Life Needs More “Hows”

“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.” ~ Tony Robbins

Excellent advice from Tony Robbins, one of the most famous life coaches around. He’s absolutely correct. But he leaves out one key detail: How do we learn this?

I’m thinking about this today because of a great brainstorming session I had with my students yesterday. When they told me what they wanted to improve about their writing, I asked them how they were going to do this.  My goal was to make them think and make a plan. But I know full well we can’t make a plan of what to do until we know how to do what we have to do.

I figured 28 brains are better than one, and we soon had a board full of concrete solutions.  So, there’s one bit of the how: brainstorm with like minded people. But, and here’s a kicker, one of those people should be an expert in the field–that was me. Some of the hows the students came up with were impractical or inefficient. I was there to prod away at their choices, asking questions to help shape the discussion we were having.

There are plenty of successful people in the world, people who know how to use failure and success to change their lives. And most of those people are generous people, more than happy to answer questions and give some guidance.  It can’t hurt to ask, right? And they come in all guises–parents, teachers, co-workers, pastors, club leaders. Ask if they could spare a few hours for a group discussion.

So there’s another bit of the how, and another thing I encourage students to do, find a mentor. Or at the very least, watch someone who is successful at what you want to do and act as they do. It’s the old “fake it till you make it” technique. I tell my students: act like a good student, do the things a good student does, and it is inevitable, you will become a better student.  And if you don’t know a good student, I tell them, remember those kids you made fun of in high school?  Do what they did. They laugh, because they get that I’m teasing them. And because they often did make fun of the nerds. But I remind them one of those nerds is sitting in front of the classroom right now.

But one thing I have learned in my time is that even with mentors, and even with plans, some of the most important life lessons are learned on the fly, as we go, in the middle of the action. These are often very important and very difficult lessons, but remember what Tony Robbins said: learning to use the pain puts you in control.


About maggiec

Educator, writer, world traveler, bibliophile, theater devotee, cat lover, mother of an actor, adopted auntie to hundreds. Spreading love (and literacy), one day at a time.
This entry was posted in advice, students, success, teachers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Life Needs More “Hows”

  1. kel37blah says:

    That is awesome that you took this concept and applied it in the classroom setting. Those are great lessons for them to understand and grasp. I love fake it till you make it, or better yet “fake it till you become it”

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