045 – Breakin’ It Down with John Griffith

045 – Breakin’ It Down with John Griffith



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[In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript]

In This Episode

How can a teenager from a good, decent, wonderful family end up making a mess out of their life by the age of 15?   What is the path from poor teenage choices to a life of purpose and meaning?  Where can parents look for some hope if their teen has taken a very bad path?  Listen in for sobering answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation!  I got to talk to one of the most amazing individuals on today’s podcast!  If you like underdog, transformation stories, then today’s episode is tailor made for you, and I think you’ll agree with Norman Vincent Peale who said,

“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things.  When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.”

Confidence, or believing in yourself as the quote says, radically shifts what is possible.  Belief for or against our own ability can have dramatic effects on what is possible.  As individuals and even as a society, we often believe something to be impossible–such as running a four minute mile.  No documented cases of a mile being run faster than 4 minutes was documented until an English runner named Roger Bannister did it on May 6, 1954.  For thousands of years we have run and competed in running games.  Yet for some reason in the years just following Roger Bannister’s record-breaking run, many athletes began to run a four minute mile, and now it is common for a professional male middle distance runner to be able to run a four minute mile.  Why the sudden change?

Truthfully, we don’t know exactly what causes achievement, but we do know that limiting beliefs can have a significant effect on us.  For this reason, we work very hard to remove limiting beliefs as students tackle challenges in our Inventor’s Bootcamp every summer.  Students are encouraged to try new things and notice the outcomes because trying a new activity often leads us to new thinking.  In fact, it turns out that the secret sauce for Roger Bannister had quite a bit to do with a new type of training that he began around that time.  He noted significant changes in his running times after some of his training adjustments and continued in that direction.  This approach of varying the inputs and observing the outputs is just the practical application of the scientific method which is in high regard during Inventor’s Bootcamp.

If you’d like to find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit TTInvent.com and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Today I get the privilege of introducing you to one of the most remarkable individuals to be on our podcast, John Griffith.  John’s is truly a story of tragedy and triumph.  I won’t spoil the plot, so join me as we go on a journey through innocence and tragedy to great hope.

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About John

575217_281588925270432_47927363_nJohn Griffith spent his childhood along the creeks and rivers of Northern California catching and releasing turtles, tadpoles, crawdads, and frogs. He has spent his adult life working to keep those creeks and rivers healthy so future generations can enjoy the same discoveries.

When he turned eleven, John began his career as a naturalist. He volunteered at the Suisun Wildlife Care Center near Fairfield, California, where he cleaned the cages of injured animals, fed baby birds, and assisted older volunteers in general care-giving to the furred, feathered, and sometimes scaled patients. Caring for wildlife that was injured and/or orphaned due to human activities opened John’s eyes to the plight of animals and their habitats and eventually inspired him to write Totem Magic: Going MAD.

For the past 22 years he has held a variety of jobs: working seasonally as a field biologist collecting information on bird, fish, plant, and amphibian populations; planting trees along the Sacramento River for the Nature Conservancy; and building trails for California State Parks in Humboldt County. He has been a wildland firefighter, a farmer, environmental educator for teenagers and young adults, and has worked on a fishing boat in Alaska. John regularly writes and publishes short stories and articles for outdoor adventure magazines and environmental organizations’ newsletters. He created his own B.S. degree at California State University at Chico, combining the disciplines of botany, agriculture, and Latin American Studies. Today he is a crew supervisor for the California Conservation Corps, a state youth program that employs young people to plant trees, create salmon habitat, and build trails in the wilderness. And dance. Yes, I meant to say dance. Dance and music evolve with each generation, and John tries to keep up with the moves of the current generation. See for yourself in this candid video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKNhCjA0pdU&feature=plcp

When he’s not working, reading, or writing, John can be found snorkeling in the nearby Eel River. At age 40, he still catches and releases turtles, tadpoles, crawdads, and frogs.

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What is the Purpose of an Education?

 “The purpose of an education at CCC is to make our learners resilient.”John Griffith

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John’s Quotes

 “The CCC was a life-saver for me because it helped me get out of drugs, get a GED, and get a connection back with my family.”John Griffith

“We’re healing the environment while we’re also healing youth.”John Griffith

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John’s book: Totem Magic: Going MAD

Totem MagicTotem Magic: Going MAD is a fast-paced eco-fantasy novel for teens.  You can check it out here:


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Totem-Magic-Going-John-Griffith/dp/1604946814/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1437528573&sr=8-2-spell&keywords=totemmagic



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Additional Notes



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Full Text Transcript – Coming Soon!

“I couldn’t have gone to Denny’s and earned some money and everything would be ok.  I was too wild for that.  I needed something meaningful.  I needed to be a firefighter.  I needed to build trails.  I needed to help heal the earth.”John Griffith

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