New content coming soon!

Sorry for the absence all these months. Things have been very busy. In addition to getting out a few articles and starting several others, I managed to pass my dissertation proposal and am officially ABD! Now, all that is left is the dissertation itself. Also, my wife and I were recently promoted to lead facilitators at the challenge course we work at here in Virginia. Very fun stuff. 

In the coming months, I will be cronicaling my dissertation for you all and heading out on a couple of trips. 

Stay tuned. 


Creating the Digital Self

Being on  the early end of the "millennial" generation, I have had the luxury of spending the bulk of my childhood in a very low tech world, but having a connected beginning to my adulthood. Having "grown-up" as the tech field matured, I have a familiarity with the new and hip; changes in tech are not as daunting because it is familiar.

I did however benefit from things that the generations of today do not get. I learned to navigate without gps. I had friend before Facebook told me who were my friends. Visiting a friend meant walking or biking over to their house to check if they were home. There were no cellphones or tablets. The adventures we had were created within, not dictated by code. Side note: this probably fostered the wanderlust I experience now.

However, this has given an appreciation for the tech that is available now. I knew a world without the iPod or iPhone, but I see what I can do with the tech now that can been beneficial when harnessed. The Internet of things is what I always envisioned the future to be and I am extremely excited to see what comes next.

The explosion during my relatively short tenure on this earth has been phenomial. The iPod came out when I started my undergraduate degree and the iPhone shortly there after. From those moments, it seems our world has been dominated by constant tech evolution. While I find extreme merit and benefit in the growing tech that is incorporated more personally into our lives, there is a point at which all of the information that we put out there becomes burdensome. 

With technology came the advent of communities to discuss similar interest; this birthed social media. Social media has become a blessing and a curse for everyone. We are benefited by instant connectivity and being able to connect in real time with family and friends anywhere in the globe, but increasingly we are having to maintain a second self; a digital self. The digital self is a concept I was introduced to trough a recent TED talk; check it out:

Our second digital self needs all of the attention that our first self needs, but happens at the speed of a computer. An instant. One that is impossible to keep up with. There is already an inherent difficulty to maintain our own self and become the people we want to be. Adolescents is already difficult to drift through. Now, we must maintain two selfs, or risk oe running away in a way that is not always to our benefit.  

I try to minimize my social media use, for a multitude or reasons, but at the same time utlize it to keep connected with others and maintain my second, digital self. I have no fear in what other find amount me, because I take the time to keep them maintained and put out only what will be of benefit. I see the benefit of remaining connected, but make an attempt to keep my digital self contained.

So here is what I use:

facebook: This is perhaps the most prevalent of social media sites. It infiltrates every aspect of what we do on and off the internet. With it's prevalence, you can stay connected with people you may have never kept in touch with. I find it helpful to maintain personal and professional relationships with people all around the world, because of its reach. However, I have tried to quit it. I dislike the idea of all the information I put there to be saved or accessible. I haven't though. As I mentioned the necessary maintenance of a digital self, if I don't whatever is put there by others can not be "controlled". 

twitter: Another that can run you over if not maintained, but has immense benefit. This provides instant, realtime updates on any topic. There is a lot of useless waist that individuals "must" tweet about, but news organizations or companies can be followed to allow you an intimate, instant integration with them. Breaking news can be followed in live time or conversations can be had in a way that creates a social forum. It can be also be devistating; as realtime, can occur even when you are not engaged. 

instagram: This is a more fun social site, but again offers an insider view into the life at companies. Organizations and individuals can show what is uniquely their brand. What makes them, them.  

I know those are only a selection, but they are the only ones that live on my phone. What do you use? Please share in the comments. 


New Year's Resolutions

Everyone makes them.


Each year, countless people spring off the new year with goals of making him or herself a better person.


Some people want to lose 10 pounds.

Some want to quit smoking.

Some want to exercise more.


However, countless people make goals, but never reach the end of the year or month still following them.


I am sure there are too many reasons to count as to why this occurs, but one of the core reasons (I believe) is that the goals are all outcome based. They do not change the habits or core behaviors that cause us to make those goals in the first place.


I am the same. I have made New Years goals and not followed through with them, but this year I want to try something different. I came up with a few goals that I want to work on which will hopefully affect a much larger portion of my life than just my one goal.


Write 1 hour a day. Writing can be a habit, just like anything else. The more it is done, the easier it becomes. I, myself, have never been much of writer in my spare time. I like to work with my hands and build things, but it seems as though through my life's journey, I have wound up writing for a potential living. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of other things that go into research that come more natural to me, like thinking inquisitively and numbers, but writing was not one of them. In research, that is a large portion of the process from beginning to end. So for 2016, by writing an hour a day on whatever (this blog for example), I hope to make writing more of a daily habit.


Spending more days on my bike, than in a car. This is one I do a lot already. Anyone who knows me, knows that I bike commute to work practically everyday regardless of weather; being in Virginia, it's not that bad. However, I want to make most all trips by bicycle, including groceries and errands. While some roads make it impractical to do so, my goals is to make cycling my go to transportation. Perhaps, if more people see me doing so, they may take the leap. Here's hoping.


Sleep outside more often. I have always enjoyed camping and being outside, but as these goals are more than just what they are, the real goal is to disconnect and rejuvenate myself more often. Being in nature slows my mind and allows me to refocus. I have always taken to making a trip for a week or more, but now being near a national park and with my wife and my schedules being a little more certain, we have considered making trips for a weekend. Even just heading up a Friday evening and waking up somewhere outside is enough. This goals is inexplicably tied to the next.


Look at a screen less often. My world has become full of technology and it is immensely beneficial. I could not imagine having to use a typewriter to write my dissertation and make edits, only to have to rewrite it. I think that might take me a decade. However, the added screens do add to the inability to disconnect. There is drive to be connected, because it is so close and it fills in time. So I plan to look at paper every now and then, and sit a be board every now and then. It helps my mind wander.


So what are your goals?