Find Your Calling

My calling is to help millions of people prosper by learning how to learn better. That’s my best shot at making a dent in the universe.

I’m making time for reflection. I’m learning yoga, meditation, and Heartmath.

I have to realize that I’m getting old and not going to live forever. It’s time to pace myself so I don’t burn out.

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My Obituary

tombJay Cross died yesterday in Perigord, France, where he was attending the annual truffle festival.

Jay always marched to a different drummer. During a fifty-year career in adult learning, he railed against traditional instruction, saying it demeaned learners and treated them as children. A believer in experiential learning, he authored four books, including the influential Informal Learning. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He developed the first business curriculum for what became the University of Phoenix, the world’s largest business school.

Born in Hope, Arkansas, during World War II, he came a permanent Californian in 1976. Proud to be a San Franciscan, he led walking tours of the Financial District and wrote a guide to the City’s restaurants. He and his wife Uta settled in the hills of Berkeley with their two miniature longhaired dachshunds.

In 2015, Jay launched a project to share the findings of brain scientists, neurologists, and psychologists about how people learn and grow with knowledge workers, many of whom were instructed to take advantage of their own learning but were given no instructions. The project was a labor of love, Jay’s attempt to pay back a world that had treated him well and make his dent in the universe.

Over the course of twenty years, he helped over a million bankers learn to make sound decisions and develop new business. When the web arrived, he envisioned its role in accelerating learning and left banking to become a champion of eLearning. He continued to focus on innovations in learning for the next 15 years.

He enjoyed travel in Europe, taking snapshots (30,000+ of them on Flickr), and model railroading.

Motivated skills

Knowing my signature strengths has shaped what I know about me and directed my career choices.

You might as well know a little about me, so here are my top seven strengths and how I feel about them.

Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible. | My hallmark.

Curiosity and interest in the world (2) 99th percentile

You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery. | Yes, yes, yes.

Love of learning (3) 99th percentile

You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn. | Not school, but reading and museums.

Bravery and valor (4) 97th percentile

You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions. | True, even when foolish.

Humor and playfulness (6)

You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations. | Yes, although people often dont get my jokes.

Perspective (wisdom) (7).

Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself. | This feels right.

Now I use these as a checklist for the activities I choose to do going forward. If a challenge doesnt call for my strengths, Ill find something else to do. Noble prize winner Daniel Kahneman summed up his philosophy on achieving happiness in his 600-page Thinking Fast and Slow: to be happier, spend more time doing what you like. 

Grit Score

“Your Grit Score is: 2.5. You are grittier than at least 1% of the US population.”

This is a surprise. After checking the boxes that I jump from one project to the next and rarely finish things, I thought I’d have a low Grit Score. I’m happy to see it because I’m certainly a self-directed learner. I’ve learned a lot more from experience and the web than at Harvard or Princeton.

My motivated skills

Knowing my signature strengths has shaped what I know about me and directed my career choices.

You might as well know a little about me, so here are my top seven strengths and how I feel about them.

Creativity, ingenuity, and originality (1) 99th percentile

Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible. | My hallmark.

Curiosity and interest in the world (2) 99th percentile

You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery. | Yes, yes, yes.

Love of learning (3) 99th percentile

You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn. | Not school, but reading and museums.

Bravery and valor (4) 97th percentile

You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions. | True, even when foolish.

Humor and playfulness (6)

You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations. | Yes, although people often dont get my jokes.

Perspective (wisdom) (7).

Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself. | This feels right.

Now I use these as a checklist for the activities I choose to do going forward. If a challenge doesnt call for my strengths, Ill find something else to do. Noble prize winner Daniel Kahneman summed up his philosophy on achieving happiness in his 600-page Thinking Fast and Slow: to be happier, spend more time doing what you like.