Our Thinking Controls How We Feel

When travelling to South Africa with a group of school administrators, I personally experienced the power of how our thinking controls our feelings.

I was chosen as one of two among 35 delegates to make a presentation. Due to various stories of lost and poor handling of luggage in Johannesburg, the group was discouraged from checking in any suitcases. It was suggested to travel only with carry-on luggage. This meant that I could bring a minimum of handouts. The one I chose was my teaching model.

After my presentation, an administrator told me that it was unprofessional to attempt to sell my program.

My website is loaded with information, all of which is FREE—with the exception of my book, posters, and cards. My monthly newsletter is free, and I grant permission for anyone to use and even duplicate anything from my websites, including all of my articles. I have even started a nonprofit public charitable organization to help low economic schools receive free books, free staff development packages and, depending on geography, free staff training. See www.disciplinewithoutstress.org. How could this man think the way he did—that I was trying to make a profit by selling?

I was so startled that I actually became depressed for the next two hours. Finally, I think I hit upon what prompted his comment to me. For whatever reason, many educators believe that education should not be a “for profit” endeavor and/or people do not like to be sold to. My intent was to share with South African educators a teaching model that could assist them with two of their major problems—inappropriate behavior and motivating students. Yet, in this man’s thinking, I was “selling” my program.

When I thought about this, my self-talk became, “In a sense, I was selling my program. The vast majority of my efforts in the last number of years has been devoted to helping improve teachers’ joy in the classroom and students’ learning how to behave more responsibly and become more motivated to learn. Yes, I was selling my approach of teaching and learning—EVEN THOUGH IT’S ALL FREE!”

As soon as this thought entered my mind, I could actually feel my body change. THIS THINKING CHANGED MY FEELINGS. I immediately felt empowered, and my spirits dramatically rose. I had just undergone a very personal experience demonstrating how one’s self-talk creates one’s reality—right out of the first paragraph in my book.

More information on this topic is available at http://marvinmarshall.com.