KMbeing

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb): Multiple Contributions & Multi-Production Of New Knowledge

Tag Archives: negative

Thinking About Knowledge & The Future

future

The mind can move quickly beyond our prejudice and hatred out of the present moment to exchanging knowledge for everyone’s benefit. How is your mind controlling you and your knowledge? Are you limiting knowledge by letting negative thoughts control you in the here and now or are you expanding knowledge by thinking about the future beyond prejudice and hatred?

Positive or Negative Knowledge Exchange

positive negative

Are you contributing to knowledge exchange for positive social benefit or are your contributing to knowledge exchange with negativity?

Change & Uncertainty For Gaining Knowledge

question mark

If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles of gaining knowledge, we can face the future with the understanding that we do not know enough but can make a difference by being open to learning something new, taking chances, sharing our knowledge – and in due course create new knowledge to pass on to someone else.

Currently, I’m wondering about my future career direction in my life. I currently have a great job as Knowledge Exchange Events and Resources Planner with an amazing team in the Knowledge Exchange Unit at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – but it’s a contract position, funding is coming to an end, and so is my employment. I left a long career in hospitality (over 15 years), making a big jump and decision to take a chance, make a change and face some uncertainty to take a temporary job. I left the security of a guest service career, with the full knowledge that my new job was only a three-month contract. In so doing I enabled a new, but unknown future outside the hospitality industry.

I faced change and uncertainty, yet gained new knowledge. I’m contributing my own knowledge to the job at CAMH, while also meeting and working with some great professionals as we exchange further knowledge. And I am thankful to those who gave me that chance.

A few years ago, I couldn’t kick the feeling that the former 15 year career path I was on was just an extended detour for the path I should really be on. While still working as a flight attendant, I went back to school, graduated with a B.A. in Psychology – got on the Dean’s Honour Roll – did a lot of volunteer work, increased my skills, networked with a bunch of people in knowledge mobilization (KMb), started writing this KMbeing blog, was named among the top ten knowledge mobilization influencers in Canada in 2011 and 2012 – and changed the direction of my life and my resume.

For those of you who have been long-time readers of my KMbeing blog, you’ll remember when I made my first jump out of the hospitality pond to work at Kobo, learning valuable skills as an Executive Assistant, and the difficult challenges I encountered when I had to work supporting someone (think of Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada) who is no longer working for Kobo (too late for me).

Devil Wears Prada

I loved the job and the chance to support others in this environment – and I gained some incredible knowledge (perhaps the hard way). The personality of the person I was supporting wasn’t the big problem for me. I can deal with different personality types. The problem was that this person kept expecting me to do some personal, non-work related things that interfered with what I was expected to do in the job, and because of this person’s position in the company there was little recourse. I still have friends from Kobo who recognized the situation and supported the reason I decided to leave.  I was disappointed, but, had I not taken that chance, I would not have gained that valuable knowledge to deal differently with such a challenge in the future.

I was fortunate to land on my feet and find a job working for a great hotel as a guest service agent at The King Edward Hotelback in the hospitality industry. You have to pay the bills somehow – and hospitality is what I know, not necessarily what I wanted to do. I started getting that detour feeling again, and wondered if all of the effort I had put into moving out of hospitality had gone to waste.

Don’t get me wrong. The dedicated hotel staff and my ability to provide excellent customer service along with some sincerely caring, and hard working people (some who have since become friends) made me feel so much at home. With my love of history and writing, the King Edward Hotel was an ideal subject for another interesting blog that I started writing while working there, trying to get management to recognize some of my further skills. I tried to see about transitional opportunities within the hotel from hospitality to administration or communications; unfortunately, no opportunities presented themselves.

Then the CAMH temporary contract position came along, working back in an academic/research environment. More change and uncertainty, but I took the chance. And now more change and uncertainty, but an opportunity to gain more knowledge and contribute some of my own.

resume

So now, I’ve started sending out my resume again, and when I don’t receive an acknowledgement of it, I don’t take it personally. I don’t think there must be something wrong with me that will prevent someone from even wanting to interview me for a position. I don’t start second-guessing myself and my valuable skills, or wonder if I made a mistake to leave the security of hospitality and guest services behind. Fortunately, I also have a connection with an employment placement agency to ease some of the insecurity.

I know, it’s the deep feeling of confidence in me and the passion I feel about my choice in wanting to change my career path that assures me – I haven’t made a mistake. I recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles of gaining knowledge.

The paradox is that gaining knowledge takes time but gaining knowledge also happens in every second.

I really don’t know enough about a potential employer’s situation to allow myself to be negative or depressed after I’ve sent my resume off.  I don’t know if an internal candidate was chosen before all others, or if someone with more specific experience or education was chosen.  I don’t know if there was a lot of discussion about me, or if others thought I should be interviewed, or if, ultimately, the boss wanted someone else for reasons that have nothing to do with my own skills and experience. And besides, it’s a great, big world out there with plenty of other people with valued skills and knowledge. I just need to continue to have confidence and show my passion, continue to put it out there, and when given a chance – be thankful when that chance finally happens.

crystal ball

I don’t believe in crystal balls to see into the future. I don’t know what lies ahead in a few weeks or months from now (perhaps I’ll write about it in a future blog to let you know) – but I do know there will be more change and uncertainty. I also know that had I not jumped into taking this temporary job – and changed my career path – I would not have had this chance to gain more knowledge that will make it possible for me to accept another longer-lasting position that’s much more suited to me and for me in the future.

We must recognize that we always face change and uncertainty and that our knowledge should never be scripted, for our knowledge scripts are always altered everyday. If we can relax and let life take its course, we can get much more out of life and living, and we can be optimistic enough to know that we can gain knowledge from change and uncertainty if we take a chance. As Dale Carnegie once said…

Take a chance! All life is a chance. The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.

Social Determinants of Health Explained

As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the influences of health systems. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.

Social determinants of health can be divided into 12 categories that contribute to how healthy a person may or may not be.

1) Income and Social Status:

world money

  • Generally, people are healthier when they are wealthier. Individuals with lower socio-economic status experience worse health outcomes than individuals with higher socio-economic status.
  • Income shapes living conditions, such as adequate housing and ability to buy sufficient quality food. When people have little control over their lives and few options, their bodies are more vulnerable to disease. Income also influences psychological functioning and health-related behaviours.

2) Education and literacy:

education

  • Education is closely tied to income and socio-economic status. People with higher levels of education tend to use preventative medical services more frequently, be more physically active, and generally have better health.
  • Low literacy has a negative effect on all aspects of health, including overall levels of life expectancy, accidents and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Low literacy also has a negative impact on mental health and on the ability to prevent illness.

3) Employment/Working conditions:

jobs

  • Employment allows people to afford basic necessities such as appropriate housing, food, and clothing—all of which are essential for good health. Employment also provides a sense of identity and purpose, social contacts and an opportunity for personal growth.
  • Conditions at work can have a significant effect on people’s health and emotional well-being.

4) Social environments:

social

  • Social environments include immediate physical surroundings, social relationships and cultural environments within which groups of people function and interact.
  • Negative social environments and experiences of discrimination and homophobia is associated with high rates of suicide attempts by lesbian, gay and bisexual youth.
  • Positive social environments include elements such as safety and social stability, recognition of diversity, good working relationships and cohesive communities, and help reduce or avoid many potential risks to good health.

5) Physical Environments:

poor housing

  • Exposure to contaminants in our air, water, food and soil can cause a variety of adverse health effects, including cancer, birth defects, respiratory illness and gastrointestinal ailments.
  • Factors related to housing, indoor air quality and the design of communities and transportation systems can also significantly influence people’s physical and psychological well-being.

6) Personal health practices and coping skills:

smoking

  • Personal health practices and coping skills refer to actions that individuals can take to prevent diseases and promote self-care, cope with challenges, develop self-reliance, solve problems, and make choices that enhance personal health.
  • Making personal health choices about such things as smoking, alcohol consumption, high fat diets, and regular dental health care all influence personal health.

7) Healthy child development:

child development

  • The effects of early childhood experiences have strong immediate and longer-lasting biological, psychological and social effects upon health.
  • The quality of early childhood development is largely influenced by the economic and social resources available to parents.
  • Children living under conditions of material and social deprivation are at higher risk of health problems.

8) Biology and genetic endowment:

genes

  • In some circumstances, genetic and biological factors appears to predispose certain individuals to particular diseases or health problems.
  • Examples of biological and genetic determinants of health include:
  • age—older adults are more likely to be in poorer health than adolescents due to the effects of aging
  • sex—women are at risk of pregnancy and birth-related health problems
  • inherited conditions—examples of inherited disease include sickle-cell anemia, hemophilia and cystic fibrosis
  • abnormal genes—carrying certain genes increases a person’s risk for breast and ovarian cancer

9) Health services:

health services

  • One of the most crucial determinants of health is access to high-quality health services.
  • Men and women from higher income households who are more likely to have insurance are much more likely to self-report that they have visited a dentist within the past year than people with lower incomes.
  • Populations who are underserved by health services include Aboriginal People, members of the LGBTTIQcommunity, refugees and other immigrants, ethnically or racially diverse populations, people with disabilities, the homeless, sex trade workers and people with low incomes.

10) Gender:

gender

  • Gender-based differences—in access to or control over resources, in power or decision making, and in roles and responsibilities—have implications for a person’s health status.
  • Research shows that women live longer than men, on average. Women have higher death rates, but men are more prone to accidents and also more likely to be perpetrators and victims of assault, reducing their overall life expectancy.

11) Culture:

culture

  • Some individuals or groups may face additional health risks as a result of a socio-economic environment that is largely determined by dominant cultural values. These dominant values can contribute to conditions such as marginalization, stigmatization, the loss or devaluation of language and culture, and a lack of culturally appropriate health care and services.
  • Members of racialized groups, recent immigrants and Aboriginal People are often among the most marginalized groups in society.

12) Social support networks:

  • Evidence shows that support from families, friends and communities is a big contributor to better health.
  • The caring and respect that occurs in social relationships, and the resulting sense of satisfaction and well-being, seem to act as a buffer against health problems.
  • Racism is a prominent form of social exclusion. The experience of racial discrimination puts racialized groups at higher risk for physical and mental health concerns.

Knowledge For Good

When I think of my past and all the knowledge I have acquired, I try to focus on turning all the knowledge I have acquired into knowledge for good – into valuable knowledge – and try to continue to use this knowledge for good for the benefit of others to make this world a better place.  To me knowledge of life and all of our individual experiences are found in the words: whatever you do, don’t let your own individual knowledge go to waste. Keep using it to make the world a better place.

So, I try to keep thinking of the knowledge that I have already acquired and the life experiences I have shared with others and gained from others, and what is still yet to come.

There is an awful lot of good knowledge in the world.   In all of our lives, there have been many, many good experiences.  But, I could also make a very long list of all the bad things that have happened in my life as well. What do I do with this knowledge? Do I simply forget it or try to repress it away in my memory, or let it fester inside me with anger – or do I try to turn this knowledge into knowledge for good? I’ve learned from my negative experiences, and I’ve learned to turn them into knowledge for good.  This allows me to use my individual knowledge to help others in my life – and in the world. I turn this individual knowledge into knowledge for good because I’m not constantly dwelling on the negative as a victim. I grew up in a family with alcoholic and dysfunctional parents who abused me and inflicted many physical and psychological scars. I could have remained a victim all my life, ruled by the external and internal voices that said I was stupid and worthless. But thanks to the knowledge of others, I grew to recognize my own worth and intelligence – and recognize even the value of such negative experiences in my life – by turning this knowledge into knowledge for good.

There are many unfortunate people and experiences in the world, people unable or unwilling to leave behind the negative things – the hurtful things that have happened to them in their lives – and use this knowledge for good.  The hurtful and negative things of the past continue to drag them down and make them bitter, negative and hurtful to others and to themselves. Unless we can turn this painful knowledge into knowledge for good, such knowledge will always hold these people back. This knowledge will continue to hurt them until they can focus on turning all of their individual knowledge into knowledge for good. Everyone can turn their knowledge and life experiences into knowledge for good. Remember, no experience is a negative experience unless you gain nothing from it and don’t share these experiences as something to make your life and the world a better place.