John Maxwell 3 Paragraphs Blog Post


“Think influence, not position” (Maxwell 2013) I picked this quote because I feel that it is very important to me or any leader.  It basically means that if you don’t have influence over someone you will not be able to lead them. And that the only way to be a leader is to have influence or respect of the people you are leading. In his book, John Maxwell explains how to do this with five rules. 1 People follow leaders they know, leaders who care. 2 People follow leaders they trust, leaders with character. 3 People follow they respect, leaders who are competent. 4 people follow leaders they can approach, leaders who are consistent. 5 people follow leaders they can approach, leaders with commitment. These five rules dictate what a leader should do if they want to have influence. Maxwell also explains how to do this by, by lightening your leader’s load. He said how often you do this directly correlates to how much influence you will have over them. If you, do it once or twice, they will say “thanks.” If you, do it many times they will say “I Need you.” If you, do it continually, they will say “let me help you” This especially holds true for leading above you or when you don’t have a position over them. It is related to the TALONS program because when planning cultural events or trips you are not above the other people in your group and if they do not respect you and you don’t have influence over them, they might not listen to you or hear what you have to say.  this furthers your leadership because it teaches you how to lead over and across, and without the respect of your followers, this would not be possible. 


“Know When to push and when to back off” (Maxwell 2013) I picked this quote because I think that it is very important to know when trying to gain influence right before leading forward. To figure this out he gave three questions to know when to push forward. 1 Do I know something that my boss doesn’t, but needs to know? 2 is time running out? 3 are my responsibilities at risk.? He also gave us three questions to know when to back off. 1 Am I promoting my own agenda? 2 Have I already made my point? 3 Does my request exceed my relationship.? These questions are necessary when trying to lead above you as if you mess up you may just annoy your leader into not listening to you. This is true in TALONS when deciding when to talk to the teacher about a problem when planning a trip, for example, let’s say you are planning a trip and you are one kayak short the day before the trip. You would tell your leader/ teacher because question 2 would apply because time was running out. Another example would be that your leader makes a mistake and anciently does some math wrong. You should just talk to the leader, tell them their mistake and leave it at that, rather than holding a meeting to tell everybody about it because you have already made your point.  


“The Tension Challenge: The pressure of being caught in the middle.” (Maxwell 2013) I picked this quote because I think that is important to relieve tension while leading from the middle. The tension challenge is overcoming the stress in leading from the middle of the pack. It can be hard to do this but overcoming the tension challenge is important to becoming an effective 360° leader. In his book John Maxwell game five suggestions for relieving the tension challenge. 1 Become comfortable with the middle. 2 Know what to own and what to let go of. 3 Find quick access to answers when caught in the middle. 4 Never violate position or the trust of the leader. “Trust is built one block at a time, but when it is violated, the entire wall comes crashing down.” -David Branker 5 Find a way to relieve stress. This is related to TALONS because if you are always stressed about being in the middle. You will never get the chance to succeed or become the leader you want to be. Following these rules furthers your leadership skills by getting rid of the tension that comes with being in the middle. Without this tension, you can focus on doing your best work rather than trying to appease your peers or leader. 

Eminent person interview reflection


Over the course of two weeks, I sent four interview requests (via email) to three different people for my eminent person project. Sadly, I was not able to get a response to obtain an interview but before I get to the reasons why I wasn’t able to obtain an interview I first should explain why I chose these people or organizations.


My first email was to John Conway’s place of work also known as Princeton university’s math wing. I chose to email this organization because if I got an interview, I might be able to seek insight into what he did at the university and how he was liked there. I also was hoping that I might be able to understand more about what made him inspiring and eminent while occupying the John Van Neumann position at Princeton University.


My second email was to a journalist named Mark Alpert. When I sent him an email, I was hoping that he could give me some insight into how john Conway was important to the mathematical community. I was hoping this because he wrote many articles on John Conway’s mathematical impact on the world.


My third email was to a journalist named Siobhan Roberts. When I sent her an email, I was hoping for her to give me insight into John Conway’s eminence. I thought she could do this because she wrote numerous articles describing his eminence and his inspirational qualities.


My last email was a response to Siobhan Roberts. It was basically just a last-ditch attempt to contact my most prominent potential interviewee.


What I thought went wrong were two main points.  Number one lack of potential interviewees. On one hand, Because John Conway worked in a lot of different math subjects, he had a lot of coworkers. On the other hand, because john Conway lived to 82 before he passed, most of his coworkers were either dead or not in the right position to do an interview Because of this and the fact that none of his family had any jobs or study in mathematics, I was only able to email his place of work or people who wrote articles about him.   Number two, lack of emails. I only sent four emails to three people. I wish I was able to send more but I was not able to find the time to go through his coworkers a dozen times only to find out they had passed on.

In conclusion, I sent four emails to three people and got zero responses.  My thoughts on why this happened are I did not send enough emails to different people because there were not that many potential people to interview.

Interview Reflection

I interviewed Rean on Tuesday. I prepared eleven questions that I thought would give me some valuable and interesting insight into her. I asked  open questions like “What inspired you to join the talons program?” I also asked closed questions like “Do you have any hobbies? During the interview, I tried to stay professional, but I did not want to make her uncomfortable. I managed to get to all the eleven questions I had prepared but I was not able to expand on the responses Rean gave, for some questions I gave Rean could not answer right away because of their difficulty. I wasn’t prepared for this and received feedback that I should have asked easier questions. I got positive feedback that I stayed interested throughout the entire presentation, showing friendliness, and using an encouraging tone. Unfortunately, to appear engaged I repeated my response to Rean, saying things like “ok or cool” too many times. To get ready for an interview with an expert on my eminent person I will focus my questions about working with or studying John Conway, rather than asking for random information.  I want to improve my skills when I need to stay engaged by varying my responses. Although I think it is important to focus on responses that I find informative. I also want to go more indepth and ask follow-up questions when I do my actual interview. Overall, I feel that I did good on the practice interview and am looking forward to the real one.   

Eminent person Blog reflection

By reading the different blog posts I was able to learn about different people from different backgrounds and different career paths. My favorite person I learned about was an inventor named Robert Noyce. He invented several things like an integrated circuit made from silicone. I also learned about an anime writer named Hideaki Anno, an army officer named Desmond Doss, a writer named Louisa May Alcott, and an American gymnast named Sunisa LeeA few main takeaways I got from reading other blog posts were to break up my paragraph to make it sound better, to include more about john Conway’s theories to give the reader more information about what he did and to include a few videos of John Conway to make my blog post look better. Also, from reading the comments on my blog post I should talk more about him and include more photos of him.  I feel that if I implement these ideas from other people’s blogs into mine that it will take my blog from ok to great. Overall, I feel that I got a lot of useful and helpful to improve my blog out of looking at my peers’ blogs and I will try to implement some of these takeaways in the future. 

Eminent person Blog Post

People think that mathematics is complicated. Mathematics is the simple bit, it’s the stuff we CAN understand. It’s cats that are complicated. – John Conway 1937-2020

John Conway Interests me because of his work in a variety of math subjects. He studied the theory of finite groups, knot theory, number theory, combinatorial game theory, and coding theory. He moved between subjects always learning and making new things, like the doomsday rule or the game of life. Personally, I tend to jump from new ideas to new ideas trying to learn as much as I can as fast as I can, so I feel that we have some connection. He inspires me to want to have a career in mathematics when I grow up.  I also enjoy math and have an analytical mind and I enjoy challenges. I aspire to be more open to learning and understanding new things like john Conway. I also aspire to be better at communicating with other people like him. Some challenges I could have with connecting with John Conway is that he worked with very complex math, so it could be hard to get in his headspace and that he was an adult, and I am still a kid. And because I am still a kid, I have never held a job but, he was known for his career. Even though I am still a kid I could research, learn, and study what he taught in order to have a better understanding of his work and who he was. When I grow up, I think that I will get a stronger connection when I start my career. He contributed to society and the field of mathematics by working on the theory of finite groups, knot theory, number theory, combinatorial game theory, and coding theory. He left a ding in the universe by teaching mathematics at Princeton. I don’t think that he’s someone who will become more famous in 50 to 100 years as time goes by than he because he did not win a lot of awards and also because generally, mathematicians are not as famous as celebrities. He is worth researching because he was an inspiration to his students and peers alike. He moved through math making discoveries and teaching the public in a way that kept their interest. He wasn’t called “the world’s most charismatic mathematician” for nothing. I picked him over other mathematicians because he did not settle down and work in one field, he moved between them and shared his genius with the entirety of the math world. One of my takeaways so far from studying John Conway is that you don’t need to stay in one element. This is true not just for math but is also true for all areas of life.

John Horton Conway - Wikipedia

Digital Footprint Assignment

1. How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.

By not having a digital footprint if an employer looks up my name they won’t see anything positive or negative. Firstly this could affect my opportunities by them not having enough information about me give me the opporunity. Secondly, this could affect my opportunity because if I eventually post something bad a person could build their opinion of my based on that one thing, Rather than if I post ten good things and one bad thing it is a ten to one ratio I will look better.

2. Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.

Firstly post less. If you post a new thing every day rather than once a month you have less time to think about the consequences and effects of your post on your profile. Secondly run it by someone you trust. if you run it by someone else they can tell can provide an unbiased opinion on your post and tell you if you should or should not post that thing.

3. If you could go back in time, is there anything that you would do differently online? Think of what advice you would pass on to your younger self or other students.

To be completely honest I don’t regret anything I’ve done in the past, simply because I haven’t posted anything online to regret or change yet. I would recommend other students to do the same as people can not hold anything against you haven’t posted anything at all.