Thomas Edison State College Blog

5 Qualities of Successful People You Should Develop

July 24, 2013

We’ve all been there. We watch a coworker or classmate continually produce stellar work, say the right thing at the right time AND do it all with a smile and some cheer. We can’t help but wonder, how do they do it all – and so well?

These are the people who have learned success is more than hard work and determination (although this is the formula for 95% of any achievement). They are always alert, always ready and always thinking. And while there is no magic formula for success, these people know how to use the tools required to achieve success with a laser point focus. By understanding what makes them tick, you too can develop the five key qualities that will set you on the path to success.

  1. They think outside the box. Successful people don’t see problems; they see opportunities and solutions to every obstacle put in their path. By maintaining an open mind and tapping into your creative side, you will be able to accomplish what needs to be done through innovative and inventive ways. After all, as one life coach put it, “the only limits in your life are those that you set yourself.”
  2. They are able to say no. How many Hollywood films, blogs and self-help books encourage us to harness the power of ‘yes’? But in the end, it is saying ‘no’ that seems so much more difficult. Successful people say no because they understand how it impacts their credibility and productivity. By saying no to the things you do not have time for or aren’t good at, you can concentrate your efforts and improve upon the strong suits that are uniquely yours. Once you start to say no, you will also be able to focus on what is important, developing selective and prioritization skills, which can lead to healthy habits, like sleeping and eating better, and exercising more. Translation: It will make you happier.
  3. They are engaged. If you don’t believe in mind over matter, then you probably don’t believe in hypnosis, the placebo effect, faith, or... the list goes on. Successful people approach every endeavor with a constructive mindset ready and eager to tackle any task. By altering your outlook, you will not succumb to negative vibes or daily frustrations, which will drastically improve your attitude. Feel good, feel empowered – and personal growth won’t be far behind.
  4. They can adapt. We are creatures of habit; we inherently do not like change. But successful people recognize the importance of being flexible, and can adjust to any situation and work well with anyone. By understanding how others think, and developing essential listening skills, you can arrive at conclusions more clearly and solve problems under pressure. When you find yourself on the precipice of a challenge or obstacle, consider Charles Darwin’s very definition of adaptability, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” It is a skill that takes practice, but the reward is great.
  5. They pursue a life of meaning. Of course, not the eternal quest to discover why we are all here, but the pursuit of personal happiness and value. Successful people do what makes them happy, and they will take any risks necessary to reach that goal. When you are excited and passionate about what you do, you tend to give it your best. Do what you love, whatever brings purpose and fulfillment to your life, and you will always bring your ‘A’ game.

Success, however you choose to measure it, begins with how you think. The human mind is a powerful tool, and successful people just recognize how to tap into that power before they apply hard work. By practicing and utilizing these five key qualities into your everyday interactions, both professionally and personally, you will be able to turn obstacles into opportunity. You will just see it differently. And that’s more than half the battle.  

Tags: connecting with students , Going Back to College , tips and advice

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Great Post!
Amy 7:48AM 08/02/13

Connecting with Students in an Online Environment

November 20, 2012

Dr. Mark Kassop, mentor at Thomas Edison State College

Dr. Mark Kassop, mentor at Thomas Edison State College

By Dr. Mark Kassop
Mentor, Thomas Edison State College

I have been a mentor at Thomas Edison State College for more than 25 years for several reasons. First and foremost, I enjoy the adult, self-motivated students who populate Thomas Edison State College courses. They are a pleasure to work with and their diverse backgrounds lead to fascinating assignments and discussion postings.

Connecting with students in an online environment is about creating a positive impact on the student and on the student’s classmates. Mentoring courses on the sociology of the family, as I do, my Thomas Edison State College students have been in all stages of dating, marriage, divorce, remarriage, etc., and their experiences enrich the classes that I mentor. I have learned a lot from my students and, hopefully, they have learned a lot of useful material from me, too!

There are significant differences between face-to-face (f2f) students and online students. One could argue that a student loses something by not having face-to-face contact with their mentor. However, I can honestly say that I know my online students better than I know my f2f students and they might often say the same thing in reverse.

When I was president of the New Jersey Virtual Community College Consortium, I gave frequent lectures around the country about the virtues of online learning. One of the differences that I would focus on is the oxymoron, “anonymous intimacy.” Most of us have had the experience of sitting on an airplane next to an absolute stranger who pours out their life history to us, because they know they will never see us again and their story is safe. Similarly, online students open up to their mentors via e-mail and in online discussions in ways that they are not likely to do in a traditional face-to-face classroom.

Furthermore, students do the same in online discussions. Since they do not know their classmates on a face-to-face basis, they are not as inhibited as they might be in a classroom. They feel as though they can express their point of view in the online discussions and politely disagree with their classmates on controversial topics. The online discussions give them the chance to bond and expand their viewpoints based on feedback from their classmates and mentor.

In addition, online students learn skills that f2f classes don’t usually teach. They learn to collaborate with their classmates in online discussions and projects. They develop lifelong learning skills that prepare them for their careers in ways that they had not suspected. They learn computer skills and online searching skills, including the ability to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate sources; that will benefit them in many careers.

The main role of an online mentor is to assist students in the process of learning a body of knowledge. I love the saying that online mentors are the “guide on the side,” rather than the “sage on the stage.” It is not the responsibility to spoon feed students that knowledge. Having mature, self-motivated students helps a mentor to successfully be that “guide on the side.” I still need to know the same body of material, but I can now use it in a different way than I did when I was expected to be the “sage.” I can guide students to useful information. I can challenge them to move beyond simple answers and partial solutions.

When I first started mentoring online in 1998, I knew that there were some advantages in an online course space, but I didn’t think about the ability for my personality to travel across cyberspace.

However, in numerous student evaluations over the last 14 years, I have had students comment on my sense of humor, my dedication and hard work, my caring personality, and my availability. In turn, I have learned many things about my online student’s personalities – their dedication, their work ethic, their family lives, their goals, their joys and their concerns. We often talk in academia about civil behavior and some professors and administrators complain about the lack of civility among students. Strangely (maybe), online students tend to be much more civil than f2f students. Online students are more likely to send their regards, wish you a nice day, hope that you are feeling better, suggest that you be careful, etc., than f2f students usually are.

I have lots of wonderful stories about students that I could share from my many years of online mentoring experiences, but my favorite is a female student I mentored about 15 years ago.

The student worked as a midwife in Eastern Pennsylvania. Specifically, she helped Amish and Mennonite women deliver their children. On several occasions she would go out in the evening to deliver a child and get home in the middle of the night or very early morning. Her adrenalin was flowing and she would sit down and write me an e-mail and submit an assignment. Her e-mails were filled with the beauty of the delivery and the children who were on the bed with mom or helping my student with the preparations. She would tell about the joy and assistance provided by the father and describe the new baby that she helped to bring into the world. She would share this beautiful experience and finish off her e-mail by noting that she just had to write her assignment since she was wide-awake and so excited.

There are lots of students who I have had in my classes who needed the flexible schedule that Thomas Edison State College has offered throughout its existence. These students have all had an opportunity to complete degrees and excel and share their excitement as part of our online communities.
 

Tags: connecting with students , Mark Kassop , mentoring , online courses

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online teaching techniques is very very popular. now you teach student any where from the world with video chat. this cool thing really make a big revolution in all part of the country.
construction courses 4:32AM 01/08/13

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