Monday, January 12, 2015

There wouldn't be Blue Dragon without Jana....

My sis, Jana, and Allison (often referred to by Jana as my future wife number one)
Humboldt
I'm Dr. Rob Garcia, professional life coach, Air Force Reservist, author of seven books and owner of  Blue Dragon Enterprises. I reside in San Diego. 

I grew up in Eureka, California in a low income household. My sister and I didn't grow up together and we were both raised by selfish mothers that subjected us to neglect, sometimes hunger, emotional abuse, and worst of all, indifference. We were poor, ignored, and had no hope, no role models and no chance of knowing anything except dysfunction. 

We didn't even know about EACH OTHER until I had almost graduated high school. my mother didn't feel it was that important as say, getting high all weekend or going on a road trip to do coke with drug addicts. I had ulcers in sixth grade because I was so stressed about my 20s. I was terrified I would be poor my entire life, unloved, and never grow up to be anything but a dishwasher. My sister was tiny and shy when I first met her. I was shocked at how skinny she was. She barely spoke to me and we started an awkward but growing rapport. 

Jana came into my life in high school. She was friends with Larissa and Liz and they were just different. They made their own fun. Jana hated the pretentious people in school, smiled every day, and  best of all, treated me like a person. All three were nice to me frequently. They didn't care that I had probably watched an uncle get arrested at my grandmother's house that day or that my clothes were dirty, or that I never brought people over because my grandmother was a hoarder. 

Jana's greatest gift was acceptance. 

She was never cruel, never teased me when others did, and never had a mean word to say to me about my family situation. 

I left in 96 after I had failed out of high school once and college twice. I joined the Air Force and found the stability I never knew. 

In 02, I moved to San Diego, fulfilling a lifelong dream. I started towing trucks, enrolled for an MBA program, and then started teaching high school. I managed to visit Eureka and Jana was one of the first people I saw with my sister. I remember going to Jana's house and was amazed. It was decorated perfectly, smelled amazing, and was one of those "chameleon" houses, that looked normal and demure on the outside, but the inside revealed a two week visit by Martha Stewart. 

That was a fun visit. Jana and I and my sister discussed our lives, Humboldt, and the upcoming 20 year high school reunion. Jana updated me on a few people's lives that had gone off the rails after high school and her thoughts about the reunion made the movie "Carrie" look like a spring comedy. 

Jana was deliciously mean spirited but in two different ways. If you were fake, a bully, or arrogant, Jana's vitriol would be legendary. She had no filter, no hesitation, no fear of unleashing a barrage of verbal abuse that would terrify Joan Rivers. 

But if you were liked by her, you got the "Jana beatings" that she was best known for. She had a very East Coast mentality about friendship (If I like you, I'm going to mercilessly bust your balls everyday and you better be ready). 

With the advent of Facebook, Jana really found her niche. She was now able to simultaneously offend hundreds of people at one time, and yet share her passions and desire to help others. She was always a champion for the weak, the quiet, the ones that needed guidance. 

A funny thing started to happen as well. My friends started noticing her. 

And liking her a LOT more than me. More than one person would "tune in" to Facebook to watch Jana verbally eviscerate me daily. I'd post a picture of a wolf cot I was sleeping on in my tiny studio, and Jana would wonder "where I fit the skanks." 

Any girl that I dated and put up pictures of on Facebook was accused by Jana of being transgender. 

I started taking an interest in wrestling again and Jana would text, "Oh hey, Fandango and Summer Rae are wrestling on Monday Night Raw tonight. It's a great match. I'm going to watch the whole thing. Too bad you don't have cable."

Jana didn't even like wrestling. But she liked to give me shit and laugh about it. 

Jana always was quick to congratulate me on my victories. She was my cheering squad. Blue Dragon started to take steam and I started writing books and life coaching? Jana loved it. I got my doctoral dissertation approved? 37 Facebook comments. Jana was FIRST. I wrote a diet plan, beat my own problems with obesity and made a book out of it? Jana was cheering in the front row. 

I think Jana liked that someone had made it out of Humboldt, never given up and had created their own success. She loved Blue Dragon and what it stands for (Optimization of human potential through fitness, compassion, intelligence, and confidence). 

Jana reached out to people and the stories are heartwarming. She charmed my evil ex Air Force boss, Keith and his wife Kelly. Complete strangers living on the East Coast and Jana sent him a cake on his birthday. 

She created a complete support network and encouraged my friends in their times of need and sorrow. 

Doug

Then Jana had one last surprise for us in the final weeks of her life. An engagement


When my sis first told me about Jana having a boyfriend, my first words were, "That poor bastard, she's going to challenge him every day."

You couldn't just charm Jana. You had to earn it. She liked her men muscular, European model hot, and most of all, mute. I associate her with Cleopatra. A powerful, brilliantly smart woman that could run an empire, but yet would surround herself with 30 bronzed, ripped male slaves to accommodate her every whim, as long as silence was maintained. 

Doug shocked us all. Trips to SF and wine country. Initials in the sand. Dinner parties. Best of all, a giant smile and genuine affection. Doug filled the void in Jana's life and had the charm of a wealthy aristocrat. Classy, attentive, and a best friend. 

I could NEVER show pics of them to anyone I dated. Doug set the bar too high. He showered her with affection, gave her amazing life experiences, and reminded me what it was like to find your best friend. 

Jana's announcement on December 29th was amazing. Her Camilia bush had produced a single, beautiful flower, and Doug asked her to marry him. 

We all wanted that wedding BAD. It carried hope, it inspired others to hold out for love that is sincere and beautiful, and most of all, it was a pairing that was legendary. 

It was my version of Charles and Diana. I wanted so much for a huge ceremony, to see Jana in that dress, to see the looks of pride on her family's face. 

Thank you Doug, for making Jana's last weeks, her very best. I know that every day with you was a special gift to her. 

Blue Dragon

Jana's last actions in her life defined her support for my company. I wrote an article on free college and Jana spread it like wildfire. She believed strongly in self improvement and helping other people have the lives of their dreams. 

She was using tips from my Skinny Dragon Diet plan in the final week of her life. I was so proud of her. Spin class, managing portion sizes, nightly walks. As she told me, "Garcia, I don't want to get married in a circus tent." She was hellbent on getting in shape, on being a vision on her wedding day. 

Blue Dragon now has international life coaching clients, 7 books to its name, and I am a frequent speaker at high schools to help low income kids and adults find their success. 

Because of Jana, I will have no fear. I will push harder than ever to defeat my roadblocks and God help anyone that stands in my way. 

Thank you Jana, for supporting me, denying me any pity, and pushing me to be the best I possibly could. As she would often tell me in moments of uncertainty, "Pfffft, dont worry Garcia, you got this"


Please take a moment and subscribe to this blog. I promise that the content will change your life. Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear about your Jana stories as well. 

In the coming week, I will formally announce the Jana Cochrane Writing Scholarship to be awarded to young writers pursuing college careers in writing, English, or journalism. 

Details will be found at www.bluedragonent.com. 

Sincerely,
Dr. Rob Garcia










Sunday, January 4, 2015

Four Actions For Your Success in 2015.......................





It is that time of year again. The time when we make resolutions, promise ourselves that we will change and improve, and then give up around February. Why do we do this to ourselves, why are we consumed with improvement, yet don't have the discipline to maintain a healthy, productive life?

The answer is because we don't create LONG TERM habits, we create quick fixes that are not effective. Essentially, New Year's resolutions are like using a bucket to drain a lake.

I have been beach running now for about 8 years. I started off doing it after a relationship ended. I could barely do half a mile. I have regularly ran between 8-30 miles a week, but the point is, I kept it in my life. Why?

*time to think about life actions and options
*ability to cut 7 pounds in an hour
*clothes fit better
*builds both physical and mental stamina
*toughens you up for life's roadblocks
*amazing sunrises (I go at 5am)
*feel invincible after a 12 miler

By doing this, I created a chain reaction that fast tracks my life in other areas.

Beach run/creates self confidence/increases body fitness/amazing rush/increased charisma with others/feelings of strong leadership "alpha".

Now I am going to give you four actions that if followed, will help you to break the cycle of short resolutions, and keep a pattern of success actively working ALL YEAR ROUND.

1. View Food Differently

If you need a guide to eating better, my Skinny Dragon Diet Plan is available for free. It has helped a lot of people. The worst things you can put in your body during the week are:

sodas
chocolate/sugar candy
ramen/noodles/pasta
pastries
fast food
frozen food
beer
breakfast bread products (bagels/toast/cereal)


If you can cut down on these or just move them to once a week, your body will start working with you and being more efficient. Why? Because you aren't poisoning it anymore. The human body was not made to consume flour.

THE HUMAN BODY WAS NOT MADE TO CONSUME FLOUR.

Yes, it is that important. Feel free to Google the effects of flour on the body if you don't believe me.

Now, if you need ideas of what to eat during the week that will help you shape and build muscle:

Proteins:
tuna
cottage cheese
white cheese
eggs
protein shakes
fish (salmon/shrimp/talapia)
boneless skinless chicken breast

Fats:
grass fed butter
green olives
avacados
cheese
olive oil

Complex Carbs:
brown rice
beans
lentils
wheat germ

Use these foods and throw in some water based vegetables (squash, tomato, cucumber, celery) and you will be off to a better start. Buy a portable food cooler and a set of tupperware and start making your week's food Sunday night. Soak beans, chop up veggies, cook some meat. When Monday rolls around, you'll be in a better place to eat like a champion.

2. Exercise Three Times a Week

This is a tough one to begin but a fun one to maintain. Choose an activity:
Running
Cycling
Home Workout (jumping jacks, situps, pushups, side bends, squats)
Swimming
Hiking
Gym

Do this three times a week, 45 minutes minimum. Do NOT make excuses and cite your life situation. If you have a newborn, get him or her in a stroller and do a brisk walk in the evening. If you hate running, design a home workout or Youtube home workouts for ideas.

THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT BEING ACTIVE> NONE, ZERO, NADA

3. Get Some Side (Income)

A great way to ring in a new year is to make money by DOING ALMOST NOTHING.
Invest in a new stock or option:

One tactic is to look at what is going on. Lowest gas prices in years? You know it won't last, invest in an energy index. When cost of oil barrels go up, share prices for energy stocks go up.

Drones were legalized by the FAA this year. Invest in a drone company that is publicly traded. Demand equals sales equals higher profits equals higher stock prices.


Create a how to video, or write a short book and sell it. Information is a sell-able commodity. Are you really good at something? An expert in a field or topic? Create a product and sell it to others. I do it all the time. Market it on Linked In or Facebook. Need help creating it? Email me at www.bluedragonent.com.

4. Create a Network

This might be the most important one for your success in 2015. Find a group of like minded people and HELP THEM. My network includes a talented graphic artist, a music composer, an engineer that does comedy, a comic strip-drawing podcaster, a merchandising expert, and two fitness guys that are VERY knowledgeable. Any time that these people need my help, advice, or life coaching, I give it to them for free. Why? Because they do the same for me.

Your network is pivotal for your success. Each person you know well is a potential source of other powerful social contacts, potential clients, friends, and possibly income. Find networking friends off of Meetup.com, Facebook, Linkedin, and other group sites.

Well guys, this is it. I hope that you are inspired to take chances, do something great, build a powerful body, or get involved in people's lives. Remember, I am always here for you.

Dr. Rob





Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How to #LifeHack College

                                           How to #LifeHack College

I dedicate this article to Tim Ferriss who inspired me to find ways around life and to never stop learning.


At 17, I failed out of high school. I had to go to continuation school to graduate, then failed out of the next two colleges I went to. I wasn't dumb, I was a kinesthetic learner that was hyper intelligent with a penchant for boredom with traditional instruction. All I wanted to do was skateboard. Couple that in with a family of drug addicts, no role models, and living in a logging town with little industry and I was rocketing to failure.

At 38, I am a six degreed PhD with seven books written, my own success company, and a life coaching practice to help others reach their dreams.

For Christmas break, I decided to write a powerful article with far reaching implications: How to beat the traditional four year college program, which I find archaic and stifling, not to mention economically oppressive.

What hope does a young person have when they never took their SATs, never got past Pre-Algebra, and had no idea what an Associate's Degree was? According to society, if you don't attend a state school or UC, you have no value and will toil in the trenches, parking cars for a living or being a career server.

Not on my watch.

I not only turned out ok by attending a non state school (University of Phoenix), I learned enough in my program to start writing my own books, start my own skateboarding company, got on the news, was featured in Transworld Business, and now am life coaching clients in the US and Europe and getting paid for it. My new book Utopia, is based on these programs and is now FREE on the Blue Dragon Website at http://www.bluedragonent.com/utopia--a-guide-to-success-in-san-diego.html,

Here are some things I have found:


Tuition Free Colleges
The following colleges have tuition free programs:

Cooper Union, Ny
College of the Ozarks, Ms
Berea College, KY
Curtis Institute of Music, Pa
Alice Loyd College, Ky
Webb Institute, NY
Deep Springs College, Ca
Coast Guard Academy, Ct
Naval Academy, Md
Air Force Academy, Co
Merchant Marine Academy, Ny

The full link is here:

http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2012/12/10/20-colleges-providing-free-tuition/


Test for Credit
One way to get credit for courses without actually taking them, paying tuition or buying full priced textbooks is to take CLEP and DANTE exams. You literally can test for credit and they offer most freshman and sophomore level GE courses. These tests are free for active duty military and reservists. Here is an overview with a listing of the courses offered. TIP: Get a sample test, look up the textbook used to write it, and buy it used off Amazon. This will give you an edge for the real test.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_Level_Examination_Program

Military Advantage
For active duty military members, several colleges have "satellite" campuses that are covered by tuition assistance. You do not have to use your GI Bill or Post 9/11. I attended Embry Riddle and finished a Bachelor's, 2 Associate's and a minor in Aviation Safety in 2.5 years. Plus it was right by the dorms, so after work i would just walk over and go to class.


Paid Apprenticeships Leading to Free Associate's Degrees
This one surprised even me. Many junior colleges have work/class partnerships with local industries and companies. In San Diego, both City College and Southwestern College have apprenticeships for technical based degrees. You can literally sign up, get accepted, start collecting apprenticeship pay, AND GET A TUITION FREE ASSOCIATE'S that is transferable to a four year school. You can search in your town by doing a Google Search for your local junior college name, plus "apprenticeships." Imagine that, a free degree, PLUS pay. 


Fellowships/Scholarships
What better way to go through life, than the satisfaction of finding a free education. Here are fellowships and scholarships to help you:

https://www.profellow.com/announcements/top-10-summer-fellowships-of-2015/

http://www.collegechoice.net/50-top-college-scholarships/

http://www.switzernetwork.org/become-fellow

http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/12/2015-2016-teaching-and-principal-ambassador-fellowship-program-applications-now-available/

Free Training For High Paying Jobs
Finally, how about the greatest college hack of all? The "golden ticket" to a well paying career WITHOUT a degree?

I have saved the best for last. Many larger cities have free training according to career. They fall into different categories.

Google "Adult ROP Free Classes" and your town's name and see what pops up. In San Diego alone, they offer free classes for Electronic Tech, Automotive Tech, Computer Networking, and Graphic Design. This now puts you in the $14-$35 an hour pay range upon completion. Best of all, these classes are accelerated and are under two years.

Next, you can do a search for "Job Corps" and your town name. Job Corps is a state funded program that gives you free training with several industries to choose from, plus a stipend and free housing, if needed.

Are you ready for the "jaw dropper"; the most powerful tool I have found for free training?

The Dept. of Labor has a searchable database for every apprenticeship in nearly every state. This means you can search and find free, and in most cases, paid, training while you learn a new career.

Here is the link for California:
http://www.dir.ca.gov/databases/das/aigstart.asp

Here is the link for nationwide:
http://www.doleta.gov/oa/


If you need any help finding programs, email me and I'll help free of charge. dragonsgold76@gmail.com.

Remember, college is a tough choice, make sure that you pick the path that is right for YOU, not for anyone else. I believe in you and hopefully, you found some items today that will better your life .

Success in 2015,

Dr. Rob



















Wednesday, June 18, 2014

8 Ways to Supercharge Your Intelligence TODAY


8 Ways to Supercharge Your Intelligence TODAY by Dr. Robert Garcia

 


(Image courtesy of Stinta Technica)

 

 

We all dream of it. We wonder what it would be like to think faster, to recall information, to be able to effortlessly comprehend difficult concepts and processes. While I cannot promise you a four digit IQ like Eddie Moura from Limitless, I can share with you some of the techniques I have developed as an intelligence specialist and a six degreed author.

 

                Read these techniques carefully and more than once. Understand the concepts behind them and you will start to adapt them into your everyday life. They aren't just arbitrary concepts that I thought would make an interesting sounding article. They are the culmination of over 14 books I have read on higher intelligence, my everyday practices, and my analysis of geniuses throughout history.

 

1. Acceptance of Cognitive Ability

                The very first thing you will have to do is accept your higher intelligence. Tell yourself that you are going to be smarter, think faster, and take advantage of the fastest computer in recorded human history- your brain. Your belief systems will subconsciously cause you to behave in a more analytical way. The very act of telling yourself that you are a smart person will cause you to behave like a smart person.

 

                Wake up in the morning and say out loud, "I am going to have supercharged intelligence today" or "I am going to think like a genius today."

 

                Promise to adapt higher intelligence habits. Instead of watching TV, go to the library, or study some math that interests you. Read a Popular Science, or study a high IQ person. These are all great ways to start thinking at that next higher level.

 

2. Create Recognition and Familiarity

            As human beings, we tend to shy away from the unknown and the unfamiliar. This is a natural survival mechanism but does not always work in our favor. Many high school students become terrified of math as soon as they start to venture into material that they cannot grasp. The symbols, variables, and equations start to run together and the mind shuts down. This leads to a failure spiral that keeps many people from reaching their academic goals.

               

                The secret to overcoming these fears is repetition. Read hard to understand passages over and over, take notes on key points. Practice writing out problems or concepts until your muscle memory takes over. Once you start to recognize these concepts and problems, they are much less scary and not as intimidating. Doing daily reviews of challenging material can help to relax the brain and avoid negative reactions. I strongly recommend reading your information sources until "intellectual deja vu" appears.

 

3. Evolve From Surface Thinking

                Surface thinking is a concept that I invented a few years ago. If you have ten random people that are exposed to an event, what is the first impression that at least 8 of them have? That's surface thinking. The first reaction to something, the first thought process or statement. A truly intelligent person will learn to probe above just the surface and draw conclusions that are much more detailed and thought out.

 

                Here is an example. A high school student, a high school teacher, and a college professor with a PhD. all get a copy of Lord of the Flies and read it. The student, being a surface thinker, will describe it as a book with a weird kid on the cover with leaves on his face. It's about a bunch of kids on an island.

 

                The high school teacher will be able to describe it by chapters and be able to talk about main events and their place in the literary timeline of the book. They will be able to describe the tone and the characters.

 

                The college professor will understand the value of the book as a literary classic and be able to compare it to other literary classics that contain similar themes. They will be able to describe the significance of each character to the plotline of the story and even why they exist in the story. The professor can point out underlying messages to the reader and even to society as a whole. They will describe the author's intent and message with certain events and will be able to recognize major plot points and evolutions in the story.

 

                Can you see the difference in the three thought processes? The professor is functioning at the highest level because they have had an education that requires significant research, widening of intellectual thought, and expansion of spatial knowledge. They have long since surpassed surface thinking.

 

4. Gather High Tier Sources

                In the book Limitless, by Alan Glynne, the main character takes a pill that gives him superhuman intelligence. He quickly becomes an expert in many subjects which leads to his rapid ascension to success. We can emulate his actions and habits for our own purposes. When he wants to learn about the stock market, he gets high end books on options trading. He reads Bloomberg and follows several financial newspapers and magazines. He listens to high yield investors in the field and creates his own sphere of intelligence.

 

                When he is asked to take part in a multi-billion dollar corporate merger, he reads graduate level textbooks on corporate finance, learns about complex pricing models like the Black-Scholes Model, and studies past financial mergers that were similar in nature.

 

                Remember, you are only as good as the material you absorb. Your brain will naturally synthesize these materials and create fresh concepts for you. It's up to you to gather high tier sources to supercharge it into action.

 

5. Learn the Language

                When trying to learn new concepts, one of the fastest ways to quickly comprehend it is to "learn the language." All complicated processes or subjects have acronyms, commonly used terms, buzzwords, and vocabulary that is specific to that field.

 

                The quickest way to memorize their meanings and usage is by using flash cards and quizzing yourself. Practice using these terms in sentences and understanding their meaning.        Repeat acronyms to yourself until you can recall them effortlessly. Once you understand these terms, your comprehension of the subject matter will increase rapidly.

 

6. Create a Related Product

                In my book, The Next Level, I used Creation as a method of gaining mastery of a skill. By making a tangible product that is usable to others, you are demonstrating your aptitude and level of comprehension. Studying graphic design? Make an online portfolio. Learning to code? Create a flash animation. Studying electronics? Build a simple calculator or a voice changer.

 

                By creating a product, you are demonstrating that you understand and can apply the principles you have learned. You are increasing your aptitude and you are showing others that you can perform in this particular field.

 

7. Find the Pros

                When trying to gain a supercharged intellectual goal. it is always a good idea to seek out mentors. Who are the innovators in that particular field? Who is widely regarded as the best? Who stands out as a respected member of that community? That is the person you should be studying.

 

                Mentors show us what we can be, how to do things better, and can be great guides in our goals. Plus they are usually willing to share their processes, habits, and learned skills. In many occasions, a mentor can "see" if you are making a mistake and correct you. Learning from the best is a great way to advance mentally.

 

8. Develop Spatial Knowledge

                Your mind is a virtual universe of understanding and advanced neural networks just begging to be tested. Your spatial knowledge is your mental ability to draw diagrams of processes, to imagine scenarios, and complicated relationships between working parts, variables, or even people.

 

                Architects use spatial knowledge to imagine the structure of buildings long before the first beams are put together. Surgeons use spatial knowledge to imagine a medical procedure. Pilots use spatial knowledge to plot out flight routes in their head.

               

                You can use spatial knowledge to aid in your desire to think faster and understand things better. Use dry erase boards to map out processes. Learn how to tie parts together and their relationships. Use multiple sources of information like books or magazines to "paint" the picture mentally of what you are trying to learn. Think of an object such as a Toyota truck and rotate it in your head. Imagine moving it so its facing you, turned away from you and over you. This is spatial knowledge in it's basic form- the ability to imagine an object or process, to manipulate and tweak it, and to forecast the results mentally.

 

                Practice expanding your spatial knowledge on your desired topic and ask yourself, can I conceptualize this and could I teach it?

 

                Once the answer is yes, you know that you have now become smarter and are in a higher intellectual state than you started out at. Congratulations.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Want the Secrets to Completing Your Doctoral Dissertation? (Academic Version)


I was stunned at the response from all of my fellow UOP students. In one day 20 people responded to my post and at least 7 personally emailed me. I sat at work and thought about how I could write a second article, even more powerful, and that had specific tips for accelerating their success. This is what I compiled. Please read the following two quotes slowly and really absorb the words. They are carefully chosen for your success.

 

First I would like you to gain a solid understanding of what a Doctorate is.


"The objective of a doctoral degree is to create high quality research and verifiable findings that are relevant, thought provoking, and constitute a significant contribution to the existing body of research in your desired topic." - Dr. Robert Garcia

 

Next, I would like to offer my opinion as to what constitutes a doctoral student/candidate:

 

"A doctoral student/candidate synthesizes existing knowledge, draws conclusions and interjects their personal research and findings." -Dr. Robert Garcia

 

Now that I have shared what is expected of your work and yourself, I'd like to share several tips to aid your growth as a student/candidate.

 

Mentor/Committee- If you can't find faculty with the UOP resources, there is nothing wrong with politely writing as many faculty members as possible and asking them if they know anyone. I would also use Linkedin and use the search engine to see who pops up.

 

Residency- Take as many business cards as you can, and GET EVERYONE'S CONTACT INFO. These people are your comrades-in-arms and at times, will be your main source of strength after a challenge. The smartest thing I ever did was circulate a contact sheet and kept it close to my desk.

 

When you get to your dissertation, keep it at your level of confidence. This means if you are writing about healthcare, a dissertation involving hospital billing in 10 states will be a lot more complicated than writing about hospital billing in one city. I wrote about Project Based Learning and if I had gone with the original plan of using teen respondents, would have tripled the paperwork and complexity. The key word here is "manageable."

 

Creating powerful content is essential to your evolution as a student. About halfway through the journey, I started to realize that three sentences that were written at a high level could beat out three pages that were written "to get the job done." Think about the impact of statement. Write for content, not completion.

 

When you get to your dissertation, you will be tasked with writing at the highest level of comprehension. Don't let this intimidate you. You have 10 times as many resources as you think for drawing research from. Write with confidence and power. Here are several tactics I used to create a well received and comprehensive dissertation:

 

1. Don't get caught up in "Americanism." Foreign studies, journals, and research can benefit you GREATLY in your doctoral journey. Don't get caught in the trap of only using American resources and articles. Check foreign universities, trade journals, and studies. Has anyone from Oxford ever written a research paper on your topic or field? I used studies from Malaysia, India, and Australia for my work.

 

2. Are there similar organizations that have content or findings that can help? Don't just use Proquest, branch out. If you are writing about law, use articles from a law school, if you are writing about business, what does Wharton say about your topic? Are there trade journals or organizations that have content/research/findings that can strengthen your cause/paper?

 

3. Find relevant sub-topics that strengthen your writing and research. Remember to not create "fluff" but to build a cohesive foundation of knowledge. When I wrote about Project Based Learning, I researched the history of education, PBL practices in early education, the tie in with the ASVAB (military testing) and other schools that used PBL exclusively. This created a wider body of knowledge, and to be honest, made me a better subject matter expert on PBL.

 

4. Who are the pioneers in your topic? Are there people that can be written about? Anyone that has significantly affected the subject with research/achivement/findings?

 

5. Check for documentaries and public groups/organizations. It's perfectly acceptable to cite from media sources if they offer tangible and peer accepted information about your topic. PBS was cited for a documentary they created about early education.

 

6. Trade specific journals in your subject or degree grouping can offer a wealth of studies, articles, and knowledge. Here are a few tips for finding them:

 

Healthcare: Google "healthcare publications," "medical journals," "hospital trade journals"

 

Education: Google "educational journals," "school research magazines," and "education based publications"

 

7. Find real life examples. For my dissertation, I researched actual schools that have been written about that use PBL. Find out how people around the world are using your subject matter and creating results from it. Narrowing your Google search can provide educational gold.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I wanted it to be powerful and concise. If you have questions, don't hesitate to email me: dragonsgold76@gmail.com. My company website is found at www.bluedragonent.com. It has a listing of my books and services. I don't charge for helping students so feel free to write with questions.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Rob

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Next Level: Socratic Method

 
Socratic Method
 
 

(The Next Level series of blogs are a preview from my new book, also titled the Next Level. It contains 10 ways for a person to improve in any skill or career by adapting and combining instructional methods)


Socratic Method is traditionally a tool used in formal law studies. It involves a series of questions that are used to explore a concept. In my own ignorance of this topic, I always just thought it meant asking questions and being super annoying. In further research of the topic, the classic Socratic method goes like this:
1. Ask a general question about a topic.
2. Receive answer.
3. Formulate second question that creates ambiguity or direct contradiction.
4. Subject is forced to engage in deeper thought and clarification on subject.
5. Higher level of thought and subject understanding is created.

In all honesty, if I had a friend that did this every time we went to a bar, I would probably punch them out after a few times. The relevance of this concept remains though. I felt it is a valuable methodology for improvement and self assessment. Too often, we set life goals based on a vague concept of the end result. Once we achieve that end result, we can be ambushed by the REAL results of that goal. I have used this on myself after a conversation with a  friend that stated that my life "was out of equilibrium." He was completely right.

Here is how it would work:

Friend: Why are you getting a PhD?

Me: So I can write books and have credibility.

Friend: So you couldn't write books before? And you don't have life experience to establish credibility?

At this point, the second question creates a desire for me to learn about the many reasons people choose a doctoral program. Among them, increased earning potential, increased self esteem, the struggle of challenge, and a higher degree of research ability.

The third question would make me ponder the fact that MANY people have credibility without education, and they gain this from life experience, practice, recommendations from others, and professional reputation.

So in hindsight, my first answer wasn't wrong, just limited in scope.

Now imagine using Socratic Method in your life, to further yourself in your career, your life, and your goals. It really can help you if done correctly.

Dr. Rob
















Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Isolation of Doctoral Studies



Recently at Doctoral residency, we had a long discussion about what its like to be a Doctoral student. One topic really hit home. It had never occurred to me that other people were going through the same issues I was. University of Phoenix is mainly online in the Doctoral program. Once a year, you meet for residency with other students around the country.

A Doctorate is considerably more difficult than other degrees. Even a Master's degree does not have the level of analytical complexity. For a Bachelor's degree, most students attend classes, take tests, and are awarded a degree upon the successive completion of all courses. In a Master's program, a student will attend classes for two years, use a formal writing format, such as APA or MLA, and be required to complete a Master's thesis.

A Doctorate requires a long series of classes, the creation of a study, several approvals of the study, then a dissertation usually over a hundred pages, conducting the study, compiling the results, and completing the dissertation with a minimum standard of perfect. Once it is approved, the student must go through a process known as defense, in which they are questioned by several faculty members in an attempt to prove that the candidate is a subject matter expert. To say it is difficult is a gross understatement.

Any Doctoral student will face challenges that they cannot adequately prepare for. They will lose friends, boy/girlfriends, spouses, and life experiences. The longer it takes to complete the program, the more the student has felt that they have given up.

I have now been in the program for six years. I have had to request approval for my proposal four times, I requested 20k for student loans, and received 4k, and had to wait 6 months to receive the funds. APA changed so my dissertation needed major revisions, and UOP completely changed their grading criteria for dissertations, mid program. My dissertation has been rejected and sent back twice. I am now at the stage of waiting for school approval and then defense. As unpleasant as this all sounds, my experiences have been minor compared to other student tales I have heard.

I have heard of students that cannot find a mentor, that have had to search for a committee, or change topics halfway through the program. In comparison, my obstacles have been difficult, but manageable. The topic that hit home at this last residency was loneliness. Doctoral students have to embark on an educational journey that most people cannot understand. Its a lot more than writing a paper, more than researching a newspaper article. Try reading 200 articles, choosing 110, citing and referencing them, and applying them in your dissertation so that it makes sense and is formatted correctly. I had to correct revisions three times. This means taking a 70-95 page document and fixing markups that were on each page. That sound you hear? Three weekends gone.

While your friends are going on vacations, going out to dinner, seeing concerts, or getting family time, you are locked in front of your computer. You have to turn your phone off. You learn that working on your dissertation for 9 hours is not only normal, its expected. The hardest part is that you don't get to work in person with other candidates. Other students can be across the country. Residency is a vital part of this program. It hits home when you get to talk to other people going through the experience.

We discussed methods of dealing with this isolation. Depression and frustration is common amongst Doctoral students. A person receives no recognition until the very end. It feels like the dissertation will never get done, and random setbacks, paperwork issues, family fights, and a feeling of loneliness are normal.

We suggested creating a support group, explaining to family exactly what you will go through, using humor to cope, planning family celebrations to commemorate milestones, and creating a community of Doctoral learners. If you know a Doctoral candidate, support them. Text them that you are proud of them, take them coffee when you know they are studying, ask them how things are going. Chances are, they really need a boost. Sometimes a phone call or supportive text can be all they need to get past a challenging section they are trying to write.

As I near the end of my Doctoral journey, I look back and see how my life has changed since I began. I have fewer friends, I am a more successful writer, I am technically a subject matter expert on Project Based Learning, and soon I will complete one of the highest educational achievements available. It has been a tough journey, but my friends and family provided the map.

To future Doctoral students, I wish you luck and successful studies. I will always be available to help you.