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Siobhan Kelleher Kukolic

Words to inspire the belief that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see.

The lessons of history

As I listened to his podcast on my morning walk this week, Tim Ferriss reminded me about a book he recommended that I read a few years back.  It is called The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant.  It condenses 10,000 years of history into about 120 pages.  Tim said that when you look at that kind of snapshot, you realize we have been here before.  Plagues, famines, wars.  And we got through it.  As we will again. Continue reading

Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals

I just read a study entitled: Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals by Angela L. Duckworth University of Pennsylvania, Christopher Peterson University of Michigan, Michael D. Matthews and Dennis R. Kelly United States Military Academy, West Point.

In it, they share, “In a qualitative study of the development of world-class pianists, neurologists, swimmers, chess players, mathematicians, and sculptors, Bloom (1985) noted that “only a few of [the 120 talented individuals in the sample] were regarded as prodigies by teachers, parents, or experts” (p. 533). Rather, accomplished individuals worked day after day, for at least 10 or 15 years, to reach the top of their fields. Bloom observed that in every studied field, the general qualities possessed by high achievers included a strong interest in the particular field, a desire to reach “a high level of attainment” in that field, and a “willingness to put in great amounts of time and effort” (p. 544). Similarly, in her study of prodigies who later made significant contributions to their field, Winner (1996) concluded, “Creators must be able to persist in the face of difficulty and overcome the many obstacles in the way of creative discovery… Drive and energy in childhood are more predictive of success, if not creativity, than is IQ or some other more domain-specific ability” (p. 293).

Grit.  I saw it in Michael Jordan on the basketball court.  In J.K. Rowling as she wheeled her baby stroller into cafes to sit and write because the heat had been turned off in her apartment.  In Oprah as she blazed a trail as a talk show host.  In Barack Obama as he made history becoming president of the United States.  In Edison as he failed 10,000 times while discovering the electric light bulb.  In Terry Fox as he ran across Canada.  In Malala as she spoke her truth.

It’s the effort.  It’s the perseverance.  It’s the passion.  It’s the getting up when we fall.

We all have it inside.  But we must choose to use it.  The one thing all success stories have is grit.

What story will we write with ours?

 

Self-discipline

I am currently doing a course called Positive Psychology: Character, Grit and Research Methods with Angela Duckworth out of University of Pennsylvania.  One of the studies she facilitated was how self-discipline was a bigger predictor of academic success than IQ in Grade 8 students. Continue reading

Broken

Sometimes we think we are broken.  We are sharp with our tongue, unlovable, unsuccessful, selfish and all the other words that may float around in the story in our heads.

The thing is, we are not broken.  We are human.  Carrying problems that are heavy.  Trying to juggle all the things.  It’s hard.  And that makes us hard on ourselves.

As Glennon Doyle writes in her book Untamed, “If you are uncomfortable — in deep pain, angry, yearning, confused — you don’t have a problem, you have a life.  Being human is not hard because you are doing it wrong, it’s hard because you are doing it right.  You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy.”

It was never supposed to be easy.  We are not broken or imperfect or a failure.  We are beautiful souls becoming more of ourselves every single day.  Do the hard things.  But do not be hard on yourself.  You are doing the best you can, and it is more than enough.

 

We’ve lost our confidence

We’ve lost our confidence.

And we spent our whole lives building it.  From learning to walk, to receiving our report cards in school, to earning degrees, getting promotions, buying property or taking vacations.

All those activities told us we were doing okay.  That we were moving in the right direction.

Then suddenly, all that certainty was gone.  People lost jobs.  Schools closed.  We became isolated in our homes not knowing when we might be able to go back to life as we knew it. Continue reading

Forgiveness

I am currently reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and something in the book made me stop and think.

The author writes, “What characterizes the human race more, Karla once asked me, cruelty, or the capacity to feel shame for it?  I thought the question acutely clever then, when I first heard it, but I’m lonelier and wiser now, and I know it isn’t cruelty or shame that characterizes the human race.  It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are.  Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions.  Without forgiveness, there would be no history.  Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness.  Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive.  We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.” Continue reading

When we sleep

In a Coursera video about anxiety, professor Joordens from the University of Toronto was explaining the difference between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.  I have heard those explanations before, but the way he talked about one point made me pause.  He was going over what happens when we sleep. Continue reading

I heard something

I heard something this week in a Mental Health Works webinar that I found very powerful.  It was the idea that most of us drink coffee or tea or something from a mug throughout the day.  We lift that two-pound mug to our lips countless times without noticing.  But what if we had to hold that mug full of steaming tea or coffee over our head all day long?  Would we start to get shoulder pain?  Palpitations?  Stress headaches? Continue reading

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