"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


"Human thinking is not very deep. In fact it’s only about 4 mm deep. That’s the thickness of the cerebral cortex or the brain’s gray matter. It contains a lot of neurons though - about 11 billion I read somewhere. About twice as many as that of a chimp.

It appears that it’s the size, density and connectivity of the brain’s neural network that makes it able to do what it does. Help us think.

I picture thinking as a cognitive process running on a neuroplatform, which in turn operates on 110 mV electrical pulses at the Ranvier nodes along axons and the flow of neurotransmitters across synaptic gaps. Still somewhat of a mystery how that turns into actual thoughts, ideas and perceptions in the human mind..."

Source: Brainovation Blog, by Anders Hemre, founder & CEO of InterKnowledge Technologies;


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

To Dilip, learning pursuits should always be fun, irrespective of whether it is an academic environment or in the corporate domain!

Also, a sense of humour & being funny can be very important skills for a student as well as for a working professional.

How to go about it? To Dilip, the only good answer is BRAINTERTAINMENT!

In essence, our brainpower is always the spontaneous firing function of all the neurons in our brain, & more importantly, also the sustained richness of the neuronal networking that ensues in order to keep the brain in peak working condition.

Besides learning & thinking per se, fun games, quizzes, puzzles, humour & laughter often provide excellent ways for our brain to charge up - i.e. brain cells firing! - as well as to relax.

More specifically, Dilip & I feel very strongly that the latter offers us refreshing viewpoints as well as novel perspectives on looking at the world from prevailing realities.

That's to say, with a sense of humour & being funny, we are more likely to see the fun-side or the up-side of everyday situations.

As an example, I love to watch Jerry Seinfeld's 'Seinfeld', Fran Drescher's 'The Nanny', Ray Romano's 'Everybody Loves Raymond', & Charlie Sheen's 'Two & a Half Men', sitcom series on cable television.

Oftentimes, the principal characters may be quirky, & even nonsensical occasionally, in natural disposition, but I always find that each of them has wonderfully unique ways of seeing & tackling everyday situations or problems, even in the face of adversity or opposition from others, including their loved ones, around them.

Sad to say, today's students face a great deal of stress:

- academic performance;
- heavy class scheduling;
- high achievement standards;
- media messages;
- peer pressures;
- family tension, notwithstanding parents' incessant nagging;
- myriad interuptions & distractions from the fast pace of life & rate of technological changes in terms of modern conveniences;

But, do not despair.

Fortunately, we have creativity maestro Dilip who will be more than happy to share with participants varied ways to get more smileage out of your stress-filled life; become more stress-hardy, & to all the students out there, how to take your academic pursuits seriously but yourself lightly!

In summing up this post, I am proud to say that FQ (Fun Quotient) stands in the same ranking positions as IQ (Intelligent Quotient) as well as EQ (Emotional Quotient), when it comes to work, play & learning.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Monday, November 29, 2010


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

Most people have this mistaken notion that "speed reading" solves all your reading problems. Yes, "speed" is a variable in the reading equation, but it does not gives you the edge, especially if it does not help in your comprehension.

The edge in reading at warp speeds is "asking questions", before you read, while reading & after you have read.

I must say that, one of the most profound set of probing questions ever generated for a student to navigate his reading text at warp speeds & master his learning quickly, came from educator Adam Robinson, also co-founder of the Princeton Review, an US-based standardized test preparation & admissions consulting company, who wrote the classic, 'What Smart Students Know'.

By the way, he is a US Chess Federation chess master, which happens to exemplify his appreciation of the power of having a strategy, even when we are reading.

He calls the penetrating questions, twelve of them to be exaxct, as the "cyberlearning questions". Go & read his book. You will be amply rewarded.

Nonetheless, closer to home, you have creativity maestro Dilip to show you how to probe a textbook.

More explicity, how to have a dialogue with the author... in other words, how to develop an intellectual intercourse with the author: reading on the lines, reading between the lines, & reading beyond the page.

Dilip & I firmly believe that "asking questions" should also apply in all other life situations, beyond just reading.

For example, asking self-check questions to bring out your own aliveness. To challenge your own assumptions. To clarify your purpose in living... are you busy living or busy dying, as Dilip likes to put it.

In a nut shell, asking questions helps one to build anticipatory prowess. Dilip will show how to go about it.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]


"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a person of the past or a pioneer of the future."

~ Deepak Chopra;

Sunday, November 28, 2010


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

Dilip likes to call this useful approach, "Power Learning'. That's in a nut shell, studying with a purpose in small groups, so that you can leverage on each other's strength.

In his wonderful book, 'Unleashing Genius', Dilip has elucidated how it works for effective studying/reviewing as well as powerful reading/mapping.

In fact, Dilip & I believe that one of the most pragmatic ways for students to prepare for tests & exams is to form a study group.

As we see it, the resultant collaborative groupwork among students readily cuts short the learning curve, expedites learning from an individual standpoint, & generates the push-pull factor to faster knowledge acquisition within a classroom environment.

After all, groups are in fact a fundamental unit of social life.

We also reckon that students, who are already exposed to group study, are more likely to appreciate the power of synergy & the principle of leverage, when they enter the world of work after schooling.

Nonetheless, readers are also welcome to pop into the '' website [Mangrum-Strichart Learning Resources] to learn more about the 'Benefits of a Study Group', 'Getting a Study Group Started', 'Characteristics of a Successful Study Group', & 'Possible Pitfalls of a Study Group'.

In the corporate world, this is called 'Team Learning', which is one of the five principles of the 'Learning Organisation' as envisaged by Dr Peter Senge of Harvard University.

Looking at it from another angle it's also "doing more with less", following the philosophy - he called it "ephemeralization" - of planet earth's friendly genius, Dr R Buckminster Fuller, who gave the world the acclaimed geodesic dome, among other great artefacts.

Dilip will show participants how to execute this wonderful approach to learning mastery.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Saturday, November 27, 2010


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

Because of Dilip's never-ending innovative spirit, he has developed a vast repertoire of visual tools to help working pros as well as students to navigate overwhelmingly abundant data, irrespective of whether they come printed, electronic or otherwise.

Most people only know "mind-mapping" as a solitary tool, but just imagine you have only a screw driver in your tool box, how does the world look to you? Think about it.

Particularly for a student, a smorgasbord of visual tools will provide one with multitudinous array of diverse options to deal with the variability & complexity seemingly inherent within different academic subjects or disciplines.

As a case in point:

A 'story grid' or a 'storyboard' will be ideal for English Literature; a 'noteboard' will be excellent for fleshing out all the terminology of Science subjects; a 'concept map' will be superb for organising information from any Science subject, e.g. Biology, at various superordinate & subordinate levels; a 'timeline' or 'transitive order graph' will be more appropriate for History, so that one can follow the chronological trend of major events with their attendant causes & impacts;

In fact, I would say a creative combination of mindmaps & other visual tools may even be necessary to help a student to navigate the complexity of any subject.

Mastering visual tools is a must in today's Knowledge Economy as we are living in a dominant visual culture.

Don't forget, more than 90% of our learning in a lifetime comes to us via visual cues.

As a counterpoint:

In the corporate world, visual tools have proven to aid decision making; shorten meetings; promote group consensus; generate better impressions & convince audience (in a presentation); & garner effectiveness in problem solving & learning from documents.

This is based on the research work of Robert Horn, visiting scholar at Stanford University & author of the classic, 'Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century'. I recommend reading his book.

In a nut shell, mastering the visual tools from Dilip's portfolio of offerings will help you to embrace the Law of Requisite Variety.

In more explicit terms, if your rate of learning is faster than the turbulence around you, your chances of continual success are assured!

To paraphrase 'Neutron Jack' or better known to the corporate world as Jack Welch:

"I've always believed that when the rate of change inside an institution [read: individual] becomes slower than the rate of change outside, the end is in sight!"

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Friday, November 26, 2010


Readers can go to this link to see it live!


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

Today most of us, irrespective of whether one is student or working pro, we are information rich but knowledge poor.

Most of us also think that the Google search engine is our entry point for information search, leading to quick knowledge acquisition, instead of critical reading & critical thinking.

Is the technology of today, with the overwhelming advances of the Internet & other modern conveniences of the "electronic culture", producing a decline in critical reading & critical thinking?

Literary critic Sven Birkerts, author of 'The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age', which was published during the nineties, said:

"... the search for truth requires deep reading & deep thinking... dual processors which inform such a search & lead us toward insight & illumination."

Dilip offers powerful thinking tools & methodologies to read fast & think skillfully, so as to help you to cut through all the data smog, info-glut & info-garbage.

In a nut shell, critical thinking is not necessary being "critical" & negative.

To me, I think the well-known 'Critical Thinking Community' puts it in perspective:

"Critical thinking is the art of taking charge of your own mind. Its value is simple: If you can take charge of your own mind, you can take charge of your life."

With this philosophy in mind, we reckon a student is more likely to approach reading as a thinking endeavour, rather than a regurgitating routine.

Thinking is definitely hard work - it's an intellectually disciplined process; that's why so few people want to engage in it.

Dilip & I share the ardent belief that most students will not learn how to think unless we accord explicit attention to helping them to do so.

We also believe that thinking - critical thinking, to be more precise - gives students the ability to not only understand what they have read, but also build upon that knowledge without incremental guidance.

Critical thinking teaches students that knowledge is fluid, & builds upon itself. It is not simply rote memorisation or the ability to absorb lessons unquestioningly.

In the end analysis, Dilip & I believe that critical thinking, which encompasses skills sets like conceptualising, predicting, hypothesising, fact finding, analysing, decision making, problem solving, comparing & contrasting, organising, inferring, synthesising & evaluation, encourages students to think for themselves.

More importantly, students will be encouraged to use good thinking as the guide by which they live their lives.

I like to leave the following inspirational quote as food for thought:

"A common belief is that knowledge is power. It's not. Knowledge is ubiquitous in the Internet Age and thus grants no special privileges, no unique power. Certainly we need to have knowledge and stay current. But the real power comes from what we do with knowledge. In other words, in the 21st century power comes from our ability to think... "

~ Michael Durr, author of 'My Brain, My Future';

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Thursday, November 25, 2010


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

In school, exams are essentially a mind game, often played by examiners to test how fast you can recall & how well you can respond, under prescribed parameters within a limited time-frame.

The test is of "Speed" & "Precision", not necessary of real learning having taken place.

With "Speed" & "Precision" as the only defining factors in exams, the students have no option, but to know how to play & win the game.

Dilip has the tools & methodologies to help participants, especially students, become champion players with winning imperatives. He calls it 'Examining the Examiner' to help you get into the mind of the examiner, so that you can negotiate the transition from confusion to clarity.

More importantly, he will share with you how to master the 100+ test verbs often used in an exam. In the lingo of Singapore's favourite contractor, Phua Chu Kang, these are the "Die, Die, Must Know".

Oftentimes, students don't have the correct understanding of even the basic test verbs, e.g. "Compare", "Contrast", "Define", "Explain", "Describe".

Once they are sitting in the exam hall, raring to go, they don't have the luxury of time to figure out the test verbs. They just have to respond almost spontaneously to the exam questions within the limited time frame.

As Phua Chu Kang would say gleefully, "Don't Play, Play!".

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Can you see it?

The above picture, ostensibly displaying a large cluster of red roses, is actually a simple example of a computer-generated 3D illusion, more appropriately called a stereogram.

A beautiful 3D object, which signifies the meaning of the foregoing phrase, a favourite catchphrase of Dilip Mukerjea, is embedded by computer manipulation within the seemingly random display.

It takes both of your eye balls to tango in order to see it. That's to say, your two brain hemispheres got to work together in perfect harmony.

If you see it, the 3D object remains floating in space, right in front of your eyes!

Yes, I know. The feeling is exhilarating & exuberating... just like falling in love!

[Source of Picture: Magic Eye Inc., producers of the 3D illusion images that ignited the worldwide craze of the 90's. They hold a patent for their cutting edge stereogram algorithm.

Just in case you still can't see it, here are some viewing instructions, courtesy of Magic Eye Inc.]


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

It is an universally accepted fact that the English Language is the global language of aviation & communication, commerce & trade, economics & finance, science & technology, international business as well as diplomacy.

It's also the most useful language in the world. Interestingly, most books are published in English, & most of them are also translated into English.

Undoubtedly, a mastery of the English Language enhances self-confidence & commands respect.

Because of Dilip's own linguistic prowess & superior command of the language, as manifested in his panoramic array of more than a dozen books, he is the best person to coach you on how to improve your language facility.

As Dilip often exhorts, writing good English, let alone speaking good English, takes a lot of meticulous effort & diligent energy, not only for a student but also for a working professional.

He uses 'Sentence Mapping' to help participants build clarity of thought through strategic thinking, which leads to engaged learning & information power.

Additionally, Dilip will coach participants in 'Generative Vocabulary Building' techniques.

To share a secret: understanding word roots, prefixes & suffixes give you the power to read & comprehend faster, better & indepth.

With the foregoing methodology & techniques, participants can now adopt a more active role in learning, irrespective whether it is academic environment or corporate arena.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Here's the link to a fascinating interview of Sir Ken Robinson by Andrew Warner, who, is still in his 20s, founded the internet upstart Mixergy, which offers the ambitious & the hungry to learn from a mix of experienced mentors & thinkers.

The interview may not be as entertaining & humourous as his presentation at the TED event, but it is certainly informative, when it comes to understanding his insights & anecdotes about business as well as personal creativity.

I like the parting shot from the interview: "Go & do something different".


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

The '2010 IBM CEO's Survey' has revealed that "Creativity is the most important leadership competency".

Likewise, the 13th Annual Global Survey 2010 by PriceWaterhouse has also revealed that "Innovation... is the cornerstone for future positioning."

Interestingly, the recent 2010 IBM Global Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) Study has highlighted three critical workforce imperatives:

1) cultivating creative leaders;
2) mobilising for speed & flexibility;
3) capitalising on collective intelligence;

Creativity & innovation have become more important than ever before for solving real-world challenges & staying competitive in the global economy.

I am sure many readers have seen the insightful TED show on the net where Sir Ken Robinson has made an entertaining & profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity.

He has challenged the way we are educating our children, & has championed a radical rethink of our school system, to cultivate & acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

[If you haven't yet seen it, here's the link.

I really like the way he has elucidated "creativity" ~ "coming out with something original, & of value, & it comes from many disciplinary ways of seeing things... if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original..."]

I am proud to say that creativity & innovation are the distinctive hallmarks in all Dilip's programs, as well as writings, irrespective of whether they are intended for the corporate or academic world.

Dilip holds the steadfast view that creativity is one quality which everyone of us is blessed with. It's our birthright, in fact. If you don't recognise this quality in yourself, you can immediately learn techniques for unleashing & leveraging your creative potential.

Although we believe that our schools are essential in helping our children learn these techniques, we think, right now, they are falling short of our expectations.

As parents, since we are our children's first teachers, we must ensure that our children do not lose their sense of wonder & sense of discovery as they transit the school system during their growing years.

Not only that, parents must also create & nurture a conducive environment in which our children feel safe to take risks & get things wrong. Also, help them develop the habit of looking for more than one right answer to everyday problems, including their own study problems.

As creativity consultant & also, author of 'The Creative Edge', among other wonderful books, Dr William Miller puts it:

"Creativity & productivity are closely linked; by definition & in human motivation. When we are most creative & expressive selves, we are also more productive."

With boosted creativity, it goes without saying that our children can become more productive in their academic as well as other pursuits.

Dilip, drawing from his strategic forte as a creativity & innovation consultant, will use many interesting games & stimulating exercises to bring out your innate creativity.

With creativity & ingenuity, irrespective of whether you are a student or working pro, you will always start to look at the world from a solution-focused, opportunity-sensing approach.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Monday, November 22, 2010


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

This is my favourite topic, also my strategic forte ~ vision-building.

My real-world experiential understanding of vision-building came from a memorable, though painful, personal encounter from my former "big boss" ~ the late Tan Sri [that's the Malaysian equivalent of "Sir"] Eric Chia, Chairman & CEO of the United Motor Works (UMW) Group during the early eighties, when I had joined them as a manager.

[Readers are welcome to pop into my 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog to read about that encounter.]

My working knowledge was subsequently expanded & fine-tuned when I came across the splendid work of futurist/film-maker/author Joel Arthur Barker during the early nineties, especially his acclaimed 'Power of Vision' video-based training program.

As a matter of fact, one of Barker's wise axioms often reverberates in my head, whenever I talk about vision building:

"Vision without action, is but a dream; action without vision just passes the time; vision with action can change the world."

Nonetheless, the latter then led me to the scholarly works of Canadian educational psychologist Dr Benjamin Singer, Dutch futurist & sociologist Dr Fred Polak, & Holocaust survivor & Austrian psychiatrist Dr Victor Frankl, who wrote his magnum opus, 'Man's Search for Meaning', as well as the research work of strategy consultants Jim Collins & Jerry Porras.

Collectively, they drove home the vital point about the power of vision-building:

Nations, organisations, individuals as well as students with vision are powerfully enabled. Those without vision are at risk.

Just as King Solomon had once said, as reported in the Bible of the Old Testament: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

In the case of students, Dr Benjamin Singer made these startling revelations, back in the sixties:

i) children with vision out-performed their assets;

ii) successful students had one thing in common: a profound belief in their future & their ability in their own efforts to shape it.

Likewise, based on the pioneering research work of Jim Collins & Jerry Porras, visionary organisations out-performed their assets, too.

As a nation, Singapore is a great example! Thanks to the compelling vision - & the strategic foresight - of MM Lee Kuan Yew & his colleagues as well as ministerial stalwarts, Goh Keng Swee, S Rajaratnam, Toh Chin Chye, Eddie Barker, etc., just to name a few of them.

By the way, what is "vision"?

A vision is just a simple idea or mental picture you have in your head about where you want to be in the future.

A clear vision helps one to pursue dreams & achieve goals.

A well-defined vision helps one to focus on the end-state of who you want to be, what you want to have &/or do, & where you want to go.

Generally, it can be applied in two different ways:

1) Inspiration ~ to inspire youself to follow your bliss & pursue your dreams;

2) Anticipation ~ to foresee the changes & improvements you want to have in the future;

When you can envision a future that is better, happier & more productive, you are more likely to make the necessary changes & improvements for yourself to attain that end-state in the future.

To Dr Karl Pribram of Stanford University, who works with sports champions, vision is akin to his "image of achievement".

By the way, what the difference between "vision building" & "goal setting"?

Operationally, they are complementary. A quick one... This is how I look at them:

- vision gives purpose & meaning; goals give direction & power;

- vision comes from the heart; goals come from the head;

At this juncture, I like to share an inspiring quote, to sum up "vision building" & "goal setting":

"If you have a vision and you find that someone doesn't share that vision, you either change the vision or change the people you share it with. We learn and grow one goal at a time. But to set meaningful goals, we need imaginative insight or vision."

~ Dr. Roberta Bondar, the world’s first astronaut-neurologist in space (with Discovery mission, 1992); also, globally recognized for her pioneering contribution to space medicine;

In essence, vision-building is a relatively easy endeavour, if you know how to go about it.

In fact, Dilip will share valuable lessons from the corporate world as well as educational arenas, besides coaching you on how to look at your own life strategically in long-range time-horizons, & also, how to do your own 'lifescape' using his proprietary 'lifescaping' methodology.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]


"... the companies most likely to be successful in making change work to their advantage are the ones that no longer view change as a discrete event to be managed, but as a constant opportunity to evolve the business... In these organizations, change readiness is the new change management..."

~ Chris Musselwhite & Tammie Plouffe, bloggers at Harvard Business Review;

[extracted from their blogpost at HBR; in the post, they shared four ways how organisations could be change-ready;]

I like their definition of 'Change readiness': "the ability to continuously initiate & respond to change in ways that create advantage, minimize risk, & sustain performance".

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The House of Creative Brains is organising a half-day preview of Dilip Mukerjea's creation, 'Championing Students: Making Kids Future-Ready!', tentatively at The Arts House, 1 Old Parliament Lane, on 11th December 2010 for parents & guardians.

For more information about attending the preview, please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

Broadly speaking, self-efficacy refers to having the personal confidence in the mental functioning of your own mind.

More explicitly, it means that you are confident in your personal ability to learn new things, to think about them, to make use of them, to make informed decisions with them, to sculpt decisions into actions, & finally to put them to work in your own life.

In addition, self-efficacy also refers to understanding the consequences of your personal actions, & recognising what you must do to achieve your personal goals & objectives in life, even in the face of adversity.

In a nut shell, for a student who is imbued with strong self-efficacy, he or she will always trust himself or herself of having the personal ability to view his or her academic challenges &/or study problems as "tasks to be mastered".

He or she is likely to develop deeper interests in the tasks, & is also more prepared to try again, when he or she doesn't succeed in performing a task the first time.

His or her thinking is driven by : "I Can Do It! I Will Do it!"

As a result, he or she goes into purposeful action, because ultimately he or she knows that "I will Take Charge! I will Do it Myself!" offers him or her the best choice in life.

After all, life is essentially making choices. More importantly, life is a DIY (do-it-yourself) project

Self-efficacy is the Number 1 predictor & determinant of success in life, academically as well as professionally. This is based on the brilliant work of Canadian psychologist Dr Albert Bandura, who coined the term.

Dr Bandura strongly believes that, to which we fully concur, one's personal success in life is always tied to one's belief or conviction in the personal capabilities to initiate & successfully perform specified tasks.

The entire program from Dilip for both parents & their kids/teens is specifically designed to promote & inculcate academic self-efficacy skills.

I like to leave this inspiring quote from the great Indian statesman, Mahatma Gandhi, to sum up my post:

"If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning."

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Saturday, November 20, 2010


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

Learn about the true power of Pareto's Law or better known to most people as the 80:20 Rule.

Even though Pareto's Law has its origins from economics [Thanks to Italian agricultural economist Vilfredo Pareto who came up with the concept in 1906], today it has myriad applications in practically every sphere of activity, including natural phenomena like bushfires & earthquakes, & notwithstanding the academic world.

With its understanding, one will know how to segregate quickly the "essentials from the non-essentials".

For a student, understanding & applying Pareto's Law gives him or her true learning power, for he or she is now in an enviable position to appreciate the critical difference between "core materials" & "elaborative materials" in the school - & exam - syllabus.

When it comes to studying & preparing for tests & exams, students often jumble up all their reading materials &/or written notes. As a result, their brains are clogged with so much inconsequential stuff when they go into the exam hall.

By the way, what are "core materials"?

"Core materials" are the core knowledge or key concepts, including principles, laws, definitions, formulae & its key variables, as well as the inter-relationship between the variables (as in the case of mathematics & science subjects), taxonomy, nomenclature, major events & dates as well as their causes & impact (especially in the case of history), etc.

What are "elaborative materials"?

"Elaborative materials" are generally examples, illustrations, anecdotes, plus all the supporting notes & minor details that only serve to embellish the core concepts.

Why the importance of knowing the difference?

This is because 80% of the exam questions which a student will encounter in his school experience will invariably come from the "core materials" i.e the 20%!

More importantly, the application of Pareto's Law makes your reading, studying & reviewing more purposeful!

According to research indications [Regrettably, I can't seem to recall the source!], in any given text, irrespective of whether it is academic or business, the most important material accounts for only 4 to 11% of the entire printed matter.

Remember, the brain follows the direction of your dominant thoughts, whether you like it or not. The latter comes from what you focus on & pay attention to.

Neurologically speaking, this has to do with our Reticular Activating System & our amygdala in the brain.

US Navy Seals & even our SAF commandos know this aspect very well, especially when they are assigned to behind-the-scene, covert operations. By the way, they are trained in this skill known as "neuro-focus", & likewise, we can also learn & develop the skill.

With Pareto's Law, your attention to the world, & particularly to your own academic studies, becomes directed, & not easily distracted.

To sum up, powerful people are focused people!

Maverick entrepreneur & billionaire Donald Trump, & our MM Lee Kuan Yew, who is incessantly focused on Singapore's long-term future, are some great examples.

As an active aikido enthusiast & practitioner, Dilip will show you, by drawing a parallel from martial arts, how to develop the power of focus & create a sustainable flow - "mindfulness" - in your school experience.

[to be ocntinued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Friday, November 19, 2010


Here's a link to a fascinating audit of your brainpower from creativity guru Michael Hewitt-Gleeson's School of Thinking.

For the fun of it, just give it a go!


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

Understanding "life skills" must always come first before one can really excel in "study skills".

Our rationale is that, once a student is exposed to "life skills" training, whereby he learns to exercise self-responsibility for his own personal life ["Do not lay blame"; 'Do not justify"; "Do not whine & wimp out!"], & also learn to take control of the future to make it happen for himself or herself, he or she is then more inclined to view "studying" as part & parcel of the journey of life.

The necessary "study skills" which he is expected to acquire will, thus fall in place very nicely, within the larger picture of his overall skills repertoire.

In his myriad programs, Dilip's "life skills" training incorporates developing future-readiness, building personal resiliency & understanding the imperatives of "Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail' philosophy.

A broad spectrum of '21st Century Learning Skills' as defined by leading educational experts & thinkers with the support of several large corporate sponsors (including Apple, Dell, Microsoft) permeates all Dilip's programs.

In a nut shell, it encompasses:

i) Learning & Innovation Skills;

[(a) Creativity & Innovation: thinking creatively; working creatively with others; implementing innovation; (b) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving: reasoning effectively; using systems thinking; making judgments & decisions; solving problems; (c) Comunication & Collaboration: comunicating clearly; collaborating with others;]

ii) Information/Media/Technology Skills;

[(a) Information Literacy: accessing & evaluating information; using & managing information; (b) Media Literacy: analysing media; creating media products; (c) Information, Comunication & Technology: applying technology effectively;]

iii) Life & Career Skills;

[(a) Flexibility & Adaptability: adapting to change; being flexible; (b) Initiative & Self-Direction: managing goals & priorities; working independently, being self-directed learners; (c) Social & Cross-Cultural Skills: interacting effectively with others; work effectively in diverse teams; (d) Productivity & Accountability: managing projects; producing results; (e) Leadership & Responsibility: guiding & leading others; being responsible to others;]

Learning the mechanics of the above will help you to understand better why you should always take an investment approach to your own education:

~ Your Future is in Your Hands;

I like to share with readers an axiom which I had picked up - I can't recall from whom - during the early years of my career in the corporate world. It goes something like this:

"There is no future in any job out there; the only future lies in you."

I think it sums up very well what I want to say here.

Nonetheless, I also like to throw in another axiom from American statesman Benjamin Franklin who once shared his wise thoughts about the value of investing in one's own education, as follows:

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

~ Your Habits Determine Your Future!

Frankly, I can't seem to find the source of the following adage, but it sums up very well what I want to say here too:

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words; choose your words, for they become actions; understand your actions, for they become habits; study your habits, for they become your character; develop your character, for it becomes your destiny."

In his wonderful book, 'Unleashing Genius', Dilip shares a fascinating technique - he calls it, 'Thought Streaming'. Go & read the book.

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email

Readers can also pop into the US-based 'Partnership for 21st Century Skills' for more detailed information about 21st century readiness for every student.

Additionally, I recommend readers to read '21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times', by Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel.]

Thursday, November 18, 2010


[continuation from the Last Post ~ in connection with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.]

This is Dilip Mukerjea's original synthesis & consolidation of the 'World's Most Powerful Learning Systems'.

It will be the precursor to his highly anticipated, state-of-the-art 'Brainaissance University' curriculum, which is now still in the "planning stage". When completed, it will the driving force for all learning ecosystems.

The outline for the 'Mastery Competencies', captured succinctly in the form of "a wheel hub with twelve radiating spokes", can be found on the back page of his wonderful book, 'Unleashing Genius'.

By the way, this is the only book from his portfolio of writings that straddles both the educational as well as corporate domains.

Each spoke of the hub represents one "mastery competency".

Mastering the stunning array of skills sets gives one the competence & capability to survive, thrive & excel in today's fast-paced, rapidly changing, complex world.

To recap, the foregoing learning menu, as Dilip likes to put it, for readers' easy reference, as follows:

[I have deliberately inserted some of Dilip's constant exhortations in his teachings & writings, to expand & reinforce your understanding!]:

1) The Brain;

[A working knowledge about the brain & how it works is imperative for you to make headway in your quest towards personal mastery.

Your brain is your business. Be good to your brain & your brain will be wonderful to you!

Brainpower has replaced horsepower! Brains breed business!

Genius is unleashed when both the 'left' & the 'right' attributes of the brain are working in harmony with one another!]

2) Memory;

[Memory is power! There can be no learning without memory!

There are also no limits to learning!]

3) Visual Tools & Strategies;

[We are living in a dominant visual culture. As much as 90% of what we learned in a lifetime comes to us via visual cues!]

4) Global/Self-Leadership & Personal Mastery;

[Leadership is Learning is Leadership! More importantly, self-leadership must always come first!

In a nut shell, effective leadership is thinking strategically, organising relentlessly, communicate effectively, execute diligently, measuring objectively, learning continuously, mentoring intentionally, & leading passionately!]

5) Brain Fitness;

[There is much more power when the body & the mind move ahead, at the same time, in the same direction. Knowing this secret, apply it to whatever it is you wish to achieve!]

6) Braintertainment;

[As the adage goes: "All work & no play makes Jack a dull boy!"

More importantly, humour is serious business. Laughter is the food of the soul. Medicine may not be a good joke, but good jokes are certainly welcome... they get your brain entertained at no cost!

Also, all quiz parades, puzzles & teasers are always designed to agitate your neurons & flex your mental muscles... thus helping to build your brainpower!]

7) Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship;

[There is a New World to be won; NOW! The choice is: Creativity or Catastrophe! It's about YOUR ability to generate streams of ideas & translate these ideas into business items.

Innovation results when creativity is extended & amplified. Through this, the final product or process is improved.

Entrepreneurship comes to play when innovation is combined with marketing & management, whereby capabilities & resources are put together to attain a businesss objective.]

8) Emotional Intelligence;

[Developing EQ is the veritable pathway to becoming a better human being!

To paraphrase Dilip, "The greatest legacy you can leave for humankind is the quality of your own being."]

9) Recreation/Rejuvenation & Joyful Living;

[If you monitor the quality of your life, you will recognise patterns that exist, & where relevant, be able to take immediate action to make changes for the better...

The quality of your life depends upon the choices you make. Let them be such that you emerge as victor, & not victim.

LIVE passionately
LOVE ardently
LEARN feverishly
LAUGH jouously
& help others along the way!]

10) Self-Efficacy/Powerful Habits of Mind;

[Self-efficacy is the #1 predictor & determinant of success in life!

One's personal success in life is always tied to the inherent beliefs & convictions in one's personal capabilities to initiate & to successfully perform purposefully specified tasks.

Also, your habits of mind ultimately determine your future! Successful people always possess powerful habits.

Napolean Hill's classic, 'Law of Success'; Stephen Covey's '7 Habits for Highly Effective People'; Robert Ringer's 'Million Dollar Habits', & Verne Harnish's 'Mastering the Rockefeller Habits' readily attested to the foregoing observation.]

11) English Language/ Communication Clarity;

[Clarity is Power! Clarity leads to engaged learning & information power.

With Dilip's proprietary 'Sentence Mapping' & 'Generative Vocabulary Building' techniques, building & enhancing your language facility is a piece of cake.]

12) Self-Directed/Life-Long Learning;

[Learning is a continually never-ending process! Leaders are Learners!]

This unique collection of 'mastery competencies' is akin to billionaire investor Charles Munger's 'Latticework of Mental Models', which allows one to adopt "systems thinking" or "multi-disciplinary thinking" to problem solving & decision making.

Embedded within this core hub is the Ten-Steps 'SuperBrain Study Skills' for the academic domain.

In a nut shell, these are the 'Ten Steps', with my elaboration:

1) Goal Setting & Goal Getting;

[Goals set your directions; focus your attention; direct your energy; stretch your potential; more importantly, they activate your 'Reticular Activating System' in the brain.

In the corporate world, this goal setting exercise is called "strategic visioning".

According to consultant Jim Collins, companies with vision always out-performed their assets!

Likewise, according to educational psychologist Dr Benjamin Singer, successful students have a profound belief in their future & in their ability to shape it via their own efforts.

That's to say, students with a clear vision out-performed their assets.

Dr Karl Pribram of Stanford University, who works with sport champions, calls it the "image of achievement".]

2) Self-Management & Task Prioritisation;

[Before you can manage your tasks, you have to be able to manage yourself. One aspect of self-management is being able to organise & keep track of the important things that you have to do to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

According to productivity coach Stephen Covey, this is essentially attaining your "personal victory" first, before you can start to lead, & be a role model to others, i.e. attaining "public victory".]

3) Active Reading, with Power Browsing & Power Comprehension;

[The key to becoming a fast reader is to approach reading as an active, dynamic thinking process, & of yourself as an active, thoughtful reader.

You can slash your reading time by first identifying your purpose, & then, focusing your attention!]

4) Systematic Information Gathering;

[Actually, a lot of readers don't realise this: the first & foremost objective of reading is actually to gather information!

The best way to gather information quickly is to identify & isolate key words or key phrases in the text.

Next, pay attention to the author's text navigational aids, like bold or italic prints, headings & subheadings, bullet points, boxed selections, graphic illustrations, etc., as well as understand the author's text organisational patterns & transitional words which he or she uses to elaborate ideas.

In a way, they serve as some sort of "visual signposts" for the reader. Tactically, they offer vital clues to help the reader to navigate through the text with ease, & to make sense of the text with precision.]

5) Note-Crafting, with a smorgasbord of visual tools & strategies;

[Note-crafting is an art, for you are creating a personal library of facts & ideas from your class experience.

To practise this art effectively, you need to condese what you are reading &/or listening in class, respond to it, record it clearly enough, so that the notes continue to make sense to you when tests/exams come along.

Mind-mapping has proven to be very useful in note-crafting, but it is just one known visual tool.

Different subjects or disciplines may require different visual tools to help you navigate optimally through the text in order to fish out important ideas from the text.

Dilip will share with participants a smorgasbord of visual tools, which are his technological creations.]

6) Power Study, Review, Revision & Rehearsal;

[Research indicates that although your learning actually rises shortly after your brain processes information; without any planned revision &/or rehearsal, you can lose up to 80% of the content within 24 hours.

In a nut shell, the secret to academic excellence, besides goal setting & priority management, is actually very simple: it's studying your notes regularly, reviewing them periodically, revising & rehearsing them adequately for a self-test, & most important of all, starting your strategic lesson review/revision from Day 1!]

7) Memory Recall Enhancement, with 'The Most Important Graph in the World';

[The key to using your memory more effectively is to realise that your brain never loses anything. Once a thought or idea has been input to your memory, it stays there for the rest of your life.

What we call "forgetting" is either the inability to recall stored information or the failure to store important information in the first place.

Dilip will share with participants all the relevant tips & techniques in super-memory management.

One of his favourite techniques is 'Blast off to Super Recall', with the use of 5 major elements: Primacy, Repeated, Outstanding, Personal Associations & Recency!]

8) Rehearsing the Exams, with 'Examining the Examination' techniques;

[An exam is essentially a mind game, a game of 'SPEED' (how fast you can recall) & 'PRECISION' (how well you can respond).

To ace in any exam, you have to learn how to play the game well in order to win it!

The first thing Dilip will share with participants is the mastery of the 100+ 'Test Verbs'!]

9) Strategic Application with Writing Craft;

[In the academic environment, this is the acid test of putting what you have learned to work.

Knowledge is not measured by what you have stored in your head, but by your personal productivity ~ what you do & what you don't!

In a nut shell, you need to organise & express your thoughts clearly as well as cogently in response to the examiner on paper, within prescribed parameters & time-frame.

As a prolific writer - with more than a dozen finely crafted books to his credit - Dilip will be more than happy to share with participants authoring tricks of the trade.]

10) Stress Management & Energy Engineering;

[For a student as well as his or her parents, stress often builds gradually as the school term progresses.

Creativity consultant Doug Hall once remarked: "Stress kills brain cells; stress is definitely not a good idea!"

Explicitly, unresolved stress in the body often impacts the memory indexing capacity of the brain.

As a counterpoint: "What's power when there is no control!", asserts a tyre ad from a well-known manufacturer.

In reality, a resourceful mind state actually gives you the personal control.

As a dedicated Aikido practitioner, Dilip will show participants how to develop a resourceful mind state & to sustain a continuous flow experience, while under trying circumstances.]

Specifically for the student, Dilip will cover all the foregoing study skills sets in depth, with appropriate practices to help students internalise them.

The class coaching methodology, as he puts it, is:

"Fast-paced, pulse-quickeningly interactive, & with ample opportunity to develop these skills in real time. Emphasis is on practical applications, for immediate use, with spontaneous integration in daily life".

[to be continued in the Next Post.]

[For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


[This is essentially a continuation of my earlier post, pertaining to my 'Idea Map' showing the distinctive features of Dilip's programs for the educational domain.

The 'Idea Map' has been crafted in conjunction with the recent launch of a series of new programs intended for parents as well as their school-going kids/teens, under the auspices of 'The House of Creative Brains'.

It serves as an intellectual backbone to the program synopsis for both parties.]

Just like Dilip's programs for the corporate world, under the auspices of the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) for more than decade, both programs for parents & their school-going kids/teens are custom-designed to help participants towards envisioning & preparing for the future.

Dilip & I believe very strongly that what works in the corporate world works in the educational arena as well.

The world out there has changed, & we must change with it. Dilip will show participants how to do it successfully.

Besides sharing corporate lessons in change mastery, Dilip will also coach participants on how to excel in pathfinding, & plotting their career path.

Fundamentally, the program for both parents & their school-going kids/teens shares (and for teachers, too, in large measures) the same distinctive themes, with the following "exceptions":

for parents & guardians (& teachers, too):

- elaboration of the technological underpinnings of Dilip's body of work, with appropriate instructional & coaching components so that, not only they can apply the tools & metholodologies in their own life, but also coaching their own kids/teens; this is based on the principle that parents are their children's first teachers!

for their kids/teens:

- straight into immediate, multiple applications with total relevance to their school life, & of course, their life after school, with some explanations as to why they are doing it your way;

Hands-on applications, under Dilip's systematic coaching, apply to both programs, interspered by short class lectures, meaningful stories, selective video presentations (where appropriate), self-assessments, discovery games, group interactive exercises, project work, etc.

[Dilip's corporate programs in SIM, renewed for 2011, will include: 'Braindancing', 'Building Business Brainpower', 'Corporate Taleblazers', & 'Strategic Visioning with Lifescaping'.

For more information about the series of new programs under 'The House of Creative Brains', please get in touch with Ms. Faye Yeoh via her email]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Dilip Mukerjea has deliberately crafted this 2000 word or so document to test the reading speed of participants in a recent presentation event with parents:

[I have taken the liberty of breaking it into more smaller paragraphs for easier reading online!]

The world is made not from atoms and molecules, but from stories. The art of story is the dominant cultural force in the world; and the art of film is the dominant medium of this grand enterprise. Story serves as metaphor for life.

Teaching and learning, via the art of story, enables us to seek, discover, and propagate elements of truth, and anchor our lives in something larger than ourselves.

Traditionally, humankind has sought the answer to Aristotle’s quest for the meaning of life from the four wisdoms —philosophy, science, religion, art — extracting insights from each to bolt together a livable meaning.

Story isn’t a flight from reality but a vehicle that carries us on our search for reality, our best effort to make sense out of the anarchy of existence.

Children have evolving brains that are tailor-made to respond to story: enchantment leads to enlightenment, and on to excellence! Education, in its truest sense, begets ecstasy!

No culture, especially that which concerns the upbringing of children, can evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates.

We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society. If not, as Yeats warned, “…the centre can not hold.”

Literary and story talent are distinctively different but related. Stories do not need to be written to be told. Stories can be expressed any way human beings can communicate. Theatre, prose, film, opera, mime, poetry, dance, are all magnificent forms of the story ritual, each with its own delights.

At different times in history, however, one of these steps to the fore.

In the 16th c. it was the theatre; in the 19th c. the novel; in the 20th c. the cinema, the grand concert of all arts. The most powerful, eloquent moments on screen require no verbal description to create them, no dialogue to act them. They are image, pure and silent. The material of literary talent is words; the material of story talent is life itself.

Every teacher, especially those who interact with children in their primary years, must acquire skills in speech, drama, and storytelling.

The secrets of successful teaching lie embedded in the art and science of story. Story is about principles, not rules. A rule says, “You must do it this way.” A principle says, “This works…and has through all remembered time.”

Anxious, inexperienced writers obey rules. Rebellious, unschooled writers break rules. Artists master the form. Great teachers have these elements alive in their DNA.

Story is about eternal, universal forms, not formulas. An archetypal story creates settings and characters so rare that our eyes feast on every detail, while its telling illuminates conflicts so true to humankind that it journeys from culture to culture. Or from subject to subject when incorporated into school curriculums.

When talented people write badly it’s generally for one of two reasons: Either they’re blinded by an idea they feel compelled to prove or they’re driven by an emotion they must express.

When talented people write well, it is generally because they’re moved by a desire to touch the audience. These truths also apply to classroom presentations: Talented teachers elocute beautifully, in ways that inspire their students to bring forth their inborn eloquence.

Originality is the confluence of content and form — distinctive choices of subject plus a unique shaping of the telling.

Content (setting, character, ideas) and form (selection and arrangement of events) require, inspire, and mutually influence one another. With content in one hand and a mastery of form in the other, a writer sculpts story.

As you rework a story’s substance, the telling reshapes itself. As you play with a story’s shape, its intellectual and emotional spirit evolves.

We shape the telling to fit the substance, rework the substance to support the design. If you can’t play all the instruments in the orchestra of story, no matter what music may be in your imagination, you’re condemned to hum the same old tune.

Every teacher must acquire a repertoire of skills that blend, metaphorically and literally, the magic within music and dance, art and science, spirituality and humanity.

Storytelling is a work of art that reveals the art of work. Look upon yourself as an artist, and as a work in progress — a grand story able to dispense streams of tales, fables, anecdotes, and liturgies that light upon, and light up, all souls.

Your narratives and parables come to life when they exude meaning, beauty, enjoyment, and excitement…stemming from imagination, emotion, intelligence, and experience. You are then the creator of an atmosphere brimming with the kind of infectious enthusiasm and wonder found generally only in children.

Teaching, learning, and creating can never succeed in cut-and-dried forms; this is a barren approach. Life must be ennobling. When you are creative, you are the architect of something meaningful that would never have existed if you hadn’t been there.

You are the creative spirit behind the chord that haunts, the phrase that thrills, the movement that enchants, and the scene that lingers. Great stories help you radiate the richness of your spirit: they need not be elaborate, as long as they are emotionally, and aesthetically rich, and crafted to propagate joy.

In the business world, the fundamental stories within each organization begin with their vision and mission statements. Yet numerous people get mixed up between these two tenets of business behaviour.

A simple explanation: Christ had a vision and sent out a multitude of missionaries; he didn’t have a mission and send out a dispersion of visionaries! Visions and missions have different designs and directions, and their stories emanate differing aesthetics.

The four biblical modes of worship are present in healthy churches: liturgy, reading and exposition of the Bible, small group worship, and charismatic praise.

Story lies embedded in all these forms. The path of the future lies in incorporating fresh narratives that portray methods of viewing God in a way that can bridge the gap between Christian myth, and today's evolving consciousnesses.

In doing so, we shall be doing no more than did others in their time, drawing on the cultural milieu in which they lived, but with a language and spirit relevant to life today.

Stories must evoke passion and compassion, love and loyalty, courage and conviction, hope and spirit, adventure and achievement, using the ‘old’ to create something new, via leaps of imagination.

Children are far superior to adults at translating imagination into creativity: their hearts are not distorted by fears that reprimand them about their work not being good enough for display.

They aren’t afraid of their own imagination! Their minds are bristling with artistic tension, alive with swashbuckling intelligence in being able to connect and interconnect disparate pieces of information to bring forth an original work of art.

The word intelligence is born from the words in Latin for “between” and “reading.”

Thus, intelligence is the ability to read between the lines; and coupled with imagination, beyond the lines! Great teachers are not preachers; they are ‘reachers’ ~ they reach out and touch souls; their stories glisten with genius.

All brilliance incorporates a balance between gift and grit: it comes alive when we are able to see possibilities, anticipate feelings, recognize connections, and accumulate insights. These phenomena can be beautifully expressed via storytelling, song, and dance… the essence of play, where play power trumps power play!

Imagine teachers being the troubadours, balladeers, and minstrels of the intellect! Classrooms will be awash in animated artistry.

Great storytelling plants impulses in people, infusing them with a personal urgency to express something original, beautiful, meaningful. Great teachers distinguish between the mundane and the musical. They are able to express emotions that might otherwise stay unconscious.

Epiphanies ensue when we are deeply immersed and simmering in our creations. Teachers that instruct to inspire such ‘emergences’, succeed in transforming passive pupils into active actors; this is where teaching, learning, and creating come together with firecrackling finesse — a mutually reinforcing energy exchange.

Learning must move from static to fluid, separated to connected, discrete to continuous, passive to passionate. And it must exude beauty that is not just pleasant but arrestingly so. Beauty simultaneously quickens the pulse and quells the mind.

Real beauty, as in art such as the Venus de Milo, is both stimulating and restful. Great stories evoke the same sensation, an oxymoronic duality of calming stimulation that makes beauty so memorable.

It’s the duality that delivers the excitement, and makes the event unforgettable. And enjoyment emerges from finding what’s fresh in what’s familiar. Familiar freshness, another welcome oxymoron that is essential to creative content, and contentment.

For meaning to emerge, our communication must establish a bridge between the personal and the universal. This is why parables are peerless, priceless, and precious. Our stories should stimulate us to consider what gives our lives meaning.

To do so, we must think in both the present and the future tenses: “What have I created? What will I leave behind?

The actor-comedian Billy Crystal relates a lesson he learned early in his career. After a performance, he came off stage believing he’d done a great job. But a mentor cautioned him, “You didn’t leave behind something.”

Crystal realized that to be successful on stage (and that could extend to life, the ultimate stage) you must leave something of your self for the audience, something that goes beyond you the performer, and bequeaths what you are, who you are, what you represent, why you are peerless, priceless, and precious.

Great teaching calls upon individual stories to convey universal themes. Life has no meaning; we give it meaning. Similarly, stories feed the universal need… for meaning.

The best way to reach into people is to share something personally meaningful; we do this when we’re in the service of a purpose that is larger than ourselves.

Consider three different types of stonemasons: One says he’s cutting stone, another claims he’s erecting a wall. The third states he’s crafting a cathedral! He is the one who has seen the connection between the art of work and a work of art….and is doing something about it. He is transporting himself from creative and imaginative exertions to produce beautiful and meaningful outcomes… for the greater good of humankind.

Edward Morgan Forster, (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970), was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist.

Forster's humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howard’s End: "Only connect". Forster states: "The king died and then the queen died" is a story. "The king died, and then the queen died of grief" is a plot. Succinct, suspenseful, superb.

In his book of lectures, Aspects of the Novel, central to his chapter on ‘story’ he states: “We are all like Scheherazade’s husband, in that we want to know what happens next. That is universal and that is why the backbone of a novel has to be a story.”

Similarly, the backbone of good communication, teaching, and learning, has to be story.

Forster continues: “And now the story can be defined. It is a narrative of events arranged in their rime sequence — dinner coming after breakfast, Tuesday after Monday, decay after death, and so on. Qua story, it can only have one merit: that of making the audience wanting to know what happens next.

And conversely it can have only one fault: that of making the audience not wanting to know what happens next. These are the only two criticisms that can be made on the story that is a story. It is the lowest and simplest of literary organisms. Yet it is the highest factor common to all the very complicated organisms known as novels.”

And it is the highest factor common to the needs and demands of teaching, learning, and communicating.

All creative expression is created ad maiorem gloriam dei, toward God’s greater glory. Tell your tale, sing your song, pen your poem, whatever you do: tell your story!