When Will I See It?
The nearest star to Earth is the sun. It takes a little over eight minutes for the light from the sun to reach us. The next nearest star is Proxima Centauri, which is 4.22 light years away. That means when you look to the night sky and see that star, the light you are seeing was generated four years ago. For a high school senior, that means when they were in eighth grade*. If we look up at Polaris (The North Star) tonight, the light we see was generated over 400 years ago. That means about the same time the microscope was invented, and Shakespeare was writing sonnets, Polaris was generating the light we see today. So what does that mean for me? Today? That means when you do something to add value to somebody today, you may not see the result of the value you added any time soon. You may NEVER see the result of the value you added, but you add it anyway. You add it anyway because you know that adding value to somebody today will result in them adding value to somebody else on another future day, and investing in somebody today for a future return is worth it. *Think about a teacher or a coach or any other adult who believed in you when you were in 8th grade. Think about how they made you feel. They did not add value to you expecting to get a thank you. They just did so someday you would pay it forward. If you can, you should consider reaching out to thank them for making a difference in your life. Think about the possibility of one intentional act of kindness reaching somebody on the other side of the world a decade after the original act was received. You don't serve others to see the results today. You serve others because it is the right thing to do, and by doing so, you are leaving people and places better than you found them...like you should. You add value because in an increasingly dark world in which we live, it may be the only light shared with that person-today or any other day. Be the light today. Make an intentional effort to add value to somebody today, and recognize the light that others have shone on you. Smile! You are a star!
(For further potentially inaccurate historical findings from the era of time from approximately 433 years ago, go here: http://www.fsmitha.com/time/ce16-9.htm)
The 20/60/20 Rule
The 20/60/20 Rule is one I not only live by, but also teach my staff, my students, and my own children to focus on as they approach nearly any situation. Think of every person you know. Not all at the same time of course, but imagine 100% of the people you know as a pie chart. Twenty percent of those people you know, love you no matter what you do. They support your ideas, hope the best for you, and would likely drop anything to help you out. Now take about 60% of that ‘people pie’ and think of them as the percent that are pretty much "ok" with you. They’d sit with you at lunch or make sure when you passed in the hallways to say, “Hello” to you. Now, let’s check (however briefly) on the other 20% of the graphic. This 20% of people will NEVER like you, your ideas, your presence, or maybe even your hair. Harsh? Yes. Such is life. You could buy these people coffee for a week, try to greet them in the hallway, or even make a point to connect with them every day and it won’t make a difference. STOP TRYING to find your self-worth in them! BUT, DO NOT STOP showing them respect. Ultimately, it is not you, it is THEM. When you can fully know and understand that not everyone will like you, you can STOP trying so hard to please everyone and START focusing on the 80% of people that DO care about you. This is where we spend that invaluable and limited thing we call TIME. Love yourself (and them) enough know where your focus should go.. 20/60/20. Remember it tomorrow when you’re trying to please everyone ;) Make today amazing!
"Your brain is like a supercomputer, and your self-talk is the program that it follows."-Jim Kwik
That is to say that when you speak the words, "I'm not very good at math," or, "I'm just not a good test taker," you are telling your brain who you are, and it does whatever it can to protect your identity. I would say, in this case, it is ok to commit identity theft. Get a new identity that recognized possibilities. Change what you tell yourself, and in return, you will change who you are. If you struggle with a skill, just identify it as a short term struggle, and that you will soon be good at it. Sure enough, you will learn to overcome your self-limiting belief, and will be a better math student, or test taker, or whatever you are currently struggling with. If you fight for your limitations, you will get to keep them. -Jim Kwik
FIGHT for changing behavior and self improvement. Tell yourself that you are a work in progress, and that you are capable of great things, because YOU ARE!! Like it has been said many times, you ARE who you believe you are. Tell yourself how powerful you are, and get to work developing the awesome YOU that we know you are!!
Have you ever had a disagreement with somebody you care about? Have you ever wondered, "How can they think that way?" Have you ever wondered how to avoid such conflict? I have the solution: communicate your expectations. All conflict arises out of expectations that are not met. I expected you to take out the trash without being asked. You didn't, so you must not appreciate me very much, and if you don't appreciate me, then I will stop doing anything for you! See how that spirals out of control rather quickly? The garbage didn't get taken out because it was not communicated effectively that there was a "need" by both people to remove the garbage, and that the problem was obvious, and required immediate attention. (That's a lot to take in!) I have a better way. Communicate your expectations in a way that is not demanding, but rather collaborative if possible. "See how this benefits both of us?" Then the expectations will be available for both to interact with intention. If nothing gets done after that, well, there may be bigger underlying problems and motivations. Those are better left for another day... IF you want something done, communicate it so your expectations are known without being demanding. Watch how your relationships improve... or at least your expectations will be known.
You Are Who You Believe You Are
Think of an "expert"(somebody with a special area of interest that shares their knowledge and experiences with other people). How do you suppose that person became an expert in their field? They probably didn't accidentally become an expert. They more likely spent thousands of hours developing their methods, processes, and information to share with others. Then, they told other people what they specialized in, and asked how they could be of service to them. Then, after several successful interactions with people, those people referred the expert to others in their sphere of influence who also saw value in what the "expert" had to offer, and forwarded the referral to others, and so on, and so on, and so on... Then, one day, seemingly overnight, this "expert" is now known as an expert by other experts in other fields. This is how it works. Who do you think you are? I know you are an expert in training (meaning that you are an expert in an area, training to be an expert; not a person who specializes in training people or animals! or maybe you are, but I digress...). What is your field of expertise? Developing relationships? Is it building a championship team? Is it conflict resolution? Is it building a business? Choose something that others want to know about, and become an expert in that field. Study those who came before you, and do what they did...but add YOU to it. Make it yours, and add value to people every day. Give it a try. Who knows, maybe a few thousand hours from now, you'll be an expert.
A Little Bit Every Day
Do a little bit every day, and over a long period of time, you will reap HUGE benefits...or consequences. Whatever you do daily will influence your path in life. How do you want to live? Healthy, happy, and prosperous? Do little things every day to move TOWARD that goal, and in time, you will be there. Read every day, journal every day (to measure what really happened, rather than how you remember it), add value to others, eat right, exercise, get plenty of sleep, you know the list... You will reap the benefits of a life well-lived. If you consider the alternatives: watching TV every day (or YouTube, Netflix, or Hulu, or whatever you use to get your visual entertainment), keeping your social media streaks alive in favor of in-person interactions, living vicariously through others, gossiping, eating junk food, not sleeping well, you know the list... you will be ridden with health issues, your relationships will suffer, and it is not likely you will have your finances in order either. You choose every day in your "little" decisions how you want your life to turn out. They seem small, but even an olympic swimming pool is filled with drops of water.
Dan and Amy Allen are Educators and Advocates for Students.