Thursday, April 24, 2014

Incredibly, the SEC Sets Forth Its View: Suitability Standard is the Same as Fiduciary Standard

Recently I've been letting others know that we've likely lost much of the fiduciary battle in Washington, DC. For a recent summary of a presentation I did on this, see Chris Carosa's FiduciaryNews: "Is Famed Fiduciary Advocate Ron Rhoades Ready to Concede Defeat."

Why? Wall Street and the insurance companies have decided to do "whatever it takes" to defeat the application of a bona fide fiduciary standard. And the revolving door at the SEC means that Wall Street pulls the strings of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission through outsized influence. A key former SEC staffer has confirmed, in recent conversations, the extent of Wall Street's regulatory capture of the SEC.

NOW, the death of the fiduciary standard, at the hands of the SEC, has finally been confirmed. The SEC is on a path to adopting regulations which gut the fiduciary duty of investment advisers, in favor of suitability. In fact, in an incredible statement from an SEC staffer, the fiduciary duty has been equated with the much lower suitability standard. In nearly the same breath the "advantages" of FINRA have been seemining touted.

Compliance Intelligence has now provided a summary of a speech by the SEC's David Blass. The entire article can be found here: "SEC Office: Fiduciary Duty Isn't Higher than Suitability" (Subscription required.)

Here are a few excerpts from that article:

"The fiduciary duty imposed on investment advisers should not be considered to be any 'higher' than the suitability standard applied to broker/dealers, given the many other rules B/Ds must comply with, according to David Blass, chief counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets."

"'I don’t think that the adviser fiduciary duty is higher than suitability,' rather they are separate concepts and suitability exists within the particular framework of B/D regulations, which includes many other rules, Blass told attendees at a Practising Law Institute event in New York Tuesday. 'You can’t think of fiduciary duty and suitability alone.'"

"The Division of Trading and Markets is helping to lead the fiduciary duty discussion within the SEC, Blass said, adding that it is taking into account the respective regulatory regimes and circumstances surrounding B/Ds and IAs. He pointed to the relatively low cost arbitration forum provided to B/D clients by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the lack of such an option for IA clients, as an example of the ways in which the industries and their relationships with clients differ."

Pro-fiduciary advocates have been warning that, given the substantial money that has been pouring into Washington, DC, and the revolving door between Wall Street (and the law firms that serve Wall Street firms) (and Mr. Blass is a perfect example of same), that the fiduciary standard is under attack. What we are seeing is the SEC adopting a "new federal fiduciary standard" (as proposed by SIFMA and FSI, Wall Street's main lobbyists). This "new federal fiduciary standard" is not even close to the bona fide fiduciary standard set forth in the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

For an SEC official to equate the "suitability standard" with the much higher true "fiduciary standard" goes against testimony by several industry spokespersons before the U.S. Congress in recent years, in which they expressly acknowledged that the fiduciary standard was higher than the suitability standard. It goes against important judicial decisions, including the seminal U.S. Supreme Court case of SEC v. Capital Gains. It goes against numerous rulings and statements and reports issued by the SEC itself over the eight decades of its existence. And it goes against thousands of years of legal history.

While there exists some room for legitimate debate about the scope of fiduciary duties, from reading this article about Mr. Blass' comments I wonder if I'm on the same planet as he is. Unfortunately, this appears to be confirmation of what we have long suspected - the SEC is seeking to re-define the fiduciary standard of conduct, the highest legal duty under the law, out of existence.

To all those who ...
   - are concerned about the fiduciary standard of conduct;
   - who desire consumers to receive expert advice in their best interests; and
   - who desire a true profession for financial planners and investment advisers ...

what now?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

10 Strategies to Motivate Students: Instilling the 3 S's in SUCCESS

10 Strategies to Motivate Students via the Three S’s in Success:
S.M.A.R.T. Goals; Self Control; and Socialization
Asst. Prof. Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP® ◊  January 14, 2014
(The following materials are from a presentation I provided to my colleagues at Alfred State in January 2014. Professors and teachers - if you desire a MS Word version of the following, please e-mail me at, and I will send it to you. Thank you.)
"Our primary job— in whatever academic discipline we have received our training— is to teach the students we find in front of us … If we as professors do not establish a human connection with our students, many of them will get lost in the system and fail to reach their goals. If we … reject them as ‘unprepared for college’ - many of them will not experience the academic transformation for which college is famous.” - Daniel De Roulet and David Pecararo
We Determine How We React. Many of our students are unprepared for college. No revelation here! Can we control that? Perhaps, with advocacy, over time we can seek changes in our system of primary and secondary education and require better-prepared new college students. But such desired changes will take time. What we can control now, however, is how we react to this increased unpreparedness. We can choose to care (but still insist on students’ acceptance of personal responsibility).
Foundational Skills Instruction. Instruction is needed for students in three broad areas of foundational skills, what I term the “Three S’s in Success”:
        First, the capacity of students to develop and implement “S.M.A.R.T. Goals” on a semester-by-semester basis throughout college;
        Second, student self-awareness of the most important determinant of success in all aspects of one’s life: “self-control” (perseverance, grit); and
        Third, all students need to master the ability to meet and greet others, hold a conversation, network, engage in small talk where appropriate, and establish and maintain meaningful personal and professional relationships with others – what might be referred to “socialization” skills.
Emphasize to Students the Importance of General Education Courses. Our general education courses emphasize skills and knowledge critical to college success. All professors can emphasize to students the need to approach these courses with the attitude that these courses are highly important for those students’ future success. Students should look at these courses as essential foundations and the opportunity to gain important skills. Never just state to a student: “You’ve got to get through this course.”
Develop Core Skills in Your Own Courses. Yet, the burden of fundamental skills enhancement cannot be placed solely upon the instructors of our general education courses. All of us should seek to emphasize and develop the core skills employers will be expecting of our graduates.
Seek to be a Model. John Gardner wrote, all the way back in 1981, “Students need mentors and facilitators. They need, in the words of Carl Rogers, authentic professional human beings who are worthy of emulation. They need models who exhibit professional behavior, a sense of commitment and purposefulness, and a sense of autonomy and integrity in a world that generates enormous stress.”[3]
Enclosed Materials – 10 Strategies. The following materials are offered as resources and tools you may be able to adapt in your classrooms, as a means of enhancing the foundational skills of your students. Encourage students’ self-awareness of the many skills they need to succeed.

Overview: Encourage a Growth Mindset 
Strategy #1: Undertake Early Intervention after Your First Major Class Assessment
Strategy #2: Explain to Students the “Top 10” Skills
Employers Look for in New College Graduates
Strategy #3: Enhance Faculty-Student Relationships
Strategy #4: Bring Passion To Your Teaching Each And Every Day!
Strategy #5: Develop Students’ Writing Skills in Every Course
Strategy #6: Encourage S.M.A.R.T. Goals Adoption by Students
Strategy #7: Get to Know your Students via “Student Questionnaires”
Bonus Strategy: The Ten-Year Question Essay for Long-Term Goals Establishment
Strategy #8: Embrace a Culture of Success in your Class through Daily/Weekly "Success Tips”
Strategy #9: Smile and Greet Exercise to Enhance Student’s Socialization Skills
Strategy #10: “Expand Your Comfort Zone” Exercises
Bonus: “Ooze Confidence” (And if you are not confident … then fake it!) 

Overview: Encourage a Growth Mindset
The brain is malleable. It gets stronger and stronger, and works better, with exercise. Each time students stretch the boundaries of their limits in some way – whether it be through greater self-control, socializing better, or learning something new – the brain forms new connections. In other words, neither students’ intelligence, nor their abilities and thinking skills, are fixed. The question is … do your students take full advantage of this malleability by possessing a growth mindset?
Mindset is the cognitive view that individuals develop for themselves. Students likely possess one of two mindsets: (1) a fixed mindset, in which a student believes that her or his qualities are carved in stone and cannot change; or (2) a growth mindset, in which a student believe that her or his qualities can change and improve through effort.
In writing her book, MINDSET – HOW YOU CAN FULFIL YOUR POTENTIAL (2006), Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford University, who created the concept of mindset, studied first year pre-med majors taking their first chemistry class. Students with a growth mindset got higher grades than those with a fixed mindset.  Even when they did not do well on a test, the growth mindset students bounced back on the next test.
While fixed mindset students focused on memorization of terms verbatim, growth mindset students took charge of their motivation and learning, searching for themes and principles in the course. While fixed mindset students upon receiving bad scores just “moved on” (many dropping out of pre-med), growth mindset students went over their mistakes until they understood why they made them. In other words, growth mindset students studied to learn, not just to ace the test.
What is required for a growth mindset? It’s easy for students to withdraw into a fixed mindset when the going gets tough. But as students bump up against obstacles, they need to instead keep growing, work harder, stay the course, improve their learning strategies, and thereby become a more successful student.
What can professors do to encourage a growth mindset in their students? Several strategies are available:
  • Model effective learning by showing the students you love learning too.
    • Bring new material into the classroom each semester.
    • Discuss recent developments and relate them to the material the students study.
  • Try new things (and even, occasionally, tell students you are trying new things).
  • Avoid cynicism.
  • Explain the effort required in a course to succeed in achieving the learning objectives (not the amount of work needed to obtain top grades). 
    • Discuss the concepts of “self-control” and “grit.”
    • Explain how much time, on average, students should put into a course, other than in the classroom.
    • Encourage students to review incorrect work. Even to the point of requiring students to re-submit their work.
    • Relate the growth mindset concept. By placing students firmly in a growth mindset, each student can picture his or her brain forming new connections as the challenge is met and the lesson learned. It is this powerful mental imagery that should give many students the drive to persist at what they seek to accomplish.
  • Encourage students positively through praise and constructive criticism, with the goal of assisting the student to grow and learn.
    • Praise has far more impact on student success than negative criticisms.
    • However, praise that focuses on intelligence and personality attributes can be counter-productive. It is far better to praise efforts and achievements. Praise the process, not the innate talent.
  • Create an atmosphere of trust, not judgment.
    • Possess a deep personal commitment to each and every student. Don’t prejudge certain students as failures.
  • Suggest to students that they visualize how they would use the knowledge they have learned in the future.
  • Stress that failure, at times, is inevitable in life. But committing a failed act does not make that person a failure.
    • Relate to students that most of the great achievements in the world come from those who have overcome failures and obstacles.
    • Failure should be embraced and encouraged and not discouraged and frowned upon – because failure is the beginning of new learning.
  • Encourage belief in self. Students do their best when they think they can do it, and they fail when they think they cannot. And, stress that you believe in each student – they made it here to Alfred State, and with effort and grit each and every one can succeed.
    • Convey the message: “You are a developing person and I am interested in your development.”
  • Set high standards.
    • Let students know what you expect.
    • Tell students you expect their best effort.
    • Adhere to those standards.

Examples of Growth Mindset Praise. (Source: Dweck, Mindsets, 2006, p.177-178) 
We can praise them [students] as much as we want for the growth-orientated process – what they accomplished through practice, study, persistence, and good strategies. And we can ask them about their work in a way that admires and appreciates their efforts and choices.
  • “You really studied for your test and your improvement shows it. You read the material over several times, you outlined it and you tested yourself on it. It really worked!” 
  • “I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that algebra problem until you finally got it.  You thought of a lot of different ways to do it and found the one that worked!” 
  • “I like that you took on that challenging project for your engineering class. It will take a lot of work – doing the research, designing the apparatus, buying the parts and building it. Boy, you’re going to learn a lot of great things.” 
  • “I know school used to be easy for you and you used to feel like the smart kid all the time. But the truth is that you weren’t using your brain to the fullest. I’m really excited about how you’re stretching yourself now and working to learn hard things.”
  • “That assignment was so long and involved. I really admire the way you concentrated and finished it.”
  • “You put so much thought and creativity into this essay. It really makes me understand this concept in a new way.” 

What about a student that worked hard and didn’t do well? 
  • “I liked the effort you put in, but let’s work together some more and figure out what it is you don’t understand.” 
  • “We all have different learning curves. It may take more time for you to catch on to this and be comfortable with this material, but if you keep at it like this you will.” 
  • “Everyone learns in a different way. Let’s keep trying to find the way that works for you.” 

Dweck (2006, p.7) states that: “...a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable) … it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.”
Strategy #1: Undertake Early Intervention after Your First Major Class Assessment
Early intervention with students during each academic term is essential – don’t wait for mid-term grades! Set aside time on your calendar to intervene with students performing poorly.
If and when you detect attendance, attitudinal, or other difficulties a student may be experiencing, please seek intervention, either directly by you or by a referral to another faculty or staff member, as appropriate.
For example, following your grading of the first major assessment in your class, you could enter into MAP-Works® any concerns regarding students in your classes and undertake referrals to the student’s Academic Advisor, Athletic Coach, EOP or ASOP Coordinator, Academic Support Specialist, and/or others as appropriate.
During Week #3 or #4 of each Fall or Spring semester – set aside time on your calendar to reach out to students who are doing poorly. Let their Academic Advisors know of your concerns and/or intervention. And involve other supporting faculty/staff members to assist with students. Utilize MapWorks® for making referrals to others.
Request students who have performed poorly to self-assess their performance: i.e., require each student to explain what did they do (or not do) that caused their poor (or good) performance, and what specific actions can they take to improve upon their performance.
As stated by Daniel de Roulet and David Pecoraro: “At various points in the term it is helpful to ask students to write written reflections on why they received the grade they received on an assignment. This strategy can be applied to projects, essays, and examinations, as well as to journals, lab reports, or less formal assignments. Asking them to reflect and to turn in the reflection puts in writing an assessment of student effort and success at multiple points during the course. It also turns students a bit away from the grade itself to the quality of the work that goes into earning a grade. It seems good to have students both turn in the reflection and receive a copy of it back.” 
Where possible, specific, time-measured goals should be established by the student. (See discussion of “S.M.A.R.T. Goals” on subsequent pages.)
Request students to respond back to you with their self-assessment, and reply back with an acknowledgement, tips or recommendations. If a student does not respond to you, even greater intervention may be required.
Strategy #2: Explain to Students the “Top 10” Skills Employers Look for in New College Graduates
While students may think that choosing the “right” major is the key to getting a good job, an individual’s long-term professional success will depend far more on acquiring the right skills for a rapidly changing workplace.
Share with your students – “what do employers look for today?” – in order that students understand how the course content and instructional techniques relate to the acquisition of these all-important skills.
1. The ability to work well in teams—especially with people different from yourself.
2. An understanding of science and technology and how these subjects are used in real-world settings.
3. The ability to write and speak well.
4. The ability to think clearly about complex problems.
5. The ability to analyze a problem to develop workable solutions.
6. An understanding of global context in which work is now done.
7. The ability to be creative and innovative in solving problems.
8. The ability to apply knowledge and skills in new settings.
9. The ability to understand numbers and statistics.
10. A strong sense of ethics and integrity.
- This list derived from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (2013)
The good news for graduates … no matter what you have studied in school – whether business, engineering, computer science, or any other major – you will receive instruction in these skills. The trick is to demonstrate that you have those skills through your cover letter, résumé and interview. Think about class projects where you have been a team member or leader and jobs where you have had to plan and prioritize. Describe those skills specifically in your résumé and cover letter.
The survey makes clear that employers want universal skills you can learn across academic disciplines and in any job where you are working with others. The trick is to communicate clearly that you have those skills.
And, while you are still in college, work on enhancing these skills – in the classroom, and through participation in other activities.
Strategy #3: Enhance Faculty-Student Relationships
“The mistake about MOOCs (massive open online courses) is that they discount the central component of effective teaching -- the relationship forged between student and teacher.” – Matt Levinson 
When faculty members create quality relationships with their students, it becomes a bridge between the faculty member and student to confer, collaborate, and communicate. For example, it provides a path for faculty members to support students' disposition development for learning and life. It helps faculty members advocate for students' needs, and it creates a space to learn who our students are—their backgrounds, cultures, and personalities. 
It also can cushion the impact when we have to engage in difficult conversations with students, or serve as a catalyst when we want to recognize students who have distinguished themselves in an exceptional way. Through the relationships that we create with the students, various avenues open and honest conversations emerge about students' needs, struggles, successes, and triumphs. It also allows for faculty members and students to strategize together how best to bolster the successes and address challenges.
Despite an increased depth in the relationship between faculty member and student, the relationship should be, at all times, a professional one. The faculty member is a mentor, not a friend. Friendship exists when the parties are equals. By contrast, a mentor relationship is by its nature a power relationship; the parties are not equal and the relationship is not reciprocal, even though it may have personal aspects. Once a faculty-student relationship crosses a certain boundary, the ability for one party to mentor the other becomes undermined.
Ideas on How to Build Relationships between Faculty and Students ...
Strategy #3-A: Give the Assignment to Take a Faculty Member to Lunch
As a graded assignment mandate that students take a faculty member to lunch (Dutch treat, of course). Students may undertake the assignment either alone, or as part of a group of 2 or 3 students. Students should ask questions of the faculty member with the goal of holding a meaningful conversation regarding some aspect of professional growth and/or career planning. The completion of a short essay rounds out the assignment.
Strategy #3-B: Share a Piece of Yourself
As stated by Leslie Wooten-Blanks: “One of the main obstacles for me was how I was viewed by the students — I often felt that students did not or could not relate to me. Standing before them, I did not have the appearance of one who has ever encountered any difficulties in my lifetime or career. As a result, my students did not find me very approachable in spite of the fact that I had mentioned many times that I was available during office hours and would be happy to speak with anyone. Once the students would make the effort to stop by my office, it seemed that they would learn that I am much more approachable than they had originally imagined.
“I found that self-disclosure bridged the gap between the students and me and led to increased student engagement. In my case, I told them my educational history. I told the story about all of the failures, mishaps and bad decisions. I showed them the real me in a presentation accompanied with real photographs of key individuals in my life. My intentions were to let the students know that they can succeed, no matter how insurmountable the obstacles may seem. At the end of the story, I realized that my story had impacted the students. Further, grades increased in my courses by about 20% after the talk.
“When I spoke, it was to a very attentive audience that seemed poised at the edges of their seats. No one was texting or doing anything disruptive. They found out their professor is a human. Not a robot.” 
Strategy #3-C: Seek Out Faculty-Student Interaction at Scheduled Events and Activities
As stated by Maureen Grasso, Mellissa Barry, and Thomas Valentine: “One method for facilitating positive relationships involves simply increasing opportunities for faculty-student interactions. The majority of programs (91%) arrange for social activities. Of the programs who actively organized social events, 77% percent host events on a weekly or monthly basis and 23% host events between two to eight times per year. Activities ranged from ice-cream socials, coffee and cookies, brown-bag seminars, weekly teas, pizza lunches and periodic happy-hours to more elaborate events like softball games, bowling nights, gatherings at faculty homes or restaurants, annual picnics, new student welcome receptions, student recognition and awards events, holiday parties and formal receptions. These events allowed students and faculty to build professional networks with one another as well as participate in relaxing recreational activities.” 
Strategy #3-D: Encourage Advisees to Meet with their Professors
"Have you talked with your professor yet?" is a favorite question academic advisors ask their students. More often than not, students tell their advisors that they have not engaged their teachers in meaningful conversations outside the classroom. Research (Campbell & Campbell, 1997; Kuh & Hu, 1991) shows that student-faculty relationships are the most crucial connection within a collegiate community.
Like any relationship, those between faculty members and students require nurturing. Advisors who know their students' talents and understand their faculty colleagues' gifts for helping the student grow occupy a unique position where they can facilitate strong relationships between advisees and their professors. Advisors can facilitate conversations between students and faculty members by reminding students that their teachers were once students themselves. Encouraging students to share their concerns with faculty members can give students a different “take” on a problem.
Students should approach each meeting with a professor with an agenda, which might include a list of questions. For example, agenda items might include:
1) What tips do you have for how to do better in your class? (Students should review the syllabus and any other handouts relating to this topic, first!)
2) How did you become an expert in your field?
3) What are the best ways to network with potential employers in this field? 
Strategy #4: Bring Passion To Your Teaching Each And Every Day!
“Light yourself on fire with enthusiasm and people will come from miles                        around just to watch you burn! – Dave Burgess” 
1) Content Passion - Within your subject matter, what are you passionate about teaching? In other words, of all of the topics and standards you teach as part of your curriculum, which are the ones you most enjoy? On days where the subject matter doesn’t fall into our “content passion,” consciously decide to focus on employing professional passion into your classroom activities.
2) Professional Passion - Within your profession, but not specific to your subject matter, what are you passionate about? What is it about being an educator that drives you? What ignites a fire inside you?
Example: “I’m passionate about creating lifelong learners. I’m passionate about increasing the self-esteem and self-confidence of my students. I’m passionate about having students leave my class with a larger vision of what is possible for their lives. I enjoy helping students who are apathetic about [college] get excited about coming to class, even if it is just because of the way I teach my class. I love developing the creative and innovative spirit of my students. I am passionate about not letting them fall victim to the horrific educational trends that would have us turn students into test-taking automatons who are able to spit out facts and trivia but are unable to speak about anything of significance or meaning. I want to model and inspire a spirit of entrepreneurship and drive for constant self-improvement in all areas of life. I am also passionate about developing engaging presentations for my material.” – Dave Burgess
3) Personal Passion – Completely outside of your profession, what are you passionate about? Find ways to incorporate your personal passions into the classroom.
Strategy #5: Develop Students’ Writing Skills in Every Course
Writing well is easily one of the most sought-after and useful skills in the business world. Ironically, it is one of the rarest and most undervalued skills among students.
Writing well is a major cognitive challenge, because it is at once a test of memory, language, and thinking ability. It demands rapid retrieval of domain-specific knowledge about the topic from long-term memory. A high degree of verbal ability is necessary to generate cohesive text that clearly expresses the ideational content. Writing ability further depends on the ability to think clearly about substantive matters. Mature writers concurrently juggle the planning of ideas, the generation of text, and the reviewing of ideas and text, placing heavy demands on executive attention.
Accordingly, learning effective writing involves deliberate practice, throughout students’ college years, that trains writers to develop executive control through repeated opportunities to write and through timely and relevant feedback. Knowledge of correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, diction, thesis statements, topic sentences and cohesive links within a paragraph, and global organization of texts are necessary but not sufficient for effective writing. Writers, just like musicians and athletes, must be trained so that what they know is retrieved and creatively applied during composition.
Appropriately distributed practice is a desirable learning difficulty that promotes long-term retention and transfer of skills. Hence, writing can be practiced across the curriculum in all subjects. In fact, practice can markedly improve college student writing when it is done in the context of a professionally relevant task domain that motivates efforts to learn.
Studies show that the unrewarded work of grading partly explains why writing across the curriculum programs and writing intensive courses reached their peak popularity about 20 years ago and have since been in decline at American universities. 
One suggestion is to assign essays (of any length) as discrete assignments, rather than as part of an exam. Encourage students to visit The Writing Center for assistance with structure and to have their papers reviewed – prior to submission. If a submitted paper fails to live up to your expectations, require the student to re-write the essay, again with a strong suggestion to visit The Writing Center for appropriate guidance.
Strategy #6: Encourage S.M.A.R.T. Goals Adoption by Students
What are “S.M.A.R.T. Goals”?
Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
Who:         Who is involved?
What:      What do I want to accomplish?
Where:     Identify a location.
When:     Establish a time frame.
Which:     Identify requirements and constraints.
Why:        Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
For example, a general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Work out 3 days a week at Orvis Gym, and eat healthier meals, to lose 1 pound a week for each of the next 10 weeks and to feel better about myself.”
Measurable: Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as…… How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?
Attainable / Achievable: When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
Realistic: To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
Timely: A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
On the pages following is a form which students can utilize in establishing S.M.A.R.T. Goals. 
These are my S.M.A.R.T. Goals to propel me to a higher level of success this semester.  
    S: Specific; M: Measurable; A: Achievable; R: Resourced; T: Time-Limited.
I have made a personal commitment to achieve these goals.
     I will concentrate on 3-5 goals each week. I will schedule time to accomplish these goals.
Each Sunday I will track (and record) my accomplishments on this sheet, and
        I will then establish times for accomplishing goals for the following week.
MY S.M.A.R.T. ACADEMIC GOALS:   √ when accomplished
I will achieve an average G.P.A. of _________ in all of my classes this term.
I will attend 90% or more of my classes this term.
I will be an active participant in class discussions.
I will go to the Student Learning Center to receive help in the Math Lab.
I will go to the Writing Center to have my draft of my essays reviewed.
I will request a tutor or another form of assistance for a specific class or classes, if & when my average in a class falls below the avg. G.P.A. goal I set for myself
I will meet with an academic support specialist for assistance with time management or study strategies
I will complete the MAPWorks survey this term, print out & review the results.
I will meet with my academic advisor this term to discuss: (a) any obstacles to my ability to excel academically this term; (b) review the results of my MAPWorks survey; (d) develop my course schedule for next term; (d) ideas relating to networking and finding a position within my chosen career; and (f) review a draft of my résumé.
MY S.M.A.R.T. SELF-CONTROL GOALS         √ when accomplished
I accept personal responsibility for my own success this term.
“9 hours 15 minutes” - I will consistently seek to attain sufficient sleep each night this term, as I may require, to not be drowsy in classes.
• I will set an alarm on my phone to remind me to prepare to go to bed
• I will record my progress as to this goal, and record how I physically feel, through reflection in my journal, once each week.
I will plan out each week, using an hour-by-hour calendar, in order to attain 2-3 hours of study time, on average, for each hour I spend in the classroom.
If I have difficulty starting a project or activity, I will say out loud to myself: “Just do it! Do it, do it, do it! Do it NOW!”
I will spend < 10 hours each week watching television, playing video or computer games, and posting to Facebook.
MY S.M.A.R.T. GOALS TO EXPAND MY COMFORT ZONE”  √ when accomplished
I will smile at all times, every day, when walking between classes and when entering a room
I will greet others (including those I don’t yet know) on campus with a “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” “Good evening,” “Hi,” or “How you doing?”
I will introduce myself three times each week to a student or other person I don’t know, and get to know them better (i.e., I will practice this essential skill)
I will join and actively participate in the following NCAA sports, intramural sports, clubs and/or organizations this term (at least one of which will require some form of civic engagement):
 3. (optional – I won’t overextend myself)
 4. (optional – I won’t overextend myself)
I will attend the following events / activities on-campus this term:
        √ when accomplished
I will develop and maintain a list of potential contacts who may be in a position to land me a good position within my chosen career area.
I will write in my Journal twice a week to record people and events and other things for which I am grateful.
I will write and mail/deliver thank-you notes 3 times a week to new and existing contacts, family members, friends, and those who have done a service for me.
I will perform 3 random acts of kindness each week, & record them in my Journal.
If I choose to go to parties or other places where alcohol may be served, I will go with a group, and at least one of my friends will be the “Designated Friend” (who will not drink and who will assume responsibility for watching over me, should I inadvertently drink to excess and possess impaired judgment).
I will revise my résumé this term to reflect all of my activities to date, and I will look for “gaps” in the résumé that need filling.
Strategy #7: Get to Know your Students via “Student Questionnaires”
Here’s an idea … give each student a questionnaire to complete at the beginning of each semester. 
In this way, you can better identify students who possess special needs, who possess severe social anxiety, or who might be engaged in work or other activities that may interfere with their ability to fully attend and be engaged in class.
You can also identify students who may be involved in NCAA or other sporting activities, or who possess work commitments, which may challenge their ability to either attend every class or devote sufficient time to their studies.
One use of the form is to identify students who, due to social anxiety, are reluctant to speak up in class. It is often possible to approach these students, requesting that they be prepared to respond to a specific question during the next class. Thereafter, as they continue to practice such interactions, you can work toward calling on them at any time during class.
The form can also set the stage for students’ assumption of self-responsibility for their own actions.
On the pages following is a suggested form of questionnaire that might be adapted for this purpose.
Your proper completion of this questionnaire is worth up to 1% of your final grade.
As your instructor, I desire to learn more about you, your progress at Alfred State, and to discern any obstacles that may impede your success in this class.  I also seek to desire your expectations for this class and your expectations of me.
Please complete the following Questionnaire prior to Tuesday, January 21, 2014, at 2:00 p.m., via Blackboard (under “Assignments”). Please download the document from Blackboard, complete same, and submit via Microsoft Word.
(If you possess more than one class with me, you need only complete and submit this questionnaire in one of the classes. I will provide you with credit for all classes.)
While many questions require just short answers, some questions require you to write a paragraph or more. The questionnaires will be graded. Grammar and spelling are important.
Please feel free to elaborate upon any answer, as you desire, either on these pages or separate pages.
Thank you. – Dr. Rhoades
  1. Please type your name (First, Middle Initial, Last)
  2. Your preferred nickname:
  3. What is your date of birth?
  4. What is the name your hometown? (City and State)
  5. What is your major?
  6. Who is your faculty advisor?
  7. Do you intend to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree?
  8. Do you intend to pursue any graduate-level education (Master’s, Doctorate, etc.)?  If yes, what types of degrees / programs are you considering?
  9. Do you have any internships scheduled already?  If so, with who (Name of firm, city, state)?
  10. Do you have any permanent jobs lined up for post-graduation?  If so, with who (Position title, name of firm, city, state, start date)?
  11. What career paths most appeal to you?  (Describe career or position; you may indicate more than one of current interest to you.)
  12. Are you working now?  If so, where, and how many hours (on average) each week?
  13. What campus sports, if any, are you involved in?  Do you have any time commitments with those sports which might interfere with your ability to attend any class this Spring?
  14. What other campus organizations are you involved in? (List all, and describe level of your involvement – heavy, moderate, light – and list any positions you hold in such organizations)
  15. Is there anything that may prevent you for attending class and being present on time at the beginning of each class session? If “yes,” please explain.
  16. Is there anything that may prevent you from achieving an adequate amount of sleep (“9 hours 15 minutes … need I say more”) in order that you are fully awake and not drowsy during class – in order that you can learn with maximum effectiveness?
  17. Is there anything that would prevent you for successful interactive discussions in class, of which I should be aware?
  18. Is there anything else which might impair your ability to undertake the coursework in this class – including an average of two hours of outside work for each classroom hour, of which I should be aware?
  19. What are your personal goals for this class? AND … What do you expect to learn and do in this class?
  20. How are you feeling about this class, and about college, at this moment? and What is your biggest fear at present?
  21. Is there anything else you desire to make me aware of, as we commence this course?

Another technique I use in some classes is to ask the "Ten Year Question" – along with additional questions – to assist students in establishing long-term goals.
The ten-year question I pose to students is this: “If a doctor told you that you had ten to eleven years to live, and during this time you would be as healthy as you are now, what would you want to do or accomplish so that, at the end of that time, you had no regrets.” (For purposes of this question, assume you have no children, will not have any, or if you have any children now that they are already grown and independent.)
Students are also asked what their perfect job would be in five years, and also in 15 years, and what their perfect “last job” would be just prior to retirement. Students are also asked where they would live, what type of house they would live in, what type of car they would drive, and what hobbies and activities they would pursue each year.
Students are then asked to explore, in the same essay, what they would likely be doing in five or ten years if they do not acquire a college degree.
This essay is all about students establishing long-term goals … and realizing that succeeding in college is important to achieving those goals.
Upon submission of the essay, I move on to explore with students the concept of S.M.A.R.T. Goals (discussed in these materials), as the means of completing building blocks for the foundations of their future long-term success.
Strategy #8: Embrace a Culture of Success in your Class                                          through Daily/Weekly "Success Tips”
Recognizing that our communications are part of the way we deposit ourselves (and the culture we seek to create) into the minds of our students, one part of maintaining and enhancing a culture of success in your class can be found in your communications to our students. These communications can include slogans and inspirational phrases. If “success tips” are provided in many of your classes, and if students write them down and later in the semester submit a short essay describing which, if any, of the success tips, were impactful upon them, students’ perceptions and attitudes can often change for the positive.
Do such slogans and motivational phrases make a difference?  They absolutely can! Here are just two student comments regarding the “success tips” from last year:
    “I really loved the success tips. To me this shows the professor really cares about the students being successful – not just in this class but in life.” 
      “Thank you for pushing me outside my comfort zone.”
Success Tips can be provided by the instructor of any course, either during each class or weekly.
Alternatively, each student can be given the assignment of uncovering a success tip (or motivational saying) that has personal meaning to her or him. The student can then verbally present the success tip at the beginning of a class session (with or without visual aids), explain how the success tip might be applied in everyday life, and provide an example of its application. Emphasis can occur on creativity during the presentation, such as the use of storytelling (as an exceptional presentation technique). Student presentations might be required to be 2-5 minutes in length.

[UPDATE: I had my lower-level students, mostly sophomores, each present a "Success Tip," one at the beginning of each class, in Fall 2014. The result - a greater impact on many students occurred. Students not only came up with some great success tips, but the impact on other students appeared to be greater. Students remarked how they saw that everyone had challenges, and how other students overcame those challenges. In short, many students identified with the other students, adopted some of the presented success goals as their own, and transformed their attitude toward learning and "getting the work done." I still mix in my own success tips, including "Rush Toward Your Fear" (to overcome shyness, see another post about this) and "9 hours, 15 minutes" (the power of sleep), especially in the first couple of weeks. Still, I must check my own ego and acknowledge that peer-to-peer instruction in this area likely has a greater impact than providing Success Tips on my own.]
In order for success tips to have greater impact, require students to write down each success tip on a sheet of paper provided for that purpose. Students might then be asked to write a short essay, during an assessment near the end of the course, in which they select one or more of the success tips and explain how the success tip changed them in some positive manner. If this is done mid-semester, the results may be greater. By reflecting on their favorite success tips, and writing about how those success tips have impacted them, students reinforce what they have learned.]
The fact that success tips might be repeated in two or more courses is not a disadvantage. Rather, through such repetition, accompanied by variations in explaining the importance of the success tip or describing situations in which the success tip might be applied, students are more likely to incorporate the success tip as a habit.
It can also be suggested to students that they identify and write down three success tips, and post these tips above their place of study, or residence. The power of “daily affirmations” can then be explored.
Following are the Success Tips rated “most impactful” by my students in prior years, together with text (and links to videos or other resources), which you may desire to utilize in your class.
• “I am an Alfred State scholar, motivated to succeed. I am part of a diverse, caring community of scholars.”
Having students repeat this phrase helps them to realize that scholarship is a part of their life. It inspires many students to view themselves differently, and propels them to act as a result.
Create the image your students should be, and they will more likely achieve that image.
• “Self-Control: The Most Important Determinant of Success”
The concept of “self-control” can be explained through this 10-minute video: “Sesame Street Tells You How to Get to Sunnier Days Financially” – located at  
More recently, a TedX talk by Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit – The Key to Success,” illuminates the importance of grit (i.e., perseverance and determination) in this 6-minute video: 
• “9 hours 15 minutes”
What Can Sleep Do for You in College? With adequate sleep, you will feel energized and focused.  Your grades will improve.  You will be more vibrant and alive.  You'll smile more.  More people will say about you, "Wow, I'd really like to get to know that person."  You'll even secure more dates!
The Dire Consequences of Insufficient Sleep. Sleep is an important key to health, wellness, cell growth, memory formation, mental agility, physical performance, and peace of mind.  You name it and sleep can improve it. Insufficient sleep can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for themselves and others around them. For example, an estimated 20% of vehicle crashes are linked to drowsy driving.
Short sleep duration is associated with various adverse health effects (e.g., cardiovascular disease or obesity), decreased workplace and public safety, and impaired job performance.  Being drowsy during a job interview will usually result in a short interview.  And, of course, appearing drowsy during a conference with a prospective client, or at a networking event, can easily convey the wrong impression concerning you and your abilities.
How Much Sleep Does a College Student Need? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that healthy adults sleep 7–9 hours per day. For college students the recommended amount of sleep is 9 hours 15 minutes for the average college student, to be fully engaged in all of your classes, and for maximum learning.  (Most college students possess overconfidence in their abilities, and hence substantially underestimate how much sleep they require.)
Yet, 30% of civilian employed U.S. adults (approximately 40.6 million workers) reported an average sleep duration of less than or equal to only 6 hours per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Sleep Advice from Alfred State Students.  Here is some advice from Alfred State students about getting enough sleep:
• “While it may sound self-explanatory, in our freshman year it took some of us some time to realize that he or she needed to get a good night’s sleep.  Once one’s sleep each night increased, so did one’s GPA.”
• “Regardless of how much you might personally need, you will have a hard time concentrating in class – and learning – if you are drowsy.  Also, your ability to retain facts in memory is greatly enhanced when you get enough sleep.”
• “If you get plenty of rest, you will have more energy to make it to every class on time, and to do all of the readings and assignments.”
In Conclusion.  To manage all your time better, get more sleep.  More sleep will also lead to you being nicer, more attractive, and generally more awesome.  And yes, more sleep can even lead to greater socialization.  Better grades is just an added bonus
Additional Resource: Dr. James Maas, THE POWER OF SLEEP.  Watch this 28-minute video: Shorter videos on this subject are also available on the web.
•  “Ooze Confidence”  (And if you are not confident … fake it!)
“Fake it till you make it” is not about faking happiness until you trick yourself into being happy. It’s not about acting like you’re too cool for school until other people also believe you are, and then basing your life around a made-up personality. It’s about confidence. It’s about meeting situations that you feel intimidated by head-on, telling yourself that you’re ready for them, and putting “I-can-DO-this” intentions out there, until you’ve done such a good job convincing yourself that you suddenly can handle the challenge before you.  Appear confident, in everything you do.  And if you are not – fake it!  (By appearing to act confident, those around you don’t know of your insecurities – and it actually trains your mind to think confidently!).
Some YouTube videos which explore the concept of “self-confidence” further:
“How to Build Your Self-Confidence” – Daily Idea - (3:12)  (Walk 25% faster. Stand up straight.  Complement others.  Speak up at least once in each group discussion.  Make time to work out.)
“The Big Bang Theory – Confident Leonard” (0:52) (humor)
Inspirational Video – “Believe in yourself” (Britain’s Got Talent) (3:02)
• “Don’t Lie Down with Dogs – You’ll Get Up with Fleas”
If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas, or in Latin, qui cum canibus concumbunt cum pulicibus surgent
"He that lieth down with dogs shall rise up with fleas" has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack. The quote has a large almost universally agreed meaning of "You should be cautious of the company you keep. Associating with those of low reputation may not only lower your own but also lead you astray by the faulty assumptions, premises and data of the unscrupulous."
Your income is destined to become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  But it got worse.  Your weight is destined to become the average of the five people you’re around most. Your habits (smoking, drinking, etc.) will correlate with those folks. Your level of marital satisfaction, of outside friendship, of ability to play the 1990s video game Street Fighter? All are tied to some degree to those of your peers.
See Greg Reid’s YouTube Video: (2:23).  Also see College Success Series by Pedro De Abreu: “Who do you hang out with” (7:30).   Remember - love your family and friends – but choose your peer group. 
• “If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden
Key words of wisdom from one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time.
It takes “self-control” – making a sacrifice today in order to obtain a greater reward later.  This is aptly explained by behavioral psychologist Dan Ariely in a TedX talk: (17:48)
• “Success is not given to you.  It is earned.”  
The Empirical Value of a College Education.  The Great Recession of 2008-2009, from which the United States economy is still recovering, revealed some stark truths regarding the value of a college education.  Not only do college graduates earn a great deal more over the course of their lifetimes, but also their rate of unemployment is far below that of those who do not possess college educations.  In short, there are jobs out there – for educated and skilled workers.
• “Just Do It.  Do It. Do It. Do It … DO IT NOW!”
Say the foregoing statement out loud to yourself whenever you are tempted to procrastinate.  It works!
Procrastinators don't have good problem solving skills and struggle more with homework than those that did it consistently early.  Here are some videos on avoiding procrastination and using available time more effectively.  Establish your work space to avoid distractions.  “Stop Procrastinating” by Charlie (4:17)
Starting a project is the biggest barrier to productivity.  Use periods of focused, intense work, followed by breaks (90 minutes followed by 15-minute break). See “The Science of Productivity” (3:15).  
Also see “The Science of Procrastination – & How to Manage It” (2:49).
• “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful.”
A great video on this is found at: (6 min.), featuring Eric Thomas (inspirational speaker) and East Carolina running back Giavanni Ruffin.
Eric Thomas also communicates this lesson in a 6-min video, in a classroom: 
Some students watch this video every day - as a daily affirmation. Daily affirmations train your brain to think positively; they are uplifting truths you want to believe and heartwarming convictions about yourself or the world as a whole. They are one of the most effective ways to proactively and permanently change the way you think. There are many “daily affirmation” videos on YouTube which you can explore, and then introduce to your students. Students can also be encourage to make their own daily affirmations – by posting in their dorm rooms or place of study, or even by making their own videos.
• “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” – Dr. Seuss
View the Adam LaDolce video, “Social Freedom” – 8 min. - – why those who look down on you should no longer be a part of your universe.
• “Have passion for what you do.” (Steve Jobs)
Watch this short video at: (1:31)
So many students – especially college freshman and sophomores – are uncertain of their career paths.  Students can narrow down their choice of careers by discovering what personality traits they possess, and how those translate into possible career paths.
Alfred State’s Career Development has a fun and easy way to help you find a student’s best career fit. CareerBeam is a 24/7 Virtual Career Center (online) that offers online career assessments that assess a person’s values, temperament, personality, interests and his/her skills & talents. Students can complete the entire battery of assessments or simply start with the Quick Profile. The quick profile can be completed in less than 15 minutes and will provide you with a great starting point in your career exploration.
Log in to – Student Services – Career Development – CareerBeam (then create an account at your first visit or simply log in if you have already created an account). Then, evaluate the job market and starting and mid-career salaries.  Again, Alfred State’s Career Development Office can assist, by providing information on salary information for various careers.
• “Never give up.” Some inspirational videos:  
“Best Motivation Video Ever” (people who failed, but became success stories) - (1:17)
Jimmy Valvano 1993 ESPY Speech: 
• “You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can't have it.” – Robert Anthony  
Do you believe that you can’t get an “A”? You’re right.
Do you believe that you can’t succeed in college? You’re right.
Do you believe you are a loser? You’re right.
Do you believe you’re a winner? You’re right.
Do you believe you can boost your GPA?  You’re right.
Do you believe you will have a successful career?  You’re right.
Tell your mind what you want it to think. Internalize those thoughts into beliefs. And your mind will begin to find ways to prove you right.  You can achieve everything in your wildest dreams. But you won’t if you believe you can’t. Your mind will work to keep you stuck right where you are.
It’s your choice.   Choose enthusiasm, energy and elation.  Choose to win.  Choose BIG success!
An inspirational video from John Van Achen: (2:47)
Another Inspirational Video – (Susan Boyle, Britain’s Got Talent) - (7:03)
“The most motivating 8 min of your life!” (8:11)
• “Don't ever promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise.” – Lou Holtz
Establish the expectations of your supervisor, your peers, your clients and customers.  And then exceed them.
If you know you won’t meet the expectation of another – contact them, and re-establish a new expectation. The very worst thing you can do is have a deadline pass, without reaching out.
• “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce.  If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.” – Zig Ziglar
 Why is it when we need friends the most, we can't find them? Zig Ziglar's quote addresses that "what can you do for someone else" approach that will help you make friends simply by thinking of other people first. If you're desperate to have friends, you will behave in a way that is different than if you're out to be friendly and helpful. One way to achieve this attitude Ziglar speaks of is by volunteering. Doing something for others can help you meet people while you give of yourself. Showing this side of yourself will make you much more attractive to new friends. And, as so many of us who have done so know – what you give to others, you get back ten-fold.
• “Rush toward your fear.  Life is great on the other side.”
When you are afraid or fearful of something – whether it be introducing yourself to a stranger, public speaking, performing, etc. – rush toward this fear and get it done.  It’s great on the other side.  One personal experience on “rushing toward one’s fear” is shared at: 
Find more success quotes at:
Strategy #9: Smile and Greet Exercise to Enhance Student’s Socialization Skills
The following is a suggested exercise you can employ with your students. Get them to commit to “smiling” and “greeting” – even if just for one day, and then submit an essay to describe their experiences.
Why Adopt a “Smile and Greet Day” (or “Smile and Greet Week”) in Your Class? As we are all aware, as important as technical knowledge about a subject area may be in the real world, also important is the ability to interact in positive ways with co-workers, vendors, and customers or clients.  Yet many of our students are introverted, or they may be from cultures or backgrounds which did not emphasize simple social skills.

[UPDATE: In Fall 2014 Alfred State is holding a "Smile & Greet Day" on campus. With the support of Residential Life (RDs/RAs), as well as clubs and organizations, 3,500 "SMILEY" stickers will be handed out to all students, together with a flyer explaining the day and also providing a short explanation of the benefits of smiling, greeting, and "walking tall." Wish us luck!]
One manner of starting to overcome barriers begins with two simple concepts, helpful to every student: SMILE and GREET OTHERS.  In essence, this exercise forces our students to expand the boundaries of their “comfort zones” – and (with further explanations provided by faculty and staff) focuses students’ attention on the importance of developing social skills in order to succeed in the real world. Let’s encourage our students to “smile” and “greet” – on a specific day, for a specific week, and at all times.
Greet Your Way to Success in the Real World.
We ask that all faculty, staff and students simply say, during the designated day (or week), in the designated area: “Good Morning” / “Good Afternoon” or “Hello” / “Hi” or “What's Up?” or “How Is It Going?” or “What Are You Up To?” or some other form of greeting.
Why? The importance of greeting others shouldn’t be overlooked. The skill of greeting others well extends to all our social relationships – be they at home, at college, or in the business environment.  Making the people around you feel good by giving them a warm greeting every time you see them builds stronger, friendlier relationships.
Unleash the Power of Your Smile. 
Recent research reveals that a “toothy grin” makes you easily detectable in a crowd of people.  This should come as no surprise to those who smile a lot. A smile not only enables you to be noticed, but also builds positive feelings in the observer. 
"Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu. When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too."  - Karen McLendon-Laumann
Smiling is indeed important in our everyday life, both in our personal lives as well as within the workplace. Dale Carnegie said: "The expression one wears on one's face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one's back."
A smile is one of the most obvious and effective methods of non-verbal communication. It is one of the first things someone will notice about you.  A smile, both physically as well as subconsciously, transmits the message, “I'm glad you're here and that I'm happy to see you.”
Smiling has implications, both in our personal as well as our business relationships. Smiling overcomes barriers and open doors for people. A sincere smile is a message of goodwill and is considered a sign of hospitality and confidence when dealing with a friend or a business associate.
So, we all know that a smile is good, but what happens if you don't feel like smiling? Well, emotions can be controlled to a certain extent, both physically as well as emotionally.  And, you can evoke good feelings by smiling.
How to Smile Even When You Don't Feel Like It:
      Physical Method
• The human body associates physical responses with the associated emotion. For example, if you slouch a lot, your body will naturally feel more sluggish as compared to a person who maintains a good posture.
• Similarly, even if you feel sad, you can still draw your lips together and lift up the ends to form a smile. You might find your mood improving naturally. This technique has helped me improve my mood countless of times.
• Smile with your eyes. This technique involves concentrating your smile on your eyes instead of your lips. Think of your eyes smiling, or twinkling. You will find that your entire face will have to lift itself to accomplish this. You will find your cheeks lifting up and the tip of your lips lifting up to form a smile.
       Emotional Method
• Our emotional state is a state of mind. As cliché as it sounds, you've got to want to be happy in order to be happy. When you WANT to be happy, think happy thoughts. Think about a place with happy memories, about someone who makes you feel happy, or a joke.
• There is the saying, "Smile and the world smiles with you, frown and you frown alone." When you smile, it triggers smiles in others around you. Even in extremely stressful situations, a smile can easily brighten up everybody's mood. A smile is infectious. Start infecting people with your smile today.
• Remember, happiness is frequently a choice. We can choose to be happy or miserable. Abraham Lincoln once noted, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
The Power of Greeting One Another
Whether at school, with friends, or in business, greeting people is an everyday occurrence and is an important skill to master. Here are some easy steps on how to greet the people that you meet in a sincere and open way.
    Steps: Informal, to somebody you don't know
 Approach the person. It is important to walk confidently and wear a smile. Sneaking up is strictly for stalkers.
 Make eye contact before greeting. When you've established eye contact, say, "Hi, how are you?" or something similarly friendly.
 Wait till they acknowledge you. When they say "hi" back to you, smile, introduce yourself.
 You might also add how you know them, or how they might know you. For example, "Hi, I'm Johnny. We were in film class together last semester." This helps avoid embarrassing situations or that awkward silence when they don't remember you.
 Start a conversation. Presumably you would like to get to know this person to whom you've just introduced yourself. If you have something in common, talk about that. You could say, for example, "Are you still a fan of Richard Linklater," or "I'd love to talk with you for a few minutes, why don't we get out of this hailstorm!"
 Follow their lead. If they look at you strangely and hurry away, don't chase them. Not only is it kind of creepy, it could get you into trouble. If they smile and start talking with you, congratulations - you've successfully greeted somebody and made a new friend, too!
    Steps: Formal, by way of introduction
 Mind your manners. The polite way of greeting somebody you have just been introduced to is to say, "Good evening, Jessi, It is nice to meet you."
 Offer to shake their hand, and when accepted, use a firm but not crushing grip.
 Ask, "How are you?" This helps break the ice, and gives them an opportunity to greet you as well. Just remember that invariably, when asked how they are doing, people will say "fine" no matter what's going on in their lives for real. Be prepared to move on to the next topic. Notice something about them, what they're wearing, or if your host has indicated what your new acquaintance does, talk about that.
Real-Life Example: The Power of Greeting a Customer.  Customers aren’t numbers. They are people. A simple greeting is all it may take to personalize your service and start a great relationship.
For example, if a customer is waiting for you, acknowledge them.  We all want to be noticed. A smile and a sincere greeting, or “I’ll be with you in just a moment” to the person who has just joined the line goes a long way.
Explain to your employees that as long as they don’t engage the second customer at the expense of the person in front of them, they have the opportunity to make both customers feel valued. And, if there was a wait, employees should acknowledge it by saying something like, “thanks for your patience.”
Strategy #10: “Expand Your Comfort Zone” Exercises
The following assignment might be provided to students in certain classes. The goals of the assignment are two-fold: First, to have students gain confidence by facing fears they may possess. Second, to become better writers.
As you expand your comfort zone, you actually grow as a person to fill out these new boundaries.
If you develop a larger comfort zone, and continue to push the edges of it out, you really do grow as an individual – you have more experiences, undertake more learning, and acquire more wisdom.
In short, you experience life more fully.
As an added bonus, when you interview for a job in your career field you will be a better interviewee, and job candidate, generally. The best jobs go to the graduates who are the most well-rounded.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT – Choose at least 7 activities that expand your comfort zone from following list of 20 activities, and complete them over the next week.  You may do each activity only once – i.e., you must undertake at least seven different activities from the following list.
• At the end of the week, if you have completed all 7 activities, plan to give yourself a reward. Such as two hours of “fun time” (no work permitted; no thinking of work permitted). Or going out to a restaurant you’ve been wanting to go to for awhile. Or another reward of your choosing.
• At the end of each day write down your progress in a journal.  Record what you did, what impact (if any) your actions had on the life of another (and/or you), and how you feel about the activity you undertook. 
Suggested format of your journal:
“I expanded my comfort zone over the past week by undertaking seven activities I would not have normally undertaken.  These were:
1. What activity did you do?  What was the result for you? How did it make you feel? What impact did the activity have on you – or on another? How beneficial was this activity to you?
2-7. (Repeat the above)
In summary, as a result of all of these experiences, I feel / have realized / believe / etc. ____________.”
SUBMIT YOUR JOURNAL - Submit your journal via the Assignment tab on Blackboard- not later than the date set forth on Blackboard for this assignment. Organizational structure of your journal, grammar, paragraph structure, spelling, and content will all be graded. Your journal should be in the form of an essay, with a proper opening paragraph and closing paragraph. Your journal should be not less than 700 words.
1. Eat something different – a food item you have not tried in at least a year
2. Perform three “random acts of kindness” (counts as 1 of the 7 required activities).
     a. Record your random act of kindness at
     b. For ideas for random acts of kindness, visit 
3. Give at least three people compliments on any day, when you normally would not (counts as 1 of the 7 activities).  Record your actions on Alfred’s Random Acts of Kindness Facebook Page
4. Smile at (all) strangers, and say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” or “Hi” to all the people you pass by, for one entire day – and wherever you are!
5. Speak Up In A Class – when you normally would not speak up.
6. Go to an on-campus event or gathering which you typically would not go to, or engage in a new activity (or go to a club or organization meeting) on-campus
7. Thank A Friend Or Family Member For Their Ongoing Support (Warning: very powerful results ensue!)
8. Tell someone they are loved. (*other than your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, or pet)
9. Get to sleep (bed) one hour earlier for FOUR nights straight, AND at the same time each night (this counts as 1 of the 7 required activities)
10. Let Go of your Self-Judgment for a Day … and do something bold or “out-of-character” (but well-intentioned) which others would never think you would do.
Feel good about yourself! Don’t worry about how others may judge you! If others think ill of you, no longer consider them privileged to be a part of your universe. “Those who matter mind; those who mind don’t matter!”
11. Perform on Karaoke night 
12. With two or more friends or acquaintances, explore the benefits of the “Power Pose” by watching this video:  Google search: “TedX Power Pose” to find the 16-minute video, or go directly to
Warning: you’ll never think about testosterone in the same way again!
13. Unplug your t.v. and video games for ONE WEEK (counts as one of the seven activities). In all my years of counseling senior citizen clients, I have never had a single client, as they reminisced about their various regrets of things they did not do in life, state that “I wish I had watched more t.v.”
14. Ask for help (undertake one of the following):
a. Visit the writing lab or math lab at the Student Development Center for assistance with an assignment;
b. Seek better study skills and/or time management skills guidance the academic support specialist for your school (your academic advisor or professor can inform you who this is);
c. Ask for a tutor (they are free – and very helpful – see Laura Giglio at Student Development Center (tutors are available for many, but not all, subjects; you should request a tutor as soon as possible during a semester); or
d. Obtain counseling at the Student Health Center to talk through a problem you may be having difficulty with.
15. Form a study group, or join one, during the next seven days
16. See a professor for guidance on “how to do better” in a particular class and/or to review your last assessment (with the goal of determining how to better prepare for the next assessment);
17. Apologize to someone you have done wrong  / admit you were wrong
18. Write a “personal log entry” in which you forgive someone for a wrong done to you.  Let go of bitterness. Let go of a grudge. (Whether you choose to communicate your forgiveness to the other person is up to you, and is of course dependent upon the circumstances.)  Life is too short to continue to go through life with hurt and pain.
19. Write and mail or deliver a handwritten thank-you note, once a day, for the next three days (counts as 1 of the 7 required activities)
20. Repeat aloud, and in the presence of at least two others: “I am a scholar, motivated to succeed. I am part of a diverse, caring community of scholars.”
Bonus Strategy: College Students: “Ooze Confidence” (And if you are not confident … then fake it!)
“Fake it till you make it” is not about faking happiness until you trick yourself into being happy. It’s not about acting like you’re too cool for school until other people also believe you are, and then basing your life around a made-up personality. It is about confidence. It is about meeting situations that you feel intimidated by head-on, telling yourself that you’re ready for them, and putting   “I-can-DO-this” intentions out there, until you’ve done such a good job convincing yourself that you suddenly can handle the challenge before you.
Appear confident, in everything you do. And if you are not – fake it!  By appearing to act confident, those around you don’t know of your insecurities – and it actually trains your mind to think confidently!
For a good part of my life, I was overly shy. (I remain a SEVERE introvert, but that’s different from being shy.)  In college I dreaded being called upon in class. I would never approach a girl.  At parties I always stood in the corner of the room. But then, one day, I figured it out - introversion is a strength, but not an excuse to fail to socialize effectively with others.
So, I sought out a little help from friends (the few I had) and read various books. (Of course, nowadays there is all kinds of advice on the Web about dating, small talk, confidence-building skills - just search for videos on YouTube). And I learned that I needed to push out the bubble of my "comfort zone." 
I learned the power of a smile. I learned the power a handshake, a gentle touch on a person's hand or arm. I learned to greet others - even complete strangers - as I passed them by, or sat down in a classroom, etc.
At parties, I learned to pretend (without telling anyone) to be the “host” - and I took it upon myself to make others comfortable, introduce a person to another, etc. I found that fully one-third to one-half of the persons I encountered were also shy – many even more shy than I was (and I found that hard to believe, at first).
I learned that asking questions of others was the best way to keep conversations going, rather than just by continuing to talk myself. I learned the importance of focusing on the other person, as he or she talked. He or she deserves my undivided attention.
And I learned that I constantly needed to push out my “comfort zone” in order to get better and better at socializing and networking, and not revert back to my old habits. Why? Because I’m still an introvert – and I always will be. But being an introvert is a blessing, and a source of my inner strength. In fact, as an introvert I give energy to others. I am also much more contemplative of the world around me than most extroverts. I would never change that. I am proud to be an introvert.
College is that it is the perfect place to push out the boundaries of your own comfort zone - to expand the "bubble" of your ability to socialize with others.  And this is such an important skill, in the world of business, and in life in general.  It’s much better to practice and develop skills in college, than try to build those skills later “in the real world.”
About a year ago we had on the Alfred State campus a dynamic speaker, Adam LaDolce, author of “BEING ALONE SUCKS!” Adam LaDolce offered a lot of suggestions to those who were either shy or introverted.
First, don’t over-exaggerate the importance of certain events in your life.  Think about it – a short conversation with another, of “muffing it” in class, is not that big a deal – if it goes wrong.  It’s just the opportunity to learn to be better.
Second, realize this truth: “I’d rather regret doing it than regret not doing it.”  This is like the old saying, “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.”
Third, smile and say “hello” to everyone you pass by.  Try it – for the distance between one class and wherever you are next going.  Try it again and again.  Over time, you will find that people start saying “good morning” or “good afternoon” back to you. And, over time, more people will seek you out to get to know you.
Fourth, imagine standing on a chair in a room and shouting: “I love all of you very much!” Some people will laugh, and some of these will want to get to know you more.  But a few in the room may look down on you.
Guess what? These other people – they don’t exist to you anymore! There are plenty of people who do want to get to know you, who are lonely themselves. All you have to do is take a risk. What's the worst that can happen? You’ll discover that “the worst” is not really all that bad.
Do you always have to "ooze confidence"?  While this is important in my situations (interviews, the world of business, etc.), there are times when it is permitted to show a little vulnerability. For example, here's one way, especially if you are shy, to meet other people. It’s as simple as this - approach other people to seek out a conversation.  If you are shy, use this excuse: “My crazy professor wants me to push myself out my comfort zone, and go out and meet more people. Do you suppose we could chat sometime, perhaps over a drink or lunch at the Central Dining Hall, so I can practice socializing?” It’s o.k. to show a little vulnerability, by the way, in this instance.  (Another great pick up line ... "Hi. My name is ____. I've been told that I'm really shy, but I wanted to ask you if we could chat sometime, so I can get to know you better.")
What’s the worst that can happen? The other person says “NO WAY!” and turns away from you. And, if he or she does, then just move on – that person no longer exists for you, at least within your own universe. But there are hundreds or thousands of others out there who will want to meet you, and who desire to have a conversation with you.
How do you conduct a conversation? Have some questions prepared. The best conversation is where you talk 30% of the time, and the other person talks 70% of the time. (Once a relationship is formed, 50/50 is a better ratio.) A good way to get the other person to speak is for you to ask questions about that other person. First, seek out some basic facts, nothing too personal. For example, where is the person from, are they an only child or from a larger family, why they attended this college, what is their major, and what type of career they desire. Also ask for the other person's opinion - such as what classes to take, what professors are best, or what clubs or organizations to consider joining. As the conversation ensues, more personal questions can follow.
Here's how to OOZE CONFIDENCE every day:
• First, be certain to smile – always – in the presence of others.
• Second, say “good morning” or “good afternoon” or "Hello!" or "How are you doing?" as you pass by others.
• Third, walk tall and with purpose - like it is important for you to get to where you are going, and quickly.
• Fourth, rush toward your fear – and fake confidence while you are doing so. For life is great on the other side!
• Fifth, dress for success. You feel more confident when you are clean and wear nice, clean clothes.
• Lastly, imagine the other persons you greet are much more fearful (i.e., shier) than you. Strive to make others comfortable around you.
OOZE CONFIDENCE in everything you do, and be more successful in life. And, even if you are not confident in a particular situation, act as though you are. You'll impress others that way, and in so doing you will open doors that you never imagined would exist for you.

Professor Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP(r) teaches Business Law, Retirement Planning, Investment Planning, Employee Benefits Planning, Money & Banking, Insurance & Risk Management, and the Personal Financial Planning Capstone courses at Alfred State College, Alfred, NY. He is an EPLP Mentor, C.R.E.A.T.E. program mentor, serves as advisor to Alfred State's Business Professionals of America club, and serves as academic advisor to dozens of students.

Professor Rhoades is the author of "CHOOSE TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE AND IN LIFE: Continuously Improve, Persevere, and Enjoy the Journey," a 10-week program for success in college (available for $2.99 in Kindle store at, or in paperback for $6.99). Professor Rhoades may be reached by e-mail at: