Consumptive Learning

I was doing a workshop at one of our local colleges last week and talked about the idea that every educator’s goal would be to have students who are fully engaged in their learning. I called it consumptive learning and the President of the College came up to me later and told me that she had been looking for a phrase that described the kind of culture that she wanted her faculty to create for the students. When my wife taught at the University her students would come up to her after the first class asking for clarification on her expectations for the year. They would inevitably ask, “Dr. Collins, what exactly do you want from us?” Her response was Read More

Preventive Action

An article from the Center for World Indigenous Studies tells of the work of Mahan Chandra who is in a race to preserve Indian native rice seed before the effects of climate change threatens to destroy these varieties. Chandra travels to villages across Northern India, meeting with elders of the communities to create his “seed-saving” library that has now grown from 2 to 250 different kinds of rice. Seed preservation libraries are not new with the most famous one being the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway that preserves the world’s crops and plants in case of some type of global disaster. No one wants to think about or consider doomsday scenarios, yet each of us spend many minutes of Read More

Be a Scaffold of Support

One of those amazing pieces of research shows that having friends and supporters who you can really count on, in tough times, creates a significant impact on everything from longevity to success at work (duh!) Most of us think that means that we should reach out to others when we need them. By creating a network of friends, old and new, fun and serious, we create a scaffold of support that surrounds us in good and bad. What if we turn that idea around on its head a bit and instead look for ways that we can support others when they need it or even when they don’t. One of my clients coaches a HS girl’s basketball team. This past Read More

Jobbis Interruptis

If resilience is being able to respond effectively to disruptions that occur in our lives, then addressing how we manage the daily disturbances in our workday is an ongoing opportunity. Interruptions are the norm of the workplace. In our more open environment neighbor conversations can be easily overheard. Glass doors encourage stop by visits and meetings (OMG…meetings) ensure that there will be few minutes of the day that provide time for thinking. On top of all the environmental factors is our own tendency for distraction that include responding like a rat in a maze to our email beeps, checking out the latest Facebook post, or watching the 30 second ESPN video previewing Super Bowl LII. Here are 5 things you Read More

Our One Life

I was attending a team meeting for one of my client’s and the President commented that everyone in the room should not be surprised to have to do work outside the office. He told them that they were highly compensated, responsible for significant budgets, and had multiple responsibilities, which he understood took significant time. He also told them that when they did not get tasks done during their work week, they should plan on spending their weekend getting it all completed. He got some pushback from a few team members one stating that he wished his boss respected and understood the importance of worklife balance in his being a successful manager which to him meant some time off on the Read More

The Art of Mindlessness

Perhaps one of your 2018 resolutions is to try some meditation. You’ve been reading about the benefits of meditation and now that it’s gotten scientific validation and has been westernized, you’re ready to see if you could actually quiet that incessant chatter in your head. Before you embark on apps like Headspace or Calm and YouTube videos that walk you through a mindfulness experience consider the possibility that you already create a peaceful state of mind through mindlessness. Mindlessness is an underappreciated skill whereby you engage in some activity that absorbs your thinking and allows you act freely and without conscious thought. We almost always experience it in the car when we drive on an open road and forget about Read More

Purpose or Happiness

As I reflected in my annual year in review exercise I asked myself the question about what gave me deep meaning last year in my work. Despite have done some great work with my client companies the one clear message that came to me was my work done in my volunteer activities. Research tells us that to create a sense of well-being in our life, we benefit more from achieving meaning and purpose in our lives than in pursuing happiness, for its own sake. In one research study of group programs with patients who had metastatic cancer, those in a group that had “meaning centered” discussions such as “what has been important to us in the past and what is Read More

“You Got This”

When my friend Jack posted on Facebook that his wife Kate was going out for her run when the wind chill was -4 degrees, he asked his followers “foolish or impressive?” Responses were mixed but mine was clear. “She is building hardiness…Go Kate.” I suspect that Kate had to get herself up for her run with some kind of mantra like “I got this,” or “I love my runs” or “hey’ I’ve been doing this every day for three years, today is no different.” Mentally preparing ourselves for a challenging event or responding to a difficulty with a readily accessible phrase not only gets our head into the proper frame but also allows us a moment to respond to a Read More

A New Year

I’ll be taking some time this week between visits with family, doing some cooking and playing around to reflect on 2017 and to consider what I hope to achieve in 2018. I don’t think of this activity as work as much as mindful reflection. I’ll wind up writing my ideas down as I’ll look to review them at this time next year. Some of the questions I’ll be asking myself: What brought me deep satisfaction and enjoyment this year? What challenges did I have that I overcame and from which I learned new things and perhaps grew stronger? What do I want 2018 to be for me personally, professionally and for my family? What one thing am I going to Read More

The Big Turn

The sun will reach its nadir tomorrow at 11:28 AM EDT and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it will begin its 6-month march back to its zenith at the next moment. It’s no wonder that we are built for resilience as nature showers her experiences of recovering from the depths of winter’s darkness towards the fullness of summer’s long days like the clock that she is in our lives. At our home on the Allegheny River, we always joke about the Two-Suns that we see on many of these winter days. The sun is low in the sky over the hills, across the way, and her reflection on the River both brightens and warms our house. It’s Read More