A time for family and friends?

I don’t know about you but Christmas time always brings up memories for me. As a child it was a magical time for me of a real Christmas tree with real candles that you had to watch (the tree might catch fire), lots of treats and family time. As I grew up this changed and while I studied it became a stressful time in which I had to study for exams. Later still it became a time of obligations, visiting parents and in-laws, at a time when I had a busy job and would have enjoyed a few days to myself. And so it is that these days can have different meanings for different people. So if you’d rather do something different than feeling stressed around Christmas, here’s an idea: give yourself a surprise gift! Think of a person you normally would not feel attracted to connect with because you don’t seem to have anything in common and now reverse that thought and say to yourself: This is exactly the person I need to connect with today. Start a conversation and talk about something you are passionate about. Also ask them what they are passionate about and then see what happens. Most likely you will not only alleviate your own loneliness but that of others to and on top of that you may make a new friend. I look forward to hear from you what happened!

Benjamin Zander: How to Give an A

Benjamin Zander is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic orchestra and one of the things he noticed in his work that students had already compared themselves to other students and graded themselves way before the training was over. This created great anxiety and affected their performance negatively. Instead he introduced giving each student an A at the beginning of the term on the condition they would write him a letter then but dated the last day of the term explaining in the past tense how they had deserved that A. This set all the students up for success and took a lot of pressure away. Benjamin quotes the story of Michael Angelo who when asked about sculpting said “Sculpting is easy. The statue is already within the marble and all I need to do is take the unnecessary marble away using hammer and chisel.” This attitude applied to education leads us to a different relationship between student and teacher. It’s not hierarchical and the teacher supports the student in his achievement. Each mistake is a learning achievement that brings insight. To watch the video on this topic click here.