Monday, April 9, 2012

You are only as good as the stuff you surround yourself with. It is as true with people as it is with things. You are a mashup of the things you allow into your life. If you want to be happy. Hang with people who support you and make you happy. If you want to be creative. Study creative works. Great athletes study other great athletes. Great musicians copy other great musicians. Learn from your heroes. Copy them. Nothing comes from nowhere.
Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard. --Colin Powell

A clip from Tonya Freeman's Talk on Your Inner Circle

Thursday, April 5, 2012

There are plenty of people telling you what you should be doing. There is only one person who can tell you what you want to do.


One way to find out what you want in life is to find out what you don't want. How do you do that? Trial and error. Try things. If they don't work, try something else. You have the right to change your mind. Remember however that somewhere there is a clock. And it's running. Between the past and the future there is the present. Whispering… "Right now."

This week we hear from Steve Shlansky - founder of Go! Productions - who tells his story of finding out what makes him happy. Here's the link: Steve Shlansky: The Circuitous Route.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Having integrity is like being creative. It's hard to define but we know it when we see it. Integrity is the most important trait you can have. Hard work, talent, luck, and contacts mean nothing if you don't have integrity. Integrity is the blueprint of life. Integrity is doing what you say you are going to do. It means that you can be trusted. It means that you believe in the people around you and that you believe in yourself. In the work world, it means you'll hit the deadline. It means you will show up on time. It means that you will carry the load. It's a pledge that you won't let your teammates down. Integrity is a promise that you won't let you down. Integrity is "put up or shut up." Do you have integrity? Prove it. 
"In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you." — Warren Buffet         

For more on Integrity, watch our featured speaker, Amani Channel

Amani Channel: Imagine Your Future

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hope Or Fear - Your Choice

“It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ~ Albus Dumbledore Choosing between Hope and Fear is one of the most important choices you will make in your life. It seems an easy choice. Of course you would choose Hope. But it's not so easy. Fear is cunning. Fear is always there, whispering in your ear that you aren't good enough. Fear wants you to believe the labels.
  • Underachiever
  • Learning disabled
  • Slacker
  • 'D' student
 For more on Hope and Fear, watch our featured speaker, Edwin Link
Fear may even look like the people you trust the most - teachers, friends, or parents. But Hope is the thing with feathers. More than Red Bull, Hope gives you wings. Hope allows you to see what others don't see and to fly above the fear - to fulfill your dreams and to be happy. So it's your choice but it's not a simple one. You can carry a bag of fear or you can drop it and open the chest of Hope. You choose.

Edwin Link: Between Hope and Fear


Monday, March 12, 2012

NEW BLOG: Talk About Your Future

Today we begin a new career-planning blog featuring our 30+ career talks at Our first entry feature basketball legend, Chris Webber.

Just in time for the NCAA Playoffs, Fab Five teammate and NBA great Chris Webber visits Grady High School and talks to the students about living their dream.

  Chris Webber knows about dreams. His dream was to play in the NBA. But he knew it wasn’t enough to dream. He had to work hard. Chris knew that he had to grab his dream and make it real. He needed a plan.

That’s the message Chris Webber brings to the Grady students. It’s important to have dreams, but dreaming is not enough. If you want to make your dream real, you need to put a process in place. Attaining your dream is hard work.
He says that you need to be smart enough to know what you want to do and and learn the process of knowing how to get there. He invites students to share their dreams and gives them practical advice about how to start.

Chris Webber had a dream. Because he cultivated it, believed in himself, followed his plan, and built relationships, his dream became a reality.

Chris Webber’s talk is for anyone who has a dream and wants to know how to follow it.

You have everything inside you to make your life happen.

For further study, including viewing the entire lecture, following a lesson plan, and providing feedback, follow this link.

Friday, March 9, 2012

New Video: Suzy Blough - Understanding Each Other's Differences

Suzy Blough, a longtime worker in the field of international education, discusses the importance of understanding each other’s differences, actively seeking new experiences, and pursuing one’s passions.

For more information visit our new "Talks About Your Future" blog here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Video- Tonya Freeman: Choose Happiness

Tonya Freeman, an educational specialist at the Center for Disease Control, discusses what “success” really means and the importance of being comfortable in one’s own skin.

“It isn’t about the money,” says Freeman. “It’s what you want to do in life, if you’re a happy person then you will surround yourself with happy people”

She emphasizes the importance of knowing, and being happy with, oneself and how this relates to “success”.  Having clearly defined goals can help provide stability during tough times.  She discusses the importance of a close-knit circle of friends and choosing the right people.  Freeman gives her advice on being able to confidently express one’s talents.  She emphasizes the mutual exclusivity of money and happiness.

See the entire video, plus much, much more at on the Talk About Your Future website.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Edwin Link: Between Hope and Fear

Edwin Link: Between Hope and Fear
By Ben Gross

After a short vacation for the winter holidays, Grady Talks returned to the halls of Atlanta’s Grady High School with a presentation by Edwin Link, Director of Program Management at the Young Audiences Woodruff Arts Center.  Link began by sharing what seemed, at first, like a somewhat out of place message: young people don’t always listen to what adults have to say! 

To illustrate the point, Link told the class that when he was a kid, he really wanted to be a fireman.  If the adult Edwin had traveled back in time and told his younger self that he wouldn’t be a fireman, Link said he never would have believed it.  Still, Link is not a fireman and he loves his job.  Thus, Link promised not to get bogged down by specifics that may or may not resonate with the students.  Instead, he shared a general rule of thumb – almost a philosophy – that he has developed over the course of his life: the need to maintain balance on the “Hope/fear continuum.”

All of us feel fear, and all of us are hopeful of certain outcomes, Link stated.  He continued: when we make decisions, our hope and fear play a role.  The secret to good decision-making is to always ask yourself before making an important decision: “Where am I on the hope/ fear continuum?”  According to Link, decisions made out of fear amount to inaction and missed opportunities, whereas decisions made strictly out of hope are often impractical.  Balance on the hope fear continuum, Link explained, ensures that we can follow our dreams but also have practical and realizable goals.         

Link also shared a story from his adolescence with the students.  In his first year of high school, Link was a D student and the faculty had all but given up on him.  In his sophomore year he was placed in a remedial English class.  After a few weeks of school, a student threw a chair at the teacher (which luckily did not hit her, but did destroy the blackboard).  That was Link’s “Aha” moment.  “I’m not in school to be in classrooms with dented blackboards and crying teachers,” he thought to himself.  But when Link went to the guidance counselor to ask to leave the remedial class, the counselor said: “You’re Edwin Link, D student.”  Link had been labeled.  People expected him to play his part.  They expected him to get Ds. It’s hard to overcome expectations, Link continued, especially when they’re negative; but it’s never too late.

Labels are not permanent, no matter what anyone says.  He told the students: your life is always yours, and you’re free to take it in whatever direction you please.  Link eventually did convince the guidance counselor to remove him from the remedial class, and, despite the labels, he improved his grades and became an accomplished student.     

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

NEW VIDEO: Edwin Link:Know What You Don't Know

Woodruff Art Center's Edwin Link recently spoke at Grady High School as part of The Grady Talks Program and received high praise from the students.  Check out his entire 37 minute presentation and read the student comments below!

Edwin Link: Know What You Don't Know from Grady Talks on Vimeo.

  • You are my favorite presenter. What you said about balance really stood out to me.  I completely agree that living your life in any extreme, being it fear or hope, is not the best thing to do.
  • I took what you said to heart.  You asked us to write down our hopes and fears and surprisingly, I've never been asked to do that before. Thank you for sharing your story.
  • You are the best presenter we've had. You have a gift for working with people. Your concepts and ideas are easily understood and very effective.
  • I liked your perspective on hope and fear.  I think this outlook will help me make holistic decisions in life.
  • The presentation was remarkable and very informative. The balance between fear and hope is important and you really have to be in between both.
  • Thank you for sharing your ways on decision making. Hopefully it is not patented, because I will be using it.
  • Your speech was amazing.  I am inspired and encouraged.  I encourage you to keep speaking to our generation and make an impact on peoples lives just like you have do for me.
  • I really enjoyed your presentation and found it most inspiring.
  • The information that you shared was eye-opening.  I learned that I should know what I don't know and explore every option and career.
  • The information that you shared was eye-opening.  I learned that I should know what I don't know and explore every option and career.
  • I learned some valuable information today and a better perspective for my future.
  • Today was a good day due to the fact that you came to speak with us.
  • Your talk was very enlightening and taught me to try different activities.
  • You give me hope to know that other people who slack a little in school can make a good life.  I'm looking forward to the future.
  • I really enjoyed your presentation.
  • You are pretty cool.   I like the continuum, it made me re-evaluate some of the choices that I will be making about my future.
  • Thanks Mr. Link, it was great, the best one yet!