Daily Quote and Reflection: What does research tell us about “true grit, learning and efforting when trying to reach your goals?


Daily quote: “No matter what your current ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.” – Carol Dweck

Let’s start with the definition of “grit” when comes to learning how to learn.  In an article on the meaning of grit researchers http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~duckwort/images/Grit%20JPSP.pdf say grit in  “the “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007, p.1087).


Eduardo Briceno, CEO Mindset Works  provides us with clear insights on this topic when he says  ” Often, students and adults don’t recognize the difference between effort ( doing the same thing,over and over again expecting different results) and effective effort. If we say “try harder”, “study more”, or “stick with it”, students may think that they need to sit in front of their assignment for more time, continuing to do the same thing that hasn’t worked for them in the past, rather than finding a more effective strategy to achieve their goal, such as trying to solve a simpler problem in as many ways as possible, breaking down the task into smaller pieces, drawing a picture and showing it to someone for feedback, drilling down on mistakes to understand them, setting specific learning goals at the appropriate level of challenge, and asking for help, among many others. We need to teach effective learning strategies, and to encourage students to share strategies with one another.

Effective effort involves reflecting on our approaches to work smarter, which is needed to achieve different outcomes. Teaching that to students, along with effective learning strategies and the understanding that we can change our abilities (a growth mindset), motivates them, as it gives them a path to success.

The same is true of us as educators. Sometimes we forget the need to reflect on our overall approaches. If what we have done in our classrooms hasn’t worked in the past, do we have the grit to stick with our goal of reaching all students? Will we put in the effort to reflect on our approaches, and learn about and try different strategies, until we find a way to achieve our big, hairy, audacious goal”?


If we are aware of the distinction between effort and effective effort, and ensure students are too, we can all work together on building our self-management and learning competencies to maximize our progress. Students then come to understand that we’re not asking them to pound their head against a wall, but to learn more effective ways to learn, with a growth mindset, and that we’re here to support them and to improve with them along the way. That motivates them, and it empowers them with the learning competencies needed to thrive in school and in life.


Nothing is more important in life  than to learn how to be an effective  learner. Period.

Self-coaching Challenge–What are you doing to become a life-long learner?  

Revised Poem: My Mission–Art of Purposeful Living

My Mission: Art of Purposeful Living by M.W.Hardwick

To be alive is to have a Mission to dream and do…

to let go of fears and criticism and still act

to see beyond the obvious and mean-spirited…

to give credit away…make others feel important

to anticipate and articulate my vision, mission

to be enthusiastic, passionate and on PURPOSE…

to focus…to flex and be authentic

to challenge, collaborate…produce results 

to confront in a caring way…respect differences

Above all to keep my promises

Even in an uncertain world I don’t control

I act on purpose by respecting, being responsive  .


and say THANK YOU, thank you, thank you…

and  PLEASE ….more often …

and…and… and … remember

To not blame others and put them down

to know  my stregths and limits


And as Picasso once said “Action is the foundational key to all success”

to use my inspiration to discover new adventures…

Think big ideas and achieve through small smart-steps …

All of us are here for a purpose… Dare to create it

And wake up to the Art of the Possible …

Start today to forge your path…

Your unique path…

Part 2: Make your next Presentation Remarkable –Say it with passion, emotion and spontaneity. .

Eloquence …may be defined as the speech of one who knows what he is talking about, and means what he says–it is thought on fire…knowledge is of little  use to the speaker without earnestness. Persuasive speech is from the heart to heart,not from the mind to the mind.” William Jennings Bryan

In the past, the traditional method for communicating has been the boring lecture method.  This approach leads to passive audience members who supposedly are listening as the speaker or presenter drones on rationally with their argument, message and facts. . This method of presenting used the flaw tool of ” tell and sell” . Audience members sit in ” rows” and try to stay attentive and awake. In Part 1 of Remarkable Presentations I talked about how to make unique connections with the audience.  Today in Part 2 I would like to focus on how to say things so they resonate with audience members.

So what is the secret for becoming an engaging and remarkable speaker? The new method I have been refining for twenty plus years is called  Interactive Based Presenting (IBP)  Ask the audience to be engaged and discover what learning points and ideas are important and relevant to their interest.  This may be no different today from the classrooms of the 1960s. Some schools are producing students who can take and A’s on standardized tests  and regurgitate enough information to pass SAT’s or LSAT or other exams . Many students, though, walk across the graduation stage with little experience in problem solving or critical thinking and minimal practice in collaboration with others, and no idea how to capture the attention, desire and interest of an audience. So what do they need to do to be more well round and remarkable communicators? As Steve Jobs said, “you can’t talk about profit, you have to talk about emotional experiences…not just cool product but an object of desire.” Continue reading “Part 2: Make your next Presentation Remarkable –Say it with passion, emotion and spontaneity. .”

Daily Quote and Reflection: Search for Happiness and Meaning in Life

Daily Quote:  “We can’t help being thirsty, moving toward the voice of water.” Rumi 


I love this quote because it hones in on the ultimate search for many people –the elusive happiness factor in life.  They let their impulsiveness take over and forget that the once the impulses have been met they still might be a feeling a sense of emptiness.

I think Rumi he is saying we can’t help being thirsty for meaning in life not just material happiness.  From an existential point of view there are many people who are “searchers” in life. And the passion and insights on the “search pathways”   is why they continue to search. But unfortunately most people are looking for it in the wrong places. Just take the recent example of Antony Weiner,  House of Representative  from New York. He needs to take responsibility for his actions, resign and start a new and more productive search for meaning in life. .. Try to remember –Any search that focuses on happiness needs to be tempered by your values and beliefs and respect for others.


Want to be more effective as communicator and presenter? Try these nine techniques…

“You are perceived as effective and inspiring as a presenter by connecting with the audience needs, expectations and aspirations. You win them over by caring.” M.W.Hardwick

  1. Fake it till you—make it. Don’t focus on nervousness, such as hands shaking  or dry mouth. Focus on task at hand providing compelling information and meeting audience need’s and expectations.
  2. Be enthusiastic and passionate about your topic and ideas.  Ask the question—Does this speech have a SOO (significant overriding objective) that meets the audience WIIFM question: What is in it for me to listen.. How can I make the point stick and make it concrete, useful and memorable?
  3. People  remember a third of what you read to them, half of what people lecture and tell you, but 100 percent of what you feel.” So use interactive activities to engage and get get people involved in their learning.
  4. Risk self-disclosing by telling stories and providing examples from your life
  5. The best teacher for learning presentations is presenting or speaking itself.  When combined with specific behavioral modeling and meaningful feedback “practice can make perfect”.
  6. Make message concise focus on the 20% that can make a difference and leave the fluff home. Challenge your self by presenting concepts that follow the 80/20 rule.
  7. Stop-Think Smart-Choose technique—that says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.  Try to figure out what priorities you want to spend your time and energy on—your 20%;  then choose at least three HIGH PAYOFF topics that meet or exceed audience expectations.
  8. Learn to Relax—Use that shot of adrenaline to eliminate self-doubt, judgment and need to be perfect. Focus on the audience not your nervousness. Take a deep breath and then begin.

Want to create an edge for your next presentation? –Try this Tip

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion and belief.”
You have prepared well, designed a powerful message, supported by examples and stories and of course your PPT slides.  Now it is the day of the performance. So you are looking for an extra boost so that the presentation is a success. Here is boost–If I had only one TIP  (to insure presentation success) to give, it would be to create an Aha Moment through story telling. To craft such a story takes time and needs to be relevant to the audience.  In the delivery style for communicating an Aha moment  you need to be passionate  and inspiring about your topic, let enthusiasm out and show your emotion for the subject being addressed.

Yes, you need a powerful AHA message supported by facts, stories, examples and maybe slides if they don’t become the focus of the speech. All this is called great content. And you do need a deep and authentic belief in your topic or all of this preparation is for naught. The biggest item that separates mediocre presenters from excellence is the ability to connect with an audience in an authentic, inspiring and exciting way. Don’t let you fears hold you back. Be confident. And let your passion for your topic come out for all to see. For me it’s a few slides to enhance visually one of your core ideas and a warm and passionate speaker over a cold and dull speaker with slick slides wins every time. So what do you use to get that little edge you need to overcome your fear of failure? Share with us your secrets of presentation success or failure, so we can learn from each other. Stay tune for next blog on the most famous and inspiring 17 minute speech that changed this person’s life and ours. Can you guess who this young man was and what and where he was speaking?

Poem: Call for Selfless Leaders–Give Credit Away and Show Courage

Call for Selfless Leaders– by M.W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

To lead is to dream and do…

to let go of fears and criticism

to see beyond the obvious and mean spirited..

to take risks…rise to the challenge

give credit away…

to lead at the pleasure of followers…

to see and share a vision

to anticipate and articulate a mision

to let people see who you are

to be enthusiastic, passionate and on PURPOSE…

to care and support… and be selfless

to focus and listen…

to flex and be open..

to collobrate, cooperate and above all


To be  Responsive and Responsible


and say THANK YOU, thank you, thank you…

and  PLEASE ….more often …

and…and… and … remember


For Now… For Now…. you are back home…

BEST Companies to work for :Whole Foods from Hippyville to Customer and Employee Centered

If you are a committed and a determined to change some specific behavior or situation in your life, remember the quality of your life has nothing to do with excuses, unresolved conflicts, or  negative experiences. It has everything to do with the HERE AND NOW–YOU. YOUR ESSENCE AND PASSION FOR LIVING A MEANINGFUL, CONTROLLABLE and CONSTRUCTIVE LIFE. It has to do with your thinking, reflection, choice, behavior, and impact–The pressing question: What do you want to change and how do you go about sustaining that change in finding  the right place to work and life?

Maybe Whole Foods is the place for you. Checkout their openings, workplace climate and interviewing tips at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers/workhere.php

Whole Foods ranked 18th in the BEST Companies to work for by Fortune magazine.Whole Foods is fast growing with over 270 retail and non-retail locations and presently 1600 job openings in the US, Canada and UK. Their motto and mission are inspiring and captivating. Their approach to business is about making a difference — in the lives of our Team Members and the customers they serve, and in the communities in which they operate. Whole Foods Market is the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket retailer. Their philosophy is to satisfy and delight customers — and to support Team Member happiness and excellence. Why? Because they believe and operate on the principle of equality and fairness which means each and every team member is a valued contributor.

They look to recruit passionate people who are passionate about food and can function as member of  motivate and customer service teams. The employee teams are focused on excellence in everything they do. They empower team members to make their own decisions, creating a respectful workplace where people are treated fairly and are highly motivated to succeed.

If the above  words don’t inspire you to look into job with Whole Foods. Go talk to a few team members who will tell you the company “walks the talk” in regard to treating people with respect and dignity.  Remember in job hunting it is your persistence and PASSION that can separate you from the average Joe or Jane looking for a job. If this one doesn’t work for you take a look at the other BEST 100 Companies to work for. Good Luck and stay in the game.

President Obama arrives as Advocate In Chief

Our advocate has arrived. Finally, there is some listening and action on the needs and expectation of all Americans at the White House—solve our problems and produce results. By being an advocate the President can rebuild trust and credibility with the folks who elected him; ensure positive change by meeting and exceeding constituents expectations and adding value to their “quality of life” not pain; and build an empathic government through listening and acting on priority problems; such as HCR and more jobs… and more Continue reading “President Obama arrives as Advocate In Chief”

Finding meaning in worklife: Focus on Fundamentals and find your Passion

“There’s something I know about you that you may or may not know about yourself. You have within you more resources of energy than have ever been tapped, more talent than has ever been exploited, more strength than has ever been tested, more to give than you have ever given”.  – John Gardner, Author Self-Renewal  

When I was coach of a middle school basketball team, one of our fundamental team principles was to focus on the basics of basketball: learn to dribble with your head up, shoot with both hands, move your feet on defense, talk to each other, and practice these techniques outside of practice. To my surprise one day after practice a player approached me and said: coach, if I am to practice at home, can you show me how to shoot? I certainly was taken back a step or two  but I immediately went into action.   I reflected on his request and realized where I had gone amiss was to assume everyone could shoot. What an oversight and bad assumption. The next practice I remedied the error by reviewing the fundamentals of shooting and demonstrated first hand the basic techniques to good  shooting.

What does basketball fundamentals have to do with self-renewal? Continue reading “Finding meaning in worklife: Focus on Fundamentals and find your Passion”

Dynamic Leadership: Passion+Self-Renewal+Constructive Action

” Self-Renewal is possible if we don’t lose our capacity to learn and grow. But renewal…depends in some measure on motivation, commitment, conviction, the values men live by, the things that give meaning to their lives”. John W. Gardner, author Self-Renewal

Positive change results when we become aware of, observe and accept a new way to think and behave. We feel a new way is better when we experience more balance, peacefulness, or joy, than by continuing with our old habits and rountines. Breakout of old routines and habits and do something different. Be willing to experiment and test your boundaries. Continue reading “Dynamic Leadership: Passion+Self-Renewal+Constructive Action”