In honor of the 240th anniversary of the America’s Declaration of Independence from Britain, I too shall declare myself independent:
I no longer consent to be governed by the tyranny of the status quo!
The status quo is the common path, the “way things are;” it is an undercurrent of expectation urging us to do things the way things are done. No need to stray from the path, no need to rock the boat. Education is fine the way it is! A place for everything and everything in its place. It’s a powerful force whose only goal is maintain predictability.
But… don’t we want to change? We want to grow, create and originate and that’s not possible if you don’t begin to behave a little unpredictably. You can’t do everything the way you always have and expect different results. It just doesn’t work (it is not, however, insanity).
The world is full of expectations. They come from our cultures, our families, our friends and our communities. These expectations are the currents that shape our place in society. Look closely at anything and you’ll see that there are expectations pushing and pulling at you at all times. For example:
Stop for a second and ponder- are any of these options better than the rest? Not really. They all seem generally fine and are, for some people, completely normal.
Now, think about your own life- how often do you deviate from “your way?” Probably not that often. And yet, it is entirely up to you how you go about your day, interact with others or conduct your family life! You could push yourself to make more eye contact even though you live in a major city if you want to make more friends. You could talk with your kids about feelings if you prefer that to the activity focused family you grew up in. You can replace those expectations with your own commitments… and still be completely normal.
Today is Independence Day, a day when we honor the truly unlikely act of a colony declaring itself sovereign from a global super-power. If 13 scrappy colonies can free itself from the most powerful country in the world, we can create the life we want to lead! Examine the expectations that are guiding your behavior and take a critical eye to the routines and habits that form the contours of your day in and out of the classroom. Are they serving you? If not, let’s work to redesign them.
Speaking of letting things go, Lin-Manuel Miranda is leaving Hamilton: An American Musical! The music from Hamilton has been my constant soundtrack while I’ve launched this website and Lin-Manuel Miranda has been a beacon of true artistry and perseverance that has truly been an inspiration. To honor this EGOT earning genius as he exits stage left, social media posts this week will feature lyrics from Hamilton. 🙂
Amanda Crowell, PhD is a cognitive psychologist obsessed with how people make change. She is best known for translating cutting edge research into practical strategies that can be used right away.