is to “give or receive information, attain truth or enjoyment.”
  • Conversations are not debates
  • “Humility is a necessary means to our conversation ends of truth and enjoyment”
  • Listening closely and “well” to others
  • Modestly in expression, accepting we might be wrong
  • Looking for truth in others beliefs and expressions

(Warren, Dona., (2012), Benjamin Franklin on Thinking Well with Others)

BF

Check out the Dona Warren presentation on Benjamin Franklin here.

These are outstanding and each express some element of critical thinking. I admire and respect Franklin for his relentless search for ways to improve himself and his unceasing pursuit of these wonderful principles.

Finally I leave you with a definition of critical thinking which I came up with as part of an excellent course at Excelsior University:

An active process which synergistically combines: investigative thinking, challenging of accepted assumptions, use of deep cognitive thinking processes-learned-skill-sets, reflecting of contextual points-of-view to arrive at a decision which is logical, beneficial to self and others, and supportable by scholarly researched references and resources.

Happy Critical Thinking to us All!

Christopher C. Welber

References:

Warren, Dona., (2012), Benjamin Franklin on Thinking Well with Others, uwsp.edu, retrieved

from the Internet on 1-10-2014:

http://www4.uwsp.edu/philosophy/dwarren/LOBenFranklin/default.htm

Elder, L., Paul, R., (2007). The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking, ISBN 0-944-583-19-9