Successful People Choose


January 2, 2013 by Brad Currie

Throughout my life I have chosen to put myself around successful people and situations that allowed me to grow as a leader. For starters, growing up and working in my father’s lumberyard showed me first hand on how to treat people right and put customers needs first. Secondly, being a three sport athlete in high school and participating in service based clubs taught me the importance of teamwork and helping those in need. Looking at the past twelve years as a teacher, coach and now administrator it is quite obvious that I learned a great deal from the great educators I surrounded myself with. Each and every one that has influenced me lives by the motto of “doing what’s best for kids.” Fast forward to the present and I am truly fortunate to be once again around great people and this time it comes in the form of my extended family on Twitter or what some people like to call their PLN. Each and every day I am exposed to best practice techniques related to promoting the success of all students. Below is an excerpt from Harry Wong’s book titled The First Days of School. In the excerpt he talks about the importance of successful people choosing to be leaders…..

Harry wong (1)

Now that you know the difference between a teacher-worker and a teacher-leader, which will you be? Will you DECIDE to be a WORKER? Or will you CHOOSE to be a LEADER? 


Look at the two parts of the word decide. The prefix, de-, means “off” or “away,” as in defeatdestroy, denigrate, and deemphasize. It is a negative prefix. The stem, cide, means “cut” or “kill,” as in suicide, pesticide, insecticide, and herbicide. To decide is thus to “cut away” or “kill off” ~ not a very happy activity.

Many people make decisions by deciding. Have you ever dined with someone at a restaurant who cannot select what to order from a menu? While everyone at the table waits for this person to place an order, someone impatiently barks out, “How long does it take you to decide? When will you decide? Can’t you decide?”

And does the person order? No. Instead the person asks the others at the table what they plan to order and then decides to do the same. “Oh. you’re going to have the turkey sandwich?” I’ll have the same. No mayonnaise? Oh, OK, make mine the same way. I’ll have the same thing.”

The meal becomes an act of cloning.

And what happens to people who decide in this way? Deciders become victims because they allow other people to make decisions for them. 


Leaders do not decide. Leaders CHOOSE!

Leaders have control over their own lives. They know that the good things in life come from what they learn within themselves. They generate their own happiness, and much of that comes from serving and sharing with others. Leaders enjoy tackling problems, obstacles, and challenges.

Leaders are achievement oriented. They have a vision that helps them see beyond their task or job. They know what the word choose means and how to use it.

  • Choose means that I am responsible for my choices.
  • Choose means that I am accountable for my choices.
  • Choose means that I have control over what I do.
  • Choose means that I accept the consequences that accompany my choices. If something fails, I deserve the blame. But if it succeeds, I have earned the reward.

Worker-decider teachers do not strive for success, happiness, money, or respect. This is why the do not receive the rewards they long for.

Leader-professional educators are rewarded with whatever they are striving for~be it happiness, success, money, achievement, popularity, or professional respect. Leaders are people who strive for results and have a passionate pursuit for achievement.

Workers Decide

Leaders Choose

Life’s rewards come from what others get for me. Life’s rewards come from what I earn.
I expect others to bring me happiness. I will generate my own happiness.
Life will be better when I get a new X or more Y. Life is better when I share or help others.
Life would be easier if I didn’t have to do all these things. Life is fine because I want and choose to do these things.
All I want is some peace and quiet. I enjoy challenges; they are the elixirs of life.
I can’t do this. I’ve got to go home and feed the dog. I’ll do this. Then I’ll go home and have a wonderful evening with my family.
I can’t wait for the weekend! I can’t wait for the math conference.

Harry-and-Rosemary-Wong-500x451In closing, we all choose where we want to be in life. Each and every one of us has the control to put ourselves around positive people and in successful situations. Choose to be that successful person so that you can have a profound impact on others. Choose to be the difference in a student’s life and in your school. It will make the world a better place!

5 thoughts on “Successful People Choose

  1. cafecasey says:

    This is a great and important post. It really puts together a paradigm for working through the things that are most important and effecting change. Along these same lines, you could write an excellent post about the difference between “administrators,” and “educational leaders.” The movement toward the later is so strong and has so much momentum that I think it would make you a very nice book, even.

    Thanks, Brad!

  2. Becky Keane says:

    Brad – you have definitely landed at a place that puts kids first. It’s more than our motto – it’s the ethos of our entire district from administration through all staff. We all know that sudents learn best when we put them first – their needs, their backgrounds, their differences, their similarities, their strengths,their weaknesses. When students know their leaders care about them as people they are secure in knowing that their work will be appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 49,663 hits
Brad Currie

Brad Currie

Brad Currie is the Middle School Dean of Students and Supervisor of Instruction for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is the co-founder and co-moderator of #Satchat on Twitter. Brad is passionate educational technology and social media in the school setting.

View Full Profile →

Join 6,977 other followers


NASSP: Leading Schools
%d bloggers like this: