- Point out to your students a spot on a wall that you would like them to hit.
- Give them a beanbag or small object and ask them to hit the target. Mark where they hit.
- Now blindfold them and spin them around a few times. Ask them again to try to hit the target.
- Compare both hits.
- Explain the importance of knowing exactly what they want to achieve and when, so that they can aim straight at it.
Take the time to explain to your students that when they pinpoint clearly what they would like to conquer (for example, a limiting condition or a specific dream), they are much more likely to accomplish the goal. They may not always hit it with their first, second, or third try, but with persistence they eventually will. They may also need to come up with different strategies to achieve their goals. When the exercise mentioned above has been done with the students, they may realize that one strategy to hit the target is that of taking a few steps closer to it. While trying to reach a goal, they may have to think outside the box to find different solutions.
Teaching your students to believe they can achieve their goals is of utmost importance. The moment they identify a target and decide to hit it, they need to know that they can achieve it. The only reason they will not hit that target is if they quit trying or because they discover that trying to hit that target has led them to an even bigger one.
- This class should be no different than your language arts or any other class. A notebook is required.
- Students will need to write their targets, one per page.
- Students should choose no more than three targets at a time so that they do not feel overwhelmed. A single target is acceptable as well.
- This notebook is a private journal. It is up to the student if they want to share it with others. With present technology, this journal can be password-protected on a tablet, computer, or phone. Students can also simply use a notebook.
- Students will need to write down all the actions that can lead to successfully hitting their dream target.
- This journal does not have to become a “feelings” journal. It’s a record of what the student is actively doing to hit a target.
Writing is going to help students create the route to achievement. It will show them clearly which roads can take them to their destination. It will assist them to remember which roads have led to a dead end, so they do not take them again.
Writing is the most helpful tool for organizing my thoughts. I use different to-do lists. I keep a to-do list on my computer with my long-term goals, but when I want to make sure a task gets done on a specific day, I write it on my phone calendar with a time and an audible alarm to remind me. Help your students look for similar practical techniques and find what helps them stay actively at work on their plan. Remind them that their potential is unlimited, but their time is not. Guide them to use time wisely. A journal will help them keep focused and save time.
Actions include things that have worked for the students in the past, but they have not done consistently, as well as, things that they have not tried before.
Any action, however small, needs to be documented. Suppose that a student is very shy and is afraid of talking in class. This student pushes himself or herself to talk to the teacher after class, an action leading to success. The conversation with the teacher should be noted in the journal.
Any attempt to raise a hand and talk in class, even if the student doesn’t get called upon, is an action leading to success. Documenting every attempt will help students see that they are actively working on their goals and motivate them to continue.
Let the students know that no goal is unrealistic. Albert Einstein was considered a slow learner in school and later received a Nobel Prize in physics.
“Goals are dreams with deadlines,” according to Diana Scharf Hunt. Setting target dates is also very important; this helps students prepare more and work with a purpose. However, the students need to know that meeting the target dates is not as important as taking pride in all their actions and in the person they are becoming as a result of their work.
Take time with your students to explain the following information carefully.
Fear disguises itself as excuses, complaining, blaming, and feelings of victimization. Fear tries to get people to abandon the steps that can lead to their targets. When making excuses or feeling like a victim, students should go back to their journals and work harder on any of the steps of in their action lists. They should not let fear disguise itself with messages suggesting that hitting the target is not important.
People become what they think repeatedly about themselves. They must identify the negative thoughts associated with fears and substitute them with affirmations immediately.
Fear conveys different negative messages and tries to convince people that their actions are not going to be effective. I compare a negative thought to a weed in a beautiful flower garden. It spreads very quickly and will kill every flower if the gardener does not pull the weed out quickly.
Students should substitute any negative thought with one of the sentences from the illustration, under section five of this book, or use any other empowering affirmation.
Every time a fear emerges, students need to answer with what they think their highest self would say. Our highest self is the person we are in the absence of fear—the person we are becoming every time we conquer one more fear.
Remind your students often that everything they want to create in their lives can only happen after they face all their fears.
Drowning any fear requires persistence. Fear will always be a part of life. As long as we stay on target, we can conquer each one of them.
- It is time to help your students go back to what they once did so well: pretend play. This time, students are going to pretend they have attained their goals. They will imagine how they would act and feel if they had already achieved those goals. The following are steps to practice visualization:
- Give them time to imagine that outcome and repeat it in their minds.
- Ask them to pay attention to how they feel when they imagine themselves empowered and with their goals achieved.
- Ask them to stay with that feeling for as long as they can.
- Ask your students to act as if they have reached their target. When we “act as if” repeatedly, we release doubt. When doubt is released, confidence, trust and power take over.
- Ask them to repeat this exercise as many times as they want throughout the day. They can repeat the exercise for a few seconds or a few minutes.
The first time I heard someone say, “Fake it until you make it,” I was in my early twenties, and I was confused. I had been taught never to fake anything; faking would mean that I was not being true to myself. Now I am recommending that you teach your students to fake or act as if whatever they are working on is already a part of their lives. If they want to be good at volleyball, they practice at the court, beach, or back yard. Visualization is the court, the beach and the backyard where they practice how to reach their goals. “Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose,” according to Bo Bennet.
For example, if a student is afraid of walking into a room full of strangers, ask them to visualize themselves walking in with a big smile, head up, and making good eye contact. After multiple visualizations, they could start practicing walking confidently into classrooms, restaurants, or parties. They will need to walk in with their shoulders back and chests slightly forward. They will need to display confident smiles and firm handshakes when greeting others. They will need to act as if they feel confident and connect these confident behaviors with the feeling of empowerment.
When students are being negative, complaining, or blaming, suggest a game in which they catch one another showing these behaviors and transform the behavior. Place a bucket in the classroom. Every time someone makes a negative remark, ask that person to make three positive comments instead, write them down, and place them in the bucket. Every time someone complains, ask that person to think of one to two ways to resolve the complaint. Every time someone blames someone or something, ask that person to think of at least one way to take responsibility.
Suppose that a student feels the need to work on the virtue of kindness. This student should choose not to say anything negative and instead give a compliment. With daily practice, the student can transform into a person who behaves kindly. The student can make a list of five behaviors that a kind person would display and incorporate those behaviors into their daily lives.
The more your students practice this positive as if behavior, the easier it gets. After repeating this technique often, how they behave is who they will become. With this practice, students will start to understand that what we think is what we create.
- Ask students to pick a sentence or word representing what they want to become from the affirmation board below. They may also select any other affirmation that comes to their minds.
- Explain how to write an affirmation. An affirmation includes no negative words and is always written in the present tense, to represent that the affirmation is a part of their lives now. Rather than “I will not be afraid,” or “I am not afraid,” the affirmation might say: “I am confident.” Rather than “I will not be mean anymore” or “I am not aggressive,” an affirmation will say: “I am loving,” “I am peaceful,” or “I am peace.”
- In silence, people connect with their unlimited creative force and their inherent wisdom. It is in this place of silence where majestic ideas on hitting their targets appear and flourish.
- Give your students between five to fifteen minutes (depending on their ages) of daily silence practice in your school.
- Suggest that they practice silence again at night before going to sleep.
- Explain to them that when the mind begins to wander, which is normal, they should gently redirect their thoughts to their chosen affirmations.
I chose the school my daughter attends almost solely on the fact that silence (referred to as Espacio in her school and a fundamental step of this curriculum) was a daily practice from preschool to twelfth grade. This was not an easy decision. My husband comes from a very traditional Cuban family. Both he and his sister, and all of his nieces and nephews have attended a different school. It was clearly expected that my daughter would attend there as well. My belief in the power of silence made this decision easy, even though it created considerable tension. It is in silence, where students will start to discover who they truly are. It is in silence, where they will transform their ideas. As a result, they will then transform themselves.
Your students need to know that they possess a magic wand and can bring the magic they want into their lives. Every time they reach a goal or take one more step toward their targets, they get closer to understanding that the limitless power within them shapes their lives. They will understand how they can make use of their magic wands to shift their thoughts. As a result, they can easily begin to shift their lives. “The impossible binds no one,” according to Saint Madeline Sophie Barat.
Explain to your students that silence is the most important step in the system. In silence people can get the clutter out of their minds and free themselves to connect to their inner source of unlimited creation. Silence is the key element to achieve a positive transformation. Tell your students to imagine an artist getting ready to work on a masterpiece. The artist begins with a clean, white canvas, definitely not one that has been used and marked. Silence is the blank canvas where we get inspiration and where ideas on how to reach goals are presented. From silence come answers and revolutionary ideas develop. This is the place where new concepts show up and where you can design how to “better your best.” It is in silence, that the idea of this curriculum first appeared.
Many successful people have used silence to design their masterpieces. Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, and His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, are just a few. Also on the list of those who practice silence are John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods; Evan Williams, the cofounder of Twitter; and Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn.
“Work hard in silence, let success be your noise,” said Frank Ocean.
Explain the concept of the boomerang to students and show them that life is like a boomerang.
- Actions have consequences. Every action has a reaction.
- Consequences show up at various times; they may appear immediately or later. However, consequences will always return, like a boomerang, and are always heavily charged.
- Students need to make sure that their target is good for them and does not harm others. When the boomerang returns, it is much stronger.
- Targets and actions need to be motivated by positive emotions.
- Ask students to keep a list of things for which they are grateful and add to the list continuously. Gratitude multiplies what they are thankful for. Students can write on their gratitude list what they have received in the past, what they have now, and what they want to have in the future.
- Ask students to contribute in any way possible. They can extend a kind gesture to someone in need, let someone else go first, or give a compliment. When they pitch-in to make someone else’s life better in any way, this action automatically sets in motion a reaction. The benefit comes back to them, making them feel joy.
Together, educators and students can find examples of how “every action has a reaction.” Students can identify some of their own actions and the reactions or consequences they have experienced. Taking the time to talk about this topic will help the students take more responsibility for their actions and minimize the incidence of blaming and complaining.
In psychology, the effects of positive emotions on the human body and its surroundings are proven. These emotions have the power to heal illnesses, resolve conflicts, improve self-esteem, and lead to other positive outcomes. When people are kind, generous, and able to help someone in need, it leaves their hearts with the fragrance of love. Nothing is more empowering than a heart filled with love. The more actions people perform with these positive emotions, the more happiness, joy, peace, and exhilaration they bring to their life. The opposite is also true. That is why students’ targets should be outcomes they would welcome.
Gratitude deserves serious attention. Suggest that students write in their journals everything they are grateful for and add to this list as the weeks and months go by. A mental shift will soon occur for those students who consistently are in a state of gratitude for what they have and what they will receive.
When your students express gratitude, what they are grateful for multiplies. When they feel overwhelmed, anxious, or unhappy suggest they read their gratitude list carefully. Ask them to add something new. This action will help the brain shift; then the difficult situation is perceived in a totally different way and consequently disappears. When you shift your thoughts, you shift your life.
Go over the following recommendations with your students.
- Choose wisely with whom you want to spend your time, this includes school friends, other peers, and family members.
- When you have to spend time with people who do not add to your positive emotions, you should still be courteous and kind.
- Make new friends who bring satisfaction, joy, and peace. These friends should encourage you to progress toward your chosen target.
- Tell the people who are positive influences about your dreams and goals and ask them for help and guidance to hit your target.
Help your students understand that the qualities of the people they spend time with will rub off on them. Guide them to be attentive to their peers’ actions and the ways they relate to others. They should decide if this behavior matches the values they want for themselves.
It’s a fact of life that not everyone we meet will like us, just as we don’t like everyone we meet. Students need to identify the feelings they get by being with those peers with whom they spend a lot of time. They need to evaluate their relationships. No relationship is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Still, they need to be able to identify the people who bring them joy and tranquility most of the time. I always say that I married the best man I know, but even he has his faults and together with mine, joy is not with us all the time, but it is certainly present most of the time.
Students need to know that they need other people, including mentors, to achieve their goals and realize their potential. We live in an interdependent world; we need to learn to relate and connect with others to achieve Triumph.
- Students will need to immerse themselves in these eight principles for sixty days to see results. Research shows that neuroplasticity will occur after forty-five to sixty-six days of repeating new thoughts and behaviors.
- Once they see results, they will be willing to continue using these steps for any ongoing goals.
- If students, at any point, are not consciously aware of any specific target they want to achieve, all the other steps must still be practiced. In practicing silence repeatedly, they will be able to discover purposeful goals
Explain to your students the value of repetition. Repetition is basic to all learning and is the way to program and reprogram the mind. Repetition helps concepts register in the subconscious mind, affects behavior, and therefore life changes occur. Everyone learns arithmetic and reading by repetition. We repeat these academic skills every day for many days, weeks, or months. That’s the practice behind a lifelong grasp of these skills.
If your students want to conquer a subject or skill, they need to spend time learning about that subject and then repeat, repeat, repeat. Every endeavor requires learning new facts and repetition.
If the students repeatedly have limiting thoughts of “I can’t do this,” or “I am not good at that,” their subconscious minds will believe it, and eventually, the students will become their repeated negative thoughts. As Ernest Dimnet wrote, “The happiness of people is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.” Teach your students to avoid repeating negative thoughts and quickly substitute them with affirmations.