Archive | July, 2011

NORWAY’’S MASS MURDER AND OUR WAKE UP CALL FOR TOLERANCE AND CIVILITY

NORWAY’’S MASS MURDER AND OUR WAKE UP CALL FOR TOLERANCE AND CIVILITY

Posted on 30 July 2011 by Patricia Gras

NORWAY’’S MASS MURDER AND OUR WAKE UP CALL FOR TOLERANCE AND CIVILITY
BY PATRICIA GRAS
Fear mongering is a favorite pastime of many fanatics or those who are smart enough to recognize that by creating fear, a scapegoat, an enemy, someone responsible for all our problems works efficiently to get people to your way of thinking.  Ask any right or left wing ideologue. How do they manage to get millions of people to listen? Fear. It works. Once you believe this way, (whatever it is, whether Muslims are all terrorists and taking over, or Catholics, Jews, Immigrants or Democrats or Republicans, Gays or progressives, One World Order Advocates, Obama, multiculturalists, etc.the list goes on and everyone you talk to or listen to agrees with you then, you are convinced you are right and what better way to live your life or so you think than by blaming someone else for your miserable life?

It’s so easy to do and yet so harmful to the self and to those around you. The extent one does this can lead to the Norway massacre. This country, one of the most peaceful in the world, was home to a violent monster Anders Breivik. His manifesto blamed Muslims and many others for his own insecurity, unhappiness, and miserable life.  Strangely enough, Muslims there number about 70,000 out of 5 million Norwegians. But of course, according to him, they were going to take over and invade his country.  The same can be said for immigrants in the United States who entered illegally, all 11 million will take over and impose their culture on 300 million Americans. Believe it and keep listening to the vitriol. It works wonders for those who live in fear.

On Norway’s massacre.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3Pgfw2s1SY&feature=related

There is nothing wrong with disagreeing on immigration policy, or whether someone should wear a burka or not, or whatever you want to discuss any issue in a civil matter because you are angry, disappointed, overwhelmed, or feel cheated, but to kill innocent people? Yes of course many say, well, you can’t control crazy maniacs but are we not creating in many countries including an environment that allows these people to truly believe they are right and that millions agree with them when it is NOT THE CASE.

Take the case of Jared Lee Lughner, a 22 year old who killed 11 people in Arizona this past year. He just didn’t like the government. Does that sound familiar right now?  The authorities say, there is no evidence the shooting was a result of anything in particular Loughner might have read or heard. He was just crazy and full of hate and again… He didn’t like the government. He targeted Democrat Representative Gabrielle Giffords who weeks before had written a Republican friend she was concerned about the heated political rhetoric and partisanship in her state. Did it help that Sarah Palin’s campaign webpage had a targeted election map with Gifford in the crosshairs of a gun sight?  That story may be out of the news cycle right now but for the family who lost a 9 year old girl that day, it will take a lifetime to heal.

Those who believe that to live in a pluralistic democratic society as we do in the United States, we need tolerance, one of the chief civic virtues, now need to stand up and speak out more than ever.  Maybe the best people to turn to for this is our youth. They have been raised studying, playing and talking to kids different than themselves. They are in the same classroom with all religions, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Atheists and different nationalities and ethnicities.  They are the future of America. Let’s hope they choose to stand up to the extremists of any religion, political party or nationality.

Watch Living Smart show on the Virtue of Tolerance airing this Sunday at 3pm and next Friday night at 10pm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G63sVhBJmbY

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A Lesson from Japan’s Women’s soccer team

A Lesson from Japan’s Women’s soccer team

Posted on 26 July 2011 by Patricia Gras

Japan’s Win in the World Cup

BY PATRICIA GRAS

So I have spent the whole month of July watching men and women’s soccer. The Copa America which happens to take place in my parent’s home country Argentina and the Women’s World Cup in Germany. The year is 2011, a year full of what I think are unprecedented climate disasters. We’ve had floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, famine, tsunamis, earthquakes etc. and their magnitude has been greater than we have ever seen. This is also a time of political turmoil, when Republicans and Democrats can’t see eye to eye nor do they want to.  They act like children and can’t take responsibility for their decisions, and they constantly choose political cover over doing the right thing. Then there is the celebrity gossip, J Lo is getting divorced and Justin Timberlake may be dating Mila Kunis…. Who cares!

In other words, I want to be entertained by something I love to watch, I want to forget and I want to scream and let my frustrations out through soccer so I don’t have to think about the reality of the world. How messed up it is and how much people are suffering. That’s right I admit I want to check out, so this month I turned on every soccer game I could watch and let myself go.  As I have said before discussing the women’s world cup game between the United State and Brazil and how each country’s attitude was partly reflected in the soccer field by both teams, I can point out once again, how the game between the United States and Japan reflected in my view how each culture may often deal with life, victory and defeat.

It’s no news the Japanese women’s team won for the first time in history. It was also the first time an Asian country ever won a world cup.  Only 25,000 women play soccer in Japan, a country of 125 million. The difference between them and the USA is that soccer for girls here is mostly recreational. While millions play it, most don’t take it so seriously. Japan does have a league but it is not professional and the players all have to work to make a living and then practice. They do so all year long. They usually stick to one sport at a time.

Here is where mindset, preparation, a winning spirit and unfortunately in this case tragedy converged to make a winning team.  The earthquake and tsunami that killed 25,000 people and led to nuclear disaster left Japan in the throes of despair and shock.  The March 11th disasters had left the country emotionally in shambles.  The soccer ladies then responded with an unprecedented win. The team nicknamed Nadeshiko or “beautiful flower” blossomed with a 3 to 1 win on penalty kicks, one of the greatest sporting triumphs in the country’s history.

What happened in the game will go down in sports history as a match between David and Goliath. The Japanese team average height was just 5 ft. 4 inch. The Americans were not only taller but also faster.  We had in fact beaten Japan 24 times before this game. Here is my reason for even bothering to write once again about a soccer game and what fascinates me. It has to do with the power of the mind, soul and spirit.

The game picked up in the second half. The US scored the first goal 24 minutes into the game. but, Aya Miyama tied the game only 12 minutes later. The second half ended in a draw sending the game into overtime. At 14 minutes into overtime, U.S. team favorite Abby Wambach scored with a header and gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead, but again, soon after, Japan’s captain and tournament MVP Homare Sawa scored with a phenomenal goal and tied the game. The game then went into penalty kicks. Japanese goalie Ayumi Kaihori succeeded in blocking two U.S. kicks, giving Japan its first soccer championship. Japan had not won against the U.S., the top-ranked; two-time champion, in their last 24 encounters.

These women would watch images of the Japan disaster before the game. They knew they were playing for a whole nation and whatever they did would give their country much needed respite from the tragedy. They too had a laser focus on winning, on not giving up on playing as a team.  They never lost their cool and kept coming back from behind time after time.  Again this is a metaphor for life. A soccer game can be like a journey of life. You can hardly win when you do it alone. You have to work with others. Teamwork is essential. Secondly, when you are behind in life, when you fail, when you think there is no hope, that’s precisely when you have to realize failure is only a step to success.  You never give up. Even if Japan had lost, their strength, experience and teamwork were all qualities they could use in future games. The glory does not always come with winning; it is also in how you played the game. The same can be said for the United States. Finally, your mental winning attitude will get you farther sometimes than your athletic prowess. In life our thoughts will define our success, inner peace and happiness, no matter what or who surrounds us. Somehow these women felt they could win all along no matter what the predictions and this time they did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What I learned this Week and What I Am Grateful For

Posted on 21 July 2011 by Patricia Gras

What I learned this week:

Sometimes I feel angry, despondent, tired, pessimistic. Deep inside, I know these feeling can and will pass.

What I am grateful for

These negative feelings can be temporary. They don’t last a lifetime. I can choose how I react to them.

We easily forget why things happen. Why are we or you in debt? Did you or we spend in the areas we wanted? We easily point fingers at someone else, the government, the banks, politicians, but don’t we need to start with the man or woman in the mirror.

Stand up to bullies, fanatics or people who spew hatred or ignorance or they will impact your lives in ways you never imagined.

When peole are angry, scared, mean or cruel, they tend to come from a place of fear. What they don’t realize is that if they came from a place of love, they would take off tons of unnecessary pounds off their soul and heart.

What I am grateful for:

I may not be able to control other people, other situations, the environment, but I can control my reaction to all those. I have a choice.
That I have an incredibly loving family.

People in Norway showed the world what it means to come from a place of peace, love and solidarity after a tragedy.

The longer I live, thanks to my creator, the less fear I have.

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Living Smart: Addiction featuring Derek Steele

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Living Smart: Addiction featuring Derek Steele

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Michelle Reed

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College Smart: Season One Gag Reel

College Smart: Season One Gag Reel

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Michelle Reed

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College Smart: Communicating as Journalists

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College Smart: Communicating as Journalists

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Michelle Reed

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Patti’s Reflections

Posted on 20 July 2011 by Patricia Gras

What I learned this week: 

Addiction is a disease. The addicted should be treated, not maligned.

What I’m grateful for: 

I have learned how difficult addiction can be and have acquired compassion for those who are addicted.

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SOCCER a metaphor for ATTITUDE AND LIFE

SOCCER a metaphor for ATTITUDE AND LIFE

Posted on 17 July 2011 by Patricia Gras

 

 

SOCCER a metaphor for ATTITUDE AND LIFE

BY: PATRICA GRAS

(The USA Women’s Team 2011) Today I watched one of the most exciting soccer games I have ever seen in my life. I love mens soccer but this year I decided to watch the womens 2011 world cup in Germany. I found I liked how women play because they do it as a team. The game is also slower and you can appreciate the technical skills of the players. When men play it all goes by very fast and they hardly have time for the belo jogo or beautiful game. The United States was playing Brazil in the quarterfinals. The worlds greatest female player, Marta, leads Brazil. The Americans scored their first goal thanks to a Brazilian defensive players mistake. Then, the game got interesting. The referee, guilty perhaps she had not called a hand ball on the Americans and refusing to give the same player a card for her second foul, made the ultimate controversial decision by ejecting another American player in the penalty box for supposedly fouling Marta when she was about to score. That left the American team with only 10 players. The American goalie then blocked the penalty shot but the referee once again called it against the Americans and said she moved, therefore the kick would have to be taken again. The second time, Marta scored. At that point almost everyone in the stadium turned against the Brazilians. In sum, the referee had committed the ultimate sin. She had been obviously unfair to one team, trying to make up for her own shortcomings. The Americans did not spend one minute complaining. Instead, they played tighter, faster, meaner and more focused. The Brazilians scored again. Then 3 minutes before the game was to end a Brazilian player faked an injury or it appeared so for she wasted 3 minutes on the field and as soon as her stretcher crossed the line, she got up and acted as if nothing had happened, in other words she was running the clock. Then a pass by one player to the leading scorers in the American team, led to a heart -stopping goal that eventually would lead them the victory after penalty kicks. I have seen hundreds of games in my lifetime. I have been to three world cups and watched every one of them since I’ve had the chance, but this game made me realize the power of attitude in the soccer field, as a metaphor for life. Life is not often fair, no matter how hard you work, study, prepare. Your response however, will often determine the ultimate successful outcome. I get very angry when FIFA the governing board of world soccer refuses to use instant replay in games. I know they are corrupt and they find excuses not to do it. So if you have watched soccer long enough, the game is often left up to chance, luck and the referee. Many times, the outcome is totally unfair. You may have the best team, the one that played the hardest, the one that actually won, yet something happens that changes the result and everything you worked for does not pay off due to someone elses mistake or just sheer bad luck. The American womens attitude was. We have been wronged but we have no time to waste. We have a job to do and we can only do it as a team. We have to focus and play as smartly as we can. We are winners and we don’t give up just because we have been wronged. By the way, no matter how hard they tried and played and won, they also could have lost but win or lose, they taught us all a lesson. Your attitude will play a very important role in determining your outcome. That is why consistency, faith, hard work, integrity, teamwork and a laser focus on what you want will ultimately pay off. These women could have gotten angry, lost their concentration, focused on past wrongs, lashed back, hurt someone or themselves. Instead, they focused on their goal, Living Smart-ly! This is why I love soccer. I get reminded every day, no matter what the outcome is, you can choose to play with all those values in your head. In my book, that makes you a winner, not whether you lose or win.

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Living Smart: Managing Your Career with Karen Otazo.

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Patricia Gras

Living Smart: Managing Your Career

By Mila Clarke and Patricia Gras

As adults, we spend most of our waking hours in our jobs. Between raises and firings, changes in direction and evolving company cultures, it’s easy to become  overwhelmed with your career. How can you manage it, and make the workplace a more enjoyable place?

In the upcoming episode of Living Smart with Patricia Gras airing on July 17th at 3 p.m., and July 22nd at 10:30 p.m., international coach, Karen Otazo, tells us how we can navigate the workplace more efficiently.

Otazo says  you need to adopt the “when in Rome” attitude when you’re beginning a new job – meaning you should allow yourself to play by the new rules of your new job. The baggage from your old job has to be let go of in order for you to do an adequate job at your new place of employment. You also have to be sure you build trust with your peers.

“You’ve got to test it, and there’s four kinds of tests. You actually have to test whether they will get something done. Let’s say there’s a secretary that works for you and other People. When you give her or him something and you say, “This is the deadline,” and you write it down, do they do it? Do they do it properly? But you have to also ask, figure out, if someone has expertise. When you go to the secretary or to the lawyer or to the human resources exec, do they have the expertise to answer your questions? That’s expertise trust. Yes. There’s other kinds of trust, as well.”

Getting noticed is also key to navigating the job landscape. Otazo mentions that you should ask questions and get feedback around the office. Asking questions gets others to take notice that you’re paying attention and that you’re interested in what you do.

One of the most important aspects if navigating your career is networking. With the amount of web space we have to connect, it’s extremely easy to stay relevant in peoples minds. Otazo says to think of a network like a bunch of concentric circles. She says that it’s important to have a large network of people in other sates, or countries.

Networking can also easily lead to your next assignment. Otazo says that “networking means that somebody tells somebody else, so when you do good work, you’re creating the story about you so, you really are able to get into the next assignment because enough people know about you.”

To learn more about Managing your career, watch Living Smart with Patricia Gras featuring Karen Otazo on Sunday, July 17th  at 3 p.m. and then again on Friday, July 22th at 10:30 pm.

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Behind the Scenes: College Smart “Why Manners Matter.”

Posted on 14 July 2011 by Patricia Gras

By Mila Clarke and Patricia Gras

At some point in your life, you’ve been taught to be polite to the people around you in some way. Just saying please and thank you to the people around you shows that you are aware that manners do matter. This week, interns Bianca Perez and Lezlee Brinkman went out to the University of Houston campus to ask students why manners matter.

“When Bianca and I went out to shoot Why Manners Matter  was surprised most students we spoke to didn’t think the previous generation was more mannerly than the present,” Brinkman said. ” I suppose I just assumed that most people think like I do, that the previous generation put more of a premium on developing and sustaining relationships than we do today. ”

Why Manners Matter airs on July 27, 2011, on the College Smart Youtube Channel.

 

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