This lesson helps young people understand that the way they see things isn’t necessary the “truth” about the way they are. The youth will experience the impact a positive mindset can have, practice noticing subtle differences and cultivating an optimistic perspective.
Before facilitating this lesson, you may want to review the following information. This can be shared with young people during your discussions.
There is a lot of pressure these days on young people, teachers and others to “do and be their best.” Yet many of the things we do to try to accomplish this or help others accomplish it actually work against us. Mindset, the way we see things, plays a huge role in this.
People who thrive, rather than just survive, tend to have positive mindsets. They see the learning in difficult situations, they see the benefit that comes from hardship, and they see themselves and others as having what’s needed to be their best.
We can actually learn to think this way even if it doesn’t feel totally natural right now.
Consider this: Why is it that two people can see the same movie and describe it totally differently? Or what about when we watch the same movie more than once: Why do we notice different things each time? The truth is that our minds shape our experiences, our memories, and we can learn to influence our minds to see things differently.
Explain to the youth that our “success” in life, however we define it, depends a lot on our attitude and how we see things.
Ask: Why is it that two people can see the same movie and describe it totally differently? Or what about when we watch the same movie more than once: Why do we notice different things each time?
Give time for discussion of the questions. Then explain that our minds shape our experiences, our memories, and we can learn to influence our minds to see things differently.
Let the youth know that you are going to do an activity that highlights the idea that how we see things is shaped by what we’re looking for and what we focus on. Don’t tell them more than that. Then give them the following instructions:
Round one (there are three total)
Without changing the first three things back to the way they were, repeat round one. It may be harder this time for them to think of things to change. Encourage them to be creative.
Repeat the exercise again a third time and then talk about these questions:
Make the point that how we see something changes based on what we’re looking for, where are minds our focused, what our goal or task is. This is true for life as well as in the exercise.
Remind young people that our minds shape our memories and that knowing that can help us be more resilient and thrive. Present this challenge: Next time you are confronted with a potentially negative situation, ask yourself the following questions:
Change To Chill by Allina Health