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10 Hopes Grown-Ups See in Kids from Humans of New York

10 Hopes Grown-Ups See in Kids from Humans of New York

It’s difficult not to look at the state of the world today and feel despair. That’s probably one of the many reasons why the photo blog Humans of New York has become wildly popular — photographer Brandon Stanton gleans bits of regular people’s lives, providing a glimpse into the dreams they have and the challenges they’ve overcome. In these images of strangers, we find comfort in our shared humanity. The posts from kids are often especially poignant: The world will soon be in their hands, and it’s heartening to hear what they have to say. Here are 10 of the many hopes grown-ups can find in the little humans of New York.

1. Compassion

“If you could change one thing about adults, what would it be?”
“I’d give them more money.”
“More money?”
“Yeah. Some of them don’t even have money to buy food.”

Humans of New York

    Recognize others’ basic rights. Before you turn to judgment, or thinking about whether someone deserves help, think about how you would feel if you were in their situation. We all need help sometimes.

    2. Gratitude

    “Mom took care of me when I was sick so I wrote her a card but the teacher was too busy to help me spell it so I wrote a picture instead.”

    Humans of New York

      Be thankful for what you have. Take the time to acknowledge the acts of service, both great and small, that others do for you. Give to others, and express your thanks when others give to you.

      3. Mindfulness

      “I don’t understand my feelings. Sometimes I feel sad and I don’t know why. Then sometimes I feel silly, and I don’t know why either. Now I feel ‘wow,’ because this is my very first interview.”

      Humans of New York

        Own your feelings, and acknowledge them. If you have negative thoughts about a problem you can’t fix, practice letting go of them. When you feel joy, embrace it. Feelings aren’t objectively right or wrong — you choose how you manage them.

        4. Respect

        “I found a ladybug, a beetle, and a little tiny bug that I don’t know.”
        “So what advice would you give to other bug collectors?”
        “You have to be really focused and find a rock that is big but not too big and you lift it up and if there’s not any bugs you put it back down. But if there is a bug and you like it, you put it in your bug jar. But if you don’t like it you put it back and put the rock back down.”

        Humans of New York

          Even the most humble of creatures deserves basic respect. Be a steward of the earth. Get out into nature and explore, because you never know what might be beneath that next rock.

          5. Dedication

          “What was the happiest moment of your life?”
          “When Mr. Carson helps me with my writing.”
          “What’s the hardest part about writing?”
          “The spaces and the dents and you have to start with a capital. But if you do a good job Mr. Carson lets you play with toys.”

          Humans of New York

            Don’t expect yourself to perfect. Remember that practice makes better. When you’re faced with a difficult task, stick with it. The satisfaction of mastery is a reward in itself.

            6. Altruism

            “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
            “A police officer.”
            “What’s the hardest part about being a police officer?”
            “Saving people.”

            Humans of New York

              Helping someone else is one of the best things you can do in life. You don’t need to be a superhero; just be attuned to the needs of those around you. You can call it good karma, you can call it paying it forward. Either way, being of service to others puts more positive energy into the world.

              7. Enthusiasm

              Normally I have to approach people for quotes. But this kid walked right up to me, held his certificate in the air, and screamed: “I played at Carnegie Hall!”

              Humans of New York

                Take pride in your accomplishments. No one can take them away from you. You should never hide your talents from the world. You can make the world a better place by sharing your abilities.

                8. Practicality

                “I’m going to be an artist.”
                “Do you have any advice for other artists?”
                “Don’t press down too hard with your crayons.”

                Humans of New York

                  When you’re trying something new, it’s worthwhile to sweat the small stuff. Give yourself time to practice and learn. Don’t become angry with yourself if you aren’t improving as quickly as you wanted. If you keep working, you will get to where you want to go.

                  9. Aspiration

                  “I listened to my teacher and went beyond and above.”

                  Humans of New York

                    Always aim high. Work from the assumption that you can do it. Even if you try something and fail, you can learn much more from your failure than from not having tried at all.

                    10. Love

                    I photographed the little guy on the left because he was carrying a violin. During the post photo interview, his little brother kept chiming in with his own answers. It was clear that he wanted to be part of the process. After a few questions, the older one called to his brother: ‘Come be in my picture, Riley.’

                    Humans of New York

                      Sharing your life with others makes your life infinitely richer. Family and friends are some of the most important gifts we receive in life. Honoring those relationships strengthens your bonds, and helps everybody feel more connected.

                      Featured photo credit: Brandon Stanton via humansofnewyork.com

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                      Last Updated on May 22, 2020

                      What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

                      What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

                      The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

                      But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

                      Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

                      So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

                      Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

                      The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

                      1. A Positive Attitude

                      Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

                      Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

                      Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

                      Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

                      The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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                      Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

                      2. Confidence

                      All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

                      Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

                      If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

                      Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

                      You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

                      • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
                      • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

                      3. A Sense of Humor

                      It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

                      Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

                      Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

                      As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

                      Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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                      Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

                      4. Ability to Embrace Failure

                      No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

                      Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

                      Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

                      Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

                      Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

                      By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

                      You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

                      5. Careful Listening and Feedback

                      This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

                      The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

                      The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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                      Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

                      Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

                      6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

                      No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

                      Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

                      Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

                      To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

                      • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
                      • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

                      Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

                      7. Growth Mindset

                      Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

                      Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

                      Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

                      It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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                      Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

                      8. Responsibility

                      Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

                      The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

                      Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

                      Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

                      9. A Desire to Learn

                      It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

                      Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

                      You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

                      Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

                      To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

                      Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

                      More Tips on Leadership

                      Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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