The Power Of The Same
By Steve Gahagen
In the strengths mentoring clubs we offer to local schools, we have witnessed a profound transformation in the way students see themselves as they discover and play to their strengths. The weekly clubs create active learning and team-building environments. But the staple diet in the clubs always includes a short discussion guide in which students respond to simple but challenging questions or thoughts about how they see themselves. Here are a few examples. “What are three positive words friends or family would use to describe you?” “Tell us about a recent success.” “What are you grateful for?” Every week we ask them to respond to some version of these questions.
That sounds boring and monotonous, but there is power in the same and the more students trust you, the more powerful the conversations become.
Think of children who want to play together in the summer but are separated by a field with high grass. In June, the walk between the two houses is difficult and slow - the grass is high and they have to find the best way. But by the end of summer the path is worn and easy to follow.
Every thought we think, every act we perform, and especially every habit we adopt and develop creates pathways in our brains. That’s why a habit is what it is: something that, initially difficult or even impossible (think of learning a foreign language or a musical instrument), gradually becomes, as we say, “second nature.” We suddenly realize that we have spoken a whole sentence or played a whole line of music without really thinking about it. When that happens, something has changed, neurologically, inside us.
Questions to consider
In a world in which we often use sarcasm in our conversation and are often self-critical in our thinking, navigating life in a positive, strengths-based way can become a habit. Here are a few questions you can use at the office or home to make the power of the same work for you.
What are two things you’re grateful for?
Of all the things you do well, what two things do you do the best?
What are two recent successes?
What are three positive words friends or family would use to describe you?