art, education, Personal Success

Succeeding

 

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Bikini Doodle 

This will complete my summary of Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed.

5. A Better Path

The author of this book, Paul Tough, did NOT graduate from college!

Tough does not fit the demographic of college dropouts: He came from a well-to-do family; and got admitted to (and briefly attended) Columbia University.

However, he was rebellious after high school (where he did very well).  Inspired by Jack Kerouac, he wanted to travel and do something uncertain, unsafe…something he felt uncertain if he could succeed at. Believe he would learn more on the road than on the campus.

Steve Jobs’ famous graduation speech at Stanford (2005): Job told graduates that dropping out “had been one of the best decisions I ever made.”

  • allowed him to take classes he was interested in (calligraphy, typography)
  • this led to his creative typography in personal computers – distinguished Mac from all other computers
  • Biggest failure – being fired from Apple – a very public failure
  • allowed him to reorient himself and his work that led to his greatest successes: buying and transforming Pixar, getting married, returning to Apple rejuvenated
  • “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.”

Paul Tough: became a magazine editor and journalist. Twenty-four years after dropping out of Columbia, Tough quit the New York Times and wrote this book.

 

2. LG Parenting

Remember the high and low level Licking and Grooming experiment with rats?

Paul Tough thinks about that often now that he has become a new father.

Realizes that the most reliable way to produce and adult who is brave and curious and kind and prudent is to ensure that when he is an infant, his hypo-pituitary-adrenal his functions well. How?

  • Protect him from serious trauma and chronic stress;
  • provide him with secure, nurturing relationship with at least one parent, ideally, two.
  • provide lots of comforting, hugging, talking and reassuring;
  • also provide discipline, rules, limits, someone to say “no”;
  • help him to learn how to manage failure;

“More and more graduates from prestigious colleges are going into investment banking and management consulting and far fewer become artists, entrepreneurs and iconoclasts. Why? Because Wall Street decision is easier…they are driven by fear of not being a success than by a concrete desire to do anything in particular.” p. 184

3. A Different Challenge

Liberals and conservatives differ greatly on how the government should aid families in poverty, but just about everyone agrees we need to do something.

“The government should guarantee every citizen enough to eat and a place to sleep.”

In 2012, the child poverty rate was 22%. This means between a fifth and a quarter of American children are growing up in poverty. (From 1966 to 2010, the child poverty rate was 15%.)

Unsurprisingly, children who grow up in poor families in the United States do very poorly in school.

If we can help poor children escape the cycle of poverty, we can help them improve their academic skills and academic outcomes.

Conclusion: We could replicate on a big, national scale the accomplishments of the schools outlined in this book and make a huge dent on poverty’s impact on children’s success.

4. A Different Kind of Reform  p. 189

For a long time, educational reform was focused on teacher quality  and they way teachers are hired, trained, compensated and fired.

Whatever your stance, research on teachers remains inconclusive in some important ways:

  • we don’t know how to reliably predict who will be a top-tier teacher in any given year;
  • variations in teacher quality accounted for less than 10% of the gap between high and low-performing students.

The only official indicator of the economic status of an American public-school student today is his or her eligibility for a school-lunch subsidy.

If you qualify for subsidies, you probably can’t afford adequate shelter, nutritious food, new clothes, books or educational toys. Statistically, you are likely being raised by a poorly educated, never-married single mother.

5. The Politics of Disadvantage

The biggest obstacles to academic success that poor children, especially very poor children, often face: a home and a community that create very high levels of stress, and the absence of a secure relationship with a caregiver that would allow a child to manage that stress.

 

Character matters: grit, resilience, perseverance and optimism.

Perry Preschool – 128 children in poverty randomly chosen to attend high-quality preschool program. Experts believe that the school gave a return between $7 to $12 for each dollar spent.

The website displays data that starting quality education for the very poor at an early age has lasting effects (through the participants’ 40s)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal Success

Your Voice

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Photo from Kai Oberhauser

The Internet is abuzz with information, commercials, stunts, and opinions. Much of it is not helpful. When cultivating your own platform for media, be strong in your voice, in your stances and in your intention.

Simply pursuing followers and fame will lead to an absence of good intentions and common sense. For example, Monalisa Perez shot her YouTuber boyfriend Pedro Luiz III through a book he was certain would stop the bullet.

It is far more sweet to own your tiny corner of authenticity than to walk the stage of fraud.

Personal Success

Ease Up

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photo by Clem Onojeghuo

I’ve mentioned a tense relationship between my daughter and me on this blog. It has gotten pretty distressing at times and when I decided to push my ego aside, I realized I had to surrender. Pestering was not working. I had reflected on my intention. Was my primary motive to help her be “successful” in life? Was hounding her to do homework and practice her violin most important? No. But that was what I was practicing.

I set my priorities clearly. First of all, she must know I love her unconditionally. Secondly, this is her life. I trust her with it. She knows what to do and if she doesn’t do it, she will have to face the consequences. That’s how she will grow. Throughout it all, I will love her, absolutely.

What I DO owe her is a happy mother. Every time I start to resort to my habit of nagging, I redirect my energies to what I want to do: plant lantana in the backyard (even in 100 degree heat), exercise, write, cook and so on.

Since I’ve put this practice in place, a magnificent event has occurred. We’ve become closer than ever. She wanted to get into shape. I took her to a fitness club. We signed her up for a four week membership (realizing there will be NO time for the gym once school starts). The club gave me a 2 week free pass. Organically…naturally…completely unplanned…I’ve become her trainer. We work out together and laugh and (sometimes) partake in junk food afterwards. There is ease and love where angst and friction once were. And if I ask her to do something, she does it. Most of the time. And that’s OK.

The intention came first. Space (a lot of it) came next. And then complete awareness and unconditional love.  I’d say this works for all relationships.

motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Unshakable

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mercantile

I was shopping in a clothing store yesterday. I overheard one lady tell another, “Tag these before you put those away.” She said it in a very bossy and unkind way.

The other lady responded in a cheery tone, “Sounds good! I will definitely do that.”

Another command in a cold tone followed: “When you’re done with those, these need to be put away.”

“Got it! I will do it right away. No problem!”

For a second, I wondered if they were joking around. But there was no joviality or levity with the first lady. She was dead serious. The commands continued with the same enthusiastic, positive voice responding. They didn’t share a laugh. It was a genuine conversation with the junior retailer maintaining a positive demeanor.

The cheery saleslady demonstrated true persistence and integrity. Most people react to negativity with more negativity. In remaining unchanged, the lively retailer took responsibility for her own actions and her own feelings. She was unshakably positive. This is what is meant by “non-reaction” (Tolle). This is one of the keys to inner peace.

 

 

 

 

Health, Personal Success

Endless Energy

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We have the capacity to feel energetic all the time. You don’t need chemicals or a special diet. We are naturally full of energy. The reason we lack energy is because we create blocks which stem from our ego.*

For example, let’s say you wake up in a great mood. You go to work, full of energy. You want to make this an outstanding day! You plan on getting a lot done. A client calls you, berates you and demands some of his money back. Now you feel indignant against this person. You take what he says personally and call him names (after you hang up the phone). How dare he demand things outside of the contract? How dare he accuse you of trying to pull a fast one?

You run your fingers through your hair. You don’t feel like moving forward because you’ve lost the energy to get a lot done today. You just want to fume and you walk to your boss’ office to complain and have someone agree with you.

There goes a day of productivity.

If you want to maintain your energy, you need to clear the blockages. Don’t take things personally, don’t feed your ego’s desire to vent and draw attention to itself. Let the drama go. You can choose to go with the problems, ego and power drain, or choose to remain energetic.

 

*Michael Singer, The Surrender Experiment
Health

Walking Meditation

Opal baby

I read about the “Happiest Man in The World” Matthieu Riccard, a Buddhist monk.

I was intrigued both by his title and the advice he gives to “be happy.” His happiness measurement was taken by a “highly complex MRI scan” conducted by cognitive scientists. Basically, he’s off the charts with his happiness.

How does he attain such bliss?

According to Riccard, happiness is something you must cultivate by practice. You have to look in the right places and you have to be aware of your intention – your intention is to be happy. Happiness is not something that just happens to you.

Secondly, you must work to rid yourself of mental toxins. This is a very challenging task during this election year. Included in the definition of negativity are: greed, envy and pride. Again, this is an enormous obstacle for our “selfie” generation!

Learn to master your inner mental state. Be aware of anger and allow it to dissipate. You are not your anger. And contrary to popular belief, anger is not “natural.”

Meditate. Studies show the efficacy of this practice. Start with focusing on your breath as it goes in and out. When you do this, thoughts cannot enter your mind. This is meditation.

Riccard also recommends that you think only positive thoughts for 15 minutes straight. I tried this during my morning walk with Opal. Although it was nearing 90 degrees F. at 5:30am, I arrived home refreshed, energized and…happy!