Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, March 13, 2017

"What entrepreneurs should learn in class"/ "How hobbies can make us better in the workplace"

Feb. 17, 2017 "What entrepreneurs should learn in class": Today I found this article by Brian Scudamore in the Globe and Mail:

How schools can better teach the value of dreaming big, networking, hustling and overcoming rejection

I was never into academics. While the average person attends four or five schools between kindergarten and college, I racked up 14 by the time I was in my 20s. I often wonder: what if I’d been given the chance to go to a school that celebrated unconventional thinking and swapped textbooks for hands-on, real world experience? Maybe I would have excelled instead of dropping out.

I’m a big proponent of dreaming big and right now, one of my biggest, hairiest, most audacious goals is to start a school for entrepreneurs.

Over 50 per cent of people want to be their own boss, but this school doesn’t have to just be for them. I’d like to think it would benefit anybody who appreciates the benefits of thinking like an entrepreneur.

This idea is still just in the dream stage. But here are five key classes I’d love to see on the curriculum.

Dreaming Big 101

I love the Walt Disney quote, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” But after a lifetime stuck in classrooms where we’re taught to comply with the status quo, most people actually struggle with big picture thinking.

It’s one of the reasons we run a 101 Life Goals program at O2E Brands, encouraging our employees to list their long- and short-term dreams. Launching a school for entrepreneurs is one of the items on my own bucket list and so is teaching a course on dreaming big for students in it. Why? Study after study has shown that people who write down goals, no matter how crazy, are exponentially more likely to achieve them, so why not encourage the next generation to jot ideas down and shoot for the moon?

The Science of Storytelling

Business school teaches the power of advertising, but great brands - and the entrepreneurs behind them - know the power of storytelling. Starbucks spends less than 2 per cent of revenue on advertising, preferring to host events such as samba parties or art shows to build buzz around product launches. We’ve drummed up PR by hosting huge yard sales in partnership with charities around North America.

Humans crave narrative, so at my dream school, we would practice crafting stories, not ad campaigns. Like Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow teaches, remarkable brands are the ones that break the mould and surprise you.

The Art of Networking

One of the most valuable lessons schools don’t teach is how to ask for help. I’d get our entrepreneurial students to brainstorm a wishlist of people who could address their biggest business challenges. But it wouldn’t stop there; they’d get a chance to hone their networking skills by actually reaching out to the names on that list.

I’ve learned firsthand that picking up the phone can lead to amazing feedback and insight. Over the years I’ve compiled what I call an MBA (mentor advisory board), comprised of experts and business heroes (such as Boston Pizza’s Jim Treliving and George Melville,
and the late Fred DeLuca of Subway) whom I can turn to when I’m faced with a challenge.

All I had to do was just work up the courage to ask. Entrepreneurs hear “no” hundreds of times - but the successful ones try new approaches and imaginative thinking to get to where they want to go. In my dream entrepreneur school, we’ll be teaching tenacity.

Ariana Huffington’s book was rejected by 36 different publishers before she went on to create one of the world’s most popular news sites; Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, returning years later to transform the company into an innovation powerhouse. Students would learn the importance of being willing to fail and holding onto their hustle in the face of rejection.

(Corporate) Cultural Studies

Whether a company has two people or two hundred, team building and culture are essential to success. Engaged employees are happier, more productive and more likely to stick around long term. I think focusing on communication is the real key to creating a positive work environment.

This class would teach how to run effective meetings and the basics of leading a huddle (a seven-minute daily standing meeting that celebrates wins and challenges as a team and sets intention for the day). I believe it’s a core practice that every entrepreneur should know if they want to lead a truly cohesive organization.

To be honest, I’m not yet sure how this idea can come to fruition, but I do know that talking about it and sharing it is the first step to finding the right people and circumstances to turn this vision into reality. After all, isn't that how the entrepreneurial world goes round?

"How hobbies can make us better in the workplace": Today I found this article by Stewart Brown in the Globe and Mail:

A few years ago, I came across a fantastic book called The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. The whole premise of the book is that people who are happy do better at everything, including their work.

Most of us make the mistake of thinking that once success comes, so will happiness. But in reality, success doesn’t come before happiness – happiness comes before success. “If happiness is on the other side of success,” Achor tells us, “your brain never gets there.”

The new way of thinking of happiness and success is, if you build it (happiness), they (success) will come.

Happiness makes us better at our jobs, makes us more productive, resilient and less likely to burn out. We’re more drawn to happy people – in both our personal and professional lives. You would obviously want to deal with someone who’s happy if given the choice. Ditto with companies – who doesn’t want to do business with a company that’s full of happy and helpful people?

A company that’s full of happy employees will see an upward spiral of success: bigger sales, better morale and less turnover. More collective power, the sum is greater than the parts, 1+1=3, and so on.

Which brings us to the important question: How can we become happier? How can we provide an environment where employees feel the same and are motivated to do great work? This is the big question that many HR departments face, and companies spend a lot of money coming up with initiatives to boost morale. But in reality, the solution can be so simple.

It’s my opinion that hobbies can help to boost our day-to-day happiness and make us better at our job.

What is a hobby? A hobby isn’t mindless TV watching, or passively scrolling through social media. A hobby is something that we actively (and mindfully) choose to spend our time on. Things like gardening, ballroom dancing, collecting things, bowling, volunteering, underwater basket weaving – you get the idea.

My opinion: I watch my TV shows mindfully.  I really pay attention to the story lines.

Devoting time to a hobby encourages us to use our time more wisely by choosing an activity that will provide this upward spiral of benefits, like boosting our mood, making us feel more relaxed, and/or helping to build skills. These are all things that can help to boost day-to-day happiness and make us better at our jobs.

Being in nature is my favourite hobby. It doesn’t really matter how you spend time in nature; it’s really just about putting down your phone and mindfully participating in an activity outside.

For me, it’s mountain biking in the Don Valley in the warmer weather. I love both the thrill of riding the trails and the fact that these trails exist in downtown Toronto. I love the typical Canadian pastime of getting onto the ice for a game of shinny in the colder weather. And, I love to read, preferably outside when it’s warm.

My opinion: I read in my backyard when it's warm too.

Being in nature is cheaper than therapy; it has the amazing ability to energize and reduce stress. If you want to learn more about the science of how nature can help to boost cognitive function and help you be better, read Your Brain on Nature by Alan Logan.

When I started Genuine Health 25 years ago and we started making our first product, greens+, our goal was to help people feel so good that once they finished the things they had to do, they had energy to do the things that they wanted to do. It’s not only been the cornerstone of what we’ve wanted to provide to consumers, but it’s also a big part of our company’s culture.

We believe in work-life balance. I’ve always encouraged our employees to have hobbies and to do whatever lights them up outside of work. That flame extends to everything that they do in the workplace, and I think that we’ve got a pretty engaged and passionate workforce. I think it says a lot that some of the people who work at our office on Adelaide Street have been with me from the beginning.


Spanish Castle Magic
11 days ago
Humans are social animals; the only thing that really makes humans happy is socializing.
Not hobbies or 'success' or tribalism; they are only distractions.


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