Thursday, 19 April 2012

Miracles and Magic are Commonplace!

"If I were absolutely certain about all things, I would spend my life in anxious misery,
fearful of losing my way. But since everything and anything are always possible, 
the miraculous is always nearby and wonders shall never, ever cease."
Robert Fulghum

People constantly tell me what they can't do but as Robert Fulgham reminds us 'everything and anything are always possible'! So we have to make our colleagues understand that they have enormous potential; that they can do anything if they work at it and believe, and that the miracles and the magic are commonplace. 
I have been having an interesting exchange with colleagues about genius, talent and potential. I see that the results from the Human Genome Project strongly suggest that genes explain at best only 5-10% of intelligence. I remember Lou Tice, from The Pacific Institute, telling me that people act as they imagine themselves to be and that changing people's attitude was more important than anything else we did. I also recently re-read a study by Cambridge University which looked at the concept of genius and came to a really interesting set of conclusions... success is about 1% inspiration; about 30 % coaching, teaching and support and about 70% sheer hard work. So, it's true that you can be great at almost anything if you are prepared to put in the work and the only thing that is holding you back is your own perceptions of what you are capable of. What's really sad is that so many of us have convinced ourselves, our children and our colleagues that we are not clever, intelligent or talented... which is, of course, an excuse not to work hard to be the talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful human being each and everyone of us could be! Motivation looks increasingly crucial. It's true what I've always said that persistence, determination and hard work are the keys to success and the good news, for all of us ordinary people, anyone can do it! It's important that we all understand that the chief impediments to learning are not cognitive; it's not that we, our children and our colleagues can't learn; it's that we don't want to. One of our major challenges is to switch on what is currently switching off so many!

"If educators invested a fraction of the energy they now spend on trying to transmit information in trying to stimulate the students' enjoyment of learning, we could achieve much better results."

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