This lesson helps young people understand how they can change their perspective to a more positive view by practicing new ways of thinking, or mental models. The youth will learn about the Five Pillars of Excellence, which can help identify what we want and how to get there. They will learn how to use the Mind-Power for Life™ meditation technique to help them change their thinking in order to thrive.
In this lesson you will learn about the Five Pillars of Excellence that can help with a “mental remix”— identifying what you want and understanding how to get there.
Introduce the youth to the Five Pillars of Excellence through the Mental Remix Online Learning Activity. Young people may explore the lesson independently on computers or mobile devices, or the presentation can be projected to the classroom’s SMART or Promethean Board.
Five Pillars of Excellence
Below is a text-based version of the content in the Mental Remix Online Learning Activity.
In order to achieve anything in life you need to know what you’re aiming for, not what you’re trying to avoid. It’s strange but true that the more you concentrate on what you don’t want the more you get exactly that. Unfortunately, that happens to a lot of us frequently. However, when you can learn to create pictures in your mind of the things you really hope for, sometimes called a mental model, you’re much more likely to get what you want.
Five Pillars of Excellence
- Know what you want — Have you ever asked a friend what he wants to eat and he says he doesn’t care, but rejects every suggestion you make?? It’s so frustrating! It makes it almost impossible to make a choice. People make better decisions, achieve more success and are happier when they know what they want instead of what they don’t want. You’ll probably do better on that math test, for example, if you know what grade you are hoping to get rather than just that you don’t want to fail.
- Be flexible — No matter how much you plan and act in certain ways, there is so much that is out of your control. You can’t, for example, make a teacher like you. You can’t control her or his feelings. What you are able to change is what you do. In the long run, this will change the results you get. So you can work hard, be respectful, help out in class, and then see what happens. It will probably make a difference!
- Learn from experience —To achieve success and reach your goals, you have to know if you are getting closer or further away. Another way to think of this is that there are no failures, only feedback. A failure signifies an end…a defeat. Getting feedback is different. It implies learning. Shifting your mindset away from the idea of failure toward all information being feedback allows you to keep going, keep trying and keep moving toward the result you want, even when the going gets tough.
- Take action now—The only way to make change is to change. Action is your only option. What are you willing to do right now to get you moving toward what you want?
- Treat your whole self with care. There is a saying that goes, “Garbage in, garbage out,” meaning that what we bring into our lives, what we feed ourselves, physically, emotionally, intellectually and so on, has a direct result on what we get out of our lives. The more we care for ourselves, the more benefits we reap, which impacts our ability to think straight and have a positive frame of mind.
Meditation is a mental remixing strategy. Lead the young people through a short practice meditation and then consider making it part of your regular classroom routine.
Mind Power for Life™ Technique
- Start by breathing in through your nose and breathing out through your mouth. Breathe out longer than you breathe in. Keep breathing like this during the exercise.
- With your eyes open, focus your attention on a point in the distance. Allow your eyes to relax and your awareness of what’s around you to expand. You’ll start to notice space and things you can see off to the side. (Peripheral Awareness)
- Start thinking and saying to yourself “I am.” Try to say it while you’re breathing. Breathe in while saying “I.” Breathe out while saying “am.”
- Get a picture in your mind of what you want for the moment or day. Maybe it’s to be very calm and relaxed, or focused, or energetic. Whatever it is, let go of the image, while continuing the breathing, saying to yourself, “I am.”
- When you are ready to complete the process of the meditation reverse steps 3-1.
Meditation can be done for as little as 5-20 minutes, once or twice a day.
Any one of the above steps can also be done separately if you need an extra mental “boost.” Using one part of the technique alone will work better if you are already really good at doing the whole technique.
It has been said by different people in different ways that we see things not based on the way they are, but on how we are. Mental remix helps us see the world in new and more hopeful ways, thus helping us be the very best, and happiest, we can be.
Continuing the Conversation
Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, which includes some additional meditation instructions so that young people and families can practice the Mental Remix at home.
Additional Instructor Resources
Getting the Most out of Meditation
ChangeToChill.org by Allina Health