Wednesday, September 29, 2010


There are two ways that you can deal with boredom.  The negative way is to shut down your mind to reduce it.  The positive way is to activate your imagination and observation skills, transforming the emptiness into opportunity for stimulating experience.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I am not a robot
I will not teach like a robot
A robot can only make more robots
Twisting reality into conformity

Weary of this struggle
Worn down by mindless minions
Why do they fight to preserve an empty mind?
Empty, even to the top
How does mindless hierarchy manage to lead?

Empty pharisee makes another empty pharisee makes another empty pharisee...

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hard Way

Sometimes it is worth doing things the hard way, just for the sake of the challenge or for finding out something new in the process.  What this might mean, in practical terms, is that you are on your own and trying things out that nobody else will try out.  I think that this is an inspiring way to lead, or to blaze a trail through new territory, so that others can then follow.

This can seem quite a courageous thing to do.  However, on the balance of a cost-benefit analysis, it might be easy enough to just see that the way people have been doing something for the last age is simply not working, so why not try something new.  The education system for example: assuming it is a major cause of societal dysfunction, why don’t we do it differently?  Make a few big changes in your methods if you are an educator, give it a few years for the effects to become obvious, and then see what happens.

The hard way can get easier with practice, and it is possible that you will discover a better way, where the efforts produce enough benefit to be worthwhile.  Just because the natural state of things is to find the most efficient or easy way, like a path through the woods, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to benefit way more, e.g. putting in the effort to build a road through the less trod path.

I have been inspired to take a fresh approach, often taking the hard way, by Robert Frost’s classic, included in full below.  While it seems this was not Frost’s intention in writing, it has served in this way very well for very many.  My personal irony is that I tend to abhor people reading their own intent into what an author meant, especially when it comes to interpreting the bible.  However, this is a little different as it is a work of art and art is generally designed to inspire and cause people to reflect.  Anyway, for your own inspiration, here it is:

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost (1874-1963)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
in leaves no feet had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look Around You

This is our school’s motto.  I like it.  All good learning has a root in observation; and as the quote says, “Even a fool can learn from his own mistakes, but it takes a wise man to learn from other people’s.”  That’s not to say that we are not all foolish enough that we’ve had to, or will have to again, learn from our own mistakes, but a measure of wisdom is present in everyone who can see what they did wrong, and that should give us hope.  Even so, some people still do not seem to observe well enough to learn from their own mistakes.  Humanity as a whole doesn’t seem to in some areas; especially when it comes to things like war.

Back to the motto, and we can see that there are many things to learn from through observation.  In social situations we can see who is the most comfortable dealing with the types of people we want to be able to deal with.  We then look at the factors that build this in the person and can go away and practice or build ourselves in the same way.

Physically, we can watch successful athletes and try to copy their methods.  We can see their technique for performing their movements and we can try to pick out what they do that is different from our efforts at the same activity.

Listening to advice is another way to observe carefully.  

Being aware of the needs of others can help an entire community develop in a positive way.  This is an example of communal learning.

The limits of observation as a learning tool are only the limits of your ability to notice details.  The better you can notice details, the more refined your learning experience.

Taking all of the collective details that you notice, and drawing comparisons, or extrapolating with imagination, these will increase your learning.

If you are learning a new language, you might struggle to pronounce words correctly because you are ignorant of the details of inflexion or emphasis on particular syllables.

If you are learning to walk silently like a ninja, you would struggle to see just what they are doing if you weren’t able to look beyond their feet to observe the seemingly unrelated detail of a strong core and well trained sense of balance.  The effects of slight changes in angles of foot placement might also go unnoticed if you were not able to observe precise detail.

Observation takes time
It takes time and practice to get good at observing and learning from what you detect.  In order to learn something big and important, you might need to sit still for hours contemplating an event.  This can be a positive use of our time when we feel that we are bored.  Just think about something interesting and try to break it down into interesting details.

Occasionally I reflect on my life by reading an old journal entry.  This brings the memories back and I can re-reflect on events to learn even more from the situation.  

The learning potential of observation is endless and I do hope that you will make a conscious habit of looking around you and noticing details in your daily life.  Even if you don’t feel like you are learning anything, your brain will be stimulated from counting the number of pieces of litter between here and there, or analysing the twisted look that the customer gave in the supermarket checkout next to you the other day.

Happy observing!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Breathe (Asthma and Aerobic Ability)

My two brothers and I were diagnosed with asthma when we were young.  I have a vivid memory of my younger brother sitting on the kitchen counter with a breathing mask on, fighting the panic of an asthma attack.  We have had blue inhalers, green inhalers, orange inhalers and red inhalers; inhalers that spin, inhalers that click, inhalers that whizz, and inhalers that puff; we have had peak-flow machines of all shapes and sizes, doctors appointments, and much encouragement though much allowance made of us because of our asthma.  Asthma was a big deal and it was very hard to shake the fear of a potential asthma attack that came from such an emphasis on our asthma while growing up.

I didn’t seem to have any problems at primary school, running 20 or more laps during a fund-raising run, but when I got a little older, for some reason I was all of a sudden unable to run without having to take a puff or ten on my inhaler.  

I think that most of my asthma was psychological.  It occurred to me one day that I had never really been taught how to breathe while exercising, so I set out to see if I could control my asthma (and fear of asthma) without having to resort to the inhaler.  I have successfully overcome any asthma that I may, or may not, have had.  Only the occasional shortness of breath is now an issue, which is more likely related to environmental aspects or a failure to properly warm up my cardiovascular system for aerobic activity.

Here’s how I beat my asthma and learned to breathe
It started with a couple of observations.  I noticed that I could have this shortness of breath and not die.  Even if I didn’t use my inhaler.  I also noticed that if I kept my pace low, I could get by without having to breathe too hard and this would not provoke any difficulty in breathing that I would associate with asthma.  One final thing I noticed was that most of the people who had asthma used it as a crutch to get out of doing physical activity or they had a strong fear of having an attack.  I wondered if such asthma was due more to mental issues than physical.

I set out to experiment on myself.  I ran, starting off with about 2-3km and I would hold my inhaler, but not take it.  I kept my inhaler with me for insurance but instead of using it I would slow my pace until I felt safe enough with my breathing.  I tried never to walk, and instead kept shuffling no matter what, even if it was up a big hill.  Over a couple of years I built up to a fairly slow paced 10 to 12km run without having to use an inhaler.  This simple method, of slowly building up the distance while reducing the pace if I got close to difficulty breathing, has worked wonders.  I stopped carrying my inhaler after about a year or two and I have never had to use an inhaler ever since.

Now, about 6 or 7 years down the track, and knowing a few more tips and ideas, I would’ve done a few things different if I was advising myself back then.  I would’ve included strength training to develop the efficiency of my muscles.  My aerobic fitness has skyrocketed from strength training (parkour) with little aerobic training.  I am able to run half marathon distances in pretty good time without doing any real cardio training.  I would’ve also included more emphasis on breathing, with an in-through-the-nose and out-through-the-mouth system regulating a whole breath over about 8 steps of less (depending on speed).

It is a counter-intuitive thing, but breathing too much is bad for you when exercising aerobically.  If you get too much oxygen, your body goes into a sort of panic mode (hyperventilating) and reduces in its ability to absorb the required oxygen.  Instead, it is better to maintain an even flow of oxygen through your lungs by breathing deeply and slowly.  In this way a consistent supply is achieved and your body learns to efficiently and consistently absorb from your lungs.  It takes practice, but you feel so wonderful for it when your body adapts.

Hopefully within this blog post you have found some ideas to combat your asthma, and to improve your aerobic performance during sports.  There is quite a lot of power in being able to breathe properly.  Top athletes and martial artists know this, and use it to get an edge over their competitors.  Why don’t you use the simple tip above to get you started?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shape or Be Shaped, What’s YOUR Approach?

To everything there is a season, and sometimes you must do a bit of thoughtful shaping of your life.  What is much harder, due to the requirement of having to submit to another, is allowing yourself to be shaped.  I’m almost certain that the biggest reason we do not listen to other people’s advice is because we know that people are not perfect.  They can hurt us deliberately or even by accident.  It is possible for them to make mistakes even if their intentions are pure.  At the end of the day, it feels more comfortable, or safer, for us to do what we think is right.  At least then, if things go wrong, we can’t ruin our relationships with those who gave us faulty advice!  Right?  Wrong!

I want to offer a couple of thoughts on taking advice from others and taking risks.  I also want to share a way of allowing yourself and your life to be shaped by someone else, so that the only degree to which you will get hurt, is the degree to which you stuff things up yourself.

Advice on taking advice
If you are the sort of person who re-interprets advice according to what advice YOU would offer, then you will never get any benefit from the advice given.  Instead, you will merely alienate the advice-giver by showing them that you are not really listening to them.  This becomes a bigger problem when their re-interpreted advice does not work and you blame them for failure instead of blaming yourself.

You can also reduce your ability to have close friends if you will not allow them into your life enough that they can offer you advice that you will reasonably consider.  Imagine if you spent years and years giving a piece of advice to someone you loved, perhaps on relationships and how to recognise the wrong guy, but they never took your advice and continued to hurt themselves with bad relationships.  Surely it would hurt you to see them hurting themselves in this way when all it would take is for them to take a look at their history and see that they are not improving anything in their life in this area.  Maybe then they will be more likely to listen to you.

To be good at taking advice you need to be able to trust someone else.  

To be good at taking advice you need to be prepared to take a risk, perhaps even risk getting hurt.  The size of the risk will depend on how much hurt you think you can handle.  If you are resilient then you will be able to take bigger risks.

To be good at taking advice you need to be able to recognise your own limitations in understanding, and be able to accept that you will not always know what to do.

To be good at taking advice you need to be able to recognise when others can do better at what you are looking to take advice on.  This means you will have to be able to admit to yourself that someone else knows better than YOU.  This can be very, very hard sometimes, but gets easier with practice.

To be good at taking advice you need to have a good imagination to be able to put the advice into practice in your mind and think through what will happen if you follow it.  This means that you can better choose which piece of advice to follow if you have to choose between advices, and it will mean that you are better able to predict the risk of hurt in following the advice, better informing your defenses against bad advice.

To be good at taking advice you need to be able to understand that the best advice will not always be the easiest path.  Sometimes the best advice will be uncomfortable because it will force you to face your weakness and struggle through to overcoming it.

A final word in this section.  You should feel more comfortable taking a risk with someone closer to you a lot more than others.  This is because they will be more likely to have considered the risks to you themselves.  If they love you, they will not want to see you hurt and will only offer the best advice as they see it.  Someone close will not willingly give you bad or hasty advice.

The best place to get advice
The best place to get advice would be from someone who knows you perfectly.  They love you unconditionally, they know just how much hurt you can handle when they give advice you won’t like, and they will always give the absolute best advice for any situation.  The perfect advice comes from the perfect advice giver and is only limited by your ability to take their advice properly.

So where does this perfect advice come from?  If you know me, you will be aware that I only know of one perfect source of anything.  That perfect source of advice is God.  He has given us His Word (The Bible) as a source of perfect advice, dealing with every aspect of life.  All you have to do is look and listen with an open mind and an open heart.

God, in the bible, deals with topics such as:
Death, romance, love, relationships with family, law, justice, food, drink, alcohol, marriage, sex, parenting, what happens when you die, work, money, and much much more.

Unfortunately, people who are not good at taking advice will often read some instruction that God has given and then put their own spin on it, often totally countering the intention of the word.  That’s why there are so many ministries out there that place an unhealthy spin on giving to the church.  That’s also why there are groups that claim that you have to be a member of their church to be a true Christian.  

When dealing with advice from God, we have to take the time to really try and understand what He meant by what He said.  It is worth sitting and turning a verse of the bible over in your mind, reading and re-reading it, to work out just what it is trying to get across.  Sometimes the process is instant, but other times it may take years for the full meaning to work itself out in your mind.  That is the nature of good and perfect advice.  It comes to you at just the right time, when you need it the best.  Not necessarily when you think you need it the most.

To finish, I would like to ask you a couple of questions:
Can you trust the people closest to you, enough to take advice from them?  Do you trust that a perfect being (God) can give you the perfect advice, even if it doesn’t seem perfect to you?  I encourage you to have a browse through the bible and see what advice you can find to help whatever your situation is at the moment.  Perhaps you could even type in the topic you want advice on here at

May all of the best advice come your way, and may you take it with wisdom and trust in the perfect advice giver!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Images and Idols

Mark 12:13-17  And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk.  (14)  And they came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?"  (15)  But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, "Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it."  (16)  And they brought one. And he said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to him, "Caesar's."  (17)  Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at him.

Genesis 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

I was reading this passage in Mark and turning it over in my mind this morning.  Having recently been thinking about humans being made in the image of God, a slightly different angle occurred to me which I had never considered.  

One other piece of information is required to put everything together that occurred to me:  Some of the Caesars claimed divinity and worship as gods.  I don’t know precisely the extent of this, or how much they expected worship, but it is very clear that there was something divinely attributed to the man who held the title.  This came about either by sinful pride and arrogance from one of the early Roman leaders himself, or from followers who sought to make him more than he was.

Now, back to the passage at hand, and Jesus is asking who’s likeness (image) is on the coin.  Of course it is Caesar’s image.  Compare this to us, being the image of God.  We have on the one hand, the True God and His image, and on the other hand, a false god and his image on a coin.  

Taking this information in the light of Jesus’ statement, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." we can take the view that everything that is made in the image of Caesar can be given to him, money and all material possessions that might be symbolised by profit and prosperity, but everything that is really important, i.e. the person himself, the image of God, can be given to God.

Mere possessions and money are nothing, so let Caesar have them if he wants them.  These things are merely a reflection of Caesar himself: empty, false sources of happiness, the love of which is eternally perishing, claiming to be of more importance than they really are.

Again, on the other hand, the things that are made in God’s image, let those be given to God, let us be rendered to God.  Not caring for the things of this world, may we devote our lives to Him, eternally, and joyfully!

Friday, September 17, 2010

What is the Energy Source? (Magnetism, Gravity, and Other “Forces”)

Do magnets ever run out?  Why do we stay on the Earth instead of flying off?  What causes opposites to attract?  At the end of the day, Science only really answers these questions in terms of the mechanisms that describe how they operate.  We still don’t know where all the energy comes from for these fields to exert a force on particular objects.

Take a magnet for example.  You stick it on your fridge and it stays there pretty much for ever.  No battery is required to make it happen, and it never seems to run down.  Surely it takes a lot of energy to hold the magnet there over the years that it is stuck in place.  It’s one thing to say that objects are attracted via magnetism and its actually a reduction in or absence of potential energy that is causing it to stick, so we don’t actually need energy; but there is still a force being transferred, so why does it happen, and why doesn’t that force affect other things like stainless steel?

Field theory was very popular as a way of explaining interactions between different types of particles.  As well as the obvious magnetism, electro-static, and gravitational effects, there were atomic and sub-atomic effects in action to hold atoms together with each other and to hold them together in themselves.  Mysterious “fields” became the way that these magical interactions became explainable.  No longer was that piece of metal able to make the other move without touching it, it was making contact via a field!  While this proved to be useful, it was a neat way of removing the magic of the interaction, and we would do well to remember that it is not sufficiently explained to satisfy anyone who is really curious.

In fact, nothing is really explained properly to satisfy the person who continually looks for the reason why.  Science can continue to explain how things happen and identify patterns in the universe, but when it gets right down to it, there is no way to completely explain why at the most fundamental level.  Not even the discovery of the Higgs boson (if it actually occurs) will do this.  It will merely shift the level of questioning deeper still.

To my mind, the only way that we can have anything happening in the natural, is for it to have a supernatural origin.  When it comes right down to the limits of the universe, both small and large, there has to be something beyond that making it all happen, otherwise we have things occurring without a cause, and that does not seem reasonable in a system where we see that everything requires a cause.  To find any un-caused cause, you have to look beyond this universe where cause is required.  Whatever you find, it must, by definition, be beyond the natural.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Two Prayers

O Lord my God,

Help me to pursue You with a passion born of gratitude
Your great mercy fuels my desire to express thanks and I am continually amazed that one so undeserving as me should receive such blessings as You bestow
Drive me to know You more so that unbelief is banished from this hard heart
Help me to fear You as I should and to trust in Your loving promises until the end
Let me know Your fullness as best I am able
Reward my sincerity with answered prayer

Grow me, change me, and use me
Above all make me right if I am not right and reveal to me my shortcomings that they may be remedied with Your grace.

I submit to You alone, Lord:
My Father and Creator
My Saviour and King Jesus
My Comforter and life giving Spirit


Eternal Creator and Sustainer of all,

May You be honoured in all I do
May You be praised in all I do
May You be my delight in all I do
May You be my all in all

Grow me in wisdom that You may be glorified as the Wisdom Giver
Sustain me so that You may be glorified as the Sustainer
May You be glorified as the Creator of all
May You be glorified as the only one able to save a sinner

King of Kings
Righteous Lord
Both tender and tough
Judge and Lover of souls

Give me sincerity
Give me joy in You alone
May Your kingdom come in its fullness
Until then let Your Spirit be manifest in our hearts, overflowing in living water
Until then let Christians manifest Godly fruit
Until then let us keep our eyes on You and eternity


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

G.K. Chesterton quotes

"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it." - Everlasting Man, 1925

"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions." - ILN, 4/19/30

"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism." - Sidelights on New London and Newer New York

"The person who is really in revolt is the optimist, who generally lives and dies in a desperate and suicidal effort to persuade other people how good they are." - Introduction to The Defendant

"Do not look at the faces in the illustrated papers. Look at the faces in the street." - ILN, 11/16/07

"Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision." - Orthodoxy, 1908

"Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back." - What's Wrong With The World, 1910

"None of the modern machines, none of the modern paraphernalia. . . have any power except over the people who choose to use them." Ð Daily News 7-21-06

"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - ILN, 1/14/11

"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." - Christendom in Dublin, 1933

"The Declaration of Independence dogmatically bases all rights on the fact that God created all men equal; and it is right; for if they were not created equal, they were certainly evolved unequal. There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man." - Chapter 19, What I Saw In America, 1922

"Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline." - Manalive

"There are those who hate Christianity and call their hatred an all-embracing love for all religions." - ILN, 1/13/06

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." - Chapter 5, What's Wrong With The World, 1910

"The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man." - Introduction to the Book of Job, 1907

"It has been often said, very truely, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary." - Charles Dickens

"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." - ILN 8-11-28

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Are YOU a Rebel with a Cause?

I’m a rebel with a number of causes, but the one I want to mention today is our conformance to “The System”.  There are any number of things we do in our daily lives that are pointless.  We do them because everybody else does them, or because someone with a big stick will hit us if we don’t do them.  Some people notice that they are doing pointless things in their lives and it begins to eat away at them, building stress at having to comply, growing their sense of gloom or depression at the lack of living a worthwhile life, or causing bouts of anger and frustration at being unable to work out just what is wrong.

Consider health and safety compliance codes.  All electrical equipment in schools must be tested and tagged annually so see whether it is safe to be plugged in and used by the kiddies and teachers.  This assumes a number of things that demean and devalue the worth of people.  It assumes that people can’t see damaged cables or equipment for themselves, it assumes that they might just use something anyway, it takes away their ability to choose how they spend their time and money in making this a compulsory activity, it devalues the work of others who have put other safety features in the system (such as circuit breakers).

Other such systems that are totally arbitrary are:
The speed limit, having to get a marriage certificate, being forced to get a building inspector in, following curriculum when teaching, assessing using NCEA assessments, tucking your shirt in or wearing a tie, having to wear matching clothes, being allowed to ask only certain questions in class, or being able to discuss only certain topics in certain company, having to learn particular subjects in school.  The list goes on.

Some of these things are good systems, but the point is that you need to know the purpose of them to get the most out of them, to follow them properly, and to feel like it is worthwhile in doing so.  Also, how can there be any change if you do not know the purpose in order to discuss whether that is a worthy purpose?  Even if they are good systems, if you, personally, don’t know the purpose and don’t buy into that purpose, then you will feel like you are being dragged into something you didn’t agree to.

So, the secret to being a rebel with a cause is to know what is right and just, and then to compare that idea of justice with the purpose of a system to see if that system is just.  From there, if it is not a just system, you can take up the cause!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Three Easy Meals for Weight Loss

Chicken breast roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Add salt to flavour.
Green salad containing lettuce, tomato, diced feta and balsamic vinegar for dressing.  If this seems a bit boring, add carrot and cucumber also.
Have as much chicken breast as you feel you need.

Fry up about 100 grams of shaved ham in a pan
Crack 4 eggs into the mix (Get rid of 3 of the yolks if you can be bothered and add an extra egg for the volume of yolk lost)
Break up two thin slices of cheese
Keep frying and mixing until the whole mass is pretty solid and the cheese is melted.

Cook a bowl of mixed veg in the microwave for your veg.  Add a little salt if you prefer, but try to eat them without added salt.

Pan fry a big piece of lean (little to no fat) red meat.
Oven roast bite sized chunks of pumpkin, kumara, and carrot in a baking dish lined with baking paper.  Add a little salt before cooking.

You can swap the chicken, red meat, or egg mix to keep a bit of variation if you want.

For snacks:
Apples, carrot sticks, celery sticks, mixed veg if you want something hot.

For drinks:
Coke Zero, Sprite Zero, water, decaffeinated teas with artificial sweetener and low fat milk.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Carrots and Sticks, Where do they get you?

I check out the talks on once in a while, and have a browse through for something inspirational if I feel that I need a creative kick.  This is where I first saw the famous talk by Sir Ken Robinson about how schools kill creativity.  I still go back and watch it from time to time.

Earlier this week I came across this talk by Dan Pink (who used to write speeches for Al Gore).  The essence of it is that science has clearly shown that carrots and sticks (rewards and punishments) do not work for improving results and productivity when anything more complex than routine tasks are involved.  If you are a mindless worker doing a mindless job, then perhaps some external motivation might help give you the incentive to work faster.  When it comes to something even slightly complex that involves thinking about a solution, such as in most forms of learning, then rewards and punishment generate too much pressure.  This pressure results in anxiety and performance then decreases according to the level of anxiety.

What does work well for improving productivity and results are internal motivators such as satisfaction at a job well done and a sense of contributing to something meaningful.  I would add to Dan’s list something about basic needs being met, so that your mind is on the job rather than worrying about those needs.

That these internal motivators work is clear and obvious.  Google use this to give their employees 20% of time to do whatever they want and about half of their major innovations arise out of this “free time”.  Wikipedia is another example that Dan Pink uses, contrasting it’s success with Encarta.  Encarta was made using paid employees and wikipedia was made using the incentive to be a part of an incredibly useful project that would benefit many.  It is clear which was more successful, with Wikipedia being considered as more accurate than many text encyclopedias according to some!  The debate about the usefulness and accuracy of information from the Internet is mostly irrelevant because we should be savvy when it comes to interpreting knowledge anyway.  After all, everybody writes with a bias, even me!

So we can see that carrots and sticks get you nowhere.  I’m particularly concerned with their use in education and the immense pressure to perform that students are under.  I think that we would have a much more skilled and resilient bunch of people leaving high school if we just scrapped the external exams, took the pressure off, and let students learn by following their noses with teachers showing them how to develop their learning skills.