Train of Death: The pursuit of the American Dream pt. 1

Photo from Google

In 2010, I saw a documentary in CNN about the journey of the Central American Migrants in pursuit of their American Dream. The title of the documentary is “World’s Untold Stories: La Bestia (The Beast).” There are several remarkable stories depicted in the clips. One of the things that stood out for me is the fact that the young people traveling north frequently said that they were heading to the US so that they could send a few dollars to help their parents back home. Many migrants from Central America board the train in the hope of a new life in the US, but hundreds of them never make it through the dreadful journey from Central America to the North. According to reports, 100,000 Central Americans were sent back and others die in the journey. It’s a journey that takes days or weeks. Every day around midnight, the train starts its journey to El Norte (the North). Out of the surrounding bushes and embankments, about two hundred people scramble to jump on board, being pulled on top of some train cars, holding on to the sides of others, or wedging in between them. On the way to the American Dream, many fall asleep and fall off while the train is moving. Those who fell either die or mutilated. Some women are raped and thrown off by the armed gangs.

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TOP 10 MYTHS OF LISTENING

Most people consider themselves good listeners. Still, for all of us, this is a critical skill that could stand improvement. By being aware of the characteristics of poor listening, positive qualities can be cultivated and poor skills adjusted.

Myth 1: Everyone knows how to listen.

Many hear but fewer understand…. Practice and care create superior ability.

Myth 2: Sending messages is more important than receiving.

While outbound communication seems more significant, the abilities to hear and understand are equally important. Listening is frequently cited as a more important life skill than speaking.

Myth 3: Listening is easy and passive.

Effective listening is an active, energetic process that requires alertness and thought. Weariness and fatigue serve as communication barriers. Messages are neither heard nor understood well.

Myth 4: Hearing and listening are the same.

Hearing is sensory and involuntary while listening requires commitment, an act of the will, and perception.

Myth 5: An effective speaker commands the audience’s attention.

Communication is a partnership. Without the listener’s consent, listening does not happen.

Myth 6: Hearing and decoding constitute listening.

These are the beginnings but most of the process is mental. After understanding — perception, analysis, and evaluation are still essential parts.

Myth 7: Communication is the sender’s responsibility.

Communication is a two-way street. Both the sender and receiver need to be responsible.

Myth 8: Listening is done with the ears.

True listening takes in data from all senses. Nonverbal signals and other factors need to be taken into account.

Myth 9: Listening skills are practiced, not learned.

Practice alone does not yield improvement. Learning and augmenting skills enhances superior listening.

Myth 10: Listening ability comes from maturity.

Development comes from mastering listening skills, not [from] age.

(Reference: Robert Jerus, Adapted from “The Top 10 Myths of Listening,” Copyright 2003 by Thomas Leonard, http://www.coachville.com)

11 Tips for Feeling Happier at Work

If you feel the Monday Blues every day at work. Here are some tips for you to feel happier.  Since you are not paid during lunch hours, do not eat and work at the same time!

11. Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday

A famous inspiring saying, so be inspired by it. Procrastination is never a good thing, typically so when you are handed a piece of undesirable work – such as calling back a difficult client. In such cases, it’s always better to tackle them quickly or they might never get done.

10. Know your lunch time

There are times when you are overloaded with work and it becomes practically impossible to go for lunch, but it doesn’t benefit you in terms of concentration and workrate either, by starving yourself. Make sure you have some cookies or sandwiches stored up in dire times like these. You can always eat and do work at the same time, during lunch time.

9. Take short breaks

CEO or Pantry Staff? Doesn’t matter, everybody needs a break. In fact, we need more than one, as studies show that taking a short break of 5-10 minutes every 60-90 minutes can help in improving overall work performance. Just don’t get caught talking to your spouse over the phone.

8. Have lunch with someone other than your colleagues

As much as you love your colleagues, it can be bothersome and incredibly mundane to see them all the time, even during lunch. Try to arrange for a lunch date with a friend once a week. Make sure you don’t lunch too near, so you can gossip to your heart’s content.

7. Post pictures of family

If your cubicle and workspace allows, feel free to pin up family photos or pictures with your loved ones. Taking a nice glimpse or simply getting reminded of them can recharge you in wondrous ways.

6. Don’t be too accommodating

It’s a fact; rejection is a tough task, even more so for Singaporeans. When politely asked by colleagues to help out at a task, it’s hard to say no. Well then, don’t say no. An equally polite “I’ll check back with you” or “Let me get back to you once I’m done with on-hand tasks” works much better because you’re not rejecting anyone… nor are you promising anything. Whether you actually get back, is your prerogative.

5. Have snacks or drinks lying around

Not the wisest of choice for those who are overly concerned with their weight or dietary intake, but for most of us, a little “distraction” can help to sooth our mood. Having snacks around also help in productive use of breaks. Just ensure you don’t end up eating more than you should.

4. Clear your workspace once in awhile

Ever had that feeling where you feel refreshed and recharged after a maternity leave or holiday? Well it could really be the holiday, or it could be your clean and tidy workspace that you bothered to clear up before your leave. Regardless, cleaning up your workspace occasionally brings about a comfort and satisfaction that usually translates to good work and consequently, better work performance.

3. Have breakfast with your colleagues

If you the type to arrive at work early, why not take the time to have breakfast with your fellow early birds? Doing so gives you a great opportunity to interact and relax at your own pace before starting work, and that can set the mood for the whole day.

2. Knock off on time

Self-explanatory. It would be a little frightening if you don’t actually enjoy doing this. Technically, this makes you feel happier after work, and not less so during it, but knowing you can knock off on time is a great boost for the day, whenever you think about it.

1. Be ignorant of things that don’t concern you

If it doesn’t concern you, the less you know the better. Doing so keeps your mind focused on what is important, and free yourself of unnecessary considerations or accommodations.

Article courtesy of Yahoo! Philippines: http://ph.yahoo.matchmovegames.com/news/article/happy-at-work

Happy Campers: Conquering Mt. Tapulao

Prexy-Kuya God, VP-Kuya Jayron, JM, Terry, Kuya Herbert, and Me

It was our induction climb for the batch 2005 applicants of the Sebastian Trekkers Club. All of us were excited and anxious. At the crack of dawn, we started our trek, the sky was still dark and the moon was still shinning and you could hardly see anything. At the trek, body issues started to show up; painful toes from the graded descent, limatik (blood leech) bites everywhere, feet’s soreness from navigating the rock surfaces, etc. After almost 12 hours of long and never-ending trek, we’d finally reached the campsite. We could smell the freshness of the towering pine trees surroundings our tents and we you could feel the cold breeze on your skin. After we ate our dinner, we cleaned up and went to straight sleep because of exhaustion. We didn’t have enough energy left to even do social plus it was freezing outside. Even in our sleep we could still feel and hear the wind blowing our tent and the creepy sound of the mountain animals.

Photo from Flickr

Then the next day after we ate our breakfast, we started our assault to the summit. Everyone was excited because the peak that we were about to ascend is newly discovered site.

At the trail, we could hear the sound of the strong wind blowing the leaves of the towering trees and the sweet smell of the wild grass on the side of the trail. We’ve finally reached the peak of Mt. Tapulao after two hours of walking. The scenery was very beautiful, breathe-taking and relaxing. It felt so good when we saw the beautiful view of the South China Sea and the green fields at the bottom of the mountain. It was worth the hardships and exhaustion that we felt while climbing the mountain. We all felt at that moment the fulfilment of conquering the highest peak in Luzon.

We could smell the fresh air and feel the cold air on our skin. At the top you would see different kinds of plants and with different colors too. There were small trees with colorful fruits and leaves. After an hour of taking picture and side seeing, we finally decided to start our descend. Our body was weak from the cold, from the 2 days of strenuous trekking, and for lack of decent sleep. It was very challenging but very fulfilling at the same time. It was cause of joy to reach the lowland.

Convergence

Many years ago, the ancient people live in a more complicated and surreal life. However, over the years, they have developed new technologies that make our lives better. Changes occur. The more we seek for an easy life the more we discover and create and invent better machineries, equipment, devices, etc. Due to this cumulative effect, we have some technologies that the ancient people could only dream of.

It was on the 19th Century were most of the inventions rose. The new inventions helped a lot especially in communication. Like the invention of the telephone, it made talking to other people from a distant area possible.

We have comea long way in terms of innovation from word-of-mouth to symbols and alphabets, from carved stones to printed materials, from drawings on the ancient walls to the high-definition and three-dimensional movies and from two-stone fire to nuclear weapons.

With the evolution of technologies, our values changes as well. Some people use the technological changes for the betterment of others but some use it to gain power and territory. Those cutting-edge technologies have indeed become very helpful for the betterment of our lives but they also pose threats to all even to our environment. It’s hard to imagine what new forms of dangers arise in every progress in technology.

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