The power of one.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
-Margaret Mead (Anthropologist, 1901-1978)

Time and time again in history, we see how critical turning points of entire civilizations hinged on the actions of small groups of individuals and even at times on sole individuals.  Aristotle changed the way we as humans view logic and the world around us.  He even tutored Alexander the Great, who went on to conquer the known world by the time he was 32.  Joan of Arc, at the age of 17, led the French to eventual victory over the invading English army.   The Wright brothers discovered how to defy gravity.  Sir Isaac Newton and his contemporaries discovered new areas of  math and science, some of which are still being understood just today.  And the list of world-changers could go on.  However, you must remember one thing—these were not extraordinary beings.  They were humans like you and I who experienced disappointments and setbacks.  However, they did possess one characteristic that defines a leader and a worldchanger…

In the movie Rocky Balboa (2006), Rocky is talking to his son about the fight we’re all in against life itself.  He imparts to his son a message that resonated so deep with me:

“The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!”

Perseverance is probably the most defining factor of a leader’s legacy.  If Thomas Edison had stopped after 5,000 failed attempts to create a lightbulb, our history would be very different.  But he didn’t stop and, even though he failed 5,000 more times before finding the right method, he is honored for it.

You too will experience taxing difficulties, both in your future classroom and also in your undergraduate days.  You may have a teacher who, sadly, is just a terrible teacher.  You may have a roommate or a fellow officer on a team who makes it seem like their main goal in life is to find ways to  just stress you out! 

It may even be a parent or a family member.  Maybe an illness affecting someone you love.  It may be so bad that you just want to quit—quitting school or even quitting your future job.  But today, in the light of great leaders before us, I say this to you— don’t quit.

The more life throws at you and the more you press on, the greater an example and leader you will be - not just to your future students and colleagues but to your world.  Stiffen your upper lip and figure out, like Edison, how to make it work.  Many years after a student has left your classroom, they will remember your name and everything about you.  However, as the adage goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”

What will you, as a teacher, leave civilization?  Will you, like Aristotle, teach a new Alexander or dismiss him as ADD and fantastical?  Be strong. Stay focused. Stay vigilant. Because it could be that one choice to say “yes, I will press on” that sets the stage for your future legacy.

 

How to Solve 99% of Your Problems

Take a trip with me back to high school.  Remember those sick, nasty little viruses that floated around called “rumors?”  How do those usually start? - usually a bout of he-said-she-said games.  In reality though, the root cause goes much deeper than peer rivalry.  This cause extends itself to numerous other problems ranging from construed facebook statuses to marriages falling apart to even presidential scandals.  And despite being such a societal wrecking-ball, it is actually solved fairly easily, if you’re proactive about it.  The cause which I am talking about is none other than miscommunication.

I would go as far to say that miscommunication accounts for 99% of the problems in life.  Think about it.  Miscommunication can be defined as, “An interaction between two parties in which information was not communicated as desired.” Think of the problems you have with your roommate, your job, your school, your family, etc.  How many of those problems can be attributed to miscommunication?  In your classroom, you will also encounter problems and challenges and many if not most of them will be due to miscommunication—whether on your part or theirs.  But there’s hope!  Through these few, simple ideas, you can advert and eliminate SO MANY problems! 

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