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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Give Yourself a Break

If I've learned one thing in nearly 30 years of classroom teaching, it's that everyone's different. Different ways of processing information, different types of motivation--everything.

But to teach effectively, you have to kind of lump people together. So here's one such gross categorization:

Some kids need a pat on the head. Some need a kick in the pants.

This post is for those who need a pat on the head. They're the ones who have an "inner voice," an interior drive, more powerful than anything that comes from outside.

The kick-in-the-pants type need to be told, even urged, to do the simplest of things: "Johnny, your hair is on fire. You put that out right now!" Otherwise, Johnny would let it burn.

The other type, though, is so driven to do what's right that they often don't do anything at all, for fear of making a mistake, or looking foolish, or getting yelled at.

That's who I'm talking to today. And my message is simple:

Give yourself a break.

Whatever it is that you're afraid to do, do it. Whatever it is that you're beating yourself up over, get over it. Find the mental road block that's keeping you from moving forward ("I'm not smart enough, people will laugh at me, I tried before and failed") and crash through that sucker like the Dukes of Hazzard.

You'll be happier.

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