As I mentioned before, Eric Barker’s book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree is definitely worth reading. Most of the book consists of interesting case studies to prove points (importance of networking, believing in yourself, risk-taking, being kind vs. ruthless, perseverance and the company you keep). However, his final chapter does a nice job of wrapping things up tightly.
In a nutshell, here is what he (and tons of research) find:
You must define success for yourself.
There are four quadrants to everlasting happiness:
Barker recommends creating an actual grid and listing action items for each category. Also, he believes there is value in tracking what you are actually doing against this grid (Netflix marathon would not qualify for “enjoying” – rather, being in the flow of work is true enjoyment).
Lastly, Barker says scheduling your to dos is much more effective than a list!
Our daughter played in a symphonic concert tonight. She’s almost 14 and is very active in several orchestras at the moment. The symphonic group she played in tonight celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. This group is a district group, including all the kids in the city who audition and make it. The kids then come to three different rehearsals of 2 hours each. They perform in the local Ikeda Theater for parents and friends. Admission is free.
Wayne Roederer started this program 50 years ago. He has conducted and started many programs and just retired two years ago. He conducted one of the groups and spoke to the parents, his voice breaking with emotion. “It was a joyous experience for me,” he said, “to work with your children. It was well worth missing Judge Judy for several days.” We all laughed.
The kids played with pride. They moved to the music.
Afterwards, we spoke with him. We congratulated him and told him how we appreciate his work. He said that he has worked with children who grew up to be adults who started orchestra programs of their own and now those kids have grown and are starting programs…
What might appear to be his legacy at first glance: the kids he worked with directly…is much more than that. This man has literally influenced thousands of people.
One man. An idea. And many helpful hands, parent volunteers and eager students. That’s all it took.
You are one person. You have an idea. Start building it…people will help you.
We were walking on our daughter’s high school campus during Open House. The schedule was set up as a truncated school day: we were to follow the students’ schedules and meet each teacher for six minutes. We were given five minutes between each class. Willey and I were a bit overwhelmed and we realized how Josie (our first high school child) must have felt on her first day: the buildings so far apart, the time to get to each so limited. It was also over 100 degrees outside, even though it was 6pm.
I turned around. I didn’t see anyone I recognized. A petite “helper” student walked toward me. (The high school had arranged to have some juniors and seniors assist parents). I searched the girl’s face. And suddenly, I recognized her. Same cute nose and adorable freckles.
I taught Taryn second and third grade. It was the only time I looped in teaching, carrying my entire class over to a second year. It was over eight years ago. When I said goodbye to that class, it felt like I was saying goodbye to my own children. One girl, Taryn, was moving to Utah. She had an angel face and greeted me every day with an enormous smile and the best attitude! She – and the others – made me a better teacher. She and I wept together on the last day of school. I was surprised at the amount of emotion we had. I was going to miss her so much!
And here she was!
I can’t believe she remembers me, I thought. As if she could read my mind, she said, “I can’t believe you remember me, after teaching so many kids!”
No matter what your profession, you must realize that your kindness, love and attention mean the world to someone in your life. It can affect others for years to come, you just never know.