Embracing the Power of Choice
Updated: Jan 15, 2022
The beauty in each day rests in our human right to freedom, which allows us as individuals to apply conscious thought, diligence, and action to the goals we set for ourselves. Throughout life, we are presented with opportunities to move forward in various directions, predicated simply on our ability to discern with free-will. We may not always be given choice in what we are deciding upon, but the way in which we perceive situations can change the intentional paths taken and ultimately, the outcomes we experience. When bringing forth a vision of progressive growth, an ability to envision the future through a flexible lens, with the understanding that it will not be exactly how we think it should be, becomes essential. It is within our capacity to shift trajectories as problems arise that we can harness the insight necessary to be resourceful. Rather than moving the marble from one spot to another, applying short-term remedies, we suggest that individuals become active participants in the long-term process of transforming organizational culture. It is only then that we can move forward in effectively creating a future that will cause people to freely act in ways that are inline with a unified vision.
Far too often, a continuous cycle of addressing problems isolated from the long-term success of an organization become common practice. In failing to recognize that problems will persist when quick-fix solutions are applied, only reinforce the complex issues at hand. In reflection, individuals are asked to examine what is holding them in place and to identify how situations occur to them. Acknowledging that none of us see circumstances as they truly are, but how they occur, can significantly shift situations for all stakeholders. Often, reality can become an illusion, offering a distinct place of comfort, many choose to settle into. Once settled, the ambition to strive for more lessens, and complacency takes hold leaving individuals feeling as if they play no role in their circumstances. It is common to observe within many organizations, comprise networks of conversations that are inconsistent, dissonant, and cluttered (Zaffron & Logan, 2009). It is this line of thinking, shared within a default future outlook that leads to question if a reactionary mindset contributes to the reasons progressive change rarely prevails over traditional practices. Is the actual reality of life and acceptance of oneself too hard to be authentically internalized? Has society offered expectations that have become set beliefs, rather than encouraging individuals to formulate independent thought? Is acceptance of diversity a concept too abstract for attainment?
We ask these questions as a means to shift perspective in acknowledging the ability each of us have to self-direct our lives in a way that we enhance our day to day performances. If we can endure obstacles, we can then embrace the possibility of them becoming the actual strength we need to live authentically. More importantly, by instilling the attributes of self-direction, acceptance, and resiliency within the growth of each child, we choose to raise them in a culture of active participation. From the time they begin building connections, immersing them in equitable environments of independent thought will only support them in meeting their potential. By proposing the three laws of performance, Zaffron & Logan suggest that diverse learners of all ages take charge of the paths that lie before them.
Three Laws of Performance:
How people perform correlates to how a situation occurs to them.
How a situation occurs arises in language.
Future-based language transforms how situations occur.
In understanding that there is no set recipe designed to address all challenges and questions posed throughout our lifetime, we have faith that the answers we are in search of reside within ourselves, as well as the environments we choose to provide for our youth. In moving past the day to day minutia many tend to get caught up in, we look forward towards the possibilities that exist when individuals experience integrity-based relationships. If successful self-led organizations such as Nike and Apple have benefited from a culture of defined purpose, utilizing intentional language and innovative thought how can we overlook the need for all learners to experience such interactions?
By providing our emergent thinkers with research-based metacognitive experiences that infuse neuroscience principles, we center opportunities around each learner. As the torch of enlightenment is shared with them, individual interests and talents are discovered. Looking back to pioneers of human thinking, such as Montessori, Rogers, and Dewey who believed fostering creativity in all children was a way to build an intentional future, we are reminded of the important role each of us play in their development. As early advocates of thinking, these influential individuals understood the significance of preparing for a world of unity through opportunities to self-discover, construct understanding, and make choices.
Embracing the state of tension we choose to immerse ourselves in supports us in determining paths taken. Within learner-centered Socratic environments, there is rarely a feeling of completion as the natural progression of building understanding unfolds, leading into the next initiative. There is an acceptance of never having enough time in the day to address all avenues of interest. Even more so, the open-ended cycle of learning is welcomed by the young minds at work. In delving deeper into inquiries, learners feel empowered as they research, collaborate, present upon concepts, and question ideas with their peers. It is within these safe and secure spaces of inquiry that risks can be taken as the focus is on the experience, not the end result. This necessary element of tension results in a sense of confidence needed to persevere—accepting failures as a means to learn from mistakes made. That being stated, opportunities to develop decision making skills necessary for navigating life are built into the real-world applications.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that is proudly displayed within our learning environment. The intent in sharing his inspirational words is to communicate the importance of uncovering potential through experiencing an acceptance of turbulence. Simply stated; life is not always comfortable. Consistently remaining in a place that is void of challenges limits not only possibilities, but stunts growth. Whether those choices are instinctive, deliberate, faith-driven, or thought-provoking, as humans we are given the autonomy to self-monitor. The ultimate question becomes whether or not individuals believe in their power of choice and the central role they play in their own personal journey. A choice to remain stagnant in a default future or to rewrite an intentional future written by hopes, fears, dreams, expectations and decisions made about life, hold rewarding outcomes for all individuals, as well as the success of an organization (Zaffron & Logan, 2009). Throughout our careers and within our own personal experiences, we have been witness to THE miraculous growth that can occur when a commitment to attaining optimal levels of development is honored and a self-directed journey is traveled.
Logan, D. and Zaffron, S. (2009). The Three Laws of Performance: rewriting your future of organization and your life. Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint.