Leaders, please be breathful to build "Positive Mindset" for change! 

Daniel Goleman suggests leaders to have "Positive Mindset" to overcome obstacles for change. 

Specifically, he suggests leaders to focus on a positive "talent development" aspect during the painful change with this quote: "A high-performing leader is always thinking about talent development. How can I learn something new? How can I expand what I already know? To be able to do that you can’t be held hostage by frustration or failure. You need to be able to practice correctly, and do that over and over without complaining." 


However, I  suggest leaders to "be breathful" moment by moment. Because knowing how to breathe, making full breaths, and energizing our body with fresh air can help people to get focused, positive, and mindful. 

Photo source: http://www.beyondcareersuccess.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/corporate-meditation.jpg

Please take three minutes to make a full breathing today. 

One minute to dive into yourself.  

One minute to make a cycle of full breathing;

One minute to return back to work. 

Dr. Choi, Tonghap Leadership Center, 


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얼굴은 왜 얼굴인가 (Why face is face) ? 

'얼이 깃드는 굴'이 '얼굴'이다. '얼'은 '겨레의 얼' '민족의 얼'과 같이 사람의 정기·기상·정신 등을 뜻하는 말이다. '굴'은 '구멍'이란다. 사람의 몸에는 아홉 개의 구멍이 있다. 그 중 일곱 개가 얼굴에 몰려 있다.

따라서 얼을 담아놓은 얼굴은 늘 반듯이 서 있어야한다.
마치 물(얼)을 빈그릇 (굴)에 담아 놓은 듯 조심조심 몸가짐을 해서 얼이 쏱아지지 않도록 해야한다.  

그러려면 얼굴은 늘 정면을 바라보게 해야한다. 앞으로 숙이건 뒤로 제끼건 늘 얼굴은 정면을 해야하는 이치이다.

더불어 얼굴색을 밝고 환하게하여야 한다. 미소를 머금은 듯, 세속을 초월한 듯, 너무 무겁지도 또한 너무 가볍지도 않게  언제나 잔잔하면서도 밝은 기운이 넘쳐야 '얼' 또한 밝고 환하게 되는 것이다. 

그래서 정신/영혼/기상/정기를 바르게 기르고자 하는 이는, 얼굴 먼저 살펴 관리해야 하는 것이다. 

In Korean, the face is called "Earl-Gool". 
Earl is the spirit; and Gool is the cave in Korean language. 

Thus, the face - Earl-Gool is "the container of spirit". 
If your spirit is suppressed, astonished, and upset, your face exactly represent your suppressed, astonished, and upset spiritual status. 

Thus, Make your face bright, delight, and smile so as your spirit bright, delight, and happy.

Then, your spirit will be bright, delight, and filled with happiness. 

Dr. Choi

Mar 22, 2014

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How to Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time? 

Photo source: http://www.destinyman.com/2013/04/23/manage-your-energy-not-your-time-2013-04-22-1/


How to manage "Energy", not "Time"?



Do and Don't for managing "Energy"



1. Body (Physical) Energy

    30 Min. Stretching before going to bed

    Eat frequently to fulfill 70%

    2 times full exercises for a week

    Keep silence for 10 Min. after 2 hours work

2. Mind (Focus) Energy

    Check Email/SNS within 30 Min. 

    Focus on important but not urgent

    Keep breathing for 10 Min. after 2 hours work

    Focus in morning time for tough works (7AM~1PM)

3. Emotion (Feeling) Energy

     Feel good, this is the only order from God

     Call family once in a week. 

     Think and Give a small gift 

     Reflect what I already have


4. Spirit (Meaning & Purpose) Energy

      Write a critical sentence in a day

      Establish the *My dream place

      Prepare a Speech for *My People

      Contribute to The Energy Project


1. Body (Physical) Energy

     Do not bring any electronic device to Bed

     Do not skip meals

     Do not lie down, but stand up

     *Stop a bad habit (e.g. Smoking)

2.  Mind (Focus) Energy

     Do not open Email/SNS 7AM ~ 1PM

     Limit TV & Chat  (2 hours)

     Do not thinking deeply

     Don't touch 7AM ~ 1PM

3.  Emotion (Feeling) Energy

     Do not make any negative thinking

     Do not frown your face, but make smiles

     Do not say any negative words

     Forget your "wants" 

4. Sprit (Meaning & Purpose) Energy

     Don't think your weakness

     Do no compare you with anybody

     Do not think the current bad things

     Do not be suspicious in your success 

Reference: Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time


Are You Headed for an Energy Crisis?

Questionnaire for measuring the level of energy management skill. 

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Orientalism in learning has reinforced the marginalization and oppression of other learning systems of learning and knowing. Expansion of our understandings about different learning system can enrich our meaning-making processes, which can be beneficial for ourselves (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007; Reagan, 2000).

In western paradigm, learning is emphasis on cognition, cognitive development, knowledge, information processing and intelligence measurement
(Thorndike, Bregman, Tilton, & Woodyard, 1928). Yet collective and indigenous learning has dominated in non-western countries while rationalism and individual learning are dominant in the western learning paradigm.

Merriam et al. (2007) introduce five non-western learning principles: Confucianism; Hinduism; Maori concept; Islamic perspective; and African indigenous education. The authors indicate that the value of engaging and study non-western learning principles provide us opportunities to challenge the think about the purpose of education and learning as well as question the nature of knowledge production as well as leading us to make new meanings.

In this session, I focus on four Korean learning principles and introduce key concepts of each principle. The purpose of this in-depth documentation is to understand a non-western nation specific learning principles, and to make a sense of differences and commonalities of non-western learning principles.

First, the Great learning is defined as it is to enlighten the people’s (inborn) brightness; to refresh people’s warmth of body and mind (virtue); to cease people from going a wrong way; and to reach people to the ultimate goodness (Legge, 2009) [1]. In traditional Confucianism, the great learning can be achieved through eight steps:

1) investigation of things;
2) extension of knowledge;
3) sincerity of will;
4) rectification of the mind;
5) cultivation of one’s personal life (body);
6) regulation of the family;
7) regulation of the nation; and
8) accomplish world peach.

Different from the western learning principles, Confucianism learning includes both the individual and social, even the world, aspects of learning. Korean Confucianism scholars had debated about conceptual world versus material world over four hundred years. In early sixteenth century, many Korean scholars believed that a conceptual discipline dominated material world then learning should be a knowing process of the discipline.

But the theory was challenged that dynamics of material world shaped a conceptual discipline rather than the discipline formulated complex world. The debate inspired scholarly endeavors and influenced socio-political system of Korea for more than three hundred years. In the late nineteenth century, an innovative claim has emerged: only the material world exists. Based on the belief of this, a group of scholars insisted that only practical experience of material world is the real learning.
  The key characteristic of Korean Confucianism is that it does not limit ‘learning’ as individual activities but treat the learning as a main driver of socio-cultural system changes.

Second, Korean Buddhism is differentiated by its unique inquiry based learning discipline from other Buddhist disciplines. For example, a Buddhist monk gets an awkward question from his/her master. “Shoot the Buddha?” is one of typical inquiries in Korean Buddhism. Korean monks address those challenging inquires in their own meaning-making ways through their whole lives.

Third, Sundoism is focusing on material world rather than conceptual world. However, the material world what Sundoists believe is composed of ‘unmaterializable energy or force – called Ki.’ (Kim, 2003). Learning is, then, the process of practicing the energy.

Fourth, Dong-Hak is a uniqtue religion and epistemological practice that was formulated and introduced in late nineteenth century in Korea. Koreans suffered from colonialism attacks in the century, and a group of people challenged the conventional Confucianism, Buddhism, and Sundoism principles since they questioned these principles oppressed people rather than emancipate them from external threats. Integrating traditional principles, Dong-Hak sentenced a core value: respect human as the God. For Dong-Hak followers, learning is viewed as the lifelong process of awakening and cultivating internal Holy divine.

In conclusion, Korean have viewed the learning is the most important thing to realize their beliefs and wants such as being a righteous person, awakening, being a holy divine. However, these traditional non-western learning principles are in risk of extinction for failing in self-modernization and late industrialization. In addition, revival and revitalization of those traditional learning principles is questioned in modern society. HRD and adult education scholars may need to address the value of non-western learning principles to explore new knowledge and understanding of purpose and methods of learning.


Kim, H. (2003). The Tao of Life. (Dissertation/Thesis, Unpublished), Saybrook University.  

Legge, J. (2009). The Confucian Analects, the Great Learning & the Doctrine of the Mean: Cosimo Classics.

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood a comprehensive guide The Jossey-Bass higher and adult education series (pp. xvi, 533 p.).  Retrieved from http://www.library.uiuc.edu/proxy/go.php?url=http://www.credoreference.com/book/wileyla

Reagan, T. G. (2000). Non-Western educational traditions: Alternative approaches to educational thought and practice: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Thorndike, E. L., Bregman, E. O., Tilton, J. W., & Woodyard, E. (1928). Adult learning: The Macmillan Company.



[1] A personal definition of the author by referring the Legge (2009)’s interpretation. 

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Learning is defined as a mental process that takes place in the mind especially in Western heritage, but the role of body and spirit are considered and integrated in adult learning in recent years (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007).  

In modern Western philosophy, learning is believed as mental process that occurs only in human mind – compatibly human brain. In seventeenth century at France, Descartes indicated that “body, figure, extension, motion, and place are merely fictions of my mind” (Descartes, 1955). This notion describes that physical worlds including body are outcomes of human mind, which assumes the body and mind are objectified with each. Cartesians and enlightenment philosophers descended the idea of separation of mind and body, and they focused on ‘reason’ – the mental process as the only source of knowledge (Merriam et al., 2007). The heritage of separation of mind and body had dominated till middle of twenties centuries, and the importance of body and spirit in learning have been recognized and reclaimed by adult educators since late of the century.

Embodied (or Somatic) learning grounds the idea of learning through body in experiences. For example, Amann (2003) suggests four-part model of somatic knowing that is composed with four dimensions – kinesthetic, sensory, affective, and spiritual.  Other writers add that the embodied learning is correlated with culture, identity, and power relationship in a society (Beckett & Morris, 2001; Brockman, 2001).

Spirituality is defined as “more personal belief and experience of a divine spirit or higher purpose, about how we construct meaning, and what we individually and communally experience and attend to and honor as the sacred in our lives” (Tisdell, 2003, p. 23). Merriam describes her spiritual meaning making as “I felt a sense of peace and of being “present” that I had not experienced before; the fact that I had just turned sixty seemed not to matter and my angst about it evaporated” (Merriam et al., 2007). While the spiritual learning gets special attention from adult educators, medical practitioners, and business leaders, it requires theoretical models and better understandings to be accommodated in formal educational settings such as workplace or school.

Narrative learning is the use of stories in the construction of meaning. Using narrative as storying the curriculum, story-telling, autobiography, and journal writing, adult educators can facilitate and promote learners’ development and transformation (Merriam et al., 2007).

Adult Learning is mainly influenced by psychology, with its focus on individual learners, their growth and development, and their learning in and out of formal setting. But learning cannot be separated from ‘social contexts’ that oppress individual learners (Brookfield, 1987; Merriam et al., 2007). Questioning and critiquing taken-for-granted worldviews, structures, and institutions of society are the first steps in changing oppressive and nonemancipatory practices.

There are five common themes in questioning and critiquing contemporary adult education: Race, Class, Gender, Power & Oppression, and Knowledge and Truth. Multicultural theorist focuses on the race as a oppressor in a society; critical theorist address class and power relations; and feminist views the inequity of power comes from gender difference. Postmodernist argues that modern beliefs such as scientific, industrial, and universal foundations of truth are not effective in complex and uncertain societies anymore, and they claim that deconstruction of hierarchical power relationship are inevitable.


In the classroom discussion, I proposed a question about nontraditional learning theories: Are these nontraditional theories applicable to adult education research and practice? In order to address the presented question, we discussed about underlying assumptions in applying nontraditional learning program for executives; the role of human resource development experts in medical school; and legitimation of nontraditional learning in HRD field of study.

First, we discussed about huge investment in executive retreat programs that include spiritual learning and somatic learning. We argued that there is an underlying assumption at executive retreat programs: executives justify and legitimate those retreats as one of the best human resource development programs whether the programs are directly related to executives’ performances or not. In the view of critical theories, many nontraditional learning practices are accepted and practiced not because of economic value, but because of decision power of a certain group of people such executives.

Second, we heard about Phoenix’s experience of developing an online education program for spirituality in medical school. She explained the role of human resource development experts was limited in developing the online program. Phoenix’s case represent the function of HRD is counted as a subordinate or supportive function in her organization.

Finally, nontraditional learning theories and applications are seemed have little legitimation in the field of HRD. Discussants in the classroom discussion agreed that nontraditional theories and practices provide conceptual frames for better understanding and creation of new knowledge in adult education and HRD, but application of nontraditional learning theories are unnecessarily underrepresented in academic journals. Several classmates argues that journal editors and writers regulate and hinder presenting nontraditional theory articles to avoid challenging current power relations in field, because they are likely to averse risk of jobs, reputations, and resources. 

 In summary, nontraditional learning theories can provide new understandings and knowledge about contemporary adult education, but lack of academic credentials and legitimation weaken the application those theories in academia and the field of HRD and adult education.



Amann, T. L. (2003). Creating space for somatic ways of knowing within transformative learning theory.

Beckett, D., & Morris, G. (2001). Ontological performance: Bodies, identities and learning. Studies in the Education of Adults, 33(1), 35-48.

Brockman, J. (2001). A somatic epistemology for education.

Brookfield, S. D. (1987). Developing critical thinkers: Challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting: Jossey-Bass.

Descartes, R. (1955). Discourse on method: Great Books Foundation.

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood a comprehensive guide The Jossey-Bass higher and adult education series (pp. xvi, 533 p.).  Retrieved from http://www.library.uiuc.edu/proxy/go.php?url=http://www.credoreference.com/book/wileyla

Tisdell, E. J. (2003). Exploring spirituality and culture in adult and higher education: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub.


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