Educational Model – Part 1 – Overview

I will begin this post with an overview of the proposal including those items that may seem or be impractical at the moment.  I will then discuss some of the benefits, hurdles and challenges of these and look for feedback on possible solutions or alternatives.

In a nutshell, the proposed educational model shifts the way we teach educational concepts from one that is based heavily on memorization and regurgitation to foundational learning.  Thus creating life long students who have the tools to approach any challenge.  The how to implement this shift broadly utilizes individual and group project based learning.  One important hurdle that I will need assistance on a solution is that this model is predicated on students who fundamentally know how to read.  Having tutored adult literacy, I recognize this is a very large challenge with the phonetic method one of, if not the only good ways to learn how to read – and very time consuming.  With this caveat (and help from others to come up with a solution), the model then focuses on providing every student the foundational skills to solve any problem by using the concept of projects.

The proposed model would guide students from K to 9 (as noted above, a different/similar method would focus Pre-K on reading fundamentals) through projects that on the cover would be at the individual or groups choosing – as they would choose the subject but would have built in learning challenges.  These challenges/hurdles to the end goal of success would be implicit to the project itself but early on not readily understood providing a building block for tackling the next project.  Until the student has mastered the concept, they would stay on the same project level with the subject matter education an additional benefit to the student.  Group projects provide the students the opportunity to benefit from the learnings of the other students (exponential learning) – not only in recognizing and evaluating how others in the group tackle challenges but in recognizing the skills others have gained that would also be beneficial to the students existing challenges for their individual project.  As the student goes through each challenge the teacher would be there to help faciliate the innate love of learning.  As the challenges become more difficult, the teacher would facilitate not by providing answers but in helping the student come up with the best approach based on the available alternatives.  Post K-9 education would be advanced projects based on specialization.  The premise is that having 10 years of completing projects that the student was interested in, would put the student in a position where they could spend the final 3 or 4 years doing specialized research (if they choose) so they would have completed the same level of education as our existing model through a bachelors degree.  Thus every student would now have the same foundational education as any student who has completed their bachelors degress at a top institution allowing for college to be one where advancement of concepts (typically at the PhD level) is the primary focus.

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Multiverse and the Big Bang

If you read my first blog on the Crazy Talk section, you will know that I am leaning to the idea and existence of multi-verses.  Crazy I know but I believe it to be a good explanation for why we have demonstrated one side of our universe expanding faster than the other.  If we go further down this rabbit hole and we look to explain the origins of our universe, many believe that the beginning of all this started with a Big Bang.  That everything we are, know and experience is a result of a singularity with the idea of inflation, the foundation for everything.  While I don’t completely disagree with this idea, I believe there is a greater reason that could help explain where all the matter came from.  The current thoughts around inflation are that basically, everything is a result of the minute, fractional, leftover matter that didn’t get destroyed by it’s corresponding anti-matter.  What if instead of there being nothing, there was already infinite (relative to our universe) amounts of matter available – it was just in a different physically defined form in other universes?  I surmise that the Big Bang is a direct result of two or more universes – each with their own laws of physics and planes of existence – expanding to a point where they collide with each other.  This contradiction in laws at the point of collision/overlap – or singularity, cause the Big Bang.  The result of this collision, creates a new universe while plausibly destroying the former universes, that expands exponentially to fill the void of the other two universes with a new set of physical laws that govern the order of creation.  If we were to go further down the rabbit hole, and assume that a universe could be a living organism, then this death that invokes life – our universe could just be a transition to a higher plane of existence in a higher dimension.  But I will stop there as the focus here is just on the concept of how the Big Bang could make sense.  It wasn’t something from nothing but instead a rebirth, growth and a new existence.

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Wormhole – Blackhole

So I realize this is just crazy talk. Probably more so than my big bang theory post but stay with me for a second. I also realize there are much smarter people than me researching black holes and coming up with new theories. I just had to get this out as I’ve had this intuition for a while and I hope one of the people, there are so many, smarter than me can help explain the math to prove this out. The root of my belief lies in Einstein’s theory of relativity. Basically everything we experience is relative. A decent example to explain what I want to elaborate on is riding on a plane – and the classic example that physicists have used that I think Einstein used to explain his theory – the traveler on a train traveling near the speed of light and how time relative to him is going slower than time for an observer. In many cases, you may have experienced traveling near 600 miles per hour in a commercial plane while travelling for fun or work. If we removed all turbulence, jet plane noise, constant motion, and closed the windows and you had a perfectly smooth ride, you wouldn’t know that you were moving nearly 600 miles per hour. You wouldn’t feel all the forces going on outside the plane either, you would move around as if you were standing still. So the leap from this is that I think travel to a black hole isn’t the crazy destructive force on a very small scale, just what we observe from a very large scale. Thus in the large scale of a black hole, it’s seems incredibly destructive. On a small scale, I think it’s similar to us observing the gravity of the earth. We can counteract the full scale of gravity of a whole planet with relative ease. Only when we try to go perpendicular to it does it really show the true power of the Earth’s gravity – by jumping up, flying straight up, etc. In these cases, it becomes much harder to counteract the force of gravity. If we use this same concept to a black hole, we can guess something similar – much, much larger but similar in concept. Thus with relativity and this idea, I think by skimming or maybe even going straight through, the forces are much smaller on a small scale, the forces acting on the vehicle would also be much smaller and thus those on our bodies relative. Now for the second part of why I believe every blackhole is a wormhole – so I believe that it is consensus in the physics/cosmology community that a blackhole’s forces bend space/time and it seems that every galaxy has a super massive blackhole in the middle of it as well as many more all over the galaxy. If this can bend space/time, then I believe many of these blackholes are the path for us to travel from one point in our galaxy to another.

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You, Inc.

The greatest challenge and obstacle for your success is you.  Mainly, your mindset.  One that no longer caters to your wants but instead understands your needs.  Thus, there are many layers of self-realization and actualization that we must resolve before we can truly be successful.  We may have reached academic, athletic and/or financial success but do not feel all that successful and wonder why.  The why is because it wasn’t our “why”.  It was someone else’s.  It was someone else’s definition of success and not our own.

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Pillar Five – Social Environment

The last pillar of success is Social Environment.

Birds of a feather they say.  As noted in the Adaptability section, part of the reason we as humans are here vs. the other versions we may call Neanderthals and variations of homo sapiens, we evolved being very social in nature, needing larger groups to survive and thus developing communication more quickly and once we started communicating, we never stopped.  This developed from clicks to words, which then led to stories and the ability to document these stories.  These stories then became our history.  We have passed down these stories from generation to generation to provide a structure to our existence and a guideline for our preservation.  From this guideline for the overall human species we have smaller microcosms that trade stories, aspirations and guides that the rest of the group uses in their individual guidebook of success.  If you want to know the aspirations of any person in a group, you typically need to just ask one person in a group.  That doesn’t mean that you may not have friends or acquaintances with different aspirations, but you typically keep those with similar aspirations in your inner circle.  Being social creatures, it’s easier to communicate with those who have similar aspirations and we all need to feel included.  This is why we segregate ourselves by political affiliation, religion, income brackets and schools to name a few.  Our social environment is where we get our continued affirmations of what we believe to be true.  This can be a powerful ally to our own internal conversation of those things that we desire in life both externally and internally – everything from providing the spark, fanning the flame to completely providing the fire.  If the family environment in a previous pillar is where we get our blueprints for success (from communication idioms to success paths) then the people we keep in our internal and tertiary groups define and influence how we perceive ourselves – they can reinforce both the positive and negative stereotypes that we have been taught, read and learn about ourselves.  Thus you may read something that provides the key to your success path, you may be so excited because you know in your soul that this is the best way for you to fulfill your calling and let your spirit sing becoming the best you.  You share this with your friends, and depending on whether or not your friends are aligned with this understanding themselves, they may inadvertently dash these dreams.  Same can be said from your family environment because of their past history under the auspices of you not getting hurt or experiencing the same failure/pain that they went through or someone they new – maybe even a friend of theirs.  Their egos may get in the way because they also know this is a great idea and they consciously or unconsciously are afraid that this may challenge the conventional order in your friend group.  They may sabotage this by putting it down, taking away your newfound drive/dedication to this idea vs. helping you by taking you through the exercise of making this a possibility.  Or they may not know any better because this is the response they got from their families and believe this is the expected course of action in these situations.  And why your social group can have such a large influence in your day to day preparation for success.  Too many of us are afraid of failure – this is also an egoic problem.  We are afraid of how we will look to others in failing that we don’t even try and ironically, don’t take the necessary preparation steps to give us a realistic chance of success.  So our approach ends up only validating what we believed.  Your social environment/group can also make up for familial group gaps by also providing for you a viable success path.  You may come from a family group that may not provide the emotional, educational, spiritual, sense of self and loving environment in addition to the monetary needs of providing for food, shelter and the basic hierarchy of needs defined by Maslow.  Your social environment/group can fill any of these gaps.  Spend some time defining our present needs.  Think deeper beyond a Big Mac, or the hot girl/guy, more money or anything physical for a moment and think relative to who you are as a person and what your inner being knows you should be.  You will find that your present social group typically re-enforces those immediate needs that you may feel lacking in you or even what you want to be.  They can as noted earlier in this section, re-enforce the concept of need that you have within yourself or believe within yourself.  This may not be true of everyone, but your friends reflect your own thoughts about yourself, including your hopes, dreams and goals.  Those that don’t fit the bill probably don’t because, you are the same for them.  What part do you play – it may be different roles for different friends/people in your social group, it may be the same role.   Either case, it’s important to understand what part of you and what you believe is being positively or negatively influenced by the people you allow and keep in your inner social group.  Are they expanding your being or diminishing it.  If your family environment diminished your spirit and who you believe you can become, it’s important to recognize this within yourself and understand if your social group is doing the same thing because you feel you “need” this negative affirmation.  If this is a true statement, then it’s important to understand why you believe what you believe.  What is it that you feel as being inadequate in you and how did you get to this realization?  Is it from a specific experience or a range of experiences where you were reinforced as a child/adolescent of an inner fear/knowledge gap and you allowed this to propagate into something you accepted as truth and a part of you.  What we need to realize are these belief systems that we’ve accepted as truth in our lives without any real substance.  Marianne Williamson said it best when she notes “ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond measure”  and “we were made to make manifest the glory of God that is inside us, it’s not in some of us, it’s in all of us and when we allow….”.  Powerful beyond measure…. Think about that for a moment.  You are powerful beyond measure – now does that mean you can do whatever you set your mind to immediately… No.  What it means is that by first training our mind to no longer shackle and chain ourselves, then we can truly become our true selves.  This first step will then transform your relationships because you understand why you believe what you believe but also where you want to go.  After impacting what you believe is possible and those that will help you` along the way, then more an more experiences in your life will shape you and guide you to your best self.  Does that mean everything you encounter will be magical and something you want?  No, but each part is a life lesson for the greater whole of you.  You become what you believe.  Change your thoughts and you change your life.  Stop the excuses and you can finally own the end result – this may not end of exactly as you pictured but it will be really close.  And if not, then you have a good blueprint to use the next time.

The main difference between someone that tends to win vs. someone that tends to lose or not meet their goals is the concept of owning what end result you want to happen.  Thus, a common trait that I find in those that tend to lose or not reach their goals is they tend to rely on excuses and explanations for failure.  That doesn’t mean they have never succeeded.  But when the rubber meets the road and this is a goal the person wants that expands their existing core skillset – or something that they many not fully understand, they tend to create excuses for their failure.  On the other hand, those that win accept the fundamental thought that they create their own result – through their own actions.  Because of this, they take all the necessary steps to prepare their minds and bodies as well as supporting casts to create this end result.  This can be done through constant repetition in preparing the body for great physical feats of endurance, strength or speed and the same applies for those challenges that are mental – each of these prepare both the mind and body with what this desired outcome takes and feels like.  Besides repetition, there is also the expansion and variety when the planned outcome may not be as clearly defined.  So by preparing the mind or body with a variety of different challenges, we are in effect creating multiple blueprints from which we can draw upon in the future and with mastery can then adapt these blueprints to fit the variable challenge for the new desired outcome.

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Pillar Four – Intelligence/Adaptability

The fourth pillar of success is Intelligence but in light of the way society classifies intelligence, I will re-label this Adaptability.  This pillar I believe on a relative level we are all equal with only minor variations.  I believe this because depending on the method – whether scientific/evolutionary or religious – we are all descendants of a specific group of persons who have proved their intelligence/adaptability and are still in each of us today through their genetic code.  The skills passed down by this original group have expanded through thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years to allow us to live the life in the manner we live today.  Except for a very small proportion of the population – which is also expected by probability of exceptions or outliers, we all have the same basic intelligence.  I’m sure for many of you, your ego may want to differentiate yourselves as being better than another with proof of a higher education, better house, monetary base or other class but the key rebuttal is the fact that those persons who may not have as many things, are still here.  Enjoyment of life has been shown to be non-dependent of material things after the basic needs have been met.  Survival of the fittest means that in the grand scheme of things, any person alive and passing down their genes has succeeded to an equal level.  If we look at intelligence from this lens, then we must consider all populations of people who may be deemed less “civilized” based on Western culture and habits as being equally intelligent.  For example, if you were to review the abilities of any human group, whether in the deserts or rain forest, you should be amazed at their knowledge and understanding of their environment to adapt and continue to thrive.  With that, I’ll get into a bit more in depth in a future post regarding one of the by-products of the existing educational system and the way that it’s taught on the Bell curve model that creates classes.  Whether or not this is a good thing for the current societal phase or not is also not a part of this post as there are good arguments for either viewpoint.  As noted earlier in my Prologue, I have been around so many different ages of persons, from 1st graders to adults in an education specific environment who have proven to me that with the right teaching method, they were able to fully grasp any concept.  The problems begin to arise when the way we teach creates holes of understanding – which is a by-product of teaching to the 70th percentile.  Those who have already gained the necessary foundational learning for that particular lesson will be held back while those who don’t have the foundational learning for that lesson may only understand the problem that lies before them partially or not at all.  Thus, coming to the right answer is much more difficult, regardless of intelligence.  Our natural reaction is to adapt and fill those holes with applied knowledge – many times which may be unfounded or wrong.  This leads us on the wrong path without our knowledge until a time when that understanding is challenged with a new life experience that we don’t have the skills to formulate an answer.  An easy example would be if I were to begin discussing atomic physics with you if you haven’t been taught basic math through advanced calculus.  You may be able to grasp some concepts based on what you’ve heard but if you’ve never had anyone provide a foundational understanding of the concepts, it will be much more difficult to fill those knowledge gaps with passing information you’ve received through any medium of information.  You may even be able to memorize current theories to have a discussion but anything beyond will be extremely difficult.  This doesn’t negate your intelligence level but instead just shows how lacking our existing educational model is becoming as our continued advancement as a society is dependent on an educated populace who can understand these concepts.  While we may not be able to advance these concepts, we should be able to understand any concept that is currently being discussed with our existing intelligence levels if taught in a manner we can understand.  I believe that with the right educational model, all the information that is available to us today is learnable.  While there may be a very small proportion of our population that can advance these concepts, I believe we can all understand them.  For those of you who didn’t do well in Math or Science or any other subject, I believe it’s because the method and system to teach you failed you.  That doesn’t mean that for some of us, myself included, we could have done a better job of applying ourselves but this also is in sync with my overall premise and goes in hand to the importance of the other pillars for success.

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Pillar Three – Individual Drive/Human Spirit

For all the caveats that I place on Individual Drive/Human Spirit – with hard work and dedication to the goal as their reflection, this is still just as important a pillar of success as any of the others and carries equal weight. How many people may you be familiar with who seem to have every advantage – from a great family environment, well-educated and involved parents and the like and yet the individual didn’t ever seem to go beyond the level of anyone else. One differentiation may be the individual’s decision to succeed. Thus, the third pillar of success comes down solely to your humanity and is entirely your own. While we are and can be influenced both positively and negatively (and is defined by the other pillars), it still is our decision how we choose to act and react to any given situation of life. We all have an innate ability to survive and thrive no matter what the situation or consequence. That doesn’t mean we will always make the optimum choice but the human spirit is still powerful in each of us. What separates us in this pillar is the attitude that we carry with us through life. The decision ultimately comes down to whether or not we do a specific action or do not do that action. There are analogies through the history of time of the person or group of persons who have faced unreasonable odds and the primary difference of deciding whether they succeed or fail is their decision to not fail. While their full potential may not be fully reached as a result of the external influence, they have succeeded regardless because of the steps they have taken with lessons learned that they can then pass on to their posterity or family/social group. As with the others, this pillar by itself only accounts for 20% for the total probability of success. The reason is that without the right guidance (whether internal or external from experience, education or understanding as examples), even hard work can be extremely inefficient in getting to success. For many of us, we may either be the example or know of many examples of people who work extremely hard but are not able to attain the overall goal. This could be a result of the immediate goals being too easily reached and not part of or conflict with that which is burning as part of your human spirit. Or on the other end of the spectrum, it could be one that is not possible at the moment because we haven’t taken the needed steps of growth to make it a reality. A good example of this is the understanding that every journey begins with a single step – I would add in the right direction but for many of us, if you are listening to your spirit, they are all in the right direction – though difficult to grasp at the time. I know that when I am rock climbing and you are at your wits end on what to do next because the really good hand hold is too far away, one thing to always keep in mind before giving up is to first look down at your feet and see if there is a way to get your feet a few inches higher. You may be surprised what you are able to see when you are just a few extra inches higher with new hand holds – or in life, the new possibilities.

Belief in a goal without effort is just a dream unfulfilled and never realized.

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Pillar Two – Family Environment

The second pillar is family environment.  This like education for many of you will be the most important success factor and it could be fairly argued that this should have more weighting than the others.  Again, since we are discussing the probability of success and not the eventuality of success, I think we can move away from the exact scientific analysis and sampling.  This pillar explained basically focuses on the level of involvement of the parents as well as those parents providing opportunities to learn, grow and experience the complexities and challenges of being human.  This is managing keeping the child safe while not hindering growth/learning opportunities.  This of course is less quantifiable to grasp and truly explain because the human condition adjusts and learns even in non-safe life experiences.  But that is dependent on the other pillars of success so we will stick with family environment as stated earlier.  If you grew up in a stable family environment where they taught and through example showed how to love, compassion/caring, honesty, happiness, provide a sense of self, as well as valuing self and others, this all increases the probability of success closer to the 20% maximum.  In order for this family environment to provide the maximum probability of success to the individual, there would be constant life lessons provided by the experiences and education of the parents.  This is why so many doctors, bear children who become doctors or entrepenuers who in turn start their own businesses – because this becomes second nature for them, with valuable lessons a part of everyday conversation.  While a non-stable environment for those kids who grow up without any adult role models or even less impactful such as an emotionally absent parent(s) would provide reasons to reduce that 20% probability.  We tend to demonstrate the same characteristics found as our family because of course this is where we get a lot of our learning beginning from birth.  We tend to demonstrate both the good characteristics as well as the bad ones.  Thus, if your parents were very educated about how to create wealth, then based on these keys to creating wealth that were given by your parents, you should have a pretty easy go at creating wealth.  Basically your parents have taken most of the effort out of creating wealth because either they, their parents and so on had to start from nothing and found the right combination from many failed trials.  They passed those same skills on to you.  Thus, for those of you whose parents are middle income, they taught you the same skills that they learned more than likely from their parents but it could be elsewhere or from many failed trials about how to be at that level.  I know there will be many of you who maybe didn’t get any advice from their parents or they weren’t around so may have a huge argument that it was you and not your parents who found the keys to creating wealth or happiness.  And you will probably be correct as you will validate the other pillars of success.  Thus, you are the exception to the rule that validates the other pillars importance as a pathway to success.  Family environment may have had a negative impact on your road to success as you may have had to spend a lot of time of self discovery and finding out for yourself basic life skills, relationship skills, financial skills and self-confidence.  More than likely, it was with the next few pillars that provided your road to success.  But your posterity will benefit greatly from the skills that you have learned and will now have the opportunity to more easily understand and thrive from this pillar of success.  The history of humanity and those of us who are still passing on our genes prove the importance of this pillar.  With those that have typically done the best were those who were taught how to complete a specific task – whether that is spear fishing, making/using blow darts and acquiring the poisen for it, cultivating crops, making shelter and clothing.  Present day, most of us don’t have to deal with not having the base hierarchy of needs as defined by Abraham Maslow.  We don’t need to be taught how to build shelter, find or cultivate food and make clothing and instead most of us were taught the means and skills to make currency in exchange for these base needs.  The more we create, typically it is associated with the more highly skilled we are, though this not always the case as the free market system isn’t always efficient on the microeconomic level.  Either way, if we were given these skills by our family environment, we have the advantage of this pillar of success.

While education may provide a means to an end out – whether that is through financial, psychological or social education.  This pillar if you don’t/didn’t have it may put persons in reckless cycles even if they have found the keys to success through other means.  At some point, all of us came from nothing – except maybe for a few kings.  Thus, for example we’ll use your great-grandparents.  Now of course this could have been your parents, if they were the ones who finally figured out the key to wealth or your great-great-great-great grandparents as that doesn’t make an impact to the point.  Let’s say they immigrated to this country with nothing but the shirts on their backs (and pants/dresses – wouldn’t want your grandparents to be naked).  We won’t even add the desire for the American dream as this is related to a future pillar.  We will just use for our example the fact that when they came here with their parents, they may have had very little skills or education.  As the only skills their parents were able to teach was how to farm and the value of hard work.  Thus, the probability of success for this level of person with very little education, skills or guidance from parents or mentors would be very low no matter how hard they worked as hard work alone doesn’t guarantee success.  I am sure you know of someone, whether that is you, a friend or acquaintance who worked very hard – but no-where near success.  I still remember the few summers I spent bucking bales for a friend of mine’s family.  Very hard work, with the only lesson learned from that was that there had to be an easier way to earn a living.  This along with an infinite number of examples will highlight the importance of multiples of success and how they can increase dramatically the probability of success.  Multiples of success simply means the utilization and combination of multiple success pillars.  Multiples of success are also cross-generational as the first generation may have tried to achieve success solely with hard work and after 20 years of labor realized there had to be a better way to achieve the same level of success.  Thus he or she then gave guidance to their children that education was the answer to success.  Some of their children took the advice solely while others in the family may have also recognized their parents work ethic was also needed.  In this example, who do you think has a greater probability of success?  Examples in everyday life can be seen by parents who are doctors, lawyers, businesspersons, etc. who give this same blueprint of success to their children as somewhere along the line, they were the first to succeed and are passing down their magic formula for success.  From my own experience, the answer to success was hard work and a good education that included college.  It was never a question in my family if you would go to college as it may be in some families but instead which one and with what degree.  I’m sure the same can be said for the more “elite” families but instead what top tier school they would attend – I would guess the alma mater.  So am I saying that a college degree or even an Ivy League degree guarantee a person success.  Again, that would be no but I don’t think there is any question that these increase the persons probability of success – as we haven’t even gotten into multiples of success from social networks (discussed further in a future pillar) that are expanded and readily accessible in college campuses and especially those termed the elite campuses.

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Pillar One – Education

The first pillar is education.  Education doesn’t necessarily mean formal education – this covers everything from traditional schooling (high school, community college, university, graduate school, elite graduate programs) to home schooling, library/internet reference, self-taught and other teacher/self-guided courses.  Thus the 20% probability increases to 20% with the higher level of education and merit achieved to a maximum of 20%.  A person who attended and excelled at all the best schools all the way through a professional/graduate program would get 20% while a person who didn’t finish high school and wasn’t actively involved in education may only get a 5% probability.  A person who graduated high school, with community college and a few reference courses may be at 12% and so on and so forth.  Does this mean that those in graduate programs only have a 20% probability of success – that would be a resounding no because we still haven’t added the additional probabilities of the other success factors.  As noted before, each of us probably believe that one of these is more important than the rest and should have a greater piece of the pie.  I personally believe education is the most important pillar and could name a multitude of reasons.  Everything from, with this pillar, you are able to acquire the tools necessary for success as well as the fact that with education, you can overcome all of the obstacles brought about as a result of some negative traits from not having the other 4 pillars.  But where would education be without individual drive to learn or a family structure that places a high level of importance on education.  Thus as you can see, they are related and shows us how we can give equal weighting even though our personal lives may highlight one or a few of these.  You become the exceptions that validate the probability.  You would have a very low probability of success if you grew up in a bad family environment with no nurturing adult role models to give them a sense of self-worth and provide a framework of answers for life’s challenges.  This is magnified again if this same person also ran in the wrong social crowd of friends/mentors that always told them to do the wrong things and put them in high risk situations.  This is exacerbated even more if their family and friends didn’t place a high level of emphasis on education being a possible way out of that environment so they have a desire to learn – whether that is the lessons brought about the past and taught through human history or lessons of our future that can be taught in the sciences.  Also, as an example, let’s say that by some chance you had a person go through all the levels of schooling but wasn’t very motivated to learn, wasn’t very “intelligent” (we’ll go through this part later) with peers who helped shape their ideas through discussion and a family that supported this education.  In this case – even if they somehow got into the best programs whether by an accident or intentional, all this would give them is a 20% probability of success – assuming all the other success factors are at the worst case scenario of 0% which would be unrealistic but only there to reinforce the point.

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Success Factors – 5 Pillars and Probability

Notes 8/10/2006:

What is Success Factors?  Success Factors is a framework to define not why or how we succeed but instead define what are successful environments as a whole so that individuals can realize and create solutions to increasing their probability of success.  Other books define success by the actions of individuals and they typically focus on one area – individual drive/work ethic.  They give plenty of examples of those who succeeded – sometimes without degrees, or self-described lack of intelligence (book smarts) but worked hard and became very successful overcoming huge obstacles along the way.  Yet other books focus on education to pave the way to success through education of the stock market, housing market, computers, etc.  These books all give examples of keys that can be used to unlock success boundaries.  This post is meant to give the reader an understanding of the whole picture of success.

This book or post, isn’t targeted for those who are looking for a specific path to success.  Instead it is meant to highlight those tangible factors of success so that every person can evaluate their own probability for success and take the next steps whether on an individual, local or national level to increase the/their probability for success for themselves and their posterity as well as their neighbors and friends.

Let’s start by first defining what success means.  Success, for the point of this post, is basically the idea that you are an individual who is a viable participant in the advancement of humanity.  I don’t want to limit success as being defined as something based solely on monetary or other means – thus, having a million dollars or even 1 billion dollars in the bank doesn’t automatically define an individual as being successful.  Albeit, this does typically define them as being able to apply a specific knowledge or talent to make and more importantly, keep, currency – which in this case is money.  There are many of you who may want to argue this point but before you start, know that the point I’m trying to make is that success isn’t defined solely by money – as history has shown persons can have incredible impacts to the advancement of society with little or no money.  It has also shown that even though the wealthy may not have the stresses making ends meet and day to day bills, money still isn’t the answer for happiness or a successful life.  Besides, I believe the answer is all inclusive anyway as currency (whether monetary, social influence, spiritual influence and societal impacts) are by products.  Thus if we can at least agree on the basics of these points, I will begin.

Success factors came about one day, many years ago, as I was discussing with some friends (maybe even arguing is a better term) the notion of why some people succeed while others don’t.  This is a common discussion among friends of varying and even the same political views, social classes and ethnicities with answers as wide as more government intervention to minimal/no government intervention/privatization/more education programs to less education programs/more funding to less/no funding – you get the idea and they are all right.  In the aforementioned discussion, ours ultimately expanded to gross generalities with some truths about the failure of government programs as well as the poor.  All of this discussion as well as those that were similar in times past fueled my need for an answer as I pondered about that thought – why are poor people poor?  Don’t they have the same opportunities that I had?  Why weren’t they as “successful”?  Is it just that they are lazy or dumb or even both.  Is such a statement a gross generality or a by product of other reasons?  This and all related discussions is what kick started a book that I now and putting to post.  Why are some people, who conventional wisdom says didn’t have a prayer of success, very successful, while many others who have every opportunity (and for some of you this is an all inclusive statement which I agree with caveats on) to succeed seem to be failures.  This post is meant to go beyond racial, religious, ethnic and all other stereotypes to help those persons analyze themselves as well as those they care about to understand some fundamentals on which to build.

First we will start with what I call the 5 pillars of success.  These are the foundation and building blocks for success.  Each is equally important and can have many smaller blocks that can be self-defined and in some very minor cases can be substituted.  These pillars are education, family environment, social environment, individual drive and intelligence (further defined as adaptability and ability to learn).  Each of these are 1/5th or 20% of the probability for success and since nothing can have a probability of 100, they all add up to 99% probability of success.  On the other extreme the minimum probability of success is 1% as in true terms non-one has a 0% chance of success.  Of course the vast majority of persons would follow the standard bell curve model with 70% of us having around a  70% probability of success, 15% having an 85% probability or greater of success and another 15% having a 55% or lower probability of success .  Thus even if you had every pillar, it still doesn’t guarantee success (e.g. you may not get the chance to succeed due to chance).  These values as noted are cumulative of one another.  I realize there are going to be many of you who believe that these pillars shouldn’t be pillars at all as well as the fact that you may also think they shouldn’t be equally weighted.  Since we are talking about probability of success and not eventuality of success, then the equal weighting concept needs less emphasis on the exact value backed by scientific studies to make the point.  You will also see that depending on the person, each of these pillars may have greater importance than the other so this is why they are equally weighted – I will go through more on this later.  Also each of the pillars can be subdivided with probabilities based on further definition of the pillar attributes.  Next I will go through an explanation of each of the 5 pillars of success.

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