When I taught, I loved to introduce new stories to students. Helping children to dive into a new book is so exciting. One year I decided to step it up by bridging Social Studies and Reading together. Students made passports, and we took flights to travel to learn about other countries. It was so exciting. (Imagination, Creativity and Innovation)
I have been reading The Earned Life by Marshall Goldsmith. I am taking my time with this book and thinking deeply about shared thoughts. My draw is to the thought of choice. The choice is a big part of what I believe is an essential piece of teaching, learning, and understanding. There are many things in life we have no control over, but we can always choose how we respond.
We need to talk more, teach more and help experience more opportunities to learn about the choices we make as we move through our life journey. Goldsmith talks about our lives moving between two emotional polarities, fulfillment and regret.
No matter our age, our search for happiness is with us every minute of our day. The number of choices we have can expand to the level of regret. If the options are limited to two choices, our level of happiness can be appreciated because of only one choice not being able to be made. Let me explain how it works for me as I understand what Goldsmith describes.
My husband knows I love ice cream! Well, I guess everyone knows I do. When we go to our local spot, it is not a hard choice for me between chocolate or vanilla; I can get both together in a twist. There is no regret in choosing chocolate or vanilla because I can have both in my choice of twist.
When our choices are more than two, our choice can come with regret. If we go to a Baskin Robbins 36 flavors, I am always in trouble. I cannot walk out with 36 scoops of ice cream, so regret and unhappiness always follow. I have to narrow my choice, leaving out many other good quailty choices.
We base our choices on the goals we establish for ourselves. “At one moment, through your choices and actions, you may experience pleasure, happiness, sadness, or fear. But that specific emotion doesn’t linger. With each breath, it alters, eventually vanishing. It was experienced by a previous you. Whatever you hope will happen in your next breath, the next day, or the next year will be experienced by a different you, the future you. The only iteration of you that matters is the present you who has just taken a breath.”-Goldsmith
The Earned Life is an interesting and thought-provoking book. It seems that we are never finished “earning” our life. Walking down memory lane and recalling accomplishments does not equal fulfillment in life. Success is for the moment it occurred with the self you were when it happened. To achieve that success, you must complete it again as the present you.
I began my post by recalling the days of my teaching years. Looking back at lessons of reading takes you anywhere. Thoughts help you travel backward, forward, and in the presence of this moment. As our memories fade, it is nice to know we can fall back on pieces of artifacts to remind us of times of fulfillment and achievement. We can be thankful for those days which brought us to today and the future. A sense of cause and effect, as Goldsmith references in his book.
I will leave you with one more thought for today:
“In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time-literally-substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.”-Peter Drucker, “Managing Knowledge Means Managing Oneself,” Leader to Leader 16 (Spring 2000): 8-10 The Earned Life pg.20
My famous line: “You can choose to be part of the problem or the solution; the choice is always yours to make.” Helping, teaching, and understanding the “choice” process is an essential piece for each child on the journey of life. The choice is a significant element in the journey of The Earned life and our everyday lives. When we can understand the choice, appreciate the learning process, and accept it, we will find joy in our life.
Make it a great day or not; the choice is yours to make. Is it your choice? Did you choose for the guy in the pickup truck five cars ahead of you to have a flat tire blocking traffic? How about the lady at the drive-up who dropped your card while trying to pick up a quick coffee? Those were not the choices you made this morning to cause you to be running behind now.
When I hear the words in the paragraph, I am reminded of a book I have read to my child, grandchildren, and students called Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.
Alexander is introduced to us as a kid with an unruly crop of hair who gets out of bed to face a day that seems to grow increasingly worse with each passing minute. On the first page, Alexander wakes up to find his hair full of gum, trips on his skateboard, and then drops a sweater in a sink full of water. As the pages unfold, so does the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!
I started with a phrase I have used often in each day of my professional career. We are at times not in control of all of the actions which interfere with our day, but we are still in control of the choices we make in how we respond. In the case of a flat tire, our response can be to help out by assisting with changing the tire, calling for help, and reassuring others involved. When the card is dropped at the drive-up, let the individual know it is okay. Hopefully, she will get a coffee break soon, pay for the coffee behind you, and spread the message we all get rushed at times.
I received a message one day on my LinkedIn account from Marshall Goldsmith. He noticed we had something in common and thought I would like his new book, The Earned Life. I told him I would read it and provide a review. I am not finished, but I have found it intriguing. “We are living an earned life when the choices, risks, and effort we make in each moment align with an overarching purpose in our lives, regardless of the eventual outcome.”-The Earned Life, Marshall Goldsmith. He identifies four attributes that are essential factors for success: Motivation, Ability, Understanding, and Confidence. Each one of these attributes is important for your toolbox, and the absence of one can dramatically increase your probability of failure.
Goldsmith takes his inspiration from Buddhism. He offers guidance and examples and supports practices to promote habits to help move from what we want to achieve to what we do.
I plan to dig deeper into The Earned Life. The choice is a part of my philosophy of Education as we work to support feeling good and safe while building skills needed for a successful life journey. Goldsmith also talks about regret, which I have written about as well. Working together to achieve, live our purpose, and understand our who, what, how, and why, the strategies begin to connect as habits form.
Choice begins the process. We think about our potential, purpose, and passion. In our lives, we do not want to have regret; we want to take risks and time for things in life we love and enjoy. In a blink of an eye, life can pass by. One of the things in The Earned Life I have found to be powerful for me is this: “Before you can effectively earn the next phase of your life, you have to disengage from the old phase your claim to have left behind. You not only have to let go of past achievements (you are not the person who earned those achievements), but you also have to relinquish your old identity and way of doing things. It’s okay to learn from our past, but I don’t recommend going back to visit every day.”-Marshall Goldsmith.
Starting today to The Earned Life: