Blog

The Gift of Internal Motivation

When people, especially the young, learn the difference between external and internal motivation, they become empowered to resist bullying and victimhood thinking, and to make responsible choices. The Levels of Development explains the difference between external motivation and internal motivation. Even young children can understand these concepts.

Although technically all motivation is internal, being able to articulate something outside of ourselves that prompts or motivates will help us make more responsible decisions. Keep in mind that it is the effect of the Levels of Development—how people grow—that makes learning the levels (concepts) so valuable. Think of the Levels of Development as rubric or reference for making decisions in life.

Internal Motivation Prompts Change

Additionally, when children learn both of the … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Your Mindset Determines Your Success

One of the great approaches to successful living is to develop the art of prompting positive mindsets. The fact is that your mindset and success are intimately intertwined.

For example, suppose I lay a plank on the ground. Almost anyone can easily walk on the plank from one end to the other. But if I were to raise the plank 10 feet off the ground, how many people do you think would get across it without falling? I would guess quite a few people would fall off the plank.

Why can people walk the plank when it’s on the ground but not while it’s elevated? A prime reason is that when the plank is on the ground, people imagine success. … >>>

READ MORE >>>

How to Improve a Strained Relationship

We all have experienced a strained relationship from time to time. Whether it was with a spouse, child, or co-worker, dealing with a strained relationship can be a challenge. Taking the time to fix a strained relationship takes courage and finesse. Here are three suggestions for improving strained relationships with youth and adults alike.

 

  • Give affirmations

A simple acknowledgement can have dramatic results. This is especially important with young people. They want to assert their independence and autonomy. Just acknowledging that you have heard their point of view, regardless of agreement, can have a profound effect on how your growing young one feels about the relationship. For adults, an affirmation, such as “I see your point and understand where … >>>

READ MORE >>>

What’s the Future of Education? Look to the Past for Answers

No doubt you’ve heard of John Dewey, the American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Even today, he is regarded as one of the most prominent American scholars in the first half of the twentieth century.

Dewey died in 1957 at age 92 in New York City. My guess is that if he were alive today, he’d be appalled at the educational landscape (and I like to think he’d be a proponent of The Levels of Development and the Discipline Without Stress methodology).

He taught for three years but struggled with the expectation that he should be a knuckle-rapping disciplinarian. That wasn’t how he viewed education.

After posts at the University … >>>

READ MORE >>>

How to Increase Student Engagement

Discipline problem often occur due to a lack of student engagement. If the teacher is promoting something interesting, students are quite capable of being engaged. So, instead of thinking, “I am going to control this disruptive behavior,” a more effective approach would be to think, “What can I do that is interesting to prevent students from misbehaving in the first place?” After all, curiosity is a great motivator.

The punishment mindset has many disadvantages, especially when you’re punishing due to student engagement issues. If punishment becomes arbitrary, any young person is going to feel angry and even disillusioned. When people in authority want others to behave responsibility, it is the leader’s responsibility to first behave in this same manner. The … >>>

READ MORE >>>

7 Tips to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Spouse

Your relationship with your spouse or significant other should be one of happiness and understanding.  But sometimes it can be stressful. Learning how to strengthen your relationship with your spouse will do wonders for not only your marriage, but also your stress level in general.

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when dealing with a spouse, significant other, or social partner.

1. Recognize that you can only control your own behavior. The more you try to control someone else, the less likely it is that the person will do what you want.

2. Differences in perceptions, opinions, needs, and wants need to be respected. The most effective way to accomplish this is to clarify your position rather … >>>

READ MORE >>>

How to Say No Positively

Sometimes in life you have to say no to others. While most people dislike saying no, it really is an important life skill to learn. Failure to say no to others can often lead to stress, overwhelm, and unhappiness.

In my books, speeches, and professional work, I stress the importance of positivity. But saying no to others feels so negative. The word itself is certainly not positive. And the feeling it leaves after a conversation can sometimes feel negative. So how can you say no to others without actually saying the word “no”? How can you protect your time, your feelings, and your needs while keeping the relationship positive?

Here is a simple four-step process to say no positively:

1. … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Reflection Prompts Learning

Learning something new is always challenging, especially if you’ve always done something one way or are convinced your inefficient way is correct. This is true of both adults and children.

Here is an example: A third/fourth grade teacher asked me the following question: “What do you say to a student who thinks his answers are ALWAYS correct even when I prove he is wrong by giving examples of the correct math solutions and by other students demonstrating the correct answers by their methods?”

I responded:

ALWAYS keep in mind that the person who asks the question controls the situation.

The only way this child will change is by having him continually reflect. With reflection comes learning and change. The skill … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Rise Above Any Stressful Situation

For many people, the stress of everyday life—where you go from stressful situation to another—can seem overwhelming. Between work, family, social commitments, and even the daily onslaught of negative news, stress levels across the board are rising. As a result, conditions like anxiety, depression, OCD behaviors, and insomnia are on the rise.

Fortunately, in many cases, you have a choice. No matter what the stressful situation is, you can choose to react to it positively or negatively. You can choose to let life weigh you down. Or you can choose to rise above the challenges.

Consider this old story and think about the deeper meaning being illustrated:

A farmer had an old dog. One day his dog fell into a … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Impulse Control for Kids

Teaching impulse control for kids can be a challenge. If you want to become a more effective adult when working with young people, then give up the desire to control. Instead, hand over to the young the responsibility of learning to control themselves. This is important for every child but especially important for those young people who have repeated discipline and impulse control challenges.

The key to fostering impulse control for kids is to use the Levels of Development all the time so that it isn’t associated with corrective discipline. In fact, the more you use the hierarchy, the more young people will understand the difference between external and internal motivation. They will also become open to using the hierarchy … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Levels of Development and Homework

One thing teachers and parents continually struggle with is getting students to do their homework. But if you review the Levels of Development, you actually have a nice framework for encouraging students to do their homework. Think of it as a “Homework Hierarchy,” which may assist in more students completing home assignments.

Using the Levels of Development for homework may encourage personal reflection and create a desire to put forth more effort. Therefore, guide your students to quickly create such a hierarchy. There’s no need to write it down. Just do it orally. Here’s an example.

LEVEL D – Motivation for doing homework is internal.

  • Completes home tasks and is proud of its quality
  • Starts assignments without adult reminders
>>> READ MORE >>>

Your Emotions and Stress Management

When it comes to stress management, you have more control over your stress levels than you may think. That’s because your emotions play a big role in stress management.

Fact: Emotions and Stress Management are Related!

Emotions have many variations: joy, contentment, serenity, frustration, sadness, sorrow, guilt, etc. If you break them down into their simplest elements, there are only two important categories; one sends positive messages and the other sends negative messages. To practice stress management, you need to be aware when your emotions are sending negative messages and transform them into positive messages.

The question is, how do you do that?

If you are mindful (conscious) of your emotions, you will realize that they are affected by your … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Debunking the Myth of Rewarding Students

One of the most common questions I receive from people has to do with rewarding students. In fact, a common thinking is that it is necessary to reward students to do what you would like them to do. Additionally, most people still compare rewarding students with adults receiving a paycheck to do a job. But the two concepts are completely dissimilar.

For working adults, money is a satisfier—not a motivator and not a reward. Your compensation is a binding contract between two entities. “You do this task and I’ll give you this much money.” If either party fails to do their part, the contract can immediately end. Either you quit the job (if you don’t receive your income) or you … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Influence Others to Succeed

When it comes to having an influence on others, it’s not only what you say, but also how you say it, as well as all the things you don’t say.

Words can be extremely powerful and influential. Every word spoken to another, especially a child, carries with it an underlying message about the person and his or her relationship to the world.

It’s the same for the non-verbal messages you give. Everything you do without using words can influence the other person and cause a response, whether positive or negative.

Once the other person internalizes a message, it becomes a belief that can affect many aspects of their life. Knowing this, you can certainly influence students to operate on Level … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Develop the Skill of Perseverance

Perseverance is a vital skill to develop. In fact, one of the most important principles we can teach children is that effective and responsible people persist in their endeavors. They don’t give up easily. In fact, a major quality that classifies people as successful is that they stick to a task. They display perseverance.

What is it that enables certain people to persevere? Usually, they have a repertoire. They create many different ways to solve a problem.

Why is this important? Because if people have only one way to solve a problem, and if they try it and it doesn’t work, they will have a tendency to give up.

People who persist, however, will try one plan. If that approach … >>>

READ MORE >>>

The Stress-Fee Way to Motivate Students and Children

Teachers and parents are always looking for ways to motivate students and children. Whether it’s inspiring them to do their homework or clean their rooms, adults try many different techniques to get the youth to comply.

Unfortunately, many adults use external motivators at school and at home. These include telling young people what to do, threatening and punishing them, and rewarding them for things that they should do. These approaches do little to motivate students and children. Rather, they teach young people OBEDIENCE. The shortcomings of obedience appear when teachers and parents are not around to use these EXTERNAL motivators.

I created the Levels of Development to help teachers and parents focus on internal motivation. This is important because internal … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Confront Negativity with Positivity

Positivity is important. And sometimes we need to think of the meaning behind what we like to keep. This applies to both physical and mental keepsakes. Are your thoughts and possessions promoting positivity? Or do you need to let go of some outdated beliefs?

Here is a case in point.

For years I have had a little statue describing an ancient morality. The tiny statue that sat on my desk portrayed three little monkeys. One had hands over the eyes, another with hands over the ears, and a third with hands over the mouth.

The message was to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. The philosophy portrayed in the little figures is that good is found … >>>

READ MORE >>>

Discipline Without Stress Examples

The Discipline Without Stress methodology makes classroom discipline much easier. It empowers students through the use and practice of The Levels of Development.

Think about what you would do in each of the following scenarios that are typical in a school setting. After, we’ll discuss how Discipline Without Stress makes each incident less stressful.

Scenario 1: The school dress code says that students may not wear hats in the building. Your student is refusing to take off his hat. Most teachers say that they have no specific procedure to handle this situation.

Scenario 2: A student refuses to hang up his coat in the coat closet. In this situation, many teachers say they would take the coat and hang … >>>

READ MORE >>>