Her principal told the new teacher her first class was a group of intellectually gifted students. She was delighted to work with such inquisitive, creative and enthusiastic youngsters, and actively challenged and encouraged them in their learning adventure that year. Their test scores were impressive. She welcomed their constant questions and taught them to use resources that guided them to the answers. Both she and the students were sad when the end of the school year approached.
It wasn’t until AFTER their triumphant advancement to the next grade that the young teacher learned the truth. Those students were not gifted – in fact, they were marginal, with a history of underachieving. It was her daily encouragement, support and expectation that they would excel that completely changed the educational experience for the students.
Encouragement is the magical component in helping others acquire confidence and achieve their goals. The teacher expected her young charges to shine intellectually, and created the safe space and nurturing environment for them to do so. Every one of them met her expectations.
Similarly, if a student, parent or boss indicates verbally or even silently that someone will fail, that negative outcome will probably be met, too. That’s why mindfully visualizing the most positive outcome, for others and yourself, is such an important part of staying on track and achieving goals.
Here are a few more tips to use the power of encouragement:
- Mistakes = growth opportunities . No matter how badly you mess up, if you take the time to access what went wrong, and determine how to avoid similar errors, it was not a complete disaster. We actually tend to learn more from mistakes than from times in our life when everything is progressing smoothly.
- Daily Inspiration . There are many apps and websites that offer free daily positive things to think about. When your mind processes nurturing ideas, you feel validated, and encouraged to pursue your goals. A few to check out include Daily OM: Nurturing Mind Body & Spirit ( http://www.dailyom.com/ ), Daily Word, A Unity Publication ( http://www.dailyword.com/ ) and Brainy Quote (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes_of_the_day.html).
- Celebrate small victories . Every huge transformation and success begins with the first step. Eating just one more serving of raw organic vegetables each day, getting outside for a daily walk and breathing deeply instead of lashing out in anger might seem inconsequential, but are actually clear indicators that you’re making serious upgrades to your life. Congratulating yourself for making these small shifts will encourage you to stick with them, and initiate more.
- Affirmations are your friend . An affirmation, even if you don’t believe it 100%, will still shift you out of a negative space, and start to rewire your brain with a completely different and positive thought. Thoughts become things. How encouraging is that!
- Seek out your spiritual tribe . Finding a supportive group of like-minded people, either through social media or in your geographical community, does wonders in helping you stick to your plan.
Find constant encouragement, support and compassion at the Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. With detoxifying raw organic vegan meals, fascinating classes and spiritual fellowship, our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
Two men who met in college remained good friends through the years. One became a urologist, the other a space shuttle astronaut. Their families frequently visited each other and thoroughly enjoyed their time together.
During one parting, when the astronaut’s toddler son couldn’t bear to leave the tree house, zip line, affectionate puppy dog and four kid playmates, he went into a mini-meltdown. The entire time his mom was trying to buckle him into his car seat, the child was kicking, screaming and flailing his arms.
Instead of trying to squelch Mikey’s frantic attempt to stay, his mother totally validated his feelings while maintaining her position of a responsible parent.
“Never give up, Mikey!” she said as she eventually managed to secure her son’s seat belt and evade his churning legs and arms. “Never give up!” Just as she treasured her husband’s dedication to exploration and pushing the envelope, she valued and nurtured that same drive in her children.
It’s that child-like sense of passion, curiosity, wonder and discovery that’s the difference between living a rich life and existing. Children are bold, inquisitive, friendly, forgiving and non-judgmental. They’re also mindfully living in the present. About 90 seconds after the astronaut’s car pulled out of his friend’s driveway, Mikey’s hysterical outburst gave way to delightedly staring at the horses grazing in a nearby pasture. He had emotionally “moved on,” and found something else to pique his curiosity and imagination.
Each time we pause to focus our attention on something new or ask a question, we “grow” our brain. By age 3, the time when virtually everything is a new experience for a toddler, the brain reaches 80% of its adult size. By age 5, the percentage climbs to 90%.
Science now understands that this brain growth, or “neuroplasticity,” doesn’t have to slow down or stop. People who continue to explore, question, discover and use their imagination will continue to develop their brains.
Bruce Lipton, PhD, an environmental biologist, coined the term “epigenetics,” or “above genetics,” to describe how embarking on new adventures, working to solve challenging questions and tapping into our passion and creativity can keep our brains flourishing.
To nourish your inner child and rekindle that natural quest to explore, try a few of these suggestions:
- Take a class . Learning a new language, or exploring medieval history, for instance, will activate completely different parts of your brain. Your heart will appreciate the adventure, too.
- Go outside and play . Blow bubbles. Stick your bare toes in a creek. Fly a kite. Climb a tree, or just hug one. Being in nature grows your brain while it soothes your soul.
- Get artsy . Music, painting, sculpting, dance – all creative pursuits nourish body, mind and spirit.
- Ask “Why?” Just for a day, as you go through your life, notice the patterns and start to ask yourself exactly WHY you’re doing things the way you’re doing them. Be relentless – just like a two-year-old would be. Don’t stop asking “Why” until you’ve imagined several new and more efficient ways to accomplish the same tasks.
- Travel . Whether it’s an afternoon excursion to a local historical spot, or epic globe-trotting, getting off the beaten path will open up whole new worlds of discovery.
- Laugh! Children laugh about 300 times a day. This universal language of connection, delight and release actually makes your brain spurt out “happy chemicals” that heal and calm. Best of all, it’s highly contagious.
Explore, laugh, discover, ask a million questions and get answers, and unconditional support and encouragement, at OHI missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.