Role Models and Resolutions: Learning from Former Struggling Learners

February 11, 2010

by Mary-Dean Barringer, CEO, All Kinds of Minds

It’s hard to resist the temptation to make a few New Year’s resolutions each year—resolutions that typically focus on something we to change to improve ourselves. We look to people we admire for their success (whatever that might mean to us—popularity, wealth, fitness, power, balance) for our inspiration. Rarely do we contemplate that the success of a current role model may have resulted from his or her own resolve to conquer a lifetime of challenges. Yet for so many of today’s successful adults, the road involved taking a long-haul view—and looking to others for help over hurdles along the way.

I’ve learned a great deal about resolve from many of the successful individuals who have been involved with All Kinds of Minds. Two individuals in particular come to mind. For both, as students who struggled in school, a promising adult life seemed elusive. Both of them have written terrific books that can inspire those who are helping students “stuck” in a learning struggle chart a roadmap for long-term success.

Paul Orfalea’s story has been highlighted by Fortune magazine as an example of the many CEOs who struggled with learning as children. Paul, who founded Kinko’s, recounts his journey from a student on whom most educators gave up to successful businessman in his autobiography, Copy This! Paul also graciously agreed to reflect on this journey in the foreword to All Kinds of Minds’ forthcoming book, Schools for All Kinds of Minds: Boosting Student Success by Embracing Learning Variation.” (Read more about the book here.) click to finish article

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