I'm a learning philosopher. It all started in 2003 at age 23 when I read my first book and discovered I loved learning about poverty. Up until that point I lived in poverty, sold drugs, had been homeless, and was bound for prison or being murdered. That first book made me aware that I loved learning about the environment I lived in. From that point forward I read and wrote so much that I literally learned my way out of poverty.
I learned my way out of poverty by discovering two interconnected neuropsychological facts: (1) There are things I am innately driven to understand. (2) Continuously learning about these things makes me feel good. At age 23, I accidentally created a neuropsychological feedback loop that resulted in the continuous acquisition of skills and understandings because of how good it felt to learn. I named my discovery “intrinsic learning motivations” - ILMs.
Discovering my ILMs led me farther than just learning to read and write. After earning an economics degree in 2007, I started a for-profit tutoring practice, then in 2009, founded 10 Books A Home, a preschool tutoring nonprofit in the high poverty community I'm from. Tutoring is based on cultivating children’s ILMs. Both high- and low-income children significantly outperform their peers.
My belief is that ILMs are where a person’s potential originates. That’s why I invented a new educational method, ILM Method, designed to cultivate every child’s potential. My chief ILMs include scientifically investigating ILM and building an educational model based on ILM.
I write about ILM on Paul’s Blog. I've been featured in ESPN, SJ Mercury News, ABC7, CBS, and more. I've won a Local Hero Award, and have been a featured speaker at many audience events, including Palo Alto High School, 100 Women's Charitable Foundation, and VMWare.