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Writing About Human Sciences: We Needs to Study Ourselves

Person Who Writes

Probably, no academic sphere has so much self-criticism and pessimism as social science has. The most eminent scientists wonder: “What am I doing here? What is the sense of my existence?”

Social science is very young, much younger than physics or biology. Only in the mid-19th century, it began to be perceived as a science, and before this, it was just a public opinion.

Human sciences make a complex of disciplines, whose subject is to study society in all aspects of its life, and a person as a member of its. These sciences cover such theoretical forms of knowledge as philosophy, sociology, cultural studies, history, philology, psychology, law, economics, ethnography (ethnology), political science, education and arts.

Methods

Philosophy was the only discipline that studied human being for many centuries. As for the knowledge, in contrast to other natural phenomena, no chemicals or microscopes can be applied; they should be replaced by the force of abstraction. Using philosophical abstraction allows us to consider society as an entity of a special kind, revealing its intrinsic characteristics.

In philosophy, the basic concepts that characterize human history as such entity are “society”, “socio-historic” categories, “personality”. These ideas reflect the most important aspects of human life, such as labor, knowledge, and culture.

Each of the above-mentioned disciplines examines social life from various angles and with certain theoretical and ideological positions, by using their own specific research methods. For example, in political science, the main research tool is the category of “power”, which appears as an organized system of authority relations.

In sociology, the society can be considered as a dynamic system of relations between social groups of different degrees of generality. Categories “social group”, “social relations”, and “socialization” have become the method of analyzing social phenomena.

In cultural studies, culture and its forms are considered as a valuable aspect of the society. Categories of “truth”, “beauty”, “good”, “benefit” are ways of studying distinct cultural phenomena.

Economics is using categories such as “money”, “good”, “market”, “demand”, “offer”, and so on. The history of the company is exploring the past by relying on a variety of extant sources from this past in order to establish the sequence of events, their causes, and the connections between them.

Separation

Company of Students

The separation of human and nature sciences was a reaction to the positivistic and naturalistic understanding of human existence.

Naturalism looks at the society from the standpoint of vulgar materialism, it does not see fundamental differences between cause and its effect on nature and on society.

The naturalism and positivism sought to abandon the speculative, scholastic reasoning, typical of the metaphysical research community, striving to create “positive” evidence.

Now it is possible to speak not only about the opposition of the natural scientific methods to the humanities, but also about their convergence. Mathematical methods are actively used in economics (particularly in econometrics), history (quantitative history), philology (structural linguistics), and political science (political analysis). We also know scientific disciplines that combine techniques of human and natural sciences, such as economic geography.

Establishment

Antiquity

In antiquity, most human sciences consisted were based on philosophy as on the way of integrating knowledge about a human and society. In ancient and medieval philosophy, the concept of society was practically equated with the idea of the state. Historically, the earliest form of social theory can be found in the works of Plato and Aristotle.

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, the most prominent philosophers who made a significant contribution to human sciences were Augustine, St. John Damascene, and Thomas Aquinas.

Renaissance and Modern Times

The figures of the Renaissance (the 15th -16th centuries) and Modern Times (starting from the 17th century) are T. Moore and his Utopia, and Machiavelli with his Sovereign.

In modern times, science finally separated from philosophy. University departments and faculties of Social Sciences have begun publishing special magazines dedicated to studying social phenomena and processes, to establish an association of scholars engaged in research in social sciences.

Main Directions of the Modern Thought

In social science of the 20th century two approaches were established: the technocratic approach and scientifically humanistic approach.

The most developed social theory is the concept of post-industrial society, the basic principles of which were set in the works of Daniel Bell (1965). The idea of post-industrial society is quite popular in modern social sciences, and the term itself brings together a number of studies in which the authors seek to identify a leading trend in the development of contemporary society, by considering the manufacturing process in various aspects, including institutional ones.

Three phases of development can be marked in the history of the mankind:

  1. preindustrial (agrarian) form;
  2. industrial (technological) form;
  3. post-industrial (social) form.

Information becomes the main resource of production (in pre-industrial society it was a raw material, in industrial society it is the energy). Based on this distinction, specific features of each society can be identified: pre-industrial society is built on the interaction with nature, industrial society is built on the interaction with the nature transformed by its members, post-industrial society is built on the interaction between people.

Agricultural, industrial, and post-industrial societies are not the stages of social development. These are co-existing forms of organization of manufacturing and its main trends.

The industrial phase began in Europe in the 19th century. Post-industrial society does not remove other forms and adds a new dimension associated with the use of information in social life. Information acquires the greatest value. Post-industrial society is associated with the 1970s. Information technologies radically affected manufacturing, and therefore the way of life. In the information society, there is a transition from the manufacturing of goods to the production of services; there is also a new class of technicians, consultants, and experts.

The main characteristics of the industrial technology, based on the old type of machinery and division of labor, are centralization and uniformity of gigantism (mass scale), accompanied by oppression, misery, poverty, and environmental disasters. However, overcoming evils of industrialism can be possible in the future.

Conclusion

Nowadays the crucial task of a young scientist is to get the power of social sciences back, to bring them back into the public discourse, to draw the attention of the media, and as a result, to encourage the society to self-reflect.

We also recommend you an essay about why we need science.

How to Write About Science Nowadays

Crowded Laboratory

Nowadays, there is no single definition of science. If you look this word up in different sources, you can find more than 150 definitions for it. One of these definitions states that science is a form of spiritual activity of people, aimed at analyzing information about nature and society, as well as the knowledge of truth and purpose of the research based on the aggregation of the objective laws and real facts.

Also, there is another widespread definition: science is a creative activity to obtain new information; the result of such activity is the knowledge, contained in the integrated system on the basis of certain principles and the process of their production.

Nowadays

The origins of modern science can be found in Europe of the 15th-17th centuries. As a special form of knowledge of the world and its transformation, it has formed an understanding of what the world of nature is like. It is evident that the scientific view on the world could be established only in the community, which is already prepared to accept this view. Consequently, new forms of thinking essentially coincide with the scientific ideas compared with the medieval conception of the world in the period when the feudal system of production was being destructed.

The Role in the Society: Key Information

The 20th century was the century of great scientific progress. After all, imagine that only a hundred years ago, the mankind discovered telephone and cinema. But telephones motionlessly stood on tables and were connected to a total urban network by a cable. Cut the cord – and the neighboring towns would not be able to hear one another. Nowadays intercontinental conversation via a mobile phone is possible without any cords and wires.

So, scientific discoveries intervene in the life of people, improve it, and try to make it more comfortable. Issues can be resolved at a distance, and these distances can be overcome in a few hours, when a medieval courier would have had to ride his horse for months.

Gradually the discoveries of science are reaching all members of the human society and unite them.

Many Robots

Alexander Herzen said, “Science is the power that reveals the relations between things, their laws, and interactions”. Nevertheless, how strong is contemporary science? What are its features?

Today we can say that science plays an important role in many industries and areas of our life. The level of development of science is one of the main indicators of the development of society and its country. Everything around us has been created by science.

The 20th century was the century of the scientific revolution. It gradually improved the high-tech products. The technology changed the modes of production. By 1950s, factory mode of production became dominant. In the second half of the century, the automation became widespread. And by 2000s, high-tech was developed, and it continued the transition to information economy. All this happened due to the inevitable development of science and technology.

Different Kinds

Modern science has amazing capabilities. Even in 1904, Nikola Tesla claimed that once a person would be able to send their thoughts to the farthest distance. A century later it became possible. The society has reached such a high level in the world of information, that now any person can find almost any information in the WWW. In every home and office, there is already a computer and the internet. They have become so commonplace that everyone forgets about the dangers associated with their use.

For example, the computer is the source of several types of radiation fields. CRT monitors, desktops, and laptops produce ionizing radiation. Just like any other appliance, the computer creates electromagnetic radiation. It also forms an entire complex of electromagnetic fields. The most recent research on the effects of electromagnetic radiation says about health threats.

At the current stage science is trying to resolve these problems by creating a new industry within the scientific community. It explores the challenges: for example, the science of ergonomics studies interactions between the person and the computer and other machines. Ergonomics deals with the study of complex human work and therefore combines many scientific disciplines. Physiology, occupational health, psychology and other sciences are seeking for the ways of reducing the burden on the human organism put by the computer.

Thanks to the progress in medicine, biology, genetics, embryology, the mankind has found an “antidote” against many ailments. Our ancestors could not imagine that in the 21st century will grow new human organs in order to replace the damaged ones.

Chemistry and physics cannot help evolving. They are developing in two directions as fundamental sciences (that create and study theoretical foundations of physical and chemical knowledge) and as practical sciences (that solve practical problems that emerge in various spheres of life). They try to protect the public from natural disasters, to find alternative sources of energy and mineral resources which mankind needs every day.

Functions

Researchers identify four social functions of science:

  • It lies in the understanding of the world, its laws and phenomena.
  • It involves not only teaching but also social motivation, the development of values.
  • Science is a public good and a key element of human culture.
  • Its function is to produce material and social benefits, as well as to apply theory in practice.

So, we have analyzed such an important topic. Expanding the topic, we have shown the relevance of science in ancient times, and its relevance today. Of course, science will be relevant in the future.

Conclusion

They say that if Johann Sebastian Bach had not been born, the world would have never heard music. However, if Albert Einstein had not been born, the theory of relativity, sooner or later, would be discovered by another scientist.

Knowledge is the force. This famous aphorism of Francis Bacon is still relevant today. Of course, science is one of the most important forms of society’s culture and its development, as well as the most important factor of renovation of all spheres of human activity. Modern science shapes the human world.

Nevertheless, is it always safe? We believe that this issue will remain unresolved. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of the science for a little man – a member of society. So, people rely on scientists and wait for the scientific growth and progress, but not for the invention of bombs and guns. Science turns into an antagonist of our story when it is aimed at implementing violence and intimidation.

We also recommend you reading an article about the role of the scientist, created in a form of an essay.

Essay for Students: The Role of the Scientist – Fortuity or Regularity

Scientist White Coat

The logical chain is simple: one or several similar ideas in two minds produce one accident. The randomness contributes to the discovery. Thanks to this, scientists can move along the path of invention.

As Albert Einstein said, most of the great discoveries were made by mistake.

This topic is exhaustive and interesting enough. For example, Poincare almost discovered Einstein’s theory of relativity. In history, there are many cases when the circumstances of two similar discoveries in the field of physics, chemistry, geometry and other sciences were the same. In different parts of the world, under different conditions – equipment, climate, emotional tension – two scientists made the same discovery. This fact is a significant confirmation of Hegel‘s idea of the absolute mind – the spirit of the world.

Introduction

Humanity exists, but simple existence is not enough for us – people want to brighten their lives, and therefore think and dream of various devices that will help to reach the goal. At the same time, they do not have any idea about the future of the invention.

For example, people dreamt of flying – so we have the myth of Icarus. The young man made wings, took off into the sky, burned the wings and fell down. The myth appeared in the ancient Greece. The Greeks did not know the simple scientific fact that at a certain distance from the ground, a living organism is exposed to cooling. However, they dreamt to see processes taking place on the earth from a bird’s-eye view.

A lot of time had passed before such an event happened. For the first time, a full mission was carried out only in 1884 by the French military dirigible. So, human consciousness seems to send signals concerning what people want and need, and after some time the mind of the world illuminates the mind of one or even two scientists, who make their “contribution” to the development of a progressive thought. The role of the scientist in this process is random, but the discovery is made anyway.

The Main Part

Chemical Experiment

Now let us consider the fortuity and regularity in more detail. Most people believe in fate, and believe that nothing in our lives can be changed – everything is preordained. Other people think that a person is a creator of his or her own destiny and everything depends on his or her choice.

The first group of people believes that no matter how much an individual drink or smoke, and what a dissolute life they live, they will live long. If everything goes this way, it is “destiny”, and if not – they will die regardless of external factors, and the cause of their death will be random. Moreover, if there is no reason, the conditions and the type of death could be planned in advance, as well as the time and place.

One scientist has demonstrated the intersection of fortuity and regularity in the following example.

Example

Imagine a large open space. There is a group of people. Each person is situated a meter away from the other one. At a high speed a meteor hits the ground and kills one person. This implies the following conclusion: the fact that the meteor kills this person is a fortuity, but the fact that it must have killed someone is the regularity.

 

It is the same with discoveries. They must be made and this is the regularity, while the role of the scientist is random. However, fulfilling these dreams and hopes is carried out not only by the movement of a thought in a certain direction but mostly due to the downward insights.

Another Hypothesis

There is another hypothesis which does not concern just thoughts. Scientists are born with an innate idea, and after a certain period of time, they discover it in themselves. Nevertheless, in such a situation, their personal choice is limited. They are not free even to choose in what sphere of science they will work. Of course, he/she can follow the conclusion that the person should do things that he/she likes. Fate will encourage them to work on a vocation. However, what if a person is lazy and does not want to do anything? So, there is still one aspect.

Anyway, proceeding from this conviction, the scientist is “insured” from death until their mission is completed.

Conclusion

We may think that everything is destined, but in some cases we do have a choice. Where? How? It is difficult to know the reason – you can only feel it. Destiny cannot be changed, but you can select it, like the road. So, we make a choice not once but every day.

We hope that you like this essay. It could be interesting for you to read about the social role of the scientist, too.

Being Scientist Is a Vocation or Profession: Scientist’s Social Role

Laboratory Experiment

Judging by the headlines in the media, we can inadvertently think that science is a conveyor for the production of dubious theories about the benefit (or harm) of coffee. The views of scientists change from day to day. People like to joke that the headlines dedicated to health and science are constantly changing: today, the coffee is good for health, and tomorrow – it is not. However, the scientific process works in the following way: the results are reviewed and new hypotheses or data are constructed. So, we should treat new research reports with skepticism, but at the same time, remain open to the changes in the course of science.

Science is a special kind of activity which has its unique characteristics. This activity aims at acquiring and developing knowledge of the world, which requires a total involvement in the subject of research.

An Escapist or a Manager

In the current situation, the scholar should combine two social roles. To carry out the research, they must be “escapists”: they need to escape from the world for the sake of research. If you want to escape from this world, we recommend you to read an article how to travel around the world. However, not only should the scientist make a report on his/her scientific work, but also be clear in his/her research plans, as well as to substantiate the fundamental usefulness of the work.

He/she should become a “manager” of these projects. These two roles can be combined in various ways. We are speaking not about social roles in a strictly sociological sense of the term, but the degree of scientist’s involvement into the socio-political processes. The researcher must be aware of the society’s demand for his work and the results of this work, as well as for the methods of scientific research and its results.

In the search for mutual understanding, different ways of overcoming the existing “gap” are developed. As the two extreme poles, we suggest considering the scientist as an “escapist” and as a “manager.” One of the main issues that we want to put in the connection with this topic is the following one – how to combine creative freedom of the scientist and socio-political requests.

Is the Science a Vocation or a Profession?

The profession of “scientist” has not always been a profession in the strict sense of this word. For a long time, the pursuit of science has played the role of a leisure activity. A turn to the technocratic society and classical science, which we have in modern times, has changed the attitude to the status of scientific studies.

For many centuries of human history, it was related either to the sphere of the sacred and mystical (holders of knowledge were shamans, mages, priests, monks, alchemists, etc.) or to the area of idle curiosity. We can recall the Aristotelian statement that the philosophy takes its roots from wonder: he noted that science is born in the same way.

The source of knowledge is inherently not a social or political inquiry, or a desire to satisfy curiosity about particular mysteries of nature. Following curiosity, scientists immerses themselves in a special world, different from the world of everyday knowledge, and thus become escapists. By escapism we mean not giving up social activities and avoiding the world of everyday life full of different problems, but the fact that this world of research may be considered more important than the topical problems of the society.

Escapism

Company of Scientists

We should also make it clear that when we talk about escapism of the scientist, we are talking about its two levels. The most obvious social escapism is removal from the public life for the sake of scientific creativity. This escapism of the scientist, who consciously or unconsciously ignores the conventions of social life, aims at the discovery. For a secondary social status and connections, which are not related to social value of scientist’s work, ethical aspects of scientific work are excluded from the system of coordinates.

Scientist’s only interest is to satisfy their own scientific curiosity by solving various issues, and they do not think whether this research is important, useful or harmful to the society or whether they will be rewarded. At the same time, the scientist, as a rule, suggests that his research still has benefits because comprehension of a new knowledge can be useful as well.

Management

Almost every researcher who is involved in planning his discovery, is the manager.

Therefore, when we talk about a social role of the scientist as a manager in the sphere of science, it is necessary to separate the two types of such managers. The first one is a scientist-manager with a significant post in the scientific organization, department, etc. That type of scientist-administrator can be the director/rector or the Minister of Science. In spite of their employment, they continue to conduct scientific work.

The second type is the scientist who is a manager of his or her scientific research under the conditions of changing surrounding, socio-political conditions, and circumstances. The appearance of such scientists- managers also often contributes to management activities. It can be, for example, management of the large projects, establishment of a new laboratory, development of negotiation skill – anything that forces the scientist to go beyond their direct functions. As a result, the researcher becomes a manager who aims at promoting the results of their intellectual work.

Conclusion

We have analyzed which role a full immersion in the creative process plays in the scholar activities. Combining the two sides is quite difficult. Actually, very few people can successfully combine these two aspects: some tend to be “escapists” and others to be “managers”, depending on what tasks they are best at.

5 Reasons to Become a Scientist

Chemistry Experiment

As it is known, to earn a little, you have to learn a lot and hard. Is it worth it? It is your decision. In this blog, we will show you five reasons why a career of a scientist can interest young people who are not looking for the easy way of life.

The doubts and failures, of course, often persecute scientist (as well as representatives of many other professions), but this pessimism should not be put at the forefront. The profession of the scientist is an absolutely unique achievement. Let us take a quick look at a few clarifications.

  • Firstly, to be a scientist is not a heavenly bliss but hard work. It is hardly feasible for everyone. There are many other ways to make a career, and everyone should make the choice that suits his or her motivation and lifestyle best.
  • Secondly, the essential point is the passion for your work because as nothing else does it contribute to the achievement of good results and positive thinking in case you have to experience series of setbacks.
  • Thirdly, not all the work of the scientist is so amazing, and not every day will be illuminated by a spark of success. In fact, at least 95% of the time, it is persistent and rather monotonous work, and the scientist is able to bring it to a point only (or at least to the decimal point). In this case, you get a chance to enjoy even a small but still a revelation.

Reason 1: The Freedom of Choice of Research

The most important and the most attractive element of the work of the scientist is to carry out their own research program. In science, as opposed to working in a company with a complex hierarchical structure, projects and research areas, as a rule, are not dictated by the top management. On the contrary, in the scientific community, professors, deans, and heads of laboratories encourage independent thinking of their young scientists. They do not tell them what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Freedom to set the direction of your own research is a great achievement, but any freedom requires initiative and good judgment, plus the ability to make decisions and take responsibility for their consequences.

Reason 2: Career Opportunities

The work of the scientist requires constant improvement of personal skills, as the range of problems the researcher faces is constantly changing. A part of the area of scientist’s activity goes beyond the purely scientific perspective; it is administrative work, work in industry, work in government commissions, teaching, etc. The scientist can choose from a variety of different ways to develop their career by taking into account how their interests, priorities, and goals change over time.

Reason 3: Participation in the Great Era of Discovery

Medieval Medicine

We live in the time that should be really exciting for biologists, because all areas of this science are rapidly evolving. The study of the structure and the activity of living organisms is down to the level of individual molecules and the interactions between them. It has enormous practical value for human life and health. Direct participation in scientific discoveries is a great experience. It enables us to understand, appreciate, and enjoy things that happen around us.

Reason 4: Flexible Schedule

Scientists are largely freed from a strict work schedule. At any time, you can take a break for lunch. So, the working day, week, month can be planned independently. As for the workplace: often a cafe or even a beach is a good place to work on the manuscript.

Reason 5: Give a Reasonable, Good, and Eternal Things

The work of scientists tends to focus on the issues that they consider interesting. In some cases, research or new techniques can be implemented immediately as a new drug or device. Teaching and mentoring knowledge are also an important contribution to the development of the society. Every scientist can make their own contribution: for example, every scientist can give independent lectures, teach at the university, communicate with the public.

Conclusion

Whatever your work is, it is important to love it. Now, not every person can truly say, “Yes, I love my job”. Many people with different jobs just carry out their duties and look forward to retirement. We recommend reading an article about how to love your job.

It is so important to have a job that brings you a real pleasure, the same as a vacation with family, parties with friends, trips to restaurants or cinema. All this makes life beautiful and amazing.

Retail Sales Clerks Get Undeserved Black Eyes

Dear Store Manager:
Ill never shop at your store again!
Sincerely, Mrs. Ima C.U. Stomer

What Happened Here?

Ah, retail therapy! That indescribable feeling of buying something (anything!) that all department stores thrive on. Every now and then, its good to go shopping. Especially in brick-and-mortar stores.

However, recently, retail therapy isnt as fun anymore.

And it isnt price related at all.

Why Isnt It Fun?

In three words, poor customer service.

I see it all the time: sales staff ignoring the customers. They talk among themselves, rather than interact with a customer. Even when ringing up a customer, they talk to each other instead of the person paying. The customer walks away, sighing about the rudeness of sales clerks.

And it is rude. Customers keep the company afloat by purchasing the products. Ignoring them is not only rude, but stupid as well. If customers dont buy, the store flounders in a river of red ink. If the bottom line stays red too long, the company sinks like the Titanic into the sea. Usually upper staff survives the wreck. They get severance packages, and the like. The rest will be lost in the ocean of unemployment lines.

Im tempted to say that its only the younger folk. Those under age 30. Or even under 45. But, Id be generalizing. And wrong. I also see the lack of service in baby boomers. They who should know better from living so long.

Granted, not every person falls into the sales clerk status. There are true sales professionals who understand the principles of service in sales. No, the lack of interest in customers is mostly shown by those who are there simply marking time; theyre there for the paycheck. Nothing else matters to these folks.

That Has to Change

Agreed. Moreover, I blame the company for most of this prevailing attitude. (The sales staff isnt getting off scott-free. They could be a little more independent outside of work, and learn what they need on their own. But, thats another post for another day.)

Um, what?

Too often, the store manager, or a specific department manager, doesnt do right by its new hires. Theyre especially lax with seasonal help. They dont give the old-timers any help either. Its too easy for managers to point the finger at their sales staff. They arent doing their work!

Have the managers taught their sales staff how to do their work? No?

Customer service isnt a natural thing. Sales is natural; we all do it in one form or another every day in order to get what we want. Service is not. Like anything else, it must be taught. Its the education of a companys sales clerks and professionals that make the difference.

Sales staff is not taught now that good customer service matters. Or even what it means to give customers service. Theyre shown how-to-do a list of chores when hired: how to run a cash register, how to fold clothing, and how to straighten up the stock room, etc. But, theyre never taught how to approach, observe, and sell to a customer or why it matters. 

 Why Not?

Good question, that. I have a pretty good idea of some of the issues. It comes down to the work ethics of the managers. They often are:

  • Shortsighted, especially with seasonal help
  • Lack personal knowledge of the sales process
  • Lack personal understanding of the sales process (knowledge and understanding are kindred, but not the same thing)
  • Disconnected between customers, sales staff, and senior staff
  • Arent focused on the mission of the company
  • Lazy; they simply dont want to take the time to teach

So, the Answer Is?

Its time that managers teach their sales personnel. Any retail company that hopes to survive especially in the wake of online sales needs their sales personnel to know what it means to serve their customers. The focus needs to be on observing, approaching, listening, and a host of things that creates sales.

Sales that keeps the company afloat.

The Takeway

Managers: Take the time to address the above issues. Fully embrace the companys mission, and teach your sales staff to do it, too. Learn about the products, understand how they help the customer, and teach your sales staff what you know. Ask questions of the customers who come in, especially those who return again and again. Ask questions of your sales staff about the customers; allow them to ask questions of you.

Then, keeping the customer in mind, go out and interact with them!

Whats the worst or best customer service lesson youve given? Whats going on with your sales staff? Be bold; leave a comment below.

Time to Share

I recently had the opportunity to encourage others to become copywriters. Its a great field to make a living in. Yes, you do need to turn a blind eye toward the bright, shiny promises of get-rich-quick gurus. Copywriting is for those who are willing to exercise patience, even as they exercise their brains and marketing skills.

Im going to share here what I told them.

Its quite an interesting field, and very broad.Training is anything from teaching yourself, to investing in decent courses and subscriptions. Begin by looking up copywriting as a living (with the quote marks).

First listed after the ads is makealivingwriting.com with Carol Tice. A few links down is menwithpens.ca. Next page is copyblogger.com.

Names:

Carol Tice

Chris Marlow

Bob Bly (bly.com)

Steve Slaunwhite

Avoid odesk, elance, and the dozens of other writing sites that pay too little, or bid sites that encourage you to race to the bottom of how much youll accept as payment.

After looking through those, youll get a sense of where you want your writing career to go. Be brave! Follow that sense, and do the diligence (and use your work-smarts).

See you in the writing world!

New Directions

Once upon a time, I thought I could change the world. Some part of  still thinks so. The view of forest and tree has changed considerably between the 15-year-old in 1971, and the 58-year-old today. My beloved forest is now mostly scattered trees, and sparse landscape. However, that has distilled the distance into clarity. Those trees that still grow are more precious to me because there are fewer of them. There are more chances to save them than the entire forest.

This blog is changing directions. Instead of a copywriting sales platform, youll find opinions and ruminations and suggestions for changes. Youll read the good, the bad, and the yawn. Youll agree, disagree, or shrug. My purpose is to move you beyond the yawn and shrug. Hence, the new direction.

Come, view the remaining trees with me from the peaks and valleys. Smell the tang of fir and pine in the air. Taste fruits and nuts, burrow for veggies and truffles. Hear the life around you. Mostly of all, touch those around you, and make a new direction for yourself.

In Today’s Competitive Market” Doesn’t Exist

We’ve all heard the phrase:

To keep up with what your customers want most in today’s competitive market, you need [insert bright shiny product/ course/service].

But, what if it wasn’t true? What if the only things different in “today’s competitive market” were the speed of the Internet, and the whole “global economy” thing? After all, when hasn’t the market – any market – been competitive? When active bartering (aka haggling) was the only form of commerce, there was competition.

Even today, local farmers’ markets are competitive: look at how many booths sell produce, honey, nuts, bread, fresh fish, or smoked meats! At craft fairs, look at how many booths sell hand-crafted necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, plus all the household items you could ever dream of owning.

What if the fear-mongerers who use the phrase don’t want you to know the truth?

What is the truth? To be successful in your business, you only need one thing:

CUSTOMERS, HUNGRY ONES

You want customers who want what youre offering. Customers buy only three things: physical products, knowledge, or services. That’s it. (Go ahead, think about it a minute; took me a few to realize that everything I’ve ever bought was one of those three things.) Sometimes there are combinations of those three. But, the customer buys at least one of them.

Any physical product you offer must be useable, and stand up to that use.

Any information you offer must meet the customer’s need, and continue to be of value to that customer.

Any service you offer must be efficient, ongoing, and worth it to the customer.

If your product, or information, or service is useless, worthless, or out of date, then you’ve lost a customer.

It doesn’t matter how many [bright shiny products/courses/services] you buy to improve your Internet presence, or touch on the global market. If you don’t have quality, your competition will take over your market. Its always been that way. (Dont believe me? Watch Disneys Aladdin and watch the vendors trying to entice Princess Jasmine to buy a pretty necklace for a pretty lady! or a handful of pistachios.)

YOU STILL NEED TO KEEP UP WITH PROGRESS

I’m not saying that you should ignore the products or courses or services that will make your business stand out. In fact, it’s because of the Internet – and its long reach – that you need to be aware of what your customers want. If it means taking an online course, then do so. If it means going to local sources to think global, then do that.

Just be sure to study as many of the possibilities before buying into the next [bright shiny product/info/service]. As in anything else, buy what you need as inexpensively as you can (not cheaply – that’s poor quality and you don’t anything to do with that), to get the most out of it that you can.

Then, go out and find your hungry customers – in any market!

What bright shiny object have you fallen prey to lately? Did you regret it afterwards, or did it actually help you improve your business? Let me know in the comments.

What Playing Solitaire Taught Me About Running a Business

Since I write every day, I need a way to calm my mind when Im done for the day. Sometimes I spend a couple of hours making jewelry. When even that is too much, I play Solitaire (Klondike, Spider, or Free Cell) on my Kindle. Theres something soothing in the swift decisions: Which card do I play and where?

Recently, however, I realized how much business is like Klondike Solitaire. Here are 13 similarities:

1. Replay hand is often allowed.

Before youve finished playing a hand, youll see where you could have played the game better. Go ahead. Replay the hand; make those better decisions.

2. Every move counts for or against you.

It isnt necessarily good or bad, but every move you make prepares you for the next move, and on and on. Every move is a positive move forward, or a mistake taking you backward. As such, every move counts.

3. Time is a factor.

The old adage is still true: Time marches on (and on and on). Even if what youre doing doesnt require that you keep track of time, youre still using time. Make the best use of it.

4. Sometimes its faster to let the auto-complete take over.

If all the necessary cards are in place on the board, although not necessarily in the right order, the question pops up, Auto-complete? Yes / No (or No / Yes; you have to pay attention which command is where). You can pop each card to the finishing line, or you can let the app do it. Sometimes, its faster to let the app finish the game for you.

(Auto-complete are all the little, non-descript, they-just-exist kind of end-of-job things that you do by rote.)

5. If you have room for all the Kings, dont put the Jack on the Queen if leaving it means one less move against you.

If all the Kings are up, you can leave other lines half-finished while you run with the board. Its a shortcut, but this one doesnt count against you.

6. Sometimes you have to play all the cards yourself without the auto-complete.

Once in awhile, tapping each card to go to their respective finishes is faster than the auto-complete. Especially if youve had to play down to the last five or six cards. The auto-complete wont show up until all cards are up and in play on the board. Just finish up the last little bit yourself by saying No if the auto-complete pops up.

7. Sometimes, you simply dont win.

The number of games possible is innumerable (someone with massive math skills probably knows the exact number of games possible). Is it any wonder that some of them just arent winnable? Business is the same way. You wont win over every client, you wont get every coveted assignment, or you just wont make the cut. Move on and play another game.

8. The numbers in the game (time used, moves, and points) dont start until you do.

While time continues, whether you work or not, the billable time, doing the work, and making the money doesnt begin until you do.

9. Pay attention to your up cards; use them to open up the next line before turning over a deck card.

Its too easy to ignore what you have on your board and go straight to the deck at the side. Or forget that you have useable cards at the end of your lines. But, its often the cards already in play that will give you your best options. Its the same with your business, whether yourself or your employees.

10. Its okay to use the backup/re-do button to see your options.

There is only one thing in life without a backup button or a re-do option: death. Everything else? You can make other choices when you uncover what else is possible. It takes up time, so it might not be financially feasible, but you do have that ability and option to take another look elsewhere.

11. Keep track of your best scores, and keep trying to better at least one of them every week.

The score is better money, better clients, or better press; all are scores that help your business. But, you wont know if youre doing better unless you keep track of what youve done. Once you know those factors, you can improve at least one every week or every day, if possible.

12. The obvious move isnt always the right move.

This especially applies when you dont know all your options. Think it through. If its obvious to you, then your clients might also think its obvious and feel cheated out of getting your best work.

In all of this, the final thing I learned is the hardest to master:

13. Its only a game.

Occasionally, we get so caught up on winning, that we forget: its only a game. Theres frustration for losing, but its not a life-or-death penalty. Business is the same way. Your business may fail if you make the wrong decisions too often. A dead dream hurts. But, if youve played once, you can play again. If youve owned a business once, you can do it again.

What games do you play? What do you feel are your best rules for running your business? Tell me how and what you do