Hot Time for Engineers (4/24/15)

Stein on what has automakers scouring the planet; buy-sell cool-down?; $16.2M for Barra in ’14; plug-ins preferred.

Transgenderism in the News and Other Stories You Need to Know

A news summary on issues that matter.

Christians continue to be martyred around the world
The horrific scene is all too familiar: Christian men walking blindfolded across a beach, held by Islamic State militants. A new video shows two groups of Ethiopian Christians being shot and beheaded at the hands of ISIS. This comes just days after Christians were thrown overboard on a ship, drowned at sea, “for praying to Jesus.”

Please continue to pray for the persecuted Church around the world.

Do kids need marriage?
The Centers for Disease Control released data recently that shows cohabiting parents now account for 59 percent of all births outside marriage. The children born from these relationships are losing out on, among other things, the financial benefits and stability associated with marriage. Read more at The Wall St. Journal.

Transgenderism in the news … and free resources to help you understand the issue
Media outlets have run multiple stories presenting transgenderism in a favorable light this week. There was the NBC Nightly News series on “Transgender Kids” featuring families allowing their children – some only toddlers – to “transition” to a new gender. The Washington Post gushed about how wonderful these parents are, calling them “the most amazing parents on the planet” for allowing “Mia to become Jacob – at the tender age of 4.” Then there’s the ABC News interview that’s airing tonight with Bruce Jenner, who is transitioning to female.

These news reports are reflective of an aggressive effort to separate biology from gender across all aspects of culture. For example, our military is considering lifting its ban on allowing transgender service members.

With all of this going on, it’s no surprise Focus’ Thriving Values’ articles on transgenderism are some of the most frequently searched and viewed resources on our Social Issues website. We’ve also compiled a number of resources on this topic to help you better understand this issue and respond with love, compassion, truth and courage. For more information, contact us at

Sad reason behind viral pregnancy announcement
You might have seen a lighthearted video on social media where Chad and Andrea Chapman share the news of their fourth pregnancy. The Chapmans’ reason for making the video is far from happy, however.

The expectant mom told, “Nobody was excited. I think we went past what everyone’s idea for our family was. For some reason, four is like this odd number in our culture today and it’s not celebrated the same way.”

Church must be “more than the echo of the times”
Here’s an encouraging piece for those of us constantly told we’re on “the wrong side of history” because we hold to a biblical sexual ethic. “Must Christianity Change Its Sexual Ethics? History May Hold The Key” compares the cultural pressure Christians are feeling to accept same-sex relationships to another call to adapt its beliefs, from 100 years ago.

Does timidity feed the PC beast?
It’s food for thought from National Review’s David French. In a sternly written piece, the lawyer makes the case against Christians staying quiet about their faith in academic settings. Although professors and students face unfair consequences for voicing unpopular opinions, French opines, “I’m sorry, but I have a real problem — in an era when Christians are getting their heads sawed off in the Middle East — with the idea that, say, an American sociology professor feels too scared to proclaim his real beliefs on a liberal campus.”

Bobby Jindal: “I’m holding firm against gay marriage”
One person who’s not bowing to pressure to be politically correct is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. In a powerful, bold New York Times op-ed yesterday, he vowed to continue standing for religious liberties regardless of the cost, taking a principled stance. He wrote, “A pluralistic and diverse society like ours can exist only if we all tolerate people who disagree with us. That’s why religious freedom laws matter … If it’s not freedom for all, it’s not freedom at all.”


The post Transgenderism in the News and Other Stories You Need to Know appeared first on Jim Daly.

Cantilever Load Cell suits narrow web applications.

Constructed with 100% stainless steel body, XN Cantilever Load Cell features dual parallel beam, mechanical variance compensation, and 360° overload protection. Unit can be fully customized to user's specifications, including roller diameter, roller length size, finish, and load rating. Accepting existing rollers and eliminating web drift, full bridge load cell is suited for tension measuring as well as narrow web applications, such as tag, label, and tape.

How water offsets can fix the drought (and save energy)

Artificial pricing schemes have misaligned urban and agricultural water users. Investing in offsets to help reconcile that value gap could help.

Taking ‘Bullish’ to New Level (4/23/15)

Toyota’s cheeky answer to fuel-cell skeptics; GM’s speedy buybacks; Piech-Winterkorn update; Musk’s free labor.

How to Use a Journal to Keep Focused 

”By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius (551–479 BC), Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher

In the fast paced, turbulent and uncertain world of today learning becomes a source of competitive advantage. The gap between where you are today and where you want to be in the future is crossed by gaining new knowledge and learning new skills.

“I’ve always thought that success on the job is based on how fast you learn and not what you know… the best CEOs I see are introspective. They learn every day. That’s what I try to do.” – Jeff Immelt, GE CEO, Q&A with GE’s Jeff Immelt, Bloomberg

The big question then becomes “how can we develop leaders who are fast learners?

The Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher Confucius (551–479 BC), provides insights into how we can improve our learning:

”By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius (551-479 BC)

This insight on how we learn wisdom from Confucius shows that we learn best through reflection. Taking time to reflect on what we have been doing is critical if we are to develop wisdom. It’s only as we reflect and think through lessons learnt from our experiences, that we develop wisdom. Learning is most effective when we combine experience with reflection.

One of the best ways of developing a habit of reflection, and thereby improving our wisdom and speed of learning, is through the practice of journaling.

Research Shows that Journaling Improves Learning

An experiment conducted by Di Stefano, G. et al. described in “Learning By Thinking” shows the importance of reflecting and learning from our experiences. The researchers put two groups of people through the same technical training. One group was asked to spend the last 15 minutes of their day reflecting on what they learnt in a journal. The group which used the last 15 minutes of the day to reflect in a journal, performed 22.8% better on their final assessment score than the group that did not.

The bottom line is that learning is improved when you take time to deliberately reflect on your experiences.

“We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey, American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer

The Importance of Self-Efficacy

The researches believe that self-efficacy was part of the reason for the better performance of the journaling group. Self-efficacy is defined by the researchers as:

“the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations”

It seems practice of journaling and reflection builds self-efficacy. This happens because reflecting on your experience builds your confidence. It builds a strong belief in your skills and ability to achieve your goals.

When you reflect on your action, you position yourself to perform better next time. It builds a belief and confidence in your ability to accomplish your goals. Leaders who experience self-efficacy therefore invest more energy in their efforts, because they believe their efforts will result in success.

The findings from this research show that leaders can gain significant benefits from keeping a journal. In retrospect this is not a new idea, many great leaders from history kept journals, leaders like:

  • Winston Churchill
  • Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Mark Twain
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Sir Edmund Hilary
  • Thomas Edison

As you can see, successful leaders have been keeping journals for centuries. Reading through these journals one can see how these leaders have used journals to chronicle their thoughts, feelings, experiences and critical decisions. They have used journals to help them process their emotions, to help them think through difficult decisions and to keep them focused on what is most important.

Observations from science and history shows that journals make for better leaders.

Journaling Keeps You Focused on What Matters

”The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

A journaling practice helps you stay focused on what’s most important, it keeps you focused on your great work.

The practice reflecting on what you are doing each day changes your behaviour. Asking questions like “What did I do today?”, “Did this contribute to my great work?” and “How can I do more of this kind of work tomorrow?” changes your thinking. And as we all know, when we change our thinking, we are able to change our behaviour. Journaling changes your focus and therefore changes how you act and changing how you act, changes your outcomes.

As Dwight Eisenhower discovered, separating urgent work from important work is the foundation of success. Urgent work are those pressing short-term tasks that keep you busy, whilst important work consists of those tasks that contribute to your goals and long-term success.

“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

As a leader you need a reliable way to help you keep focused on your most important work. The only way you accomplish your great work, is when you focus each day on those tasks that help you accomplish your most important work.

Leaders don’t have to worry about their urgent work, after all your urgent work will find you, busy work will always find you. Instead you need to become deliberate in shifting your focus from your busy work to you great work.

The challenge is that your most important work is passive. That is, your important work will not find you, it will not press on you with urgency to get completed. When it comes to important work you have to actively seek it out, you have to take an active part in making it happen. This means you and I need to find a way to remain focused on doing those tasks which contribute to your great work.

It turns out that a journal is one of the best ways of keeping ourselves focused on doing work that matters. Just like the great leaders of history, we can use a journal to help us accomplish our great work. It’s only important work that contributes to your legacy.

How to Keep a Leadership Journal


So how can you get started with creating a leadership journal? One of the most effective ways to start a journaling habit is to end each day with a journal entry. The goal is to end each day, reflecting on the events of the day, in the same way that the students reflected on their learning. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

1. Use A Small Set of Focused Questions to Get Started

A small set of focused and open-ended questions serves as a helpful guide to kickstart your journaling process. The idea is to use a small set of questions to guide you as you reflect on your day.

The process works as follows, at the end of every day set aside some time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and reactions to the following questions:

  • What worked today? What are the things I consider important work and did I do that today? How have you spent your time?
  • What didn’t work today? How much time did I waste? What have I learnt?
  • What’s next? What does tomorrow look like? What are the three most important tasks I want to accomplish tomorrow?

You don’t have to answer these questions directly, but rather use them as a guide for your writing. Write in your journal about what you did during the day, how you felt, where you failed, and what you didn’t get time to do.

The idea is to write in a stream of consciousness about the day, exploring what you did, where you failed and how you felt about the experience.

2. Don’t Create Too Much Structure

Keep your journaling fairly unstructured. Too much structure will kill the creative process and your motivation. Keeping the process simple and unstructured helps to ensure it gets done every day.

There is no one right way to keep a journal, there is only the way that works for you. So fee free to adjust your journaling process until it works for you. Initially the most important thing is that you get into the habit of reflecting on your day.

3. Look for Patterns and Ways to Improve

Once you have been journaling for a few months, take some time to read through your entries. As you read look for patterns, are there recurring themes, thoughts, emotions or habits? What can you learn from these patterns? Is there anything you need to change to become more effective?

Taking time every few months to review your journal is a powerful way to strengthen your personal leadership.

Journaling is a really powerful personal development tool. It helps you learn, grow and improve. It keeps you focused on what matters most. Why not start a leadership journal today?

If you do decide to start a journal. Please reach out to me at some point and let me know how it has worked for you. Thanks.

Copyright © George Ambler – George Ambler. Sign-Up for Actionable Leadership Insight. Delivered Weekly to Your Inbox.

Could You Use a Laugh?

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I could use a good laugh.

Do you ever feel that way?

If so, we have a great program for you.

Today and tomorrow we’re airing one of our classic broadcasts, featuring Luci Swindoll. Like few other speakers, Luci has the ability to put a smile on your face at the same time she’s piercing your heart with the truth of Scripture.

In this entertaining talk, Luci shares how our family’s journey can be filled with joy. It’s not about living free of struggle or mistakes. After all, as someone once said, “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

Life is about choosing to be joyful in the midst of our challenges and allowing God’s light to shine through us into the lives of others.

That’s never more true than when it comes to our children. With God’s grace, we can take advantage of teachable moments to emphasize biblical values and empower our kids to rely on Scripture. And, as Luci explains, all of that usually happens in the course of everyday life.

You may recognize Luci’s last name because of her brother, Dr. Chuck Swindoll. But she’s a well-known speaker in her own right. She was an executive for Mobile Oil for 30 years and sang in the Dallas Opera. She was also a vice president at her brother Chuck’s ministry, Insight for Living, until she retired to devote her time to her passions: speaking, writing, and gardening and the joys of life she calls “living, loving, learning, and laughing.”

I think you’ll hear a little bit of all of those in her presentation, “Choosing to Be Joyful.”  Tune in to your local radio station. And remember our program is available anytime online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.

The post Could You Use a Laugh? appeared first on Jim Daly.

Most-Desired Car Tech (4/22/15)

J.D. Power: Crash-prevention features top list; Lincoln losing taste for alphabet soup?; 200’s breezy backstory.

Healthcare Data Backup System combines security and capacity.

Conforming to HIPAA security rules and utilizing FIPS 140-2-compliant software, High-Rely MediStor series provides backup and disaster recovery tools, such as local and cloud-based virtualization, hardware-level AES-256 encryption, and unlimited cloud storage with up to 7-year protected retention. Powered by Intel® Xeon® server-grade processors, systems offer up to 48 TB aggregate capacity and automatic drive mirroring with removable media designed for daily rotation.

Healthcare Data Backup System combines security and capacity.

Conforming to HIPAA security rules and utilizing FIPS 140-2-compliant software, High-Rely MediStor series provides backup and disaster recovery tools, such as local and cloud-based virtualization, hardware-level AES-256 encryption, and unlimited cloud storage with up to 7-year protected retention. Powered by Intel® Xeon® server-grade processors, systems offer up to 48 TB aggregate capacity and automatic drive mirroring with removable media designed for daily rotation.