Posted on February 9, 2015
So 2015 is well under way and we’re fast approaching half term. While I’m sure many a resolution has been made and broken by now, I’m caught wondering how we trundle through the years, decade by decade, missing the very tapestry that makes life so very….well…wonderful, diverse, delicious, painful, spectacular….(you fill in the blank).
Meeting up with my adopted family of inspirational community entrepreneurs at the Inner Circles Breakfast Club over the weekend reminded me of a few of things:
1) It’s important to define your progress by your timeline on your own terms
We’re living in times of speed and instant gratification. Some of us can barely wait 5 seconds for a webpage to load anymore; a wait of more than 6 minutes on the underground results in a collective platform sigh; and there are many who despair at an item being left on a to-do list at the end of a day. But we are not machines or lists. We’re human. And what we often overlook is that any idea we’ve been sufficiently impassioned about needs time to ferment, grow, evolve…and shouldn’t be rushed. And you shouldn’t let anyone else determine what your speed and tempo is. It’s yours.
2) We’re constantly striving to achieve and we frequently miss the magic of standing still
Self-actualise…self-actualise…self-actualise…the mantra of the ever-successful, eh? Well, actually, no. (Poor Maslow gets mis-quoted so much in corporate and educational spheres I’m starting to feel quite sorry for him!)
In our infinite wisdom of using target setting to solve many an educational difficulty, I wonder how many of us actively teach learners to stop, reflect and appreciate the now before trying to decide what to do next. One of Stephen R Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to ‘Synergize’. The skill of being open to the intuitive, creative and visual right brain of yourself and others allows communication to ‘flow’ and interdependent ideas to evolve. And when that happens you open the possibility of achieving initially inconceivable outcomes.
I really do think we should spend some time giving young people these tools. In addition to the need to be independent and assert and defend their position in debates for example, we have a responsibility to teach them to stand still, absorb and appreciate the differences they see and hear around them. Only with synergy can they be authentic in moving towards a place where they are successful, yet also happy.
3) Feeling content is underrated.
A similarity we all shared on Saturday, as we reflected on our achievements of last year and what we’ve been up to during January 2015, was a feeling of contentment. Not stagnant, you hear, but content with things as they are. We all have constraints: some geographical, others family or work-related, and having factored these in we’re all really happy with the way things are right now in our respective ventures.
The glass isn’t half empty or half full anymore. It serves it’s purpose of quenching thirst. That’s more than enough.
Gotta admit, I think we felt a collective smugness as we left each other on Saturday. Life’s far too precious to miss by confining yourself to a goal-attainment treadmill. And besides, you’re not a flipping hamster!
So over to you! Does any of this resonate? Any great ideas of how to get learners to value ‘standing still’ and synergize? Any other smug content people out there? Do share in the comments section below.
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Stacy Moore is a community-focused educational psychologist and founder of Inner Circles Educational Psychology. She works with a dynamic and creative team of associate educational psychologists to deliver high quality consultation, assessment and training for education settings in and around London. She is a professional doctoral research student at University College London and contributes to the equality and diversity module of the doctoral programme at the Institute of Education.