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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 6, 2005 / 3 Tishrei, 5766

When You Have to Learn Something New

By Marty Nemko

Nemko
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In today's ever faster paced workplace, we're increasingly asked to learn new things: new software, new procedures, information for a presentation, etc.

I've just had to learn something new. Although it was outside of work, my attempt to learn it offers lessons for learning in the workplace.

I needed something new in my life. I've had the same career for 18 years, the same house for 29, the same wife for 33. I don't think an affair is the answer, so I decided to audition for a part in a production (www.chanticleers.org.) of Agatha Christie's play, Ten Little Indians. Lo and behold, I got cast: 358 lines worth.

Would this 55-year-old mind, who has trouble remembering the plot of a play he just saw, be able to memorize 358 lines?

To avoid freaking out at the enormity of the mountain before me, I adopted a mantra: "No looking ahead. One line at a time." As soon as I found myself distracted—for example—worrying that I'll screw up in front of my wife—I instantly forced myself to get back to the line at hand. Learning Lesson: Stay focused on bite-sized chunks.

Some lines drove me crazy. For example, I so struggled with "You'd hardly believe it when you think how beautiful a day it was this morning." My first reaction was to catastrophize: "Early Alzheimer's?" But I forced myself to stay in the moment and just work on the damn line. I slowly read the first half of that line five times. Each time I said it with full feeling so it would really penetrate. Then I turned away from the script and said it five times. I repeated that process with the second half of the line. Finally, I put it all together, trying to say it faster and faster. Alas, even after I got it, I forgot it the next day. But after a second stint, I got it solid. (I think.) Learning Lesson: We rarely talk about the importance of sheer doggedness, but it's crucial.

When I was struggling, I found reassurance in the fact that, for time immemorial, millions of people, including much older people, have memorized parts. If they can, I can. And if I forget some lines and have to ad lib, the world won't end. Learning Lesson: Avoid freaking out by realizing you can survive the worst-case scenario.

I realized that seeing where the line appears on a page was giving me clues I wouldn't get on stage. So, after I felt I had learned my lines fairly well, I hired someone to read the other characters' parts while I chimed in with my lines. Finding someone was easy: I placed an ad on craigslist.org and within a few hours had gotten 20 responses from people willing to do it for $10 an hour. The woman I hired, Jeannette, was a very experienced actress. Frankly, it made me a little sad to think that despite the ostensibly low unemployment rate, the job market is so weak that I got so many applicants for a low-paying very temporary job. Learning Lesson: A coach can be a cost-effective aid.

I asked Jeannette to, every time I made a mistake, to bracket the word(s) in pencil. That way I could work on it when she was gone instead of feeling pressured to try to get it correct in front of her.

She corrected even the slightest error: for example, "You believe" instead of "You think." She explained that many directors insist on that, but I've decided to spend only a little time trying to get it perfect. If the director insists on meaningless perfection, I plan to defy the order. I doubt she'll de-cast me. One of my core principles for being productive is to do things to the very good but not perfect level. That enables me to accomplish more of value, at or outside of work. Learning Lesson: Not everything needs to be learned perfectly, even when the boss asks you to.

Now, four weeks before the play opens, I know my lines pretty well and won't spend much more time, outside of rehearsal, memorizing them. If I spent more time, I'm concerned that, by the end of the play's run, I could be bored with it, which could dull my performance.

So, I'm focusing on acquiring the two dialects I'll need. Why two? Because I start off pretending to be an upper class Brit but am later discovered to be a Cockneyish guy. Instead of taking a class or buying a dialect CD, I found a person with a natural upper-class British accent and another with a Cockney accent to say my lines onto a cassette tape, leaving a few moments after each line for me to try to imitate it. Unlike classes and CDs, this approach teaches me precisely what I need to know for the part and no more. That's why, in all contexts, I'm a fan of just-in-time learning. Whenever I need to learn something, I most often just google it, read one or more on-target entries and/or phone someone I've identified using google or otherwise. Learning Lesson: Before considering a back-to-school stint, ask yourself whether just-in-time learning would be wiser.

Frankly, I'm still scared that during performances, I'll lose it all because I'll be having to not only remember my lines and say them in the proper dialect, but to stand and move as I'm supposed to, and to react fully to what's occurring on stage. And G-d knows what will happen if thoughts intrude such as that my wife, my mother, and maybe even some of you readers will be in the audience twittering, "He's struggling with his lines."

I think there's one more lesson I better remember: think positive.

We'll see if it works. I'll find out when the play opens: Oct. 21.

Is there one lesson from this column that you want to remember for the next time you have to learn something?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

400+ of Dr. Nemko's published writings are on www.martynemko.com. Comment by clicking here.

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