From the Teacher’s Desk ~ Raising Our Standards


By Leonard Quilty

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Recently, I read an interesting article in the Calgary Herald about a young social entrepreneur from Vancouver, Taylor Conroy. Conroy has come up with an intriguing idea about fundraising in an effort to receive donations for worthwhile projects like construction of schools in developing countries, scholarships for girls, clean water projects, and a way to combat human trafficking.

Conroy’s project is called “Change Heroes” ( How it works is that Conroy encourages his friends to record 15 second videos and then share them on social media. The point of the video is for individuals to ask their friends to put aside their spare change to donate to the cause. Conroy uses the following formula: when 33 people set aside $3.33 a day for three months, they raise $10,000. That’s a great way to make a difference in our world.

Lately, I’ve been watching some videos on YouTube by author and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins. If there is one theme that runs through many of the videos I have seen, it’s the point Tony makes about raising the standards in our life. Whether we want to achieve more, or be a better student, spouse, or co-worker, Tony emphasizes the need to develop some new rituals, or habits, which will catapult our success.

About three weeks ago, I took Tony up on his advice. Wanting to insert more physical activity in my day, I decided to go for a twenty minute walk five mornings a week. Just that one morning ritual has made a difference in my life. There’s nothing like the feel of the fresh morning air on your face to clear the cobwebs and put you in the right frame of mind for a productive day ahead.

What new rituals could you put into place to help you raise your standards and move closer to achieving your dream, or your ideal relationship, or whatever else you’re working towards?

While I would not categorize this as a new ritual per se, but about two weeks ago I started attending Saturday morning meetings in Calgary with a group of people from an advanced Toastmasters club in the city. During our three hour meeting, we discuss the process of developing keynote speeches. (Our discussion is triggered by the thoughts expressed by two professional speakers on a CD collection that we are listening to.)

While the information on the CDs is valuable, the real benefit of my attendance at these meetings is listening to the pearls of wisdom shared by others in the group. As you may know if you’re a regular reader of my column, professional speaking is a keen interest of mine. Spending time with this esteemed group of like-minded people reminds me of the feeling I get when I walk through the doors of the local library – I feel smarter as soon as I enter.

Tied to my interest in public speaking is my love of reading. In that regard, I just finished a great book by John C. Maxwell. It’s called The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. The first law that the author writes about is the law of intentionality, and in that chapter he includes a quote from the famous American singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. “A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man (or woman) you want to become and start being the man (or woman) you want to be.” (Parenthesized words are mine.)

That’s a powerful thought, isn’t it?

Leonard Quilty is a guidance counsellor with the Centre for Learning@Home in Okotoks, Alberta. He can be reached by e-mail at