As a college student I learned that taking notes forced me to pay better attention, but I’ve always had to clean them up before I share them. Sometimes I use mind maps on my iPad. Sometimes I just love watching a page fill with ink and words. Sometimes I just need to let my pen wander while things coalesce in my head.

I have great admiration for anyone who is able to tap their nerdiness for success—it’s even better when those folks have defined success for themselves.

We are all afraid of something. Once I was terrified of everyone I interacted with. Thanks to growing up and growing older, I have slowly become less afraid of what the world thinks. There will always be people whose opinions matter. There will always be stray criticisms or meant-to-be-jokes that hit the mark no matter who gives them voice. And those things need to be seriously considered.


Failure isn’t an option, it’s a requirement for growth. I’m not someone who risks everything for a slight chance; I’m much too cautious and full of anxiety for that. I’m also just not built like most people (gray for life).


One of the tricks to maintaining any sense of happiness is continual learning—pushing against what we think we know and what we know to be true. Faith is a struggle; over time our understanding of ourselves and the world should change as experiences and information are uncovered. I believe this so deeply that it has been the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy for over twenty years. Of course, my execution has come a very long way in that time.

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