At some time yesterday, after reflecting on the article I posted, I decided to try and not plan my topics in advance, instead just jot down ideas as they come to me and revisit those notes later. The challenge I have with this is that when I’m inspired about something, I feel the need to write it out then and there, and when I don’t those ideas sometimes get lost. Since, I’m determined to replace habits that haven’t gotten me where I’d like to be, I tell myself that if the idea is inspiring enough then I’ll remember it. I really only have support for this belief, since there are times that ideas return ages after they were first thought. Sometimes it only takes the right stimulus.
Last evening I was reading Neil Pasricha’s “The Happiness Equation” and paused at the last sentence of page 100: “You need an IKIGAI first.” In the following chapter he explains that it “roughly means ‘the reason you get up in the morning’. You can think of it as the thing that drives you most.” I snorted out a laugh and shouted in my head at Neil: “Don’t you know that is what I’ve been figuring out for the last year or so!?!” As I read on he answered me with a tip that makes perfect sense to anyone sticking-up affirmations all over their personal existence or practicing the goal setting technique of breaking down the end goal into smaller manageable sub-goals. i.e. Me! Neil told me to write on a small piece of paper what I feel is the reason I get up every morning and tape that piece of paper next to my bed. He suggested I get my wife to do it too, so I could have an accomplice. He even graced me with the concept that I could, and probably would change it from time to time. WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! All I had to do know, was figure out what I was getting up for in the morning, this morning to be precise.
This morning I was looking forward to completing my daily To Do’s including writing this glorious article, but what else? Other than the satisfaction of checking off a few things, why was I doing them? Remember when I told you that sometimes it takes a while for me to get it, that I need a big fish slap in the face? Well, this one started with a small fish slap… I was doing all this to learn. I LOVE learning! I’m doing all this to learn more skills, more about myself, more about what I can do already or cannot do, yet. And, I’m learning all this, because I want to share it! Share it with my amazing and patient wife, my beautiful and brilliant daughter, my friends, and the friends I have not yet met. I realized I want to teach again!
I’ve considered this path many times before, and even created opportunities to teach and train at several passes in my life. It was what got me to stay, sometimes to long, in jobs I really disliked. It was what propelled me to teach in a country where I didn’t speak the language. It was what fuelled the mission of my first company. It is what motivates me in my coaching and consulting. It is what inspires my writing and fuels my writing services. It’s what drives my creativity when tutoring my daughter. Amazingly, today, right now in fact, is the first time I truly realize how much I want to teach! So, what do I do about the file cabinet full of excuses I’ve told myself to not do it? Locking them away doesn’t solve anything. So, I intend to look each in the eye, as they come up, and have a debate with myself over each point!
Let’s address only one for today, shall we? In North America, the current ideology of teaching, sucks! So, why should I go back to teaching? Watch Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk on “ How to escape education’s death valley!” We are teaching to standardized tests… in other words, we are teaching our children to be average, to conform, and to be followers. The current system emphasizes Math & sciences, and deemphasizes humanities and arts. The secondary issue with this is that math and science are mostly being taught by wrote memory and practice. Where’s the creative thinking? Where’s the critical thinking? I hear teachers complain about classroom management, or that their students are disinterested and self-absorbed. I seldom hear teachers talk about the “a-Ha” moments they see in the kids eyes at a new understanding and discovery, or the giggles of fear at exploring the unknown. Probably because they don’t give the kids much chance to discover anything. On top of this, we see a downplay of the arts and humanities. My daughter gets ethics one hour every 8 days from her music teacher. He is very well meaning, but clearly has too much on his plate and both his classes are suffering. When I ask her what she did in ethics, her answers now sound a lot like “nothing, much”, or “we talked”, and I have to drag that from her. She is usually very interested in sharing the discussions from this class. Her geography teacher is also her art teacher, and those subjects are split to half year each. She loves this teacher and these subjects, but I wonder if it is from the teacher, or from the fun facts I pile on to her drab textbook when we review together. We shall see when art starts in a week or so. Will I have to enhance the classroom curriculum on what is already my kids biggest passion?
Ok, enough complaining! The school & system’s lack is an opportunity for me to share my passion and teach my daughter. And the added blessing is that she often laughs while we work together. Success! I love helping her consider alternative ways of looking at challenges. Am I doing this in any other part of my life? I need confirmation! Yes, I am. I have a great deal of mentors and teachers around me and I reach out to them whenever I can to learn from their experience. Lately, they have been reaching back and asking me for my advice on the same topics I used to reach out to them for. Maybe it’s time I start to listen to these people I so highly respect and believe in myself more, believe that I am knowledgeable, that I am a good teacher. I want to teach again – I want my ikigai.