Thursday, May 26, 2011

Whirlwind Tour of the Forces shaping the World in which we Live.!!

Bas Baskaran

We are all affected by socio-economic trends in our careers and personal lives. At the recent annual meeting in Savannah, GA, of the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), a group composed of major U.S. manufacturers of industrial safety products, economist Brian Beaulieu presented a 2.5-hour whirlwind tour of the forces shaping the world in which we live.

Beaulieu's views have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Barron's, Reuters and Forbes, among other outlets. He is chief economist for Vistage International, a global organization comprised of 14,000+ CEOs. He and his twin brother Alan currently have a show, "Make Your Move," on Voice America Business Channel.

The summary of highlights that follows does not specifically focus on workplace safety. But in Beaulieu's big picture blend of research-based facts and trends, plus predictions and opinions, you will see forces affecting professional health and safety careers, as well as current and emerging issues in the profession.

You won't agree with every opinion and prediction here - the old saying, "You can put economist end-to-end around the world and they'll never reach an agreement" - but Beaulieu's breadth of trends reporting is worth considering.

Predictions and Recommendations

1 - Buy agriculture commodity stocks.

2 - Our earth has a billion more people to feed.

3 - Be prepared for weather disruptions in the next 10-15 years worse than anything in the past 20 years.

4 - Long-term: look for a Great Depression between 2030-2040. You'll likely be on the sidelines, but your kids...

5 - Short-term: Not another recession until 2013-14, and it won't be nearly as bad as the last one.

6 - President Obama will be re-elected in 2012, due to good, positive economic conditions and weak GOP opposition.

7 - Japan's industrial production is dying.

8 - Who's afraid of China? The U.S. out-manufactures China on an everyday basis. Outsourced manufacturing is returning to the U.S. Strengthening the U.S. manufacturing base is a question of will, not ability.

9 - Pay no mind to Chinese economic data. No one does. It has no credibility.

10 - China faces a looming demographic crisis. China and the U.S. have roughly the same land mass. But China has four times the population of the U.S. China will not overtake the U.S. as the world's number one economic power. It lacks mineral wealth. China will be a consistent number two. We should stop looking over our shoulder for China coming up from behind. It ain't going to happen.

11 - Waiting on India: Conditions are ripe for India to become a stronger world economic power. Infrastructure is the number one problem facing the country. India has been poised to break out for 20 years.

12 - A lack of mobility exists in the U.S. workforce. There are 13 million unemployed, with three million job openings that can't be filled. People cannot up and move to where the jobs are due in part to the lousy housing market. They can't sell their homes.

13 - Mining is and will be one of the U.S. economy's stronger sectors.

14 - U.S. manufacturing produces only moderate job increases. A lack of skilled workers exists. Also, there exists a preference to employ machines over people.

15 - Unemployment will remain high. In 2014, look for the unemployment rate to be at 7.4 percent. Barriers to lowering unemployment: lack of workforce mobility; lack of workforce skills; the U.S. government has incentivized people not to work. It pays people not to work.

16 - Federal budget cuts will not be draconian. Any cut is met with the question: What is this going to do to jobs? Cuts hurt jobs. Politicians need to stay in office. They will not inflict severe budget cuts.

17 - Both Democrat and GOP deficit reduction plans are based on the assumption that the U.S. economy will grow at a 5.0 percent clip from 2010-2019. Since World War 2, average Gross Domestic Policy (GDP) has been 3.3 percent. Current deficit reduction plans on both sides of the aisle ain't gonna happen.

18 - Current U.S. federal government spending outlays: #1 Social Security; #2 Non-discretionary spending; #3 Defense; #4 Medicare; #5 Net interest; #6 All other entitlements; #7 Medicaid; #8 Obamacare subsidies; #9 Iraq and Afghanistan.

19 - Healthcare in the scheme of overall federal spending is not a big number.

20 - 80 percent of healthcare costs are incurred in the last two years of life.

21 - The definition of "fair" in U.S. healthcare spending is not equal opportunity but equal outcomes.

22 - It's not about politics, about Dems or the GOP. The biggest factor influencing economic policy today is the times we live in.

23 - There is no credit crunch in 2011. Cash is sloshing all around. Main Street bankers (not Wall Street) want to loan money, but regulators sitting in their lobby restrain them. Need a loan? Be persistent. Ask 21 times for a loan. Shop around. The average is to ask for a loan only four times, and then give up.

24 - Corporate balance sheets look good. They are very clean.

25 - An economically realistic price for a barrel of oil is $97. The price could reach $140-$150 in 2013. Any price north of $130 will make consumer consumption difficult. At that price point consumers must make choices about how to consume oil.

26 - Natural gas is the best bet for U.S. energy independence. Natural gas = electricity generation. If one-third of the U.S. population drove hybrid autos or diesel-powered vehicles, we wouldn't need Saudi oil. We wouldn't need the Middle East. Energy independence is within our grasp. But independence comes at a premium price most of us cannot afford.

27 - Look outside of the U.S. for your stock choices. Foreign firms or global U.S. firms with more than 50 percent of their revenue coming from sales outside of the U.S. Bonds will be going down in value.

28 - It will be an inflationary world in the next 20 years. Winners will be those countries wealthy in natural resources. Canada and Brazil, for instance. Australia and New Zealand.

29 - The U.S. economy is currently running on six of eight cylinders. Residential and non-residential construction is still down and out. But the recovery is better than the last one in 2004. Businesses are investing. The restaurant business is coming back. Hotel, motels and lodging business is rebounding. Consumers are spending again.

30 - Invest in eye care and bladder care healthcare companies. Demographics favor these kinds of healthcare businesses.

31 - We possess three-year memories. After a three-year period we tend to forget experiences. The Great Recession ended in 2009. By mid-2012 it will be out of mind. It will no longer be a behavioral determinant.

32 - Invest in residential real estate. New housing starts are as dead as a doornail. Existing homes and apartments are where 130 million new Americans by 2050 will live.

33 - Population winners and losers at the state level: Biggest gains - Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, and Florida; Biggest losses - Michigan, New York, Ohio, Idaho, and New Jersey.

34 - The low-cost global labor pool will move to Africa from Asia.

35 - Pot shops are making a comeback, have you noticed? So, too, record album turntables and long-playing (LP) vinyl records. Life, like the economy and the seasons, is cyclical, not a non-stop linear progression. Currently, Baby Boomers are nostalgic for the 1960s, and their kids are curious about the decade's zeitgeist.

Bas Baskaran

Quality Manager


Ph: 815.873.4042

Friday, May 6, 2011

200,000 school-going children drop-out of school annually in SRILANKA..!!!

School drop-outs Friday, 06 May 2011 09:27
By Olindhi Jayasundere

An estimated 200,000 school-going children drop-out of school annually in the country, Commissioner of Probation and Childcare Services, Sarath Abeygunawardena said

Abeygunawardena said that most drop-outs quit school at the ages between 10 years and 14 years. He said however that dropping out of school sometimes starts as early as the age of five. Due to the lack of education some parents believe that a school education up to grade five is more than adequate for their children, he said.

He added that the issue was most common in single parent homes where families are run solely by women, families in which mothers are employed in the Middle East or due to poverty. “There are a number of social and economic issues that lead to this problem,” Abeygunawardena said. “If we can control the number of school drop-outs we can control child labor, child trafficking and other types of abuse that children are subject to,” he said.

The Probation and Childcare Services Department along with the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs will organize an awareness program for children who drop out of school today in the Palindha Divisional Secretariat in Kalutara. Abeygunawardena said that the department began an awareness and development program in 2009 to address the problem. “Since then the number of drop-outs in the area have declined from an estimated 500 to about 200,” he said.

Similar programs have been held in other areas in the Kalutara, Kurunegala and Moneragala district, he said. “We hope to implement such programs in other areas of the country to reduce the number of drop-outs island wide,” he said.

He said a multi-disciplinary approach was necessary to address the issue by including parents, teachers, principals, childcare authorities, the police and other stakeholders.

courtesy to ''

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We are born, we learn, we mature, we reproduce, we age, we forget and ultimately we are forgotten! Collectively we induce great change in the world.!!

It all begins and ends in your head

"You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you" Heraclitus of Ephesus (540 BC - 480 BC)

We are born, we learn, we mature, we reproduce, we age, we forget and ultimately we are forgotten. Collectively we induce great change in the world. These dynamics of living makes a constancy of philosophy even during an individual life time seem inappropriate.

There is a very long tradition of thought that focuses on the importance of belief revision. As we can see from the two quotes above, even more than two and half thousand years ago it became obvious to people of different cultures that is productive to consider the importance of change.

Our beliefs help us provide stability in our lives by separating into isolate compartments everything in order to make sense of the world. As an example if you see a group of youths on the street on trailer motor cycles, wearing black T-shirts and tattoos on wrists and being rowdy, you might immediately try and separate them as follows: youths - loud - black T-shirts- Trailer bicycles - tattoos - street corner - dark = dangerous = steer clear = fight or flight.

This is a very simple example but one that shows where our beliefs lead us and what actions it prompts us to take once we have boxed all the relevant categories and then put them together and then formulate a belief. Obviously beliefs are upheld the more we come into contact with that particular scenario, like the one quoted.

Digging deep
Just think for a while. How many of your beliefs have you questioned in your life? Not that many I suspect because you have never had to question them, you've never had evidence to the contrary to cause a massive shift from one belief to another.

Let me give you a little exercise: List the things you believe to be true about yourself: My list would be; intelligent, honest, good looking, a bit overweight, inner confident, and so on. Now try to think of each belief and ask where it came from. For example I believe I am intelligent because I have a degree, I read a lot, I pick up things easily etc. Now, all of these reasons are beliefs within themselves e.g. I believe that people who read a lot is a sign of intelligence. Now this is not the case as it would depend on what the person was reading, so therefore I have to refine that belief to; people who read, what I class, as intelligent books are intelligent.

Break this down further; how do I know that the people reading these intelligent books? Are they actually grasping the words they are reading? So therefore I have to refine the belief again to; people who read and comprehend intelligent books are intelligent.

Now I have the dilemma of asking what comprehension really is. We can dig deeper and deeper until we unearth the core of a belief which is nothing really than a set of other beliefs.

Where does this leave us? Does it mean all our beliefs are unsubstantiated? No, it means if we dig deep enough we may find some of our beliefs are unfounded, find they are outdated, and do not fit with our lives.

Placebo effect
Our beliefs are important for they strongly influence our sense of well being and our actions in the world. Scientific beliefs shape the way we see the world and the way we develop technology. Political beliefs affect our welfare.

Legal beliefs help to make our societies function in the way that they do. Moral beliefs influence the way we treat others. Religious beliefs, in the widest sense, strongly influence our view of our origins, our deaths and the nature of reality as well as having a strong social influence

I, like many others, contend that we should become a civilisation of questioning thinkers rather than unquestioning believers. Scientific and analytical philosophical methods show us the advantage of learning to modify beliefs in the light of observation and the value in making new observations.

Studies of the placebo response reveal our ability to alleviate every imaginable health condition and symptom 30 to 90 percent of the time, based only on our belief in the effectiveness of medical treatment. Hypnosis, which is successfully used to control or eliminate a wide variety of unpleasant symptoms, also shows the power of expectation and attitude on health.

Spontaneous remissions from cancer often come about when beliefs change-when patients reinterpret their symptoms and alter their attitudes about their lives.

The influence of beliefs upon health cannot be overstated. This is in keeping with the main rule of consciousness, "You get what you concentrate upon." Our thoughts and emotions follow our beliefs and create the attitudes, assumptions, expectations, and behaviours that determine how we react to life events and what we think is possible.

Our beliefs are the furnishings of our mind, put in place by us. They are not the result of mysterious unconscious forces that are beyond our control. Choosing to become aware of our beliefs is the first step in rearranging them to better suit us.

Technology is fuelling radical change in beliefs. Five years ago who would have "believed" that over 500 million people globally would be engaged on Facebook? Who would have "believed" that the internet would have drawn billions of dollars annual in advertising revenue? Who would have "believed" that real-time communications would create addictive behaviour from the human network? What business leader would have "believed" that everything they say and do would be transparent to the marketplace? These changes would have been and still are consider radical. More importantly these changes are indeed changing our beliefs.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Extraverts, who are energetic and talkative, were much more likely to remember the past positively and be happier as a result.!!!

Happiness is looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses
May 4, 2011, 9:22 pm

Remembering the good times and forgetting about the bad are the keys to happiness, claims a new study.

By Richard Alleyne,
Science Corresponden

Researchers found that people with personality traits that allow them to be nostalgic about the past have higher life satisfaction than those who exaggerate or mull over their failures.

They found that extroverted people had the best ability to do this whereas those with neurotic tendencies were the worst.

The study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, suggests that outlook rather than experience and fortune has a strong influence on overall happiness.

It also suggests that by changing certain traits, rather than a whole personality, individuals could greatly improve their happiness levels.

The researchers at San Francisco State University looked at the personality traits and the relative happiness levels of 750 student volunteers.

The used a standardised personality test to see how it relates to their outlook and life satisfaction.

The "Big Five" test assesses how extroverted, neurotic, open, conscientious and agreeable a person is by rating them on a scale for each personality trait.

Each volunteer was asked to describe how accurately each trait describes them on a one to nine scale with one being extremely inaccurate and nine being extremely accurate.

They were assessed about their "time perspective" – a concept coined by Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo to describe whether an individual is past, present or future orientated.

This was done by asking them to evaluate their past, present and future describing whether they felt they saw them in a positive or negative light.

Finally they were tested for overall life satisfaction.

"We found that highly extroverted people are happier with their lives because they tend to hold a positive, nostalgic view of the past and are less likely to have negative thoughts and regrets, said the study author Professor Ryan Howell, a psychologist at San Francisco State University.

"People high on the neurotic scale essentially have the exact opposite view of the past and are less happy as a result.

"This is good news because although it may be difficult to change your personality, you may be able to alter your view of time and boost your happiness," Prof Howell said.

The authors suggest that "savouring" happy memories or "reframing" painful past experiences in a positive light could be effective ways for individuals to increase their life satisfaction.

Numerous studies over the last 30 years have suggested that personality is a powerful predictor of a person’s life satisfaction.

These latest findings help explain the reason behind this relationship.

"Personality traits influence how people look at the past, present and future and it is these different perspectives on time which drive a person’s happiness," Prof Howell said.

To assess time perspective, participants were asked such questions as whether they enjoy reminiscing about the "good old days" or whether they believe their future is determined by themselves or by fate.

People’s view of the past had the greatest effect on life satisfaction.

Extraverts, who are energetic and talkative, were much more likely to remember the past positively and be happier as a result.

People high on the neurotic scale, which can mean being moody, emotionally unstable and fretful, were more likely to have an anguished remembrance of the past and to be less happy.

© The Telegraph Group


Monday, May 2, 2011

Self-esteem is a major key to success! The development of a positive self concept/ healthy self esteem is extremely important to happiness & success!

Self esteem boosts personality development

Self-esteem is a major key to success. The development of a positive self concept or healthy self esteem is extremely important to happiness and success of children and teenagers. This is very important even for the adults.

All humans have a need to be respected. Also known as the 'belonging need', esteem represents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People need to engage themselves in something to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give them a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and valued, be it a profession or hobby. Imbalances at this level can result in low self esteem or an inferiority complex.

In other words, self esteem is how we feel about ourselves and our behaviour clearly reflects those feelings. According to eminent psychologists, the first five years of any human is the deciding factor or the best period of life.

Our behaviour reflects how we feel about ourselves

During this period the child should make his path to high self esteem. For example a child with high self esteem will later be able to:
* act independently
* assume responsibility
* take pride in his accomplishments
* tolerate frustration
* attempt new tasks and challenges
* handle positive and negative emotions
* offer assistance to others

On the other hand, a child with low self-esteem will:
* avoid trying new things
* feel unloved and unwanted
* blame others for his own shortcomings
* feel or pretend to feel emotionally indifferent
* be unable to tolerate normal level of frustration
* look down on his own talents and abilities
* be easily influenced

Parents, more than anyone else can promote their child's self esteem. Most parents do it without even realizing that their words and actions have great impact on how their child or teenager feels about himself.

Suggestions for boosting self esteem
When you come across something commendable about your child, mention it to him. A mother of two daughters aged 11 and 13 in Kamburupitiya maintains a note book to record all good deeds of her daughters, each marked with a star. At the end of the month she counts the stars and rewards each child accordingly.

But in our country, a majority of parents are often quick to express their disappointment, but do not get around to commending their children. Children do not know when you are feeling good about them and they need to hear it from you. Especially in the mornings as children get ready to go to school, they could hear only the negative and frustrating comments of parents. Parents forget that children remember positive statements.

They store them up and 'replay' these statements to themselves. Practice giving your child words of encouragement.

Praise should be in public and discipline in private. Use 'descriptive praise' to let your child know when they are doing something well. You must of course be in the habit of noticing situations in which your child is doing a good or displaying talent.

When your child completes a task or chore you could say, "I really like the way you arranged your room. You found a place for everything and put each thing in its place." This is Seiton.

When you observe them showing a talent you may say, "That song you sung a little while ago was great. You really have a talent for music." Don't be afraid to praise them, even in front of family or friends. Use praise to point out positive traits. For instance, "You are a very kind" or, "I like the way you stick to things even when it's tough." You can even praise a child for something he did not do by saying "I really liked how you accepted 'no' for an answer without losing your temper."

Teach your child to practice making positive self statements. Self talk is very important. Psychologists have found that negative self talk is behind depression and anxiety. What we think determines how we feel and how we feel determines how we behave. Therefore, it is important to teach children to be positive about how they 'talk to themselves'.

Arrange some kind of tapes for your child to listen on 'Self image for children' or 'Successful teens'. These tapes combine relaxation techniques along with positive self statements and mental pictures to help kids and teens develop their self esteem.

Criticism that takes the form of ridicule or shame should be avoided. There is no argument that sometimes it becomes necessary to criticize a child's actions and the parents have every right to do so. When, however the criticism is directed at the child's personality, it can easily turn into ridicule. It is important to use 'I statements' rather than 'You statements' when criticising. For instance say, "I would like you to keep your clothes in your closet or drawers not lying all over your room," rather than saying "Why are you such a lazy slob? Can't you take care of anything?"

Teach your child about decision making and to recognize when he or she has made a good decision. Have you noticed that Children make decisions? The reality is that they make decisions all the time, but often are not aware that they are doing so. There are a number of ways parents can help children improve their ability to consciously make wise decisions.

1. Help the child clarify the problem that is creating the need for a decision. Ask him questions that pinpoint how he see, hear and feel about a situation and what may need to be changed.

2. Brainstorm the possible solutions. Usually there is more than one solution or choice to a given dilemma and the parent can make an important contribution by pointing out this fact and by suggesting alternatives if the child has none.

3. Allow the child to choose one of the solutions only after fully considering the consequences. The best solution will be one that solves the problem and simultaneously makes the child feel good about him or herself.

4. Later join the child in evaluating the results of that particular solution. Did it work out well? Or did it fail? If so, why? Reviewing the tactics will equip the child to make a better decision the next time around. Develop a positive approach to providing structure for the child. All kids and teens need to accept responsibility for their behaviour. They should learn self discipline.

To help children learn self discipline, the parent needs to adopt the role of coach or teacher rather than that of disciplinarian and punisher. Learn the 'Three Fs' of positive parenting. (Discipline should be fair, firm and friendly).