motivation · Personal Success

Set Your Mind to It

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Photo by Annie Spratt

When I was five and my sister was four, our babysitter watched us coloring in our coloring books. Where my sister stayed within the lines, I colored slightly (OK, maybe not so slightly) outside the lines. “JoAnne colors nicely and Caroline needs to work on that a little bit.” Her sarcasm was not lost on me, even then.

This bit of criticism colored my world (pardon the pun!) “I am not a good artist.” This was just something I accepted for many years. But I’ve always longed to draw and paint. For someone with no formal art education, I think I am pretty OK. I think I can improve and I very much want to improve.

Thanks to Carol Dweck, we can all sigh optimistically now.

For eons, people believed in the “Fixed Mindset”  – that talents are innate and readily apparent; Believers assert that one should avoid mistakes and failures. In fact, if you find yourself failing at something, people who adopt the “fixed mindset” philosophy say you ought to just quit, because clearly, it’s not for you.

But Dweck, one of the leading researchers of motivation, discovered the truth about achievement and learning: The Growth Mindset. She says you learn from mistakes. You grow! Intelligence and talent are developed and in order to be successful, you must make mistakes. Clearly, this is true. The Wright brothers did not discover how to create a plane on the first attempt and Edison did not discover the light bulb on his first try, either. One needs to make mistakes to learn, grow and achieve.

Growth Mindset believers say “yet”  is the magic word. I can’t draw well yet, but with consistent practice and quality education, I will!

Check out her website: mindsetonline.com. It includes a test to determine where you are on the mindset continuum and ways to change it.

I’m going to start drawing lessons (free) on skillshare.com. Go Growth Mindset!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

Podcasts & Productivity

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Photo by Jonathan Velasquez

A year ago,  I read the book “The $100 Startup.”

I hardly remembered what I read, but I recently listened to a podcast (Optimal Living Daily) where the podcaster reviewed this book. The big takeaway (among many) is that people spend an awful lot of time trying to blaze their own trails to success when they can simply follow someone who has already achieved what they want.

The reasoning, Justin (podcast host) believes, is because it feels good to try to create our own means and methods. But if you really want to achieve your goal(s), the most efficient way is to simply follow what someone already did.

This makes sense! Why reinvent the wheel?

We feel good and effective as we blaze our own trail, because we feel so busy.

But do not confuse “busy” with “productive.”

Check the podcast out, he covers many great writers and entrepreneurs. Justin’s voice is very even and mellow. It was easy to listen to as I walked my dog.

 

 

Personal Success

Efficiency Tip

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Photo by William Iven

Remove Facebook from your phone.

You’ve probably heard that if you’re trying to lose weight or get healthy, you should not keep junk food in the house.  Will power is depletable. That is, it will work for a certain amount of time before you will inevitably give in.

In the same vein, if you want to be productive, don’t keep time wasters so easily accessible.

Consider replacing that app with a productivity or inspiring podcast you can listen to during down times. Or install a reading app such as Kindle or Audible.

Set yourself up for success.

 

 

Personal Success · writing

Spotlight on Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Writer

Hello all, I published this two years ago. I thought I’d publish it again for those of you who may have missed it:

 

“If you really want to do something, you’re going to have to go for it.”

Marie Myung-Ok Lee

I first learned about Marie when I was researching Korean-American history for a San Francisco State University’s ethnic studies class I was going to teach for Dr. Grace Yoo (during her sabbatical). Her book, Somebody’s Daughter, expertly covers both the adopted child/adult’s perspective as well as that of the adoptee within two cultures. Marie Myung-Ok Lee is a Korean-American author and essayist, writing often for The New York Times, The Atlantic and Newsweek. She’s been published in Witness, The Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly and Slate. She teaches creative writing at Brown University and Columbia University.

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Marie Myung-Ok Lee

If you’re interested in being a writer, Marie is sure to inspire you. She is not only an accomplished writer, but a loving mother to an autistic teenage boy. Her essay for The Atlantic Monthly “What My Son’s Disabilities Taught Me About ‘Having It All’” is one of the most moving, enlightening articles I have ever read.

Despite her extremely busy schedule (she’s working on her next novel), she graciously and generously spoke with me on the phone. She is a modest, hard-working, intelligent and creative person. When I informed her of my objective with my blog (to help others achieve goals by reading of people who have already accomplished them), she got right to the point:

“I constantly write. Every single day from 4:30am to 6pm. I never take a day off.” She lives in NYC in a small apartment with her husband (a professor), and their son.  Previous to writing, she was an investment banker for five years. Although writing does not even come close to the money she made before, Marie couldn’t be happier with her work, “I love it.”

Another tip: “I get 10 rejections to each offer. You have to be committed to writing. If you really want to do something, you’re going to have to go for it.”

Marie is down-to-earth, honest and practical. When I congratulated her on all of her great work, she was quick to point out that it took her eight years to write her novel, and that she couldn’t live on her salary alone. The family is on her husband’s insurance and she constantly juggles motherhood and her work. When she left banking, she was a ghost writer, a freelancer, an editor. She obtained fellowships and worked hard at her novel.

Wanting it, working hard, sacrificing hours each and every day, utilizing your strengths (and challenges)…going for your passions: these are the secrets to her success.

Marie’s most recent article can be found here, on Salon.com. She provides a careful analysis of the McKinney, TX pool party incident, tying in a personal example of mistreatment by an adult when she was a teenager.

You can follow Marie Myung-Ok Lee on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarieLeeWriter

Her Twitter handle is @MarieMyungOkLee