“I wear the chain I forged in life” – A Christmas Carol
When I told my 5 year old son that I had walked over burning coals during a Tony Robbins “Unleash the Power Within” seminar he replied: “Can you do this again with me and carry me when you walk on the coals?” He never doubted that I could walk over the burning coals, but clearly, he wasn’t sure of his own ability to do so. However, he didn’t want to miss out.
Believing in oneself and dreaming one’s goals are key. Obstacles were to be viewed as opportunities rather than setbacks and there were many impossible metaphorical “firewalks” to be navigated in the years to come.
In a recent conversation with Joe, he told me that he had achieved all the goals he had set for himself a year ago and was needing to raise the bar higher for this coming year.
During my annual visits to Boston USA to visit Joe at Harvard University, I would make a point of attending Benjamin Zander’s Masterclasses where he would demonstrate time and again how he could interact with accomplished musicians in such a way that in a brief session he would draw out the genius in each of them. These masterclasses are available on YouTube and well worth watching.
In his book: “The Art of Possibility”, Zander writes:
“Michaelangelo is often quoted as having said that inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue; one need only remove the excess material to reveal the work of art within. If we were to apply this visionary concept to education, it would be pointless to compare one child to another. Instead, all the energy would be focused on chipping away at the stone, getting rid of whatever is in the way of each child’s developing skills, mastery and self-expression.” Rosamund and Benjamin Zander “The Art of Possibility”
As a teacher one is constantly engaged with the personality of the child and the beliefs and attitudes which colour the learning experience.
Social conditioning pervades every nook and cranny of our lives, influencing what we think of ourselves and others and how we behave.
Each one of us is a product of our age. How beautifully this is illustrated in Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol where Scrooge is taken back to his sad impoverished childhood and made to relive the emotional deprivation that led to him becoming a miserable and bitter old man, unsympathetic to the plight of others in need. Tony Robbins uses the “Dickens pattern” in his seminars to confront these limiting beliefs in order to transform your future self today.
The Sophrology Method powerfully transforms negative attitudes and self-defeating behaviour. I have personally worked with a number of students who are paralysed by fear of exams, who go on to conquer their fears of failure and successfully transform their beliefs so as to enable success and achievement by means of Sophrology exercises.
The teacher’s responsibility in this regard cannot be underestimated. What the student reveals in conversation and the mental states and emotional attitudes that accompany every lesson give clues to the emotional and mental blocks that constantly interfere with the learning process. These provide opportunities for self- awareness and ultimately self-correction. Lessons surely are not merely about subject content, but the mental and emotional development of the child as well.
Ultimately it is the beliefs and values that we carry into the world that will determine the impact we have on society. On a park bench I came across this ancient Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit in”.
The impact of society on us is a reciprocal one: we are shaped by society and in turn contribute to the shaping of society by our attitudes and values.
Education in the true sense empowers and develops students to take their place in society as caring, compassionate individuals who seek wherever possible to leave this world in a better condition that they found it in.
A holistic education is much needed in our consumer society and parents and teachers bear an enormous responsibility to ensure that our children are equipped with the necessary skills and tools to thrive in an uncertain world.
Moving from the general to the particular, I would like to say a few words about Learning Unlimited’s recent academic offerings. I am delighted by an expansion in this regard which began in 2021 with Learning Unlimited offering AS and A Level courses in all of English literature, psychology and sociology. A growing number of students have enrolled for A levels in these courses, a trend which I hope will continue.
Many of our students’ stories and testimonials will be found on our website. Please forward this email to anyone you know who may be interested in joining our vibrant learning community. We have been posting adverts, notices etc. on our social media channels including Instagram, Face Book, LinkedIn, and blogs on our website. Please spread the word to let your friends know about your experience at Learning Unlimited….
To students who will continue with us in 2023, we look forward to sharing your ongoing academic journeys with you. You would need to register for the May 2023 exams by the 15th of January 2023. You will be receiving a follow up email with information concerning the May 2023 exams, new courses and offering, updates to the website and social media links.
To those students who have completed their studies with us this year, we wish you all the best for your future. Please keep in touch. We would love to know how you are getting on in your chosen careers.
On behalf of the Learning Unlimited team, I would like to wish you a peaceful and joyous Festive Season.