“…we can’t listen in a vacuum.” –Donna Sager Cowan
It takes a good speaker to relate ideas well but it takes a good listener for it to have value. Otherwise, they’re just sound waves lost in the air. Have a peek on The Superhero School Series-; With the Courage of a Mouse, and benefit from the moral lessons it teaches on listening and communication. Get a hang on the types of listening and tips on how to improve your listening skills. This episode is for the adult in you that longs for adventure and thrill that only the kid in you would understand. So, take a break from your ever-so-busy life and embark on a journey that even the internet cannot achieve.
Listen to the podcast here:
01:14 Long Time Ago
05:00 With the Courage of a Mouse
15:55 Types of Listening
22:51 Patience and Listening Tied
25:07 Applied Listening
30:55 How To Improve in Your Listening Skills
35:11 Something That The Internet Cannot Achieve
41:52 A Sneak into The Curiosity of a Cat
With The Courage of a Mouse- The Superhero School Series by Donna Sager Cowan
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
“I have to value what I’ve gone through in my life to get to where I am. And I think that there’s value in sharing that with other people.” –Donna Sager Cowan
“You have absolutely everything that a superhero has. You have all the tools; you have everything you need. You’re just waiting for your moment to shine.” –Donna Sager Cowan
“If you can’t relate it to a story that speaks to every reader, then, it really has no function; it’s just words on a page.” –Donna Sager Cowan
“…kids are losing hope, and faith. And they have to know that there’s possibilities in this world that are beyond our imaginations really, that the kids are capable of having, if they let it happen, if they’ll work with it.” –Art Costello
“You are what you make of yourself.” –Donna Sager Cowan
“Go out and try to be whatever it is you want to be. The only person that you have to satisfy at the end of the day is yourself.” –Donna Sager Cowan
“You get no satisfaction from being perfect. You learn nothing from being perfect. What you learn something is when you mess up, when you do all of the wrong things, when you push yourself beyond the expectation that you could ever possibly do.” –Donna Sager Cowan
“It’s really important when we want to communicate, we can’t listen in a vacuum.” –Donna Sager Cowan
“There is no right answer. Because we’re all so different…So you actually have to go out and find your answers. And you have to develop your answers. And you do that by listening, having patience, and becoming a doer.” –Art Costello
“Books are the greatest gift that we have in the world.” –Donna Sager Cowan
Relive your childhood in the story of a cat and a mouse with @myexpectation and author, @DonnaSagerCowa1 and find the superhero in you! #WiththeCourageofaMouse #listen #patience #doer #superhero #books #internet Click To Tweet
ART: Welcome to the Shower Epiphany’s podcast. Today joining us on today’s program is Donna Sacred Cowan, the creator of Superhero School series to share her inspirational story, the release of her new children’s book with the courage of the mouse. I love that title and how listening helps you to unleash your potential as the youngest child and large family. Donna felt lost in the crowd, she entertained herself by making up stories and friends to play with. By Age five Donna had taught herself to read and began her imaginative journey to dreamy castles with princes and fairy godmothers. Donna is a grandmother, random fact finder and encourager and yes, she believes she’s a superhero, Amen. She resides in California with her family and four cats. Welcome to the show Donna, it’s a pleasure to have you on I can’t wait to hear your story. Can you tell us how this journey began for you?
DONNA COWAN: Well, absolutely thank you for having me. First of all, this journey began for me a really long time ago. This book journey began for me about three years ago when my granddaughter asked me what I thought. One of my cats did it night when she went out. It was something as simple as that sparked an entire book series and you know, a whole new kind of experience for me. It was so exciting and it was just that simple in that hard.
ART: That’s pretty awesome because a lot of times out of the mouth of our family and friends and all that come really great inspiration. I think that that’s really a beautiful thing when we listen to ourselves and we learn from those around us and they inspire us, they strike a match to our creativity.
DONNA COWAN: Absolutely. You know, and this is, you know, part of my journey is, you knew in the beginning I really didn’t listen to anything positive. All I could hear was all of the negative noise, all of the criticism, all of the, you can’t, you don’t, you know, you’re not enough. And you know, it took me years to figure out that I was waiting on somebody else to give me permission to do what I was capable of doing. And it was the silliest thing in the world but you know, we do that as adults. We were just like, we’re waiting for somebody, go, okay, you know this much so you can carry on. And it’s crazy it’s like, you know, I have to value what I’ve gone through in my life to get to where I am. And I think that there’s value in sharing that with other people and it’s very inspiring to other people.“I have to value what I've gone through in my life to get to where I am. And I think that there's value in sharing that with other people.” –Donna Sager Cowan Click To Tweet
ART: Tremendous value it. And I’ll tell you, I don’t know how much you know about my story, but I learned that actually at nine years old, because I was in abandoned in different kind of way, but I had to stop listening to the expectations of all the people around me. And I learned at nine years old after making a trip up the hill and have a conversation with God about how I was going to live my life and what my expectations of where of myself. And from that point on at nine years old, I started living my own life.
DONNA COWAN: That is amazing. But you know what? What I find is we all kind of do both at the same time. We have these expectations that are put on us by family, society, things in goals that we feel that we need to achieve to be worthy in our society. But then we have this secret id of expectations for ourselves that we kind of hide away because we’re afraid of the judgment we’re going to get from other people. And it really is, it’s frightening because you know, while we’re still out there in the world with all of our social obligations and expectations is the secret ones that actually affect the way we react to everything around us.
ART: You’re speaking to the preacher right here cause you’re right into my wheel house. When we start listening to the expectations of others instead of our own expectations, we start living to their life. We don’t live our life and we don’t find our happiness. We don’t find our creativity, we don’t find our true meaning of who we are. And once you find that in, once you start moving forward, you come up with things like with the courage of a mouse and you start being extremely creative and it’s so beautiful. I mean, what comes out of us is just incredible. When you throw that fear aside, you don’t live to the expectations of others. It’s amazing.
DONNA COWAN: You’re absolutely right it is amazing. And you know, I tell people how I came up with the title for this book because as I said, you know, the idea for the book in the series was sparked from the question my granddaughter. But that’s the story finding the title, which is you know, something that needs to capture the imagination of the person. And you know, almost to the point. Beyond the point was really hard for me I spent three months trying to come up with a title for this book.You know if you’ve read the book, one of the main characters is Simon Chatter.
ART: –Hmm Mm.
DONNA COWAN: When I originally wrote the outline for this book, Simon Cheddar was not, I mean character, he was just another member of the superhero school. And you know, Simon came to me in dreams just like people think I’m crazy when I say this, but you know my dreams, you know my mind working out the problems that I can’t figure out on my own because I’m too tense or worried or you know, expectations and things of that. So he came to me and my dreams and petitioned for a bigger part, which she got the thing, you came back to me when I was worrying about the title for this book. And he’s like, why are you worried about this? He’s like, who do you think is going to teach courage better than a mouse? And I’m like, oh my goodness, here’s my title.
ART: I love the title. I think it’s, you know, will you think of courage and we think of lions and huge animals and you know, huge people as superheroes and all that. And to have a mouse is really, really powerful because when it’s saying to the audiences, even the smallest of creatures can be the most powerful conveyors of really important messages. And I think that’s what you’re doing.
DONNA COWAN: Well absolutely. You know, there is a statement by Simon, you know, early on where he said, you know, mice work courage. Like it’s an old shirt because it’s we’re fear like an old shirt because it’s comfortable and worn and they don’t know anything different. And so I wanted people to understand through this book, you know, through children mostly because I find they’re the most effected by, you know, the dissemination of what a hero is, is that, you know, you have absolutely everything that a superhero has. You have all the tools, you have, everything you need. You’re just waiting for your moment to shine. So I wanted them to look at this mouse being so small and so insignificant, but he makes such an impact and they can do that too.“You have absolutely everything that a superhero has. You have all the tools; you have everything you need. You're just waiting for your moment to shine.” –Donna Sager Cowan Click To Tweet
ART: You know, when I was thinking, this is probably gonna strike you as strange, but when I was reading and thinking about this, you know, with Disney having Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse, you know, they show a lot of fear and they show a lot of this function to me, and to have a mouse that has super powers is I think a good thing because kids, you know, they really are impressionable. To me it’s just powerful to have the image of them. One of the things that I’m wanting to do is I’m wanting to write a children’s book about how to manage your expectations because my belief has always been that at nine years old, when I learned to manage my expectations, it really transformed my life and set me on a course of success to Vietnam as a marine in Vietnam through owning a business for 35 years and all the trials and tribulations of that to the death of my wife and 2006 to ovarian cancer and how I got through all those things, I always had the expectation that everything was going to work out all right, and I think that would make a great book. So maybe we are the top about that.
DONNA COWAN: Well, absolutely, and you know what I tell everybody that wants to write a book is it is as hard and as simple as tell a great story –
ART: –Hmm Mm.
DONNA COWAN: -because if you can’t relate it to a story that speaks to every reader, then it really has no function. It’s just words on a page. But you need to kind of strike that similarity and dissimilarities between your life and their life or the characters in the story so that they can see themselves in that situation or they can see how they are different but might be put into a similar situation throughout the book. We do talk about, you know, a lot of different issues that children today are dealing with. You know, we, we start off the book with, you know, one of the main characters, cat being homeless and later on in the book, you know, Simon becomes homeless. And then we also talk about them also interacting with the other animal characters in the book and about all of their prejudices and discourse that they have between themselves and all of the other animals. And it’s like these are things that are very relevant and part of the life of a child is at six and seven years old. They’re having to deal with these huge adult issues with a very little discussion.“If you can't relate it to a story that speaks to every reader, then, it really has no function; it's just words on a page.” –Donna Sager Cowan Click To Tweet
ART: Hmm Mm. To my listening audience I will tell you, go get this book because it is really, really important to teach our children these lessons. I’m gonna get up from my granddaughter. I mean she’s 12 she loves reading and she loves reading everything and I’ve got all my grandkids who are all between 10 and 12 and 13 but I think it’s important the lessons that come out of the book are so important to their development and their perspective and how they perceive the world that we live in and what they are actually can accomplish and see in the future because kids are losing hope and faith and they have to know that there’s possibilities in this world that are beyond our imaginations really, that the kids are capable of having, if they let it happen, if they’ll work with it.“…kids are losing hope, and faith. And they have to know that there's possibilities in this world that are beyond our imaginations really, that the kids are capable of having, if they let it happen, if they'll work with it.” –Art Costello Click To Tweet
DONNA COWAN: Absolutely. In that is the whole, you know, cruxed of the inspiration for me behind the book and the series itself. You know, we do have more of the series coming. It is about empowering the children. It is about talking about all of these subjects in letting these characters go through these problems and figure out for themselves that they have the answers. They just have to learn how to trust and believe and imagine something better. It’s like throughout the book, most of the characters are bogged down through misinformation, miscommunication, mis expectations, where they’re expecting something that is unrealistic or they’re not believing that they are deserving. And it’s like, I really want to get this across to not only just children, but to anybody that reads the book that you know you are what you make of yourself.“You are what you make of yourself.” –Donna Sager Cowan Click To Tweet
ART: –Oh, absolutely.
DONNA COWAN: If you make yourself into strawberry pudding, then you’re going to be strawberry pudding. But you know, if you make yourself into a superhero, guess what? You’re a superhero. So go out and try to be whatever it is you wanna be. It’s like, you know, the only person that you have to satisfy at the end of the day is yourself.“Go out and try to be whatever it is you want to be. The only person that you have to satisfy at the end of the day is yourself.” –Donna Sager Cowan Click To Tweet
ART: Oh, Amen to that, Amen to that. That’s something I preach all the time. Henry Ford said you know we are, what we think we are. So if we think we’re a super hero, we’re gonna be have super powers. We’re going to do things beyond what we ever imagined. I learned that in the Marine Corp –
DONNA COWAN: –Right.
ART: –because when I was in the Marines we had physical challenges that I never thought I would ever be capable of. You know, 26 miles, force marches in four hours and you know, all the things that the marines put you through so you’re physically capable to defend yourself, your brothers and, and your country. I learned that I was capable of things that I never thought I was capable of. And that is a powerful tool to have, you know, 18, 17 years old when I went in. But I used it so well throughout my life. It stuck with me. I have never doubted that I am capable of anything I put my mind to if I put my mind to it all happen.
DONNA COWAN: Right. And you know, and I do talk about this a lot when I go to schools into other places is you knew about the challenge. It’s like most people look at a challenge or problem as something that they don’t want to deal with or they want to get around over or whatever. And I sit there and go, you know, sometimes that challenge is building the bridge to get you to where you need to go. It’s teaching you what you need and it’s like you get no satisfaction from being perfect. You learn nothing from being perfect. You know when you learn something is when you mess up, when you do all of the wrong things, when you push yourself beyond the expectation that you could ever possibly do, that is moment when you’re just like, [inaudible].“You get no satisfaction from being perfect. You learn nothing from being perfect. What you learn something is when you mess up, when you do all of the wrong things, when you push yourself beyond the expectation that you could ever possibly do.”… Click To Tweet
ART: It’s truth. It’s a truth. I mean, you know, I’ve worked with athletes on their sports performance and their expectations and I hadn’t mentioned it, but my book is called expectation therapy and what I do is I teach athletes because they already have, know how to manage their expectations because it’s just part of being an athlete. When they learn to do things in incremental steps and get to the best of their capabilities on those little steps that they have in their performance just starts to increase because they don’t, you know, everybody always says, how do you eat an elephant? Well, you didn’t one bite at a time, and we live in a society we want everything now.
DONNA COWAN: –Right.
ART: It’s hard for anybody to do that. But one of my other questions for you, and I want to see how it relates to the book is I know that you’re very big in to listening.
DONNA COWAN: –Right.
ART: And I want to know how you address it and really why it’s so important.
DONNA COWAN: Well, you know, I think that you know, we have to first look at the types of listening. There are two different types of listening. There is active and there’s reactive listening. Active listening is when you’re actually paying attention to the person and you’re listening with everything. You’re paying attention to their Advancial expressions, their body language, their mood and everything around them. This is active listening. You’re pay attention to everything they say and the way they say it because this gives you cues to what they’re not saying, what they’re shying away from, what their info sizing, and this gives you a better understanding of why they’re presenting the information the way they are. Then you have reactive listening where is I’ll be talking and some of you go, oh wait, wait, I have the perfect answer for that. And then they stop listening their into formulating their answer mode and it’s called reacting, listening. They’re not paying attention to anything I say beyond that. It becomes miscommunication, it becomes frustration and eventually will evolve into an argument because then you have the discourse of what the person actually said and what the person heard so there’s that.
ART: That’s huge in relationships.
DONNA COWAN: –Yup.
ART: I mean it is huge because most people are reactive listeners and not active listeners and it’s not good. You’ve gotta have a total openness to listening and understanding and processing what people are saying.
DONNA COWAN: Right? You know, everybody wants to be understood, they want to connect with other people. This is the whole purpose between talking and listening is you know, we’re trying to connect and communicate with that person. But in listening we’re letting that other person take control. You know, they’re taking control of the speed, the flow, the opinion, you know, the information included in the discussion. And we as the listener have to take a back seat and be quiet and listen and try and pay attention to everything it is they’re saying. But at the same time we’re stimulated and we’re trying to, you know, make those connections, make those inroads, make those dissemination of the information and prepare some kind of response. And so what I say is try to wait you know, I’ve never known of anybody that when I say, well, just give me a second would go, no, I need an answer right now. You know and they really do appreciate it but we still very, again, in this rushed world where everybody is so short on time, what is the popular phrase? They want a snippet of information or catch phrase or I forget what the, you know, the news media does talk about, you know.
ART: I know what you’re talking about. We must be getting old or something because I can’t remember it either. what do they call it anyway? It doesn’t matter. But I do have a question.
DONNA COWAN: –Yes.
ART: I was thinking about waiting and there’s patients and how does it correlate to listening and then how does it relate to with the courage of a mouse, how does that all work? Is there a correlation to it or is that just me?
DONNA COWAN: Well, no, there is some correlation to it. And you know, the listing is important because you know we have to talk about, you know, these issues, especially with children, that most of the problems that they have or issues that they deal with are directly related to a misunderstanding, miscommunication or more often lack of communication. And we have a very big example of this are actually several examples in the book. We have assignment chatter, you know, he is famous for making plans. He is famous to be large and in charge and go out and figure it out. But the problem is he really communicates what his plans are. He doesn’t really think about the people who were involved or affected by his plans or the problems that he’s going to cause when he enacts that plan. He doesn’t consider who or wattle change or how they will feel about those changes. In the example that I give, he decides the cat needs to meet his friends and family. She’s a cat he doesn’t want her to eat them by accident. So he wants her to meet him so he decides it’s just on the spur of the moment. It’s like, well, maybe you need to go meet my friends and family. So that doesn’t happen and he doesn’t consider that him cat has never been to Mouse ville. You know, they’re sworn enemies it’s like it doesn’t occur to him until they’re halfway there. And then he’s like, Oh wow, okay, now I gotta to come up with another plan. And so his big plan to sneak her in the mouse ville is hitting her over the head with a rock and claiming she has amnesia. No, she’s a cat. So then cat spends the next you know 10 minutes trying to figure out how to act, not like a cat, which is frustrating to her. And then he dumped her on his friends and family and mouse ville. And they have to take in a mouse that they’re terrified of. And for them they try to work it out and that’s good. But ultimately in the end, Simon’s gone and they leave cat and the mice friends with a heavy price for his shortsightedness. It’s like cat is put in an impossible situation where no matter what she does, she’s going to disappoint Simon. She has to react to save his family. But in doing so she’s going to have to let them know that she knows she’s a cat, which in turn scares them, which in turns makes them turn against her and you know, push her out. And Sue, she’s terrified that she’s going to lose this friendship with Simon, that she’s completely ruined the rest of her life. And the people at mouse ville now that have trusted Simon their entire lives don’t trust him anymore. You know, and it was from a very simple plan and it could’ve all been avoided had he communicated, had he listened to way, you know, what was going on with these other people. Had he stayed to see his plan through and it’s really important, you know, when we want to communicate, we can’t listen in a vacuum. You know what we think, what we say, what we believe affects everything about us. And it affects any person that we communicate with because we are by expression and opinion seeing this is my shirt of life, try it on and see what you think. And that’s fine but oftentimes what we have is people going, no, here’s my shirt. I want you to wear it, not try it on.“It's really important when we want to communicate, we can't listen in a vacuum.” –Donna Sager Cowan Click To Tweet
ART: What is the tie between listening and patients?
DONNA COWAN: Well, that’s a really good question and I’m like, I’m used to say you can’t have one without the other because if you are being impatient when somebody is speaking and you’re so ready to respond to that question, then you can’t listen to what it is that they have to say. You know, you have to listen with your whole body. It requires, you know, restraint, you know, which requires patience. Again, this example of, you know, Simon and cat and the residents of mouse ville you know, if Simon had been a little patient, you know, maybe his plan would have volt where he went to go talk to mouse ville residents and explain to them why he wanted to bring this cat in. That was his friend and it would have probably created a much less stressful situation where everybody involved. But again, he was impatient. He wanted to just get from the problem to the solution without having to do any work. And again, not listening.
ART: Yeah. Kind of ties into my next question too.How has losing one of the best ways you know that you can increase your knowledge. And it really kind of, when you think about it, listening kind of really simple, but I believe that simplicity is one of the best ways to learn and actually doing, you know, become a doer and practice these things.
DONNA COWAN: Right. Well, you know, and I’ll give you an example. It’s like if you want to learn to go rock climbing, yes, you’re probably going to read a book, maybe check out some magazine articles, newspaper articles, information about rock climbing. But I’m gonna tell you right now and everything that I’ve ever learned in my life, the best information I get from people that do it so to get that knowledge from them. You have to listen because they’ll pretty much tell you all the things not to do all the things to bring with you, all the possible problems that could happen. But if you are only listening to the excitement of rock climbing or you knew the greatest rock climbing experience they ever did and don’t listen to all the other things, then you’re never going to increase your knowledge about rock climbing. It’s all just a fantasy of getting to the top of the mountain.
ART: Yeah, and it relates to so many things in our lives because listening is such a skill and people have to develop that skill and we have so many people today who don’t listen. I mean who they think they have all the answers, you know, because they believe that education, I’ve run into it a lot with Phd’s who think they have all the answers because they have a phd, but you can’t get them to admit it.
DONNA COWAN: Well, you know, here’s my thought on that. You can be educated on something to the point of you have all of the knowledge of the ages. But as my mother said, until you actually apply life in reality, you know nothing.
ART: I love it because I believe that life is the best teacher that we have. And it’s taking all the knowledge that we have from living and education and all of those things and applying that. Cause I talk a lot about being coming when I talk at schools, middle schools and high schools and colleges, I talk about becoming a doer and going out and doing things because that’s what makes things happen. That’s what where your real education comes in because they can only teach you so much in the school. And if you go into it with a closed mindedness that you’re educated in that you got the answers you’re in for deep, deep trouble, you know? And we have so many kids now that graduate from college that are flipping burgers and doing all these things because they didn’t apply the things that they should have been applying to to get to the where they want to go.
DONNA COWAN: Right. Well, I agree with that. There is so much focused on the right answer and my thoughts on that is it isn’t always the right answer. That shouldn’t be the focus I think that the right thing or what I would like to see more focused on is how you get there because having the right answer is not going to help you when things don’t go according to plan.
ART: My thing about right answers is there is no right answer because we’re all so different and we all have such different perspective and perceptions –
DONNA COWAN: –Hmm Mm.
ART: -that my right answer could not may not be the right answer for you. So you actually have to go out and find your answers and you have to develop your answers and you do that by listening, having patience and becoming a doer.“There is no right answer. Because we're all so different…So you actually have to go out and find your answers. And you have to develop your answers. And you do that by listening, having patience, and becoming a doer.” –Art Costello Click To Tweet
DONNA COWAN: Right. And I agree with that, but here’s what I also wanted to out to that is that you knew, I don’t care what education that you’ve ever been given. It’s like when they teach things, they teach it, that it goes from step one to step two to step three to four to five. They don’t teach you, wait a minute, what happens when you go to step one, to two, and then it jumps to four and then to five and then back to three. What are you supposed to do? And they’re just like, I have no idea. I have a perfect example. It’s like I went to a medical office the other day and I turned in paperwork, well did. They had given me paperwork on a clipboard and I filled it out and asleep. You know, you shuffle through the papers, filling out the information and they were out of order and I gave it back to her and she’s like, no, this is wrong. And I’m like, how can it be wrong? It’s all filled out and she didn’t know is so then I looked at it and I’m like, oh, okay, well there’s page numbers so I put it in the page number order and gave it back to her and she was perfectly fine. And I’m like, wow, like that you that’s harsh –
ART: –Oh Lordy.
DONNA COWAN: -you know, this is what we’re dealing with. We are dealing in such a fast paced world that everything is a soundbite. That’s what we’re trying to think of their world ago, soundbite –
ART: –The soundbite that it.
DONNA COWAN: And it’s so fast and so quick that we don’t think about what happens when it doesn’t go according to plan. When things get out of alignment, how do we figure out how to get back on track.
ART: You know and part of it is to blame as the school system because everything’s about rote memorization now and not actually figuring things out and using cognitive capabilities to figure out problems. You know, it’s steps one, two, three, four like you said. And that’s what kids think, you know? And once it gets out, it’s like giving change. I had that with a girl at a restaurant argue with me because I gave her a 10 and she gave me back almost 20 some dollars –
DONNA COWAN: –Oh my.
ART: -and I said, you know, you’re going to end up short. She argued with me about it, not the, and she said, I counted it out, I did it this way. And I said, what did you think I gave you? And she said, well, well you gave me a 20 and I said, well then how can you give me 20 some dollars back and change.
DONNA COWAN: –Hmm Mm right. The more change than my bill. Oh yeah.
ART: Yeah. She’s just going, whoa. But anyway, let’s talk about the three ways to help improve listening skills and balance it with your speaking and your listening.
DONNA COWAN: Well, and I’m going to give you three in each category because I think listening and speaking are separate skills. They do work together you are, you know, when you have a discussion, you’re on both sides. You are the listener, you are the speaker. So as far as listening, it’s like pay attention and try not to react or overreact, you know, try to actually pay attention. Number two is look for other clues, you know, that enhance the information that they’re giving. This is where we talked about, you know, their body language, their facial expressions, their mood, their tone. If somebody’s whispering something to you, pay attention cause they’re trying to give you something they don’t want other people to have. So it’s like if somebody lowers their voice, get close and pay attention cause they’re going to give you a jewel you know and then formulate your questions and answers after they’re done talking or make notes. You know, whether you’re doing minimal notes or written notes. I often do like paper notes where I’ll just scribble down words while someone’s talking to remind me because this is where the disconnect happens with the active and reactive listening is somebody is so afraid they’re going to forget what they need to say. It’s like if it’s important you’re going to remember. But I get it right as far as the speaker, it’s like try to keep your [inaudible] of information small. I mean I know we’re in a time limit and you, you try to fully answer but try to keep those little chunks small so that they’re easy, small, short offer examples, you know, nothing teaches better than example.
ART: –No it doesn’t, that’s true.
DONNA COWAN: And then you know, try to be clear and concise. You know, don’t muddy the waters with, well I sort of thought maybe that this, but then that didn’t out so I sorted tried maybe something else. It’s so and so if you just skip over and the extraneous information is like, we don’t need to know that Bob told Sue that, told George that toward, you know, Walter and that you should try this. It’s like and Bran told me I should try this.
ART: It’s get to the point.
DONNA COWAN: Pretty much. Pretty much those are my top ones. It’s like, you know, pay attention, look for those clues, try to make some notes and get, you know, get your questions and answers at the end when you’re talking. Try to keep it short, sweet to the point. Get some examples in there and be clear.
ART: It’s really good advice. I mean it just is really powerful advice and I really like it. You talked about writing things down and I’m huge about writing things down and journaling and keeping notes and all that. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten older and I can’t remember, but you know, when I was younger I used to write a lot. We didn’t have TV. I grew up in a very rural area, so we didn’t have TV, so I read a lot. My parents had a really extensive library for living out in the country. We had to lived in the city but, and that was part of my, my dilemma and being abandonment and all that. But anyway, my books became my refuge. And my favorite book it growing up was the secret life of Walter Mitty.
DONNA COWAN: Oh, that’s a great book.
ART: Yeah. Cause it took us on a trip, you know, that you just, and it gave you permission, it gave you permission –
DONNA COWAN: –Right.
ART: -to dream and think differently and all that. So it was big but I read all the classics and you know, the only, not to see, I read, started reading Shakespeare when I was in third grade.
DONNA COWAN: Wow. Good for you.
ART: Yeah. So I’ve read, you know, really almost all of that. I’ve read the Bible several times and I love reading and it’s such an important part of life for me and we’re losing that because of the Internet. Now, if it’s not on audio book and I think audio books are great, you know, and it’s a good way for people to read I guess. But I just don’t think that it gives you the same feeling as when you’re sitting in a chair nine o’clock at night, you know it 12 and 13 years old and getting diving into a book and letting your mind go because it’s not the same feeling to me. Have you got any thoughts on that? About audio books and stuff?
DONNA COWAN: Oh my goodness. You have opened Pandora’s box of my, you know, my thoughts on this subject and I talk about it a lot and please stop me if I go too far. But here’s my thought. If you ever want to go on an adventure, if you ever want to do something you’ve never done before, if you ever want to be somebody you’ve never been before, yes. What? You can do that in a book. You can’t do it when somebody’s talking to you. It’s not the same when I’m reading a book. I mean, seriously, two or three paragraphs in, I don’t see the words anymore. It’s like in my head it’s happening. I’m watching it, it’s doing, it’s like I have totally figured out what the characters look like and it’s like my imagination. Just goes off and it’s just like I’m in that world and it’s like when somebody interrupts me, it’ll take them a couple of times to get rid of pull out of this story and it’s like, this is an amazing, amazing escape hideaway release, whatever you want to call it. And it’s a dying thing that people don’t, they don’t recognize. They’re so busy being intertainment that they are not actively using their brain. I heard it said as thing the other days, a family was watching a youtube video of another family being a family what? and they’re like, yeah, we were watching them play hide and seek and board games. And I’m like, why? And they’re like, well, it was so great. And I’m like, well, if it’s great, then as you said, dude, pulled up the board games go, go play hide and seek, you know, be active in your life. It’s like, you know, books are the greatest gift that we have in the world. They let us look through the lens of another person at something that is so personal and deep within their soul that they are sharing with the world. We are literally climbing inside that writer’s mind and imagining what they imagine. That to me is something that I don’t think even the Internet will ever achieve.“Books are the greatest gift that we have in the world.” –Donna Sager Cowan Click To Tweet
ART: My grandkids and my children all are avid readers. And my fondest memory of my one granddaughter is I used to have this giant Schnauzer, Chloe. She was 155 pounds. And when my granddaughter was two, she would sit on the floor and she would spread all of her books out and she would say to Chloe, let me read you Chloe, let me read you and Chloe, my dog would just sit there and listen to my granddaughter read to her.
DONNA COWAN: –Hmm Mm.
ART: And it was such a cherish memory for me. And there’s a cherished memory and I remind my granddaughter of it a lot. She always giggles and laughs and she tells me her grandpa’s still read it. You know my dog, Chloe’s gone, but we’re getting a new dog. So I told her, you know, she’s 12 now and I told her, I said, you’re gonna be able to read to Sydney. So, so that’s good.
DONNA COWAN: Right. And you know, I hear a lot of these students and parents telling me that, you know, that their kids can’t read. You know, they have difficulty reading. And I’m like, I understand that. I go, but the problem is, again, we go back to this busy world. We all live in this over-scheduled overstimulated world in a sleek, so actually the animal shelters, almost all of them across the United States will allow children to come into the shelter and breed to a cat or to a dog. The animals love it they love the attention. And the children get so much out of it because there is no judgment. The dog or the cat, it’s not gonna correct them if they misspeak or they miss, you know, pronounce word or if they stutter or stumble, they don’t care. They just want the attention and the boys. And so, you know, it helps everyone. And it’s, I think that, you know, if we’re going to go out on that limb and say that, you know, we need a village, then let’s be the village. –
DONNA COWAN: You know, let’s find solutions. Let’s get our kids back to using their brains instead of being overstimulated where every answer is given to them. Every, you know, we look at these video games, there’s only certain outcomes. You know, once they’ve accomplished those, they don’t want it anymore. They want something new because it’s so predictable. I have never read a book that was predictable.
ART: That’s good. In Texas, we’re starting to have where the animal shelters actually bring the dogs to the schools now in let the kids read to them, which I thought was great, so that’s good.
DONNA COWAN: Yeah, that is amazing. That is some test programs. We do have a few schools out here in the California area that do the same problem, but you know, again, it’s more of an individual thing for these kids. It’s like I think you know, how big of a hardship would it be for someone to take their child to an animal shelter a few times a month for 20 minutes or half an hour to read to an animal. The kid gets the enjoyment of being around animals or if they don’t or, I mean you’ll have an animal at home. Same thing.
ART: I think it’d be better for the parents.
DONNA COWAN: I do too. It gives them a break. It improves their child’s knowledge and technical ability in reading and the animal gets something out of it. So it’s like it’s a win, win, win, win, win.
ART: It’s great. I have heard that you are writing a new book, the second of the series called with the curiosity of a cat. Could you share a look inside it?
DONNA COWAN: Yeah. Here is the cover we are working on the cover is to be coming out in November of this year and I’m going to give you a little sneak into book two. This is what I’m working on. Cat. Come on, Simon growled it’s easy just one step forward in your flying. Then all you have to do is count to 15 while you see the world like you’ve never seen it before. Well that handles, I’m been pointed to the plastic loop dangling in front of her pack and you [inaudible] easy peasy they won’t wait forever. Cat stood frozen and Simon Frown and scratched his chin. What if I go first? He waved his arm like they were talking about who would enter the building, but there was no building. It was just air or we could jump together. Simon Tucked in his Chin whiskers while cat shuffled back away from the door. Simon walked closer to the door and then turned to say something to cat. He wasn’t holding on to anything. Just as the plane suddenly banked left, Simon flew right right out the door. Cat Rand watched Simon tumble end over rune toward the ground. When she looked down, the big red x was gone. She counted slowly to 15 holding her breath and waited for Simon to disappear. The big parachute, it didn’t happen. She was still counting at 25 and she could see Simon Rolling it through the air, pulling and tugging on the handle. When it snapped loose from the pack without opening the shoe, pat grass, Simon, she shrieked, she couldn’t watch anymore without thinking. Cat stepped into the sunshine and cold air to save Simon ,Cat’s life would be over without Simon. She needed him like oxygen and she couldn’t live in this world or any world without her best friend ticking her head. She pointed her body to intercept Simon. She flew faster and faster almost knocking Simon further away. The graph reach other. The pulse lighting just short each time they move closer to the ground was wishing toward them, but they couldn’t pull the ripcord without Simon one more try. When their paws slipped past again Simon and cat hook tails, weaving them together, inching themselves closer and closer, close enough to log buckles, terror on both their faces. They grabbed the handle on cat’s parachute and yanked with all their combined mine. The air stood still, the rushing wind silent. They weren’t falling anymore and they weren’t floating either. They weren’t going to make it.
ART: Ooh, that’s good.
DONNA COWAN: Thank you.
ART: I really enjoy it. I can’t wait to kick that. Uh, that’s great. Can you tell our audience, I’m gonna include what you’re gonna say in our show notes so –
DONNA COWAN: –Sure.
ART: -people know how to get ahold of you, what social media is on, where your website is, where they can get your books. So us in the next five minutes about all the details of where, where you’re going because we’re nearing our time, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to be able to share what’s coming up for you and where people can get ahold of you.
DONNA COWAN: Okay, well I’m just gonna tell you them that I’m gonna make it pretty simple for them. All of the links to any of the retailers that sell the book, which is pretty much all of them. It’s available worldwide are on my website as well as all the links to social media. If they want to follow me or connect with me. There is information about all of my upcoming events on my website. There is also information if you would like to contact me for an author visit for your school or group. I do keep it updated with upcoming events, with updates on the book with release dates and any kind of surprises that I have in my pocket. That is really easy to find. It’s at donnasagercowan.com make it easy on everyone.
ART: And that will be in the show notes like I said, and we will have all the links. We’ll have everything in the show notes. Donna, it has absolutely been a pleasure I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read the books. I can’t wait to connect further with you and discuss anytime you want to come back on and discuss any of this. It’s my pleasure.
DONNA COWAN: Oh, well thank you so much. I have had a wonderful time. I hope that anybody that gets the book reads it and loves it. I would love to hear what you have to say about it. I as an author, learn so much from what people don’t like is I do. So don’t be afraid to tell me what you don’t like. So I just hope everybody enjoys the book and get something out of it that would make my day.
ART: I don’t see how they couldn’t –
DONNA COWAN: –Thank you.
ART: -unless they weren’t either listening or they were busy talking. So, but it’s been a pleasure and I think that we’ve covered some valuable territory here to help people in their everyday lives, in relationships and all those things that are near and dear to us. And I’m gonna encourage everybody to go get the books and when the new book comes out, go get it. Continue with the series and I’m going to encourage Donna to keep writing and giving us valuable information. And with that being said, audience, you know where you can get ahold of me expectation therapy.com, expectation academy is where my online courses where I teach people how to manage their expectations and it’s been a pleasure Donna, and I look forward to it doing this again, it’s just great. Thank you audience for listening.
Thanks for listening to the show drop as your comments and questions with what you want answered on the show. You can subscribe on iTunes and binge network. You can also get more information on the website expectationtherapy.com.
About Donna Sager Cowan
The Superhero School Series – With the Courage of a Mouse follows the story of a cat named Catt and a mouse named Simon Cheddar in their quest to be Superheroes. Meet the author, Donna Sager Cowan. The inspiration came one night with an unexpected question from her granddaughter about why her cat stays out at night. And so, a bedtime story turns to a life-altering book series.
As the youngest child, Donna felt lost in the crowd. So she had to do something to amuse herself. She created an imaginary world of castles and princes and dived into secret adventures with her books. Growing up, she believed that each person has the ability to be the superhero that he or she is. “You are what you make of yourself.”
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