Attitude is Everything…in Many Cases

attitude, softball, Brotherton, teamwork, Atiitude is everything, play, coach, teach, learnAttitude is everything. At least I think so. My husband and I are helping coach a softball team. We are a small school so we don’t have a large pool to pick from, hence we have a lot of first time players. I don’t mind that. Really! What I struggle with is when the girls aren’t interested in learning or getting better. I will work all day to help someone improve. Coaching someone that doesn’t care to get better is like talking to a wall.

My husband laughs at me because I get all worked up about it. I can’t understand NOT trying. It is beyond my comprehension. What will these girls be like in the workforce? I would never consider hiring them. Yes, I realize they are still young. These are their formative years. I would like to be part of FORMING them–teaching them that having the right attitude and trying is essential in this life. If you commit to something, you need to give it your all. Other people count on you! Some would say that’s the military in me talking. I would respond, it’s how my parents raised me. I’ve always been like this, as far back as I can remember.

It’s not competitiveness I’m talking about. It’s attitude. The positive attitude of wanting to improve, learn a new skill, and be part of something bigger. Supporting your teammates when they’re down with encouraging comments. Just the basics, like learning the rules of the game and following the coach’s direction. Run when you’re told to run. Stop when you’re told to stop. Basics.

These are the things I would love to explain to the girls on the team, but many of them don’t get it. They look at you as if they’re listening, but then they go about doing whatever they want to do. They don’t have the right attitude.

Thankfully, we raised our daughters so that not trying is also beyond their comprehension. But they have some frustrating days ahead in the “real” world.

College Applications

college, graduate, diploma, degree, Brotherton, money, application‘Tis the season for College Application results to come in. I think my high school senior is taking it better than I am. She has a logical mind, which will serve her well in life and engineering. She is realistically expecting NOT to get in to all the top colleges she applied to. She has been accepted in to a few so far so she is comfortable knowing she is going SOMEWHERE to college.
I know all the great things my daughter has done, her academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and sports accomplishments. But she is competing against other kids that have also done WONDERFUL things…and she knows it. The competition to get into the top schools is so tight; I wouldn’t want to be the judge for who makes it and who doesn’t. I find comfort in the fact that American does have these bright and shiny students to offer up out of high school. They will enter the work force ready to contribute and help our society create new and greater things.
I’m not sure what I think about all the reports that kids are coming out of college and unable to find a job. It makes me wonder if they can’t find a job, or they can’t find THE job they want. I wonder if it part of this generations attitude toward “I want it now.” Many graduate college and expect to be living in a house the size of their parents’ house. They need to set their sights more realistically. Part of what you learn in college is planning and responsibility. Would be nice if they could also teach patience.

I do believe college degrees are very important to keep educating our society. Part of the problem is that it has turned into such a business that it’s about the colleges making money. To make money, they need students. To attract students, they need have up to date facilities and top professors. To pay for those things, they need to increase tuition. Horrible circle.

A prospective college student needs to do homework and choose his/her college carefully to get the best return on investment. It’s not a logical decision to dig yourself into debt so far that you can’t make enough money to pay off your student loans, but many chose that path. Remember, it’s about what you are learning in college–not the name of the college you attend. Some of the local, smaller colleges offer great courses and professors. And if that’s what you can afford, then that is the best college for you.

If students work hard enough and get good grades, the larger schools often offer a debt-free graduation. Meaning, AFTER the student is accepted (needs-blind) into the college, an assessment will be done to determine the student’s ability to pay. The alumni association (or other entity) offsets the difference so the student is debt-free when they graduate. That means the student investment is upfront–in high school–where they concentrate on being a great student and community leader in order to get accepted into college.

At the same time, when the student graduates, starts work, and has a family of his/her own, hopefully they will be forward thinking enough to start saving right away for college for their children.

Giver, Taker, or Matcher: Which Are You?

Giver, Taker, Matcher–which one are you? On Ted Talks (, Organizational Psychologist Adam Grant gave a talk about Givers, Takers, and Matchers in the work environment. Givers are the type of people that spend so much time helping others that their work may suffer. Takers take–obviously–and that can hurt an organizational greatly by making the others feel used. I have to admit, I think I fall in the Matcher category.

Matchers believe in quid pro quo. They want things to be fair. They don’t mind helping, but they expect you to help in return. Thankfully, according to Adam, I’m not going to hurt an organization and will excel in a group of givers because matchers tend to follow the norm. If they are surrounded by givers, they give more. If they are surrounded by takers, they will keep to themselves.

Check out his talk to learn how to be on the lookout for takers when you’re hiring. Let me know what you are!

Goldfinch: Pulitzer Prize Material?

book, review, reading. goldfinch, tartt, audiobookFinished listening to the audiobook “The Goldfinch” today. I can see why the book is studied in English classes. The writing is very descriptive; really makes you feel like you are experiencing what Theo is. But at times, I feel like the book went on too long. It could have ended satisfactorily in a few different places. Some of the extended story could have been dropped as no real value added. Let me rephrase–no additional entertainment value added. There are loads of meaningful nuances weaved throughout the book. It would be great for book clubs to delve into and discuss over drinks. The part that most impressed me is how the Author Donna Tartt makes the reader feel like the reader himself is tripping or high or drunk with the writing style. The broken sentences and confused thoughts. Very well done.

There were a lot of cliches that were overused and repetitive storylines that could have been cut and still made an effective book. The editor should have caught much of that. FYI, the reader for The Goldfinch audiobook, David Pittu, was GREAT. I could hear the different characters plainly.
As far as the characters in the story go, I’m a fixer. I just wanted to go in and fix Theo. “All you have to do is…” People think that all the time about situations they have no right commenting on. It seems sad, although not unbelievable (which is the sad part) that the fictionalized school system in Vegas fails Theo. The teachers had to see he was in trouble, but no one seemed to take enough interest to drive out to his home and check on him? Do they even do that kind of thing anymore? Budget cuts and all. And what is up with Peppa? I get she has trauma, but I don’t like how that was unresolved. Sounded like an excuse to me. I don’t want to give any endings away in case you are going to read the book–or watch the movie. I hear there’s a deal in the making. Vanity Fair has an article about it.

Making Time For Your Priorities

Where are your priorities? Our family is on the geeky-side. Our idea of enjoyment is listening to TedTalks together. Yesterday we listened to one where the speaker discussed time-saving tips. She said simply, you have the time to do what you determine is the priority. So true! I find I am most productive when I have a lot going on. When I have something early in the day, I am up and moving–trying to squeeze in a little something before I dash off. Throw in a load of laundry, clean out my kitchen drawers, anything that will take up only 15-20 minutes. When I don’t have to get up and go to work or to a meeting, I drag my feet. I enjoy a cup of coffee, play a quick computer game (that takes me 40 minutes), then log into my email. I then distract myself with “cleaning out” emails, feeling a sense of accomplishment when I hit delete or unsubscribe to something. Finally, time to write. Now I’m hungry and it’s time to refill my coffee mug. Back downstairs I go. People ask how I got so much done when I was working full time for the Air Force, running a publishing company, and writing my own books. Not to mention two daughters and a husband to attend to. I made time. It all worked and everything got done. Now, as an Air Force retiree, I have gained back 50 hours per week, but somehow I’m still just as busy. Oh, I’m doing much more with the publishing company–more meetings, more training, and certainly more studying. I’m also quilting more and looking at fun projects to take on. I’ve wrapped all my Christmas presents BEFORE Christmas Eve, and I still haven’t written more than a few pages in my Lady Tigers’ book series. Time to readjust my priorities…

Stay away from people who erode your quality of life

I read an interesting article today on LinkedIn by Dr Travis Bradberry. He talks about habits that will improve your life. You need to read the article to get all of them, but I want to focus on one in particular–Stay away from people who erode your quality of life.

That is a great concept. He gives the example of being around toxic people that tend to upset you or make your blood boil. Know anyone like that? I do. And I have found myself avoiding them. I’ve been feeling guilty about that until I read this article.  Thank you, Dr Bradberry, for giving me the permission to look after my well-being rather than trying to make the other person happy.

I suggest that we all take his advice and focus on the people that deserve our attention–especially this time of year. It can be hectic and time-crunching. Let’s make every moment count!