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.