BtoB Matters Vol. 1, No. 6

Jeff Cobb’s Mission to Learn shares insights on the journey to live fully, well, and wisely. His May 31 newsletter highlights three ideas to impact change in your life.  His excerpts connect directly to Blooms to Blossoms May Feature articles.  

A couple of the feature articles include:

Self-Reflection 101

A Slight Change in Plans

Below are excerpts from Jeff’s Mission to Learn: Learning Forward.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity to Go …

Albert Brooks makes the point in this article in The Atlantic that, as each of us approaches a post-pandemic life, “the weeks and months before you fully reenter the world should not be wasted. They are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come clean with yourself—to admit that all was not perfectly well before.”

Not everyone will see it that way, I imagine. I won’t be surprised to see a big push to get things back to just the way they were before COVID-19 hit. But for avid lifelong learners, it really is a unique sort of time.

You may not need or want to tear down to the studs and rebuild – as a young woman Brooks describes did – but there is a good chance you have ways in which you would like to reshape or grow significantly. The timing is good – and, of course, being truly available for learning is the key.  

… From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be …

I recently had the pleasure of listening to How to Change, a new book by Katy Milkman, a behavioral scientist and professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s one of the best books I’ve read on the topic, and I highly recommend it. 

Leveraging “fresh starts” – not dissimilar to what Brooks suggests in the article linked to above – is one of the key approaches to successful change that Milkman highlights. Others include “temptation bundling” – making access to tempting, but not necessarily beneficial activities, dependent upon doing activities that support with your goals – and “commitment devices” – ways to make yourself “pay” if you don’t do what you have committed to do. 

This interview with Milkman on The Behavioral Scientist blog covers some of the book’s key points and also links out to good supporting resources. If you prefer audio, this interview with Milkman on The Accidental Creative is well worth the listen.

…and From Who You Are to Who You Want to Be 

I’ve written before about how important belief is to learning and change. If you don’t believe change is possible, if you can’t see yourself – even if only vaguely – in your future desired state, then learning and growing will be difficult, if not possible. 

James Clear makes a similar point in his best-seller Atomic Habits. As Clear puts it, “The key to building lasting habits is focusing on creating a new identity first.” Too often we focus only only on outcomes and processes. 

For example, you may think “I want to learn to play the guitar,”(outcome)  so “I’m going to start taking guitar lessons every week” (process). These are important components of the desired change, but the critical third component – the one that will really drive the change – is to begin seeing yourself as “the type of person who practices guitar daily.” 

That last statement is about your identity. It represents what you believe you can be.

Clear offers other examples as well as guidance on how to make the required shift in thinking in this excerpt from Atomic Habits

Traveling your journey to live, as Cobb explains, “fully, well, and wisely” includes reflection, changing plans, and yes maybe some procrastination.  It also includes a support system of friends.  There is power in friendships…remembering that developing friendships includes how you can be a better friend.

More April Feature Articles include:

The Incredible Power of Friendship
The people with whom you surround yourself have an enormous impact on your life. In many ways, they shape it. 

How to Be a Better Friend
The benefits of friendship, how to make friendships last, how to listen, and how to argue with your friends are explored.  Learn why friendships matter, how to sustain them and the simple steps you can take to be a better friend.  NOTE:  See links at the end of each section for additional articles.

I encourage you to scroll through past issues of Mission to Learn

BtoB Matters Vol. 1, No. 5

Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Abraham Lincoln

Character development is way an individual blends knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and beliefs into personal meaning and actions. This blending of contexts throughout life coincides with my perspective on the integration of lifelong learning and personal development. Your character should be the same when no one is looking AND when everyone is looking.  CharacterLab defines character as:

Character refers to ways of thinking, acting, and feeling that benefit others as well as ourselves. Character is plural—encompassing strengths of heart, mind, and will. Strengths of heart (such as gratitude and kindness) enable harmonious relationships with other people. Strengths of mind (such as curiosity and creativity) enable independent thinking. Strengths of will (such as grit and self-control) enable us to achieve goals.

The feature articles this month highlighted 4 of the 13 attributes CharacterLab identified as key to a strong character.

Creativity, Curiosity, Purpose, and Growth Mindset

Character is the core a person’s principles and actions revealing the mindset of values for self and society.  Lickona (1993) states that “through history, education has always had two great goals: to help people become smart and to help them become good” (p. 8). Character education is a learning process we can carry throughout our lifetime. Respect, justice, civic virtue, and responsibility for self and others should not be discarded once we leave formal education. Being a “good” person through life matters. Behaviors and actions build your reputation which creates opportunities for personal and professional development.

CharacterLabs Playbooks are guides to cultivate “strengths of heart, mind, and will.”  The 13 elements include gratitude, curiosity, grit, kindness, creativity, growth mindset, honesty, intellectual humility, self-control, purpose, proactivity, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence.

I was drawn to the playbooks of character because I can connect these elements to aspects of Blooms to Blossoms purpose.  All 13 factors align with the 7 Dimensions of Wellness.  All 13 factors require lifelong learning and contribute to personal development through how you model it, celebrate it, and enable it.  Using these 13 playbooks to guide education of students or your own growth will “cultivate strengths of heart, mind, and will”.

Feature articles can be found at CharacterLab Playbooks
**Creativity: Thinking of Novel Solutions 
**Curiosity: Wanting to Know More 
**Purpose: Commitment to Making a Meaningful Contribution
**Growth Mindset: Believing you Can Improve Your Abilities

Read more on the topic: I encourage you to select other of the 13 playbooks based on your personal interest and consider how you encourage the development of each factor for yourself and others.

I hope you take some time to review the CharacterLab Playbooks and use the Habits of the Mind (link below) to strengthen your heart, mind, and will. Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-8, 2021) is a good time to reflect on the value teachers have in promoting character and habits of the mind. Teachers make a difference!! We are all “teachers and students”…consider how you interact with others throughout your day (when and where do you “teach” and when and where do you “learn”).

More May Feature Articles include:

The 16 Habits of Mind That Make You Smarter
The habits themselves are nothing new or revolutionary. Costa and Kallick (2008) believe these habits are less on behavior but more on intent.

Read more on the topic of Habits of the Mind: Describing 16 Habits of the Mind

BtoB Matters Vol. 1, No. 4

The intent of BtoB Matters is to share “tidbits to show the integration of wellness, lifelong learning, and personal development make a difference”.  This issue integrates ideas about how our openness to learn and our character traits contribute to a “good life”. Consider how aspects discussed this month can influence all components of wellness (intellectual, emotional, social, physical, spiritual, occupational, and environmental). 

Why Understanding These Four Types of Mistakes Can Help Us Learn

Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are part of life. Mistakes are a part of growing and changing. Mistakes can be a blessing in disguise.  Our mistakes and failures are a gift, a jewel, a signpost for our learning and growth as human beings.

If we are willing to view our mistakes as teachable moments and opportunities, we can enhance our lifelong learning and personal development.  Learning from our mistakes helps us create a greater awareness of who we really are and what we want out of life.

The willingness and openness to accept mistakes and learn from these influences the ability to achieve your personal and professional goals.  The process of moving through trial and error to trial and succeed help us discover:

**who we are,
**what we can do,
**our limits,
**our abilities.

Reflect upon what you have done to change your life experiences based on mistakes and the solutions you create to make a change. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are…valuable life lessons.

The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything. – Theodore Roosevelt

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein

Read the full article: Why Understanding These Four Types of Mistakes Can Help Us Learn
To learn the most from our mistakes we need to reflect on our errors and extract lessons from them.

Read more on the topic: Don’t Fear Failure: Nine Powerful Lessons We Can Learn From Our Mistakes
Our mistakes and failures are gifts, gems, guideposts in our learning and growth as people. So embrace failures, mistakes, screw ups and shortcomings because they not only make us uniquely who we are, but also teach us powerful lessons 

10 Positive Character Traits Parents Should Teach Kids

Character development is a lifelong journey.  Your personality, morals, and beliefs guide the path you take. We are all a consumer, learner, developing human, perceiver, inhabitant, and participant in life.  This diversity of experiences influences individual character development. Character traits define the essence of a person. 

Woodrow Wilson (in Princeton Alumni Weekly volume 65, no. 29 June 8, 1965) describes how life influences learning and development.

“The mind does not live by instruction. The real intellectual life of a body of undergraduates manifests itself not in the classroom, but in what they do and talk of and set before themselves as their favorite objects between classes and lectures. If you wish to create a college, and are wise, you will seek to create a life…my plea, then, is this: that we reorganize our colleges on the lines of the simple conception, that a college is not only a body of studies, but a mode of association…it must become a community of scholars and pupils”

In my October 2019 blog Student Development and Learning: It Takes a Village I share how we can all put the above quote into action. Learning, personal, and character development takes place through discovery.  In my July 2020 blog Forming Values Throughout Life, I share the idea that the values for student and professional leaders are similar.  

As you journey through life, formation of character traits evolves to allow you to live your life to the fullest.  To “teach” character development to your children and students you need to “walk the walk” and live them yourself.

Read the full article: 10 Positive Character Traits Parents Should Teach Kids
As a Parent, We Want What’s Best For Our Kids. But if We Truly Want Them to Succeed in Life, We’ll Invest in Helping Them Develop Key Character Traits That Will Guide Them For the Rest of Their Life.

Read more on the topic: Positive Character Traits are Lifelong Assets
Moral principles guide our thoughts, emotions, and actions. We can become happy and successful in life. Having positive character traits enhance our ability to form a pleasant personality. You should develop a personal value system. It will help you to determine your life goals. It makes your life meaningful and worth living.
NOTE:  Click on 14 Benefits of Positive Traits and How to Develop Positive Character Traits to see how character development is a lifelong endeavor. 

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

To be what we are and become what are capable to becoming, it the only end of life.
Robert Louis Stevenson

The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.  Being alive is the meaning.
Joseph Campbell

The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.
David Viscott

Take 15 minutes to watch the videos below.

In What is “the good life”? similarities between different cultures explains what “the good life” means for everyone.

In 5 Lessons To Live By Wayne Dyer outlines his 5 Principles of a good life:
1. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
2. There are no justified resentments
3. What you think is what you become
4. Be open to everything and attached to nothing
5. Don’t die with music still in you.

Read the full article: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness
What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

Read more on the topic: 10 Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life
“It’s been presumed that when good things happen, people naturally feel joy for it,” says Fred Bryant, a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago. His research, however, suggests that we don’t always respond to these “good things” in ways that maximize their positive effects on our lives.

The word wellbeing is about the search for what gives you meaning and happiness in life. It is about bringing happiness into your life from within and finding meaning and purpose in your everyday activities. Every human being strives to live a meaningful life.

To have a good life, you must first believe you are a person worthy of happiness. Character traits define values. Have the integrity to be true to yourself based on time-tested principles and self-reflection grounded in an openness to learn.  

What are the primary factors to define “your” good life?

More April Feature Articles include:

Can you solve Einstein’s Riddle?
Before he turned physics upside down, a young Albert Einstein showed off his genius by devising a complex riddle involving a stolen exotic fish and a long list of suspects. Dan Van der Vieren shows how to solve this riddle.

45 Life Lessons From A 90-Year-Old
Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift. Wisdom of elders is humbling. When they speak, we are like children again, cross legged, starry eyed, taking in & analyzing every word (ARC21).

BtoB Matters Vol. 1, No. 3

The two hemispheres of the brain function differently but there is integration of the left (verbal and analytical) and right (visual and intuitive) as they work together and complement each other (Weatherspoon, 2019).  The Feature Articles this month show ways the left and right brain work together to form habits and enhance personal development.  Below I share my thoughts on creating habits, writing by hand, and why people who doodle pay more attention.

Creating Healthy Habits That Last

Creating habits for an integrated life is one of the most important concepts to as you pursue your personal development journey. Personal development is about the integration of your beliefs, values, and principles.  Information, knowledge, people, places, and the experiences of life guide this integration.  What does it really mean to live an integrated life? It means you are using all these elements in your personal development journey.  Creating habits for an integrated life begins with choosing the right goals. These goals need to align with your core values.

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. – James A. Michener

Consider the idea that all habits are seen as patterns. You can learn new habits, put them into practice. Creating habits for an integrated life means finding the right patterns to adopt. 

Read the full article: Creating Healthy Habits That Last
Read more on the topic: How To Make Good Habits Stick: 11 Secrets From Research

Writing by Hand Boosts Brain Activity and Fine Motor Skills

Write or type??  Type or write??  Which is your preference?  

Handwriting is one of humanity’s most amazing and most influential inventions. It is rooted in artistic representation— images etched in sand, rocks, and walls that eventually morphed into letterforms. When we write by hand, we are still performing that ancient act of using our hands to recreate what’s in our minds (Bash, 2016 para. 3).

Writing by hand…
**releases your creativity because your brain is given time to explore ideas and to expand on connections between different images and thoughts.
**forces you to sort out what is important and what is not.
**helps the brain connect images and words in your memory.
**stimulates both sides of your brain.
**helps you to create flow. Flow is simply a mechanism in which ideas start blending and connecting.
**improves your fine motor skills. 

Writing by hand, strengthens the ability to concentrate, creates a clearer mind, and even boosts memory. The outcome of writing by hand is the ability to focus, understand, and learn (Carlyle, 2019; Gayomali, 2015; Neera, 2020).   

Writing by hand is more than a physical effort of putting pen to paper…it is a workout for your brain.

Read the full article: Writing by Hand Boosts Brain Activity and Fine Motor Skills
Read more on the topic: 16 Powerful Benefits of Writing by Hand

Why People Who Doodle Pay More Attention

Creative thinking is the ability to see things in a new way. It is about learning and acquiring knowledge. Creative thinking is about how you perceive a subject or a situation. What you are doing when you are doodling is immersing yourself into a new form of thinking; an experience that will open your mind and transform your learning. Doodling allows for exploration of personal creativity and provides a unique learning experience.  Developing a personal visual vocabulary help process information.

According to Sunni Brown, author of “The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently“, doodling is thought to stimulate areas of the brain which normally remain dormant when you’re just in linguistic mode. This can help you to analyze information differently. When you doodle “you are lighting up different networks in the brain” and “engaging different information.” This can lead to “ah-ha” moments when the solution to a problem you’ve been struggling with suddenly becomes evident (Fabrega, n.d.).

Read the full article: Why People Who Doodle Pay More Attention
Read more on the topic: Doodlers, unite!!

Habit formation is a system of patterns and a mechanism for accountability to reach your personal goals. Through a blending of logic and creativity, the right and left brain working together, patterns develop and habits will become second nature.

More March Featured Articles include:

16 Facial Expressions Most Common to Emotional Situations Worldwide
“This study reveals how remarkably similar people are in different corners of the world in how we express emotion in the face of the most meaningful contexts of our lives.” NOTE: For those who may be interested there is a link at the end of the article to read the full study.

Learn Better with 10 Ways to Be a Better Learner
Jeff Cobb (2012) published 10 Ways to Be a Better Learner.  This book is brief, action-oriented guide, grounded in research, to help you become a better learner.  Here are links to additional resources for each chapter. 

BtoB Matters Vol. 1, No. 2

In my blog Oh the Places You Will Go I wrote: 

In the mid-1800s Abraham Lincoln stated, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” My perspective of Lincoln’s quote is that undertaking self-improvement throughout life is the aim of enhancing knowledge, skills, and competences. Lifelong learning is a continuous development and improvement process aimed at personal fulfillment.  The result of this effort will be a life well lived.

The Feature Articles this month shows that integration of life and self-improvement can come from a variety of experiences.  Below I share my thoughts on benefits of small talk, power of introverts, and how making art contributes to well-being.

The Big Benefits of Small Talk

Small talk or chit chat is often a way to start a conversation. Casual conversations can sometimes lead us to moments of real connection. Small talk can also be a gift that we give each other. Even conversations that appear inconsequential can be profound (Halton, 2020).

Finding common interests is the core of tapping into your ability to carry on casual conversations. The ability to start small talk through common interest is the anchor to relationship building. You build rapport, and it is where you also build trust. Moving from topic to topic without getting bogged down with lengthy details guides small talk toward a launching pad toward engaging interactions with others.  

In addition, listening is one of the most important skills you need when trying to master small talk. Through thoughtful and attentive listening you will discover commonalities which builds rapport and shows respect for the person you are talking to. If the discussion is on a topic, you know about, the best way to enhance the conversion is to listen first and ask open-ended questions. Always make you questions supportive, not challenging. Instead of saying: “I don’t think you are correct with your opinion”, we can say “That’s an interesting point, what do you think about this idea” (McCarthy, 2020).

Small talk can enhance your wellness, lifelong learning, and personal development.

One of the first benefits is that small talk can be a great social function for you and your friends. This can be a chance for you to get to know other people who share similar interests. For example, if you love gardening, then finding someone who enjoys talking about plants and growing them can be a fun way to bring an additional element to your conversations. Similarly, if you enjoy music or spending time with musicians, small talk with people who share similar interests can enrich your social experience.

While most people use small talk to make acquaintances and establish bonds, some use it as a form of intimacy. I enjoy the opportunity to learn about another person. Our discussions deepen our understanding of each other’s thoughts and feelings.

Talking about stuff that matters is good for you and good for the person you are chatting with. Try to have at least five substantive conversations a week—not only will they boost your spirits, they will open your mind (Boardman, n.d.)

Read the full article: The Big Benefits of Small Talk
Read more on the topic: An Introvert’s Guide To Small Talk: Eight Painless Tips and
8 Ways to Make Meaningful Small Talk

The Power of Introverts

Introverts are often thought of as timid people that dislike social activities or are shy. However, introverts are not shy, quite the contrary. Introverts are self-confident, assured, directed, and sufficient individuals. Introverts thrive in a small group environment where there is a level of comfort and security. Both introverts and extroverts thrive and achieve success in groups and in isolated situations.

When thinking about the personality spectrum, introvert and extrovert are most familiar. However, no one is a pure introvert or extrovert. We live a hybrid style/flexible style that is situation specific known as ambivert; a blending of introvert and extrovert traits. Combining, blending, and integrating aspects of life requires social adaptability. This is the core strength of an ambivert.  

Read the full article: The Power of Introverts
Read more on the topic:  Are you an Ambivert, Introvert, or Extrovert? Learn the science behind your personality and
The Introvert and the Extrovert (Collaboration)
NOTE: See the image How to Care for Extroverts/Introverts (you may find that you appreciate aspects from each list).

What Happens in Your Brain When You Make Art?

The Split Brain Theory (Sperry, 1960), identified the specialized behaviors of the right (creative, spatial and visual thinkers) and left hemisphere (logical, analytical, and word oriented). Recent research (Brincat et al., 2021; Corballis, 2014; Nielsen et al., 2013;) support that idea that the left brain and right brain rely on each other and there is “interhemispheric communication”.  There are several types of stimuli that have proven effective at stimulating creativity and the brain. Paintings, drawings, video art and audio art all require the use of the right side of the brain, which deals with emotions and ideas, along with the left side of the brain, which deals with logic and precise detail. 

Creativity and the ability to see a task through to completion depend on a steady stream of ideas from the creative side of the brain and the analytical side. Music, solving problems, and movement along with artistic endeavors stimulate creativity and analysis…using the right and left brain. Many of us engage in artistic and creative activities because we enjoy them, but did you know that art and creativity also have significant wellness and personal development benefits?

Stuckey and Noble (2010) completed a meta-analysis of over 100 studies and found creative expression to have a strong positive influence on health and well-being. A growing body of research (Benefits of Creativity, 2018: Grigonis, 2018: and Martin, n.d.) focuses on the role creativity plays in the development of mental health and its health implications. Researchers have found that the way creativity affects the brain and body leads to increased mood, reduced anxiety, increased cognitive function, reduced risk of chronic disease, and improved immune health. In this study, cognitive neuroscientists find that by creating art, people can create a positive state of mind in themselves. For example, the researchers examined the effects of visual arts using biofeedback to find it promotes health or well-being and promotes an adaptive response to stress. 

Creative hobbies not only contribute to brain health, but creativity allows people to change their perspective on life.

A handmade life is a beautiful, happier and healthier life (Winnicot, n.d.).

Read the full article: What Happens in Your Brain When You Make Art
Read more on the topic: Feeling Artsy? Here’s How Making Art Helps Your Brain

Lifelong learning and personal development is an individual pursuit to find your own path.  Choices made to guide the path taken differ with each of us…”one size rarely fits all”.  

More February Feature Articles include:

10 Keys to Happier Living

Critical Thinking Skills

BtoB Matters Vol.1, No. 1

The first year and a half of Blooms to Blossoms I wrote about the integration of wellness, lifelong learning, and personal development from a personal perspective. During this time, a network of colleagues and friends made contributions to building our community of scholars, practitioners, and pupils. Entering 2021, my primary goal is to add to the knowledge base focusing on this integration.  Part of my work will be through co-creating content by expanding on the work of those in my ever-growing network.  

There are two objectives for BtoB Matters:

**To share information about the integration of wellness, lifelong learning, and personal development, and
**To show that this integration can make a difference in life.

The first of each month I post feature articles on the Blooms to Blossoms homepage and in The Hive.  I plan to use BtoB Matters to share thoughts, ideas, and personal perspectives to extend and broaden the meaning within these articles.  

Learn Like an Athlete

If you are thinking about learning something new and challenging yourself with it, there is no better way than by learning like an athlete. Athletes train. Musicians train. Performers train.  Why not you?  

Whatever path you take to learn, you should think like an athlete and practice like one as well.  A practical, functional, and sequential process along with a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will guide your learning.  Developing a self-directed learning plan allows you to learn at your own pace, build up your self-confidence, and achieve a sense of accomplishment.

How do you train yourself to become a better learner? You train yourself by finding out what questions to ask yourself and how to answer them, and then you train yourself to find the right answers. The second part of the learning plan is not so much what you do, but how you do it. When you are in a classroom or with a group of people learning something new consider these three practices: 

**take the time to listen carefully, 
**take part in the discussions, and 
**ask questions to gain a deeper understanding.

The key to a lifelong self-directed learning plan is to apply these principles to your personal goals and objectives.

Read the full article: Learn Like an Athlete
Read more on the topic: The Montessori Method: A Self-Education Mindset for Creating Innovators 

Improvement and Tending a Garden

Self-improvement means working on your abilities and talents and working to become the best version of yourself you can be. This may seem like an impossible task, but it is something that is best done step by step. Personal growth is a never-ending journey, as you strive to become a better version of yourself, no matter how great you are already.  If you decide to take a journey of self-improvement, the goals you set should be realistic and straightforward.  Setting milestones is a way to achieve gradual success to encourage more self-improvement. Combine these minor victories with the consistent application of what you learn through your personal development journey.

Remember, the plan you develop should allow for adjustments along the way. Lifelong learning and personal development will take patience, commitment, determination, and perseverance. Personal growth is a journey that does not end. You continue to change your mindset, so it matches your goals.

Read the full article:  In 100 Words: Improvement and Tending a Garden
Read more on the topic: Life is Like a Garden

Why Do We Feel Nostalgia?

Childhood memories play a vital role in forming one’s identity, and this holds true for adults as well. Past experiences shape us and our behavior.  Today we reflect on why the act of remembering can help us search for meaning and to rewrite the history of our lives. Nostalgia connects our past and present selves. Nostalgia can give us a positive view of the past. Indulging in nostalgia can help us gain a greater sense of continuity and meaning in life. It can uniquely enable us to communicate a deeper understanding of ourselves and our relationships with our family, friends, colleagues, and even the world.

“We are living in a time of change and instability right now. Nostalgia can actually be a stabilizing force for us. Studies have shown that people with a greater propensity for nostalgia are better able to cope with adversity and are more likely to seek emotional support, advice and practical help from others. It’s shown to boost a person’s mood, reduce stress, increase feelings of social connectedness to others and offer optimism about the future. Research shows nostalgia makes people feel loved and valued and increases perceptions of social support when people are lonely”  Nelson-Simley, 2020, para. 4).

View the video: Why Do We Feel Nostalgia?
Read more on the topic:  Are Your Feeling Nostalgic These Days?

The concepts of how the pieces of life are integrated and impact the quality of life and learning is of deep interest to me.  In the first issue of BtoB Matters I offer some insights and additional readings on the topics of learning, improving, and how the past influences the present and future.  It is my hope that you find BtoB Matters interesting and useful.  

More January Feature Articles include:

Happier January

Mental Dynamics: How to Constantly Change and Evolve Your Mindset

Five Surprising Ways Exercise Changes Your Brain

Ikigai: One Path Toward an Integrated Life

Since I started writing Blooms to Blossoms, I have unknowingly been on the Ikigai path. My passion, mission, vocation, and profession resulted in the desire to share ideas about integrating wellness, lifelong learning, and personal development through writing my blog.  August 7 Visual Blossoms post identified internal and external aspects of life.  Each day, based on our life goals and vision while keeping in mind our commitment to others, we prioritize how these pieces fit together.  Last month I happened across Tanmay Vora’s book review sketchnote of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life.  I mentioned in my August 14 Visual Blossom that his summary statement stimulated my interest in how I could apply the principles of Ikigai to the purpose of Blooms to Blossoms.  

Ikigai is the intersection/convergence of four core elements. Charlton (2018) explains the core elements as follows.

**What you love (your passion) — what inspires you?
**What the world needs (your mission) — what makes you feel useful?
**What you are good at (your vocation) — what are you drawn to?
**What you can get paid for (your profession) — what activities do your find most productive?  
NOTE:  Remember that “paid” can mean outcomes/rewards beyond money.

Blooms to Blossoms strives to contribute to the enrichment of young adults and beyond by demonstrating that integrating life and learning makes a difference.  How can you use your knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and beliefs to envision and build your future?

Zippo et al. (2010) assert that wellness encompasses a balance of the multi- dimensional journey that each of us takes at one time or another. Each of our journeys is unique and different. We all strive to succeed as individuals who create our own paths in life. Yasuka (2019) supports my idea that wellness and ikigai are on the same path toward lifelong learning and personal development.  He states, “every person is said to have their own ikigai. An ikigai is personal and specific to each individual’s life, beliefs, and values. It should reflect one’s inner self” (para.2).

Wellness components related to Ikigai core elements

Ikigai is the union point of four fundamental components of life: passion, vocation, profession and mission. In other words, where; what you love meets what you are good at, meets what you can be valued and paid for meets that which the world needs. Ikigai is only complete if the goal implies service to the community. We feel more satisfied giving gifts than receiving. The next step, once you’ve identified these components, would be to start following your compass (Grant, 2019, para.9).

Linkage of wellness, lifelong learning, personal development to Ikigai
Ikigai diagram modified | Alex Tanchoco

Finding your ikigai…start by answering the questions. Kolmodin (2018) shares a tool to facilitate personal growth to find happiness and meaning to life. Click on the link below to download the template.

Smell the Roses: In-Between

On October 28, 2019 I published a blog titled, Be Open: Inspiration Comes from Everywhere.  In my opening I wrote:

Many people act as though the future is something that happens to them rather than something that you can create every day. Have you thought about what inspires you? It is interesting to consider that inspiration comes from everywhere if you are open to the possibilities.

This week my blog and a refreshed perspective on life resulted from a comment on ESPN, a song, a podcast, and a book.  

A Comment on ESPN:

While watching SportsCenter on ESPN this week the announcers referred to a quote attributed to Lou Holtz.  “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it”.  Their point about the quote is that Holtz’s intent may have been about attitude.  As I thought about this quote and researched various interpretations of it, I found that it applies to life.  Flom (n.d.) states:

We all carry loads, and we all carry them in different ways.. the key is to carry your load the right way. That means with your head up, back straight. Bend at the knees so the load is distributed better and doesn’t wreck one part of you. If it’s too heavy to carry alone, ask for help. Keep moving forward so that momentum is on your side. Where you were when you picked up the load doesn’t matter. Where you’re headed with it does.

A Song:

While doing errands this week I was listening to my favorite streaming station (Lee Greenwood Gospel).  I like to songs and there is good variety.  The 1974 song ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’ by Mac Davis came on…I sat in the car and listened to it a couple times.  This song connected to Holtz quote, Flom’s interpretation, and to my Visual Blossoms post Piecing Together Life… “Life is a journey, and there are bumps in the road.”   It is important to find a way to carry your load and count your blessings. Some of the Mac Davis lyrics are:

Hey Mister
Where you going in such a hurry
Don’t you think it’s time you realized
There’s a whole lot more to life than work and worry
The sweetest things in life are free
And they’re right before your eyes

A Podcast:

When I bike, I usually listen to audiobooks (leisure reading) or podcasts (for blog ideas).  I chose a Psychology at Work podcast by Lankow and Johansson. They “envision a world of work where people realize their significance and purpose.”  They “explore how to make positive meaning of our relationships and contributions (and what can get in the way), which leads to being more engaged, present, and effective.”  Based on the ESPN comment and the song, I chose the (2019) podcast “Eustress, Distress, We all Stress.”  They discuss and reiterate ideas that stress is not always a bad thing. 

Wack (2020) defines eustress as a term for positive stress that can have a beneficial impact on your life. “Eu” is a prefix meaning good or well, also used in words like “euphoria” and “eulogy.” Eustress can refer to challenges in work and life that put pressure on us to grow and improve. 

Coor (n.d.) defines distress as typically accompanied by feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, which are perceived as negative and unwanted.

The key is to be mindful and control what you can…do not let your goals become a form of distress.  In other words, carry your load the right way and take time to smell the roses.

A Book:

The quote, the song, and the podcast led me to search for books related to finding opportunities for growth.  I found an interesting choice written by Jeff Goins titled, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing.  The book explores searching for a breakthrough, loving the journey, and life worth the wait. “The In-Between is a call to accept the importance that waiting plays in our lives by helping you find personal meaning in the times that make the least sense and hone the underestimated art of living in the moment.”

The expression “stop and smell the roses” is not simply about flowers, but rather about how to live your life with a deeper appreciation of the world around us. It reminds us to slow down and notice the little things that make life worthwhile. Despite a busy life, it is important to know how to be present in the moment; otherwise those moments will pass you by. Herst (2019)

My New Anthem for Life:

Pause, reflect, appreciate, move forward 

“Don’t hurry. Don’t worry.
You’re only here for a short visit. 
So don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.”
Walter Hagen

Forming Values Throughout Life

I sorted through some files last week and found a document I posted on my bulletin board in every office I had for my entire work life.  This document titled “Values for Students and Professional Leaders” is from a 1993 academic journal.  I find it interesting that 25 years later the values continue to be applicable today as desired outcomes of education and for society.  The values document was a “clip and save” page included in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association journal.  

Prior blogs, July 2019, and October 2019, I wrote about the connection of the academic/co-curricular experience for student learning and development.  It is passe’ to not think there is educational value to all aspects of life and that learning takes place beyond the traditional classroom setting.  Sociability, transmission of and adherence to values, and enhancement of self-identity are a few points that stand out when I think about the effect of the thoughtful integration of the academic/co-curricular experiences on student development. Learning products include development of sportsmanship, adjustment, and modification of reactions to others and their ideas, commitment to development of skills and abilities, and mental adjustments made through success and failure. 

Chickering (1976, 1993) defines experiential learning as the learning that occurs when changes in judgements, feelings, knowledge, and skills result from active engagement in life.  Kerner (2018) cites advantages of experiential learning include:

  • Ability to immediately apply knowledge
  • Access to real-time coaching
  • Promotion of teamwork and communication skills
  • Development of reflective practice habits

Mercer (2019) writes about upholding values today.  She shares a perspective that society needs more empathy, respect, love, loyalty, and honesty.

Empathy – Empathy is defined as understanding and sharing the feelings of another. People need to understand who others are and accept who they are.  Focusing on how we can grow together should be our ultimate goal.

Respect – Mutual respect is needed for all of us. This is what makes us human. Having respect for everyone, despite the differences between us, is vital in order for a society to function well.

Love – Having love in our hearts keeps us from feeling the need to harm others. Love helps us acknowledge the similarities we all share rather than the differences of color, religion or sexual orientation.

Loyalty – Loyalty is a value that binds us to a person, thing or sentiment. With loyalty, we do not betray. If we all shared loyalty, it would help us build the strength needed to stand up against something that would harm our society.

Honesty – One form of honesty in society is accepting yourself. With honesty, you can admit your flaws and take the necessary steps to improve yourself. When we can admit to our flaws it can help someone else admit theirs. Ultimately, we can all help each other become better people.

My point is that the integration of academic/co-curricular experiences and active engagement in life creates knowledge and values. Use the twelve values listed above and consider if these are values you uphold.  What experiences (in the classroom, out-of-class experience, living life) reinforce each?   

Take the idea above a step further and consider the three steps below.

Step 1: Creation of your values
**How did you form your values?

Step 2: Identification of your values
**What are your values?  Why do they matter? 

Step 3: Application of your values
How do you…

** define your personal values?
**prioritize your values?
**live your values with integrity?  
**use your values to guide decision-making?
**adapt and change your values when needed?

Dear Dad and Mom

Recognition of Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June is important to acknowledge the individual role each plays in lives of children. We should recognize and celebrate the joint effort of both parents. Senator Trent Lott introduced Congressional Resolution (36 U.S.C. § 135); National Parents’ Day. The law, signed in 1994, states the recognition of the “…uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.”  

As children we didn’t think twice about the things our parents (or caregivers) did on an everyday basis that showed their love. And that’s fine—you were busy being a kid! Plus, while most parents do all they can to help their kids grow into happy adults, from preparing healthy breakfasts before school to being a personal chauffeur for extracurricular activities, they do it out of love, not a desire to be thanked. That’s why it can mean so much if, as an adult, you make sure they know how much you appreciate them. Not only can expressions of gratitude strengthen your relationship with your family, but they can also promote optimism in your own life.
(5 Simple Ways to Show Your Parents Appreciation, 2016)

Since National Parents’ Day is Sunday June 26 and with collaboration from my sister, we would like to thank our parents for their “work”.  There is no time like the present to let our parents know we care.  

Dear Dad and Mom,

We feel proud to have you as our parents and want to let you know we are grateful for your care.  You put us on the path for a great life.  Your effort and guidance kept us on the “straight and narrow”; an honest and moral life.  The values you instill in us continues to guide our growth and development.  Your commitment and support are invaluable. 

We knew we could always count on you and will always be grateful for being our parents.  At times we thought you were “on our back” for no reason but we now realize that you were “watching our back.”  We understand your goal was for us to grow up to be the best we could be, and we now thank you for your diligence. 

It is nice to know that we are, at times, the reason behind your smile…especially when you tell each of us privately that we are the best daughter!!   HAHA!!  If we could choose our parents again, we would choose you.

Several years ago, we gave each of our parents a memory book.  This memory book was a simple list of our memories as a family.  This weekend my sister and I selected some of our favorite memories.  

Me & Sis

Memories of Dad and Mom


My sister and I hope we inspire you
to write a thank-you note to your parents.