With Or Without Technology: 25 Things That Happy People Do

Note: This is a reblog from TeachThought. I have been tweeting and Facebook sharing article that I really like for the past few months, but this article was different. I just had to share somewhere else with a few of my own thoughts.

Smiling child peeking out of hay

Image: teachthought

Second Note: So, long time no see! It’s been about 10 months since my last post (shh, don’t tell anyone). I’m going to be intentional from here on out to blog more and also to expand this blog beyond technology and edtech. This may warrant an additional blog post, but let’s start with this first.

Below are 25 things that happy people do, with or without technology. This was posted to TeachThought by Terry Heick this morning (July 23, 2015), and I absolutely fell in love with this post. I already shared this on twitter, but I wanted to share it elsewhere. I needed to share it elsewhere. So many of these ring true to my own beliefs and I usually fall short of embracing each and every one of these, but oh boy―could you imagine what your life would look like if you lived out each one of these ideals?

Here’s an experiment. Hunt down 25 index cards and write each one of these on its own card. If you’re one of these techy people, copy and paste these into your Notes app on your iPhone. If you have an Adroid, I’ll pray for you. Next, make an effort to read these at least once a day and concentrate on one or two of these each day for a month. Then rinse and repeat.

  1. They connect meaningfully with other living things.
  2. They are playful–in whatever form they choose, they create and take advantage of opportunities for “Deep Play” (see Diane Ackerman).
  3. They control their thinking. Thoughts become beliefs, and beliefs lead to behavior. Beliefs also lead you to seek specific data that that fits your beliefs. In that way, you literally construct your own reality–and thus happiness or suffering.
  4. They see like a scientist (with an open mind and objective analysis), think like a farmer (with reverence and interdependence), and behave like an artist (with creativity and disavowment of convention).
  5. They know that happiness is a muscle. Neurology shows us that thinking patterns lead to more of the same, so establish that neural pathway. Flex your happy muscle even if you’re not feeling it at the moment. You won’t smile if you’re not happy; you can’t be happy if you don’t smile.
  6. They practice visualizing the things they want to achieve (as a teacher–delivering a lesson, collaborating with another teacher, talking with an administrator or parent, etc.) The law of attraction makes sense. See different, seek different, attain difference.
  7. They find comfort in new experiences and ideas. They don’t just accept them, but see them as opportunities (usually out of their control anyway).
  8. They find value in substance, and whimsy in recreation. That is, purpose and meaning can drive their behavior, but their soul is still playful with the universe around it.
  9. They are brutally honest with themselves and those around them. (That said, they also know the difference between honesty and insecurity.)
  10. They adapt their thinking and behavior to an elegant and sustainable scale. Not too humble (which sparks nothing), not too broad (which burns recklessly).
  11. They embrace ambiguity. There is no one way to see, understand, or do anything.
  12. They accept that the world, while flawed, is likely ‘better’ than it’s ever been. This is hugely debatable and another post of its own, but this is a thought that keeps creeping up on me recently. Yes, we have a long way to go, but the modern focus on equality and acceptance and social justice, while insufficient, is a trend whose value can’t be overstated.
  13. They trust others. Yes, people let you down sometimes; yes, people hurt you, but there is joy in human connections that can’t be found anywhere else in the universe. (See #1.)
  14. They serve others, and love ‘differences.’ Diversity. Change. They honor fear and (mild) anxiety, but understand that a fundamental law of the nature of all things is change.
  15. They believe in their own ability to positively impact their environment.
  16. They eat well–food that nourishes their bodies, and reflects their respect for the earth, and their own future.
  17. They exert themselves physically, whether through work, exercise, yoga, sports, etc.
  18. They honor the complexity of things. They assume that they don’t understand. When you assume that you do, you’ll lean towards judgment. When you assume that you don’t, you’ll lean towards analysis. One leads to suffering, one leads to something closer to wisdom.
  19. They make things–and wildly original things. There can be joy in execution (other people’s ideas), but creating something out of nothing is a uniquely human–and humanizing–concept. The more fully human you are, the more of an opportunity you’ll have for contentment, happiness, and joy.
  20. They restore things.
  21. They know that living is in the moment–everything else is an illusion. (And even living in the moment is problematic depending on how you’re constructing that moment through your own perceptions–see #2.) So find the texture in each moment. Within that texture is design, nuance, purity, and love.
  22. They grasp the various legacies they are a part of, and the ecologies that need their sense of living citizenship.
  23. They stop seeking and start accepting. Then, from a position of acceptance, they begin to see what they really need.
  24. They embrace the journey, not the triumph and suffering that happen along the way.
  25. They don’t seek happiness. They know that happiness is not a cause or condition, but an effect–the resonance of an alignment between your behavior and your belief system as a human being.
Advertisements

Younger than 25, but older than 20…and I Approve this Article!

The Chronicle of Higher Education posted a very interesting article in their Wired Campus tech blog a few days ago on Snapchat. What is Snapchat you ask? Ask a teenager, and they’ll tell you that you send photos that disappear after 10 or less seconds. Ask anyone above 25, and it’s that app with a little ghost. Ask Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and it’s a punch in the face.snapchat-vs-facebook Just last year (November 2013), Zuckerberg offered $3 billion to buy Snapchat, which was turned down. I know, right!? Who would turn down $3 billion? Especially with the founders being 23 and 25 at the time! But, they believe their product, Snapchat, has way more potential than $3 billion, and so do all the teenagers running from Facebook to Snapchat. Check out this pie graph of how many photos are shared daily on Snapchat compared to Facebook and Instagram…Screen-Shot-2013-11-22-at-07.07.38I do not blame the University of Houston for adopting Snapchat as a medium for reaching their current and prospective students. It just makes sense. Teenagers and young adults are using less of Facebook, and more of Snapchat to communicate. So why not go to them? Like I said, I’m fresh out of undergrad and currently working on my master’s degreeI’m a millennial. If Snapchat was around when I was searching for colleges, I would definitely be drawn to a school that was sending me snaps. That would tell me that this university understands me, understands my generation…and this would be a place that I would be understood. After all, that’s all kids want nowadays, to be understood.

Personal Learning Philosophy 2.0 (The Global One-Room Schoolhouse from J. Seely Brown)


My learning philosophy from 10 weeks ago hasn’t changed much. I chose to begin my video with a quote from Williams Butler Yeats, which also happens to be the first thing I wrote in my Personal Learning Philosophy v1. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” This idea is extremely important to me and resonates with me on many levels. I mentioned before that my early educational experiences were mainly “filling of a pail”. Pretty boring. It almost feels like a chore. “Son, go and fetch some water!” No thanks. But when that switch turned, and I became excited about learning, something sparked inside of me. From that moment on, I was all about feeding my fire of learning. I started with this because it takes passion and excitement to get to this point where learning becomes fuel to your fire. When you can infuse excitement, passion, and relevancy into education, that is how you create engagement in learners.

I would have to say that my ideas around learning and education are in perfect alignment with John Seely Brown’s “The Global One-Room Schoolhouse” Vimeo video from his “Entrepreneurial Learner” keynote at DML2012. He talks about play as a “kind of a permission to fail, fail, fail, again and get it right.” I feel that this is incredibly important to give students a permission to fail, to give them an environment where they feel safe to question the status quo or even the teacher’s expertise. He later says in the video that “the key part of play is a space of safety and permission.” Brown also talks about epiphanies.

If we can create one epiphany for one child, that epiphany lasts for life for that kid. Brilliant teachers are brilliant in being able to create epiphanies for kids. How do we think about that? And how do we use play as a way to amplify the chance for that to happen.

What if every teacher’s goal was to create an epiphany for each one of their students? Maybe some teachers do strive for this. But I’m willing to be that this isn’t even on the radar of the majority of teachers. I want to cover two last quotes from Brown in his video:

In a world of constant change, if you don’t feel comfortable tinkering, you’re going to feel an amazing state of anxiety.

I love this idea because it’s so true. Everything around us is in a constant state of flux, and if you can’t adapt and be able to tinker with new technologies, it’s going to be a tough world. If we are teaching our students to tinker, to play, to be curious, we are teaching them to adapt to change. I wrote about the PlayMaker School in LA in a recent post. This is a great school that is really pushing the boundaries of what education is and how kids learn. If you haven’t heard about it, check it out!

And to close, Brown’s idea of taking the one-room schoolhouse idea of yesterday and mixing it with today’s classroom and technology to get the “global one-room schoolhouse” where “the teacher [isn’t] transferring knowledge, but the teacher [will act] as a coach, a will turn around and also teach the younger younger kids.” This is how the one-room schoolhouse operated. Why couldn’t we have a global one-room schoolhouse today? With social media and web 2.0 tools, this is absolutely feasible.

What will tomorrow’s classroom look like? How will it operate? What if tomorrow’s classroom partnered with a classroom from the other side of the world, every day? Now that would be cool.