Empathy is the hard part - The rest is mechanics. We're not wired to walk in someone else's shoes, it's not our first instinct. Showing up with empathy is difficult, hard to outsourc...
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
"The goal of life is to take everything that made you weird as a kid and get people to pay you money for it when you're older"-
DAVID FREEMAN, screenwriter,Wizard Academy faculty member
Have you ever been asked to connect with a group of people that in no way shape or form you can relate to?
Later today, I get to enjoy that experience once again.
Later today, I have the privilege of speaking to a group of high school students regarded by some in the school system as "at risk". These are the "switched-off" young minds who have struggled far too often with personal demons and issues that have made their high school experience somewhat less than fulfilling. Poor classroom performance and social setbacks have dropped these kids into a program designed to keep them segregated from the "normal" school population. In other words, the "bad apples" are being kept in one bunch. But, through off site learning, they will be able to remain in the system and graduate with a high school diploma.
While in no way does my high school experience (near perfect attendance, decent marks, relatively stable home life) match theirs, I am humble enough to admit there might be something to learn from a group often considered to be educational washouts. This will be the fifth time I have addressed such a group and on each occasion I have walked away super impressed by the talent and potential that exists in the room.
I am sharing this with TSB readers for two reasons:
1. There are times when a little humility can take us a long way.
2. Never underestimate the talent that lies within those who don't quite "fit".
You could point to any numb er of famous people like Einstein or Eminem who were never considered to be academic superstars. In fact both dropped out of high school for different reasons. Like it or not, the factory model of education that groups us in batches called grades and teaches us how to memorize as opposed to think doesn't always serve those who are gifted.
On my last visit, one of the students misunderstood the debriefing that followed a paradigm-shifting exercise. It's one of those clever activities that illustrates just how simple solutions can be when you color outside the lines and not be confined by "traditional" wisdom, which is often more traditional than wise. Instead, Ryan went ahead and crafted his own paradigm-shifting exercise which I will share with you now.
INSTRUCTIONS: With the addition of two (2) straight lines - without tampering with the equal sign, the following equation becomes mathematically correct.
After more than a decade of speaking and facilitating with literally thousands of people in different parts of North America, no one in any of those sessions has ever come up with something so original.
Feel free to let us know how you make out with "Ryan's Riddle".
Careful, you might have to forget what you think you already know.
And lose yourself.
"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity."