5 Things We Can Learn From Fans

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something that comes in very handy this time of year…

5 Things We Can Learn From Fans

1. Good Can Be Better

In doing a little research for this post, I learned that ceiling fans first appeared in the 1860s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that they were built with the ability to change speeds. For the first 100+ years of their existence, fans only knew one speed. Now, nearly every fan you find features a control that can vary the speed, similar to how a light has a dimmer.

I imagine that when fans were first invented, there was probably very little complaining about the speed of the fan — people were thrilled just to have something that make a room feel less hot. But somewhere along the line a very smart person showed up and asked, “how can I make this better?” That person looked at something good and made it better. We too might be able to do the same simply by giving people a few options to choose from.

2. Faster Isn’t Always Better

I think the fan in my bedroom must be a close relative of a helicopter propeller. When it is at the highest speed, papers start flying, blinds begin rattling and it feels as if the whole room could come down at any moment.

Even when the house is as its hottest, the fan remains at medium speed. Sure, I could turn it up full blast, but while I would be cooler, I would be stuck cleaning up the remnants of my room. It is a good reminder that just because I can make something go faster, doesn’t mean the result is worth it.

3. We Become Complacent Easily

Does your ceiling fan rattle? Mind does. But I usually only notice it for like 2 seconds. Very quickly my ears just become used to it and I can no longer even hear the sound. If I get up, leave the room and then come back, I can hear it right away. I may even twist the light bulb or turn the glass casing, which usually fixes it. For like 2 seconds.

The noise comes back, but by that time I am sitting down and comfortable. I turn on the TV or zone out and the noise goes away. Because I lose focus on the issue so quickly, I am unlikely to fix the problem.

4. Going The Right Direction Makes All The Difference

These days, not only do fans have speed controls, but they also have the ability to change direction. When I first learned of this, I figured that it didn’t matter which the direction the fan went as long as it was spinning.

I was wrong. Apparently the direction matters very much. So much in fact, that one direction creates the feeling of cool air and the other direction creates warm air. Knowing which direction you want makes a world of difference.

5. Turn It Off When We Leave

Fun fact: regardless of the direction of rotation, fans actually add heat to a room. Fans never add cool air to the room, they only move the air around. The reason we feel cool with a fan is because of the wind chill effect.

It works like this…we sweat -> air mover over the sweat -> the evaporation rate increases. More evaporation = cooler sweat = cooler human.

Because of this, it does not make any sense to have a fan going if there is not someone in the room. All that happens is the electricity bill goes up and the room actually gets warmer.

Many of us have high stress jobs. We are constantly have to be on top of our game. But when we leave work, we may want to learn a lesson from fans and turn it off.

5 Things We Can Learn From The Great Wall Of China

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

We can even learn stuff from a really old wall…

5 Things We Can Learn From The Great Wall Of China

1. Greatness Takes Time

How long do you think it took to build the Great Wall of China? If you’re anything like me, you might guess 5 years, 50 years, maybe 500 years. Would you believe 2,000 years?

Originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first stage of the Wall was finished around 221 BC, and it is believed to have taken about 20 years. However, what we consider the Great Wall today was built in the 14th through 17th centuries A.D., during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). All in all, many imperial dynasties built and extended the Wall over the course of 2,000 years.

Want to be great? Be patient.

2. Greatness Is A Team Effort

Given how long it took to build, it makes sense that it took effort from many people. But just how many people, you ask. Historical records suggest more than 1.5 million men were used during the peak of the Wall’s construction. Roughly 500,000 soldiers were assigned to both build and guard it during Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s era. More than 400,000 people died during the wall’s construction.

If we are looking to be great, we should also be looking for help.

3. Greatness Is Resourceful

Fun fact: not every part of the Wall is man made. The entire length includes natural barriers like rivers, lakes, mountains and trenches. After about 5 years on the job, I picture a very creative and resourceful construction worker coming up with the idea of building the wall into a mountain. If the goal is to create a barrier, why not use some some help from Mother Nature?

When we are looking for help to become great, it helps to notice anything and everything that might help.

4. Greatness Feels Bigger

It has been said that you can see the Great Wall of China from space. That is not true. The Wall stretches 21,196 km (13,170 mi), but it is not even close to big enough be seen by an astronaut. However, if you were to ask people on the street if you can see it from the moon, they would likely say yes.

When we become great, we feel bigger than we actually are.

5. Greatness Comes In Many Forms

Oddly enough, the Great Wall was never that great at preventing enemies from invading China. Throughout time, however it has become a symbol of China’s strength and is now seen as psychological barrier between Chinese civilization and the world.

On our path to greatness, we may not accomplish what we originally set out to achieve. But that doesn’t mean all is lost.



Sources: Wikipedia, History, China Highlights

5 Things We Can Learn From Superheroes

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about the topic of the biggest movie of the year….

5 Things We Can Learn From Superheroes

1. We All Have A Beginning

All superheroes have an origin story. This is the back-story that tells of a journey which that person took to become a superhero. The story could involve: living as a mutant, being bitten by a spider, or inheriting a parent’s fortune. We may know this part of the story, but it is not the main thing that comes to mind when we picture someone super. We get caught up in the laser vision, the web-slinging, and the awesome gadgets, and forget that even the greatest of superheroes had to start in the beginning.

2. We All Have A Super Power

If you Google “What are the best super powers?” you’ll find over 15 million results covering everything from mind control to superhuman strength. You’ll find a wide range of articles from 25 Superpowers You Wish You Had to 15 Breakfasts to Super Power Your Day (okay, so maybe that second one doesn’t really fit, but I am a sucker for breakfast). The point is that there are a ton of superpowers out there. The key is to find and cultivate what makes each of us super.

3. We Can’t Do It All

Did you know that kryptonite was first introduced so that Superman could go on vacation? Seriously, it is true. In 1943, a mineral named “kryptonite” was used on The Adventures of Superman radio series because Bud Collyer, the actor who played Superman and Clark Kent, wanted a break from the series. Beginning with the episode, “The Meteor from Krypton”, the writers started including Superman’s one weakness. A stand-in groaned for several episodes until Collyer came back from vacation. No matter how super we are (or how bad we want to go on holiday), we all need assistance, and…

4. That’s Why It Helps To Have A Sidekick

Batman has Robin. Holmes has Watson. Potter has Weasley. Even Steph Curry needs Klay Thompson. If it is okay for superheroes to need an assist, it is definitely okay for us to ask for help.

5. Presentation Is Important

If superheroes have figured out one thing, it is presentation. From Ironman to Wolverine, superhero costumes are pretty darn sweet. They have a cool factor that makes the person wearing them seem unstoppable. There is a reason so many kids (and adults) want to dress up like them for Halloween. We may not need skin-tight clothes, but we all have a costume. If you are a blogger, your website is your costume. If you are a chef, your food is your costume. If you are a saxophone player, your Kenny G covers are your costume. We can all work on our presentation by spending some time on our costume.

5 Things We Can Learn From Calendars

The great thing about learning is that it is not confined to certain times or a specific location. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

I like to highlight this fact by, once a month, looking at things we encounter on a daily basis and seeing what important lesson we can from them.

In today’s installment of “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects” we are going to talk about something very timely….

5 Things We Can Learn From Calendars

1. We Don’t Have To Be Boring

To channel my inner high school speech… A calendar is defined as “a system for fixing the beginning, length, and divisions of the civil year and arranging days and longer divisions of time (as weeks and months) in a definite order.” Talk about a boring definition. But calendars are hardly boring. You can find sports calendars, movie calendars, & music calendars. There are calendars with babes, babies & Babe: Pig in the City. Anything we can think of, we can turn into a theme for a calendar. Just because we may be seen by others as a system…civil…definite order…, doesn’t mean we have to be boring.

2. When We Are Memorable, We Outlive Out Shelf Life

In 2009, I was given an awesome calendar featuring characters from The Simpsons. Guess how long I have kept it hanging up in my room? If you guessed 12 months, you are wrong. The correct answer is 7 years (and counting). Sure, the day, months & years expired on December 31st, but I have kept it hanging for all these years and turned it into decoration. I can’t be the only one that keeps an old calendar around. This Christmas, my grandpa was given a customized calendar featuring pictures of his great-grand kids. You better believe he will keep that thing around into 2017 and beyond. As I mentioned above, there is nothing that says we have to be boring. When we are memorable, we will last long past our expiration date.

3. Order Is Important

Yes, I keep my 2009 calendar hanging, but I do not use it to track my week. If I did, I would be thinking January 12th is a Monday. I get a new calendar every year and it is one of the many tools I use to keep my life in order. Calendars are great because they can feature things like the cast of Downton Abbey, but they are also great because they give us structure. They show us the days, weeks, & months and can help us plan accordingly.

4. It Is Nice To Have A Back Up Plan

I like to think I will always remember my mom’s birthday. Even though I have not forgotten it in 30 years of living, I still put it on my calendar. Why do I do that? Is it because I am actually afraid that I will forget what day it is and not send her a birthday cake emoji? Not really. I do it because my memory is not perfect. Things happen and distractions arise. We all get busy and it is nice to have a backup plan.

5. Make Sure You Can See It

My wall calendar is above my bed. My phone calendar is in the top left, aka lead-story, position on my cell phone app list. I rely on both so much that I keep them front and center. Whether it be our calendar, our bank account or our hair spray, when something is important, we make sure we can see it.

Five Things We Can Learn From Autocorrect

When I say the word “learning” what comes to mind?

Maybe you think of a colorful classroom full of energetic 1st graders. Or maybe you think of a stuffy college lecture hall with a buttoned up, grey haired professor.

Whatever you have in your mind, I think it is pretty safe to guess that you are picturing some type of school setting. And that makes sense given the fact that most of our learning comes from formal education.

But what happens when we stop our formal education? Do we stop learning?

Not at all. We just learn differently. As we grow older we trade in our learning from chalkboards and homework to learning from board rooms and networks.

That is the great thing about learning, it is not confined to certain times or locations. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere.

Think about that time you were just one minute late for the bus. You probably learned that every minute counts. Or that day you didn’t recognize your wife’s new haircut. You probably learned to be a little more perceptive.

We all can learn some very important lesson from the things we encounter on a daily basis.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce a new segment that I am calling “Five Things We Can Learn From Everyday Objects.”

For the first entry in this series I will take on something we all bump into anytime we type into our phone or computer…Autocorrect.

Five Things We Can Learn From Autocorrect

1. If you go too fast you are bound to mess up

Have you ever tried to type a text message so fast that what comes out is just a jumbled mess? Your fingers are moving so franticly that autocorrect has to work extra hard to decipher what you are writing, and nothing comes out right.

What happens next? You have to delete all the mistakes and type the words all over again. You ended up taking twice as long and typing everything twice because you tried to go too fast.

We make this same mistake in our everyday lives. We try to solve problems by throwing speed at them instead of substance. We franticly finish fast but all we have to show for it is just jumbled junk.

2. You can’t fix errors with errors

Recently I tried to spell the word “viable” in a text message. But my fingers hit the wrong keys and I typed “viakle” instead. Autocorrect sensed that it was the wrong word and changed it to “Viking.”

Autocorrect was doing its job, but it still didn’t make my sentence correct. It simply fixed an error with another error.

Sometimes we think we can solve every problem just by changing it. But just because it was changed doesn’t mean it was made better. Remember when you made a mistake at work and covered it up with a lie. That is like using Viking when you should have used viable.

3. Sometimes you are just too far off

I often spell words so poorly that autocorrect has no suggestion for it. I am so far off that autocorrect is just looking at me like, “that’s not even close to any real words.” In those cases I have to start over and really put some thought into spelling it correctly.

Think about the time your boyfriend got mad at you and you couldn’t figure out why. I bet when you stopped and really put some thought into it you had a much better guess at the correct answer.

4. Sometimes you really are right (even when others disagree)

Autocorrect is great, but it is not perfect. Just the other day I was going to play wiffle ball with some friends. Anytime I would type “wiffle” into a text message autocorrect would change it to “waffle.” Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy waffles just as much as the next guy, but in this case my message had nothing to do with delicious breakfast foods.

In real life, just like in text messages, there are sometimes you will be right, no matter what other people say. It is important to recognize those times and ignore the popular opinion and trust your gut.

5. We can all use help
I am good at typing but with autocorrect I am much better. I am good at math but with a calculator I am much better. No matter how good we are at something, we can all use a little help at one point or another. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.