Do you ever wonder how some people get so much done? Do you have lists of tasks to do that are never ending? Do you ever start off doing one chore/task/job and then get to the end of the day, have done seemingly a lot of things but never accomplished what you wanted? It seems to me that these are problems that many of us have and we often don’t quite know how to change.
As teachers we constantly see students who fail to complete set tasks, get distracted by trivial things or catastrophise the scale of what they have been asked to achieve to a point where they convince themselves and everyone around them that it is not even worth starting. Most of my time as a Head of House is negotiating with students who just can’t seem to finish anything and, in most cases, don’t even start. The question is why?
When you dig around the issue much of it is related to a fear of failing, of not meeting expectations, of being judged by others based purely on your ability to solve a cubic equation or discuss the theme of guilt in the English text, ‘The Things They Carried’. This is not new, but our current social structure perpetuates this fear.
Further, by not trying or not completing an activity it gives us an excuse as to why we are not as good as we could have been, why we have not met that elusive ‘potential’. It’s an interesting dilemma.
When we allow ourselves to only feel value when we get good grades, have more stuff, more money, more friends, more… more… more… we take the control of our self-worth and give it to others. Maybe it’s time to take that control back, examine what you value and what is important to you and JUST DO IT.
Sure, this sounds easy, but we all know it is hard. It takes a lot of strength to analyse your own behaviour and examine the reasons for our choices. It also then takes strength to change your behaviours to allow for the achievement that you desire.
Teachers work in this area with students all the time. Rapport is something that takes time to develop but is worth the effort. When students trust and respect their teachers, we can show them alternate ways of thinking about situations encourage them to try new things and achieve more than they thought possible. As adults we need to surround ourselves with trusted friends and colleagues that provide us with an honest and supportive environment that allow us to thrive.
It’s never a smooth road, 2020 has shown all of us that in many ways, being uncomfortable and challenged allows for growth. Sometimes working hard and still failing will provide more lessons than easy success. What we all know is that sitting around waiting for things to happen to us and for us is neither character building nor the back story to any successful person. When it comes down to it, when we really want to achieve something, we must find a way. Whether it’s a school assessment, work project or a marathon, change your perspective and embrace the challenge. Just do it.
Photo by Mohamed Hassan