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Melissa Ganus

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What are your New Year's resolutions?

Last year, Sajeesh Ragavan posted this question at http://www.ted.com/profiles/933068

Now, having made it through the 21st of December, 2012, it seems like exactly the right time to post it again!

I've been inspired by Dr Mike Evans short video about how much more successful New Year's resolutions tend to be compared with making resolutions at other times of year. Just posted a TEDed and would welcome your thoughts and feedback: http://ed.ted.com/on/cu5IwKY6

Happy New Year!!!


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    Jan 1 2013: I wish to become a person that will be an inspiration to others, in term of their next New years resolutions... I wish that my actions motivate others to do something they never dreamed of doing and at least try to do it. I would be more than happy to help them!
    I would consider my wish fulfilled if just one person told me that I've helped them take the first step.
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      Jan 2 2013: What a goal you got out there!
      But I wonder if ur goal here is to be a role model or to be good for the sake of goodness. Because I know that people would follow those who help and give for nothing in turn, not even fame, rather than following someone who wants to be followed. What do you think? Hope I could speak up my mind clearly!
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        Jan 2 2013: I know what you wanted to say, and I honestly understand why you said that. There isn't a lot of people who would do good deeds just for the sake of the good deed. There are in most cases hidden thoughts behind those good deeds. True altruism is really rare nowadays... I totally agree with you on what you said about people following those who help others without asking for anything in return.
        But, why not be both? Good for the sake of goodness and a role model? Actually, when someone is good just for the sake of goodness then that person will eventually become someones role model. I think that you can't choose to be a role model, you become one when someone notices what you are doing and when they start doing it too. You don't make yourself a role model, others do. :)
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          Jan 3 2013: I believe there ARE lots of people who do good deeds just for the sake of doing good deeds....without expectation....without expecting anything in return.

          I think what Ghina speaks of, is unconditional love....or unconditional giving?

          I agree Dinko, that we can be good role models, AND give for the sake of giving, without expectations. I also agree that we become role models by "being"....walking our talk:>)
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          Jan 3 2013: I've been studying psychology and neurosciences for years, and have come to the conclusion that the conventional definition of altruism, doing something with no expectation of any personal benefit, isn't really humanly possible. We can do things anonymously with no expectation of external rewards, but our internal systems usually get at least a little "high" from doing something we believe helps others (eg, dopamine bump). This really hit home for me a few years ago when someone at a gas station asked directions to the post office. I didn't know but was able to look it up on my nav system. She was grateful - an external acknowledgement, and I was higher than a kite for at least the next 10 minutes. l can get a little feel good bump just tidying up a public restroom a little (I'm surprised that only airplane bathrooms encourage people to clean up as a courtesy to the next person).

          The coolest thing about this perspective? When people can see how helping others feels good, they are more likely to do it more often. I've worked a lot with volunteers and recruiting - I bet most of you here on TED have - that "feel good" piece seems to work for a lot of people.

          On being a good role model, walking the talk & practicing what we preach, I'm among the big group of educators out telling students what they should do without being consistent about doing it myself. I think that's hard for most of us - our planning brain is not always well supported by our doing brain. But acknowledging that gap goes a long way... and, for me, makes it a little easier to forgive myself for not being anywhere close to perfect. ;-)
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          Jan 3 2013: Hi Melissa,
          I know it is possible. I do not question at all whether we may get "high" from doing something to help others. We can, however, experience that "high" without expectation....can we not? Well, in my humble perception and experience...we can:>)
          To say that it is not "humanly possible" is a self imposed limitation.

          I agree that helping others and doing good things can be contagious, and often become a model.

          I don't think "walking our talk" means being "perfect". To me, it means being consistant with saying what I do...doing what I say...."being" and "doing" to the best of my ability. I've been told most of my life that I "walk the talk", and that feels FABULOUS!!! Most of the people who tell me that, KNOW I am FAR FROM PERFECT!!! LOL:>)
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      Jan 3 2013: Your resolution reminds me of this video

      Re: "I think that you can't choose to be a role model, you become one when someone notices what you are doing and when they start doing it too. You don't make yourself a role model, others do. :)"

      I totally agree. It's hard to become a role model on purpose of becoming a role model. Perhaps, the best way to inspire others is to be yourself and follow your own passion. The scene of Forrest Gump running across America "for no particular reason" also comes to mind...
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        Jan 3 2013: Wow. Fantastic talk. Thank you - I've added it to the list above.

        I've also just forwarded it with a note of big gratitude to one of the people who gave me a lollipop moment years ago and probably doesn't remember it.
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        Jan 3 2013: That's an amazing talk! It made me laugh and it helped me come up with a cool idea thank I could introduce to my faculty! Thank you for sharing! :)
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      Jan 3 2013: Dinko,
      You say..."I would consider my wish fulfilled if just one person told me that I've helped them take the first step."

      What if you did not get that feedback....do you think you would feel less fulfilled? Is the fulfillment from the "doing" or "being", or is the fulfillment from the feedback?
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        Jan 3 2013: If I didn't get that feedback I would be a little bit disappointed, but I wouldn't think of myself as a failure. What's the point of that? Positive feedback from one person doesn't prove my concept, but it gives me some kind of reassurance that there is some potential in the concept. In the end, the most important thing is not to give up. I don't give up that easily. :) No feedback would just motivate me to try harder.
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          Jan 3 2013: Good points:>)
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          Jan 3 2013: One of my favorite quotes: "Teachers affect eternity. They can never know where their influence ends." (paraphrased from Henry Brooks Adams).

          Feedback is such an interesting piece of our lives! So valuable and yet so often difficult to get. When I post something I've been working on to Facebook or the like, I often get discouraged by a lack of response, wondering if I'm wasting my time and effort (mostly volunteered). Or by the critiques without praise. Somehow my wiring/upbringing leaves me craving the social approval of others far more than I'd like.

          I've been a fan of TED for years, sharing videos with students and anyone else I manage to connect with. Last June, I wrote my first TEDed to learn about the new platform.
          I didn't think about it much until about a month ago when I discovered the lesson had become one of the TEDed Best Flips (more than 50k views, 100 flips and almost 200 responses from people I don't know). That was has been very gratifying.

          But having started this, my first TED conversation, and seeing everyone's thoughtful comments and interactions is what is really lighting me up now. Thank you enormously.
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          Jan 3 2013: Being able to connect with people around the world, in this way, is SO VALUABLE....in my humble opinion:>)

          Feedback in the form of criticism does not seem difficult to get! It benefits all of us to give positive, encouraging, supportive feedback as well....when possible and appropriate. I believe that what we focus on expands, so offering positive feedback helps create a foundation which we can build on to help create a better world?

          When I started commenting on TED 3 years ago, I was accused of being too "sugary" and told that "no one can possibly be that positive"....bla....bla....bla!!! I don't give up easily either Dinko:>)
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        Jan 3 2013: TED is a great community. When I first came in direct contact with TED I didn't get the whole picture, I just loved to listen to TED Talks. But when I've done a little bit of digging and found out what TED stands for (not as an acronym, but as an movement), I instantly fell in love with TED!
        Positive feedback is important and it can help in many ways, just as you said, Colleen, even to help create a better world, but if it stops at just words then it doesn't have a long lasting effect. Putting words into practice is what makes the world better. I guess that people don't have enough of free time to invest in walking the talk... But there must be a way to overcome this obstacle...
        I also believe that everyone should get some negative feedback from time to time, just to keep you realistic about your achievements.
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          Jan 5 2013: I agree Dinko, that feedback which stops with the words probably doesn't have much effect. I believe that with our words, we program our mind, so if we keep repeating the same words over and over again, that becomes our reality.

          With that in mind and heart, the words we use with ourselves and with others are very important and in my perception, can mold our world.

          Time is a human construct, and saying we don't have enough time may be an excuse sometimes? I MAKE time for the things that are important to me in the life adventure:>)

          Feedback is simply feedback...depends on how we use the information that may be the imiportant piece?
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          Jan 8 2013: I just love what Mrs. Steen has said about creating our own realities and molding the world.

          And the negative feedback seems to be a must indeed. Sometimes our egos might fool us.

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