Win the Inner Battle with Mawi

You have more in you than you can imagine.

Right Turn or Left Turn?

December 30, 2011

About ten years ago, I was stuck at a stop sign and had to make a decison: Right turn to go home. Left turn to someone who would likely reject me. I turned left and drove to a book store called Andersons Book Shop in Naperville, IL. I asked the woman at the counter if […]

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How to Survive Airport Delays

December 23, 2011

Many of you will be travelling over the next few days, so I’m going to share  a thought on surviving airport delays.  Over the last ten years, I’ve been delayed hundreds of times, as part of my speaking, author tours, or when I travelled weekly as a business consultant. One day, I was particularly upset […]

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Dream Time

December 16, 2011

I heard an interview recently with Steve Ross, the former CEO of Time Warner, and he shared something that inspired me. As the story goes, Steve was at his father’s deathbed when Steve’s father gave him some advice, a dying father’s last words of inspiration to his young son. Here was the advice. There are […]

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To any Student who wants a Job Someday – Part Two

November 19, 2011

Last year, I wrote a blog post called A Note to any Student who wants a Job Someday, and I was startled at the huge volume of questions and emails I received from readers.  In the blog post, I argued that students should go beyond their standard school work and develop an  alternative Success GPA™ […]

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The Impact of Siblings

November 14, 2011

Those of you who read my memoir, Of Beetles and Angels, know that I idolized my older brother Tewolde and that he permanently changed my life. When I speak to students, I sometimes ask them to raise their hands if they have a younger brother or sister. I then tell them about my brother and […]

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The Sandwich Rule

October 16, 2011

I start every speech by telling my audiences my Sandwich Rule. It goes like this… “If you see me at an airport a year from now and tell me you liked my speech, I’ll shake your hand. If you see me at the airport a year from now and tell me one specific thing you […]

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Unspoken Impact of Parents

October 12, 2011

It amazes me how often students come up to me after a speech and tell me their parents have given them the same messages I give. Shows me that despite the doubts of parents, teenagers are really taking in many things their parents teach them – values, life perspectives, stories. So parents, even when your […]

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Short Video from Recent Speech: Going to Walmart with My Father

September 26, 2011

Few things terrified me like a trip to Walmart with my dad. This is the first half of the story.

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Your Worst Team?

September 23, 2011

Think of the worst team you’ve ever been on in your life. For me it was a school I worked at, where the teachers fought constantly with each other and no one listened to the principal. Unfortunately, the principal was me!  Leading that team was among the most humbling and frustrating experiences of my life. How about […]

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Hannah’s Bullying Story

September 7, 2011

I’m speaking at Chandler-Gilbert Community College today and just met an inspiring young woman named Hannah.  When she was growing up, Hannah was bullied for losing her hair, being Jewish, and generally, for being different. She shared her story in this 3-minute video.  

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Upcoming Fall Speeches

September 7, 2011

Here are some the speeches I’m giving this fall: Today at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in the Phoenix area. This Friday at DeKalb High School. The annual conference for Florida Virtual School to 1600 educators later in September. The American School in Taiwan (Can’t wait to speak in Asia for the first time!) At the NCTE […]

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Fascinating Research on Decision-Making

August 19, 2011

From talking to principals and educators, I’ve always thought that one of the most taxing parts of their job is all the decisions that need to be made. A student wants an exception. Colleagues make requests. A parent needs a problem solved. Sometimes, an educator needs to make hundreds of small decisions in one day. […]

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Interview with The African Leadership Academy

August 12, 2011

The African Leadership Academy (ALA) is widely considered one of the most inspiring schools in the world. Opened in 2008 in South Africa,  ALA brings together Africa’s most talented teenaged students and challenges them to solve Africa’s most intractable problems.  Here is an interview I was lucky enough to conduct with Segun Olagunju, ALA’s Head […]

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The Power of One Decision

August 3, 2011

A few years ago, I received an email from a high school freshman named Vince in Houston. Life had not been easy for Vince. His mother had abandoned his family, and he didn’t get along well with his father. Vince’s passion had always been Tae Kwon Doe; he was already a second degree black belt. […]

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Have you heard of Khan Academy?

July 26, 2011

If you’ve haven’t heard of Khan Academy yet, you will soon. Here’s an article about Khan from Wired.

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The Impending College Bubble

July 25, 2011

Remember when people said the following about real estate? 1) Only a fool wouldn’t buy it. 2) Don’t worry about rising prices – you’ll get your money back. 3) It’s the one investment that you can’t go wrong on. Doesn’t that sound eerily familiar to what people are saying about college today? Even though student […]

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Days of Mischief

July 20, 2011

I recently recorded an audio version of my memoir, Of Beetles and Angels. It’s available exclusively as part of Mental Karate Digital. Below you can listen to a chapter that most students tell me is their favorite: Days of Mischief.

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Students say “Keep me safe or I’m staying home”

July 20, 2011

I’m proud of these students in Philadelphia for standing up for their right to a safe learning environment. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (CNN) — They were roaming the halls of South Philadelphia High School looking for a fight. Their target, according to police: Asian students. By the end of the school day, as many as 30 students […]

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“I’m Dead Inside”

July 18, 2011

My post on bullying from two posts ago was the most read I’ve ever written. So I thought I’d share 13 things that I’ve observed about bullying after speaking at more than 1,000 schools: 1) When I ask middle school kids to raise their hands for the most pressing issue in their lives, by far, […]

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How to Start a Writing/Speaking Business

July 13, 2011

I meet a lot of people who want to write or speak, and get many questions about how to get started.Here are two diagrams that I think really help, with explanations below. (I did my best to scrawl legibly on my iPad – good luck.) This first diagram shows that the goal should not be […]

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