Artificial Intelligence

Posted in Business, General, Motivational

Artificial Intelligence dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator.Although robots taking over would be fun to write about, this is about the dilemma of the worldwide education system. I am referring to the artificial intelligence we are holding as the gold standard in education. This is the problem: Everyone seems content to teach to the test.

If you are new to education or perhaps a parent, you may be unaware of this issue, but it is alive and pervasive in education. Standards are set with expectation that certain levels of achievement much be achieved in order to graduate to the next level. The intent is good but the method is flawed. What is lacking is helping kids identify their passion and use that to fulfill their purpose in life. Isn’t that a fundamental desire of everyone on this planet? We all have that burning question: Why am I here?

I do not argue against the 3 r’s. We need to read, write, and be able to do math. What I have issue with is mandating courses regardless of interest or natural talent. We do give latitude when kids get to high school, but that is too late. Think about the millions of dollars that are wasted every year with kids going to college and then deciding after one, two, or three years or more that they took the wrong path and basically need to start over. How many kids finish college every year without a clue about who they are and what they are good at? Too many.

What I am suggesting is that we need to be helping kids identify their natural abilities and then encourage them and their parents to help that seed grow. We are doing a disservice to children to use cookie cutter approaches and neglect to teach them the very basic thing that will help them in life: How to learn. At early ages, much of learning takes place through play. Children learn basic social skills, rules of games, how to be competitive, how to win, and how to lose. Why have adults forgot to have fun in learning? Play is still an incredibly effective way to learn, regardless of age.

Along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, we need to add responsibility, reasoning, and relationships.  We need to inject emotional intelligence into our artificial intelligent world. We have to help kids discover very early on who they are and then encourage them to use their God-given talents in whatever they want to do in life. When they learn what their talents are and use them, they will come alive and fulfill their destiny…and that is what we all want, isn’t it?

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

 

 

The Waiting Room

Posted in Motivational, Spiritual

The Waiting Room dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI was in an office this week doing some consulting work. As I walked out, I ran into an old friend. He said, “I have something for you. It will explain what my wife and I have been through.” It was called In the Waiting. His wife wrote about the stress and testing of their faith when they had twins, and one of them was severely handicapped. Just the first chapter of the book had me going, “WOW, I have no problems.”

Then I went to church on Sunday and the very first praise song has a chorus that says, “He’s in the waiting!” I literally sat there in the service and thought, “OK, God. I get it. Somebody needs to hear this message.” So, whoever you are, this message is for you.

Nobody wants to be in the waiting room. We are there expecting something but not really knowing when it is going to happen. When is the Doctor going to come out and tell us the prognosis? When is the mechanic going to tell us the bad news? Life has many waiting rooms for us, and sometimes it is years that we have been waiting for something to change for the positive. “When, God? When will you give us some relief?”

Here is the answer from God. You want to know what it is? “I will give you an answer in my time. In the meantime, I am with you.” He is in the waiting WITH us. He is there with you as you try to make sense of the craziness of life. He is there through the tears and He is there to calm your fears. Trust Him. Know that He will help you through this if you let Him. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Matthew 28:20 says: “….And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The biggest problem we seem to face is we want an answer and we want it NOW. Here is the reality. It is never just about you or me. It is always about others as well. The one takeaway I hope will help and encourage you is that God’s timing is not ours, but His timing is perfect. Believe it. It is OK to have doubts and fears, just don’t hold on to them. Give them to the Lord and leave them there. 1 Peter 5:7 says: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” He can carry all those things that are weighing you down. Give them to Him. Walk with Him. Trust Him. Praise Him in the waiting room. Your answer IS coming. The longer you have been waiting, the closer you are to your breakthrough!

There is something truly magical when people get this and receive it. It is like the lightbulb going on over their head; that “Aha” moment that we all need to come to. We wonder: “Why we did not get that before?” Let go, and let God. May God’s perfect Shalom cover you in your waiting room.

Dan Skognes

 

Disturbing Your Comfort Zone

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Disturbing Your Comfort Zone dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorHave you ever heard a quote that you wish YOU had come up with? Ray Lewis was giving a speech at the Potter’s House, and he said: “Before anything great is really achieved, your comfort zone must be disturbed.” In other words, if you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance (author unknown).

I have written about the comfort zone before, but after seeing Ray Lewis speak, it lit a fire in my belly. I realized there was a lot I needed to do outside of MY comfort zone. We all get comfortable where we are. The path of least resistance is the one we typically settle on. The low hanging fruit is what we end up picking. The problem with that thinking is that we are missing the best. You have to extend yourself to get the best fruit.

I was listening to the wife of my pastor today as she talked about how we get discouraged when we don’t see immediate fruit for our labors. She told how she had a friend that had an orchid. It was absolutely beautiful…in full bloom, but she said it was not always that way. She said that for 10 years that orchid did not bloom. She watered it and cared for it, trusting that someday it would bloom. Wow. 10 years??? How many of us would have given up on that plant in a month, or at least in a year? The secret is that she believed and she received.

Endurance is part of the calling we have in life. Each of us has a unique calling on our life, but endurance is part of the equation. This lesson is like a lot of things in life…simple yet complex. Here are your lessons:

  • Be willing to not just get outside of your comfort zone, but disturb your comfort zone to achieve something GREAT.
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You snooze, you lose. Get it?
  • “The path of least resistance is not the one that you necessarily need to take. Pursue the path of excellence.” Dan Skognes (Yes, it is my quote).
  • “Endurance is part of the price we pay for the crown we want to wear.” Dan Skognes (Yes, LOL, I thought of that one too).

“Be willing to disrupt your way of thinking. Don’t allow the limitations of other people’s thinking to define your future.” Dan Skognes (my last quote of the day).

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Don’t Fear Change

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships

Dont Fear Change dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorHave you ever wondered why some people are miserable and yet refuse to change what they are doing? It is kind of crazy when you think about it, but the simple truth is this: You can’t change what you refuse to confront.

You can complain about your lot in life all day long but nobody really wants to hear it….so stop it. Change is uncomfortable even when it is for your own good. It involves conquering fear of the unknown. What is going to happen if I do or don’t do this? What will happen to my marriage, my health, my finances, my friends, or to my family?

  • If you are not where you want to be, change what you are doing. Find your passion and do whatever you can to do more of that. Finding your passion and living it will bring you great joy and fulfillment. Your passion will lead you to your purpose.
  • You are only a prisoner of your past if you allow your past to define who you wish to become. Change where you live. If you have been living in the past and bemoaning where you are today because of bad choices or bad luck, let go of the past and take up residence in the here and now. It is much brighter in the present than in the past, and you can begin today to take new steps in the direction you want to be residing in. That is a matter of choice.
  • If you are not who you want to be, change how you think and how you speak. There is great power in the words you speak over yourself. You either speak life or you speak death, so think before you speak. You speak blessings or you speak curses. If you say, “I will never find a job that pays what I am worth.” Guess what, you won’t! Guard your heart and take every thought captive. Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Have you noticed how some people seem to be eternally hopeful despite the terrible things they have had to endure? It is not by accident. What we do not see are the scars and the dirt under their fingernails for what they had to endure in digging their way out. They have learned the secret of not complaining and remaining thankful. Those two things will keep hope alive and allow us to make the necessary changes in our lives.

Don’t give up on yourself or upon others. Risk changing to become who you want to be in life. Even if you think you are totally fulfilled and happy, be willing to change for the better.  Nobody is perfect. There are levels of greatness that await your first steps of courage. Your destiny is within your reach. You just have to believe it and seek it. Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim out to it.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

From Passion To Purpose

Posted in Business, Motivational, Spiritual

From Passion to Purpose dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educator.jpgHave you ever known someone who is “Livin’ the Dream?” How does that happen? The real question is: why do so many people do something they hate to do for a living? It goes back to passion and purpose.

I read a book many years ago by Rick Warren called The Purpose Driven Life. It is an incredible book that has helped countless people to discover the meaning of their life. At a convention this week he gave the testimony about his son who had committed suicide. His son suffered from depression and fought it for many years, but he finally gave in to the desire to just end the pain. Rick took an extended sabbatical when this happened and was overwhelmed by the numerous emails and mail he received letting him know that his son had impacted their lives in a very positive way for the Kingdom of God. Rick’s testimony was this: “It is only by the grace of God that allows a broken tree to bear fruit.”

That is pretty deep. I can’t begin to imagine how he felt and I hope I never have to go through that type of loss. No parent ever expects to bury their child, yet it happens every day for a myriad of reasons. Life is short enough as it is.

The reason I share the testimony is to highlight the brevity of our lives. We are here but for a blink of an eye in the scheme of eternity. A pastor friend of mine was talking with a young child one day and the kid said to him, “May you live all your life.” Wow…out of the mouths of babes. To really live….to live on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose…is that not what we all seek on this planet?

My challenge to you is to find your passion. That is the thing you would do even if you had to do it for free because it is what lights your fire. It ignites your engines and fuels you with energy. Your passion is usually identified as a God-given talent or talents that you have and naturally exhibit. You don’t have to strain to do it. Work is still required, or course, but the normal stresses of work are not there when you do what you are passionate about. You don’t dread doing this because you love what you do and others are blessed by it as well.

When you find your passion, it will naturally lead to your purpose. Your purpose is revealed as you step into your destiny…what you were designed to do. We each have a unique design and a unique purpose. There is only one you and one me…and in my case that is a good thing. I don’t think the world could handle two of me. LOL.

If you are doing things that you hate to do just chasing the dollar you will never find peace and fulfillment. You will continually find reasons to hate your boss, hate your hours, hate your job, and hate your customers. Don’t allow the dollar to be your goal. Chase your passion with all that you have and the dollars will follow. Find your passion and you will find your purpose. You can love your work if you find your passion.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Trying Times

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Trying Times dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorI doubt that I would get much argument in saying that we live in trying times. Life is stressful and some days it seems that the pressure is almost unbearable. I don’t care who you are. It does not matter where you live, who your family is, or what your economic circumstances are. We all have to deal with stress of some sort on a daily basis.

Here is the key to making it through the stresses of life. Remember this: Trying times are not the time to quit trying. Expect conflict. Expect resistance. That is part of life. Don’t be surprised when things don’t go your way. Just because you get resistance does not mean there is no viable solution. You may have to get creative, but learning to collaborate with others can help you see situations in a different light. You can learn to confront and still collaborate.

If you are going through stress in your marriage or relationship, just because you don’t see eye to eye does not mean you can’t commit to still walking hand in hand. When an old couple who had been married for 60 years was asked for their formula for success in marriage, they said: “Divorce was never an option. We considered murder a few times, but never gave a thought to divorce.” LOL. Anyone who has been married for any length of time knows that it takes two people rowing in the same direction to make it work. Otherwise, you will go in circles or sink the boat.

It has been said that a lot of little digs can bury a marriage (or any relationship). If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging. Throwing verbal jabs at someone can leave lasting scars and women have an uncanny ability of remembering every jab you ever threw years after you have forgotten the incident. Be kind to each other. Practice random acts of kindness daily with those you care about. Love is an action verb and needs to be expressed in word and deed.

If you are going through trying times, don’t despair. Do these things and you will make it:

  • Learn to love others generously.
  • Forgive offences daily.
  • Laugh at yourself and your circumstances, but not at others.
  • Treat time as your most valuable asset.
  • Learn the value of giving yourself to others without expecting anything in return.
  • Be grateful for what you have.
  • Don’t give up hope.
  • Draw closer to God.

These are the things that will keep you focused, centered, and motivated to keep going when the storms are beating down your door. In learning to weather the storms you will find yourself to be stronger, wiser, and able to persevere the next storm. Learn to set your sails to the wind. Adapt to the circumstances, but stay the course.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The Purpose of Pain

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

The Purpose of Pain dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorNobody likes pain…at least if you are a normal person. Pain is, well…a pain! It tells us when to stop doing something that is harmful. So, in that essence, pain is your friend…but you don’t have to like it.

Pain is not a respecter of people. Everyone experiences it. You can have pain on a variety of levels: emotional, physical, or spiritual. Regardless of the source of the pain, I have found this to be true: Your greatest pain can give birth to your purpose.

I can give you story after story of people who endured great pain and came through it with a sense of purpose because their pain ignited a flame. Think for a moment about someone like John Walsh who hosted the TV hit series America’s Most Wanted show. John’s son Adam was abducted and killed. As a result of the terrible pain he endured, he became an advocate for human and victim rights. Hundreds of cases were brought to light as a result of his show, and because of his passion and intense focus many of the criminals were caught and brought to justice.

Another example is a personal friend of mine, Brian Fleming. He became a Purple Heart recipient when a suicide bomber tried to kill him in Afghanistan. After enduring second and third degree burns and multiple surgeries, his mess became his message. He now speaks to people around the world about what he endured. He has a special focus on ministering to Vets who suffer from Post-traumatic Stress. When he talks they listen because he has walked in their shoes. He understands firsthand the depth of their despair, but more importantly, he can point them to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Nick Vujicic is an example of someone who is an overcomer. He was born with no arms and no legs! I can’t even begin to imagine how you have a life worth living with no limbs, but he is no ordinary guy. He chose to make his problem his platform. He is amazing in his zest for life. He travels around the world and speaks to groups about living with purpose. When you hear his story and see him speak, you realize that your problems are not so big after all. What he has done with his limitations is nothing short of miraculous.

Pain has a purpose, and it is not just for you. It is for all those you encounter as well. No matter what you’ve gone through, put a voice to your message. Share your story as a way to encourage others who are going through what you have endured. In doing so you will help heal the wound in them and strengthen your own soul at the same time. That is where true healing begins for everyone.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

The First 50

Posted in Motivational, Relationships

The First 50 dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorKenny Chesney has a popular song out right now that is really good.  It is called Don’t Blink. My wife and I were listening to it together and marveled at how profound that song was when it comes to summing up the brevity of life. The gist of the song is: Don’t blink or life will pass you by.

I remember as a kid how long an hour seemed…especially when I was in trouble.  Now, ten years fly by like a day. That is pretty scary since I am in the second 50 years of my life. I know the clock is ticking and every day that passes brings me one step closer to meeting my Maker face to face. I am ready…but still, I feel like I have a lot to do before I go. I want my days to count for something.

The first fifty years were in many ways an extended childhood. When I was a kid I dreamed of being Superman. Now I AM Superman. My super power is I teach. When I was a kid I loved to watch Wonder Woman on TV. Now I am MARRIED to Wonder Woman. I call her Wonder Woman because I wonder what I ever did without that woman. ;o)

My journey to becoming an adult has been both rewarding and scary at times. Here are a couple of things I learned on the way to becoming a grown up:

  • Being an adult is not all it is cracked up to be. When you are a kid you play, go to school, eat, and sleep. You have no bills and no real issues to worry about. Mom and Dad got ya covered. You get to be a kid and do kid stuff. Now, I still want to do the kid stuff but am busy working to pay the bills and playing is something I have to work into the schedule…plus I don’t have the energy I used to have.
  • As a kid I always told my age in half years. I was not 5 years old. I was 5½! I wasn’t 7, I was 7½! For some reason, that half was a BIG deal…at least to me. Nobody else seemed to really notice. Now I just as soon not talk about how old I am! My advice to kids is: stay kids as long as humanly possible. You will grow up soon enough and the responsibilities will be much easier to handle as an adult if you have learned how to just be a kid first. Of course, if you are 21 or older, it is time for you to get out of the house and start your own life (i.e. Grow up!).
  • The internet is making it much harder for kids to stay kids. They are exposed to things too fast to even comprehend. Parents: Please monitor what your kids see on the internet and monitor what they do on their phones. If you don’t, you will regret what happens to your kids. Innocence lost can never be reclaimed.

I have decided that I am not going to totally grow up; the reason is that kids are full of life. That is one reason why I love teaching them. They energize me. They have a hunger for learning and exploring that I never want to lose. Their innocence needs to be protected and never forgotten as adults. The next fifty years are going to be interesting as the world seems to be getting crazier by the moment. I am going to do my part to keep the world young at heart, and protect the innocence of kids as long as humanly possible. If everyone does their part in raising the kids, we will be handing over the reins to people that are prepared for the job. It does indeed take a village.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Procrastination

Posted in Business, Motivational

Procrastination dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach educatorNike has a commercial out that has a great tie-in to their slogan. The commercial says, “Yesterday you said tomorrow, so just do it!” Clever play on words. I have been thinking about doing a book for quite some time, but I have found a lot of excuses as to why I have not completed it. The truth is they are just excuses.  We find time to do the things that are important to us.

There is an old joke that says: Don’t put off today what you can put off till tomorrow. LOL.  Not sure exactly what to make of that, so I will put off analyzing what it means till tomorrow.

Procrastination is such an easy pit to fall into. We are too busy, too tired, too broke, too __whatever__ (you fill in the blank). I like being around people who have a sense of purpose. They know what they need to do and have set timelines to hold themselves accountable. They often have a co-worker, spouse, or friend that also helps encourage them and makes sure they don’t fall in the procrastination pit.

If you are a to-do list maker, here are a few things to consider:

  • If you have no intention of doing it, don’t put it on the list. If you do, you will just move it from day to day to day and eventually forget about it. I have been there and done that!
  • Prioritize your to-do list and stay focused on the high priority items…the ones that HAVE to be done. Consider what time and resources are required to get it done.
  • Take the thing you dread the most on the list and do it. It will make the other tasks easier to get accomplished.

Goal setting is just daydreaming if you don’t set a deadline and have an accountability system. So, what things have you been putting off that you need to get done? In the words of Nike, “Just Do It.”

P.S. I have started my book and completed the first 14 chapters. :o )

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

Train Up A Child

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual

Train Up A Child dan skognes motivation blogger speaker teacher trainer coach teacher educatorThere is a Proverb that says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” That is great news and should give you hope if you see kids getting off the path and going in a direction that is not good for them.

Kids need structure. They need to know the proper boundaries and understand the consequences of their decisions. How will they learn these if we as parents and teachers don’t model it for them? Do you want them learning the facts of life in the locker room or on the internet? Probably not! Training begins at home and is reinforced at school. They need both.

If you have a child that was raised to understand basic moral values then you can have peace in knowing that they will come to their senses at some point. They may be bruised from the trip, but they will finally come to a point where they realize that you weren’t so dumb after all. It is funny how smart our parents and teachers become as we get older and experience life. They actually knew what they were talking about! Who knew?  LOL.

If you have kids or grandkids that are under your influence, please train them in the way they should go. There is a lot of negative influence in this world…much of it available 24/7 on the internet. Please don’t give young kids unlimited access to the web. They do not need to see and experience much of what is online these days. The truth is, adults don’t need it either, but like it or not, it is there to experience at the click of a button. Giving kids everything they want is not loving them.  It is just the opposite and will produce an entitlement mentality and rob them of their innocence.

Things you can teach kids that will produce healthy adults:

  • Love God and serve Him all your heart. Putting God first sets the tone for everything else you do in life.
  • Love other people and be willing to serve them. When you learn to be a servant leader, you lead with humility and love.
  • Be willing to work hard for what you want. Don’t expect a handout.
  • Educate yourself continually. Never get to the point where you quit learning.
  • Learn to forgive others who have wronged you. If you don’t you give them power over you and you will be a prisoner of the past.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for what you have. Learn to say “Thank You.”
  • Be willing to give credit to others. Nobody is solely responsible for their successes. Give credit where credit is due to others that have helped you succeed.
  • Realize that the world does not revolve around you (or me). We are important pieces to the puzzle, but there are many other pieces which are vital to the big picture called life.
  • Teach them the value of a dollar and to live within their means.
  • Teach them to respect their elders and authority. Saying “Yes Sir” and “Yes Mam” goes a long way with those in authority.
  • Teach them to surround themselves with the right type of friends. Evil company will corrupt the best of us.
  • Help them find their passion in life. That is an incredible gift that will propel them into their God-given purpose.

If your child or grandchild has gone down the wrong path, don’t give up on them. Pray for them. Continue to model the proper behavior for them, and don’t lose hope. Set appropriate boundaries, but continue to love them and let them KNOW you love them.  When they get older they will remember your words and your actions.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes