Tag Archives: Success

Freshman’s survival guide

Posted by: Mike Peirce on September 29, 2015 9:00 am

In preparation for the university adventures my graduating students were heading off to in September, for many years I would invite last year’s graduating class back to talk about their first year experience. Passing on their words of wisdom to the current graduating class became an annual tradition. With orientation week over for the 2015 incoming university freshmen, I felt it would be a good time to review some of the pearls of wisdom my graduates have passed on to students heading off to university for the first time.

While this one really is a no-brainer, my graduates stressed the importance of getting to those lectures. This is where professors give all kinds of clues to how to succeed in their courses. I always suggested going one step further. I recommend that students visit each professor during office hours with a question regarding the material in the course. Since so few students actually do this, it is remarkable how well a professor will remember you. In your favorite courses, this may provide the opportunity to develop a relationship which will lead to the possibility of using this professor as a reference for graduate studies or employment down the road. I always told my class that if they have to come back to me, their high school counsellor, for an academic reference following their undergraduate degree, they really haven’t done their job. Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Lack of Self-Esteem

Posted by: Hailing Huang on April 17, 2015 12:27 pm

In January 15 2015, I wrote an article: Emotional Health, reflecting on two Chinese international students who committed suicide during their second year of school.  The two students were Yuan Yuan, and Guo Yanjun. Yuan, a young woman in her early 20’s from Nangjing China, was in her second year of an economics degree at Amsterdam University. Guo, a 28 year old, who immigrated to America in 2001, graduated with an Honors BSc in 2006, worked in investment banking in New York, then registered at MIT, majoring in management – a journey much admired by many Chinese families.

Unfortunately, on January 27, 2015, another 20 year old Chinese international student named Wang Lu Chang a math major at Yale University, was successful in her suicide attempt.  These young students all exhibited excellent academic performance records, hard work, and were achievement driven; in the eyes of an outsider, they all would have a bright future. While we are sadly mourning these young lives, it also causes us to question:  What kind of pain was so heavy that it caused them to choose to end their own life?beautiful-316287_640

My previous article looked at this issue from an emotional health perspective; I thought it was the taboo of depression, suicidal thoughts and loneliness that blocked them from seeking help. It was the negative emotions that confounded their thoughts and their mobility, blocked their view to finding a way out; since most people see vulnerability as shame. Neither failure nor misfortunes are supposed to be disclosed or shared with others, even with family members.   Lacking the knowledge and skills to deal with negative emotions becomes an obstacle to reaching out and asking for help.

Then, recently, I have come to realize that there could be a deeper reason for their taking their own lives:  lack of Self – Esteem. In order to learn new knowledge and skills, they first have to believe in themselves and trust that there is a way out, and are willing to try. Without confidence and beliefs, they would not reach out. Even if the resources are there, they won’t be able to recognize and seize it.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

How to Fail Forward

Posted by: Mark Franklin on April 15, 2015 1:20 pm

Ashley Good on learning from failure

failureStarting from a side project taking over the leadership of the Engineers without Borders failure report, Ashley Good (Career Buzz, March 11, 2015) founded the world’s first failure consultancy, Fail Forward. How did it start? She came back from a troubled overseas project and when she got back “the only thing that made sense to me was failure.”

How do the clues apply to you? Ashley told Career Buzz listeners that she regularly draws on her strength of “seeing opportunities where other people don’t.” That’s how her business, Fail Forward, emerged. There’s a lot of opportunity in failed projects! Try this. Today, spark a conversation with one person, a colleague or friend, and talk about one project that failed. Ask yourselves, what’s one lesson learned from that failure?

If you’re trying to learn from your own less than stellar career moves or situation, get started with an Exploratory Consultation with CareerCycles.

Hear the whole interview also featuring Don Presant of Learning Agents on ‘open badges.’

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Failure or Opportunity? The Benefits of Shifting Our Views on the Meaning of School

Posted by: Anna Coutts on April 10, 2015 10:44 am

Learn /lərn/: to gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.learn

School is supposed be about learning. Unfortunately, it often seems our society is forgetting what learning is all about. In my practice, I’ve worked with increasing numbers of bright, talented and eager-to-learn youth who are unable to “succeed” at school. Many have become so overwhelmed by depression and anxiety about having to excel academically that they’ve ended up in hospital or have simply stopped attending.

For many kids, it isn’t this extreme. However, more and more youth are feeling the pressure to “get the grades.” Ask almost any teenager about what is more important, understanding the material or getting an A, and I guarantee you most would go with the latter. Yet it’s no wonder they feel so overwhelmed: all around them are frantic parents and teachers, instilling fear in youth that not getting the right grades will lead to failure in life. Failing a test, or worse, failing a class or a grade are seen as catastrophes that can destroy a person’s chance at a happy, prosperous life.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Accepting Academic Mediocracy

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on November 22, 2013 4:31 pm

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
~ Henry Ford


Why has society lowered the ceiling of academic success?  Why have our standards been lowered to ensure the graduation rate of our children?  Are we not dumbing down our society if we lower our academic standards?  Are we not developing a society of mediocracy?  It is mediocracy that encourages a moderate and poor quality of performance. Are we not creating a society that just gets by with good enough.  Good enough is unacceptable.

In many aspects of our society, we no longer encourage children to dream, to thrive, and to achieve; rather we have become a society of mediocracy and complacency.  Furthermore, we rarely seek to inspire, to encourage, to positively influence, or to spark an internal flame.  We have become a society that has given up; accepting the notion that “mediocracy” is acceptable.  I have yet to meet a high achiever who has allowed mediocracy to be an acceptable standard for his/her life.



“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
~ Napoleon Hill

In the past, having served as a political strategist in Canada, and as a political aide to a representative in the United States; allowed me to peek my eyes through the window of politics.  It was through this window that I began to recognize how very interconnected the political machine was on the academic world.  It has been through my work in politics, that I have had an unique opportunity to see behind the scenes of political evolution of academia.  I would never have dreamt that the political climate of our day, would make acceptable any standard short of being our best.  Many years ago, the United States Army ran an ad that emphasized an ideological approach to “be all that you can be.”  Are we encouraging children of this generation to be all that they can be?  Or, are we encouraging children of this upcoming generation to simply be comfortable with a passing grade?

Rarely, do we consider the significance of our political system on the academic environment; but remember it is the political machine that funds the academic environment.  If our funding is derived from the political machine, then is not the political beast responsible for our academic endeavors?  Sadly, we give more thought to the latest stadium being erected than we do our children’s academic futures.  Likewise, as a society, we seek to avoid pointing fingers in the direction of our politicians, because this would make those in charge of our taxes and funding responsible for the decay of the minds of our children.   Now understand, I am not saying that the political beast is solely responsible for the demise of the academic environment, but I am saying that it is one cog in the wheel of decay.  Nevertheless, if you are going to bring light to a dark environment, you must choose to shine the light on the environment you are in.  Yet, we cannot forget that parents, teachers and the community at large are equally responsible for ensuring the success of our students.  Raising a child is not a solo act; rather it does take a village to raise a child.

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Inspiring Your Child

Posted by: Asa Don Brown on August 30, 2012 11:35 am

“I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

                                                                                    ~ Thomas A. Edison   

Failure is good, failure is necessary, failure stimulates a desire for success.  When an individual fails, we are instinctively and unconsciously prompted to discover a path to success.  Successful people are inspired people; they are unwilling to accept the “status quo.”  Inspired individuals are willing to challenge the norm, ask questions, seek solutions, and forge through unbeaten paths.  Inspired individuals are unwilling to give up.


The importance of failure is that it reminds us that we can do better, be better, and achieve more. 

Why are we so concerned about making mistakes?  Why are we afraid of failure?  As a society, we are taught that failure is a remark of our character, our persona, our very worth.  From Hollywood to Bollywood we view movies and television shows that remark upon the negativity of failure. 

The Positive Aspect of Failure

If I fail, then I have a guidepost, indicating the areas with which I can improve. Failure has become the barometer of negativity, rather than a potential of opportunity.  Without failure, we could not relish in the achievement of our successes.  As a good parent or teacher, we should teach our children that failure is an opportunity for improvement and growth, rather than a blockade deterring us from our greatest potential.  Failure is no more than a mere challenge begging us to be better. 

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*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA