07 Feb
Principle #5: Transform Negativity

In the book The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, the main character George declares, “Okay, I’m on the bus. I’ve got my direction set and my vision is good. But I have to tell you, it’s not so easy to think about what you want and be positive when you don’t have a lot of things to be positive about and you keep getting what you don’t want. You have no idea of the challenge I am facing right now. I’m hitting a lot of roadblocks.” Then Joy, the bus driver, says to George, “You’re right, I don’t know all you are facing. But I do know that if you want to change your situation you must first change your thoughts. Because if you keep on thinking what you have been thinking you’ll keep on getting what you have been getting.”

WOW! Powerful! Just like George, we will all be tested on our journey and it’s how we choose to respond when faced with challenges or roadblocks that can determine the outcome. Mr. Gordon provides a simple formula that can help us put this idea into practice as we look for ways to transform negativity. The formula is:

E + P = O

(Event + Perception = Outcome)

Danny, the keeper of the rules on the bus, explains “The E stands for events in your life, The P stands for perception, and the O stands for Outcome. He continues by informing George, that “…we can’t control the events in our life but we can control how we perceive them and our perception and response to the events determine our outcome.”

I have learned that when you learn and practice the art of “reframing” it helps to change your perception which will transform the outcome in any situation. Reframing is one’s ability to look at a situation through multiple lens. Rather than giving in to your initial feeling regarding a situation or event, reframing allows you to question what you are seeing so that you are carefully choosing a response. For instance, if a student’s behavior s distracting others and disrupting your lessons, instead of adopting the mindset that the student has it in for you or doesn’t care for you very much– reframing will allow you to look at the situation through multiple lens which will then prompt you to pose reflective questions that can lead to a better outcome for you and the student.

Transforming negativity is not always easy, especially when we’ve become accustomed to reacting and viewing situations or events through one frame.

This change of mindset takes patience and practice. Even with this new knowledge, there will be times when we react to situations or events that happen in our life. This is not the time to get down or become frustrated, but instead a time to reflect on what happened and how we can respond differently next time.

Being positive is not about staying in a “good mood” or always making “good choices.” Being positive and transforming negativity means that you are reflective in your practices and have the courage to admit when you’re wrong or when you’ve made a mistake.

As you look for ways to teach and reinforce this principle, have students share challenges that have come up at school (or in their personal lives). You will start by setting the expectations for the discussion and modeling how to share an experience by sharing your own.

Discuss “negative” ways they could have approached the situation and then share “positive” ways they could have responded to the situation. Use the E+P= O formula to help guide their discussions.

Joy reminds us to think of it this way, “Desire, vision, and focus help you turn the bus in the right direction but positive energy is necessary to take you where you want to go.

This month, let’s practice transforming negativity and watch our schools, classrooms, and communities transform into positive learning spaces we can all be proud of!

With something for you to think about. This is your Chief Energy Officer, Niki Spears!

Let’s make it a GREAT month or not. The choice is “always” yours!