Education

Focus on the Fun with Learning

Life Lesson Of The Week
Learning can be fun – make it like a game!
-Joyce O’s Life Lesson from Olathe, Kansas

Focus On It
Yes. I said it. Even as an adult, learning can be fun. And it should be fun!

I have recently taken to cooking on the weekends, and while I have made some notable failures in the past, I keep coming back. A few weekends ago, I made danish meatballs which turned out to be quite delicious! I may have messed up on ingredients, but luckily you couldn’t tell. It was a far cry from the flour & powdered sugar mistake from years past. But I’m trying to learn and that is what matters.

Learning is a life-long process and it can and should be fun. What are you learning?



I Wanted to Be a Teacher

TeacherAndStudent1What did you want to be when you grew up?

I can remember wanting to be many things, but the few that stand out are teacher, doctor, gymnastics coach, and architect. My sister even made me and my little brother play “school” with her so she could practice being a teacher. (She, of course, is now a teacher in Des Moines, Iowa.)

I didn’t go to school to become a teacher, but I did become a teacher of sorts after school. Thinking about it, maybe becoming a speaker was my way of becoming a teacher. I love what I do and I’m not afraid to try new things.

It is probably a good thing I didn’t go to school to become a teacher because I love the type of teaching I am doing today.

Newsletter: You See What You Want

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Fact: We get what your brains are focused on. Nothing more and sometimes much less.

That statement is especially true when it comes to news and politics. If you’re more liberal and you watch MSNBC all the time, you’re not getting the other side of the story. (The same is true if you’re conservative and only watch FOX News.)

In life, whatever we focus our minds on is what we are going to find. I firmly believe that having a clear vision for what you want is paramount, but you need to have moments of freedom.

Those random moments of mental freedom allows your brain and your constant thoughts to cease, and impossible to enter.

Look at the image below:

Now look at it again:

Did you see the gorilla? Probably not. And you’re no different than 83% of radiologists. Why didn’t the experts see it?

Because they weren’t looking for it.

When I lead team building workshops, that lesson is something I drive home in how I give directions and it is a lesson for leaders:

The less you direct in black and white terms,
the more freedom your team has to discover new and great things.

The same is true in life:

The less you focus on one tiny thing, or the end goal,
the more likely you are to find amazing opportunities
and experiences along the way.

Open your eyes, uncloud your path and see what is out there.

Getting What You Seek

Fact: We get what your brains are focused on. Nothing more and sometimes much less.

Gorilla Study Image

37Signals recently summarized the infamous Invisible Gorilla study where researchers found that 83 percent of radiologists, in reviewing x-rays of lungs, missed a superimposed image of a gorilla. Why?

Because they weren’t looking for it.

When I lead team building workshops, that lesson is something I drive home in how I give directions and it is a lesson for leaders:

The less you direct in black and white terms,
the more freedom your team has to discover new and great things.

The same is true in life:

The less you focus on one tiny thing, or the end goal,
the more likely you are to find amazing opportunities
and experiences along the way.

Open your eyes, uncloud your path and see what is out there.

I Will Not Like Myself

We live in a world of “likes“, “shares”, and “retweet.” And before I forget, be sure to like and tweet this article!

This story from the Daily Dot last week got me angry. First of all, are we really encouraging sex on social media with likes? I mean, is that what we have stooped to?

But on a deeper level, in life, we have gone from seeking acceptance and understanding, to just wanting to do things that get us likes and attention. It’s sad really.

Around Christmas, a few kids posted that their dad would get them a dog if the post reached a certain number of likes. It did, so they are getting a dog. That’s great! However, wouldn’t the kids have actually learned something had their dad said, “If you can raise $250 for Heifer International, you can get a dog.”

We should be teaching to go for impact and not entertainment. Value and not emotionless and social media driven hype.

Like this, share it, retweet it … do with it as you will. I’m not asking for any of it. I’m only asking that you think about it.

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

My friend Mike always gives me great books to read, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, is no exception. It began with the entertaining read of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and continues with this curious tale of an autistic young man at the cusp of adult-hood with a family that has fallen apart and a curious dog incident.

At first, the book as a bit unnerving in it’s style, but it quickly grew on me to a point where I wanted nothing more than to pick up the book again and read. It’s written from the young man’s perspective and soon, you, the reader, are thinking just like him. Your reasoning changes and you realize how fractured his world is and how badly you just want to understand.

In a way, the book is a look at the inside of all of us and how we all want so very much to be loved and understood and to understand. In my previous readings, including Brain Rules, I love to read books that provide that understanding, the this one meets that challenge.

I promise you will not be disappointed in this read that gives insight into the world of a young child in pain, in silence, in fear and in need of the one thing we all can give, love.

5 Lessons from “The Summer of Richard”

Sure, I involuntarily departed from my previous full-time job and sure it was depressing. But after 110 days on my own, I joined a new team here in New York City and I could not be more excited about the future.

But in what I am now calling, “The Summer of Richard,” I thought I would share some of the lessons I learned. And in case you were wondering, yes, I stole that line from Seinfeld:

1) Goals Keep us Focused. Without question, having the marathon (link) as a goal kept me moving forward. It is easy to get stagnant and frustrated and depressed without goals and targets in mind. But knowing that at the start of June I was going to be traveling to sunny San Diego to run a marathon with my family supporting me, kept me focused on the goal. And even after achieving it, that high carried me forward. Always have goals in mind.

2) Tough Moments Reveal Our True Desires. It is true. When you are down and out and frustrated, you begin to see what you really want in life. I spent the “Summer of Richard” re-developing some of my workshops, building out a new book idea and writing a short script.

3) Embrace the Opportunity. I finally had time to write. So I did and got published in RSi Magazine and PRSA Tactics. Had I not embraced the moment, that would not have happened.

4) True Friends Stay Close and Get Closer. When you are at your lowest, your closest friends and advisers get closer to you. They push you and hold you close when you need it. I will never forget my friend Kade who one day was offering his support and six weeks later, basically telling me to get off my ass and make it happen.

5) Rest. Boy, did I need the rest. It was honestly, a blessing to have the summer to myself. I needed to let my body rest, not because of the marathon, but because of life. I had been working at some level since I was 15 years old. I am now 28. I have only had one real vacation in four years. And barely take days off. I needed it.

In the end, I learned more about myself in those 110 days than I could have doing nearly anything else. I thank you all for going on the ride with me.

Here is to tomorrow!