“Be a beneficial presence on the planet. Give your Gifts. Boldly go where no woman or no man has ever gone before.” – Michael Bernard Beckwith
Sometimes the hardest thing to ignore is the doubt in our own mind. When confronted by someone else’s fear or doubt, we have the option to get away from that person and it is gone. But with our own fears and doubts, we carry them with us wherever we go. We must learn to consciously refocus our mind in the direction of success and satisfaction.
With the children in our district, this is of paramount concern. It is for this reason that we emphasize higher order thinking. This means we get a higher perspective on what is going on in order to generate creative solutions based on inspiration, rather than desperation. We teach our students to become creative problem solvers, and we encourage them to develop perspectives that keep them in tune with their inner purpose. This type of resilience, which includes compassion and kindness, will assist them in creating the world of tomorrow. These are skills that take practice, just like anything else.
A group of second graders were having difficulty getting along in the lunch group this week. As soon as they came in the room they were arguing about who would go first in the game they were going to play, and who would sit where. At first, my own mind was overwhelmed. I was not sure I had what it would take to direct this energy in a productive way. Thankfully, I have learned to take a deep breath and observe myself, and the situation, from a neutral perspective before reacting. By doing this I was able to regain my footing and enthusiastically step into my role as leader.
One thing that really helped was acknowledging aloud that the students were being a bit chippy with each other. I reminded them that in order to have fun and get the most from the group it might be wise to take a breath and talk to each other in clear, respectful voices. By actively listening to their concerns and giving sincere feedback, they responded well, and settled into the games for the day. Soon, they were cooperating with one another, and better able to iron out any confusion that came up during the natural course of the games. I praised these young people for working together and they smiled in response.
Working in groups can bring up doubt and worries in the best of us. We all get tired or hungry. We sometimes worry that our own needs will not be met. We might also wonder if we are worthy of the respect of our peers, or question if we look good today. Finding ways to acknowledge these thoughts and then redirect our focus in a positive way is essential to having a positive life experience.
Starting our mornings with quiet reflection and some inspired reading is a great way to get a jump on the day. By intentionally setting our mental course in the direction of our highest aspirations, we are setting ourselves up for greater success. This does not have to take more than a few minutes. When we incorporate this habit on a daily basis, it will naturally expand, and become something we look forward to each morning.
Taking pitstops throughout the day, is another way to keep our mind above the fray of fear, doubt, and worry. By reflecting on and appreciating what we have accomplished, and then turning our focus toward what is coming next, we can anticipate and avoid some pitfalls that might otherwise snare us. We can also check-in to see if we are hungry, or need to close our eyes for a few minutes before our next activity. Tending to our basic needs is essential to keeping our energy and mood high.
In the case of the students coming together to play a board game, or in your own case, the first step in escaping the clutches of doubt and fear is to wake up to what is happening around you in this moment. Your mind is an expert storyteller and projector built-in to one. By recognizing when that story that is being projected has turned into a scary one, you can take conscious steps to tell a more positive tale. When you do, your mood will lift as new thoughts flow into your awareness. This simple shift will put you back in the fast lane to success.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, to find out more go to www.DarrellandEd.com or send an email to: EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org