Kismet

Inspiring Insight

Posts tagged ‘joy’

Feels Like… Featured

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My teenage daughter and I had a conversation about her anxiety and panic disorders. She described it like this:

“It’s like wearing wet jeans to school. It’s really uncomfortable and smells bad and you want to take them off, but you can’t just whenever you want. You can’t take them off while you’re at school.”

Listening patiently and doing your best to understand are the first steps to alleviating the stress and anxiety of our loved ones.

Fortune Featured

When I interact with my dog, I am always 100% present.

(While typing, I accidentally typed “god” instead of “dog.”  Is that a mistake, or kismet?)

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I’m so lucky to wake up to her each morning.

A Force to be Reckoned With

John Force is an NHRA drag driver. He has over 144 victories and is a major player in his field.

As a child, he overcame childhood polio. As a young adult, he raced for twenty years and failed so miserably that he became the butt of jokes.

But he never gave up.

Most of us attempt something a few times and throw in the towel after a few failures.

What are you passionate about? Can you endure hundreds of fails? Public mockery? If you enjoy the process, (the learning and growth) instead of focusing on the end game, it takes care of itself.

Combine Various Things Featured

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My first collage!

Any time you feel defensive, your ego is being manipulative. You are attempting to hold onto an identity that you want others to perceive.

Meditate on it. Change if it makes sense to…or just let it go.

 

“How Children Succeed” (Con’t) Featured

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Mini Bell Peppers (2 peppers = full day  of Vitamin C!)

Here is a continuation of my notes on Paul Tough’s research regarding “grit, curiosity, and the hidden power of character” as it pertains to children:

  1. Grit  p. 74

“Duckworth realized self-control has limitations. She believed that a passionate commitment to a single mission and an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission are more relevant when it comes to inventing something new or creating an award-winning (movie)/project. She called this characteristic grit.”

She created a 12 (now 10) question survey that turned out to be a remarkably accurate predictor of success.

It was more accurate a predictor of graduation rates for West Point than their own assessments.

  1. Quantifying Character

Levin, Randolph, Seligman and Peterson narrowed a set of strengths that were indicators of life success and happiness:

  • Grit
  • Self-control
  • Zest
  • Social intelligence
  • Gratitude
  • Optimism
  • Curiosity

They then created a “character report card”

Much confusion among educators regarding “character” – is it moral? Is it “performance character?”

  1. Affluence

Wealthy families may have “helicopter” parents (parents who hover over their kids as they do homework, sports, etc) but that does NOT mean they are spending quality family time together. In fact, many high-achieving, wealthy families are not closely bonded.

  • Madeline Levine, psychologist in Marin County, says that wealthy parents are more emotionally distant than any other parent from their children
  • Intense feelings of shame and hopelessness in their kids
  • Levine was inspired by Suniya Luthar, psychology professor at Columbia Univ who did a comparison study between low-income and high-income households.
  • Found 22% of wealthy kids suffered elevated rates of depression and clinically significant symptoms
  • 35% of affluent kids tried all four substances (alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and harder illegal drugs
  • 15% of poor kids tried all four
  • Dan Kindlon, assistant professor of child psychology at Harvard, also found an emotional disconnect between wealthy kids and their parents
  • These parents were overly indulgent in their children’s bad behavior
  • Parents making more than $1 million said that they were far less strict than their own parents
  • A little hardship – discomfort – is good for children!
  • This is an issue in private schools – telling parents they are not parenting properly means you are criticizing your employers (clients)
  • A school like Riverdale (expensive, private – graduates include Chevy Chase, Carly Simon, etc) is not meant to help raise the ceiling, but to raise the floor = give kids a high probability of nonfailure.
  • They do not develop grit

 

  1. Discipline  p. 86

KIPP used to practice a lot of disciplinary action (some of which Levin regretted)

SLANT – stand up, listen, ask questions, nod, and track – taught at KIPP 5th grade

Code-switching – you must learn and practice proper behavior for the museum, college interview and nice restaurants

Rich kids at Riverdale wear casual clothes and slouch

Kids at KIPP are taught to have good posture and track teachers…formal speech

The administrators of both schools disagree on this point – what should students be taught?

 

 

Sunday: Education Research Featured

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The following is a continuation of my notes on Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed:

Chapter 2 HOW TO BUILD CHARACTER p. 49

 

  1. Best Class Ever – 1999 KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Academy – 8th grade – all Black and Hispanic, most low-income, earned the highest scores of ANY school in the Bronx (just four years in the program).

Climb the Mountain to College – college was always the goal

But only 8 got a college degree

Culture shock – overwhelmed

While in KIPP, they felt and acted like a family

KIPP did not prepare them for high school emotionally or psychologically

Nobody checks your homework

 

  1. Learned Optimism p. 52

Levin noticed that the kids who succeeded in high school and graduated from college were not necessarily the highest academically. They possessed other gifts: optimism, social agility, resilience.  Levin called these CHARACTER STRENGTHS.

 

Martin Seligman – Learned Optimism – it’s a skill that can be learned, not innate

Pessimistic adults and children can train themselves to be optimistic

Will lead to more happiness, health and success

Seligman – depression is simply a severe low mood

Pessimists react to negative events by explaining them as permanent, personal and pervasive

(e.g. failed a test because you’re stupid, not because you failed to prepare)

Seligman yelled a lot, in his class

Levin did a book study with his staff. Why do some of our students feel not well-liked?

 

  1. Riverdale p. 55

Levin grew up in a ritzy area of Riverdale – he was a standout student in math and science AND the captain of the basketball team; Director of his boarding school believes CHARACTER is missing in today’s qualifications in school (grit, working hard, perseverance).

 

Daniel Goleman – Emotional Intelligence

Randolph, Seligman and Levin had a meeting – the beginning of a fruitful alliance

 

  1. Character Strengths  p. 58

Character Strengths and Virtues:  A Handbook and Classification by Seligman and Peterson

A study in character; an effort to identify (concretely) what character is

Finalized 24 character strengths they believed to be universally respected

includes : bravery, citizenship, fairness, wisdom, integrity; love, humor, zest, appreciation of beauty; day-to-day interactions (social intelligence), kindness, gratitude

 

–These virtues were chosen because they could lead to the “good life” of fulfillment and meaning – had practical benefits

Seligman and Peterson – defined character as malleable – skills you can learn and practice and teach

  • Not finger wagging or blaming, but focus on personal growth (pg. 60)

 

  1. Self-Control and Willpower

Seligman, Levin and Randolph turned to Angela Duckworth (in her PhD dissertation, after working in schools, she said the problem was not just in schools, but students themselves) “Learning is hard…it can be daunting, exhausting and sometimes discouraging…character is at least as important as intellect.”

Duckworth started her research with self-discipline: 164 8th graders.

Self-discipline levels were more indicative to GPA than IQ.

Collaborated with Walter Mischel, famous for his marshmallow test with four-year olds (delayed gratification study).

Duckworth was intrigued by this study – how did those with more self-discipline strategize or help themselves to delay gratification?

“Children who did best at this test created their own distractions.”  [Talked, sang, covered their eyes, one kid took a nap]

With simple prompts, children were able to think of the marshmallow abstractly, which led to higher success.

After a six week long course to help students develop self-discipline, students believed they improved, but they didn’t.

 

  1. Motivation

 

Marshmallows were easy…very clear goals.

High school and college graduation are not as clear or tangible.

Duckworth divided the mechanics of achievement into two: motivation and volition. BOTH are requisites.

 

What if students just aren’t motivated to achieve the goals their teachers or parents want them to achieve?

 

All the self-control tricks in the world will not help.

 

But motivation can still occur. It’s just highly complex. Rewards sometimes backfire.

 

Reward systems in schools (stickers, candy, prizes) have not been successful.

 

  1. The Coding-Speed Test  p. 66

 

No one really knows how to motivate people well.What motivates us is hard to explain and hard to measure.

 

Different personality types respond differently to different motivations.

 

The coding-speed test (Segal) actually tested the test-takers’ inclination to force themselves to care about the world’s most boring test.

It was proof that they TRIED harder. The low-stakes, low-reward test predicted how well someone is going to do in life. Over decades, Segal gave the test to the same people and in their forties, he compared their salaries. Those who scored high on this test made considerably higher salaries.

 

  1. Conscientiousness

What Segal’s study measured was conscientiousness.

Brent Roberts, U of IL (Urbana-Champaign) – reigning expert on conscientiousness

This was not studied much by researchers because it denoted “control” and nobody wants to talk about people being controlled. However, Industrial/Organizational Psychology grew into everyone’s consciousness – because companies want to hire the most productive, reliable and diligent workers they can find. They found that conscientiousness was critical.

Roberts found that people high in conscientiousness:

  • get better grades in high school and college;
  • Commit fewer crimes;
  • Stay married longer;
  • Live longer (fewer strokes, lower BP, lower incidence of Alzheimers)

The Downside of Self-Control (p. 71)

People who are critics of the education setting are not swayed by conscientiousness findings.

“Strength of character” – includes conscientiousness, responsibility, insistently orderly, determined and persevering.

  • This measure was 3x more successful in predicting college performance than SAT scores or college rank
  • Critics believe there is an inverse relationship between high GPA and creativity; that corporations want “drones” to simply follow directions and work
  • Conscientiousness and self-control go hand in hand
  • Critics (Jack Block, UC Berkeley) believes highly conscientious people are “compulsive, anxious and repressed.”
  • A New Zealand study, however, runs contrary to this finding: a three-decade long study following children into adulthood found a strong correlation between lack of self-control to (at the age of 32)- more likely to have health problems, bad credit rating and trouble with the law (3x higher than those who demonstrated self-control as young children). Also, 3x more likely to have multiple addictions and 2x as likely to raise children in a single household.