Who Would You Thank In Your Oscar Speech?

Imagine you are giving an acceptance speech for a major award, like the Oscars. Who would you thank? God? Your Mom? Your agent? Would the press write articles about how your hard work allowed you to overcome some struggle in your life to reach this pinnacle?

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. It is a familiar script on how we tell our stories about becoming successful (hard work) and who, if anyone, we have to thank for it (the usual suspects).…


Which of These Children Will Make It?

Picture two 15-year-old children. One has a strong family, but lacks ambition. The other has a strong work ethic, but an abusive family. Which of these two do you think would be more likely to achieve the American Dream?

We asked this question as part of our research project looking at the American Dream. Almost 70% of respondents believed that the child in the abusive family is more likely to achieve the American Dream.…


I Hope You Don’t Ace This Test

Clinicians use a common tool to assess the extent of toxic stress a child experiences during his or her childhood. It’s called the Adverse Childhood Experience test, or ACE for short. It’s a simple tool made up of just 10 yes/no questions.

Please take two minutes and take the test.

In his New York Times column, David Brooks succinctly summarized the adult outcomes associated with higher ACE scores.…


Who Taught You That?

What is the first thing you remember learning? It’s hard to say, right?

That’s because from the moment we’re born, our education begins. It’s hard to pinpoint what and when we learn because in our early years it is non-stop.

Children arrive on their first day of school with varying degrees of readiness. Thirty million degrees of variation to be exact. By some studies, children born into low-income families have heard roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers when they enter school.…


Would You Prefer to Be Healthy or Smart?

What would you say is more important for your success? Your health or your education? We asked Americans which five-year-old is more likely to be successful — one with access to a good education but no health care, or one who has access to a great doctor but poor schools?

People overwhelmingly chose education by a margin of four to one. But consider this:

  • If a child is sick with untreated asthma, he or she will miss school and opportunities to learn.

Does “Who You Know” Ever Impact “How You’re Doing”?

While we may feel like we are “masters of our own universe,” most of us have a galaxy of friends and connections that impact our lives in a variety of ways. We call them our social networks.

There is the obvious way. We reach out to those we know for help. We have a legal question, so we ask a friend who is a lawyer. Our car has an issue, so we reach out to someone with mechanical experience.…


Look Up…

Researchers project that 50% of the world’s population will be short-sighted by the end of 2050. The result of spending so much time focused on little screens in our hands and on our laps, and not enough time outside. As disturbing as that may sound, it is just the latest example of our growing short-sightedness.

Increasingly, we seem to focus most of our energy thinking about how our actions will affect us in the short term versus how they may affect others over the long haul.…


They Say The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

A little harsh, I’d say, but there is a point to be made about the unintended consequences that well-meaning ideas and words can have on our success.

Consider these three examples:

  • The IQ test was originally created to identify a child’s learning deficits, so they could receive extra attention and instruction. Later these scores were applied as a horribly misused tool of eugenics. Today, while less nefarious, we still use IQ scores to label and limit a kid’s potential and segregate them from their fellow students.