Home > Current issues in Education > Learning to live with a positive approach to life


By G. Balasubramanian

Over the Centuries, a number of objectives were laid down for education. All of them were absolutely contextual, the design of time and space chiseled by history and geography, politics and pragmatism. History is evidence to the fact that education remained one of the most manipulated instruments of any society, because the rulers of all times and all geographies, were keen to sustain their absolute power in one form or the other, be it political, religious or economic. Many of them considered education enabling ‘freedom to learn’ was perilous to their survival and growth; hence ushered into its roots a sense of fear, a sense of purposelessness, a sense of challenge which made most learners yield to a sense of self-doubt and self-defeatism, low self-esteem and ushered into the psyche of the individual a flair for negativity. Promotion of loyalties to individuals and dynasties were cultured through ‘fake heroism’ which has grown manifold with basic wings of ‘freedom to think’ clipped. The emergence of structural institutional architecture that facilitated linear thinking helped in promoting social mediocrity in preference to individual excellence. Such institutional architectures helped in sustenance of political lineage, dynastic loyalties and selective celebration of excellence ushering an unwanted competition that nursed pseudo-education, negative growth and annihilation of positivity from the minds of a community that was celebrating the horizons of learning in its manifold display of perceptions.

Mutilated and modulated learning, unhealthy competitions, fake identities, myopic achievement syndromes promoted unhealthy minds living and consuming negativities as gifts of consumerist philosophies founded on economic structures that were feeding on money rather than wealth. We have come too far and it is difficult to rehabilitate ourselves to a mindset of yester years. Neither it serves a purpose nor it is possible. Given the scientific and technological impact that defines the speed, scale and style of emerging societies, it is important to find simple ways of tutoring our future generations to some basic foundations of positivism through education.

1. Understand your Uniqueness

Every species and every organism are unique. Physically, physiologically, emotionally, intellectually and in all other dimensions, the creation has been finding its own joy through manifestation of this uniqueness in the universe. Unless every individual understands and appreciates this uniqueness, the urge to be in harmony with the immediate resources and to see its own meaning of life in an existential environment will be hampered. Harmony doesn’t either lie in duplication or replication. Educational systems should stop artificial yardsticks and parameters of standardizing people, their knowledge, their skills and their aspirations through non-comparable instruments of measurement.

2. Celebrate perceptions

Though organically brain is the same for all living humans, its method of assimilation of data, information, knowledge and its style of making meaning from all of the above is impacted by perceptions. Such perceptions could be either an outreach from previous knowledge or an outcome of socio-political, geo-economic or cultural considerations. Studies in brain sciences has demonstrated beyond doubt, the innumerable perceptions that the mind could create about a given piece of information, oftentimes such perceptions could be influenced by the individual’s emotional content and its dimensions. It is important to let the learners pursue their perceptions, experience, judge and make meanings or decisions out of them. This would give them immense sense of self-confidence and a sense of purpose in their own existence and thought power.

3. Redefine your achievements

Artificial achievement syndromes have been built in the educational edifice to suit the convenience of those who want to engage, subordinate, use, abuse or enslave the intellectual power and vibrance of the individual. Aptitudinal diversities, preferential emotional engagements and differential creative urges drive an individual to pursue and practice different domains of knowledge at varying levels. Hence it would be insane to view, review or judge learners through achievement syndromes. Achievement should be defined by the self and celebrated by the self- not others. This would help learners to view others also from a positive perspective instead of behaving as a self-proclaimed judge.

4. Nurture Emotional intelligence

Emotions are the natural springs of a human mind. Their origin is influenced by several inputs like Harmons, psychological development, physiological strengths and inadequacies or social impacts. Emotions could be responses, reactions or may manifest in several other forms. Expression of emotions is natural, but the ways of expression need to be articulated through mentoring, facilitating, helping, understanding and other appropriate means. The scale and speed of expression of emotions is indeed an issue as it can impact both the other individuals or an entire community. Their representation through any aggressive mode has to be moderated through counselling and education. Exercises in diffusion of violence and anger has to be inducted as a part of continuous learning experience.

5. Accept people and events as they are

Acceptance is a great virtue. It doesn’t either suggest or indicate any compromise. It is an expression of a matured mind rooted in positivity. It only shows that the individual is not defeated and is willing to see the reality in its proper perspective. It is an expression of a deep understanding of the way things happen and possibly a magic performed by nature, human or divine, which was not predictable. It empowers the individual to a positive way of life and in seeking calm in a storm. It is a self-counseling exercise of the individual to come to a ground state from an excited state. It helps in seeing positivity all around the self in the cosmic exuberance.

6. Uphold Ethics at all times

Ethics is fundamental to any peaceful living. Unethical practices are injurious both to the self and the society. Unethical practices are a way of challenging social consciousness to celebrate one’s own ego. They are expressions of a self-defeating mind that lacks faith. They are driven by shaky belief systems showing absence of strong educational values. Ethics is practice of truth and acceptance of a social order for a larger purpose. It is a sacrifice of compulsive personal desires and aspirations for a better well being in a cohort. It is an engagement with a law undefined. It is a communication with the spirit or the nature to reassure them that we are not injurious to contemporary creations. Educating ethics is fundamental to any institution that intends to be a harbinger of peace.

7. Be resilient

Growth is never linear nor should it be. It is an exercise of inclusivity of complexity of an existence in a capsulated life system. Hence, it brings with it a number of challenges to be faced in its path. Every growing organism has to engage with this arduous path to discover its own and uniqueness. The journey on this path is very romantic and engaging to a few people; for others it becomes scary, traumatic and disengaging. They drop down their own persona and hide their original instincts in shells. Caricatured as symbols of failure, such individuals lose their meaning to life and existence. Education has to help such people in resilience. Such individuals should be able to get up and move through newer paths for enlightenment, engagement and reward. They need to understand that “There is no end to life; there are only bends.” The instruments of education should help the learner with the knowledge and skills of resilience.

8. Use the power of humor

“Laugh it off” is a proverbial saying. The power of laughter is unique to human organisms. It is a state of emotion that encompasses in it several others. Humor is a way of communicating acceptance, a way of transcending sorrows and pains, a power of connecting to other people harmoniously, a method of diffusing stresses personal or interpersonal. It helps the mind to relieve itself from the trauma of the past or the fear of the future. It helps to break the ego systems and to bring the individual to the ground state of happy living. It is self-prescription for moving out of a state of helplessness, self-pity, self-contempt or depression. It helps to recall our lost energy systems back to work harmoniously with our intents. It is a nutrient to positive living. Pedagogical systems should be designed to celebrate humor as a way of creating bridges between people.

9. Engage with your power of Love

Love is a unique power that has the magic of bringing transformations. In its different manifestations, it plays its role differently. Love helps to create bonds that are unique yet not fragile, bonds that transgress all defined structures as its fragrance permeate into the roots of the structures. Love is a message that expresses undefined belongingness between people for neither a season nor with a reason. When soaked in compassion, love reaches out to people as a message of the divine, to construct, to reconstruct, to heal, to reform, to empower people and systems that are either unusual or unimagined. Love is an expression of the humility of the divine manifesting through the human. The most powerful force for a positive living, love, is expression of intents which could not be articulated in words.

10. Service and compassion be your virtue

It is said that “Hands that help is holier than the lips that pray.” The world has a large number of people who are oppressed, suppressed, exploited, abused and sick. There are a number of people who don’t have even the basics of life; hence they are always looking for someone who can offer a helping hand. Serving the oppressed, weak, downtrodden and have-nots. Is a real service to humanity. It is fulfilment of a larger purpose of life and attempt to establish some equality among ourselves. Service is an expression of empathy and a little more. compassion to those who belong to our breed. Reaching out to such people is an expression of our positive approach to the science and logic of the purpose of life.

Positive Living is a celebration of life that helps one to embrace the entire humanity. It elevates and enlarges the idea of the Self and powers the self to dissolve itself in the panorama of the biological dance of Nature. In a world haunted by severe crisis in human values and cutting-edge competitions, education in positive approaches to life is an ever-increasing need.

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