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Issue 21
 
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A New Twist on Diversity
Many of us have experienced a Diversity Training program in the past. Truthfully these classes can take some of the credit for the progress we've made within our own country to date. After all, our next President is likely to be either a woman, an African American, or some guy born 10 years before Jackie Robinson's debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947), and just after the inception of television (1930s)! (John Sidney McCain III born August 29, 1936). This should bring a joyful smile to most of our faces. A part of most Diversity Programs today is the emphasis on our ability to effectively communicate with one another. Things such as listening skills and the ability to ask open-ended questions are explored. Diversity exercises remind us not to stereotype, pre-judge or to make quick assumptions about people we meet in our social and work environments.

But here's "the rub". Generalizing, pre-judging, as well as making assumptions about each other are really several of the big things that we do. More importantly, it is actually our very nature to do so.

There is this fellow by the name of Jeff Hawkins, and he is indeed the inventor of the "Palm Pilot", an early predecessor of the now immensely popular Personal Digital Assistant. Obviously he is a very intelligent and accomplished individual. In 2004, Hawkins published "On Intelligence" which explains his "memory-prediction framework" of how the brain works. His theory maintains that the key to the brain and intelligence is our ability to make predictions about the world by seeing patterns. He promotes developing computers that work like our brain by teaching them to find and use patterns, not simply to complete tasks. Through this method, he thinks we can build intelligent machines.

Regarding our brains, Hawkins is spot on, because the human brain is designed to make predictions. For example, before I can even write it, you already know the very word that will appear at the end of this _____________? Your brain predicted it! We use this great ability to safely navigate our way through the world today. We use it to survive. We analyze all incoming sensory input against our past experiences, and predict possible outcomes. In this way, while in the jungle, when a man-eating tiger starts to charge us, we recall what we know about tigers and tiger attacks, and quickly assemble our best life-saving strategy. The fact that we've never encountered a man-eating tiger before only means our experience and knowledge of the situation is limited. Yet even with its limitations, we use what we do have to determine responses to the world as situations demand.


When skipping your regular Saturday night bath seems the right thing to do

The point here is that stereotyping, pre-judging and making assumptions is not only NOT a bad thing, it is quite the natural thing to do. And some might argue, the only thing that we are capable of doing. Perhaps the better message is that as we encounter new and novel experiences in our lives, our prior learned experiences, generalizations and assumptions, will necessarily be limited. Not bad, not evil, not sinister, but certainly with some gaps and limitations. And the simple conclusion is that we do not want to act on information that is less than complete and possibly misinformed. We've all got lots of baggage (past experiences) that we carry with us, but the good news is you can always invest in new luggage (new knowledge) with WHEELS, which will help you to navigate our busiest airports. Hey maybe it's not the best metaphor, but you get the point. That brings us back in line with most diversity training, but with a small but important difference. It is important that we understand and accept our nature to pre-judge. It's okay, but limited understanding is, well, limited.

Well now that I have established that we are by our own nature innately prejudiced, I want to talk about something that may be unfortunately and prematurely causing us to act out on this limited knowledge, on these prejudices; chronic stress. As human beings we are designed to act or respond to potentially dangerous and life threatening stimuli. So when the tiger begins to charge you in the jungle you don't just stand there, but your marvelous nervous system prepares us for a fight or flight reaction (I'm a big proponent of the flight reaction in this particular situation). Stressful situations activate part of the sympathetic nervous system under the control of our hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is part of our limbic system in the brain, and responsible for bringing the body back into a homeostatic state. If things get too cold, the hypothalamus sets into play bodily functions that warm us like increased blood flow. In fact if things get much too cold (like when you're ascending Mount McKinley), the hypothalamus will reallocate resources in your body to absolutely ensure vital body parts (heart, lungs, brain) are protected.

In highly stressful situations our hypothalamus signals the release of adrenocorticotropic hormones (ACTH) from our pituitary gland. The ACTH causes the release of catecholamines (especially epinephrine) and the stress hormone cortisol from our adrenal gland located just above our kidneys. We then react to save ourselves from charging tigers. The problem is that since there are so few tigers in our jungle, many folks have unwittingly elected to deploy our flight or fight protection system with more regularity than it was ever, ever meant to be used (Chronic Stress). Remember stress is a precept, and one that is in the eye of the beholder. But perpetual worry over an extended period of time has been shown to damage our immune and cardiovascular systems. The heart muscle can be damaged directly by this constant release of catecholamine. Chronic stress exacerbates coronary heart disease, causing damage to artery walls. This in turn causes platelet clumping, which of course can result in a heart attack or stroke.

So now I know what you're saying "Gary, what does all this have to do with DIVERSITY?" Well think about it, a cornerstone of what we learn in diversity training is not to react, assume, and pre-judge before we understand the situation. But if our worlds have become so stressful that our flight or fight reaction becomes standard operating procedure, our ability to set aside generalizations, stereotypes and prejudices is seriously diminished. We cannot hope to allow cultural diversity to flourish if we plan to react to every situation life brings to us as if it were a tiger attack. Last night on 60 Minutes they reported that the people of Denmark are "the happiest on earth". However with further study, a researcher concluded that it was not that they were so happy, but that the people of Denmark had more modest and perhaps more realistic expectations of life.

So to summarize, and somehow I think you're happy about that,
1. We need to forgive and accept ourselves for having preconceived notions about one another. They are part and parcel of what we use to survive in this world.

2. High stress levels can not only damage our physical health, but are potentially damaging to our ability to cement healthy relationships with others we come in contact with. We need to practice being less reactive in everyday situations. A good example of this might be road rage. If you measure the anger that is at times generated when someone forgets to signal, or does anything while driving that doesn't comply with the "Rules of the Road", you'd conclude that we at times seriously overreact.

3. Because stress is in the mind of the beholder, we can choose to change our perception of what is going to stress us out and finally,

4. Use this state of mind to gain a better understanding of one another and celebrate a more diverse world.


Teams undoubtedly move ahead faster when its members are diverse



Diversity Are we really so different after all?

Famous Quotes
Proverb – "Some like carrots others like cabbage."

Dean Rusk – "One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears — by listening to them."

Karl Augustus Menninger – "Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand."

Edward Roscoe Murrow – "Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices — just recognize them."


Products From TGI
Contact [email protected] or call 602-750-7223

Quiz Show XF Game
Quiz Show XFThis Quiz Show Game is really 4 games in 1 with the ability to change the configurations of the 4 base games to over 40 different game variations.

It features team play with up to 8 teams and as many as 20 players per team. Input your own training questions or download popular business, educational, and trivia Question Sets available FREE for our XF Game purchasers - literally thousands of pre-written questions.

Single User License from $99.99
Read more and buy now

All About Our New PowerPoint Presentation Game
The PowerPoint Presentation Game (this is more a new product description than an article however the product is unique and should be of great interest to trainers, teachers, and presenters). I just wanted to tell you up front, so you didn't feel like Ralphie in The Christmas Story, who upon receiving his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, frantically decodes the secret message, while his little brother Randy pounds even more frantically at the bathroom door, and Ralphie only to find his cryptic message reads "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine", in his disappointed words "Just a Stupid Advertisement".

I am excited to tell you about a new product we have available on our site called the TGI PowerPoint Presentation Game (I think we have a problem with lengthy product titles) http://www.training-games.com/PPT_presentation_game.html. This application is designed to take any PowerPoint Presentation, and quickly turn it into a Presentation Game. What I mean by this is now besides just delivering to your audience long litanies of PPT slides, you can, in a few easy steps, now engage your audience with a fun game. This PowerPoint Presentation Game is built in MS PowerPoint, so by combining your program presentation with this application you will be able to score points as your teams or students answer your program questions correctly. You'll use the application's dynamic scoreboard, which allows you to score up to 8 teams, or 36 individual players. On the scoreboard you also have editable random selectors, allowing you, as the facilitator to, with a simple mouse click, select the next team to play, or the number of points to be awarded for the next question, or a fun consequence a team might have to perform if they answer incorrectly.

The game comes complete with sound and animated slides to ask multiple choice or true/false type questions (You simply select a question format and type in your program questions). The game's rules are really up to you. For example, we have speakers who prefer to award game points when their audience members ask a good question or offer an important incite. The game itself can be used for hundreds of different PowerPoint presentations that you'll deliver, only now that somewhat dry presentation will truly engage your listeners.

A single user license costs only $79.99, about the same price as replacement ink cartridges for your color printer. So which would you rather have, rave reviews from admiring minions, or multi-color handouts?

PowerPoint Presentation Game
Our new PowerPoint version of the Presentation Game turns any PowerPoint presentation into an exciting game! Keep your audience engaged as you score their participation in the Presentation Game. It is easy to use – start with our PPT Presentation Game and simply insert your PPT presentation to create a presentation game. Versions for up to 8 teams or up to 36 individuals.

$79.99 for Single User Lifetime License

More Info or Buy Now

6 Pack PowerPoint Icebreaker Team Builder Game
Here are six great PowerPoint games that can be used in the classroom or for online training, including:
Fun Feud
Match Game
1,000,000 Pyramid
Star Cruiser
Ice Breaker Wheel Game
Team Builder Crossword Puzzle

All the games will help break the ice, get teams working together and help people get to know each other.

Single User Lifetime License $99.99
More Info or Buy Now


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