Tag Archives: Self-Directed Learning

What Fantasy-Football and Stock-Investing Have in Common


TouchdownAcross many computers, websites, and smartphones there are millions engaged in last-minute rituals of tweaking fantasy football rosters for gameday. Admittedly, I am one of them.

It is an activity only recently I call a hobby, in small part, due to embarrassment; the other, due to a real passion for winning despite its fanciful ways. Unlike arts and crafts that are relaxing and even therapeutic, the task of managing a fantasy football team can be mentally exhausting, layered with high risks and rewards: From looking at the injury status lists, making game-time decisions, and ‘pooling’ free agents in hopes of getting more points.

I thought about how ‘fantasy skills’ could transfer in ‘real life’ actions.  In truth, I think being a fantasy league player, coach, and owner is quite the same as being a stock investor , securities trader, or portfolio manager. 

For example, researching company’s ‘ticker’ symbols for making profitable returns is similar to a fantasy owner looking at icons for winning games.

So I encourage fellow fantasy players to start stock investing too.
We see commercials from Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and TRowePrice and think we need tons of cash to make even more money. Unfortunately, starting with $10,000 accounts simply take some of us “out of the game.”

However, there are a few sites that you can invest as low as $10 a month. I’m not talking specifically about a 401K plan or the IRA (Individual Retirement Account) variety, although these may be helpful as well.

Time for a DISCLAIMER: I’m not an investment consultant or advisor, so you might consider talking to a professional before you act on my advice. But if you are a fantasy league owner, I’m confident you will learn a lot just by checking it out yourself.

These investment sites allow you to forego using a broker and discover how to invest directly:

Computershare:  https://www-us.computershare.com/investor/default.asp?cc=us&lang=en&bhjs=1&fla=1&theme=cpu

BNY Mellon Shareowner: https://m1.melloninvestor.com/mellonone/index.jsp

Some other helpful resources and associations:

Drip Investor:  http://www.dripinvestor.com/index.asp

The American Association of Individual Investors: http://www.aaii.com/

Again, these are opportunities to invest in companies directly and take control of your money as you do your fantasy football team. There are thousands of companies to choose from that ranges from the popular to the less publicized. Of course I wouldn’t tell you which companies to invest, just like I wouldn’t tell you my ‘watch-list’ of fantasy football players.

The point here is that although some may look at fantasy football owners as unproductive, I think you might find stock investing not only as a way to make real money, but also just as rewarding and fun as our Football Sundays.

Recommended Risk of Learning


When the topic of learning comes up, it soothes like a panacea of good wishes. Learning in its many forms as taking classes, getting certificates, diplomas, and degrees are all nice to pursue, especially telling others about it. However, learning is not pure.  There are some nagging risks that linger.

Receiving failing grades, incomplete work, or “hating math” are possible symptoms.  Unfortunately, elementary school, high-school, college,  teachers and learners have given us unwarranted and unwanted comments of performance. These negative experiences can paint internal caution-signs to never re-entering continuing education.   

This could be telling why many adults don’t pursue available science, technology, or engineering jobs.  Perhaps many years ago, that school teacher, other student, and even parent diagnosed you were unqualified.

But, we are to blame too. 

We add our own damaging messages such as:

“I’m not smart enough,”

“I’m stupid; I’m going to fail,”

“I’m too old,”

“too far behind,”

“too (fill-in-the-blank)” all-the-way-to-infinity…

These thoughts give credence to other harmful decisions to learning something new or seeking another career.

A risk in learning is the sickness from our excuses without finding a cure.

Since we know how to create and collect excuses, why not design and plan opportunities? I worry that because we have pre-scribed programs to help get credentials and skills, we dismiss the art of customizing learning  that considers our  needs, means, and feasible timetable.  A strategy or remedy may come through measuring our pace with our own reflective grading system. A system and solution that takes into account our entire life and learning experience.

32 Days without a Cell Phone


ole bage phoneand still counting… What started as a refusal to pay an overpriced bill has turned into a personal research project.  I wondered what it would be like to not use a cell phone, and I came up with 3 major findings so far:

1.   Cell phones are biological just as red & white blood “cells.”  Imagine if you lost an arm or even a best friend.  There are bonds to our cell phones that we ignore until it is lost or gone.  Cellphones are mini-representations of ourselves and make statements about who we are.  Look at the Blackberry- i-phone war going on now: it’s really personal and we discover that ‘cellphone blood’ is thicker than plastic.

2. Cell phones are not actually for talking.  Some call these smartphones or super smartphones, but many applications attached to cellphones makes it unnecessary to speak.  In fact, due to texting or checking emails; talking is an afterthought.  A better outlook is that they are used for contacting and locating each other.  It’s probably weird today for someone to make a surprise visit stopping by while pressing a doorbell.   

3.  Cellphones acts as contact information.  What I mean is that having a cellphone is what people keep for the sake of others.  Additional examples are: home phones (some cells act as such); business cards; websites, and of course a facebook page.  If you are without any of these, you may appear outdated, disconnected, anti-social, or even suspicious.     

Overall, what I noticed in these 32 days is that I am more free. Free from checking my phone so often that I never  concentrate on one thing at a time.  Free from frustration when my signal is low, battery dying, or periodic drop calls.  However, although I enjoy these freedoms, they are  only temporary.  I’m still bound by the wave of social connection and constant communication.  Having what could be considered as a PC bagphone on your hip, you have complete access to the world. 

But, when I finally succumb to being cell-phoned again, I hope to keep in mind that my life is more than devices. I’m convinced that being truly connected means being fully linked-in with oneself.

Entertaining while Educating


www.northeaststage.comWhen I sit down to see a movie or play, I slouch in my seat waiting to be entertained. I’ve become a critic at best by analyzing acts, second-guessing performances, and judging the proper use of lines or voice for most effect.  At the movies, I might even comment on camera angles, acting skill, or a scene’s usefulness.

When I’m sitting in a classroom, lecture, training, and the like, I may not slouch but I’m still an observer. Watching powerpoints, handouts, effective use of time, and key points explaining why-we-are-here-in-the-first- place.  There’s nothing that triggers my mind to see an educational classroom differently from a performance theater. 

Should this be the case?  Should classroom and theater be treated as equal?

Despite a clear answer, we see teachers, speakers, educators, professors, even a student lecturing for the day, feel compelled to entertain us instead of educate.  Maybe that explains “icebreakers?”  These mostly pointless activities to keep us interested yet having nothing to do with the overall objective.

What these classroom ‘entertainers’ might consider is to do away with the performance bit.  Instead of finding ways to entertain, they should disclose what’s behind the scenes…even share the script…giving their audience speaking lines too.  Imagine if I went to a movie where I was an actor.  Wouldn’t I call it “my movie” and would invite all who knows me to come and gaze at the screen.  I might even sell “authorized” dvds!  The point is that I’m not a distant observer anymore but an active participant and promoter of the film.   

What if educational settings were directed in such a way? Where the students and learners have essential parts to play.  Both practitioner and learner would have necessary roles— not for entertainment, but for learning shared by all      

Best Teachers in Today’s Television: A Discussion


The idea of the ‘Best Teachers of Today’s Television’  comes from when I click the remote, browsing through channels, I noticed that I immediately pause for certain individuals when they appear.  I know I would do better getting a tv listing or finding on-demand telecasts, but for now I want to recognize those who keep me interested and informed-everytime I get the chance to see them. 

Best Teachers in Today’s Television Nominee

CHARLIE ROSE

Charlie Rose

I remember years ago when I first saw this program: I took a nap. Later, I realized that the basic setting of a “round table and a conversation” was not visually exciting, but intellectually awakening.  Charlie Rose, is the exceptional everything, confronting current issues and topics around the world within one-hour segments.  His range is enormous: from politics, education, and science to movies, music, comedy and even sports.  I mention sports last because I would argue it is his weakest subject although he asked more than basic questions.  Rose seem to look at the transforming effect of all subjects under discussion and how they can improve to serve a larger society.

Those who may not have the time to read a newspaper, or frustrated for haven’t picked up a book in a while, Rose would be a great start.    The round table, where he and his guest(s) talk, has a space just for you to sit and learn to get-in-the-know.   If I was to develop a free, independent learning course, Charlie Rose would be the first part of the suggested curriculum.