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I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Living Audaciously

Living Audaciously

I was a fearful child. Once, I spilled ink from my refillable ink pen on a 50 zloty banknote and thought I ruined it. I remember the green face of general Swierczewski turning dark violet. Money was tight in the communist Poland of my youth. I was afraid.

I was scared my mom will yell at me for being so irresponsible. Perhaps, I would have gotten a spanking. I don't know.

I still get flooded with adrenaline to the point I shake sometimes. It's always allowed me to focus, but I never liked the feeling. We call it "fight or flight," but I didn't know it then.

I always ran away from a fight. Avoided conflict. Blended in. Never stuck my head out of the sand. I took the safer route.

I was successful, but unfulfilled.

Unsure. Incomplete. Lost.  

And then something happened. I cannot put my finger on any one thing that caused it.

I decided to run in the direction the danger was coming from. And the funny thing is, that whether I'm running toward or away from risk, my body experiences the same reactions. My mind experiences the same emotions. The end result is the only thing that's different. And it makes all the difference.

I feel alive. Vibrant. Relevant. Happy.

Sometimes, I experience bliss.

I went out for a run recently and the beauty of all things struck me, and I was filled with this feeling of utmost happiness, and tears collected in the corners of my eyes, and I was overcome with bliss. I think that's what that was.

Don't ask. I can't explain. I don't want to rationalize. I just want to experience.

Life is not made up of stuff. It is made up of experiences.

So I choose to run away from safety, through fear and angst, and toward danger to experience happiness, because I found out that safety is dangerous, fear is an illusion, and happiness is bliss.

My body and ancient mind are programmed to do the exact opposite. But that just won't do.

Many students run away from danger. They don't take enough risks. This prevents them from learning and experiencing life to the fullest. We need to help them realize that most fears live only in our minds. When we face them, we become free. We need to teach them to live audaciously. But we must live audaciously ourselves first, because we can't teach what we don't know.

Oskar

You have the power to change the world. Use it often.