I’m not a big fan of infographics. When you boil things down to sound bites, you lose all the nuance and context. Not only that, but learning comes from real-world experience and mentorship, not statistics and inspirational quotes.Imagine my surprise to find an infographic that’s actually somewhat useful on how famous CEOs deal with stress. Not that I stress over that sort of thing, at least not anymore. When you’ve been around as long as I have, you’ve either found what works for you or find yourself locked up in a padded room somewhere.Besides, the pressures of being a senior executive in the high-tech industry are enormous. You either learn to control it or it will control you. The same goes for running a small business. It’s always feast or famine and each extreme produces its own unique form of psychological torture.You have to learn to manage whatever life throws at you. And while the Infographic does offer some solid advice, I wanted to provide some context to sort of round it out and make it even more helpful.First, let me dispel a common misconception about stress. It’s not necessarily bad for you. Not to get technical here, but physical and mental stress from competition and adversity can actually drive you to perform your best work. We often come up with our most inspired ideas and innovative solutions under stress. Some people thrive on it. Others, not so much.
Only 20 percent of a child’s waking time is spent in school. That means that even with the best schools, the best teachers and the best educational policy, schools cannot close the achievement gap. To be sure, mountains of research demonstrate the significance of early schooling in changing learning trajectories for young children. With 25 percent of the population having 10 or fewer age appropriate books in their home, high-quality preschools offer exposure to reading and to the rich language conversations that support literacy. For children rarely exposed to puzzles and blocks, high-quality preschools grow the spatial ability that will promote strong STEM skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For children who are not read to or talked to or encouraged to control and channel their feelings constructively, preschool helps them to develop the self-control they need to profit from further schooling. High-quality preschool prepares children for entrance into formal schooling. But preschools cannot do it alone and preschool failures cannot be blamed for the persistent gaps that have plagued American education since 1975. Perhaps it is time to augment debate about universal preschool with discussions of how to build learning communities that enrich children’s experiences at home, in school and beyond.
Contrary to what many people feel, public speaking is a classic example of a function learned through practice. Great speakers are made not born. As are just plain old good ones. And, of course, it’s an invaluable management skill.I can speak from experience on the subject, having had minimal abilities to begin with, but improving over the course of a management career through trial and error and coaching and repetition. But don’t take it from me, an unremarkable retired Fortune 500 executive. Take it from the examples of this eclectic famous five: Warren Buffet, Winston Churchill, Tiger Woods, Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Five exceptional public speakers who share one attribute: All once dreaded the limelight. They all feared speaking in front of others.