This is the third post in the Universal Truth Series. Please check out Universal Truth: Everyone Has At Least One Superpower and Universal Truth: We All Have The Power To Change The World if you enjoy reflections on simple but powerful existential truths.
Reality is what we make it...
Whether you're a teacher, administrator, student, CEO or a working stiff you can level up and become a superhero at what you do. One crucial step you must take to achieve this is that you must realize and accept that our reactions, all of our reactions, are a result of how our mind processes the information it receives.
We all act on thoughts rather than on things that are actually happening. For example, if someone insults you by saying less than admirable things about you you might get angry about it.
But what are you actually angry about? Are you angry about the fact that someone insulted you?
I think not. In fact, if you examine the situation on a deeper level, you will notice that it is simply because your mind considers these words to be hurtful, while in reality they have no power over your emotions. You just must realize this and choose not to be affected. This understanding and application of it in your daily life leads to total control of your emotions. It takes a lot of practice and the conscious realization that all people do indeed possess this power.
Once you internalize this universal truth, you become unshakable, No one or nothing can prevent you from becoming your ultimate self and reaching your superhero potential. It will become your new superpower.
We create our own reality...
You can wake up and say: "Today's going to be a great day!" Then you can go and make it a great day. John Wooden once said: "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." Our perception creates our reality. Yet so few know it... So, rather than hope for a great day, expect each and every day to be great. Be conscious about building greatness into your day. And to create greatness in your life, all you have to do is think it.
As educators, we need to empower our students and staff to do the same. As adults, we often forget this truth. Words have power yes, but we can decide how much power they have over us. We are beings who act on emotions. But if we can slow our reactions down, search the inside of our mind, and realize that our reactions do indeed result from our thoughts on others' actions toward us and perceptions of us, we take the power back.
And, while we can't make anyone view the world through this lens of deeper understanding, we can tell them where it can be found and encourage them to look through it.
Same holds true with students. How other students or adults interact with them makes or wrecks their day. Actions, words, and thoughts others have can have long lasting impacts. As educators we are tasked with helping our students navigate the social emotional world too, as social emotional well being is crucial to learning.
The concept of "making their own reality" is pretty abstract to students. It's because such regulation and metacognition are conscious processes they rarely if ever engage in. Such mind searching has to be first introduced. Then it must be practiced. Only then can it be internalized. And the fact is that many students come to us unequipped. When feeling powerless, they are left powerless. We need to tell our students they have the power, believe in their ability, and teach them to use it.
Building personal reflection into the curriculum is key. Students can reflect on learning and they can reflect on feelings associated with being in school. There will be heavy situations that will challenge you. Once, a student in my colleague's class wrote that she is worried about her dad's drinking. That is a heartbreaking and a delicate situation no teacher can deal with alone.
How do you tell such a student that "she has the power?" You don't. Not then. You can provide support and, if you have built a relationship with her, you can help her focus on controlling things she can. You must do it with a lot of compassion. Tread carefully. And maybe the student will realize that she can control HER reality.
It is also important to be compassionate with ourselves and other adults as well. We are more skilled at self regulation than kids, but it can be difficult at times. We realize that "life is what we make it," but it's difficult to take this approach 24/7/365. We have feelings.
"Where The Mind Goes, Energy Flows." - Ernest Holmes
Jon Harper, an Assistant Principal at Sandy Hill Elementary School in Cambridge, Maryland, and someone I consider a dear friend, wrote an article titled "I Slipped, But I'm Back Up" describing his reactions to being passed over for a promotion on a few of occasions. After "slipping up" and feeling pity for himself, Jon was able to draw inspiration from people and events in his life that meant much more than the new job. He "got back up." He made the choice to refocus. I conceive that Jon will get the job of his dreams, because of his attitude toward failure.
The point is that there will always be tough feelings to contend with. I am currently finishing writing my first book and I am scared that no one will read it. Or even care what I have to say. Or that it will prove inadequate somehow. Our mind can go into dark places if we let it. And then it creates dark realities. So it's important to make the choice to flip the switch. Let there be light.
I choose to believe that
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” - Napoleon Hill
I choose to believe that I am always just one thought away from any moment being great.
Thank you so much for reading! Sign up for my NEWSLETTER if this post spoke to you. And remember: While it's difficult to always see the bright side, we all can work toward making our students' and our lives brighter. We can choose our thoughts. We can act with intention. WE HAVE THE POWER. LET'S USE IT OFTEN.