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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 18-Dec-09


Friday 18-December-09

A Good Week

Sometimes you have bad weeks and sometimes you have good weeks. This week I had a good week.

The story starts six years ago, when I decided to do something about my lack of qualification in psychology. I'd been studying and reading around the subject for about 15 years and knew that I wanted to make it a stronger part of my offering. I was also getting more hits from and wanted to build further expertise in the subject. I reckoned I had read enough text books and papers to get my knowledge largely up to degree standard so I signed up for an M.Sc. in Psychology with the estimable Open University.

Set up in the 1960s to deliver quality distance learning, the OU were perfectly placed when the web came along and have not disappointed. I had already done a master's degree in business twenty years previously and so knew what to expect. I deliberately dragged out the course, doing one module per year so I could hold down a full-time job, keep writing for and still give my family quality time. If you look closely at this site you'll find areas where the best part of several of these courses have been written up. I've always written as a part of the learning process and this also makes good revision notes as well as sharing knowledge with the wider world. I didn't put assignments online as these were too specialized, but I did add subjects such as social research and psychoanalysis.

And this week, I got the result that I have passed the final module and so can legitimately claim psychological expertise. I've studied all my life and can now claim to be David Straker, B.Sc., PGCE., M.Sc., M.Sc., Dip.M., CQP, FRSA. It looks a bit much and I don't put them all on my business card, but will trot them out if I am challenged or need to prove an academic history. The breadth of knowledge this has given me has also been endlessly helpful in my business career where I can empathize with engineers, teachers, managers, psychologists, marketers and quality professionals alike.

So what of the other good news? That started a few weeks ago in October, when my wife and I went to Dublin. We visited the Guinness Storehouse, which is one of the musts on the tourist trail. I noticed that they had an online photo competition with monthly prizes and being an enthusiastic amateur, I decided to enter.

And I won! The prize was a Sony digital photo frame, which is not to be sneezed at and which I had been ogling for a while but had been unable to persuade myself that it was worth buying one.

Apart from the boasty bits (sorry about that), what are the lessons from this? Perhaps:

  • Never stop learning.
  • Acquire credibility.
  • Have a go -- If you don't try you can't succeed.
  • Don't give up. Set goals and work hard until you achieve them.

Winning prizes and acquiring qualifications do not define life, but they made me happy, at least for this week.

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