Hey Guys! It’s Dad.
I’ve recently experienced something that has allowed me to be, or I supposed it’s enabled me to be, my very best and most authentic self. I think you’ve seen that. I’m finally becoming the best version of myself, full stop. That said, I’m 54. It’s taken me this long to start to unlock my full potential. Combine that new-found potential with a peaceful focus on what’s really important to me…what I really want, and I’m on a target for a really beautiful second-half! (Yeah, I’m lookin’ at at least another 50 good years with you guys)
But…uhhhh. What do I really want?
As a teacher and a dad, it’s pretty fantastic how much you’ve all taught me and continue to teach me on a regular basis. With that blessing in mind, I’ll share an exercise (tradition really) that I started about ten years ago with my students.
It was initially an ice-breaker, but evolved into an opportunity for my students to “think outside the box,” or to simply look at a questions from varied points of view. Yeah. It’s been a fantastic ice-breaker. It serves its purpose well. But it turned into something much bigger and more eye opening. Now we book-end our school years with it! We introduce it during the first week of school, then review the experience again on the last day. It’s been a rewarding way to wrap up our school year.
The “What Do You Really Want?” Project.
This exercise starts with students folding a page in half, vertically (Yeah…hot-dog, not hamburger, LOL) Then, left folded in half, students write “The Top 5 Things I want.” on the front. I then give the a few minutes to think about it, then write down the 5 things that they really want. The page is usually filled with what most of us want: mansions and supercars and a “Dripped out” closet. (Um…for those of us over 20…that translates to designer clothes.) Maybe a Rolex, a vacation, or boxes and boxes of the coolest new basketball shoes.
Next, I ask them to turn the page over and write “The 5 Most Important Things to Me.” on the back. Then I give them another few moments to write down what really matters to them. The back of the page is usually filled with: family, health, happiness, a sense of contribution, etc.
We’ll then share some of our wishes and wants, then I ask students to open the folded paper up (as shown below) so that they can see both sides, side-by-side.
Then I ask them, rhetorically…
“Why do we want so many things that aren’t important to us, yet we don’t ‘want’ the things that are most important to us?”
After a few moments observing them in a state of awkward silence and heightened awareness, I ask students if any of them wrote a single thing from the left side on the right side. I can only describe the experience as both chilling and eye opening.
The ensuing discussions have opened the door to some of the most enlightening and transformative discussions that I’ve been a part of as a teacher, a coach, or a mentor.
It’s opened up discussions on points such as…
- If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy
- If you want to be loved, be loveable
- If you want to be healthy, lead a healthy lifestyle
- If you want to spend time with family and friends, make it a priority.
- If you want to be successful, first define successful
- Recognizing that the ego wants to want…more than it wants to have
- Why would I pay my own money (or my mom’s) to advertise the logo of a multi-billion-dollar company?
- Do I really want it…or do I just think I want it?
Learn mindfulness. Be mindful. Share mindfulness. Know the difference between what your ego wants…and what you really want. And finally, be careful what you wish for, lest it come true! Or at least make sure that the wishes you wish…are the ones you know you want.
I love you guys,