10 More Ways To Be Miserable and How To Avoid Them

In a previous post I shared my insights and thoughts about the first 10 strategies in the book, How to Be Miserable.

I wanted to continue to share my thoughts from the book as this book has really pushed my thinking and forcing me to self reflect on my decisions and actions.. In part two of this book the author discusses How to Think Like an Unhappy Person.

If you have not already listened to the podcast in which I had a chance to interview the author, then I highly suggest giving that a listen as it is loaded with so many amazing insights: 048: Living On The Edge of Chaos – How To Be Miserable with Randy Paterson 

Probably one of my favorite concepts in this whole book is when he discusses that we spend our entire life viewing an inner cinema. We have three screens to choose from.

  1. Historical dramas of the past
  2. Fiction about our imaginary future
  3. Documentary of the present moment
  4. A screen that sensationalized and fictionalizes all the feeds

What I love best about this concept is the only screen that is non-fiction is the present one. This really stood out to me and I have read this passage time and time again as I try to remind myself not to dabble too much in the past or stress too much about the future.

Strategy 11: Rehearse the Regrettable Past

This is one we probably all struggle with from time to time. The issue where we focus on the negative opast despite the fact we can’t do anything about them. What we end up doing is focusing on all the things we are not good at or times we made mistakes instead of focusing on the positive and what we are actually capable of doing. I instantly thought of my own children and students in the classroom. How do we help them with this struggle? I don’t believe anyone doubts that this is an issue, but how do we encourage and promote a growth mindset in students and kids?

Strategy 12: Blame Inward, Give Credit Outward

Pretty straightforward. We don’t give ourselves enough credit when it is due while blaming ourselves for all the bad. Stop doing that!

Strategy 13: Practice the “Three Bad Things” Exercise

As ridiculous as this sounds, I bet that everyone reading has used this strategy. Lay in bed before sleeping and think of all the bad things that have happened. Beat yourself up. And then find yourself stressing, not being able to sleep and then stressing that you are not stressing. Even better is when you wake up mad that you did not sleep good.

Or you can do the opposite and simply change your attitude and focus on the good. Try that instead!

Strategy 14: Construct Future Hells

When we have something happening in the future don’t spend all your time focusing on everything that can go wrong. We all do it. We have a big speech and we stress over all that go wrong. Why do we spend all this time focusing on future hells and zero effort about things turning out fine? Once again, stop doing this!

Strategy 15: Value Hope Over Action

“…hope and fear come from a focus on the imaginary future rather than the singular moment of present reality.” Stop using hope as a substitute for action and go make things happen. Trust me you will get more done and won’t be wasting all your mental energy.

Strategy 16: Become a Toxic Optimist

This one I struggled with a bit. We must be positive, but not to the point we don’t actually listen to the haters. This strategy suggests this very thing and reminds me of the book Hug Your Haters. The part I question is where he suggests that we should focus all our attention on the course we desire. I think there are times when we must do this to avoid being busily bored and distracted by excuses of moving into action.

Strategy 17: Filter for the Negative

I just love this sentence, “Your emotions are governed not by the circumstances of your life, but by the circumstances to which you pay attention.”

Strategy 18: Cultivate Your Presence – Elsewhere

Just kept on reading on this one

Strategy 19: Insist on Perfection

“Much of our misery results from the way we view ourselves – particularly in the way we compare our performance against attainable standards.”

We cannot be perfect and must let go of the notion that others expect us to be perfect. Be you. Be awesome.

“Remember that your emotions are based on your beliefs about reality, not reality itself.”

Strategy 20: Work Endlessly on Your Self-Esteem

Listen to the podcast on this one. It was discussed at length. Do you think self esteem exists? Interesting element to really think about. This is by far the most talked about strategy of them all and I have found myself traveling the rabbit holes of research to learn more.


I wanted to continue to share my thoughts from the book as this book has really pushed my thinking and forcing me to self reflect on my decisions and actions.

How To Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already 

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Tools of Titans Review Part 1 Healthy

Application and Self Development

I recently wrapped up reading the first section of Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. This massive book of insights gathered by top people in all categories of life is one of the most transformational books I have read. I wanted to gather my notes and ideas and share out what I think so far and the goals I plan to accomplish.

To do this I have decided to break my takeaways down into sections. There is simply too much to gather even by going this route, but it is what I have decided to do.

This part focuses on section 1 which is all centered around health and taking care of our bodies. Enjoy

If nothing else this reminder serves as the cornerstone to all growth mindset. We must be willing to push forward and create our own path in life.

If you are able to grasp this concept then you know that you must focus only on what you can control. We cannot do anything about the hand of cards we have been dealt, but we are responsible to make the best hand possible.

The section that shared the insights with Jason Nemer really struck a chord with me. In this section I read the following statement which clicked in my brain. This statement has become my 2017 Focus of the Year.

In February I plan on doing the exercises shared by Dr. Peter Attia. I have been doing core work with my athletes, but these exercises might be a good addition to the schedule. I will do a few times a week in February to see how the results turn out.

This part of the interview with Dr. Attia really hit home with me as well. It serves as a great reminder to be the best father I can be. I have worked to do less this year to be home more. As my youngest daughter is growing up too fast and my other two children are starting to look like young adults I realize time is going by too fast. I miss them even when I am with them.

Next up was Justin Mager who had some really great insights. One of the best ideas was the following:

This is more important than you realize. When you read between the lines it makes you realize how much we judge by good or bad. So often this is why we have problems reaching goals, being happy, and more. Not everything is black and white.

Just like in school as well as in life we need to justify that there is a fundamental difference between understanding something and simply knowing its name or labeling it. These are two completely different concepts that we often confuse.

Pavel Tsatsouline

Another great part of the book. Something that I was able to relate to was the notion that as a leader we must realize that people are going to mimic our behavior. Some of it might be positive mimicry and some will do more mockery. Regardless, people are watching.

As a coach I don’t yell, scream, shout, or do any of the typical behavior often associated with being a “good” coach. Instead I stay calm and believe that I must model how I want my players to be behave both on and off the court. As Pavel states, “Calm is contagious”

The one piece that really resonated with me as a person as a whole(father, husband, educator) was the section with Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece, and Brian MacKenzie. For some reason I pictured myself hanging out with them and in the process being the best version of myself. The elements of using social connections for health is so true and powerful. We often don’t realize how important it is to have another person keep us accountable when trying to eat healthy, exercise, and do right.

One idea that I am trying to develop further is Laird’s Man Book Club where they read a nonfiction book a month and discuss the ideas. I keep drawing up this vision of a book club that is not gender specific but the discussions would take place on long runs. I am falling in love with the notion of strengthening my mind and body at the same time.

These are two great reality checks for us to use from time to time!

I never imagined in a million years that I would feel so connected to Triple H, but his podcast episode and section in the book is my favorite of the section.

Something that I grapple with every single day when working with students and my own children is the idea of helping them determine the difference between a dream and goal. There is a difference. A dream is something you fantasize about that will probably never happen. A goal is something you set a plan for, work toward, and achieve.

When I work with teams that get nervous before a game or watch my kids become stressed before a test I often remind them the very thing that Floyd Mayweather discusses. The work is already done. There is no need to stress now. Either you are ready or you are not ready. Simple as that. Deep down you should know if you put in the necessary work. After the results you need to analyze and figure out what needs improvement, what needs to be eliminated, and what needs to delegated.


Books I ordered or placed on hold at library

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

Mistakes Were Made by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman

Joy On Demand by Chade-Meng Tan

Concepts I am going to experiment with in February

  1. Dr. Peter Attia exercises at home and at practice.
  2. Jane McGonigal idea of using Tetris as therapy to help sleep. I struggle sleeping.
  3. Drink Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea to help with sleep
  4. Develop and further focus on my morning rituals. I know that when I wake up early and do certain things I often have good days or not so good days. I want to analyze and further develop these ideas.
    1. What are my five rituals and how many do I do each day?
    2. “The small things are the big things”
    3. Ideas to try
      1. Make my bed
      2. Meditate – I suck at it, but I need to develop this routine more. Forcing myself this meta-skill when it does not matter is most important. If I can teach myself to focus when it does not matter, then I will be able to focus when it does matter.
        1. Headspace or Calm app will be loaded up and experimented with in February.
      3. 5 Minute Journal and Bullet Journal
      4. Exercise
      5. Brain Dump

Each day I write a daily thought to my basketball team. These are thoughts and ideas that I hope roll over to their mind training for life(the biggest game of them all). As we win and lose games I cannot help but bring to light this quote.


This is where I am at. I will be taking the rest of January and February to develop these ideas, attempt to live and model them, and work to being a better person. I know I won’t get to them all, but I will continue to document, record in my Bullet Journal and further experiment with the ideas and concepts to make my life and myself better.

While I develop these ideas I will begin to read the next section on Wealth. More importantly I look forward to blogging about these ideas in greater detail as I apply them to my life.

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2 Essential Books To Read on Learning

I have not blogged about books in a very long time. It is weird how one goes through phases in their learning journey. It was not that long ago when I blogged about books I read on an almost daily basis.

Recently, I have read two books that I believe are really important to help educators and schools revisit some key ideas about learning as well as pushing the thinking forward.

First and foremost I have not forgotten that most teachers barely have any time to read anymore and if they do it is for pleasure and getting away from the grind of teaching. These two books are short reads, easy to process, and neither one really has to be read from front to back. You pick a topic and explore.

The first one is Lessons for LifePractice Learning by Ginger Lewman. I recently had her on my podcast. This book focuses and centers around project based learning, but in essence it is all about how to be practical and moving education and learning to the real world, right now. The ideas in the book don’t require a monumental shift. Your admin won’t go crazy and you won’t lose your job. However, what you will do is begin to change your classroom where kids are excited to learn even more than they are now.

I recently read her latest book and after reading the book, scribbling mass notes in the margins, and being reminded about the key things we must be doing in schools I want to make sure more people know about this book.


I won’t go into great detail about the book as I really think you should read it yourself. She even mentioned on the podcast that it was written to be processed small doses.

Here a list of my favorite ideas from the book

  1. A one full school day project that is started and finished in one day. I want to do this so bad that I almost wet myself thinking about it.
  2. The importance of soft and hard deadlines
  3. The topic of assessment and when to do it and whether it is always the best method
  4. The importance of the launch of a project and what are you going to do with the students who are not impressed?
  5. How to group students?
  6. The power of a midpoint regrouping of the project
  7. Wow’s, How’s, and Bow’s – my favorite idea of the whole book

If you are just experimenting with project based learning or if you feel as if your projects have grown stagnant then I would highly encourage you to read this book.

My second required reading suggestion is STEAM Makers by Jacie Maslyk. I believe I have more words highlighted in green than non highlighted. This book really helped me to frame what I needed to think about when it comes to makerspaces and STEM. It helped me grapple with some of the practical ideas that are hard for teachers to put into place with all the expectations on their plates.


What I love about this book is how she acknowledges the accountability and pressures of teachers, but helps to push them forward by not using it as an excuse to do nothing. We know the world is changing along with the job market. It is time we push more and more to do the things we know in our hearts are best for kids.

Some of the key ideas that really stood out to me

  1. The importance of leadership from administration. If we want change makers in our students and teachers, then we need leaders who are willing to support this. If you have an admin that is not supportive, then I recommend sending them this book or Innovator’s Mindset as a Christmas present
  2. Role of Facilitator – this idea is not new but exploring how to shift our teaching practice to make sure we are actually doing so.
  3. All the practical examples of how schools are actually doing all of this. It is great to scan and check the resources to see that not only is she talking about it, but people are actually doing it. I have already implemented like three ideas and will continue to add more.
  4. Failure – don’t cringe. The way she addresses failure is spot on.
  5. The scale up process about how a school started small and continued to build. These stories are important.

Both books have so much more to offer, but you have to read them. I encourage you track these books down and give them a try. If you read them and want to chat let me know. I love talking books. Heck, we could chat as a podcast.

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The End of Average: Is It Time?

No one is average.


Point blank. The whole point of the book that I currently read, The End of Average by Todd Rose,  and my current thinking is simply that average does not exist. At first I could not grapple with this concept because my whole world is dependent upon average. I had to read this book, pause, write things down, rethink, question, scribble notes, and in the end it started to sink in. Below is my stream of thoughts woven into a semi coherent blog post.


  1. There is no such thing as an average student because we just have too many variables as a human. You can replace the word student with any other term such as athlete, kid, musician.
  2. One of the key ideas that constantly swirled in my head was how much we try to rise above average. We constantly try to seek the “average” and do just enough to rise above to not be average or point fingers at those who are below average.
  3. There has been so much talk in education about moving away from the industry style model of teaching and learning in schools. We know this is based on a system that has been ingrained in factories for over a hundred years. However, despite a shift with makerspaces, deeper learning, and project based learning we still have the tenets of averagarianism where we still evaluate, sort,and manage students by comparing them to the average. We do this in PLC, team meetings, standardized data, state tests, grades, and pretty much anything else we do in school.

As we push for personalized learning and student voice in schools we must ask ourselves, “Where does individuality come into place in a standardized system?”


You know what I will answer that for you. It doesn’t. I cannot exist.


So why do we continue to fool ourselves that operating in a school system based on Taylorism where preparation of a mass amount of students is to develop average workers instead of developing a system of geniuses? We still use the Gary Plan system in many schools to mimic the factory setting. We still work to make sure every student obtains a standardized average education – you know, teaching to the middle. Or I mean creating some extension opportunities outside of the school day because those needs cannot be met during the 8 hours students are already in school. Why can’t we simply do more of this during the 8 hours they are at school? Is that not enough time? At what point do we begin to stop doing things the same way because it is just the way it is or is simply cannot be done? Oh I know….. because to do anything unlike others would go against the grain of the factory model of average.


Still don’t believe me? Then why do we rank students? Why do we look at data and say, “Well on average this many got this question right….”


This leads me to the most important statement of the book


“We all strive to like everyone else, only better.”


Let that sink in…….


Sinking in some more


And some more


You see we squeeze out the passion for individuality. I do it as a parent despite trying not to. My five year old stated the other night that she wants to grow up to be an artist of everything! How great is that? I  love it and yet I know that this beautiful goal and aspiration will be sucked out of her soul to do something that makes the economy float, to blend in like everyone else, and to avoid being different. To be different has become taboo, an obstacle, a headache to those that just want to be like everyone else. The majority of the world “is clearly set up so the system always matter more than you.”


One of the mind opening examples in the book for me was the question comparing two men and asking, “Which man is bigger?” In the photo one is taller while one has a larger belly and other variables(just read this book already!).


The question leads to the answer that there is indeed no answer. There are simply too many variables and therefore we cannot rank them because of the jaggedness principle. According to the author this principle is defined as not applying a one dimensional thinking to understand something that is complex and “jagged”. We can argue that the question above has too many variable to come to one conclusion. The same holds true for IQ. Two people could arrive at same score but for different reasons. We see this time and time again when we do summative assessments in our classrooms and projects. One thing we could do is look at one specific standard and even then it is tough because there are so many variables that allow students to either achieve or come up short.


As posed in the book, a question that I yet don’t have an answer for is “If human abilities are jagged, why do so many psychologists, educators, and business executives continue to use one dimensional thinking to evaluate talent?|


I thought about it. I pondered what my answer would be. And then I started to dive into more about statistics(which I am not great at). Todd Rose discusses how a .4 correlation is really just explaining 16% of the behavior of the two dimensions. So when we look at the work of Hattie how impactful are these numbers really? I am not suggesting that he is all wrong, but what is the great impact of 16%? Not much, unless you are once again looking for the average to do average thinking to do average work.


So what do we do? What are some answers? I don’t want this to be a post that all I do is complain. Complaining is easy and actually these are not complaints but my ideas typed up from the side margins.


One idea I loved from the book is IGN and how it operated Code-Foo. Instead of looking to do the same old average system of resumes(I hate resumes by the way) they had applicants submit a statement of passion and then apply their knowledge by answering four questions on coding. What they were looking for were people eager to learn and be part of something special. I think the same idea could be applied in education. If I could run an innovation lab where I could connect students to things they love doing and in the process cover the “requirements” that we think every student needs to know. The hard part to all of this is that the people in education have not been trained, educated, and hired to be thinking this way. We have been hired to meet the average, to follow order, instructions, and be like minded. It is who we are and who we have trained to be. To break this system would require new training, and restructure of higher education teaching courses, and a whole new model of how schools operate, look, and feel. These ideas are calling for a rebranding of education across the nation from the ground up.


I believe that we must not scrap everything. The world does not work that way. What we need to do is question why we keep doing the same. Why do we do things when we don’t have a why? We just allow ourselves to follow a path and we don’t know the destination in which we are headed. We must be able to think for ourselves.


If we know as a parent, coach, and teacher that we develop, grow, change, and adapt through our own process based on our physical, mental, moral, and social aspects of our lives then why don’t we allow our students to develop on their own path? We constantly try to get the below average caught up to average and let those above just float along. If we have children of our own we see the flaws in these systems and do everything we can as parents to build upon the skills and help them develop. Is it any wonder that outside companies and organizations are raking in millions to meet our kids needs?


I cannot tell you how many times my wife(8th grade algebra teacher) has come home blown away by all the methods in which students solve a problem. It is amazing to listen to their ideas and see how they came to their conclusion. Why can we not allow more of this to happen in schools? This is what I want to solve and come up with more solutions. Why do we care if it takes one child two weeks to solve a problem or master a standard while another takes two years? Do you care if your doctor took 4,6,8 years to earn their degree? No, you care if they can perform to the highest level to keep us alive and healthy. Same is true for a variety of things. The headache is how does this look in schools? We cannot have 1000 different pathways going on in any one school. Perhaps we leave the Gary Plan operations behind and move away from age specific grade levels? Just a thought.


We must work to push for new methods of operation. We still work in a world that rewards those above the “average”. We provide a class rank of one metric that allows for scholarships and access to elite colleges. Until higher education changes their one dimensional value of student’s there is little that can be done. We must work to change the system. What if…


What if…

  • Schools offered credentials where students could earn legit certificates of learning in various skillsets?
  • We got rid of grades altogether since they mean nothing(one dimension of compliance and not learning)
  • Created schools within schools to allow students to begin focused learning on what they want to learn
  • Developed a unified badge system that could be accepted by higher institutions where students had to prove their work and showcase they can actually create what they claim.
  • Classes were not based on seat time, but competency proficiency


What if schools eliminated the mindset of average and truly changed methods to meet the needs of all learners and pushed them to be their best? What if we stopped striving to be like everyone else and got back to what made America amazing in the first place and allow individual creativity and flare to take hold again?


Please read the book The End of Average by Todd Rose to understand where my brain is going. This book has made me rethink my whole perspective on life and what exactly it is we should be striving to accomplish.

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024: Living on Edge of Chaos – Book Discussion: David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell with Lisa Van Gemert

Today I bring to you a new podcast and one that I am very excited to bring to you. This podcast has been one that Lisa and I have been wanting to do for quite some time. I was lucky enough to have her on the show last year which is well worth the listen for Episode 5.

In this episode we hold a book discussion. We discuss the book

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Genre: Non-Fiction
A book that will make you think about things in a new way by changing the perspective of stories and the concept that what it means to be an underdog will give you much food for thought. A must read! More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon

This is well worth the read. You don’t have to read the book to understand the chat, but hopefully it will inspire you to pick it up and read.

We would love to hear from you about your thoughts on these topics. Leave a comment here, iTunes, or YouTube.

Follow this podcast on iTunes and please feedback and ratings.

If you would want to watch the video as we recorded via Google Hangout below.


All Social Media for Lisa Van Gemert – Please follow and learn from one of the best!
Links to items mentioned in the podcast
Malcolm Gladwell books worth reading
Other Books
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Coffeechug Reads and Does Not Read the Following

I am decluttering my life inside and out. This means that this website is undergoing change. I have eliminated a few things already(blog post coming) and one of the key things is my weekly newsletter in which I share the books I read.

The reason is that the amount of work to create this each week is not worth the time. It takes too long, causes me stress, and additionally very little people were reading the newsletter. The reason I believe is that it is just one more click and we all hate having to click more than once or twice.

I am not going to repost all the prior book reviews the last two weeks. I don’t want to drown my site with a ton of book reviews.

Instead I will just share my video reviews that I was creating. I am not sure if I will continue to make these because not many have been watching. Perhaps the newsletter for these were not ideal. I am testing to see how things go by posting them directly to the site and compare.

Here are all four videos

Find all books referenced here http://astore.amazon.com/cofothbr-20

As I continue to make changes in terms of streamlining this site and offering what people want please let me know what you think. I am making these decisions based on data on the site and my personal insights, but would love to provide the services that people want.

Let me know.

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4 Essential Ideas Coffeechug Learned From Reading Start Something That Matters #coffeechugPLN

I read another book that I feel you should read. It is by Blake Mycoskie which many of you don’t know the name, but you know his company TOMS shoes. This is a story about his journey along with what he believes are the keys to getting started with your own goals.

Below are my 4 key ideas that really stuck with me and my own personal thoughts. You can read the book to hear what he has to say along with many other ideas. These are not his key ideas, but were key to me with where I am in life right now.

1. How do you define success? I don’t know the real definition, but I have come to realize that success goes beyond status and money to include the idea that we should be working on something that enhances the world while living a life that fits your own terms and ideas.

2. The Power of Stories – Reading this book is a story. It grips your emotions and forces you to connect. Stories are much more powerful than facts or data. Numbers don’t connect on an emotional level. You can use data mixed in with stories to connect them. Think of your favorite teachers and you probably remember stories and not the content. This is true with life in general and yet we often times forget the story part when we teach.

3. Don’t fear the unknown – embrace and find out what is on the other side of the door. As you do this you will make mistakes, but remember that life goes on. Reading this story reminded me of the current journey I am on with a new job with many unknowns. Additionally, the unknown of writing my first book has left me slowing up the process. This book made me realize it is time to take the risk and throw it out there. What do I have to lose? Nothing!

4. Keeps things simple. Don’t over complicate matters. I personally do this all the time and is something I am working on everyday. Another idea that mixes in this mindset is you don’t need a lot of money. Use what you have around you to get started. There are so many free tools, websites, and discarded materials all around that we can find what we need to get started. We think we must have all these resources to get started, but being crafty and simplifying things will make life easier.

Once again I have another book that has empowered my mind to go after my goals. I have taken a bit of time of writing my book. Yes, I have made those excuses of being too busy presenting, going back to school, etc. They are excuses. There is never a perfect time to write.

Reading this book has inspired me to get back on track to accomplishing what I feel will help others. Please give this book a read and know that 50% of the proceeds goes to a funding program to help programs that will help others.

This is another must read that I recommend to everyone. Thanks to Coach Norm for telling me to read this book. I might make this a must read for my students on my robotics team and sports team as well. Great message that really inspires.

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Coffeechug learns 4 key ideas from the book by David Novak #coffeechugPLN

Taking People with You by David Novak is a read that has left me reflecting on how to become a better person, educator, and leader. I blogged about the intro a few days ago thinking about how much I depend on my wife for many things.

I read the book and took away many key ideas. As always I applied the information to education and parenting instead of business. Here are my key takeaways, but keep in mind there are many more that I took notes on.

1.Develop quality insightful questions for self and others

Most of my notes are the questions that were shared in the reading. I believe that a missing ingredient in most discussions and conversations are the quality questions that push people beyond the limits of their comfort zone. Reading this book I was able to capture some really deep questions that I will be using with my new job as an instructional coach. We have to go beyond the surface to really find out what we are seeking. It is time to quit being superficial and get to the root of the topic. Many of my notes were simply questions that I can modify to provoke thought. I know that attending the #WCGTC13 conference this happened all the time and was a major reason I left with much to ponder and think about. Don’t be afraid to poke the box!

2. Educators must think like marketers

This idea is not new to this blog or me, but as I was reading this book and how Novak works his magic in the business world I once again was reminded that educators must think like marketers. We have to know our intended audience, what makes them tick, how they operate, and decide how to gain their attention. We cannot think like educators. We have to think like students and work from their point of view. It is all about appealing to their needs and wants. Sometimes they don’t know that answer, but as professionals we know what they need. Bridging these two ideas together will enhance education.

3. Have a plan and think BIG

Don’t settle. Create that impossible goal and figure out how to achieve it. It reminds me much of what Tony Wagner spoke about in his speech to the the Gallup(youtube.com/watch?v=w9s4BB…. Create many goals to achieve and even if you don’t reach them all you will reach more than just looking a few steps ahead.

The key here is to keep reality in the forefront and understand what is needed to accomplish the goal. Personally, I will be working very hard to make sure teachers actually work through their projects themselves before unveiling to students. We must see the course first. You can connect this idea to your own situation.

4. Let people discover their own solutions

There are an abundance of experts, books, charts, graphic organizers, etc. that we can go look at to find answers. However, the answers are worthless if we don’t discover it for ourselves. As educators we must provide some guidance, but leave it to students to find the path to learning. As educators we cannot simply copy directly from someone else. We have to infuse our passion and knowledge to make it our own. This requires believing in ourselves and trusting in the process. If you do the other steps above this can happen.

In the weeks to come I will be blogging specifically on some of the specific takeaways from this book. However, I do recommend you read this book. There are some really great things to read, learn, and adapt to whatever you do in life. Like anything, you have to act upon it if it is going to mean anything. I will share out later what happens when I act upon the things I learned from the book.

Here is a link to the book in case you are interested in reading for yourself.

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Who are you taking with you? #coffeechugPLN

I am doing a personal book study  with the book Taking People With You by David Novak. This book was suggested to me at the LEAP Conference and as the book suggests I am reading one chapter at a time so I can reflect. I simply read the introduction and felt the need to write up some thoughts right away.

When I read this chapter it did not really connect with me at first. Like many things I have blogged about and as obvious as this should have been while reading I missed the key concept and power in my life.

I simply cannot do it alone. Plain and simple. I have a wife who allows me to pursue my passions. Without her none of my endeavors would ever reach you, my readers, or the people that I have connected with. She has allowed me to branch out. She supports me. She deserves just as much credit as anyone for the things that I am able to create. 

Nobody can do it alone. It is just not possible.

I am at the World Council of Gifted and Talented Conference and being here is a perfect example. She gave me a great idea for a handout. She helped me pick out bow ties. She ironed my shirts after I burned a pair of pants a few years back. She has listened to endless rants, stressful moments, and basically enduring all the neediness that I bring home on a daily basis.

She is my rock as cliche as that sounds. She lets me have it when I need to hear it. She reminds me to keep my ego in check and that all the ideas I have are not good(which I need to hear!).

This post is to thank her for all of her help and support and to remind you, the readers, to think about who you are taking with you on your journey to greatness. Don’t forget to thank those people. Let them know how they have helped. Even the people you work with every single day. Never assume because you would be amazed at what we think people know but really don’t.

Just this week I wrote out a handful of letters to students. I receive letters from students throughout the year from one of the classes they take where they have to write to someone. I decided to show these students that their letters matter. So just this past week I wrote them all a letter after reading them again to wish them success for the upcoming school year. I mailed it to their house. I don’t know the impact it will have and maybe not at all. I want the students to know their voices were heard and it was important to me.

Last, being at this conference and knowing I am missing back to school night for my children and my sons first football practice in tackle football really makes me homesick. But I believe in my message of passion and spreading the word of sharing what we are good at. I know in my heart it is worth it. It is not easy. I am homesick and feel terribly guilty as a father and husband. If my message spreads, then I know that missing these two events will be ok. I will be there for the rest of the season and all of his games. I will be there for all the other school events. I will be there, but just not these. Not easy, but I know they know that I am passionate about what I am doing.

To end this, think about who you are bringing on your journey. Are you bringing the right people? Is what you are trying to accomplish worth it? If not, then quit. Quitting is not all bad. But make sure when you do commit it is going to make an impact.

I look forward to connecting and sharing my message and feel blessed to have a family that believes in what I am trying to accomplish. Withouth them it would never happen. So I ask you again who are you taking with you?
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Present Shock: Power of Social Media

From the book Present Shock

According to research by Microsoft, 75% of human resources departments do online research about their candidates, utilizing search engines, social networking sites, personal blogs, and even photo sharing sites…………

Did someone else snap a photo of you while you were drunk at her party?……

This ends up favoring the past over the present.

….every transient thought or act becomes an indelible public recording. Our resumes are no longer distinct from our dating histories. It’s not just the line between public and private activity that has vanished, but the distance between now and then.

My Thoughts

Wow! I share this idea with my wife and the first thing we both said was thank goodness we are not growing up in these times! This is very real and very scary. It is scary because how good of a job are schools, parents, and communities doing to teach the kids about social media and the long term consequences. I know many kids don’t think that far down the road, but it is our job to help them. Have you ever just done a general search of your kids online via Twitter, Instagram, FB, etc.? Not that you are looking for bad stuff or to get them in trouble, but just to see the world they are living in? I often wonder how the sharing of the things they share will affect their future jobs and careers? Will there be consequences for sharing the adolescent and very real thoughts of middle and high school students online? We all have been through that tough phase of life and thought all the good and bad thoughts that go on during those turbulent years. We were lucky enough to not have a platform to share it with the world. The kids today do and how will that impact them when they are older and wiser?

We live in a day and age where you may learn from your mistakes, but you can never start fresh. Everything is documented. Everything is available for others to find. This will either lead to a new way of thinking and understanding for the future generations where they are all in the same boat together or could have very negative consequences. Only time will tell.


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