Soul Food Friday for July 26, 2013

Happy Soul Food Friday!


This week:

  • A Soul Filled video that will recalibrate both what is important in life and what is possible, with that rare combination of Courage and Compassion
  • 8 ways to Improve Your Morning Routine
  • What does it take to be a Positive Educator? Find out and take the Positive Educator Pledge
  • Need a New Car?
  • Fascinating & Rare Historical Photos- Did you know…

A Soul Filled video that will recalibrate both what is important in life and what is possible, with that rare combination of Courage and Compassionz

An cherubic voice and angelic mom, this soul filled video will recalibrate both what is important in life and what is possible with that rare combination of courage and compassion.

Emanuele Kelly – the story of his life that is utterly incredible. If only we can have a quarter of the courage this guy possesses and as for his foster mother – she’s an angel in disguise…. so selfless. This could change your life and the way you think. Emanuele reminds us that ANYTHING is possible

8 ways to Improve your Morning Routine:

We are creatures of habit. Here are 8 ways to start your day right. Remember all’s well that begins well! 

What is a Positive Educator?

When I think about the teachers who made a difference in my life I realize they were all positive. Mrs. Liota smiled every day and made me feel loved. Coach Caiazza believed in me while Mr. Ehmann encouraged me to be my best. Years later as I think about the impact these teachers had on my life it’s clear that being a positive educator not only makes you better it makes everyone around you better. Positive educators have the power to transform lives and inspire young minds to believe they can and will change the world. In this spirit here are seven ways we can all choose to be a positive educator.

1. Be Positively Contagious – Research shows that emotions are contagious. Sincere smiles, kind words, encouragement and positive energy infect people in a positive way. On the flip side your students are just as likely to catch your bad mood as the swine flu. So each day you come to school you have a choice. You can be a germ or a big dose of Vitamin C. When you choose to be positively contagious your positive energy has a positive impact on your students, your colleagues and ultimately your school culture. Your students will remember very little of what you said but they will remember 100% of how you made them feel. I remember Mrs. Liota and her smile and love and it made all the difference.

2. Take a Daily Thank you Walk – It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it’s a great way to feed yourself with positivity. How does it work? You simply take a walk… outside, in a mall, at your school, on a treadmill, or anywhere else you can think of, and think about all the things, big and small, that you are grateful for. The research shows you can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time so when you combine gratitude with physical exercise, you give yourself a double boost of positive energy. You flood your brain and body with positive emotions and natural antidepressants that uplift you rather than the stress hormones that drain your energy and slowly kill you. By the time you get to school you are ready for a great day.

3. Celebrate Success – One of the simplest, most powerful things you can do for yourself and your students is to celebrate your daily successes. Instead of thinking of all things that went wrong at school each day focus on the one thing that went right. Try this: Each night before you go to bed think about the one great thing about your day. If you do this you’ll look forward to creating more success tomorrow. Also have your students do this as well. Each night they will go to bed feeling like a success and they will wake up with more confidence to take on the day.

4. Expect to Make a Difference – When positive educators walk into their classroom they expect to make a difference in their student’s lives. In fact, making a difference is the very reason why they became a teacher in the first place and this purpose continues to fuel them and their teaching. They come to school each day thinking of ways they can make a difference and expecting that their actions and lessons will lead to positive outcomes for their students. They win in their mind first and then they win in the hearts and minds of their students.

5. Believe in your students more than they believe in themselves – I tried to quit lacrosse during my freshman year in high school but Coach Caiazza wouldn’t let me. He told me that I was going to play in college one day. He had a vision for me that I couldn’t even fathom. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. I ended up going to Cornell University and the experience of playing lacrosse there changed my life forever. The difference between success and failure is belief and so often this belief is instilled in us by someone else. Coach Caiazza was that person for me and it changed my life. You can be that person for one of your students if you believe in them and see their potential rather than their limitations.

6. Develop Positive Relationships – Author Andy Stanley once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” Far too many principals share rules with their teachers but they don’t have a relationship with them. And far too many teachers don’t have positive relationships with their students. So what happens? Teachers and students disengage from the mission of the school. I’ve had many educators approach me and tell me that my books helped them realize they needed to focus less on rules and invest more in their relationships. The result was a dramatic increase in teacher and student performance, morale and engagement. To develop positive relationships you need to enhance communication, build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them, show them you care through your actions and mentor them. Take the time to give them your best and they will give them your best.

7. Show you Care – It’s a simple fact. The best educators stand out by showing their students and colleagues that they care about them. Standardized test scores rise when teachers make time to really know their students. Teacher performance improves when principals create engaged relationships with their teachers. Teamwork is enhanced when educators know and care about one another. Parents are more supportive when educators communicate with their student’s parents. The most powerful form of positive energy is love and this love transforms students, people and schools when it is put into action. Create your own unique way to show your students and colleagues you care about them and you will not only feel more positive yourself but you will develop positive kids who create a more positive world.

If you commit to being a positive educator consider The Positive Teacher Pledge.

The Positive Teacher Pledge

  • I pledge to be a positive teacher and positive influence on my fellow educators, students and school.
  • I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.
  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.
  • When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism.
  • When I feel fear I will choose faith.
  • When I want to hate I will choose love.
  • When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better.
  • When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow and help others grow.
  • When faced with adversity I will find strength.
  • When I experience a set-back I will be resilient.
  • When I meet failure I will fail forward and create a future success.
  • With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always find ways to make a difference.
  • I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.
  • I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.
  • I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes my students better.
  • So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on my students, school and the world!

Need a new car?

While the spot is too sexist for my liking, the vehicle is pretty darn cool!

Fascinating & Rare Historical Photos:

Click here

Pay it Forward, you can’t take it with You…



“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.
                              It is not a thing to be waited for, but a thing to be achieved.”                                   —
William Jennings Bryan

Soul Food for July 19th 2013

Happy Soul Food Friday!

Yesterday was International Day for Freedom, Justice and Democracy
Can you invest 67 minutes in your community, with each minute representing 1 year that Mandela sacrificed for the values of freedom, justice and democracy?

 This week:
7 Black Belt Insights for Elite Achievement
Take the Personal Leadership Quiz
Nelson Mandela turns 95 and One man’s Artistic Tribute to Freedom through Boxing and Art
International Day for Freedom, Justice and Democracy
An Easy Safety Idea
On Perception: When the Reflection is Larger than the Reality
Followed by Amazing Photos from Around the World (what’s your favorite?)
7 Black Belt Insights for Elite Achievement

Take the Personal Leadership Quiz

Nelson Mandela turns 95 

One man’s Artistic Tribute 

International Day for Freedom, Justice and Democracy: The 67 Minute Challenge

An Easy Safety Idea
Great idea!! Even when you travel and stay in a motel!
Even if your car does not do this, tell all your friends & relatives & neighbors who could use this for help.
What to take to bed with you – not a joke.


Put your car keys beside your bed at night.

Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents, your doctor’s office, the check-out girl at the market, everyone you run across.

If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.

This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It’s a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage.

If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won’t stick around. After a few seconds, all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won’t want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there. This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.

P.S.. Would also be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can’t reach a phone. My Mom has suggested to my Dad that he carry his car keys with him in case he falls outside and she doesn’t hear him. He can activate the car alarm and then she’ll know there’s a problem.


Amazing Photos from Around the World

Click here!

Thanks this week go to Robin S, Will M, The Daily Good, Jehangir J, and Larry H

Stay Safe, Sane and Soulful!



“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.”– Nelson Mandela

Happy Soul Food Friday for July 12th 2013

Happy Soul Food Friday!

This week enjoy some glimpses of:

  • Getting out in nature does wonders to restore your sense of balance and soulfulness
  • Living a purpose-filled life?
  • Young people changing the world
  • Poor memory actually being a benefit
  • Future proofing and revisiting your relationship to money
  • Further musings on the relationship between money and happiness
  • Magnificent steps around the world including; Ecuador, India, Germany, Columbia, Hawaii, Peru, Spain and China

Keep Climbing!


What’s your Mission?

People who lived purpose filled lives are clearly happier and more fulfilled.

If you can link your purpose to your vocation, you are even luckier!

I am blessed to work for a double bottom line, purpose-driven organization that gives back to our community.

Being a generator of value rather than an extractor will ensure we create value and advance the collective good…

Click here

Passage to Bollywood

It is inspiring when we hear about kids changing the world!

Here is a great example of a local high school student thinking global, and demonstrating how and why Gen Next are the most societally- conscious generation on our planet


How Good is Your Memory?

Aging has its limitations but rightly understood, poor memory might actually be a benefit.

Enjoy this re-framing thanks to my brother at HRG

Future proofing and Revisiting Our Relationship to Money

Here is an excerpt from my remarks at the UCSD True Triton Brunch as it relates to future proofing…

What the heck is future proofing?

It is the process of trying to anticipate future developments, so that action can be taken now to minimize possible negative consequences, and to maximize opportunities. It is about building a strong enough foundation to ensure long term, sustainable success.

Here are some future proofing factoids:

If you are working, your job is your #1 investment.

Your education is your second most important investment.

If you are serious about future proofing, invest more time building a legacy than an inheritance.

If you cultivate the proper work ethic and relentless passion for lifelong learning, and develop a culture that focuses on generators of value not just extractors of value, the next generation will produce their own annuity.

Money doesn’t cause problems, your bad relationship to money causes problems. Most of us have a lousy relationship with money. The same sadly is even truer with time. Most of us have a lousy relationship with time.

How do I know? Well, we kill time, we waste time, and we spend time but rarely invest time. Lousy relationships with both money and time cause a lot of problems both in the present and by extension in the future… Maybe it’s time to revisit our relationship with time and money.

Interestingly, if you think about this in the context of volunteering, time is more valuable than money. You can lose all your money and earn it back, but you never get the time back. Today is unprecedented. Today is unrepeatable. We never get today back so invest it wisely. Do give BACK! Invest your time giving back. Giving back is highly correlated with healthier and happier people.

“Gratitude is the ultimate antidote for materialism”

We ARE spirits in a material world as Sting and the Police remind us…

Apparently, I am not the Only One Thinking this Way…

This post reinforces similar ideas about money and happiness

Climbing Half Dome years ago, like any committed undertaking requires adequate preparation and taking the steps

These steps all around the world, should give you some perspective…

In mountaineering, “Going up is optional, Going down is MANDATORY!”

For many, the stairs are something to avoid, unless you’re determined to lose some weight.

But lovers of nature and spectacular views are more than used to climb steps and more steps to experience the view.
Caution: This list of steps might be a challenge for those who get a little dizzy with heights…


Peldaños del Cañón
Where you are: Pailon del Diablo, Ecuador
Where are they going?
Designed to descend to the bottom of one of the most famous waterfalls in South America, along the way, lost in the fog in many cases, it is extremely slippery and steep for tens of meters to a lookout where you can see a dramatic effect, accompanied by hummingbirds, gulls and other local birds


El pozo de Chand Baori
Where you are: India
Where are they going?
The decline of these steps leads to a huge pool, built in the tenth century to overcome the lack of rainfall in the region and store water for long periods. The structure has a total of 3,500 steps, and down to a depth of 30 meters.


Stairs Elbe Sandstone Mountains
Where you are: Dresden , Germany
Where are they going?
Stairs carved into the stone itself of these mountains.
They date from the 13th century and have been eroded by wind and water, but there are still being used daily by tourists. 487steps, though not enough, were restored and expanded in the eighteenth century to facilitate transit.


The Rock of Guatapé
Where you are: Antioquia , Colombia
Where are they going?
The rock is an authentic stone monolith of 220 meters.
The steps are constructed with cement, directly on the rock.
Some 702 steps are to be followed to reach its peak.


The ladder Haiku
Where you are: Oahu , Hawaii
Material: metal
Where are they going?
On the small island of Oahu there is this tremendous journey of 3922 steps, climbing, crossing and descending a hill of 850 meters.
They were created to facilitate the installation of a satellite in 1942. Originally made of wood, they were modernized in the ’50s, but since 1987 are closed to the public.


The Inca Trail
Where you are: Peru
Where are they going?
An ancient trade route linking the city of Cuzco to Machu Pichu.
For the rugged geography of the area, the Inca Trail and forced detours shift between hills and mountains.
The result: miles and miles of stairs, in some cases very precarious, as this famous floating staircase.


Ladder Via Crucis
Where you are: Bermeo, Basque Country, Spain
Where are they going?
This endless row of stairs attached to the rock coast where a small church dating from the tenth century and seems to be of Templar origins.
To reach the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe you have to climb 231 steps and there are gaps in the steps that are identified as the footsteps of St. John himself, giving different healing powers. For example, you have to put your feet in them as a solution for corns or leave hats, scarves or chapelas, to cure headache.


Spiral staircase in the Taihang Mountains
Where you are: At the boundary between the provinces of Shanxi and Henan , China
Where are they going? This spiral staircase of almost 100 meters have been installed recently in an attempt to attract thousands of tourists each year to the beautiful Taihang Mountains .
Before undertaking the ascent visitors are asked to sign forms to ensure they do not have heart or lung problems, and are under age 60. And that narrow metal ladder can certainly can serve as your stairway to heaven- think Led Zeppelin.


Wayna Pichu
Where you are: Machu Picchu , Peru
Where are they going?
Stairs carved into the rock that crown a climb of about 360 meters from Machu Picchu itself.
In some sections, the ascent is complicated to pass through narrow sections and small eroded steps.
The rise time is calculated at one hour and 30 minutes.
90 minutes climbing stairs! Access only allowed to 400 tourists a day and is closed from 1pm on, just in case you were planning on heading out soon…

Thanks this week to my work mates, my vacation mates, my UCSD mate, my brother Paul, Will M, Larry H, and you for climbing the steps that will carry you to a higher plane of living, knowing and loving!

Pay it Forward.

“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”
— Roger Crawford

Soul Food Friday for July 5th 2013- Independence is Happiness

Happy Soul Food Friday!

Here is to your independent thinking, while recognizing our collective interdependence this week.


“If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking”- Benjamin Franklin

“Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.”- John Adams

“Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind.”– John Milton

“Thought is free.”- William Shakespeare

 Ok after all those heavy hitters, let’s loosen things up with some titillating punography:

·  I tried to catch some fog.  I mist.

·  When chemists die, they barium.

·  Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

·  A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

·  I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid.  He says he can stop any time.

·  How does Moses make his tea?  Hebrews it.

·  I stayed up all night to see where the sun went.  Then it dawned on me.

·  This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club,  but I’d never met herbivore.

·  I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  I can’t put it down.

·  I did a theatrical performance about puns.  It was a play on words .

·  They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

·  This dyslexic man walks into a bra .

·  I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

·  A cross-eyed teacher lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?

·  When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

·  What does a clock do when it’s hungry?  It goes back four seconds..

·  I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!

·  Broken pencils are pointless.

·  What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?  A thesaurus.

·  England has no Kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool .

·  I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

·  I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

·  All the toilets in London police stations have been stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on.

·  I took the job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

·  Velcro – what a rip off!

·  Cartoonist found dead in home.  Details are sketchy.

“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.”–Henry Ford

As a social scientist I remain committed to the importance of the Liberal Arts and Humanities as part of a well-rounded Higher Education to cultivate our reserve of knowledge, depth of experience, and hone our abilities:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”, said Mahatma Gandhi.

Education and inevitably self-education  provide the most treasured gift of discovering our personhood. Nowhere has this been more true than in the “ivy-walled university” experience where those of us blessed to have this were literally free to find ourselves, and enjoy some “development time” without the rules and regulations of living in our parents homes- on one side of the time continuum, or having to deal with the daily grind and responsibilities of the working world on the other. This rightly experienced is the liberating part of a liberal arts education.

Are we liberating young people through a whole person educational experience that teaches them how to develop and grow their social capital and cultural intelligence, or are we narrowly shackling them to an academic schedule and performance-driven, over-achievement based life experience, that they will more than likely inherit soon enough from their founding fathers and mothers?

With that sort of restrictive myopic mindset on the role and value of education, why not start indentured servitude at 13- surely that will foster a strong work ethic and bring out the best in our youth?

Last time I checked, we did away with leeches and bloodletting.

Legislation like No Child Left Behind- run its unnatural course will lead to NO CHILD LEFT.

We must preserve access, affordability and quality in the educational experience for future generations, and remain open to transforming the educational experience if it is not working- after all the root of the word education is educare to look at things from diverse points of view…

This article validates the importance not just of the physical and life sciences but the humanities and social sciences as vital to the future, especially in the context of independence and interdependence.

Click here!

Charitable Giving: The Only Things we Keep in Life, are the Things That we Give Away:

Overall Americans gave $316 Billion to Charity and, Re-Balanced their Philanthropic Portfolio…

Click this!

Freeing Up Some Time for Summer?

If you are committed to cultivating a world view and cultural Immersion, consider a Pivot to Asia
Whether you are traveling near or far, I am not sure if many of us will make it all the way across the globe, so instead enjoy these pictures from China without the jet lag and travel woes…

Open this

Thanks this week to the inestimable Larry H and all of you who invest positive energy back into our communities!

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.
None but ourselves can free our minds.”
–Bob Marley

May you have a liberating week…




That’s middle class blasphemy.

We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.”

-George Bernard Shaw