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Grade Skipping A Gifted Child

The American school system puts students in grades based on age. However, for a some students, being with same-age peers in the classroom might not be the best option. Dr. Susan Assouline discusses her work as an expert in ‘academic acceleration’:

“One effective way to help talented students remain intellectually challenged and engaged in school is to have them skip a grade. Research shows that about 1 percent of students grade-skip. Students can skip grades at any level, and they can even skip multiple grades. Grade-skipping has led to many concerns. In particular, concerns have been raised related to students’ social adjustment and emotional health.

We are scholars of gifted education. Our research – A Nation Empowered – shows many advantages to grade-skipping for talented students. However, students skipping grades need to be socially and emotionally ready for it.” 

 – Dr. Susan Assouline 

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Matt talks with Dr Susan Assouline, director of the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Dr. Assouline earned her PhD in Education at the University of Iowa where she is currently a Professor of Psychology.

The Benefits Of Not Forgiving

Sometimes it’s really hard to have the courage and strength to forgive someone who has really hurt you, or done wrong to you. According to Kim Giles, there are actually some benefits to not forgiving, and also some setbacks:

“Holding onto anger and judgment is like reaching into a fire to grab a hot coal to throw at your enemy, even though you are the one being burned. It would make a lot more sense to pour water on the whole thing and let it wash away. A trust and forgiveness mindset is the water. Staying in condemnation of others is like choosing to be the warden guarding the prisoners at the jail (making them stay guilty) even though neither of you can ever leave. If you stay at your post to keep them in, you are still there with them (in prison) the whole time. Let yourself out of prison, even if it means letting them leave too! Choose to let everyone out and do it for selfish reasons — because you want a better, happier life, free from pain.

Remember, forgiveness is not about pardoning the guilty or saying it’s OK that they hurt you. It is about choosing to see life as a classroom and seeing all human beings as divine, amazing, scared students in the classroom of life whose poor choices are driven by misconception, fear, confusion and stupidity but whose value is the same no matter what. It is about choosing to see every experience in your life as something that happened to serve your education. If the hurtful experience served you on some level, does it make sense to stay mad about it?

If you insist on staying in judgment and condemnation, you will be giving power to the idea that humans can fail and not be good enough, and this will have to be true for you too.”

Listen to the rest of the podcast here!

Matt talks with Kim Giles, President and founder of Clarity Point Life Coaching. Named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. Writes a regular column on every Monday in the Happy Living Section. Author of the Book Choosing Clarity: A Path to Fearlessness. Kim Giles shares her article on The Benefits of Not Forgiving.

Working Out Together vs. Couples Therapy

Many couples today enlist to start couples therapy, to strengthen their relationship and to fix premature or potential problems. But is there another – and cheaper – way to repair emotional damage and to develop stronger feelings for one another? According to Kelley Kitley,

“While it doesn’t necessarily replace couples therapy, psychologists agree that working out with your significant other acts as a great supplement. “Exercising together is a good place to start to rebuild a connection and have fun together, which is often times why I suggest it in my work with couples who are having conflict,” – Psychotherapist Kelley Kitley

Listen to the rest of the podcast here!

Matt talks with Kelley Kitley, a licensed clinical social worker in private practice and has treated patients in Santa Monica and Chicago for the past fifteen years. She’s a columnist for Fitness Magazine and is launching a new autobiography on survival in December called, “My Self.” When you think of strengthening your relationship and your significant other’s perception of you, the last thing you think of is probably having them see you dirty and sweaty, but maybe that is just what it takes. Kelley Kitley teaches us how working out with our significant other might be as good as couples therapy.

The 5-Hour Rule

We have been told for years and year that “practice will make perfect” but does having a successful business require more than just practice from employees? Is there something more we can do? Michael Simmons explains what he calls the “5-hour rule”:

“Over the past year, I’ve explored the personal histories of many widely admired business leaders, including Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Waffen Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg, in order to understand how they apply the principles of deliberate practice. 

What I’ve done does not qualify as an academic study, but it does reveal a surprising study. Many of these leaders, despite being extremely busy, have set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that could be classified as deliberate practice or learning. 

I call this phenomenon the five-hour rule.” 

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Matt talks with Michael Simmons, an award-winning social entrepreneur, bestselling author, and contributor to publications like Forbes, Fortune, Inc., Entrepreneur, Time, Business Insider, and HBR. Michael’s company, Empact, helps build the entrepreneurship ecosystem globally. Empact has held over 600 events at colleges, high schools, workforce development organizations, corporations, and Small Business Development centers in 7 countries.

The Psychology of Comedy with Matt Meese

Matthew Meese is a sketch comedian and actor who is best known for his role as actor, head writer, and co-creator of Studio C, a popular comedy show on both BYUtv and YouTube. Matt Meese joins the Matt Townsend Show to talk about the Psychology of Comedy. Matt and Jeff Simpson perform a radio play at the end of the segment.

Watch a sketch created by Matt Meese that’s received over 19 million views on YouTube by clicking here

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Is Anti-Bacterial Soap Bad for You?

Always gathering your favorite anti-bacterial hand soaps with the best-smelling scents? According to Dr. Sarah Ades, maybe it’s time to reconsider using those in your home:

“What’s the downside to having antibacterials in soap? It is potentially huge, both for those using it and for society as a whole. One concern is whether the antibacterials can directly harm humans. Triclosan had become so prevalent in household products that in 2003 a nationwide survey of healthy individuals found it in the urine of 75 percent of the 2,517 people tested. Triclosan has also been found in human plasma and breast milk. Most studies have not shown any direct toxicity from triclosan, but some animal studies indicate that triclosan can disrupt hormone systems. We do not know yet whether triclosan affects hormones in humans. Another serious concern is the effect of triclosan on antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Bacteria evolve resistance to nearly every threat they face, and triclosan is no exception.”  -Dr. Sarah Ades

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Matt talks with Dr. Sarah Ades, an Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State University. Prior to arriving at Penn State, Dr. Ades received her B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and Ph.D. in biology from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Recently, research regarding antiseptics found that the chemicals have little benefit but a lot of risk for individuals. An F-D-A ruling in September banned the use of 19 antiseptics from household soaps, but what does that mean for you and me? Dr. Sarah Ades explains.

Formula to Live a Better and Longer Life

So many daily events in our lives make us feel exhausted. Picking up after kids, going to and from work in the never-ending commute, and trying to balance everything else can wear you out. Dr. John Day, MD, tells us how we can get out of the day-to-day rut, and appreciate our lives a little more:

“Connecting with people socially (but not electronically), getting enough sleep, managing your stress, being physically active throughout the day, not just at the gym, and eating real food are all ways to help yourself live a longer and fuller life. The average lifespan in the U.S. is 78, but the average American is basically disabled the last 10 years of life. There are lots of pills and doctor visits. Where did the golden years go? We not only want to make life longer, but we want to have a higher quality of life.” -Dr. John Day

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Matt talks with Dr. John Day, the Director of Heart Rhythm Services at Intermountain Healthcare. He is board certified in cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology and has published more than 100 manuscripts, abstracts, and book chapters. As we progress throughout life, we are constantly on the lookout for those things that will help make our lives longer and more enjoyable. For some, a simple walk in nature is just what the doctor ordered. Others need a busy schedule to feel they are being productive. For all of us, however, there are simple steps we can take to make our lives better. Dr. Day explains how to live longer and live better.

Better Meetings

"Meetings are very much a forum. I think of them as a forum in which business gets conducted. We really make progress by meeting with other people.

We plan meetings up to three months in advance sometimes, to get the most out of them. When we go into these meetings, we know exactly what we need to know. We talk to people before the meeting starts about how they feel about the topic or question in the meeting, that way when we get to the meeting, we know exactly what they think. Then we try to rally everyone around a common answer that everyone will be satisfied with.

The more you plan your meetings, the more effective they will be, and the more people will leave your meetings feeling like something was accomplished."

- Bob Frisch

Listen to the rest of the podcast here

Matt talks with Bob Frisch, who has worked with Senior Executive Teams and Boards on their most vital strategic and organizational challenges. He is considered one of the world’s leading strategic facilitators. Bob is the author of four Harvard Business Review articles and his first book, Who’s In The Room? How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them, quickly became an Amazon bestseller. He is the founder of the Strategic Offsites Group Company. Bob Frisch shares his article about how to make meetings better.

Join The Matt Townsend Show, Weekdays 9am-12pm ET on BYU RADIO (Sirius XM Channel 143) or

How to Make Decisions Better

"Let's think about two different kinds of aspects of making decisions. So the first is, let's imagine I've got a decision that's hard because it requires a trade-off. Example: You're trying to move to a new apartment, and one of the apartments is really big, the other is kind of small, but it's close to where you work, and the one that's big is far from where you work. So you've got to base your decision of the size of the apartment and the commute." 

Ordinarily, we find those kinds of situations really difficult. And often we'll actually push off the decision because we don't want to deal with it. Or maybe we'll try to find an apartment that's in the middle somewhere. 

What the new research suggests is that if we are not fully invested in a choice, we will not make the best choice. A lot of times people will go and pick the compromised choice, rather than thinking, "Do I need this?" When you make choices dispassionately, then you will not pick the best option for you. When you are truly engaged between both choices, you will think more carefully about the situation, and make a better choice." 

- Dr. Art Markman

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Matt talks with Dr. Art Markman, an Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Markman joins the show today to talk about how conflicting goals can make you a better decision maker.

How to Break Your Addiction to Work

"When you pick up your phone, or answer your email when you are at home, you are indirectly telling your family, "You are not important to me. You do not matter as much as this email/text does."

The first step to breaking your addiction to work is acknowledging that that's not the message you want to be sending to your family. You need to redefine success. Of course you want to do well in your career, and you want your boss to think you're doing a good job, but the research shows at the end of the day, at the end of your life, it's your relationships that matter most. Success is not defined by how much you work, but how well you live your life and balance out your duties."

-Rebecca Knight

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Matt talks with Rebecca Knight, a freelance journalist in Boston and a lecturer at Wesleyan University, where she also teaches writing courses. She has written many pieces focused on personal finances and business education. Her work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Financial Times. For many of us, working simply feels good. But just because it feeds your ego or makes you feel important, that doesn’t mean it’s actually good for you. How do you break the cycle of working long hours at the office and constantly checking email at home? How do you persuade those around you — similarly work-obsessed colleagues or a demanding boss — that working all the time isn’t healthy? Rebecca Knight explains How to Break Your Addiction To Work.

Join The Matt Townsend Show, Weekdays 9am-12pm ET on BYU RADIO (Sirius XM Channel 143) or

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