Happiness is the joy you feel moving towards your potential.

Happiness is the joy you feel moving towards your potential.  – Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, defines happiness as “the joy you feel moving towards your potential.” For the Hilliard City School District this definition is “spot on.”  School isn’t always easy . . . learning requires each of us to do the work.  Happiness differs from satisfaction or pleasure.  Happiness isn’t temporary; it is a journey.

Today’s world is seemingly focused on instant gratification – the short term win.  These short term wins play well on social media, but they don’t make us happy.  Through intentional focus on social-emotional skills – focus on Hope and a Sense of Belonging – we are paving the path for future happiness.  We strive for each individual student to reach his or her potential.

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. – B.F. Skinner

Every student that has sat in a classroom, especially for a class that isn’t a favorite subject, has had the thought, “when am I ever going to use this.”  From basic algebra to Shakespeare, each of us has learned skills in a class that we haven’t directly applied in “real life.”

What survives beyond the classroom, the education, is far greater than the content itself.  Education is the learning process, the lifelong process of acquiring new skills and knowledge.  We forget more information than we will ever remember, but the process of learning, applying, and reflecting is what’s most important.

In a digital age, where static information is at our fingertips, we can’t lose site of the educational process.  Yes, there is value in learning, debating, analyzing, and synthesizing information . . . it is the foundation of the educational process.

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. – Abraham Maslow

One of the concerns educators have today with young people is the ability to be present in the moment.  Too often students are preoccupied with smart phones, social media, and outward appearances.  Being present in the moment, engaging in real conversations and experiences, is required for true reflection.  

Schools, as part of a child-centered educational experience, must cultivate the use of technology as a tool and the ability to be “in the moment” as a skill.  The discipline of listening, understanding, and engaging is necessary for a successful, healthy life.  From professional endeavors to family relationships, we must be fully present to be fully engaged.

Forgiveness determines the breadth, depth, and duration of all relationships.

Forgiveness determines the breadth, depth, and duration of all relationships.

We all make mistakes.  We know that progress requires us to learn on life’s journey.  Forgiveness is essential for a happy, productive life.  No one is perfect; we must build trust with those in our lives.  A key part of trust is having the confidence to forgive the mistakes of others knowing that they too are learning and growing.  

When we trust those people in our lives – be it at home or at work – we find forgiveness easy.  Earn trust through your actions; forgive those you trust with your heart.

If the most powerful thing leaders do is connect, the most dangerous is isolation.

If the most powerful thing leaders do is connect, the most dangerous is isolation.

Leaders build connections; they build trust through repeated actions.  True leaders earn respect; it doesn’t come with a title or position.  When leaders are clear, when they provide support, results are achieved.  

There is a huge difference between leadership and authority.  We serve with leaders; we fear authoritarian power.  Don’t try to lead in isolation; leadership demands teamwork.  Don’t try to lead through power; work to bring people together for a common purpose.

Justification is a waste of time when you’re solving problems.

Justification is a waste of time when you’re solving problems.  – Nathaniel Greene

If something is wrong – fix it!  Defending the status quo, defending actions that are contributory, is a waste of time.

Identifying a problem is a step on the journey to improvement.  We don’t complain about the problem – we solve it.  We don’t defend our actions – we get better.  We don’t blame others – we do the work!

The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.

The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.  – Theodore Roosevelt

Standing still is easy.  The status quo is secure.  Letting someone else break the ice is safe.  We all know people who are followers.  We all know people who take comfort in stagnation; people who resist any change.

Living our passion for growth, modeling a growth mindset demands action.  Making mistakes is part of the growth, part of the learning process.  We all make mistakes.  We learn from our mistakes, get better, and keep on going.

Don’t be fearful of action.  Embrace the productive discomfort along the journey to elite.