Do we ever lose our creativity?

Light blue background with 14 colored pencils: Yellow, light orange, lime, green, dark green, sky blue, blue, purple, magenta, red, orange, light brown, brown, black, and gray.
[ ID: Light blue background with 14 colored pencils: Yellow, light orange, lime, green, dark green, sky blue, blue, purple, magenta, red, orange, light brown, brown, black, and gray. ]
When I was in high school, I used to write a lot of stories after I came from school and weekends. Writing has always been my comfort which it helped me through rough times during my teenage years.  I would write stories ranging from fantasy worlds to writing about my favorite TV shows and video games. Writing was my escape where I played around with my imagination a lot.

Beyond just writing, I used to draw a lot and joined an online art community when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I made a lot of friends, who were enthusiastic artists and love to share their creative works to the world. Every night, I would draw or write to share with my artist friends. As I got older, I fear that I would lose my creativity, making me a bit obsessive to write or draw anything that came off the top of my head. I thought the older I would I get, the less creative I would get.

While it is true that age may play a factor and having more responsibilities when you get older could contribute to being less creative.  It may not be the case completely from what I learned.

A blog article called, Does age make you any less creative? and it shows a view of why and how people tend to be less creative over time.  Tanner pointed out,

The reason so many adults begin to feel as though they aren’t as creative as they once were is because they lock themselves into situations that are repetitive or boring.

Maybe that might not be true for all adults, but I remember speaking with adults who “used to be creative” were in situations like this when I was younger. It provokes me with this fear growing up to be an uncreative adult.  The truth is that no one loses their creative, but we can lose our motivation to be creative. Tanner’s article also pointed out some good tips about how to keep in touch with your creative side. One tip was to break out of routine sometimes to challenge yourself.  Which is a good idea if you want to exercise your creative muscles.

In conclusion, it was a silly thought of me to think that I would simply lose my creative side just by growing older.  So during the holiday season, I was able to find the time to write short stories which I ended up writing longer during the day. I also had fun doing it just as I did when was a teenager. Creativity never ends when you get old!

So, what do you do keep your creative muscles up? Do you ever feel that you were less creative when you get older or you still feel same?




Testing Limits

[A wooden fence surrounded by trees, weeds, and tall grass.]
[A wooden fence surrounded by trees, weeds, and tall grass.]
Sometimes when you have limitations, it can be hard to do the best that you can. Sometimes it is good to learn to know your limits. As someone who is hard of hearing, trying to find what my limitations are when it comes to communicating with others can be tricky. Over 16 years growing up with hearing loss, I learned the trials and errors of communication.  Here are few of examples of what I learned from these trials and errors:

  • I  have a hard time hearing other people on the telephone.

When I was younger, I seemed to have better hearing back then. I used to talk to my friend for hours on the phone which is probably the last time I ever talked on the phone.  Today,  I started embracing the art of written communication and using captioning technology when my hearing started to fail.   This was a lifesaver. There are still days I will always struggle with phone calls, but it was always good to know that I have a backup communication method.

  • Going to loud gatherings are difficult for me.

Loud places are not for me! After going to many social gatherings, it was difficult to hear people talking over each other and also adding background noises. The best I could do is position myself near people with my “better” ear. While this doesn’t solve the problem completely. It is good enough to at least be aware of what people are talking about.

  • Understanding people can challenge most times since my ability to understand what others are saying can depend on the situation.

This is self-explanatory from the second bullet.  My ability to hear well depends on the environment, hearing aids, noise level, and the technology I have available to me. Even with all these things, it will never be 100%. The best I can do is to try the best I can do to able to communicate effectively.

Sometimes looking into your own personal awareness can help you understand your limitations. It helps you learn what you can’t do and how to solve problems in different ways. While my problems relate to just hearing loss, everyone has limitations in a way.  Nothing will be 100% perfect. Do your best to know your limits and think of alternative ways to solve everyday life’s problems.

Different Paths of Success

[ Image: Picture of multiple railroad tracks crossing over each other.]
[ Image: Picture of multiple railroad tracks crossing over each other.]
Hello again!

It has been a while since my last blog post.  Life had got crazy for me! I just started a new volunteer job, which it would take me a little while to get back into the hang of blogging again!

Today’s blog post will focus on the personal development side. I wanted to talk about the topic of success. Whenever I read about “successful people”, I often find these articles inspiring and uplifting on how others have succeeded and overcome challenges. People like seeing success stories; while these stories are often on the front page of LinkedIn and many social media sites.  However, sometimes people get hung up on the idea of the “right” path of success.

For example, college is often considered one path of success in many countries. High school seniors work hard to get into the colleges that they desire. Once, they get in, the hard work continues on until they get their degree and a job. This is a common success story that many are used to hearing. The other type of success story is the aspiring entrepreneur that went through many trials and challenges to start their business. Some entrepreneurs may not have a college degree to start a successful business.

Reading this success stories, some people get too hung up on the idea of “one path of success”. There were times when I was in college where it was an “all-or-nothing” if I couldn’t make it. While it was great to combat failure and work hard to achieve success, it really would have been helpful if people learn about different paths of successes. There is no one way to achieve success, sometimes failure is necessary for learning opportunities.

In my other blog post, Knowing When To Give Up is talks about failure and how it is okay to give up on a certain path. Some people aren’t meant for “one-track path to success” and may have to fail many times to be able to achieve success.

Failure and determination can help you guide your way to get where you want to be in life. If one path of success is closed, then you can always find another way!

When listening can be exhausting…..


[ Image: A woman who is wearing a short-sleeves purple shirt, covering her face with her hands near a computer.]
[ Image: A woman who is wearing a short-sleeves purple shirt, covering her face with her hands near a computer.]
Hello, everyone!

After a long hiatus, I have moved to a new blog on WordPress and renaming  the blog from “Empower The Talent” to “ Redefining Trails”. I decided to make this change because I felt that this is be needed and I wanted to start new again. I will be eventually closing my other blog on Blogger.It was a nice run on Blogger, but it was time for me to move to a better place.

Onward, I would like to get into a discussion about “Concentration Fatigue”. You may ask, “ What is Concentration Fatigue?”

The definition of Concentration Fatigue is:

“ caused by heavy amounts of concentration required during normal day-to-day activities.It usually kicks in when deaf people have to lip-read, sign or listen to somebody for a long period of time.”

Let’s imagine that you have a deaf/Deaf/HOH co-worker. Your department does back to back meetings on a daily basis. Now typically, a workday is 8 hours in a  day where everyone gets very tired at the end of the day. However, for someone that is deaf/Deaf/HOH can be very exhausting! Imagine having to listen to meetings, networking with other professionals, and using phone on the job. Being a deaf/Deaf/HOH professional is not an easy task! But somehow, we still get our work done well!

It is good to be aware of this issue as a hearing co-worker or employer. To a D/deaf and HOH employee, hearing is a lot of work and takes a lot to learn how to manage concentration fatigue. However, there are things that employers can do to help minimize concentration fatigue.

Tips to help workers with D/deaf/HOH workers to minimize Concentration Fatigue:

  • Offer accommodations. Many accommodations are available to assist D/deaf and HOH workers understand communication effectively.
  • Make the environment deaf friendly. Face them when talking, be mindful of lighting conditions, avoid noisy areas, and etc.
  • Try not to take it too personally if the person isn’t talking too much. They may be very tired from a long day of listening from working.

In addition, there are tips for D/deaf and HOH employees in reducing chances of Concentration Fatigue:

  • Try taking breaks between the down times throughout the day.
  • Change your environment: Avoiding noisy areas, use visual information such as captioning and pictures, and communicate with people using assistive technology.
  • It can help to change positions when you are talking to someone. For example, try suggesting to sit in a round table when it comes to group conversations. That way you can see everyone’s faces to lip read better.

Concentration Fatigue can be a problem for D/deaf and HOH professionals in the workplace. It can hurt a D/deaf and HOH employee’s productivity if it is left unchecked. However, if everyone can have an open conversation on how to minimize Concentration Fatigue. It would be a good start on creating a deaf-friendly and aware workplace in an organization.



Why We Need Accessible Foreign Language Learning?

A girl with brown hair on a laptop with white scribbled speech bubbles in the background around her, saying:
[ Image Description: A girl with brown hair on a laptop with white scribbled speech bubbles in the background around her, saying: ” Hello”, “Hallo”, “Hola”, ” Bonjour”,  and “Ola”. ]
In seventh grade, I took a Spanish class because it was suggested for me to learn the language for future job prospects. My family members always told me how important it was to learn Spanish since America has a huge amount of Spanish speakers. As I started to take the class, everything was fine when I did the reading and writing portion. It was the speaking portion that was a challenge! I could not pronounce a single Spanish word correctly as it frustrated me that I wasn’t getting the language quicker, like my hearing peers. Being a Hard-Of-Hearing student taking Spanish was tough! I dropped out of the class due to getting bad marks. Since then, I never bothered to take Spanish again. I opted for Latin when I got to high school when I needed to fulfil the language requirement. Fast forward to today, I felt mature and ready to try Spanish again.
It didn’t occur to me that what I really needed was a different way for me to learn the language. So I searched one day to find a language app that would fit my needs. As I searched on the internet, I encountered an app called “Duolingo”, which is a very popular language learning app. I was at first, going to dismiss this app if the app emphasises on listening and speaking exercises. However, I found out a lot of D/deaf and HOH people adore this app for one reason: The option to skip listening and speaking exercises. In the end, I ended up giving this app a shot which put me back on the road to learning an additional language.
What I learned from all this is that access to learning to foreign languages are important. A good advantage about Duolingo is that it gives options to learn the language differently. However, this is not about just Duolingo. Turning away D/deaf and HOH people from learning a language is wrong. I realise that there is a need for foreign language learning to be accessible.
While there are many resources out there to learn foreign languages, there are things that mobile language learning apps can do to make foreign language learning accessible to the D/deaf and HOH.
  1.  Make sure there are visual aids to guide learning.
Much like in a classroom setting, D/deaf and HOH people may need visual aids to help them with language learning. Closed Captioning or Subtitles can be helpful. Sometimes they need a sign language interpreter if they are signers.
  1. Don’t put emphasis on speaking and listening.
As said before, Duolingo makes speaking and listening exercises optional. This is great if you still want to continue the learning a language if you are in a quiet place. Some people cannot learn auditory, which it can be helpful for them to process and retain information better.
  1. Ask for feedback.
In my previous post about captioning, try to get feedback from the community to improve learning. Improvements and adjustments can make your mobile apps better.
As I will continue my journey to learn Spanish, I am more confident learning the language now compared to when I was in seventh grade. Language learning apps are rise and business are finding the value of learning a second language. It would be a shame if D/deaf and HOH miss out on these opportunities if there aren’t more accessible language apps, like Duolingo.

What I Noticed When I Took An Online Class

It has been a long while since my last blog post! During my hiatus, I have taken a self-paced online class. The online class was related to my targeted career interests and it has been an interesting subject to learn.  I learned a lot from this online class and gained some knowledge to apply it in my career . 

A row of brown desks with two chairs and a white laptop in a library.
[ Image Description: A row of brown desks with two chairs and a white laptop in a library.]

Online classes have been on the rise in the recent years. Many people are finding ways to build up their knowledge and skills for the variety of reasons to keep up with the knowledge economy.  While I haven’t taken a lot of online classes, I find that many of the online classes are different from each other. I found key noticeable differences from the college online classes and non-college courses.

1.    Differences between pressures to complete assignments.

The current online classes I took was self-paced and not connected to a college. While you are still graded on the work , it’s more relaxed compared to college online courses. College online courses in my experience expect a lot and can be intense. It is not for people who aren’t used self-disciplined. Most of my college online courses have deadlines on when assignments are done, the non-college online classes did not deadlines. You still have to finish the assignments in order to the move onto the next lessons.

2.    Class Discussions.

The non-college online courses didn’t promote class participation a lot. The college online classes that I took did. Participation was a part of your grade for every week. I did missed the participation part bit when I did took online class from college.

3.    How the way content is set up.

Depending on the instructor, some online classes are set up in different ways. College online classes dig into the course content in depth, which is not surprising if you are studying for your major and career. Non-college online courses do go into the course content a little bit. However, if you want to go into the course subject deeper, you may have to look outside of that.

In the end, it is up to the online learner to decide which type of classes are work best for them. It all comes down to what you want to get out of learning from online courses. Online classes can be a mixed bag for some people, but lot of people who are looking to  continue to expand their knowledge virtually.

Questions from my readers:

 What has been your experiences with online classes? Do you like or hate them?

What Businesses and Colleges Should Learn from Berkeley’s Lawsuit Response

Picture of a stressed person who is sitting at a desk with two stacks of books at each end of the desk and two pieces of paper in the middle. One stack of books is taller than the other.
Whether or not, people would agree with the decision removing the content from the public. This still shows that businesses​, even colleges like Berkeley, MIT, and Harvard are still behind when it comes to accessibility issues. The American Disabilities Act is over 25 years old ( Around about 27 years old in fact!). It is more important now to learn how to avoid these issues in order prevent these type of situations.
As, a Hard of Hearing person, I can completely understand how sometimes expenses can become an issue. But, it is no excuse to not make your content accessible.

Lessons Learned from the Berkeley’s Lawsuit Case

Be Accessible from the Beginning

While I am not sure how long Berkeley had their online courses for the public view up,  one of their first mistakes was making sure the content was accessible from the beginning.  It is important if whenever you plan to provide something for public view, you have to put accessibility in mind.
 This article from DailyTekk explains this:

 “Many websites are more accessible now than they were a decade ago. Many large companies now include accessibility considerations in their Web development process; however, it’s often too late in the process.”

There is a reason why there are so many complaints about accessibility being too expensive. If content wasn’t built with the accessibility in mind, then it is harder to make an existing inaccessible content become accessible.  That is it is important to do research first and cover all your bases to ensure your target audiences receive and learn the message. While it may look time-consuming, it saves stress, resources, and trouble if you put accessibility as your priority.
Accessibility is not just a social trend, it is a demand issue.

In my past blog post, I wrote about the Economic Model of Disability, where we need to move from thinking disability is a social issue to a demand issue. With the rise of people becoming disabled or already being disabled today, it is worth something to move towards to when there is a potential market that should be tapped into.
Not saying we should completely move from the Medical and Social Model, both the Medical and Social Models of Disability will always have a place in our society.  However, there are downsides to both models when applying them in a business setting.

“ Instead of addressing disability as a personal issue or as a social problem, which places great stress on government agencies and public service providers, businesses can use their talents and expertise to analyze and evaluate the growing disability market, and generate market-driven solutions that effectively accommodate the diverse needs of people with disabilities.”DrumBeat Blog.

Looking at disability as a demand issue is a much better strategy. Successful accessibility requires a lot of research and understanding your market. Once those are mastered, it would be easier to be not caught off guard by complaints of the lack of accessibility.
If anything that can be learned from the Berkeley lawsuit response, understanding the disability target market would have saved them from a lawsuit. However, what’s done is done. The best thing that Berkeley, any college, or any business  can learn from this is the power of understanding your target market can help your business, as well as following laws and regulations.

Perhaps, it is time to look at disability in a different way. Looking at a disability in a social perspective have helped advanced society to makes strides with accessibility and disability rights. However,  we should be looking at disability from an economic perspective that can help businesses and college strategize their marketing strategies to improve accessibility. Making content accessible should be a first priority, which can save you time from trying to fix the issue later on.  At the end, Berkeley and many other businesses still have a lot to learn about accessibility. Let’s hope this lesson learned for anyone in the future.

Your Biggest Strength is Being Underestimated

When I was in high school, I have took 2 years of Latin. It was a pretty interesting language class . However, this was not just about taking Latin class. I am a Hard of Hearing person, as many of you may know. On my last year of Latin, I remembered in a parent-teacher meeting I had that included my Latin teacher. One comment that stood out to me was my Latin teacher’s fear of me of not doing well in his class due to my deafness.
As a young 17 year old high school senior, I didn’t think about what he said to me  too much. To me, it was normal for teachers to be worried about how well I do in their classes. Most times I usually proved them wrong by doing the best that I can in classes. However, I reflect back to that time  sometimes and learned from that moment. I never thought being hearing loss would be an issue when taking Latin. It is usually in the back of my mind. On the the other hand, I got used to the comments and sometimes take it as a challenge to prove people wrong. Now I won’t say I am a confident all the time as I do have my low moments.  But my determination and supportive family members are the reason why I had made it far in school.

“Being underestimated is one of the biggest competitive advantages you can have.Embrace it.”— Unknown

This quote stuck out to me because there are many people who can relate to being underestimated and used it to become competitive. People underestimating you is not easy thing to deal with regardless what person you are. What people may think you are at disadvantage, when in reality it can be your fuel for success. It is better to take up the challenge to try to prove people wrong.  It reminds you to stay competitive in today’s fast moving business world.
In the end, I did end up doing well, despite my Latin teacher’s fear. To me, the class was nothing more than a challenge accepted to drive myself to succeed.  Being underestimated does have its benefits after all.
My questions for my readers:
Was there was a time you felt underestimated? If so, what are things you did that helped you succeed?

Knowing When To Give Up

When I was an undergraduate, I had a set goal to become teacher and I was very ambitious to get my PhD one day.  I always placed high expectations on myself, when it came to education. However, before my junior year, my grandfather who I was very close to died. While I still continued in my studies, I realized my passion for teaching was wavering and I was stubborn to admit that.
Overtime, I made a very tough decision to discontinue my pursue to teaching for personal reasons. I ended up going to graduate school to get my Masters in Human Resources. At the end of graduate career, my desire to go to school to a PhD level has died as well. It took a lot of self-awareness for myself to learn when to give up! We live in a society where we motto, “ Quitters Never Win” where is giving up is seen as a bad thing.
“It’s OK to give up on a dream to reach for a new one. Dreams come and go and there is nothing wrong with letting go of one dream and creating another one. Let go of dreams, but don’t ever lose your ambition. Don’t settle for anything less than what your heart desires.”-Caitlin Austin, Why It is Sometimes It Okay To Give Up
While this quote is interesting, it is relatable to one’s personal career development. Just because one door closes, doesn’t mean you cannot open another door. People are too used to never quitting, while it is admiring to not quit. You have to measure the risks and benefits between quitting and sticking with it.
“The overall point it makes is pretty undeniable: when your goals become more stressful than they’re worth, there’s no shame in giving up.”-Whitson Gordon,Why Giving Up is Sometimes the Best Solution to a Problem
The bottom line: If the priorities change in your life, you should be allowed to get a new dream. Career changes are a never ending evolution of change. Embrace the change and don’t feel afraid of to give up.
Questions to my readers:
Was there ever a time you felt bad about giving up a dream? What did you do about it?
If you have changed your career, what led you to do that?

The Truth About Telephones

Picture of a black cord telephone.

We live in a world that relies heavily on auditory communication on a constant basis. While, I can understand that most people prefer phone calls.  Not everyone can rely on auditory information, but they can process visual information and use electronic communication. For this reason, this is why it is important to not assume that people do not want to use the phone because they are lazy or ” that’s just a part of being a millennial”.

As a person who is hard of hearing, it can be frustrating to use the phone, although I can manage phones a little better with the help of captioning phones and captioning phone apps.

What is a captioned phone, if you may ask?

Healthy Hearing explains what is a captioned phone is:

“Captioned telephones are special phones that can be used in a home or place of employment and have a built-in screen that displays text captions of the conversation during the call in near-real time. ”–Susanne Jones

These phones are not perfect by any means.  Captioned phones can be prone to make errors. Sometimes, the captions lag and  captioning mistakes do happen. Not all HOH/Deaf/deaf people use the same telephone tools, as there are many other types of assistive technology tools for them to use when it comes to phone calls. The more notable ones are video relay services, which signing Deaf users use this for communication over the telephone.  However, assistive telephone devices are not perfect, but there is a need for alternatives, in case, these devices aren’t enough.

In 2017, organizations and businesses need to move towards to opening all lines of communication preferences. In Svetlana Kouznetsova’s article, A Note to Businesses-Why Voice Phone Calls are a Thing in the Past explained, how it is important for businesses to use email and video communication to reach the D/deaf, HOH, and the hearing populations. Svetlana Kouznetsova’s article also pointed out that Dan Zarrella’s research has shown requiring phone numbers produces lower conversion rates for leads. This shows that the telephone is not enough to reach customers and job seekers, regardless, whether or not the person is deaf or not.  Wouldn’t it be better to cover all bases channels of communication?

In conclusion, businesses and organizations are missing a huge opportunity to not open different channels of communication.  It is time for business and organizations to think out of the box about communication strategies to reach out to the D/deaf, HOH, and hearing populations.