Achieving Personal Success is as Easy as 3…2…1…Green!

It was not until I got to high school that things like the internet and cell phones started to become popular, and the popularity then pales in comparison to now. This means that, for the majority of my childhood, my parents had to entertain me the old-fashioned way. You know, we actually talked to one another.

Car rides are always particularly challenging for children to remain patient. When I was young, maybe 4, 5, or 6 years old, my father would frequently play the same game with me. I don’t know that we ever named it, but I look back on it fondly as “3…2…1…Green!” Whenever we stopped at a red light, it was my challenge to predict when the light would turn green. It sounds incredibly simple but, at that age, I found the task nearly impossible. Time and time again I would count down, “3…2…1…Green!” only to look up in disappointment as the traffic light continued to glow red.

Without fail, each time after a couple of my own misguided attempts, my father would casually swoop in, count down, “3…2…1…Green!” and like magic, the light would change.  I remember feeling so stunned, amazed, and slightly frustrated that he would always win. For those of you who know me, and as the rest of you will continue to learn, I do not accept failure. I hate to not to be as good at something as I’d like to be. This is the same drive that led me to, in junior high, teach myself to juggle baseballs while standing over my bed in a single night. But that is another story for another time.

I can remember back, even at such a young age, about how I tried to figure out how my father could flawlessly complete his feat. It made no sense at the time, but my progression of theories went something like this: First, I believed that my father had magic powers. He would always countdown at exactly the same pace and then dramatically point his finger to the light at the exact moment it changed. He must be able to control this, himself! I quickly dismissed that idea because I knew my father was a nice person, and if he could really make the light turn green whenever he wanted, a nice person would not make us sit at a red light longer than we had to! Not to mention that pointing never helped me. It must be something else.

I grew up in a small town in Connecticut. Not exactly your one-blinking-light-in-the-center-of-town small town, but we had a finite number of stop lights to be sure. Once I abandoned the magic hypothesis, I began to believe that, given the small number of options, my father had simply memorized exactly how long each light would take to change. I longed for the day when I could be that smart and have all of that knowledge.  But there were certain pieces that didn’t fit. For instance, if we pulled up to a light that was already red, how could he have known how much time remained? Not to mention I was totally baffled when he continued to correctly predict the changing of lights in other towns as well. There’s no way he memorized all of the traffic lights in the state, did he? Don’t even get me started on my bewilderment when he was able to do this when we went out of state on vacation, too.

I should point out that I did ask him at times how this could be done, and he refused to tell me. At the time I thought it was a mean thing to do, but looking back I realize that it fueled my drive for self-discovery. If it meant I could be as smart as my dad, I would memorize how long each stop light lasted, no matter how many years it would take. If he had simply told me the first time we played that he just waited until the adjacent traffic light turned yellow and began counting, the magic and the mystery would have been gone. Gone, too, would have been the sense of accomplishment I felt when I finally figured it out.

As I’ve lived in other places in this country, I realize now that some areas even have a visual countdown associated with the pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection. That certainly would have made things easier! Not to mention a cell phone app was launched recently that attempts to predict when traffic lights will change colors. Regardless of the method, I believe the message absolutely remains the same: sometimes the difference between where we are and where we want to be is not as insurmountable as we might think. It is the difference between believing that I needed to memorize the duration of every traffic light in the world and realizing one simple rule that could be applied to every traffic light.

The unknown absolutely can feel scary and overwhelming, but it is rarely as bad as we make it out to be in our own minds. Sometimes it might even seem like everyone else around us has it figured out and we are light years behind. I promise you, you’re not. The difference between the today you have and the tomorrow that you want may be just one newly discovered piece of information away.

What success would you strive for if you suddenly realized it could be that close? 3…2…1…GREEN!


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First Blog Post

Growing up, I had two of the most supportive parents anyone could have asked for. Thinking back on it, I can’t possibly count the number of times that I received messages from them such as “You’re so smart,” “You can accomplish anything you put your mind to,” and most importantly, “We’re so proud of you.” I look back on that support that I received from my family and friends as I pursued various educational, athletic, and other personal and professional development journeys and know that those who love me played such an integral part in my successes. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that this changed in recent years. In fact I could tell you the exact date that it changed, but the date is less important than the milestone that was achieved on that date. After decades of formal education, the expectations suddenly shifted the day I became Doctor Bevacqua. In an instant, the questions, “You don’t know that? Aren’t you a doctor?” became quite common. It made no difference if the topic was flowers, outer space, or knitting. Those same aforementioned loved ones would take their opportunities to tease The Doctor Who Didn’t Know Everything.

Now this has all been in good fun, but we know that at least 10% of every joke is based in truth (and 76% of all statistics are made up on the spot). When an individual is labeled, or labels him- or herself, as an EXPERT, there is an inherent expectation associated with that. As a psychologist who has a state license to practice as such, I am considered an expert in human behavior. If you’ve had a chance to read some of the other pages on my website, you have gathered that this was my main motivation for starting this site: to be able, in a way that was accessible to everyone, to share this knowledge so that you can apply it to your own life.

What I take away from the teasing from my loved ones is that, regardless of one’s level of expertise,

1) No one can ever know everything there is to know about a topic, and

2) It is very difficult to be an expert in multiple areas, and certainly not every area.

That is why, in response, I have learned that:

1a) Continued and lifelong learning is essential, and

2a) It is advisable to seek the help of others who are an expert in their given field.

I would be proud to say that I created and designed this entire website myself, but that is not entirely true. I enlisted the help of an expert who was able to translate my vision onto the pages that you see here, which now allow me to share my expertise with all of you. Similarly, although I have written for many different sources, blogging is newer to me. Therefore, I scoured the internet for the best advice on “What to write in your first blog entry.” I reviewed a number of pages and settled on the one that made the most sense to me.

Without further ado, here are the four components that Mr. Mack Collier had suggested I include in my very first blog post (link to this post available below).

  1. Who Am I? If you’re reading this on my website, you already have a pretty good idea of my name, my education, my professional title, my geographic location, and even what I look like. I know as well as anyone, though, that really getting to know someone is about much more than the pieces of demographic information listed here. If that were not the case, dating websites would have a 100% success rate based on this information alone.I have a hunch that, as you read this blog, you’ll get to know me and understand my context for the information that I am sharing on a deeper level. I love using personal stories to illustrate points or draw analogies. In doing so, it would follow that you will quickly get to know me, too.
  2. Why Am I Blogging? The answer to this question exists in other pages of this site as well, but I think it is particularly important to reiterate: I want to help people. I have seen time and time again that the difference between where you are now and where you want to be is simply a lack of information. In fact, that is exactly the topic that my next post will be centered on. I am utilizing this site (and this blog in particular) to share information, free to all, that can help you get from the point A’s in your life to the point B’s.

I know that, in one form or another, many of the topics I will discuss exist elsewhere. I recognize that we live in a digital age where just about any answer is a few keystrokes away. If I did not believe that my perspective was unique enough to be adding value above and beyond those other sites, I would not be wasting your time or my own.

  1. What Will I Be Blogging About?  I wish I could list here all the possible topics I will cover throughout the lifespan of this blog, but I simply cannot predict that. Our world is so ever-changing and, while the core of human behavior tends to be rather similar from one generation to the next, changing societal trends greatly impact what we find important and how we go about our daily lives. In particular, I will likely often visit and revisit the concept of technology and the impact that it is having on us as individuals and our relationships with others.

In general terms, as the title of my website suggests, I will be writing about personal and professional development issues. I see these two realms as being so intertwined; it would be nearly impossible to make a personal change that did not result in change in other areas of your life. Similarly, most often professional changes either are the result of, or result in, personal changes. I plan to write about many common topics such as relationships, motivation, work-life balance, and much more. Part of that will be based on you and which topics you find to be the most helpful. I am here to serve. Which brings me to my last point:

  1. How Can You Leave Feedback? If you wish to contact me directly, one of the easiest ways to do so might be to utilize the contact page on this site. This would be particularly used if you find a match between my style and that of your organization and would like to invite me to speak at an upcoming event. Specifically regarding feedback of my blog entries, I absolutely encourage you to share your thoughts with me. Follow me on Twitter @Bevacqua_PhD and share what has helped you, what you found interesting, or maybe even something that you disagree with. The important part is that the conversations are happening, and the information is getting shared with others who can benefit. The biggest “Thank You” that I can receive from my readers is that they share this information with others. Let’s work together to no longer be in the dark about the information that can help us all live happier, healthier lives.

Please be on the lookout for my next post that will help illustrate the power of knowledge when it comes to making personal changes in your life!

How to Write Your First Blog Post:

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