More Empathy Means More Opportunity

A century ago, a young couple named Earle and Josephine were starting their married life together in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Earle was a cotton buyer and Josephine was a homemaker.

Josephine seemed to be perpetually dealing with burns from hot pans and nicks and cuts from sharp kitchen knives. Almost nightly, Earle would dutifully treat Josephine’s wounds with bulky bandages fashioned from adhesive tape and cotton gauze.

Earle realized that Josephine could get relief much quicker if there was a way for her to easily bandage herself after a mishap. So, he cut several squares of gauze, folded them into small pads, affixed them to strips of surgical tape, and covered each strip with crinoline to keep the tape from sticking to itself. That way he could reroll the tape, and Josephine could unwind and custom cut what she needed to dress her wounds on the spot.

Cultivate Enterprise to Take Initiative and Seize Opportunity

We can put ourselves in situations or environments where we are more likely to encounter opportunity. We can teach ourselves to better recognize and evaluate opportunity. If we want to seize and exploit an opportunity, however, we must take initiative. We must act.

A bias toward action, the willingness to do something different or difficult, the eagerness to embrace a bold undertaking – these are the hallmarks of the enterprising person.

Some people are more naturally enterprising than others, to be sure. They are inherently driven, ambitious, self-starting go-getters. Others need to look a little harder to find their motivation.

No matter. Regardless of where we fall on the action orientation continuum, we can cultivate the quality of enterprise. We can develop specific tendencies that will move us to act when action is needed.

Stop Aiming for the Top

In a culture where the slobbering hoi polloi fawningly idolize extreme wealth, fame, and performance, a suggestion like “stop aiming for the top” might seem counterintuitive if not outright heretical.

But there are reasons that it makes sense. For one, achievement is not always representative of ability.

We often perceive the most successful as being the most talented, or the most intelligent, or the most skilled, or the hardest working. In fact, they are often simply the luckiest.

Cognition, Opportunity, and Learning a New Language

English has a wider global reach than any language in history.

It has become the world’s lingua franca in a range of domains, including business, politics, science, technology, academia, and entertainment.

On top of that, real-time language translation technology continues to get faster and more accurate.

Why, then, would a native English speaker in today’s world want or need to learn another language?

Always Have a Motion Project

Nadia, a 12-year-old seventh grader in New Orleans, was struggling with math. So much so that she was at risk of her school placing her in a slower math track.

While visiting her older cousin and his wife in Boston, she explained her plight. Her cousin, a hedge fund analyst with multiple STEM degrees, offered to work with her and get her back on track.

He tutored Nadia remotely, mostly via telephone, and using Yahoo! Messenger and its Doodle notepad and image-sharing program. Nadia responded well to the tutoring and thrived, and soon a dozen or so more cousins were seeking tutoring.

To manage the increased demand more efficiently, he built a personal website where he could post practice problems. A couple of years later, a friend suggested he start posting tutorial videos on YouTube.

Once the videos were public, they began to reach an audience well beyond just family members, and were soon being viewed by tens of thousands of people each month.

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