Are you stuck in traffic or enjoying the block party?

Several months ago when I was driving back to Mount Shasta, I discovered that I-5 was closed and would be closed for many hours. At first I was annoyed, but then a wiser and more adventurous part of me took over. I decided to stop, ponder what “gift” or lesson the Universe might be offering me, and make a plan. So I pulled off at the next rest stop, pushed back my seat, closed my eyes and went to sleep even though it was only 4:00 pm.

About an hour and a half later I woke up abruptly and turned on the radio to hear any updates. Even though the radio said the road was going to be closed at least until 10:00 pm, something deep within me said use the restroom and then get on the road and head north. I decided to listen to my intuition instead of the radio.

I used the facilities, got back into my car and headed north. About 20 minutes later, as I came down a hill, I could see miles and miles of cars bumper to bumper. As I got closer I realized that all traffic had come to a complete standstill. At first, I thought people would be angry and stressed, but as I turned off my car and began to take in the whole scene, I realized they weren’t.

Cars were turned off, radios were playing music, some people were sitting on the hoods of their cars and while others were having tailgate picnics. It felt like I had just pulled into a very large block party! It was the most stress-free traffic jam I had ever been in.

Only hours before I had been caught in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam in the Bay Area, but there everyone had been angry and stressed. The contrast was amazing!

What made this situation so different? For whatever reason, everyone seemed willing to let go of his or her previous agenda, and just be in the moment. This mind-state keeps us in our conscious mind, which means we also have the means to create what we really want. On the other hand, when we are stressed our subconscious mind takes over and creates the life our “tapes” want to create.  This may seem like a simple thing, but it affects what our life is going to look like today, and tomorrow.

As I sat in my car with the windows rolled down enjoying the “block party” I began reflecting on the situation. What was the message this situation was offering me for my life? It was loud and clear: when you hit an impasse, traffic jam or roadblock—“stop, be still, and wait for a clue; look inside for what you can change and know that life can rearrange; and listen to your body for it knows what is true and will always guide you to what is right for you…”(from Out of the Box and Into Yourself!) This is exactly what I had done.

I had stopped and taken a nap because I wasn’t sure how long I would be on the road. I knew a clue would show up if I just quieted myself and listened. When I woke up the clues or instructions were clear—start heading north. The final step was listening to my body.

As I sat in my car enjoying the “block party” or mini-community that had spontaneously risen out of necessity, I could feel my body relax and unwind from a week of work. It brought to mind past family gatherings at my grandparent’s house when I was growing-up. My father came from a very large family, so gatherings were very large—like a small village. This impromptu freeway mini-village reminded me of those gatherings, and of my need to belong and be part of something bigger then me. I was reminded that people and life are good—and that you sometimes just need to view things from a different angle. This was a very different approach to life from what I had learned when I was growing up.

I was raised with the belief that if something isn’t working—then I obviously wasn’t trying hard enough. Unfortunately this mindset left me feeling inadequate. As I watched the “block party” unfold, I felt a sense of rightness.  I was also reminded of the importance of letting go of my agenda and stepping wholeheartedly into the moment.

The radio had mapped out an alternative route, but after a few mathematical calculations I dispensed with that idea because it felt like too much of a struggle. Instead I watched some teenagers play on their skateboards and a boy walk his dog. I was happy and content.

The simple choices I made that day were the result of my awareness that when we are stressed, and not present in the moment, it is difficult to create the life you really want. This awareness, in part, stems from my familiarity and understanding of the research of Dr. Bruce Lipton.

Between 1988 and 1992 Dr. Bruce Lipton, while a fellow in pathology at Stanford Medical School, proved in a laboratory that our beliefs and perceptions, not our genes, control our biology and when you change your beliefs, you can change your whole life.

Our fundamental beliefs about life and ourselves are downloaded automatically into our subconscious mind merely by observing the beliefs, attitudes, and behavior of our parents, siblings, and peers. These beliefs then play out automatically without the awareness or the control of the conscious mind. Our internal conflicts or difficulty creating the life we really want may be the only clues we have that we have some inaccurate programming in our subconscious mind

Dr. Lipton also found that hypnotic-like practices were the most effective way to change old beliefs that are stored in our subconscious. He felt that drawing, when approached in a noncompetitive manner, as encouraged in the I Create What I Believe! (ICWIB) program, was an excellent method for transforming old beliefs. This happens because it takes the brain into that relaxed and receptive state, which allows for the easy transformation of thought patterns and beliefs, and also because it is simple and self-initiated.

What is the ICWIB program? The I Create What I Believe! program is a groundbreaking approach to drawing that enables people of all ages to reduce stress, release bottled-up emotions, gain a deeper sense of self, and transform stifling beliefs that hinder their ability to succeed.

Activities as simple as drawing circles and straight lines, which serve as a form of biofeedback, provide an individual with a spontaneous and accurate record of how old memories and current situations affect his or her body. This information can be a source of great insight and facilitate deep healing.

As the sun began to set, I wondered: How did I move from feeling so powerless, frustrated, and inadequate, to being able to trust my intuition, and accomplish anything I really wanted? After a lot of pondering, I realized that the ICWIB program was the answer. This program was an outgrowth of my own healing, and the development of the program and ICWIB Deluxe Teacher’s Edition kit had catapulted me forward into a level of competence and clarity I had never known was possible.

Suddenly, all of the people began putting away their picnics, climbed into their cars, and the block party was over. As we inched down the freeway together I could still feel that deep feeling of belonging to something good and much bigger than me.

That feeling of rightness and my belief in a positive future is what continues to propel me to teach and share the ICWIB program with parents, educators, schools, individuals working with at-risk children, and anyone who wants to make a significant change in their life. I know that if we could create a mini-village on I-5, together we can also create a much larger global village that thrives.

———

I am extremely excited and proud to announce that after two years and a lot of hard work the ICWIB Deluxe Teacher’s Edition kit is finally done! If you are interested in seeing the new kit, or purchasing one you can view the new ICWIB Deluxe Teacher’s Edition kit (http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/icwibprokit.html) on the website: www.ICreateWhatIBelieve.com

If you want any more information about the new kit or the program you can contact Nancy Marie at 530-926-0365 or info@innereyepublishing.com

Reclaiming with a Pencil

Since intuition and creativity are natural phenomena and the by-product of a balanced and whole individual, my approach to developing them is the same – assist individuals through the identification and reclaiming of their authentic nature. Once your “self” has been reestablished, you are free to proceed through life in an unencumbered manner. Until wholeness is present, your perceptions can be clouded and controlled by other people’s beliefs, opinions, and attitudes.

The first step to regain your authentic nature is learning to still and clear your mind of all unnecessary chatter. Historically this has been done through meditation, though many children and adults aren’t interested in learning to mediate. That is okay because the same components-relaxing the body, clearing the mind, and stabilizing the focus-that are used in meditation to heighten conscious awareness can be taught and practiced with non-competitive or non-goal oriented drawing.

Using art to reclaim the “true self” can take place quite effortlessly by pointing the individual in the direction of their senses and introducing the Socratic method of teaching via questions. “How does it feel when you move your hand in that direction instead of the previous direction?” “Is there any identifiable sensation or feeling on your skin or in your gut, or do you experience it in one of your other senses?” By directing the individual to focus on their feelings and the body sensations that arise when they are creating you offer them an opportunity to explore the inner terrain of their own mind.

What we are duplicating is the natural exploration very young children do before they are inhibited by emotional restriction. Returning to this natural exploration of life with our five senses helps strengthen our sense of self and is a great way to step out of the “right” and “wrong” approach to life. Drawing in this manner can also drop you into a hypnotic-like state. Why is that important?

Between 1988 and 1992, while Dr. Bruce Lipton (author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles) was a fellow in pathology at Stanford Medical School, his studies proved that our beliefs and perceptions control our cellular biology, and that when we change our beliefs we can change our whole life. Dr. Lipton also found that hypnotic-like practices were the most effective way to change old beliefs that are stored in our subconscious. He felt that drawing, when approached in a noncompetitive manner, was an excellent method for transforming old beliefs, because it takes the brain into that relaxed and receptive state, which allows for the easy reconfiguration of thought patterns and beliefs, and it is also self-initiated.

So if you want to strengthen your intuition, expand your creativity or transform stifling subconscious beliefs you might want to explore the delights of playing with crayons again. You can begin with scribbling, drawing simple circles and lines or doodling – it doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to create something realistic, you only have to pay attention to how your body responds to drawing different shape lines, color, and texture and possibly have some fun.

Use an Eraser

Sometimes when I draw I use a pencil and sometimes I use an eraser. The same is true with life. When I am clear about what I see and want, I use a pencil to add in the necessary lines to develop the picture. On the other hand, when I am unsure of what I am seeing, feeling, or wanting I need to use an eraser to remove the unnecessary lines. In these moments, I usually have too many images floating around in my mind, and I am unclear on which to follow. Using an eraser allows me to slowly extract what isn’t necessary; leaving only what my psyche wants me to see. Unfortunately, my lack of harmony tends to show itself boldly on the paper, so often I don’t like these drawings. On the other hand, I value them immensely, because they are my transformational road map.

I’ve had people look at my drawings and ask how I was able to capture so much with a simple line. The answer is equally simple. I had to transform my beliefs about the subject or how I might draw the subject, because that clouded my ability to see its essence. Once I remove the inaccurate beliefs that cloud my vision I don’t see form–I see the vibrational structure that creates the form, and that is where truth lies. The same is true with life.

If your mind is attracted to something and yet your body wants you to back away, what do you do?

This is not the time for a pencil!  You can’t get clear by adding more lines; you have to get clear by removing unnecessary lines. In the process you can uncover the reason for your attraction and the wisdom of your retraction.

This is a time to use the eraser! Where do you start? Focus first on the details that seem unimportant, and then in your mind remove them with your imaginary eraser. One by one remove the things that don’t support or apply to this composition or situation for they just disturb your clarity. What are you left with? Normally you are left with two things–the core of the disturbance–the source of your uneasy gut feeling and your attraction–the subject’s “essence.”

In a composition you can only have one focal point. There is usually tension and sometimes conflict because that creates energy, excitement, and movement–but there is only one main focal point. So you need to choose. In the choosing, you create a reality. (Insightful artists know that this reality is not just on paper, but is a mirror reflection of their perceptions about life and themselves.) Observe the disturbance and observe the essence, then ask yourself what do you want to highlight or magnify. Do you want to create a piece about truth, essence, and purity or will the underlying current be about conflict, pain, disappointment, and upheaval? You can choose because you are creating a picture–it is your story.

When we are aware of what a pencil is used for and what an eraser is used for, we can create our life with the same clarity and effortlessness. Remember there can be only one focal point. So if you feel stuck use your imaginary eraser to remove the background clutter. Once you have done that you will be able to see the root of the conflict: the two different forces that are pulling you in two different directions. Then choose! Decide if your composition today is going to be a reflection of purity, truth, and essence, or if you need to create another picture for your “stuck” or “blue” period. There is no right or wrong, there is only choice. The internal conflict originates from the subconscious mind wanting to create one thing, and the conscious mind wanting to create something different. Pain is the by-product of your lack of alignment with your soul and your inability to choose. So use your eraser to get to the bottom of any internal conflict and then the choice will be obvious.

Are You Connected?

I was in my twenties when I was first introduced to Contact Improv–an improvisational dance technique. The unrehearsed nature of this art form did not give me the luxury of knowing what I was supposed to do and getting good at it. It also didn’t give me any preliminary clues on what everyone else was going to be doing, so I couldn’t brace myself or prejudge the situation. The process was challenging, spontaneous and organic. It required me to trust the other dancers, and myself.

In the beginning it was difficult for me to stay centered and also be aware of my contact points with the other dancers. I was constantly faced with my rigidity and negative beliefs about myself, others and life. The demands of this improvisational art form awakened my senses. Originally, this constantly changing dance form was created to free the body of habitual movement patterns and help dancers learn how to move from a more authentic place. Ultimately, this dance technique enabled me to respond more genuinely to anything happening in any given moment-not just on the dance floor. The process was dynamic, organic and as unpredictable as life. It was a wonderful teacher!

The instructor directed us to place special attention on the points of contact as we moved together. It didn’t matter if we were on our feet, leaning against a wall, or being lifted into the air–we always had to be aware of our points of connection. This process helped me become aware of the fact that we are always transitioning from one point of contact to another point of contact–nothing is stationary. It also taught me how to stay in my conscious mind and be present in the moment.

Learning this technique shifted the way I experienced life. I had always felt insignificant and isolated, but moving in this manner helped me realize I was connected to everything–even the cracks in the dance studio wall. It also helped me see how my inaccurate beliefs were distorting my perceptions, coloring my responses and holding me back. When I came to the realization that all of life was an improvisational dance and that I am really connected to the ground when I stand, to the chair when I sit, and to another person when I speak–even if we disagree–I felt a deep sigh of relief. So if you find yourself feeling alone, isolated or insignificant–remember that we are all connected and are moving together in the unstructured dance called life. All of our thoughts, movements, and responses are impacting each other. So with that in mind, lets lose the dance of fear, negativity and judgment and instead create a dance of love, joy and acceptance.

Time for a time-out?

The question, “Are you having fun?” crossed my mind one night while I watched my son’s baseball game. The players seemed to be having fun, though as I watched I began to notice a cause-and-effect pattern. From time to time a player would strike out or get thrown out at a base, but that one event wasn’t usually that critical when you looked at the whole game. What did seem to matter, however, was how the player or the team responded to that event.

If the player was able to shake off the error and continue having fun, then usually a stronger team synergy would take place. At that moment, the team had the potential to become more connected and consequently everyone’s playing would improve. On the other hand, if the team or the player let the error get them down (they let negative beliefs distort their perceptions) then their performance would plummet and the team synergy was lost.

Historically in sports, a time-out is called at critical moments. It enables the players to get some advice from a higher authority–in this case their coach. During such a mini-break, the flow of energy can be changed, while new insights can enable the player, or the whole team, to become more effective and possibly turn the game around.

In the game of life, time-outs are equally important whenever we feel stressed, unclear or overwhelmed. This momentary interruption provides us with an opportunity to step out of our old perceptions and create a new, and more conscious response to our current situation. A good time-out or response-interrupt relaxes the body, stills the mind, allows us connect deeper with our higher authority (our soul), and activates our curiosity and creativity. This one simple action can move our awareness quickly out of fear and protection into growth and expansion, which is pivotal to achieving a successful outcome-no matter what the situation.

Life is not much different than a baseball game. When you find a way to have fun and transform those difficult moments, which we all have, then your connection to the “universal team” and your individual performance improves. Remember, it is not the outcome that is important in the game of life, but how we play the game. So play with your heart and soul no matter how the game is going and call a time-out whenever you feel stressed or unsure of how to consciously make your next run.

How full is your tank?

As I stood at the gas station filling my car with gas a series of questions began to “pop” into my mind. “How full is your tank?” When was the last time you filled it to the brim? Are you one of those marginal feeders? You know, the ones that only put a couple of gallons in the tank at a time instead of “filling it up”. And what do you put in your tank? Regular? Unleaded?  Or Super?

I chuckled at my mind’s humorous dribble as I got in my car and drove home. Later that evening the same words popped back into my mind again. This time I didn’t dismiss them as foolish dribble. This time I pondered their significance. Was I filling my tank? Had I become so busy that I had become a marginal feeder? Most of us have been taught to take good care of our cars because they are a very large investment. What about our bodies, our minds and our souls?

I know we live in a very fast-paced world these days, and most of us have far more on our “to do” list then we can ever accomplish. On the other hand, if you could find a way to fill your tank and take better care of your body, mind, and spirit wouldn’t you do it? And what if this caretaking technique didn’t require you to buy anything, go anywhere or ignore your “to do” list.  What if this one single thing could also increase your clarity, and your productivity and your connection to your soul? Would you be interested?  Of course you would! We all want to be healthy, happy and successful! At the same time we ignore the simplest and most life-changing act we could do each and every day––our breath.

Your breath, when expressed fully, has the ability to silence mental and emotional chatter, revitalize your body and reestablish internal harmony. When your breath is full, your innate intuitive awareness also flourishes. On the other hand, when your breath is shallow (you are a marginal feeder), your body, mind and spirit are deprived of their life sustaining fuel and their health is compromised.

Since your breath can be either voluntary or involuntary, you always have a choice to run on automatic or to approach your life consciously, one breath at a time. When you become unconscious of your breath it can lose its natural rhythm. When this happens, it becomes more difficult to keep your unconscious beliefs and patterns from playing havoc with your life. On the other hand, when you pay attention to your breath and breathe fully, it is easier to move away from old survival patterns and consciously create the life you want.

So the next time you breathe or the next time you are putting gas in your tank, ask yourself, “How full is my tank? Are you going to fill your tank to the brim today?  Or are you going to just give it enough to get by?” If your engine lacks the “get-up-and-go” to get you where you want to be, maybe you should change how much you are putting in your tank.

For more information about the I Create What I Believe! (ICWIB) program:          http://www.icreatewhatibelieve.com/

To explore an ICWIB activity that helps you strengthen your awareness of your breath, connect your body and mind, and restore an inner calm:                                     http://www.innereyepublishing.com/support/labyrinth.html

Art is More Than a Subject

How could something as simple as drawing facilitate change? Art is more than a subject. It is a language–a nonverbal language–that can help us uncover the subtle nuances of our feelings and emotions. Since it is also a form of biofeedback–meaning the real paintbrush is your body/mind state–it can help us identify and pinpoint beliefs, behaviors, and responses that are not in alignment with our true nature. As our awareness expands, what appears on the paper also changes. This can take place with activities as simple as scribbling.

For years Miro, Picasso, Klee, and Kandinsky explored how the elements of color, line, texture, and dimension carried and transmitted their feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. They perused art in this manner because they were all interested in self-transformation. They found that removing the focus on realistic rendering and playing with only the elements (color, line, texture, and dimension) they freed their unconscious to express itself in a unique and unabashed manner.  And in that place of spontaneous, almost child-like play, delight, wonder, and the authentic self was rekindled.

If you have never played with art in this manner, I recommend that you begin with simple scribbling. This seemingly infantile activity can transport your mind into a hypnotic–like relaxed and open state. When you go into this state with awareness you can program your subconscious mind with awareness–you are now reprogramming the programming. This is very different from being in the same state in your early childhood years. One is passive and the other is active.

The I Create What I Believe! (ICWIB) program, which uses simple drawing techniques to help participants uncover the subtle nuances of their feelings and emotions and transform stifling beliefs that are holding them back, is so simple that even a three-year-old can learn to release bottled-up emotions in a constructive manner.

If you are curious about the ICWIB program and want to learn more, here is the link to a radio interview Nancy Marie did with Rae Zander of The Everyday Attraction Radio Show. http://www.icreatewhatibelieve.com/media.html

If you would like to attend a hands-on workshop, Nancy Marie is teaching an  I Create What I Believe! Introductory workshop on June 22nd from 2:00-5:00 at the College of the Siskiyous. The workshop is called: Art Outside the Box! Please note the workshop description in the catalog is inaccurate. For more information about this workshop, check the events calendar on the website: http://icreatewhatibelieve.blogspot.com/

If you want more information about how pioneering teachers and individuals are helping to get this program into classrooms, check out our “Creating a better Future” project. http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/participate.html

If you have additional questions or would like to talk with Nancy Marie directly here is the contact information: http://www.icreatewhatibelieve.com/contact.html

The Merry-go-Round

At times life reminds me of the merry-go-round I used to play on when I was a child.  Holding onto the bars we would run and push the merry-go-round around and around and when we couldn’t run any faster we would leap on for a fun-filled ride. If you sat on the outside edge, it would feel like you were going to be thrown off and flung into the stratosphere. The intensity of these days feels vaguely familiar.

Sometimes I find myself squealing with joy from the thrill of it all––just like when I was sitting on the merry-go-round. Other times I am racked with terror. Though when I step back and ponder this whole situation, I am aware of a deep instinctual part of me that is silently creeping toward the center of the merry-go-round of life, or my own center for that matter, because I find it is easier to remain clear and enjoy the ride in the center.

I use the I Create What I Believe! (ICWIB) activities daily to remove stress from my life, and keep myself in the center of the merry-go-round, instead of being flung off into oblivion. If you would like to know more about the ICWIB program, or have pressing questions on how to adapt these tools for a certain situation I am offering a FREE teleconference next Thursday April 21st from 6:00-7:00 PST.

Next Thursday’s teleconference is the second in a series of 4 that are designed by the participants. To facilitate this process I ask all participants to e-mail me questions they have about the program or provide information about the situation they are currently wrestling with that they think this program might help by April 20th.  This will give me a chance to review all questions and structure my presentation to accommodate the interests and concerns of the group more effectively. Please send your questions to info@innereyepublishing.com and in the subject line put APRIL 21ST TELECONFERENCE QUESTIONS.

I look forward to talking with all of you on April 21st.

Nancy Marie

Intrinsic Motivators for Learning

According to Daniel Pink, author of The Whole New Mind, when there is a simple set of rules and a clear desired outcome, then the old rewards and punishment approach to business works. This is because a reward system can help narrow the focus; unfortunately this approach also dulls thinking, limits our possibilities, and blocks creativity. I feel the same is true in education.  Pink has also noted that our new global economy has created a huge demand for creative and out of the box thinkers, while many of our schools are still mired in the rewards and punishment approach to education.

So what really motivates people?

Research has found that when three key elements are encouraged, performance increases. These elements are: 1) autonomy- the urge to direct our own lives; 2) mastery- the desire to get better and better at something that matters; and 3) purpose- the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.? ?Unfortunately numerous teachers are now seeing that many students, because of the old “carrot and stick” approach to education have lost touch with their intrinsic motivators—autonomy, mastery, and purpose and are caught in the trap of “ having the right answer” instead of learning how to think for themselves.

Is there a way to move quickly and effectively from the old approach to a more appropriate approach for this time in history?

After hearing scores of enthusiastic responses about how the I Create What I Believe! (ICWIB) program helps students reconnect with their intrinsic motivators and seeing the results of the pilot study last year, I decided that I needed to get this program into the hands of as many teachers as possible. From my perspective, any teacher who is interested in implementing this program into his or her classroom should have it–regardless of the time or money they are able to invest in training. http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/participate.html

With the help of many great hearts and minds this dream is now a reality!

We have created a user-friendly and stand-alone professional training kit for educators–– the new I Create What I Believe! Deluxe Teacher’s Edition kit.  This comprehensive kit enables teachers to learn and implement the program without the time or money constraints of extensive training. To accomplish this we are creating two additional DVDs (an Activity Tutorial and an Instructional Guide) to provide teachers with hands-on training of the exploratory activities and pivotal science behind this program that is normally only taught in multiple day workshops.  To view DVD trailers: (http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/icwibprokit.html)

To help fund the engineering of the Activity Tutorial and Instructional Guide DVDs, we are offering a pre-production sale of the new ICWIB Deluxe Teacher’s Edition Kit. The pre-production sale price for the ICWIB Deluxe Teacher’s Edition Kit is $160–a $40 savings off the regular price of $200. The training tools are also organized so that one teacher or multiple teachers can use a single kit. The Siskiyou Arts Council is serving as our fiscal sponsor, which means that all purchased kits and donations are tax deductible. (For more details: (http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/participate.html)

To further assist teachers we are also offering a “sponsor a teacher” program. If a teacher is interested in using this program in his or her classroom, but lacks the funds to purchase a kit they can request a free sponsored kit. (http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/participateteachers.html)

If you would like to help bring the ICWIB program into classrooms across the country, here are some options on how to get involved: http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/participatenetwork.html

If you would like to view a Daniel Pink’s video about what motivates us: http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=1825

If you would like to learn more about the ICWIB program: http://icreatewhatibelieve.com

I welcome your participation and support in any manner that is relevant to your life and work, because I have seen these tools can make a significant difference in children’s lives–– especially those with learning and behavioral challenges!

Sparking the Creative Mind

Sciences have indicated that humor or a state of joy helps the creative problem-solving mind work more effectively.

“…In a recent study, researchers at Northwestern University found that people were more likely to solve word puzzles with sudden insight when they were amused, having just seen a short comedy routine…”

“…In their humor study, Dr. Beeman and Dr. Subramaniam had college students solve word-association puzzles after watching a short video of a stand-up routine by Robin Williams. The students solved more of the puzzles over all, and significantly more by sudden insight, compared with when they’d seen a scary or boring video beforehand…”

Why is this information significant for parents and educators?

Our youth face a very different world then we did when we were their age. According to Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, the most important skills a child needs at this time in history is a highly developed problem-solving mind, and a fearless ability to communicate their ideas, observations and insights.

Accomplishing this may seem like a simple task, but in a linear and “right answer” dominated culture it can be a hard situation to create and implement. This is one of the reasons why I created the I Create What I Believe! program.

After working with many children, both in and outside the classroom I discovered that many of the learning problems stemmed from: students not understanding how their own mind worked, a loss of joy in the learning process and a resulting inability to engage deeply with subject matter. We have become so “data directed” and “answer oriented” that students rarely have an opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the “art of learning” and yet we live in a time where the solutions of yesterday no longer serve tomorrow.

This approach to learning can’t be taught within a linear model, instead we need to roll back the clock and encourage children to learn naturally in the same manner they did when they are very, very young. The key is exploring, and discovering with a lot of trial and error. Ultimately it is our willingness to make mistakes, and then learn from those mistakes that helps us excel.

Many years ago I saw Norman Lear, very famous sitcom writer, being interviewed by Johnny Carson. Mr. Carson asked Mr. Lear what was the key to his outrageous success. The writer responded without hesitation, “…I get so excited whenever I make a mistake…”.   The audience broke into laughter and I thought Johnny Carson was going to fall off his chair he was so startled, but Norman, not missing a beat, continued “…because I know I am going to learn something new and this is very exciting to me.”

To develop the conscious problem-solving mind we need to provide novel activities that engage, delight, work and expand this part of the mind. Many teachers and parents approach learning in this manner instinctively, but for those who are a little unsure of the process the activity needs to ignite and engage the student and have no right or wrong solution. This approach enables the young mind to expand any direction in an unencumbered and fearless manner. Remember the young mind craves novelty, and wants to be acknowledged as having something valuable to contribute.

If we can spark insight, and infuse the young minds of today with the joy of learning they will be better equipped for the unknown and changeable future. This fearless agility and willingness to discover new solutions to age-old problems will also spur self-confidence and help them navigate all of the challenges they will face throughout their life.

For more information about the I Create What I Believe! program view our website: http://www.icreatewhatibelieve.com/