Soul Food Friday for August 8th 2014: One Word Essays + Advice for Kids on Making a Living AND Making a Life and more…

Happy Soul Food Friday!

“The moment that a child changes, the moment (s)he understands something, it’s amazing, and this transition happens right before your eyes…It seems like my heart stops every day” –Hirayama


This week: Move your Butt with…

  • Moving ONE Word Essays
  • Advice for (our) Children:
    • It is hard enough giving advice to any kids, let alone our own!
  • Do Confident Kids Have More Future Career Success?
    • The secret to success at work doesn’t seem to be about whom you know, or even what you know, but how you feel about yourself
  • Why Americans Stink at Math:
  • Teaching Teaching:
    • How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone)
  • Higher Ed: The UC Global Food Initiative
  • Publicly Declare Your Appreciation for Someone:
  • If you are Local: Purpose Driven Branding
    • 2014 Symitar Education Conference Aug 25th thru 28th


One Word Essays

Click here!

Advice for (our) kids:

It is hard enough giving advice to any kids, let alone our own kids! As our sixteen year old plots his course, here is some advice from Dad.

What would you suggest?


Your theme: STRATEGIC Advancement not Reactive Response

Everyday ask yourself: “What am I willing to give up today to get to live my dream tomorrow?”

(if you are over 35 everyday ask yourself “What am I doing to live my dream today instead of putting it off for tomorrow”)


There are 3 kinds of people in this world

People that make things happen

People that watch things happen

People that wonder what the hell happened


If you want to be the first kind of person (a peaceful warrior not a victim) then read on…


“There are two educations: the one that teaches how to make a living

and the other that teaches how to live”

—Anthony DeMello


You must prepare for and be a student and practitioner of both; making a living and making a life

While this might make no sense now, as you look back you will realize that it will less about success and more about significance

Making yourself richer is sometimes viewed as success. Enriching the world is always a mark of significance


How to Make a Living:

Your Plan has 3 distinct phases

Phase 1 is through High School (the next 2 years)

Phase 2 is through College and any Specialized Education you need to fulfill your career goals (4 to 8 years)

Phase 3 is the Career Path you simultaneously walk and create for yourself (30 + years)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker currently holds ten different jobs before age forty, and this number is projected to grow.

Forrester Research predicts that today’s youngest workers ? that’s you will hold twelve to fifteen jobs in their lifetime.


What happens in Phase 1 impacts all other phases…


  • Mindset– is important.

Becoming a lifelong learner and become the “go to” expert in your field(s).

Cultivate GRIT and Perseverance (Winners never quit and quitters never win)


  • Preparation

Proper Preparation Precludes Piss Poor Performance (the 6 Ps)

What you do today will impact what happens even years from now, so invest in your future success today

When you are doing something that you have to do but are not enjoying, say to yourself, “this is ok because I am investing in my tomorrow”


  • Differentiation

Continue to differentiate yourself by not just doing what is necessary but bringing the value adds of leadership, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills and effective communication to the party. All things being equal this is why they will both hire and promote you, not just because of the technical skills necessary for the role but because people enjoy and value being around you (good energy)


  • Delayed Gratification

Winners consistently make a habit of delaying gratification today to reap the benefit of holding out for tomorrow.

Add this skill to your toolkit an you will be unstoppable (Note: this is a hard one for us impulsive types, who what it all and want it now…)

Note: I am not suggesting you deprive yourself of joy, fun, excitement and things that float your boat today- it’s just that our instant gratification societal norms will default to this mode anyway so build the opposite muscle


Phase 1: through High School

If you want to have the best options for the rest of your life, really make the next two years count!

Academically, the highest GPA and best SAT scores mean the most choices for you.

No one is asking for perfection but do strive for excellence

Excellence is different from Success. Success is always compared to others. Excellence is compared to YOURSELF.

You know you are excellent when you can honestly say, I gave the best of myself and have no regrets…


Round out your High School experience with Sport, Music, Community Service, Work experience, Volunteering in fields of interest, demonstrating initiative (I made something happen) Leadership skills & other activities that contribute to cultivating a well-rounded person


“Plan by priority work by opportunity”

Have a plan and work backward to achieve it AND at the same time stay open to new possibilities as they arise. No one can perfectly anticipate and predict the future, especially given the speed of change we are living in. Making minor changes multiple times gets you to where you are going faster than making big changes from one destination to another.


The road to success is ALWAYS under construction so if you get feedback (internal and external) that changes your opinion, remain flexible as it is hard to know exactly what you want at 16, 20 and sometimes even at 25 or 30, but if you are always course correcting toward your passions, talents and where there is a felt need for what you were born to do, you will be strategically advancing toward your dreams (choice and alignment) not reactively responding to the only options left in front of you (fewer choices and not necessarily good alignment)


For now, select the field(s) of study that resonate most

Learn as much about them as you can

Identify the best institutions that can provide you with the educational background required for these careers (not jobs). You are building a career plan not looking for a job

There are no best schools. There are only best schools for you.

Learn what they expect from you to get into their program and what you will need to get out (know the expectations)

Visit many, Apply to several, Choose wisely based on acceptance


Phase 2 is through College and any Specialized Education you need to fulfill your career goals (4 to 8 years)

Have a plan of attack and concentrate on your core goals, but build in flexibility so you are not boxed in, and looking back, regret the choices you made

The world is changing faster than at any time in human history. Be good with change, good at change and keep the change!


Phase 3 is the Career Path you walk and create for yourself (30 + years)

Make sure the jobs you apply for at the onset strategically advance your dream. Based on the market conditions, field, location and other factors this is not always possible

Every job will have set backs and limitations- that is why they pay us to do the work. Be clear-eyed and realistic about work while shooting for that dream job

Round out your vocation with avocational interests that fill your soul. (doing things that you would regardless of whether people pay you for them)



How to Make a Life:

Many of the noble values and core competencies mentioned above serve you in both areas

Your generation should NOT have to choose between ($) and (creating value)

If you can have a career that doesn’t force this devil’s bargain of doing something that matters v. making money -and you actually get paid to do what you love you are aligning your values with your work


Don’t rely on you work to make your life.

The people in your life, make your life not just work. Too many of us identify to completely with our work. Our Identity is not our Role.


Learn what you are and who you are beyond the roles you will play in your life (child, parent, job, student, teacher, leader, etc.)

Your true self is deeper and more permanent than any of these roles, but you must peel the layers of self to see within.


Stay wonder-filled and enjoy the journey.


Turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones, lemons into lemon-aids, enemies into allies, traumatic experiences into learning moments that reset or reaffirm your moral compass and love, love, love.

…“The need to love yourself, is the greatest love of all”

Surround yourself with positive, like-spirited people that love you for who you are (who you know defines what you know and you are the average of the people you hang around the most so choose your company wisely)

Know in your heart of hearts, how much we love you!

Mom & Dad


Do Confident Kids Have More Future Career Success?


Why Americans Stink at Math:

While purportedly about Math or by extension Common Core, I think it is fundamentally about changing our systems thinking toward the very craft of the teaching/learning dynamic and what it means to be a teacher.

As a student, parent or teacher, I am sure you will find it insightful…


Teaching Teaching:

How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone)


Higher Ed: The UC Global Food Initiative

For the 4th consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranked UC San Diego as the top university in the nation for social mobility, research and civic engagement. I am proud to serve on the Alumni Board of this student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented, public university. Here is how the UCs are focused on putting the world on a path to feed itself in sustainable and nutritious ways..

UC Global Food Initiative

Publicly Declare Your Appreciation for Someone:

If you are local: 2014 Symitar Education Conference Aug 25th thru 28th

neville symitar


Thanks this week go to wonderful kids & compassionate parents everywhere, Larry H, John C, UC in general, UC San Diego in particular, the Education Synergy Alliance, and practitioners of education everywhere!

Pay it forward, backward and sideways…




It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.   –Charles Darwin

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