You Can Really Be a Doofus.

Are You a Doofus?

Recently, The Art of Focus picked up a bad review. I knew it had to come eventually. What seems like magic to one person, can feel like nails on the chalkboard to someone else, right?

I love living in a world where people can say what they want about things.

One of the criticisms of the book was that I compared the reader to a dog named Doofus.

He’s right. I do.

I compare the story of Doofus to myself too.

The book opens with the story of Doofus. I wrote that chapter as a children’s story. (And by the way, The Art of Motivation opens with the story of a cat named Keki.)

I use the story of Doofus to illustrate the ideas that are expounded upon in the rest of the book.

These aren’t hard principles. But they are backed by science. I’ve had some readers tell me that they went through every link and learned a lot doing that. They told me that they appreciated that I made it so easy for them to get to the science.

Most readers have told me that they love the story of Doofus.

I hope you like it.

But if you don’t, that’s okay. And I sincerely hope you find what you need.

When Babies Fall Down…

when babies fall...

Note: Though I’m talking about teaching here, you’ll find that it applies to any walk of life.

Babies fall down. It’s what they do.
Toddlers try and try to walk over and over, falling and falling.

Baby steps become dreams realized.

Let’s look more closely at this idea.

First, your students. They mess up. Over and over and over. You have to be wise when you see that. Example: I gave a student a paper back yesterday that had 11 out of 14. I wrote, “I hope you’re not happy with that grade.”

Why? Because I knew it would motivate her to greater success. I watched her go into action to make it better immediately.

For other students, that would feel like a slap in the face. She’s been falling by being overly social and then the “check came due.” And she was ready.

For other students, to get 11/14 on a paper would make them very excited. My comment – “I’m proud of you. You worked hard!”

When a toddler falls down, we don’t scold them. We help them get back up for them to try again. They have to do it 1000 times. It doesn’t bother us. And one little one starts walking at 7 months. The next one figures it out at 18 months. We don’t worry. We keep helping them. Smiling and laughing. Learning to walk is one of The Hardest Things We Ever Have to Learn, but we all learn it in an environment of fun and joy.

If we shift our perspective on our students behavior, can it lead to more joy and greater engagement?

Do you seem encouraging or demanding to your students?

What about your life?

I’m sure you are aware of some things were you feel like you are falling short.

I’ll tell you about one of mine. First the result – right now my classroom and my desk are the cleanest they have EVER been at this point in the school year. Why? Because I have finally put the idea of baby steps to work.

It’s like this: every day, I have a checklist of things that I’m working to improve in my life. One of those things is straightening up my classroom, especially my desk.

My old attitude – I have to get this ALL done.
My new attitude – I have to do some. As long as any surface looks cleaner, it counts.

How did I build that habit?

I put it on my checklist. I failed over and over and over for months. I fell down.

Side note – for some things on my list, as soon as I write them, I get better at it. Immediately. Organizing and straightening up my desk and work spaces was not one of these!

One day I looked at that item on the checklist and gave myself permission to do even a little bit. As long as the surface looked better, it counted.

In one week, my classroom was calmer, more relaxing place to work.

For you, it might not be organization. But I’d be surprised. Most of use can find a place in our lives where we need to get more organized. Where it would pay off greatly if we were.

What’s that habit that you would love to be squared away in a few months or even a year?

Maybe you want to build the habit of taking a walk every day. You say, “I’m going for a half hour walk!”

You feel like you need to get just the right shoes, clothes, and push your schedule around until it all starts to work.

And you do it once or twice and it doesn’t happen. So you give up.

Try this.

Go for 5 minute walks no matter the shoes, clothes or time. Everyone has 5 minutes.

Then, watch it fall into place. Soon, you’re going on half hour walks because it has become this habit that you MUST do.

How about your school?

What is a baby step your school needs to start doing? What’s that one thing that would make a big difference if everyone did it.

Maybe it’s a big thing like analyzing test data regularly. Ugh.

Baby step. Spend 5 minutes looking at a test metric every day. When you hit 5 minutes, you get to stop.

Everyone clicks a Google Form that says, “I did it.” Or “oops.”

The info goes on spreadsheet. And you can see if you are building this into your school workflow.

That’s just an idea. I’m not even doing that one yet. But I can see where it would help me and that I could do it. I would learn a lot about my students.

The idea is for you to create your own list and your own baby steps that you need.

Wisely begin to recognize baby steps for your students, for you, and for your school.

You can do that. (By the way, these are the kinds of things I write about in The Art of Focus and The Art of Motivation).

Be good. Be wise. Be jubilant.

Art S. Lieberman

P.S. Your baby steps become your dreams REALIZED!

The Art of Motivation is only 99 cents

Download your copy of The Art of Motivation for only 99 cents. It is the 2nd book in the series.

It’s 99 cents to encourage buyers and to help get some reviews.

Would you consider downloading and reviewing it today? It’s a quick read. I wrote it for the Kindle quick read category.

Click on

And after you review it, email me to let me know, so that I can thank you properly!

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The book begins with a story about a cat named Keki. See if you can learn all the secrets in the book from Keki!