Sunday, December 18, 2016

Random H.E.A.R.T. Videos

Each time this page reloads, you'll see a video displayed at random. Each video has an accompanying blog post; click on the link below the video to learn more about each one! To browse them all, visit the H.E.A.R.T. Playlist at YouTube:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The puzzle of motivation

Understanding your own motivation(s) is a great way to grow: if you can get in touch what really motivates you, then you can set your goals and find the strategies that will be powered by your inner drive. Dan Pink offers some really great insights into motivation in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (highly recommended!), and you can also learn a lot from this video. Autonomy, mastery, and purpose: these are three words that, in my opinion, could and should change our whole approach to school and to learning.

There's also a transcript of the talk you can read.

What makes us feel good about our work?

There is so much to learn from Dan Ariely's video about motivation, and what he says here about "work" applies very well to school work. You can see what you think about that! Here is the transcript if you prefer to read or to read while you listen.

One of the experiments that Ariely describes is named after a classical myth: Sisyphus!
[...] And this other condition we called the Sisyphic condition. And if you remember the story about Sisyphus, Sisyphus was punished by the gods to push the same rock up a hill, and when he almost got to the end, the rock would roll over, and he would have to start again. And you can think about this as the essence of doing futile work. You can imagine that if he pushed the rock on different hills, at least he would have some sense of progress. Also, if you look at prison movies, sometimes the way that the guards torture the prisoners is to get them to dig a hole, and when the prisoner is finished, they ask him to fill the hole back up and then dig again. There's something about this cyclical version of doing something over and over and over that seems to be particularly demotivating.
Here is Sisyphus with his rock as shown in a Greek vase painting from the sixth century B.C.E., and you can read more about Sisyphus at Wikipedia. I hope this class does not make you feel like Sisyphus toting that rock... if it does, let me know, and we will figure out a solution! :-)

(Greek vase, circa 530 B.C.E.)

The Science of Character

This video is by Tiffany Shlain, and I first learned about her work because she is the daughter of one of my all-time favorite authors, Leonard Shlain (Alphabet versus the Goddess).

Shlain begins with Peterson and Seligman who worked on creating a taxonomy character strengths (rather than weakness or illness). They also looked at human relationships and how we can respect and value the character strengths of other people. Also, keep an eye out for the discussion of Carol Dweck's growth mindset. The film also discusses Adele Diamond's work on the brain's prefrontal cortex and self-regulation.

Shlain singles out seven character strengths that are really important in education: curiosity, perseverance, gratitude, optimism, social intelligence, and enthusiasm (enthusiasm is one of my personal favorites). These are all qualities that can be learned... which means you have to practice them. And learn from your mistakes, too.

Become the best version of yourself! Who do you want to be...?

Find out more at Tiffany Shlain's website: Let It Ripple, which is the source for this poster:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Widget: H.E.A.R.T.

I've made a randomizing widget for all the H.E.A.R.T items here at the blog! This includes the same items as in the Reading and Time widgets, plus additional items.

I made these widgets with Randy Hoyt's wonderful

Here is the 200-pixel-wide version (good for blog sidebars):

And here is the 400-pixel-wide version:

There is also an iframe version that you can use in Canvas or similar environment that does not allow direct use of javascripts; you can adjust the height variable as needed; I have only created an iframe version of the 400-pixel-wide widget:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Time Widget

I've made a randomizing widget for the Time items here at the blog!

I made these widgets with Randy Hoyt's wonderful

Here is the 200-pixel-wide version (good for blog sidebars):

And here is the 400-pixel-wide version:

There is also an iframe version that you can use in Canvas or similar environment that does not allow direct use of javascripts; you can adjust the height variable as needed; I have only created an iframe version of the 400-pixel-wide widget:

Reading Widget

I've made a randomizing widget for the Reading items here at the blog!

I made these widgets with Randy Hoyt's wonderful

Here is the 200-pixel-wide version (good for blog sidebars):

And here is the 400-pixel-wide version:

There is also an iframe version that you can use in Canvas or similar environment that does not allow direct use of javascripts; you can adjust the height variable as needed; I have only created an iframe version of the 400-pixel-wide widget:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Next Chapter

I was inspired by a quote poster I saw at Twitter (see below), so I decided to make it a poster with a photo by Fran├žois Philipp at Flickr. What a great metaphor!

You can't start the next chapter of your life
if you keep re-reading the last one.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cinderella's Clock

A fun meme for the procrastination files: take some advice from Cinderella!

Don't wait 'til the clock strikes twelve to start studying.

Monday, November 28, 2016


The quote is from C.S. Lewis, and I have read and re-read his Narnia books more times than I can count. The image shows the paperback book covers from the 1970s when I first visited the land of Narnia.

I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once. — C.S. Lewis

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Perfect Happiness: Reading

A quote from a Bowie interview in Brain Pickings; the interview is full of fun stuff. The image shows Bowie as Tesla in The Prestige.

Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
David Bowie: Reading.

David Bowie also made this poster for the American Library Association to promote reading:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Oscar Can

My nickname when I was little was "Oscar the Grouch" (yes, I grew up watching Sesame Street and, yes, I was grouchy). So, this graphic really resonated with me! And you can read more about Oscar the Grouch at Wikipedia because, of course, he has his own Wikipedia article. :-)

Just because you're trash doesn't mean you can't do great things. It is called garbage can, not garbage cannot.

Here is Oscar with Gordon and Susan back when I was watching the show in the early 1970s:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Are You Too Busy? How to Know Your Limits

Finding that "sweet spot" where you are leading an exciting life — not too boring, not too busy — can be a real challenge. You might find some good advice in this article from the Wall Street Journal: Are You Too Busy? How to Know Your Limits by Sue Shellenbarger.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Pharrell Williams - Happy

I am such a fan of Pharrell Williams... and here is his hymn to happiness! You can find the lyrics at It even has an article at Wikipedia.

Pharrell Williams - Happy

(Because I'm happy)
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.
(Because I'm happy)
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.
(Because I'm happy)
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you.
(Because I'm happy)
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Peter Dinklage: Commencement Address

Here's some inspiration ... especially of interest for Game of Thrones fans: Peter Dinklage '91 Addresses Bennington College's Class of 2012. The speech was featured in NPR's best commencement speeches collection.

I waited a long time out in the world
before I gave myself permission to fail.
Please don't even bother asking.
Don't bother telling the world you are ready.
Show it. Do it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

It's Going To Be Okay: October 1947

This is an amazing ... really amazing ... story from The Oatmeal. I've excerpted just two panels here; it starts with a plane crash. There is a surprise at the end when you find out who this person is, but even without that surprise, it's a beautiful story and life lesson. Read it and see what you think; click the link to read the story at The Oatmeal site:

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Longer Table

I thought this was a beautiful graphic about gratitude and happiness, along with empathy:

When you have more than what you need,
build a longer table,
not a higher fence.

I've seen the quote attributed to "David Wolfe," but I don't know if that is correct or not.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Therapist's Prescription for Better Mental Health

I liked this graphic from There is lots of good advice here. Maybe something here will suit whatever situation you are in!

Treat yourself with kindness. • Say "no" when you need to. • Step out of your comfort zone. • Don't compare yourself to others. • Embrace your mistakes; they don't define you. • Be truly present. • Get outside. • Cut yourself some slack. • Make rest a priority. • Make fun a priority, too. • Savor good memories. • Make new friends. • Laugh often. • Create something. • Anticipate joy. • Appreciate what you have. • Learn from your mistakes. • Write down your successes. • Clear out physical and emotional clutter. • Move your body more. • Pursue a hobby. • Put your phone down and connect with the people you're with. • Confide in trustworthy people. • Treat your mental health with the same importance as your physical health. • Slow down. • Ask for help when you need it. • You don't have to do it all; prioritize what matters most.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What do you know about it? (video)

This is a powerful empathy film! Be sure to turn on the CC (closed captions) in English so that you can follow along. You can see how that looks in the screenshot below.

When you turn on the closed captions, you'll see the English subtitles like in this screenshot:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Procrastination Panda

You can make your own "Procrastination Panda" meme here: DIYLOL. I think these are so cute! Here are some that I found online:

Friday, June 3, 2016

Creating a Clearing

Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness. It's about creating a clearing. It's opening up an emotionally clutter-free space and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question. — Brene Brown... see also here video on empathy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Empathy: Make no judgments where you have no compassion.

I found this quote in Jon Winokur's Twitter stream of quotes for writers... but this applies not just to writing but also to life itself.

You can read more about Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011) at Wikipedia; she is the author of the Dragonriders of Pern fantasy books, and she was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and also the first to win a Nebula.

Make no judgments where you have no compassion.

(portrait by Linda Eicher)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Big Library

All I want is peace, love, understanding, and a library BIGGER than the Grand Canyon.

I found this graphic at the Twitter stream of Chitra Divakaruni (yes, the woman who wrote Palace of Illusions that some of you will be reading in Indian Epics!).

I made it into a motivator poster with an image from the Grand Canyon National Park stream at Flickr.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Daily Successes

Successes can be big or small... and you have successes every single day. Keeping track of your successes is a good way to build your happiness and self-confidence, so give this a try. Do it just for a week, and see what you think!

If you have a good week doing this challenge, given the Happiness Jar a try for a week and see if that works for you too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Duke Ellington on Deadlines

I found this quote in Jon Winokur's Twitter stream, and they are indeed the words of Duke Ellington.

I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline.

Duke Ellington Memorial in Washington DC.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Animated Review of Csikszentmihalyi's Flow

In another post, I shared Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's TED talk: Flow, the secret to happiness.

Here's another video which is an "animated book review" of Csikszentmihalyi's book Flow. (And if you enjoy this book review, you might like the other videos at the FightMediocrity YouTube channel.)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Happiness and Flow

I am a huge fan of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and so I was excited to see that he has made a TED talk: Flow, the secret to happiness. You can read the transcript here, and I highly (HIGHLY) recommend his book: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

For a graphic that encapsulates some of his thinking, here's something I found in an article on happiness, flow, and leadership:

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Just Google "deskercise" and you can find lots more articles, images, and videos! I picked out three items to include her:

A workout at work? This report in the Washington Post features 12 exercises, with ratings based on which were the most popular and effective, along with simple video animations:

Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work
This article contains a whole long list of exercises you can do at work, and many of them you can do at your desk:
1. The Twinkle Toe
2. The Stair Master
3. The Slog, Then Jog
4. The Celebratory Split Squat Jumps
5. The Cubicle Wanderer
6. The Mover and Shaker
7. The Wall (Street) Sit
8. The Last Man Standing
9. The Patient Printer
10. The Silent Seat Squeeze
11. The Seated Leg Raiser
12. The Desk Squat
13. The Lunch Break Hammy
14. The Grim Reamer
15. The Cubicle Dip
16. The Stapler Curl
17. The Namaste
18. The Secret Handshake
19. The Fist Pump
20. The Knuckle Sandwich
21. The Flapper
22. The Casual Lean
23. The Lumberjack
24. The Office Genie
25. The Pencil Pinch
26. The Shoulder Shrug
27. The Pinstripe Push-Up
28. The Nape Shaper
29. The Desk Chair Swivel
30. The “Weeee” Desk Chair Wheel
31. The Posture Perfecter
32. The Fab Abs Squeeze
33. The “Crunch Time” Crunch

Deskercise: 17 Exercises You Can Do At or Near Your Desk
1. Fidget
2. TMJ Exercise
3. Bruxism Exercise
4. Active Arm Stretches
5. Shoulder and Neck Stretches
6. Back Workout
7. Wall Sits
8. Seated Bicycle Pedal
9. Spider Push-ups
10. Shake it Up
11. Wrist Stretches
12. Butt Crunches
13. Calf Stretches
14. Deep Knee Bends
15. Jumping Jacks
16. Shadow Boxing
17. Windmills

Monday, May 9, 2016

Books and Happiness

And, of course, thanks to the miracle that is the public library and also the Internet, you can get books for FREE. :-)

You can't buy happiness... but you can buy books,
and that's kind of the same thing.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Friday, May 6, 2016


I thought this was a beautiful reflection, inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince, about the loss of Prince and The Thin White Duke in 2016 (fore more David Bowie, see Reading: Perfect Happiness).

“Look up at the sky. …
and you will see how everything changes.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

(the image comes from the 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ths light at the end of the tunnel.

If you are thinking about the "light at the end of the tunnel" as the semester comes to an end, I thought you might enjoy this mind-bending graphic:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Being Busy

A friend of mine shared this at Google+, and I thought it was so funny!

Do you have time for coffee
so we can discuss how busy we are?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bill Nye the Science Guy

I really like the way this quote from Bill Nye combines the themes of empathy and learning: Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't. 

You can read more about this commencement speech by Bill Nye here: Bill Nye Tells Rutgers Grads: We Are ‘Much More Alike Than Different.’

Time for Reading

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.

I've seen this quote attributed to Confucius... but I'm doubtful. It's good advice in any case.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Empathy: Monica Lewsinky interview

I was really impressed by this article about Monica Lewinsky that appeared in The Guardian newspaper:

‘The shame sticks to you like tar’
Nearly 20 years ago, Monica Lewinsky found herself at the heart of a political storm. Now she’s turned that dark time into a force for good.

I was really impressed by her comments here:
She came up with her most recent endeavour after some teenagers told her how hard it can be to find the right words. They’d see their friends being bullied online and wouldn’t know what to say. “I realised,” she says, “that our brains process images faster than text, which means the fastest way you can help – the least amount of time between someone feeling alone and upset, and feeling just a tiny bit better – is with an image.” And so she pitched an idea to Vodafone. Could she design a keyboard of anti-bullying gifs and emojis for them? “And now you can get them on all carriers,” she says. “Look. Let me show you…”
And here are the emojis:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Monica Sheehan: Be Happy!

This graphic is inspired by Monica Sheehan's book, Be Happy: A Little Book to Help You Live a Happy Life. There's a video also; see below. The graphic features just some of the many pieces of advice in the book. When you watch the video, what leaps out at you? Is there something you are forgetting to do in your quest for happiness...?

From the graphic: Have a sense of wonder. ~ Stay inspired. ~ Help other. ~ Do things you're good at. ~ Read books. ~ Limit television. ~ Love your work. ~ Exercise. ~ Face your fears. ~ Believe in yourself. ~ Stay close to friends and family.  ~ Let your heart be your guide.

There are lots more suggestions in the video version:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Now

I thought this fun graphic would be a good way to reflect on the eternal now. As the saying goes, "There's no time like the present!" And when I Googled to see if I could find a source for this image (it's everywhere on the Internet), I learned that CafePress has all kinds of "now" clock designs! :-)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Purpose (Venn Diagram)

This is a Venn diagram you can find all over the Internet. Venn diagrams can be a fun way to think through something... maybe you will even want to make your own! Here's a Venn-diagram-maker, and just Google to find more options online.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Time Management

Someone shared this graphic at Google+, and I really liked it!

How to stop time: kiss.
How to travel in time: read.
How to escape time: music.
How to feel time: write.
How to release time: breathe.

— Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

(more about Matt Haig at Wikipedia)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Street Mural: Boy in a Library

What a great work of street art: a library underground! You can find out more about the artist at his website: Eduardo Kobra.

Eduardo Kobra Street Mural, Boy in a Library

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yesterday's Junk

Here's another motivator about beginning day anew, with open hands... not full of yesterday!

You can't reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday's junk.