Just a broken window but then…

This post originally appeared on Dan Miller’s 48 Days Weekly Newsletter.

There’s a concept in criminal thinking known as the broken window theory.  Introduced in 1982 by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in an article titled “Broken Windows” it included the following example:

“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.”

old abandoned car

A Stanford psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, arranged an experiment testing the broken-window theoryback in 1969. He arranged for an automobile with no license plates and the hood up to be parked idle in a Bronx neighborhood. The car was attacked by “vandals” within minutes of its “abandonment”. Zimbardo noted that the first “vandals” to arrive were a family – a father, mother and a young son – who removed the radiator and battery. Within twenty four hours of its abandonment, everything of value had been stripped from the vehicle. After that, the car’s windows were smashed in, parts torn, upholstery ripped, and children were using the car as a playground.

So how does this relate to success in our lives?

I think we respond in the same way.  If our broken window is being late for work each day, allowing email to pile up, clutter to accumulate on our desk, or procrastinating on important tasks, those small indicators of disorder will signal that things are out of control. And we begin to rationalize bigger issues of allowing our life to be out of control.  Those little things undermine our goals because they give us a sense of chaos – that we are victims of circumstances.  Now I can’t break my sales record this month, I can’t get that new car and I can’t prepare for that triathlon. 

Here are other signs you may have a broken window

  • It snowed today so I can’t get to the interview I had scheduled
  • I lost money on my last business deal so I’m going to just settle for the job I have now
  • I failed one class so I’m just going to forget about getting that degree
  • I ate two desserts last night so I’m going to just give up on my goal of losing 20 pounds this year
  • The stain on my shirt is not a big deal – I’m sure no one will notice anyway

But we can break that pattern by fixing the little cracks in our windows:  cleaning up our email, leaving 10 minutes early for work, making sure we look as sharp as possible, and turning in important projects a day before the deadline.  Those little steps will give us a feeling of being in control – I can make my life work.

What “broken window” can you fix today?

View the original post at: http://www.48days.com/just-a-broken-window-but-then/.

Are you strong enough to make this decision?

This post comes from Dan Miller of 48 Days Are you strong enough to make this decision?:

This morning I was listening to Joe Polish on his I Love Marketing podcast.  He and Dan Sullivan were talking about what it means to “decide.”

I was blown away to hear Dan point out that the Latin word from which we get “decide” is the Act Nowsame root word from which we get homicide, suicide, genocide, fungicide, pesticide, and many more.  All of these words end in “cide”, from the Latin word “caedere” which means to kill.

It means to kill off – when you decide you are going to stop something.

When you decide on your future, something from the past is not going to come along with you.  Think about it.  When you decide to get a new car – you’re going to trade, sell or give away your old one.  When you decide to go to college – you’re going to stop doing something you’re doing now.  When you decide to get a new job or start your own business – you’re going to stop some of the things in your current life.

You have to decide to open the door to the future you want.  Dan says one of the reasons immigrants do so well here is that they have to decide on the very few things they can bring with them.  They leave most of their past behind.

When you choose a new future some of your past is not going to be valuable to you anymore.

So here’s the process for moving to the future you want:

  1. Describe the future you want
  2. Choose what part of the past gets to come along
  3. Decide what you will do right now to make it happen

You create your future by clarifying what that looks like, selecting the few things from your past you want to bring along, and deciding what steps you need to take right now to make that future a reality.

What will you decide today?

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Monday Inspiration

I have been working way too long on my latest post about the challenges of making positive changes in k-12 schools…

Since that piece of work still is not quite ready, I have few quotes to share:

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” -Old Proverb

“You can’t talk your way out of a problem you behaved your way into!”  ― Stephen R. Covey



Have a great week!

Monday Morning Inspiration…

A few quotes that caught my attention recently…

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
— Muhammad Ali, American boxer

“It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box.” – Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek)

“Safe is good for sidewalks and swimming pools but life requires risk if we are to get anywhere.” – Simon Sinek (Start with Why)


10 Tips for Getting Maximum Value from a Conference

10 Tips for Getting Maximum Value from a Conference.

You can skyrocket your success as a result of attending workshops and seminars. So be prepared:

1) Make a list of 3 speakers you want to meet – Why? Have specific questions in advance.
2) Attend with someone who is just as interested in learning as you are.
3) Craft your Elevator Speech (1) Who you are (2) What you do (3) Why are you here?
4) Have 50 sharp business cards – with your elevator speech printed on the back.
5) Get to the meetings early and talk to other attendees. (Don’t try to talk to speakers 5 minutes before their presentations.
6) Take 12 pre-stamped postcards to use as Thank Yous to people you meet. It will leave a major impression if they get a card from you by the time they get home.
7) Create a list of notes and questions as you listen.
8) Make at least two introductions per day between attendees you’ve just met. Remember, never eat alone. Look for opportunities to get to know people during meal times.
9) Identify 5 new people you want to stay in touch with.
10) Thank the speakers for sharing valuable insights.

After the conference:

Choose and prioritize 15 specific worthwhile ideas you got from the event.
Carve out 4 hours in the first week to assimilate and implement the information

(from Dan Miller @ http://www.48days.com/2014/03/05/17994/ )

Tennessee School Counselor & Administrator Leadership Institute 2014

I just attended the Tennessee School Counselor & Administrator Leadership Institute in Chattanooga, TN.  There were many great sessions and ideas available at this conference.

My two favorite sessions related to School Counselors using Technology to enhance their School Counseling Programs:

1) Scott Ertl did a great session called, “Learn to Share Powerful Ways to Use Technology in Your Counseling World! Here is a link to Scott’s handout: www.ProgressCards.com/TNSCALI.pdf.  Scott also has a great web page for Elementary School Counselors at: www.ElementarySchoolCounselor.org.  Scott makes Elementary School Counseling fun; as it should be!

2) Emily Brown offered a fun and interactive session called, “Technology for the Win!”  Emily shared many tips and tricks that I will be using right away, one of my favorites was the instant polling site Poll Everywhere. You can download a copy of Emily’s handout here: Technology for the Win!  Emily also has a great blog called School Counselor Ideas.  Check it out!

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