Fred Factor Reflection

Our LDR100 is currently working on an innovation project on “How to be a Fred”. Fred is a real life mailman the author and public speaker, Mark Sanborn, says changed his life. He later wrote a book about Fred that outlined the principles that mailman Fred taught him by simply delivering his mail; this book is called The Fred Factor. In groups of 7-8 LASers, we were challenged to create a unique way to be a “Fred” for ourselves and for others.

The Fred Principles:

  1. Everyone Makes A Difference
    1. “Nobody can prevent you from choosing to be exceptional.”
  2. Success Is Built On Relationships:
    1. “…the quality of the relationship determines the the quality of the product or service.”
  3. You Must Constantly Create Value For Others, And It Doesn’t Have To Cost A Penny:
    1. “The truth is that we compete against our own potential every day.”
  4. You Can Reinvent Yourself Regularly:
    1. “You can make your business, as well as your life, anything you choose it to be.”

For our project, we based our idea off of a Youtube video about gratitude. This video states that it can be scientifically proven that people who show more gratitude are overall happier people. They also performed an experiment:

 The Science of Happiness: An Experiment in Gratitude

We wanted to focus more on how the people we reach out to can change their important people’s lives, instead of us being the Fred and changing theirs. We are just offering them a new perspective. We stopped kids walking to class around campus. We asked them to pick the one person that is the most influential in their life or someone they really appreciate. We then asked them to write down 5 things they are thankful for or admire about there person. After that, we asked them to call their significant person. Though we couldn’t scientifically prove that they felt more happiness after expressing gratitude, you could visually tell they felt good about it.

Our Fred Factor Effects:

Principle 1- Everyone Can Make A Difference: Though it was something small, they made that person’s day a little better by showing gratitude and appreciation.

Principle 2- Success Is Based On Relationships: Their relationship was positively improved by simply calling and thanking their important person. Whether they called a parent, a friend, teacher, or sibling, that relationship will be better because they now know how important they are to each other and are happier because of it.

Principle 3: You Must Constantly Create Value For Others:The value that they placed on the person they felt gratitude for created value for that person in regards to themselves. Sometimes everyone needs a confidence boost and receiving appreciation from someone you care about it a great feeling. They both now also have an increase in value towards showing gratitude as well as happiness.

Principle 4: You Can Reinvent Yourself Regularly: These people reinvented themselves the second they made the call. They are sharing appreciation and happiness that they may not have though to give had we not inspired them. They can also continue to reinvent themselves by continuing to make those calls, and the people they called have the opportunity too.

This is our video of people showing gratitude @ CMU and the happiness they feel because of it:

Fred Factor: Gratitude Project

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Herman Boone: Leadership and Diversity

To be honest, I really wanted to hear him speak because Remember The Titians is one of my all time favorite movies, but I am so glad I went. Herman Boone is a man that ,even in his old age, marches to the beat of his own drum, but still inspires and leads so many as he goes. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he was the coach of a one of the first integrated high schools in the south around the time of civil rights. He is also the person the blockbuster movie Remember The Titians was based off of, being portrayed by Denzel Washington.

There was one thing that he said that really stood out to me. He said:

“There is no person who committed a crime based on the color of their skin.”

I had never heard it phrased like this, but I don’t think you could say it any better. So much racial tension arises from stereotyping races/ethnicities, especially when it comes to crimes, and what he said is, no one commits a crime because they are black, white, purple, or blue. This statement really amazed me because I’ve never thought of it like that before.

He also stressed during his presentation the importance of accepting others regardless of races but also in regards to sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. He also said progress won’t happen unless we all make an effort to step out of our comfort zone. He mentioned how common race, social standing, religious affiliations, etc. often group together in social situations, and challenged his audience to step outside of the status quo to improve the quality of interactions and improve the acceptance and understanding of those not necessarily similar to you.

My favorite part of the whole presentation was towards the end when he started answering questions. One of the facilitators approached the microphone and told the audience he would take one more question. He immediately said “No, no not when there are 10 more people in line!” The look on her face was priceless. He demanded that he answer the remaining questions. It’s people like Herman Boone that make my heart smile. His dedication to inclusion, cultural acceptance and understanding, and his position as a role model inspire me. I secretly stated I wish he was my grandfathers just so I could spend a little more time in his presence. He made my day.