Mountain Minute: Where have our manners gone?

Where have the simple "please", "thank you", and "you're welcome" gone? Did you say them when you passed around the dishes this past Thanksgiving?

Philosophical Engineering

Everything is potentially a click away online and we all realize that our phones has made an impact on the way we communicate with others. There is next day delivery. There are faster internet speeds and stronger WIFI signals. People on the road seem to be driving quicker. Horns are louder. Phones are always on with faces buried in them.

And the gestures of honking horns, flipping the finger, and ignoring the presence of another with your face buried in your phone, has become not only more common, but part of our culture it seems. Is a text with an emoji sufficient with a "thumbs up" like in acknowledging something someone has done for you? I don't know the answer, but I get this feeling that our manners are disappearing collectively. 

Mountain Minute: What I learned at NADCAP last week might surprise you

Despite NADCAP being a requirement for companies that provide services for the aerospace industry, what I took away from last week's training surprised me.

Philosophical Engineering

Today in a capitalistic and individualistic mentality culture, competition is expected. Increasing profits, minimizing mistakes, and cheaper prices with higher quality over your competitors. However, at the NADCAP conference last week in Pittsburgh, PA, one of the instructors stated that even though companies like Boeing, Bell, Lockheed Martin, and so on are in competition with one another, they all agree over one thing and will actually fly in all over the world to discuss it.


Last week's meeting was about the guidelines to practice the most efficient ways to produce quality service and product. It almost seems appropriate that quality would be something we could all agree on, because don't we all want a better quality of life?

Mountain Minute: Mindful Running

Every step counts in running a race or even running a business. 

Philosophical Engineering

Marathon running has always created a space for me to let my mind and body run free. But free to the extent that the race course has specific turns to take and that the race has certain rules to follow. Similar to when I compare my running to that of helping run a business, that space to "run" free must be created. That even though it feels like many rules are needed to be followed, I still try to find that "zone" to work in.

Mountain Minute: Is creativity allowed in a stable workplace?

Organizations want stability and change, but realize that it takes creativity to innovate solutions to problems that deter stability and change. 

Philosophical Engineering

However, creativity often is associated with taking risks towards solutions of problems. Individuals must find a way to be creative in every aspect of their workday. Even it if it technically isn't "given". 

Mountain Minute: When I know I’m wrong

When I know I'm wrong is a specific feeling. It isn't when I realize that I didn't get enough "likes" on my social media or when I can mask my mistake with a biased selfie or insecure post of something positive. 

Philosophical Engineering

I know I'm wrong when there is consequential feedback. Feedback not from social media, but rather feedback that isn't easy to always swallow when I make a mistake. It is feedback that makes me sink for a moment to reflect on the mistake that was made, feeling almost to the point that I did something wrong and know it is bad. This is when I know and feel that I'm wrong.

What is tough, is that there aren't many places to make mistakes and learn in a capitalistic society. That my mistakes and associated feelings have no place at an organization's bottom line. And yet, in a way that feels wrong. 

Mountain Minute: When conflict is necessary

Levi (2015) suggests there are misperceptions when it comes to conflict in that it is "bad and should be avoided", causes misunderstandings, or everyone's concerns will be addressed.

Philosophical Engineering

And yet Levi (2015) further goes on to suggest that conflict is normal in the development of team based processes. That teams avoiding conflict are actually doing a disservice to the members and possibly the organization as a whole. Levi (2015) recommends we need to all increase our emotional intelligence that involves self-awareness, empathy towards others, management of one's own emotions, and management of relations with others. 

It's not easy, but I always remind myself of the words Frederick Douglas (abolitionist during the Civil War) gave to a young man when asked what to do with his life, "agitate". 

Levi, D. (2015) Group dynamics for teams Thousand Oasks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Mountain Minute: Social media is NOT socializing

There are many posts being posted explaining the many benefits of "socializing" on social media platforms. And yet there is a contradiction of this sort of claim in terms of engagement in communication with that of psychological research studies.

Philosophical Engineering

In the work of Pentland (2012) three aspects were identified as being important to communication. The first being the energy that a person or persons exchange, then the level of engagement, and finally the concept of exploration as it relates to communication beyond the immediate parties involved. Pentland (2012) also suggests that it is the manner in "how" we communicate and not necessarily "what" we communicate that makes the difference of productivity. That face-to-face communication is most valuable in terms of energy levels than use of texting/emailing. 

We need to recognize that social media is a tool, despite the emojis and hashtag energy we incorporate and that it is not a replacement for how human beings communicate effectively with one another. If you're not convinced, physically go out "socializing" and see how many people are on their phones in public... 


Pentland, A. (2012). The new science of building great teams. Harvard Business Review, 90(4), 60-69.

We need more action. Not posting.

Less posting...

Philosophical Engineering

... and MORE doing.

No more re-posting or liking what "10 successful things people do" or "Top 3 habits of highly motivated people". Implement these suggestions and DO THEM. 

Mountain Minute: Stop posting quotes!

"I quote thee to make myself look..."

Philosophical Engineering

We all want our voice heard. Especially more than ever with online presence where our pixels get shared with anyone who has access to internet around the world. And yet we often list quotes that have all but become more than cliche, but annoying. We get it. We all want to think like Einstein and Zig Ziglar. And whether you justify your quotes like the writings on the wall to motivate you or to simply share the words of the wise, my question is really in the curiosity of how the quote was applied.

That when we all read these quotes, what do we do with them? How did it shape one's thinking or behaviors? I would personally rather see more posts like that. 

Mountain Minute: Millennials are lazy… says who?

I often find it insulting when I'm accused as a Millennial who is lazy and fails to work hard in life. That I complain about things needing to always come instantaneously to me on my phone. 

Philosophical Engineering

What is fascinating is looking at the people who actually are accusing Millennials of being these stereotypes. Most them are older people. So what credibility is there in describing a generation that they are not? This seems hardly acceptable. Would I criticize Lebron James about his work ethic in basketball, when clearly I'm not a basketball player and not even at his level?

I agree that technology has changed the way we operate and that we are used to downloading and streaming information quicker than before. That there is a misperception that hard work is lost when we don't have our face buried in books, but instead our phones.

But to change the direction of the accusations, it seems more appropriate to consider the effects of the Shallowing Hypothesis. That the more we (that is anybody and not just Millennials) use technology that promotes rapid communication style, without balancing it with a slower paced style, do we put ourselves into a position that has trained us to be inefficient at engagement in reflective thinking.