On Perfectionism

hodgmanIf you look in the dictionary under ‘perfectionist,’ you see Henry Selick correcting the definition of perfectionist in the dictionary. I mean, he is so meticulous.”

John Hodgman

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Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper – Big Fish in a Little Pond?

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In the CBS television series The Big Bang Theory, gifted physicist Sheldon Cooper is the center of a social group composed mainly of academics and intellectuals. This social circle includes his roommate and experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter, aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz, microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali, girlfriend and neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler, and his neighbor – a waitress and struggling actress named Penny.

Sheldon has an unusual relationship to the others within his social circle. He makes it a point to remind them that he is the most intellectually gifted person within the group. Sheldon frequently suggests that Leonard’s research and academic accomplishments pale in comparison to his own. He also rarely misses an opportunity to point out that Howard never obtained a doctoral degree. He even orchestrated a fellowship whereby Raj was forced to work in a subordinate role to him. Read more »

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On Talent

eric-hofferWe acquire a sense of worth either by realizing our talents, or by keeping busy, or by identifying ourselves with something apart from us – be it a cause, a leader, a group, possessions and the like. Of the three, the path of self-realization is the most difficult. It is taken only when other avenues to a sense of worth are more or less blocked. Men of talent have to be encouraged and goaded to engage in creative work. Their groans and laments echo through the ages.

“Action is a highroad to self-confidence and esteem. Where it is open, all energies flow toward it. It comes readily to most people, and its rewards are tangible. The cultivation of the spirit is elusive and difficult, and the tendency toward it is rarely spontaneous. Where the opportunities for action are many, cultural creativeness is likely to be neglected. The cultural flowering of New England came to an almost abrupt end with the opening of the West. The relative cultural sterility of the Romans might perhaps be explained by their empire rather than by an innate lack of genius. The best talents were attracted by the rewards of administrative posts just as the best talents in America are attracted by the rewards of a business career.”

Eric Hoffer

 

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2ndLifeTech Named Winner of the 2104 USA Creative Business Cup

The National Creativity Network (NCN) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2014 USA Creative Business Cup. The Creative Business Cup (www.creativebusinesscup.com) is an annual competition that culminates with the world finals in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 17-19, 2014 as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). Over fifty nations are expected to take part in this year’s finals before a distinguished panel of 20 global judges, dignitaries, and potential investors. Over $50,000 in prizes will be awarded along with extensive free mentoring and other services leading up to and going beyond the competition and the potential of private deals between investors and the competing creative businesses. The competition focuses exclusively on recent business start-ups that draw upon the talents of the creative industries, e.g., design, architecture, advertising, publishing, music, film & video, arts & crafts, IT, radio & TV, gastronomy, and leisure activities. Read more »

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Early Life Stress Can Leave Lasting Impacts on the Brain

stressEffectsOnBrainFor children, stress can go a long way. A little bit provides a platform for learning, adapting and coping. But a lot of it – chronic, toxic stress like poverty, neglect and physical abuse – can have lasting negative impacts.

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers recently showed these kinds of stressors, experienced in early life, might be changing the parts of developing children’s brains responsible for learning, memory and the processing of stress and emotion. These changes may be tied to negative impacts on behavior, health, employment and even the choice of romantic partners later in life. Read more »

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Bright Kids NYC’s Gifted and Talented Scholarship Celebrates a Year of Success

brightHow do you support the needs of exceptional students across the largest city in US? The Gifted and Talented programs are one way the NYC Department of Education aims to do so. Each year families gear up for these assessments to be eligible for placement into the city’s top public schools. Last year Bright Kids NYC started the Gifted & Talent Scholarship as an ongoing pledge to provide families with the best preparation possible. After a year of success, Bright Kids NYC is pleased to announce that scholarship applications for the upcoming G&T Bootcamp season are now open.

Last year’s scholarship was awarded to nine students across various New York City Boroughs and backgrounds. 71% scored in the 90th percentile or above, qualifying for a district seat. “We at Bright Kids are extremely happy that we are able to offer the scholarship program again this year. It was a great success last year and we’ve incorporated feedback from past participants into this year’s program– so it’s only going to get better. Our hope in this second year is that we can help even more children earn top qualifying scores.”- Suzanne Lewis, Scholarship Coordinator. The goal of the Gifted and Talented Scholarship remains the same, to help families gain access to tutoring services that do not have the financial means to do so. Read more »

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Creatively Gifted Young Adults with Autism Find Opportunities Through Exceptional Minds Vocational School

 

Titcher

A year ago, autism was all about spotting the signs and early intervention. Today, autism has reached a new level of awareness as people and companies discover untapped potential in this growing, underutilized population. Nowhere is this more evident than at Exceptional Minds digital arts vocational school, where one exceptional individual with autism graduated on June 8th and began his career in movie post-production the next day.

Kevin Titcher, 23, began his duties as a production assistant in the editorial department at Stargate Studios, a global production house that is known for its visual effects and other work for movies such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Walking Dead. Read more »

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Emptying Your Cup: A Zen Parable for Academics and Professors

tea

A favorite parable of mine is a traditional Zen koan first translated into English by Nyogen Senzaki, a Rinzai Zen monk, in his 1919 book 101 Zen Stories. The koan is a cautionary parable about personal arrogance and the unwillingness to learn.

The koan has appeared in many slight variations over the years but the essence of it is this:

 

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Rather than listen to what the Japanese master had to say, the university professor immediately began dominating the discussion with his own ideas, viewpoints, and knowledge.

While the university professor continued to talk, Nan-in listened patiently and began preparing tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “Stop!” he said. “The cup is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Yes,” Nan-in said. “And like this cup, you too are overfilled with your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

 

The questions we must ask are these: Why is the antagonist of this story the university professor? And why, in this parable, does the professor fits so easily into such an unflattering role? Read more »

Categories: Commentary, Education, Philosophy | 3 Comments

My Dad

fathersday

My dad was always a proud and independent man, so it was extremely difficult for him to adjust to the debilitating paralysis that resulted after brain surgery in 1992. The paralysis affected his hands, making some of the simplest tasks extremely difficult (if not impossible). Several successive surgeries gave him limited use of his hands; the most important improvement to him being the ability to “hold a fishing rod.” Read more »

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On Character

“Each of us is meant to have a character all our own, to be what no other can exactly be, and do what no other can exactly do.”

William Ellery Channing

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