At a recent conference in Education, the presenter commented that in a research study done with children and learning, it concluded that children’s reaction to “WHO” was going to teach them was much more important for their learning and participation, and not “WHAT” they were going to learn.
I reflected on the many conversations with my kids and other kids I have spoken to, who would make comments such as
“I know I am going to fail this subject – I can’t stand this teacher!” or “I really like this teacher…she is so cool!” or ” this teacher can’t teach… the children do whatever they want to do in the class.”
In one grade, my daughter, who was a great math student suddenly became a problem child and did poorly in Math because she did not like the teacher any more than the teacher liked her. No matter how hard I tried to explain to her that the subject was what mattered – I could not get through and going to school became stressful and homework became a nightmare.
I went to the school and tried to see if she could be moved to another math class but the principal’s response was “This teacher was awarded as the best math teacher in the district and our school is the top in Mathematics. The child is in the best class.” The principal did not get the point, my daughter suffered a year in that Math class and I had to deal with the constant tantrums at home and counsel her so that she did not give up on math. She barely passed Math at the end of that year. The following year, she had a Math teacher whom she adored and the marks went back to A and we had no more problems with Math. It was not that she was a bad student or the teacher was a bad teacher – there was just simply no FLOW between them.
I think that most of us respond to “WHO” rather than “WHAT” and it also explains why some people are just not “good fits” together or in a role that they perform. When I ask an employer “Why you would not hire this person?”, the most common response is “it is not a good fit”. Most times, no one can say what is exactly meant by “good fit” but it is usually associated with organizational culture which is mostly determined to a large extent by the “WHO’s.” Great wonderful personalities do not work for every employer and sometimes quiet timid persons are the best fit. It is a complex thing trying to get a right formula! Sometimes we don’t like the “WHO’s” but we can’t find a tangible reason – the energy exchange does not blend.
What this all boils down to is something called FLOW. FLOW is an essential element required in learning, achieving and working with optimum efficiency. When we experience FLOW, our brains produce positive hormones which support our learning, growth and create a feeling of fulfilment, excitement and enthusiasm. When we are not in flow, trouble repeats itself over and over again…and more time is spent trying to persuade, remediate, counsel or train and re-train because there is no flow between the “WHO” and the “WHAT.” The more pressure that we put on the human being to do a task without flow – the harder the task becomes, the slower and less accurate the results are and there is usually a high degree of resistance. Why? Because the brain is now producing negative hormones which results in fear, mistrust, apprehension etc. A great worker can suddenly become a poor worker if there is no flow with the who’s and the what; a great student can suddenly become a problem student. With flow – a poor worker can also become a great employee and a lazy, disinterested student can suddenly become a star.
The difficulty with getting people to FLOW with the “WHO’s and the “WHAT” is hard because our processes for hiring, placing kids in classes, getting the work done – is all quite structured and must follow a process due to limited time, resources and the need to have a degree of control. Tough economic times with fewer resources to manage work and a desperate need to earn money to pay bills all contributes to less flow or perhaps less ability to create better flow. However, several companies are also raising the bar to ensuring that personality assessments are part of the recruitment process and by providing internship or volunteer opportunities help to assess whether people would be a good fit.
Over the last decade, there are volumes of research and documentation on people advocating that we can manifest what we desire. There are tons and tons of examples of people stepping outside of the box and leaving the familiar for the unfamiliar. Therefore instead of leaving our happiness or fulfilment in the hands of the employers or teachers or team members, we have to take personal responsibility for our lives and become self-aware of whether we are in the flow or not. If we are – it is great! If we are not, then we can take incremental or radical steps to create flow. It is bad stress… but being aware of bad stress is an indicator of good emotional health.
Some questions to ask if you are struggling now:
a) Do you feel that you are in the flow?
b) If you are not in the flow, who or what are the stressors? Can you name it? Is it tangible? Does the work you do suit you? Is it that you like the work but don’t like the people? Is it that the work is too much?
c) Can it be changed? If the whole cannot be changed, can a part be modified? Can the who or the what be changed?
d) Can working on improving the relationships with the “WHO’s” create a better flow?
For my children, I had to keep affirming the positive at home and let them vent while holding my breath that if they did not like a teacher this year that the next year would be better. In some cases, helping them to build a relationship and not dismiss the teacher, sometimes worked.
It is possible that we can be self-aware enough to know what we need and we will find a way to attract it to ourselves. You may not be able to change the core of your personality but you may be able to find the right career, employer or person to flow with. Maybe schools , career coaching companies, universities and colleges should start teaching more neuroscience, meditation and manifestation as part of the curriculum…
LookGood!!! and FeelGood!!! with FLOW.