Stop Following the Herd and Lead

Stop following the herd

Malala – photo by Photopin

It only takes one person to stop following the herd to change the whole world.

Like a schoolgirl in Pakistan.

Malala Yousefzai used her intellect to fight for a girl’s right to an education.

She was not afraid of anyone, because going to school was not a crime.

Then the Taliban tried to assassinate her and shot her in the face.

Intimidation did not stop her. It had the opposite effect.

It inspired her fight harder for girls to have an education.

After many surgeries in America, she recovered.

The whole world began to notice the bravery of the teenage girl.

She won The Nobel Peace Prize.

She used her power of reasoning to ask WHY we do things the way we do.

Intellectuals don’t follow the herd, they lead it.

The ability to reason is what distinguishes us from other living creatures.

The herd instinct isn’t in Malala.

She doesn’t guard the status quo, she uses her intellect and questions it.

All art and music and social development stem from our power to reason, or our intellect.

When we go beyond instinctual behavior, our desires turn into goals that with benefits beyond ourselves.

Then we gain understanding and co-operate with others to reach the goal.

In Sanskrit ‘Vedanta’ means an “absolute knowledge”, which includes experience and karma.

Life is a series of experiences.

Our badge of recognition that we are alive is the action that we take.

If our actions or karma are to heal the world, they return benefits to us; if they are to harm the world, they return consequences.

Instead of blindly accepting our reality, we can view it with critical eyes, and change it.

Like Malala.

She knows that acting the same way as everyone around her and expecting a different result doesn’t solve herd problems.

How Empathy Flew Home to Heal Herself

Empathy Heals

Photo Credit: Blue Pansy – photopin creative commons

With empathy, as in life, what goes around comes around.

The Facebook quiz revealed that I am an empath.

I can’t argue with the esteemed researchers at Facebook.

Empaths can ~

1. Sense the emotions of others and can experience their pain and joy.

2. Have double vision to see the world through their eyes and understand it through someone else’s.

3. Experience someone else’s happiness as if it were our own and feel compassion for their sadness which makes their own problems seem insignificant.

4. Imagine what it is like to be someone else.

Each of us makes multiple empathetic decisions a day.

We let someone buying one item in the supermarket line-up go ahead of us. We let a taxi cut in front of us in traffic because he is on the clock to earn his pay.

Empaths show others their worth which in turn enhances their worth and builds relationships.

They feel empathy for people like artists whom we have never met.

I have never been to The Guggenheim Museum. But I have heard that Frank Lloyd Wright designed the building so the art on the walls look different at various times of the day as the light from the windows changes.

I imagine the place would fill my senses, and make me grateful for my own existence.

When Rihanna sings the song “Stay” she sings to my soul, similar to the author of a book who expresses my own attitudes exactly.

Artists feel empathy for us.

Empathy is a smart, beautiful, social butterfly roosting with its’ peers and brightening their world, suspending self-interest by expressing interest in them.

My empathy acrostic:

E — Ego put aside

M — Meditation connects you to yourself and all beings

P — Put yourself in another person’s shoes

A — Always be open minded

T — Think how you would feel if it was you

H — Helping people

Y — Your empathy increases with reading and relating.

The best thing about empathy?

Understanding someone else’s feelings, helps you better know your own

If you aren’t able to vicariously experience another’s feelings or thoughts, your imagination can take you there. You will never know exactly how someone else feels, but by imagining how you would feel in their situation brings you closer.

I imagine I would feel cold, scared, and unloved if I were homeless. When I buy a coffee for the man sitting on the sidewalk outside the coffee shop, I am also buying him a cup of care. The look in his eyes when he grips the hot beverage in his dirty, weathered hands shows me that.

It could easily be me sitting on the sidewalk if my circumstances were different, and I would want someone to feel empathy for me.

When you are in pain, it is hard to feel empathy for others.

First you need to heal yourself.

The most important person to feel empathy for is YOU.

Then you will find your wings.

And your beautiful colors will be altered in the changing light of the day.

photo credit: Blue Pansy /photopin creativecommons

Previously published on Medium – all rights belong to Ann Hoy

A Year of This, Makes A Lifelong Learner

Learning is fun

Learning to grow food is fun

photo credit:Barrett Garden Work Day -photopin.com

While schools have switched from chalkboards to keyboards, skills like how to think independently and how to collaborate with others are not taught by a computer – those skills are taught by great teachers who have a huge impact on our lives.

The memory of our favorite teacher stays with us after we finish school, because they are among our first adult leaders, other than our parents.

My favorite teacher was my grade three teacher, Mrs. Pulsford, way back in 1970, in Vancouver. She was a bar-raiser, mentor, and earth angel who cared about us, and turned us into students that cared about what she was teaching.

1. Great teachers encourage you to never give up on your dreams

The hippie/scholar knew that music education helps kids do better in subjects like math.* When she played guitar in music class, with an orchid in her velvet black hair for flower power, she motivated me to sign up for the school guitar lesson program.

“Teachers open the door but you must enter by yourself”
Chinese Proverb.

2. Great Teachers Teach Us That change Starts With Us

First she connected her students, by forming groups of eight students to read aloud together. We bonded, and belonged, and generated positive peer pressure and better grades. Our open book comprehension tests vaulted our reading levels. When we moved our chairs into a circle to read, we felt like the nomads we studied in our textbooks.

The summer after that class, I read every junior mystery book at the local public library due to my new love of reading.

Once she connected the students to one another, she connected us with our school community, when we tackled the school litter problem. Our low tech anti- litter campaign was bootstrapped with paper, crayons and safety pins.

Our hand drawn flowers had tears rolling down them, and the words “litter makes the flowers cry” under them. We pinned them to our jackets, and wore them outside at recess and lunch.
When a student littered, we said: “you dropped something”, and the awareness we raised helped us eliminate the litter problem.

3. Great Teachers Honor Our Individuality And Unique Talents

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?
-Dr. Seuss

Celebrating our differences in a system that rewards compliance and conformity was a feat. Mrs. Pulsford balanced the teeter totter of conformity and individuality so well, that we fit in by being ourselves.

I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.
— Rita Mae Brown

She believed in our gifts and talents, and, like a magician, with gemstone eyes behind black framed glasses, she pulled the best out of us.

One day our group was assigned to bake a chocolate cake. Allowing eight kids to access the forbidden teacher’s staff room, turn on the oven, operate an electric mixer, and break eggs was the epitome of trust, and we didn’t disappoint her.

We learned to stop spilling batter on the recipe when we could no longer read it. We measured and mixed the ingredients and cleaned up the mess. We learned to do something we had never done before with a group. This made our future math problems on measuring and dividing a breeze.

Like birds learning to fly, our self-sufficiency and confidence grew:
Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
they are given wings.

Rumi

4. Great Teachers involve us in experiencing new things

Entrepreneur Richard Branson’s believes children learn more from travelling than being in the classroom.

Tactile and interactive quantum learning moments aren’t achieved through technology. The incubator in our grade three class housed baby chicks, which we could pick up, to feel their warm, downy feathers. We loved those chicks, and were sad when they grew too big for the classroom, and had to return to the farm, but we understood.

She placed the baby teeth we lost in glasses of Coke, so we could watch them disintegrate until they vanished. We grew green bean plants in the windowsill of the classroom and stuck our fingers in the soil to test the moisture level and decide if they needed to be watered.

With thirty four students in her class, Mrs. Pulsford was constantly changing the environment to make it exciting to learn in. We either had a class outdoors, with no walls, or we visited another classroom to see how they learn, so learning never became stagnant. We learned by doing.

5. Great Teachers Re-imagine the old ways of doing things

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban says: “99.99 percent of the things we do in business are being done the way they have always been done. No one has re-imagined how things should be done. That is what successful people do” *

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Albert Einstein

6. Great teachers make learning fun

As co-creators in a relaxed environment, we were free to explore and make mistakes. Happiness was conducive to acquiring knowledge and common sense.

As she read ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carrol, to us, her voice changing from soft to loud to emphasize the beat of the nonsense words, and circling our desks in stereo, she transported us to the dark swamp of tangled language, and engaged us in her passion for poetry…

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,…
And the mome raths outgrabe

7. Great teachers ask “WHY NOT?” 

For homework, she asked us to mail a postcard to her home address. We could either  make a postcard or buy one, then address it, write her a message, buy a 6 cent stamp and affix it, and place it in the mail box outside the drugstore. We learned where mail came from, and how to use the postal system.

She surprised us when she mailed a hand-made postcard back to each of us at home. Mine had a pink flower drawn on the front, and a message inside that thanked me for my postcard with The University of British Columbia campus on it, where she had studied. Years later, this is where I studied, inspired by her.

8. Great teachers raise the bar by getting out of the students’ way

My takeaway from her class is that life is our greatest teacher, and our family, friends, and adversaries are our teachers. Our passion exists in the joy of learning and our curiosity about the future.

Someone once said: “you have no friends, no enemies, only teachers.”

If you desire to be a lifelong learner, and a lifelong dreamer, then all you need, is one year, like the one that I was lucky enough to have, back in grade three.
#raisingbiz #lifelonglearning #AnnHoy #teachers #teaching #impact

#greatteachers #engage #encourage

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32561453@N05/9985350765″>Barrett Garden Work Day</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Learning is fun

Learning by Doing

Hat tips to:

Seth Godin – Education System essay

*http://www.worldmag.com/2014/09/study_music_really_does_make_kids_smarter

*http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236587

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32561453@N05/9985399006″>Barrett Garden Work Day</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

A Cover Letter Expresses Why You Want To Work Somewhere

A cover letter expresses why you want to work somewhere

A cover letter expresses why you want to work somewhere
photo credit: Jannie Chien – Morguefile

 

Cover letters 101:

If you haven’t read my previous post on resumes, click here: http://goo.gl/H0Pxbr

Now that your resume is complete, you are now ready to compose a cover letter to email along with your attached resume.

Including a cover letter with your resume makes it easier for an employer to call you for an interview.  Introducing yourself makes you memorable, adds a human connection, and makes your contact info easily accessible to employers.  It also enables you to send out multiple resumes, and tweak each one to a specific employer in the cover letter.

A cover letter is a brief introduction to you, in a few paragraphs, summarizing your skills, experience, or courses on your resume that qualify you for the position you are applying for.

Before you compose the letter, decide what attracts you to this opportunity, and what skills or education or training that you have which are relevant to the position.  Expressing why you are interested in working for this employer and what skills you have to offer to the company makes a personal connection, that competing job applicants may neglect to make.

The cover letter includes contact information, such as your name, address, cell phone number, home phone number, and email address at the top, and the date. The salutation in the letter depends on if you know the name of the person who is hiring for the position, such as –‘Dear Mrs. Jones’, or if you don’t know the name, you could phone and ask, or you can write – ‘To Whom It May Concern’.

Start the letter with your intention: “I am applying for the position of landscaper for your hotel”.    Then explain why this position interests you and how you are qualified for it.  For example, as my attached resume shows, I was employed at Cedar Garden Center last year, and learned how to place and plant trees and flowers on-site under the direction of the head landscaper.  Adding information such as: “I enjoy working outdoors with plants, and have enrolled in the night school horticulture program at college” lets them know that you will work hard, you take pride in your work, and are planning a career in this field in the future.

This brief letter introduces employers to you, informs them why you want to work for them, and how you can help grow their business, gets you noticed amongst a crowd of applicants, and may land you an interview for the position!.