Life’s too short to be miserable. We must appreciate every minute. – Terry Bradshaw
Each of us has areas in our life that we’d like to make positive changes. For me, there are times that I let one person, or one event, get under my skin and ruin my mood. An aggravating unsolicited email or a hostile social media post can make me miserable. The cost of my unproductive, undisciplined behavior can be significant. Life is too short . . . Appreciate every minute.
Through a “big picture” lens, many uncontrollable events require a response. For me, the most unproductive response, especially to something I can’t control, is to become miserable. It’s a mindset . . . it’s about embracing my own shortcomings and actively doing the work to improve.
What makes you miserable? Life’s too short . . . make the required changes to better appreciate the moments and people in your life.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. – Aristotle
We are drowning in this new Information Age. We are bombarded with thoughts and opinions – many of which we don’t seek out. Everyone is sharing his or her opinion on everything. From Facebook to CNN, from pop-up ads to iPhone notifications, we get new information every hour of every day as long as we are awake. We are over connected at nearly every level.
While the volume of thoughts have increased, Aristotle’s approach is still as true in life today as it was in Ancient Greece. We must listen, filter, and reflect on thoughts without necessarily accepting it. Now, more than ever, we must evaluate the source of information. We must be critical of intent and purpose. We must use our own education and experiences to make decisions on what we believe. We are our own best filters; we build trust based on our experiences. Don’t accept someone else’s thoughts without first thoughtfully considering if they are worthy of your acceptance.
It is not hard to learn more. What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong. – Martin Fischer
In today’s era of instant access to nearly infinite information, learning more is at our fingertips. From a YouTube video on how to program your garage door opener to earning an advanced degree online, it isn’t difficult to be a lifelong learner. Each of us, from the youngest child to the senior citizens in their golden years, can access skills and continue our learning journey.
What’s more difficult for all of us is to accept change – and to permit ourselves to be changed. It’s hard to unlearn certain skills . . . it’s uncomfortable when our values are challenged.
In my opinion, here is the biggest challenge . . . the willingness to challenge your own beliefs and then honestly decided what you aren’t willing to change and what changes are required of you. We can’t simply unlearn skills or abandon time-tested truths, but we also can’t turn a blind-eye to advancement. We must be honest, embrace the discomfort of questioning ourselves, and make intentional, purposeful decisions based on new information.
Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. – Edward Everett
Education is the great equalizer in American society. Education is what molds, what builds the foundation, for our next generation of American leaders. Public education is the silver bullet, the single most powerful institution, to break the cycle of poverty and level the playing field in our country.
Our public schools, and the skills and values we instill in our young people, are protecting the very ideals of liberty in this next generation. From the very truths that are made self-evident by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence to the new nation brought forth on this continent as referenced by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, the work of public school teachers safeguards the core of our liberty.
Teachers who are passionate about making a difference are more likely to make a difference. – John Hattie
Think back on the best teachers you had in school. What made them different? How did they stand apart from other educators?
Our best teachers truly make a difference in the lives of students because their passion is about making a difference. It isn’t about pedagogy or curriculum; it isn’t about classroom furniture, iPads, or flexible learning spaces. The most important aspect in teacher success is simple – passionate teachers whose first love is making a difference for their students. Period . . . End of story.
Yes, curriculum and learning spaces . . . yes, technology and pedagogy matter, but they don’t matter nearly as much, not nearly as much, as the skill and passion of the teacher in the classroom.
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – John Wooden
Do the people around you trust you enough to argue with you? Are you willing to listen when other people present different opinions? Do you create opportunities to provide differing points of view?
We embrace our Power of the Team . . . we know that we are stronger together. For us to perform at our best we need alignment of purpose with a team that continues to challenge each other. We listen, we challenge, and we commit . . . this is our process. We are a diverse team of smart, dedicated people . . . we respect each other and make each other better.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan
Our community is becoming increasingly diverse. With our social, economic, and cultural diversity, we also have a great diversity of ideas and opinions. We are divided in our political views, our parenting styles, and our development planning. All one needs to do is look on social media, or flip from Fox News, to CNN, to MSNBC . . . there is no shortage of conflict, name-calling, or just angry people.
For us to be successful, for our community to create a kinder, more productive culture, we must take a page from Ronald Reagan’s playbook. Peace isn’t the absence of conflict or abdication of personal ideals. Peace is the ability to handle conflict with kindness, grace, and skill. Working through conflict doesn’t come easy . . . it requires us to simply do the work. Achieving peace and appreciating our diversity demands that we build the necessary skills to listen, understand, and compromise.
Let’s embrace the challenges we face, build the requisite skills to handle conflict through peaceful means, and commit to kindness as we create the culture we desire.
“Expect to succeed. Be ready not to.” – Brian Kight
From a professional golfer standing behind the ball visualizing the perfect shot, to the high school violinist practicing a difficult section of music prior to a performance, we know that visualizing success is paramount to actual achievement. We instill in our children that through positive self-talk, hard work and a positive mindset, success is more likely. We expect to succeed because we’ve done the work, we’ve made the commitment to the process, and we’ve built skill.
We also teach young people that failure isn’t an end, but a step along our journey. When we fail, we learn and improve. While we expect to succeed, we are also prepared to fail-forward. From that missed putt on the green, to the wrong answer on an exam . . . we are provided opportunities to learn, live our growth mindset, and be better prepared for the next time. This is life . . . it is a never-ending journey of experiences and opportunities. Be ready for anything.