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The Link to Happiness and Productivity

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David Brooks nails it with his new book, The Social Animal.  After looking at all the great researchcreative incubation going on these days into human behavior, one of his core conclusions is that the emotional connections we make throughout life determine who we are, and who we can become. 

Brooks cites several research studies about the importance of student-teacher connection when it comes to student achievement. One comment from a great interview on San Francisco's KQED radio show, "Forum" with Michael Krasny: "I came across one researcher who said that if you want to know who is going to drop out of school.. ask a kid, 'Who's your favorite teacher?,' and if s/he gives you an answer to that question, that kid will not drop out.  If they look at you as if that question is absurd then those kids are at risk."

That human connection is even more important than grades and SAT scores.  It's about self-determination, which is so critical to happiness and productivity. 

When asked about how to help children develop good character, Brooks advised an East Bay teacher to be herself, because Brooks said, "When I think back on my teachers, it's not really the curriculum that I remember. It's their way of being in the world that I could emulate."  Think about your way of being. It's my strong conviction that each of us can cultivate a stronger, more genuine and singular way of being. And if you do, you're well on your way to an autonomous, self-directed life, a life that's more yours and thus more joyous.
There are many ways to become more autonomous: listen and act on your daydreams, and as Joseph Campbell advised, "Find quiet time alone every day where "you don't know who your friends are, you don't know what you owe anybody, you don't know what anybody owes to you.  This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation."

And most of all, to be autonomous, emulate those people who have an appealing way of being. 

Cheers from Sonoma,


Cheers from Sonoma,

Donald Van de mark is the author of, The Good Among the Great, 19 Traits of the Most Admired, Creative and Joyous Human Beings. Check out Donald Van De Mark's series on the 19 Personality Traits of the Best Human Beings

Donald Van de Mark is a motivational speaker and has interviewed hundreds of leaders in business and politics including: Andrew Weil, MD, former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, Jack Welch, Starbucks' Howard Schultz and Intel's Andy Grove, in his nearly 3 decades as a correspondent and anchor at CNN, CNBC and public television. He is the host of The Wisdom of Caring Leaders and The Wisdom of Teams, training videos used by corporations and schools to teach leadership skills.

Donald's Twitter:@dvandemark

For news about The Good Among the Great and my speaking schedule, please go to:

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Donald Van de Mark is a speaker and author of, The Good Among the Great. He is the voice and talent on many of Success Television's videos. He has interviewed hundreds of leaders in business and politics including: Jack Welch, Starbucks' Howard Schultz, Intel's Andy Grove, in his nearly 3 decades as a correspondent and anchor at CNN, CNBC and public television. He integrates tips from these great leaders to provide a riveting motivational speech on the traits of successful people.

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