For Ridgeview STEM Junior High School teacher Ross Hartley, that’s a formula for success in life, in the classroom, and in his running shoes. It also will be the foundation of his presentation as one of the speakers in this year’s TEDx New Albany event, scheduled for April 8.
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” There are two annual TED Conferences annually, where speakers are invited to present great ideas in 18 minutes or less.
In the spirit of spreading great ideas, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events like the one in New Albany. These events bring people together to share a TED-like experience on the local level.
“The theme of this year at TEDx New Albany is ‘Through the Looking Glass,’ so it’s looking at an idea or an event through a different perspective,” Hartley said.
Hartley’s “different perspective” is based on a concept called “The Success Equation,” which he learned about while reading an article about The Ohio State University, football coach Urban Meyer, and Focus 3.
“The equation is ‘Event + Response = Outcome,’ so E+R=O,” Hartley said. “I’m looking at the response piece, which represents what we can control in life. We can control our effort, our actions, and our attitude.”
He will focus on the four “pillars” that make up the growth mindset tied to how people respond to an event. Those four things are intentional hard work, embracing challenges, simplifying the task, and long-term perseverance.
Hartley said he would demonstrate this concept through his experiences as an educator, coach, and athlete.
“Being a robotics teacher, I really try to promote a growth mindset for my students, particularly focusing on the hard work aspect,” he said. “I teach students about how the response piece of the equation reflects their efforts, their actions, and their attitudes. So, by promoting hard work and effort in this class, I’m showing students that you can always control your effort, your actions, and your attitude.”
Although Hartley speaks in front of groups of students every day as part of his job, this TEDx talk will be a new challenge, he said.
“I have taken this very seriously,” he said. “I record myself probably five or 10 times a day giving the speech. Listening to myself. Determining where I can make it sound better.”
He practices an hour a day, reads books on the subject, and also gets feedback from a speaking coach, which TEDx provides all its presenters. At the end of the day, he said he hopes the TEDx audience will take away the same message he tries to impart on his students.
“This plays out in our daily lives, in both microscopic and macroscopic views that determine our success and happiness,” he said. “The ‘event’ represents something we can’t control, but our response to that event through our actions, attitudes, and efforts determine the outcome. Then, that outcome becomes the next event that we must respond to. It keeps building on itself.”