How our thinking controls how we feel

In my October newsletter, I wrote, “Feeling is what you get for thinking the way you do.” Later that same month when I traveled to South Africa with a group of school administrators, I personally experienced the truth of this quotation.

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, 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 and a few posters. My monthly newsletter is free, and I grant permission for anyone to use and even duplicate anything from the site, including all my articles. How could this man think the way he did?

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. The fact that my name was on my teaching model meant that I was trying to “sell it.” Should I just give it away? As indicated above, I do! My intent was to share with the South African educators a teaching model that could assist them with two of their major problems—inappropriate behavior and motivating students. Yet, in the man’s thinking, I was “selling” my program.

When I thought of this, I told myself that, in a sense, I was selling my program. The vast majority of my efforts in the last number of years have 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 free.

As soon as this thought entered my mind, I could actually feel my body change. This thinking changed my feeling. I immediately felt empowered. Unbelievable, I thought! I actually underwent a very personal experience demonstrating how one’s self-talk creates one’s realityright out of the first paragraph in my book.

I almost wished that more people would undergo some similar experience. Although we may have no control over a situation or a stimulation, we can always choose how we respond, and our self-talk is the determining factor in our feelings of success or failure.