We’re really good at avoiding worst case scenarios. So good, in fact, that this can almost dominate our thinking.
What would change if we started to make decisions based on the best that could happen instead of the worst that could happen?
I’m not advocating being foolish or irresponsible in our choices. It’s important that we’re good stewards of the time we have with students, and I’m certainly not pushing for haphazard decision making.
However, I wonder if we’re so good at making the safest choice that we’re missing out on opportunities that could serve students well. If the fear of the unknown drives us, then it’s time to reevaluate a few things.
We cannot allow ourselves to be motivated by fear of the unknown. Constantly hedging our bets will only push us to live so cautiously, as J.K. Rowling put it to Harvard graduates in 2008, that we “might not have lived at all – in which case [we] fail by default.”
So, since I’m sure you’re not in the mood to “fail by default,” what’s the best that could happen as a result of your willingness to try a few things next year (even a few that might fail)?
What’s the best that could happen from choosing to think the best about others throughout your day at school?
What’s the best that could happen from giving that teacher a fresh start this year?
What’s the best that could happen from assuming that educators who aren’t connected still want to get on Twitter?
What’s the best that could happen from your encouragement to a student to sign up for a more rigorous class next year?
What’s the best that could happen from rethinking your bell schedule or your routines to start the day?
What’s the best that could happen from giving the toughest kid in your school, maybe the one who was arrested over the summer (maybe even arrested again) or the one who everyone hopes isn’t in their class or the one who “can’t be controlled” the benefit of the doubt and a fresh start?
What’s the best that could happen from choosing to go a week without complaining?
What’s the best that could happen from celebrating great things on your campus via social media?
What’s the best that could happen if you gave just one good idea a shot?
It’s worth noting that something will go wrong along the way. We have to be ok with that. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, or that we won’t receive some critical feedback along the way.
Why not choose something great over something safe? (tweet this)
The beginning of the year will be here before you know it, and how you start the year deeply influenced the patterns you will maintain over the course of this school year.
Are you willing to do something that’s a little scary in order to accomplish something great?
After all, what’s the best that could happen?
One Reply to “Choose Great Over Safe”
Wow…just wow, Aaron. I’m giving a talk next week about staying passionate and inspired in teaching and your blog just spoke volumes to that! Thanks for the insight!
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