The Amygdala Hijack
⊕ From Stress to Success ⊕
I can’t imagine a better moment in life to learn about purpose and empowerment than when we are young.
Which is why I embrace every opportunity to share the principles of positive psychology with students across Canada.
The most recent opportunity being a conference called: “You Can Do College.”
The purpose of the event was to introduce high school students to all the programs available to them when they graduate in a few years.
Showing them that if they work hard today — “They Can Do College” in the future. Whether it be as a civil engineer, a veterinary technician, a nurse, or an early childhood educator.
My job as a Motivational Speaker was to ignite their inner flame for higher learning. This is what I was born to do! 🔥
Connecting with audience members is essential for me. No matter how big or small the crowd.
Accordingly, I encouraged students to answer as many questions as they could (which they did!) as I walked and talked freely with the large crowd.
Hoping to meet as many of the 600 students as I could.
One of my favourite moments was when the young gentleman above shared his lifelong dream of becoming an engineer.
The icing on the cake was hearing about destiny from a student named Destiny.
Destiny aspires to be a cosmetologist to the stars one day. How cool is that!
We live in a world that rewards frivolous behaviour with fame and fortune, so it is no wonder that some students expect their motivation to come from the outside, in the same way that reality show contestants expect to win a million dollars, simply by “showing up”.
We start by reminding students (and ourselves) that motivation begins on the inside. We show students why external motivators will never sustain them. The overjustification effect is just one example of this fact.
Better yet, we tap into students’ own life experiences to ignite long-term commitment and motivation. Students often forget the feelings of joy and anticipation they felt when they first opened their acceptance letters to school.
In the midst of going to class, applying for OSAP, juggling family, work, and school demands, and paying bills, students often forget why they applied to their programs in the first place.
Sometimes, igniting motivation is as simple as asking students “Why?” they are at college in the first place. “Why?” exercises help students get to the heart of what motivates them, guides them, keeps them going. From early morning classes to late night study sessions to unexpected academic costs to making it through final exams.
Students are searching for something better, to change for the better, to make the world better. They want to save lives as nurses, to design hybrid cars as engineering technologists, to help children who are abused as child & youth care workers, to inspire their own children by being college educated, to be independent and self-sufficient, to do what they love, and most of all, students yearn to make a difference in this world.
Once written down, I encourage students to carry their answers (in one word, if possible) in their wallets, post them on the bathroom mirror, on their phones, in their cars, and look to their “Why?” every time they need inspiration.
Their answers remind them “Why?” they choose to study for midterms, “Why?” they choose to write research papers, “Why?” they choose to attend class rather than do something that brings instant gratification.
Intrinsic motivation can be taught in so many ways. During “Why?” Exercises, students teach me. They teach me that hope is enough to sustain us through the hard times. Hope is enough to push us through life’s challenges. And the most important lesson of all is that hope mixed with drive, self-determination, and hard work changes lives for the better.