Week 1- Looking In

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
Winston Churchill

As I mentioned last week, in this class we will focus on The Design Process, Your Person, and your Passion. This week you need to discover your true person and look for your passion.

What would happen if you just took the time to actually look inside yourself and figure out what makes you tick? Try expanding. Try not giving up so fast. Try focusing on something long enough to make yourself excellent. Try finding your own inner muse. Maybe read something that makes you think once a day (heck, start with just one a week).  Look for daily inspiration in your own creativity.

And as we mentioned in class , we’re going to find our passion. By the end of the week, you need to find a character trait( extra sources: 1,  )and an organization you believe in (extra sources: 1). A lot of your projects for the rest of the year will be focused on these two issues. I want to integrate what’s important to YOU in theis class. Remember, it’s not just about design, and it’s certainly not about me in here… it’s all about YOU. What makes you special? Why are you here? What are you gonna do to make the world better because you’re in it- both for yourself and for the world in general. Why should anyone care about what you have to say??

Next class we’ll look into a little more about finding out who you really are. Sometimes it’s hard to see. Let’s take a look at who you are and what makes you tick. Explore your strengths and and weaknesses. As it’s been said by the greatest minds, we must know ourselves to be wise, that the unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates).

Everyone wants to be treated with respect and dignity, but many of us don’t even give ourselves that same respect and dignity we want from others. Get to know yourself. Find out who you are, what you stand for, and where you want to go in life. As we mentioned in class, if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time. And if you want to start on a journey, you gotta know both where you are and where you’re going to plan out the directions to get there. Most of us fail at getting to where we really want to go by not realizing where we are really at.

It’s going to be a good year for those of you that want to be better people- but this class is no place for the lazy, the quitters, and the losers. Choose today to be a winner, or find another class- In here, you only lose when you quit.

 8/30 update – I’m totally loving the book Jane McGonigal recommended in her Ted Talk (below) called Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Amazing  research on successful people and what makes the difference between the people who are successful and those that flounder. Interesting tidbits this morning listen on my way into work.

There are 3 qualities of rewarding work- the three “ingredients” for having a career that you find makes you happy and is rewarding to be a part of:

  1. Complexity– Using your brain and having to think as opposed to repetitive tasks or having others do the thinking for you.
  2. Autonomy– Having the ability to make your own choices and control your own destiny.
  3. Connections between effort and reward– Being able to work harder to make more reward, versus being paid the same no matter what your effort.

I love it! That’s the atmosphere I work hard to maintain in here. One where you need to think and there’s always a challenge ahead, Where you get to make many of the choices about what you will be learning and doing, and The ability for you to forge ahead, work harder, and gain even more reward (not just grades!!) for your diligent efforts. Here’s to making this class a rewarding, engaging, complex, free, and rewarding place to grow and explore.

Advanced students and I are working hard on the game… following last week’s challenge to engage more in this class. Will keep you posted!

So… let’s get started figuring out what we have to work with:

So over last week, I talked a lot about finding yourself, growing up, deciding where you want to be, and making a difference… And we mentioned that we needed to find ourselves- discover where we ARE- before we can start mapping out the directions to where we want to be.

So this week, I want to help you guys figure out where you are. Start with taking this test (scroll down to see the questions). It will give you 3 personality types that are most likely you.  If you want to verify with a more accurate test, that should only give one number, try here (takes 10 minutes). After that, find yourself on the Enneagram Easy Summary and find your number, and see if the description seems to be a good description of you. After that, find your number on THIS PAGE to find out a little more about your type. Make sure that the description sounds a LOT like you. It won’t be perfect- but there should be a lot of similarities between those descriptions and how you feel and act. Remember, this is not to hold you down or lock you in to anything… this is just about being self aware- knowing what makes you tick.


  1. Take this test (3 results to research) and/or go here (1 result, but not always accurate) to get your personality type

  2.  Verify your number on the Enneagram Easy Summary (if it’s wrong, read the others until you find which one is the best description of you)

  3. Then read the full description of your personality type on  THIS PAGE (click on your number).  If you got it right, it should be a little creepy how well it describes you! 🙂 You’ll also learn how to work better with people of other types and famous people that were your personality type! (for the curious, I’m a two)

So now you have a basic kind of core motivation that you feel (success, relationship, perfection, happiness, etc..) and that the same thing that makes you so awesome in some aspects can also come out sideways and make you less than awesome. So just come to accept your limitations and embrace your weaknesses and your strengths… it’s all you. But many of you are trying so hard to fit in somewhere that you haven’t looked really hard at where you actually fit. We all try so hard to be our IMAGE instead of who we ARE. And I can tell you right now, that NEVER works. You’re always working against who you really are. Take some time and look inside. Figure out who you are… because if you don’t- and you hide who you really are for your whole life… it’s like you never existed- you don’t even count. At best, you’ll just be a poor imitation of someone else for the rest of your life. And that is a miserable experience to have to live. And at the same time, nobody gets the pleasure of knowing you.

We’ve all heard the little saying “Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you.” That’s Complete and Utter Bull Poo. Words can destroy people… Bruises heal fast- broken bones get a cast and you’re fine in a month or two… But your emotions? Your heart? No way to bandage, cast, or assist it’s healing. You have to just wait- WITHOUT ANY MORE NEW DAMAGE- for it to heal. Problem is, since you can’t bandange or cast it- you can’t really protect it from other people’s little verbal stones and darts they throw. You have to have a shield. And that shield is simply the truth. The truth of who you are, EXACTLY WHO YOU ARE. No pretending you don’t have faults or being embarassed about your strengths… it’s accepting it all- just as you are. And realize that it’s all connected.

We started looking at the truth of who you are with the personality test things and finding your place in the enneagramm. Some people can’t find a good fit in there- so here’s the next step:

Tell Me who you are. I want you to write down 50 things about you that are good. Yep- Fifty. And they all have to be different. Put your name at the top of the paper and give me 50 things that are good about you. We’ll call this the “Big 50.” This is not what you’re good at doing- you are not what you do… you are simply what you are. Some of your list will be things you are good at doing (football, playing guitar, etc..) but think deeper- about the things that are good about you because it’s the kind of person you are (Examples: I’m Generous. I’m a good listener. I’m honest to people. I’m a good friend.)

I want this on it’s own sheet of paper, with your enneagramm personality type number, your most valued character trait, and the charity you want to support at the top. Show me your awesomeness.

You will need to have this in your notebook for this class. If you don’t have one, steal a sheet of paper from a friend and we’ll staple this one in. But next class I expect everyone to have their notebook, and you can leave it in here on a bookshelf.

9/1 update-

When you’re done with the self-discovery work mentioned in this post, please start moving on to this project. You MUST meet all the specifications, and I suggest reading the guidelines and following links to get the most help on this project.

Yes, I really do expect you to come up with 25 ideas. 🙂

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