Episodes

Episode 42: Ladder to the Sky

Episode 42: Ladder to the Sky

For a west Philadelphia high school dropout, Troy Carter has had an incredibly impressive career where as a talent scout, manager, and producer he has launched artists like Lady Gaga to fame. However, his creative entrepreneurship transcended industry silos as he has become first of his kind to be an angel investor in more that 100 Silicon Valley startups including Spotify. But as a child, Troy was so tiny that he would always be in the front and center in all school pictures while class giants would tower over him in the back. While kids were busy teasing him for his small stature, Troy’s 5th grade teacher Ms. Moore always addressed him as “big guy” making him feel like he was 6’5”. When asked about the confidence he brings to the boardroom as he sits among market-savvy and highly educated folks with mile-long credentials, Carter fondly gives all the credit his favorite teacher who made him feel not only that he belonged, but that he was special.

On today’s podcast, Dr. Kathy Perez, a Professor Emerita at Saint Mary’s College of California, returns to talk about what it means to invest in every child and what the key ingredient is to empowering children to be their best. Dr. Perez’s personal love for children and teaching is quite inspirational.

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Episode 41: The Engagement Consultant

Episode 41: The Engagement Consultant

Each day, more than 7 million children in the United States are left to their own devices for at least some period of time after the school day ends. And research shows that children who are deprived of a supervised environment by a supportive adult are likely to develop a gamut of academic and behavioral problems. Sometimes the only nurturing adult in a child’s life is a teacher who encourages them to take academic and social initiatives, crafts opportunities for inner growth, and bonds emotionally to provide the loving care needed for the development of the whole child. The most engaged learners demonstrate secure interpersonal relationships, sound social awareness, and strong self-regulation. Similarly, the most engaged teachers have strong executive function and they use them to till the classroom soil.

On today’s podcast, Dr. Kathy Perez, a Professor Emerita at Saint Mary’s College of California, will discuss importance of the social-emotional learning (SEL) in everyday curriculum and the secret to fostering deeper learner engagement.

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Episode 40: A Mistake Stick Sounds Better

Episode 40: A Mistake Stick Sounds Better

When Office Depot® sells a pencil on their website the description says, “Brand Basic Wood Pencils, #2 Medium Soft Lead, Pack Of 36”. Now take a look at Nick Offerman’s website and see how he sells a pencil. He’s the actor who famously brought the character of Ron Swanson, a colorful crank, to life in the sitcom Parks and Recreation. First of all, Offerman Wood Shop (OWS) calls it a Mistake Stick and the description says, “Keep an OWS pencil in your beard/bun at all times because you never know when you’ll need to jot down a cut list, bifurcate a compound angle, label your jerky or add a few inches to your scratching reach.” As you can see, language has the capacity to tantalize the curiosity, tease the appetite, tickle the funny bone, or simply transport you to an imaginary place. With a gift of enriched language and mature executive function skills, you can even sell snow to an Eskimo. On today’s podcast, Dr. Julie Ann Washington from Georgia State University returns to discuss challenges in raising and educating children from low socio-economic backgrounds whose disadvantages are compounded by chronic stress, minimal exposure, and a lack of resources. For these children, specific language impairment and impoverished language can impact the development of written language, general educational trajectory, and overall mastery of executive function.

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Episode 39: Meet Me at the Margins

Episode 39: Meet Me at the Margins

On April 11, 1734, a tiny notice appeared in the small corner of the Pennsylvania Gazette owned by Benjamin Franklin that read, “Ready money for old rags”. People poured in just as expected. Franklin, the entrepreneur extraordinaire, who also held a license to print paper currency, began to send these rags to the mill he owned to convert it into paper money; thus popularizing the notion, rags to riches. Since then, the American psyche has been steeped into the belief that everyone who has the will and the self-control to influence their life can rise above all odds; including poverty and socio-economic disparity.

On today’s podcast, Dr. Julie Washington from Georgia State University talks about the idea that not only that all learners are not created equal, but neither are their learning environments and many are detrimental to a child’s future. In a society that values autonomy, agency, and everything that says self-made, parents and educators are trying their best to reconcile with those who are simply flailing around. The brain’s Executive Function guides and redirects behaviors and attitudes towards goal-oriented actions and flailing around is a sign of the brain not doing too well. Dr. Washington invites us to dive deep into the complexities of educating the marginalized and the disadvantaged.

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Episode 38: A Blueprint for Success

Episode 38: A Blueprint for Success

Every day we go to bed knowing we have left many things unfinished, allowed intrusive thoughts about unfinished business interrupt the work flow, and wasted a lot of time. Even though, the productivity guru Stephen Covey has famously said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” many of us can’t decide fast enough or well enough what that main thing is. The researchers agree that having to make decisions, small or big, every step of the way depletes the mental resource available to each person on a daily basis and the best antidote to that is to not start the day without a plan; and yet, many find themselves wasting this limited but most prized resource without much thought. On today’s podcast, the world-renowned research psychologist and accomplished author of over 35 books, Dr. Roy F. Baumeister, talks about goal-pursuit, self-efficacy, roadblocks to planning, and ways to rethink a daily plan.

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Episode 37: Self-Control – Antidote for Self-Sabotage and Imprudence

Episode 37: Self-Control – Antidote for Self-Sabotage and Imprudence

A secret ingredient in the life of an easy-going, popular kid with lots of friends and good grades is self-control. Eventually, this kid grows up into a focused, accomplished, and well-adjusted adult who lives a physically well-disciplined and financially secure life without ever brushing against the law or criminal justice. On the other hand, those who fail to deploy self-restraint bear the brunt of an onslaught of bad decisions and a life of discontent. On today’s podcast, the world-renowned psychologist and author of the New York Times bestseller Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, Dr. Roy F. Baumeister talks about the mechanism behind self-control – the brain’s internal reins that help pull back and inner brakes to cease oneself from moving forward.

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Episode 36: Seeing Eye Dog for the Mind-Blind

Episode 36: Seeing Eye Dog for the Mind-Blind

Wired magazine once challenged 39 sci-fi writers and creative types to put their artistry to test by writing a 6-word story. Author of beloved Wicked series, Gregory Maguire came back with a clever riposte, “From torched skyscrapers, men grew wings.” These simple string of words sets the brain’s into motion. It wonders, what are the men are thinking, what are they feeling, what was the author thinking, and what do the other readers make of this. While a good writer tickles the reader’s imagination, a good reader imagines the mind and the inner workings of the imaginator extraordinaire. The brain’s highly developed prefrontal cortex is responsible for the Theory of Mind or granting humans the ability to think about one’s own thinking and thinking of others. Today, my guest Dr. Carol Westby returns to discuss the ways to promote the development of Theory of Mind.

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Episode 35: M is for Mindreading

Episode 35: M is for Mindreading

In the world of limitless possibilities, there is a limit as to how much one can know about the minds of others. Take an example: Have you ever been in your head so much that your insecurities catch up with you and you fail to gauge what others are thinking and feeling? It all simply begins when a friend doesn’t return your call; or at least not right away. You begin to guess what her reasons are to not call and from there on, it escalates into this drama inside where you end up wondering if your friend actually hates you or maybe, doesn’t want anything to do with you. Then on Monday morning, you get a call from your friend saying that she went to her dentist on Friday and left her phone there. Your mind failed you! Today, my guest, Dr. Carol Westby, will discuss the concept of Theory of Mind which enables us to understand others’ intentions, feelings, and beliefs by directing our attention to “reading” the minds of others. She will explain how the key to unlock the social struggles of those with Executive function challenges often lies in this “mentalizing” ability.

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ExFiles: Client Story 5 – Prison Indeed

ExFiles: Client Story 5 – Prison Indeed

Frank Darabont’s most prudent decision came when he spent just a $1 for one of Stephen King’s 1982 short stories Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption only to write a mind-blowing screenplay based on the story. Eventually, he directed it into the critically acclaimed and commercially successful film, Shawshank Redemption, which depicts how a wrongfully accused and imprisoned for life Andy Dufresne gets a new lease on life after breaking free from the indestructible shackles. No one needs to go to prison to know being in prison sucks. Today, my guest, Paul Hegarty, tells us why he relates to the struggles of the lead character Andy Dufresne and how in just a few seconds, he went from being a good samaritan to a victim with a substantial brain-injury that brought upon a life of struggle and despair. Just as Andy met Red, a fellow inmate played by Morgan Freeman who knows how things work and helps figure out a way to escape, Paul too met many people along the way who have helped him to rise above his challenges and restore his life into a joyful endeavor. Personally, I’m thrilled to have been Red! Paul’s story inspires everyone to search for the key so that we too can raise our hands in triumph when we get out!

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Episode 34: Beating Down the Ho-hum

Episode 34: Beating Down the Ho-hum

What war can you win with a deck of cards, a bible, a dictionary, and a bottle of sherry? A war against the drudgery of daily mundane. To bring a semblance of normalcy, to push against her personal limits and to invoke her creative genius, for many years, Maya Angelou rented a hotel room where she placed these four simple objects and did her best work. Known for her prolific writing career, Maya Angelou could not have accomplished her success if it weren’t for a complete surrender and a deal of great respect for carefully crafted meaningful routines.

On today’s Full PreFrontal podcast my guest Dr. Christine Carter, the author of the best-selling books including, “The Sweet Spot: How to Achieve More by Doing Less” (2017) returns to talk about ways to elevate personal productivity while enjoying the day-to-day rigmarole.

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