6/24 – Podcast 49/50 – Taking a risk

I didn’t want to give up recommending a podcast Sundays in December on account of the Advent Calendar I’m running with quotes from #SethinLondon, so I realized I might as well find some podcasts with Seth that I haven’t recommended before (because I’ve recommended several before: this 4-part blog with Seth at On Being, and this one from GLP.)

Seth Godin London Q&A by Rajesh Taylor

Seth Godin London Q&A by Rajesh Taylor – did we ever have a blast that day!

So I googled. And got lucky. There’s a multitude of podcasts featuring Seth Godin! And I can understand why, since he’s an interesting person to have a conversation with. I started to listen to Smart People Podcast and have to say, even though the episode with Seth is from 2013 I think, it’s definitely a ”conversation that satisfies my curious mind” which is their tag line.

At the end of this podcast, Seth actually talks about what I’ve been starting to do this past year, which is, to not just go for ”the next, the next, the next” all the time. Rather, I rarely listen to a podcast, to give an example, but once anymore. I almost always listen at least two, and often three or four, times. This podcast is no exception. On my second listening, I heard more. Deeper. More profoundly.

If you’re into school and learning, sharpen your ears especially about 19 minutes into this podcast. It’s good. And I mean G O O D what Seth says there!

But. My absolute takeaway from this podcast is a simple mantra. I wanted to find the spot, so I’ve been listening, and re-listening, while packing for a trip, and I simply cannot find it. Makes me wonder if I heard it somewhere else, which is a definite possibly as I’ve been listening to a lot of Seth these past days.

Anyway. I know Seth talked about this (somewhere!), and what I heard was something that goes like this: Every day try to be generous in a risky way.

That really spoke to me. Generous in a risky way. Going out on a limb. Not walking the straight and narrow. Au contraire. Taking a risk, with the definite aim at being of service.

How do you do generosity in a risky way?

Reflection #6 of 24 is a bit of an odd ball, as it’s not from the notes I took and the experience I had at the Seth Godin Q&A-session in London, November 2015. Rather, this is a reflection on a podcast with Seth Godin. These reflections will constitute my Advent Calendar for 2015, and will be posted daily from December 1st to the 24th.

5/24 – What is school for?

How do I as a parent prevent my kids from loosing their inspiration?
Should I take my kids out of school?parents at fault

Now, if you’ve followed Seth you know he is a staunch critic of the current school system, but besides the fact that it’s a industrialist system designed (originally) to produce compliant cogs, he actually took me a bit by surprise here. Because he blames parents. (Now I’m not into blame games normally, but he has a point.) Parents should be asking what is school for, of everybody, anyone with a power to make changes, on all levels. And since everybody actually does influence somebody else, this really is something to ask of everybody.

What is school for?

Or, to use the twitterified question of the Swedish movement #skolvåren (translates to school spring): #WhySchool?

But, the real answer to the question affected me even more. Seth said that there is one thing that he loves about public schools and that is the fact that it’s such a mix. Where a kid from the projects can sit next to a kid with a billionaire mother. A kid with five older siblings, who never got a brand new piece of clothing in his life, can sit next to an only and severely spoilt child. (Perhaps a current risk we are facing is that the eclectic mix seems destined to become a thing of the past, the way the school system is run at the moment?)

So rather than think that you have to take your kid out of school, look at what you can do outside of school. In the afternoons. Weekends. Holidays!

Edit Wikipedia articles together, help your kids set up a blog to write in, give them a camera, buy them (or you all) a Raspberry Pi to experiment with, go to museums and art galleries, play together, read books, write books! Join a local toastmasters club, play instruments and sing together, travel the world, or go walk-about on roads in your local area that you’ve never walked along before. Grow vegetables in the garden, or sow a sunflower seed in a small pot of soil, get chickens for your backyard, cook together. Have fun! Live, love, laugh!

So even though, generally speaking, we don’t have a school system designed to create free-range kids, that doesn’t mean your kids can’t become free-range kids anyway. (What a free-range kid is? Check out this post: Part 4, Seth at On Being!)

So just get cooking! Homeschool (or unschool if that is more to your liking) your kids after ordinary school is out for the day, the week, the semester, the year! There is so much more to life than school, and learning for life can take place just about anywhere and anytime. I think the reason this affected me such was that I’d somehow forgotten about this little fact. But now I’ve been reminded.

Reflection #5 of 24 from the notes I took and the experience I had at the Seth Godin Q&A-session in London, November 2015. These reflections will constitute my Advent Calendar for 2015, and will be posted daily from December 1st to the 24th.

Academic intelligence – at the cost of what?

Every day kids go to school they become less intelligent. That’s what Eddy spends his talk on, and I’m telling you, Eddy Zhong is someone to keep an eye on. I stumbled upon his TED Talk after watching Todd Rose on The Myth of Average. And, as I’m guessing you’ll be as well, was intrigued. Watch it, and revert here afterwards, please.

As academic intelligence is pushed and encouraged within the confines of educational systems across the globe, creative intelligence is rapidly diminishing each passing year, turning creative children into teenagers unwilling to step outside the box.

Eddy leaves us with this final thought to ponder:
No one has ever changed the world by doing what the world has told them to do. 

Now. Those aren’t my words. They are the words of an 18-year old mediocre high school kid, if by mediocre we mean his academic achievements in school. Because after listening to this speech, I have to say there’s nothing mediocre about him at all. And given that he’s just finished going through school, isn’t that precisely the type of voice we should really pay close attention to? What is he really saying?

Listen closely.
What do you hear?

Podcast 27/52 – Mindset: being vs doing

The One You Feed is a favorite podcast of mine, and even though this one with Carol Dweck isn’t of the best show’s I’ve listened to from this podcast, it is interesting. And since Carol Dweck’s thoughts on fixed vs growth mindset is the talk of the town at the moment, I figured maybe someone would benefit from listening to this interview with her.

BoldomaticPost_fixed-vs-growthI like the reasoning behind fixed and growth mindset, possibly because I can recognize my own journey from (mostly) one to (mostly) the other. Luckily my direction has been from fixed to growth. For me, that is a huge part of the reason why my inner dialogue has gone from harsh to gentle, now that I think of it.


What fixed vs growth mindset is? Well, in short, as I understand it, fixed mindset is based on the belief that I have a specific amount of talent and intelligence, that cannot grow and evolve. This means that there’s no real point to trying harder, because I’ve got a fixed amount to work with. Hence, perhaps I’d get stuck in ”I’m no good at maths” and would fail to see that I can get better at maths if I work at it. Fixed mindset is encouraged by praising the result, like ”Oh you are such a clever girl!”, ”You got a good grade on that test!” and such. Accompanying though of fixed mindset might be ”I suck at this, so there’s no point in trying, because I will never get better.”, ”I hate drawing because it never looks like I want it to.”.

Grown mindset on the other hand says that you can get better, at anything really, as long as you put some effort into it. The focus is more on the process than the result. Regardless of my starting point, if I apply myself to it, I will get better at it. In time, I might even achieve mastery, if I put in the hours. So accompanying thoughts might be ”I have no clue how to crack this code, but if I work at it, I could probably figure it out. Let’s get started!”. Growth mindset is encouraged by putting attention to the process, like ”I can see how you’ve really put in an effort here!”, ”I see how you used all those different colors of green to draw that tree. It really bring it to life.”.

Anyway. What I find most significant in this podcast is the way Carol Dweck stresses the risk of fixed vs mind growths becoming ”a thing”, especially in school circles. This I believe is definitely a risk, and I fear that’s where it will end up in Sweden. It’s easy to fall in the trap of ”methodizing” something like this. That would be very unfortunate. Because this is not a thing you do. It’s a way you are.

Now, I say mindset something I am, rather than something I do, but of course, I will act out of my being, so it’s not as easy as saying it’s only about being and not about doing. The feedback to others that I exemplify above is a form of doing. But the risk, that Carol Dweck and I share a concern about, if you try to Do this without Living it. The risk of trying to give kids/pupils a growth mindset, while being stuck in fixed for my own development…. I mean, you can see for yourself how weird that would be, right? I guarantee that kids – if you are teaching, or parenting etc – will pick up on the mixed signals you are sending out, and they will see right through you.

So the question for me, is how do I switch my internal beliefs about myself, from fixed, to growth? How to live a life more based on a growth mindset?


Preparing for life

Alan Seale wrote about Preparing for life, a 17 minute long film about a Waldorf school in California, The Waldorf School of the Peninsula, in his newsletter. He wrote about it in a way that spiked my interest and curiosity, so while having lunch I watched the film:

Now. There’s a lot going on in my mind as I watch this, as I take in what I see and hear. Some of those things are questions like:

  • Is it just this school or is this film representative (in spirit, if nothing else) of all Waldorf-schools? *how I wish for the latter*
  • Why haven’t I found a school like this for my children to attend? *feel sad, that I haven’t*
  • Is there even any schools like this in Sweden? I know there are Waldorf schools, but are they truly like this one? Same same but different, perhaps? *hoping I will find out from friends who work in and with Waldorf schools in Sweden and Norway*
  • Why don’t all kids get a chance to go to a school that truly give’s them access to this:
    To know the world is to know the self, and to know the self is to know the world.

But also thoughts such as:

  • Within the existing school system paradigm, this is probably as good as it gets.
  • But still, how strange it is that we toss kids together with other kids the same age, and sprinkle in a handful of adults, and keep them all in a classroom, or two, within the confines of a building called a school house. This is not natural for humans, it’s not what we are wired for, physically or psychologically.
  • Not surprised that the TV-reporters use dramatic words of ”totally unplugged school” when that is not what the teachers and students are saying at all. But headlines require the use of drama to get attention right?
  • Amazing eye sparkles going on here, as well as relationships, learning, and creations – I mean, witness some of those paintings and sculptures – they look like they were made by a professional!

All in all, Preparing for life leaves me with a feeling of hope. It show’s me it is possible to make something really great out of the concept of school, as it stands today, and looking forward, there’s every opportunity to create a school system where all children truly will be able to thrive and explore their human potential.

What are you left with after watching the film?

Creation weekend #SCA2014, day 4

And then it came to an end, like all the weekends have. Like all weekends do, since we have decided to create the concept of time and days. Have you ever considered the fact that time is a human creation? Is it really? How do I know this? Hm… lots to think about there!

I am – once again – grateful for having the opportunity to meet all these magnificent people, having them in my life, learning from them, sharing with them, loving them.


Headed off to Ely to my brother and his family in the afternoon, and have enjoyed an afternoon and evening talking about this and that, including family, travels, SCA2014, his work, Thai politics and the purpose of school. I got a few new insights, like I tend to do when I talk about the purpose of school with people. I like getting insights. Do you?

The Rainbow Troops

My brother suggested I read The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata. So I suggested the book for the library to purchase, and lo and behold, it worked this time around as well. I got a note saying the book was ready for me to pick up, and I did.

20130826-091806.jpgThe story is about a group of children going to a dirt poor free school on the island of Belitong in Indonesia. It’s a fascinating story, told with beautiful language.

As I am very interested and involved in the Swedish school debate, trying my best to add some depth to it, by asking the question ”Why school?”, the most interesting part comes at the very end. There [on page 285 in the hardback copy in the picture] the two paths schools seems to be taking in the world are clarified:

  1. Schools as a means to provide individuals with knowledge which leads to self-value, celebrating humanity with dignity, joy of learning and the light of civilization.
  2. Schools as a means to materialism, to making money, getting rich, gaining power and fame.

Those are two ways to answer the question of ”Why school?” – my question to you is: What’s your answer?