SOFT SKILLS CHALLENGE ASSIGNMENT:
Out of the Comfort Box
Coping with unexpected change, and sometimes even known change, can be both stressful and frightening. It’s the adaptation to the new situation, surroundings, expectations that leaves us feeling anxious, frustrated, and sometimes angry. The most recent and pronounced example has been when the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 hit and activities we once were free to participate in were no longer available. Simple tasks such as gathering in a classroom for a lecture or having a business meeting shifted into each of us adapting to being a savvy technical computer whiz. Even what we wore was altered with the requirement of a mask. No longer was shaking hands appropriate, hugging, or standing in close proximity.
Like it or not, change, whether expected or unexpected, good or bad, happens throughout life. Being mentally prepared to deal with the change is an important skill set to have as it helps you maneuver and manage the new situation.
For you, life is about to change again. Are you ready? As a college student who is moving towards graduation, you will soon be applying for job openings to start your new life and career. You are about to enter another moment in time that will require a significant amount of change:
Getting used to change and being comfortable with being uncomfortable, learning adaptation skills, being flexible, keeping a sense of humor, and knowing you will be ok, is essential in building self-confidence and can make the difference between stagnant job placement and career growth.
The book, Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, M.D., is a story about change that takes place in a Maze where four amusing characters look for “Cheese”–cheese being a metaphor for what we want to have in life, whether it is a job, a relationship, money, a big house, freedom, health, recognition, spiritual peace, or even an activity like jogging or golf.
Each of us has our own idea of what Cheese is, and we pursue it because we believe it makes us happy. If we get it, we often become attached to it. And if we lose it, or it’s taken away, it can be traumatic. The Maze in the story represents where you spend time looking for what you want. It can be the organization you work in, the community you live in, or the relationships you have in your life. Soon, you will be preparing to make a big change in your life as you move from college to the business world. Simply put, you are about to enter a new chapter of change requiring adaptation. How prepared are you to do this?
This week‘s Soft Skills Challenge is to guide you towards self-understanding when it comes to change and adaptation in order to help bring awareness to how you might strengthen your mindset to better embrace change.
Directions: Reflect on the four characters in the book:
Consider which of the characters best represents the way you relate to change and adaptation. While all four characters learn to adapt and find their cheese, their approaches are different as is their attitude. Are you fast to notice change like Sniff and Scurry, put your running shoes on, instinctively learn to adapt, not overthink. and quickly move on? Or, are you more like Hem and Haw who tend to settle in with comfort and discount the small changes occurring that often lead to big unexpected change resulting in feelings of anger, injustice, sadness, and/or depression?
Child labor is not always bad, the way it is portrayed in media makes it look horrible. What we typically see is children being exploited and are basically slaves. Child labor was abolished in America in the 1930’s, but it still lives on in other countries around the world. Child labor should be illegal worldwide if the labor is unethical and extreme. There are time when child labor is considered to be okay. Such as farmers having their children help them work in the fields or tend to the animals. Most people here in the US use their children for labor only to teach them what hard work is so that the child does not feel entitled or so that the child understands that kids their own age have it a lot worse. For most of us when we turn 15 or 16 our parents tell us to get a job so that we can make our own money and have something to actually work for, this helps teach us financial responsibility. Cases like that are not seen as bad, we just think child labor is bad because the media only shows us children in sweat shops or working in fields in extreme weather. Morals are not universal, people’s morals tend to be based on their past or some kind of experience. That person’s morals might change through an event or some kind of breakthrough but it does not always happen. It is not appropriate for the US to push their morals onto the rest of the world. That is like making someone change who they are just because you do not like how they are.
Why do you think the US tries to push their morals and ethical practices onto other countries?
Specifically, comment on how well your colleagues’ submissions address one of the objectives of the Creative Spirit. Can you support their efforts with an example of your own?
2/ Since I haven’t been out much in the last year and don’t have plans to get out, I decided to reflect upon the last concert I attended at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. The concert was put on in January of 2020 by George Strait who is superstar of country music. While I’m not a huge fan of country tunes, I attended the concert as a birthday gift to my Grandmother who loves his music. We had fantastic seats, only 7 rows back from the stage. George Strait has a circular stage, so he spends time singing directly to every part of the arena. Intrust Bank Arena is owned by Sedgwick County and is a popular venue for concerts and sports events here in Wichita.
When I look back on the concert, I can easily reflect on the ways in which the creative spirit connects and links us to each other. Music has the power to take us back to a certain time in our lives that we felt many different emotions. A single song can have you laughing and clapping or even shedding tears. As human beings, we share these emotions with each other and can relate to each other in our shared experiences of life. Music and musicians have the power to use their creative spirit to excite their audiences and bring out emotions they never even knew existed. Even though I’m not a huge country fan, I felt myself being part of a community during the concert where I felt close to those around me. We were connected through the experience of singing along together and being transported through music back to some of the most important occasions in our lives. Music is much more than just a common pleasure, it has the power to increase our sense of community and harmony with each other. There were more than 15,000 people at the George Strait concert that night. For that evening we didn’t focus on who was beside us. We didn’t care about their background, culture, race, or political affiliation. The music allowed us to accept each other and share a common bond. It was a concert I will never forget.
3/ For this project, I attended the Old State House. The Old State House currently serves as museum in Little Rock, but this was not always the case. For most of the 19th Century, the Old State House served as the Arkansas State Capitol Building where the governor and legislators would meet. There are two main features to this building. First, parts of the Old State House Museum preserves the history of former legislating bodies in Arkansas. There are exhibits about the governors of the past, as well as the history surrounding their times in office. The Old State House also keeps some of the rooms in their original state, allowing its visitors to see where the politicians would have sat as history was being made. The second part of the museum is that they have seasonal exhibits that reflect different moments in Arkansas history. The exhibit featured when I visited was called “Play It Loud”. This exhibit featured the history of Barton Coliseum, a local coliseum where numerous artists have performed and many public events take place. This exhibit featured belongings to many famous musicians who have performed in Barton. It was interesting to see how many big names had made their way to Little Rock.
This exhibit reflected the sixth core objective: “How has the creative spirit influenced various aspects of society?” This is found in the Old State House for multiple reasons. This exhibit features political history, and in that history, it features how the architectural history of the building. The style and choices of design are explained in different parts of the museum. This shows how politics has been influenced by the creative spirit. Another way in which creative spirit is seen influencing society is the exhibit on Barton Coliseum and its performers over the years. It gives an insight into the musical shows of the past. Both of these have a sort of double participation in the creative spirit. Not only do they both show how the creative spirit has influenced Arkansas in the past, but the fact that this is a free attraction to visit and provides entertainment for us today shows even more so how we are influenced by the creative spirit today.
Please then comment on two of your colleagues’ posts. Do so in a meaningful way to earn full credit. Remember — you have a paper to write. This can help!
4/ It could be argued that Creon is right because he is preserving the law and fighting for the city. Creon states that “whoever places a friend over the good of his own country, he is nothing” (203-204). He is correct in his judgments because he is willing so sacrifice anything for the good of Thebes. In this way. Creon gives everything for something greater than himself. For Creon, the law is the highest ruling power, so everything he does is ordered from law, no matter the cost. Because of his upholding of the law, he makes clear distinctions between those who are loyal to the king and the law (patriots) and those who are not (traitors), and not even the rite of death nor any tradition can transcend the law.
It could be argued that Antigone is right because she recognizes what is natural and divine in her desire to bury her brother, and she also speaks for the people of the city. Antigone states that she has more important things to fulfill than “please the living here” (89). She states that the law to not bury her brother came neither form Zeus, Justice, or any supernatural power (499-502); instead, she recognizes that this law comes from Creon’s “wounded pride” (510). She knows burying her brother is the right thing to do, for there are powers and rules that transcend Creon’s rule. Antigone also knows that what she believes is not only of her own opinion but of the truth of the people at large. She knows that the rest of the population agrees with her, but they keep silent in order to spare their lives and please their king (563-565), so she takes on the mantle as a martyr for this cause since no one else is willing.
Antigone is clearly correct in choosing to bury her brother. She recognizes the significance behind this action and knows that this comes from a higher power. She is aware of the unjust law set by Creon, so she has no problem with breaking this law. So much is she aware of how unjust it is, she is willing to die for her actions. She knows what she has done is right, so her death is nothing but gain. Creon is bound by constructs and artificiality, while Antigone seeks what is transcendent and does not subjugate herself to anything lesser. Creon claims to have the city in mind, but what he sees as the city is merely a construct. Antigone has the true city in mind when she acts, for the city she sees is the people that make the city. Creon think that his upholding of the law is what the “city” needs, but Antigone knows that the true city needs what is truly just.
5/ The words “child labor” simply sounds bad but I do not think child labor is always bad. No, I do not think child labor should be illegal worldwide. Unfortunately, children who live in impoverished areas or countries must help feed themselves and or their families. If it were made illegal for them to earn money to help their families that would also create problems for them. When children are subjected to harsh or abusive working conditions then this is where laws should protect them. Laws should also protect children from being kept out of school to work. Child labor laws began in 1938 in the United States. Yes, there are situations in which child labor can be proposed as good and necessary. One of those situations is agriculture / family farming. This situation does have legal limitations that specify age, school attendance and parental permission. No, I do not think morals are universal because we are not all raised the same, so our perspectives and world views are different so let’s not forget biasness. We do not all share the same religious beliefs. Unfortunately, we do not all respect human life the same way. I think it is appropriate for the United States to share it’s morals and ethical standards with the rest of the world but not “impose” it. The Common Good comes to mind, burden sharing and resource pooling. I do think our country should step up and help when needed and if that’s called imposing well then it is. Our world has harsh realities, and they cross our borders. How would United States citizens feel if our country just disregarded cruelties to children in other countries?
The Great Greek tragedy Antigone sparks an interesting conversation on right and wrong. The entire play boiled down is a debate on whether or not it was right to follow Creon’s decree to leave Polynices’ body unburied. The king believes that it was the right thing to do because Polynices was a traitor to the city, while Antigone is ready to face capital punishment to go against that belief. While arguments can be made for both their cases, Creon is clearly in the wrong and ends up paying dearly for his actions. Antigone’s beliefs, although they lead to her death, are a model of courage against a tyrant.
King Creon’s rash decree can be somewhat defended by saying he was in a hard spot. He became king because of the war that had occurred around Thebes and was new to the position. The king states: “…as I am next in kin to the dead, I now possess the throne and all its powers.” (Antigone, 67). This was a battlefield promotion, and Creon had to act quickly in order to ensure the stability of Thebes. With all the stress, he had no choice but to declare harsh rules. However, as the play goes on, it is proven that he is very tyrannical with the power he now possesses. The people obey the law out of fear and do not dare voice opinions against Creon. Thus, he probably would have enacted the law even if he was in a more favorable position.
Another argument for Creon could be that Antigone put him in-between a rock and a hard place. If he killed Antigone, he would be killing someone who was trying to honor a family member. However, by releasing her, it would be a potential sign of weakness that enemies could strike at. Making one exception to a rule can start Creon down a path of allowing other exceptions. This is a legitimate concern, and the play shows that he attempts early on to let her go by asking her if she was “…aware a decree had forbidden this?” (Antigone, 81). Antigone tells the truth, readily defending her integrity. While Antigone might have forced Creon to make a choice, it was himself who placed himself into this position by not thinking over the rule before implementing it. This is similar to the story of King Herod and John the Baptist in the Bible. Herod, acting on emotions, made a rule that he would do anything for girl who performed at his party. When she made a shocking request for the head of John, Herod placed his desecrated honor over morality. Creon ended up doing the same thing by arranging for Antigone to be sealed away.
The arguments to made for Antigone are much stronger. For one, she was willing to sacrifice her own life for the sake of what she believed was right. According to her religion, Creon has committed an offense that is “…an outrage sacred to the gods!” (Antigone, 63). An unburied body ensures that the soul of a person cannot move on, whereas a buried person can. Giving up one’s life is one thing, but doing it in order to ensure what she believed to be her brother’s safety shows that her ideals are honorable. She defends her actions to the grave, making herself an example and showing the people that an unjust law should never be followed.
Deep down, Antigone is also fighting for the rights of the city. At the height of the debate between Creon and his son Haemon, there is talk about the rulership of a city. Haemon states that one man in charge destroys the concept of the city, to which Creon replies: “The city is the king’s-that’s the law.” (Antigone, 97). Creon at this point has become so obsessed with hanging on to his power that it has turned him into a dictator. The only person that matters is himself and the family name, which ironically that is all that he is left with at the end of the play. Antigone sees that the people are cowering away, so she takes a stand herself. Her sacrifice probably gave a lot of people courage, especially the men of the city who were supposed to be watching over it. In the end, the true heroism lies with Oedipus’ daughter, not King Creon.
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