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Taking notes is writing down information while you are listening or reading. There are three problems that you will confront when you are taking notes. 1. The professor determines the pace of a lecture. This means that you have to take notes as quickly as the professor speaks. 2. The notes must include all the main ideas and malcr facts. This means that you have to know how to identify important information when you hear it or read it. 3. The notes may be used for different reasons. This means that you have to organize the notes to help you remember, to add to the information from another assignment, or to plan a speech or an essay. This chapter will help you improve your note taking skills. You will learn how to • Organize your notes • Identify important information • Take notes quickly
How will these strategies help you on the TOEFL? By learning to take better notes when you hear lectures, you will have the information you need to respond to the listening comprehension questions and to prepare your speaking and writing questions. You will even improve your reading comprehension. Taking excellent notes is one of the most important academic skills for success on the TOEFL and after the TOEFL when you are enrolled in a college or university program.
ORGANIZE YOUR NOTES
Strategies to Use
AntiCipate the purpose Divide the paper into columns Separate the major and minor points
,.. Anticipate the purpose
If you can anticipate the purpose of a reading or a lecture, you will be able to prepare your mind to receive the information, and you will already know how to organize your notes.
PRACTICAL STRATEGY The most common purposes for academic English are to provide the answers to basic questions. These questions are answered in textbooks and lectures to help you learn the academic subjects. Purpose Definition Description and Example Classification Sequence Comparison and Contrast Cause and Effect Problem and Solution Persuasion or Evaluation Question What is it? What are the characteristics? Which qroupdoes it belong to? What is the order-first, second, and so on?" How is it the same or different from something else? How does it cause something? What happens? Why is it a problem? What is the solution? Why should it be supported or rejected?
The headings and subheadings in textbooks help you anticipate the purpose of the chapter or the sections within a chapter. For example, a heading in an earth science textbook that includes only one noun, The Atmosphere, will probably be a definition or a description of the atmosphere. A heading such as Forces Within the Atmosphere implies that several forces will be discussed and further implies that this will be a classification or perhaps a comparison and contrast of the forces. Atmospheric Patterns of Motion introduces a process and could anticipate a sequence or even a cause and effect. Problems in Predicting Weather is a heading that contains the purpose in the word problems. You, know that this is a problem and solution section. Persuasion can usually be identified because of words like should and must as well as subjective or judgmental 'phrases like betteror worse, whereas evaluation contains both sides of an issue.
Did you understand? Try to anticipate the purpose of each section in a textbook by reading the headings and subheadings. Here are some headings and subheadings for practice. The first. one is completed to give you an example. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on page 503. Sometimes you will make a mistake anticipating the purpose. Your prediction will be differ-i ent from the way that the reading or lecture proceeds. Don't wo.rry. Trying to predict is still a' good idea, and you will become more skilled as yOI) practice using other activities and tests in .. this book.
How Important I~ Reiativity? 5. Types of Financial Services 8. Black Holes Purpose: definition or description PRACTICAL STRATEGY The lectures on the TOEFL begin with an introductory screen followed by a narrator's introduction. Here are some introductions to lectures for practice. Most of the time. Evaluating Kohlberg's Theory 7. Language Development 4. The first one is completed to give you an example. They will give you a general direction for your listening.TAKING NOTES 69 EXAMPLE Subheading: The Enlightenment 1. the narrator will tell you in which class the lecture is given. EXAMPLE [Astronomy "Listen to part of a lecture in an astronomy class. Causes of Schizophrenia 6. PRACTICE ACTIVITY 2 Did you understand? Try to anticipate part of the narrator's introduction by viewing the introductory screen. Settlement Patterns 2. A History of Plate Tectonics 9." . The Functions of Art 3. Estimating Population 10. Sometimes the narrator will also provide the main topic. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on pages 503-504.
70 ACADEMIC SKILLS (') Activity 2. !Engineering Listen to part of a lecture in _ 6. _ I Art History Listen to part of a lecture in _ 8. _ I Anthropology Listen to par:. Music Appreciation I I _ Listen to part of a lecture in 3. [BiOlogy Listen to part of a lecture in 4. CD 2. [History Listen to part of a lecture in _ . I Linguistics Listen to part of a lecture in 7. [Business Listen to part of a lecture in ~ 2. Track 4 1. IGeology Usten to part of a lecture in _ 10. [PSYChology Listen to part of a lecture in _ 9.tof a lecture in _ 5.
This is called two-column notes. Draw a line down your note paper from the top to the bottom about two inches from the left margin. The first one is completed to give you an example. 10. This style is very simple and effective. By hearing the cue that identifies the topic. you have a context for the rest of the lecture. Sometimes the lecturer will announce the topic in such a way that the purpose is directly stated. 8. the lecturer may either pause just before saying the topic or stress the topic by raising the volume or using very clear pronunciation. 7.. Track 5 1.and add details and examples in the right column. This system helps you take notes more quickly because you don't have to identify the main ideas and the details or examples by writing out words or by using a more complicated outline . as shown on the next page. To be a good listener. Divide the papar into columns There are many variations of column note taking. today we're going to talk about the biosphere. you should prepare your mind to accept the information.. Uh. you already know how to focus your attention. Other times you will have to draw a conclusion. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on page 504. . 5. ~ PRACTICEACTlVlrr 3 Did you understand? Try to anticipate the purpose of a lecture by listening to the beginning of it. When you are taking notes. 2. put· the topics or main ideas in the left column. 3.. there may be some references to previous lectures or some classroom business to conclude before the topic is announced. Although the topic is stated at the beginning of the lecture.TAKING NOTES 71 PRACTICAL STRATEGY A good lecturer will also give you ways to anticipate the purpose of a lecture or part of a lecture with verbal cues. 6. EXAMPLE "Okay then. When the topic for a lecture is stated. 4. If you know which class the lecturer is teaching. CD 2. let's get started. ." Activity 3. 9. Here are some short introductions to lectures for practice.
. Placement to the left or to the right of the line sorts the ideas in order of importance and shows their relationship. Human beings have the responsibility to preserve all species. All species perform essential functions. They are appreciated universally in art and literature. In order to protect ourselves. Aesthetic justification states that the various forms of nature influence the life experience of human beings in a positive way. Draw another line about two inches from the bottom. III. Main Idea Major point 1 Examples and details Major point 2 Examples and details Major point 3 Examples and details My Ideas PRACTICE ACTIVITY 4 Did you understand? Try to put the information in the following sentence outline into twocolumn notes. Many endangered species are uniquely beautiful. B. we must protect other species. Some are important to the religious community . A.72 ACADEMICSKILLS format that requires letters and numbers. B. as shown. This is a space for the main idea. B. A. 1. C. I. . II. when you look at your notes. you will know which ideas are from the textbook or lecture and which are yours. Moral justification asserts that the creatures themselves have rights. Later. The United Nations World Charter for Nature declares that all species have the right to exist. For example. . PRACTICAL STRATEGY Draw a line across the paper from the left to the right about two inches from the top. There are three arguments in support of protecting endangered species. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on page 504. This is a space that you can use for your thoughts and ideas as you are taking notes. Ecological self-interest assumes that a balance of nature benefits all species. A. Refer to the two-column format above as an example. an endangered species may be the unique carrier of a cure for a human disease.
Your answer is correct if the paints are placed correctly on either the left or right.. write it on the left. The manager of a sales department at a company is also a functional manager. PRACTICE ACTIVITY 5 Did you understand? Look at the notes under each topic. When you hear a minor point. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on pages 505-506. but advocacy for the protection of endangered species is implied in the lecture. The first one is completed to give you an example. you must be able to classify the ideas into major and minor points. A staff manager is in charge of support activities such as human resources. 3 managers line manager production staff manager support activities functional manager head dept production manager human resources information systems dept chair coUege sales dept company . The line manager is responsible for production. PRACTICAL STRATEGY When you hear a major point. Separate the major and minor points In order to use two columns for notes. The examples and details are minor points. There are usually three or four major points in a short lecture or reading passage. . A functional manager is the head of a department. The points do not have to be in exactly the same order. .. Information systems is also overseen by a staff manager. a production manager is a line manager. Each of the major paints is supported by examples and details. write it on the right. Try to organize the notes under the topic by putting the major points in the left column and the minor points in the right column. EXAMPLE There are three types of managers in addition to the general manager. For example.. The sentences in the notes refer to either the major points or the minor points.TAKING NOTES 73 IV. A department chair at a college is a functional manager. The professor does not directly promote any argument.
Born in-Michigan. At Giverney. Two types of weathering will break down rock masses into smaller particles. Mechanical weathering occurs when force and pressure grind rocks down. chemicals tend to break down faster. . Four companies of marines sailed with them as guards. he went to Paris in 1897. 2. it is more vulnerable to weathering. the self hasiwo sides: the "I" and the "me. for example. the first treet left for Botany Bay in New South Wales. With increased precipitation or temperature. currently spins about thirty times per second. A common example is the wearing away of granite facades on buildings. the water supply and soil were better . he began to paint indoor settings. When a rock is broken in two by physical forces. Frederick Carl Frieseke was an American impressionist." The "me" represents the expectations and attitudes of others. Frieseke had left Giverney for Normandy. he began to use a darker palette. There were 11 ships with 750 prisoners aboard. The weathering of feldspar in granite can be caused by a reaction to acids in rain. he learned the academic style of the salons. From Whistler. Monet was experimenting with the effects of sunlight The style of Monet and his school is known as impressionism.74 ACADEMIC SKILLS 1. like lighthouses left by supernova explosions. Shortly after arriving in 1788. In 1905. In Sydney. Frieseke moved to Giverney where he lived until 1920. He studied with Whistler in the late 1800s. Pressure from freezing and thawing causes rocks to expand and contract. the colony was moved to Sydney Cove. They took enough supplies for two years." It is predictable because social conformity is expected. This part of the self is formed through socialization by others. Interaction between surface or ground water and chemicals causes chemical weathering. This part of the self is less predictable because it is unique. In 1787. a spontaneous reaction might reveal the "I. Frieseke was influenced by Monet. 5.Although Sydney was the new site. the neutron star revolves. We also know that pulsars are not perfectly timed because each revolution of a pulsar takes a little longer. The "I" represents the individuality of a person. Like a lighthouse. . By 1920. 3_ Britain transported convicts to Australia in an effort to solve the problems of overcrowding in prisons. In his later work. . The mystery of pulsars was resolved in the 1960s. for many years it was called Botany Bay. We see pulses of light each time the beam sweeps past the Earth. It will probably spin about half as fast two thousand years from now. We know that pulsars are neutron stars. In Normandy. The pulsar in the Crab Nebula. 4. According to Mead. For instance.
...TAKING NOTES 75 IDENTIFY IMPORTANT INFORMATION Strategies to Use . therefore. PRACTICAL STRATeGY The key words below are listed under the purpose for which they are frequently used. Key words are especially important in lectures since the sentences that the professor uses in speech are not edited like the sentences in textbooks. then. Pay attention to key words Key words help you identify the important information in a textbook or a lecture. but they do give you a starting point. last Finally Before After At the same time Meanwhile Now As soon as Later Subsequently Eventually Step Stage Phase or Process . Certain key' words appear more often in a reading passage or a lecture with a particular purpose. second. ~ Pay attention to key words Notice cues in speech and writing . more difficult to follow. These key words are not 100 percent accurate. Definition Is known as Is called Is Refers to Means Description and Example Consists of Adjective For example For instance Namely Specifically That is Classification Kinds of Types of Classes of Groups of Parts of Properties of Characteristics of Varieties of Sequence-Chronology First.. and are. third Next.
in summary PRACTICE ACTIVITr 6 Did you understand? Try to identify the key words in the sentences. Here are some sentences tor practice. The main properties of soil include color. EXAMPLE Mesopotamia refers to the land between two rivers. In contrast. . third Should. a counterculture exhibits behavior that is contrary to the dominant culture. There are two types of mixtures-heterogeneous and homogeneous. 5. Community service should be a requirement for graduation from the College of Education. 4. must. The first stage of sleep produces alpha waves. Then decide in which kind of reading passage they might be found. Underline them. Definition 1. 3. and structure. 2. 6.76 ACADEMIC SKILLS Comparison and Contrast Like Similar to Differ from Compared with In comparison Similarly In the same way In contrast Whereas Adjective + -er Although But Conversely In spite of Even though However Instead On the contrary On the other hand Despite Cause and Effect As a consequence As a result Thus Therefore Because Because of For this reason Consequently Since So Problem and Solution Problem Persuasion or Evaluation First. second. As a result. the litmus paper turns blue when the solution is a base. ought to Therefore In conclusion. texture. The first one is completed to give you an example. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on page 506.
PRACTICAL STRATEGY Underline the information or put a star beside it to indicate that the professor has identified it as an important point. The maximum amount of water that air can hold at a given temperature and pressure is known as saturation. and italics. 10. For example.TAKING NOTES rt 7. 8. Whereas an objective is specific and measurable. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on pages 506-507. A sentence from the lecture is shown here along with a star beside the corresponding point in the notes to give you an example. PRACTICE ACTIVITY 7 Did you understand? Listen to the beginning of a lecture on language and try to identify the important information in the notes." Notes: *appropriate speech + writing Listen to the beginning ofa lecture in a linguistics class. a goal is broader and is usually not time specific. Underline it or put a star beside it. EXAMPLE "And this is important-standard language is appropriate in both speech and writing. Look for headings. >- Notice cues in speech and writing Sometimes professors will tell you that a point is important while they are presenting their leetures. 9. bold letters. Some phrases to listen for include the following: Pay particular attention to Be sure to Especially important is And this is important And this is the key point Written cues will also appear in textbooks. the Navajo create sacred images in colored sand in order to restore the splritual and physical health of the sick." aname that was used to describe the continent until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Dutch explorers in the early seventeenth century called the west coast of Australia "New Hoiland. .
. PRACTICE ACTIVITY 8 Did you understand? Try to identify the important information in the lecture. so.Colloquial. Other professors will use repetition or restatement as a way to gather their thoughts or to clarify a previous point.. Draw relationships .. Some professors will use verbal pauses.>- Know what to ignore Sometimes professors will pause to think before they continue their lectures. for example.. Since repetition and restatement do not add to the meaning. Use abbreviations and symbols .. repetitions. not formal more common in speech sometimes in dictionary marked as slang used by some speakers in informal situations more common in speech Most Formal-Least Formal Standard. you can ignore them. uh and urn. and restatements and you can use the additional time to take notes. as well as words like now. ·In repetition.Slang CoUoquiallanguage Often evolves into standard Slang expressions Temporary phenomenon Continuum TAKE NOTES QUICKLY Strategies to Use )10- Know what to ignore . oka~ wel/.. The first sentence from the lecture is shown to give you an example. In restatement. the professor will use the same words or phrases several times. the professor will say the same thing in a slightly different way. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on pages 507-508.78 ACADEMIC SKILLS () Activity 7. CD 2. Cross out everything in the transcript that you could ignore. PRACTICAL STRATEGY The time that the professor uses to think is advantageous to you because you can ignore these pauses. Track 6 Definition + comparison = three types of language Standard usage Permanent core definitions words + phrases found in dictionary used formal + informal situations "appropriate speech + writing included in dictionary marked as colloquial idioms understood + used in informal situations..
son. So.. you might use C M as an abbreviation for the phrase. grade assignments. Okay. a role is the behavior expected because of status. one more thing. finally. as a professor. I. Use abbreviations and symbols Use abbreviations for important words and phrases that are repeated. Sociology Listen to the beginning of a lecture in a sociology class as you read the transcript. But. because of the status. But there are really two types of status-ascribed status and achieved status. The professor is discussing status and roles. You can use capital letters that will remind you of the word or phrase. A status set is the combination of all statuses that an individual has. and. or the type of education. The textbook actually . o Activity 6. and this is important. I also advise students. and there's a choice involved. back to status set. uh. these are choices. in each of these statuses. and.TAKING NOTES 79 EXAMPLE Status position. and so they fall under the category of achieved status. and a. I may have role strain that could even develop into role conflict because it will be difficult for me to meet the expectations for my role as teacher and uh. For instance. as a researcher. for example. In other words. in a lecture about Colonial America. raise funds for grants. Let me use that professor status again. a position in society or .. Okay. I think you see what I mean.status as father and my role that requires me to welcome a guest into my home. There are two ways to do this. I don't recommend this. for that matter. And some examples that come to mind are status because of race or sex. and well. On the other hand. achievements. uh. the status is automatic. that brings us to the status set. form an opinion about someone who wants to take my daughter out on a date. That's expected.. it's an involuntary status. Not much you can do about that. I have to design studies. so you don't have a choice. or. Okay. but I'm also a husband and a father. . I'm a professor. then perform the research. all of the behaviors are roles. Well. you could use 0 as an abbreviation for the name. since my mother is still living. son. or in a group. Okay.. and evaluate my students. So. professorcombine to form the status set. Me. I. For example. All of the statuses-husband. let's say that one of my students is dating my daughter. and I have to prepare classes. CD'2. I'll have to remember my. and.. But this role has very different expectations. achieved status requires some effort. Track 7 Status refers to. father. I write articles and reports. you could write . Let me say that again. and uh. a marriage partner. society _ group. the length of time in school. role conflict. Or you can write the beginning of the word or phrase. and each of the statuses have certain expectations. So. sometimes role conflict can occur. But anyway. So. Uh. in ascribed status. I have certain behaviors that are expected. uh. when the student comes to my house. For "Colonial America. in a lecture about the philosophy of John Dewey. I mean. uh. I have a teaching role. uh. And that means that meeting the expectations for one role will cause problems for an individual who is trying to meet other expectations in a different role.
You should also use symbols and abbreviations for small words that are common in the language. derives from example at first. The abbreviations here are shortened forms for these frequently heard words. second. causes. produces. causes.3 < > btw and with without is. produces. means. and you will understand them later when you are reading your notes. is called different. + w wlo = # X *' ---7 f- ex @ 1. like. J Dew. are. smaller more. smaller more. like. The following list includes some of the most commonly used words in English. second. therefore comes from. derives from example at first. Symbol Word and with without is. is called different.2. larger between PRACTICAL STRATEGY The abbreviations in the list printed above are part of my system for taking notes and some of my students use it. larger between . for John Dewey. There is space for additional words. means. therefore comes from. but I encourage you to create your own system because you will probably come up with symbols and abbreviations that will have meaning to you. not number times results in. are. not number times results in. refers to. third less. third less. The abbreviation can be anything that will remind you of the word or phrase when you are reading your notes. refers to.80 ACADEMIC SKILLS Col Am. Be sure to choose something that makes sense to you.
Example answers are printed in Chapter 7 on page 509. The words do not have to be exactly the same. 6. Listen to some sentences from college lectures. Short: Very short: of water called Friction btw air + ocean surface Fric btw air + ~ surf -4 waves -4 waves Friction between air and the ocean surface causes waves. When you are finished taking notes for all ten sentences. First. Activity II. listen to each of the sentences and write your notes here. Take notes as quickly as you can. o 1.TAKING NOTES 81 PRACTICE ACTIVITY 9 Did you understand? Now practice taking notes with your system. 4. An example is shown using my system. 2. to write the original sentences using only your notes. 'CD 2. try. Your answer is correct if you can read it and if the meaning is the same as the original sentence. Track 8 EXAMPLE Friction between moving air and the ocean surface generates undulations waves. . 5. Then compare your sentences with the sentences printed in the answer key. 3.
DEFINITION Definitions are part of every academic subject because the vocabulary must be introduced in order to understand and learn new concepts. 10. Professors often give new words special emphasis in their lectures by pausing after the word and before the definition or by stressing the word the first time it is introduced. Id = instincts CLASSIFICATION Classifications are E!-ISO found in every subject. 9. By using this system.82 ACADEMIC SKILLS 7. you can reduce the number of words that you have to write. . Menu = list Ifunctions on screen The id consists of instincts. Definitions often appear in italic or bold print in textbooks. 8. Here are some examples of notes for each of the common relationships. ~ Draw relationships· To take notes. Look at these examples of classifications and notice how the diagrams show the relationship between the main category and the classification of types or kinds. To classify means to organize into groups with similar characteristics. Look at these examples of definitions and notice the diagrams that show the relationship between the word and the definition. A menu is a list of computer functions that appears on the screen. you can use symbols and diagrams. Many textbooks have a glossary of specialized vocabulary in the back of the book.
Intrinsic --------Motivation Motivation Extrinsic Sometimes this diagram is enough for you to remember other details. the Synthetic phase. and in directions for scientific experiments or processes. finally. .. by the way. and finally. Fungus Molds Yeasts Lichens Mycorrhizae Two types of motivation have been identified by cognitive psychologists. and mycorrhizae. the domination of the Greek kingdoms and the Eastern Mediterranean. Intrinsic Internal ---------I I Extrinsic External SEQUENCE Sequence is often found in narrations of historical events. but a word or a brief phrase can help you recall a definition for each type . which. Cubism • Cezanne phase 1907-9 • Analytical phase 1910-12 abstract purification • Synthetic phase 1913 . which include molds. Roman Empire • Conquest Italy • Conflict Carthage + expansion W Med • Domination Greek + E Med The history of Cubism falls into three phases-the Cezanne phase. which lasted only two years from 1907 to 1909. yeasts. as for example curiosity or the challenge to succeed. in descriptions of research studies. followed by the Analytical phase from 1910 to 1912. the conflict with Carthage and expansion into the Western Mediterranean. lichens. and. The Roman Empire was built in three stages. which consisted of the conquest of Italy. Intrinsic motivation is based on internal factors. beginning in 1913. whereas extrinsic motivation)nvoives external incentives such as rewards or even punishments.TAKING NOTES 83 This chapter explores four hiqhly specialized forms of fungus. was the phase in which the most abstract purification of the form was realized.
Because employees can begin to expect incentives simply for doing their jobs. which also penetrate the upper atmosphere. rain. but the natural sciences contain many examples.COMPARISON AND CONTRAST Comparison and contrast identifies how two or more objects or ideas are the same or different. but they don't produce rain.000 ft rain Cumulonimbus upper atmos rain-lightning-tornados o Although each person is responsible for one instrument in most sections of the orchestra. it is better to reserve incentives for occasions that require exceptional effort. Mercantilism is an economic concept that assumes that the total volume of trade is unchangeable and. therefore. A side-by-side chart shows the relationships efficiently.000 and 50. but cause lightning storms. Expect incentivesfJob --7 Reserve incentives/exceptional . Percussion Play several ---------Orchestra Other Sections Play one CAUSE AND EFFECT Cause and effect or cause and result are found in research studies for all subjects. Temp Earth < melt pt rocks --7 crust solid PROBLEM AND SOLUTION A problem and solution relationship is similar to a cause and effect relationship and can be represented by a similar drawing. the members of the percussion section are required to play several instruments in one concert or even for one composition. and tornados. Cirrus 17-50. and this can become a problem. the outer crust gradually solidified. that trade causes conflict.000 feet. " Mercantilism = total volume trade unchangeable Trade --7 Conflict When the temperatures on Earth dropped below the melting point of the rocks on the surface. Cirrus clouds are the highest at altitudes between 17. in contrast with cumulonimbus clouds.
CD 2. EXAMPLE The nervous system is divided into two major parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.. 3. PRACTICE ACTIV. Activity 10. First listen to each of the sentences from lectures on different topics. 2. The first one is completed to give you an example. even if the diagram is not exactly the same. This is especially true of relationships. Nervous system Central ----------- Peripheral listen to some sentences from college lectures. . . Your answer is correct if it shows the same relationship as the drawings in the answer key. The answers are printed in Chapter 7 on pages 509-511. Compare your drawings with the drawings in the answer key.fy 10 Did you understand? Now practice drawing diagrams to represent relationships. Then stop the audio and draw your dia· gram. Ginseng survive ~ ¢ human harvesting PRACTICAL STRATEGY Sometimes it is faster to represent an idea with a symbol or a diagram than it is to write notes in words..TAKING NOTES 85 The problem is that most populations of ginseng in Canada are too small to survive unless they are completely protected from harvesting by humans. Take notes by drawing diagrams. Track 9 1.
we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. than education. 8. The remarkable thing is. It is more important then the past. We cannot Change the fact that people may act in a certain way. ADVISOR'S OFFICE This advice from Dr. And so it is with you.86 ACADEMICSKILLS 4. or skill. Attitude to me is more important than facts. 7. Henry Ford said it another way: "If you thin:~ you can or you think you can't. 9. the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have. We are in charge of our attitudes. giftedness. 5. 6. than successes. than money. 10. The longer I live. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. We cannot change the inevitable. than failures. and that is our attitude." . Charles Swindell is framed on the wall of my office near my computer so that I can see it every day. you are probably right. It is more important then appearance. than circumstances. than what other people think or sayar do. I am happy to share it with you. We cannot change our past.