Happy New Year 2023!
Hey Middle School and High School Students!
Yes, this is another random handout your teacher is giving you about goal setting. You’ll probably get this at the start of January 2023.
Actually, you might get this later on in the year, depending on when your teacher found this free resource. Check to see if the word January has been scratched out with a different month.
Let’s be honest. Is there anything magical about the New Year? It’s just an arbitrary date when some people choose to make resolutions. It’s not like we can’t start goals any time we want.
This worksheet is supposed to motivate you or something.
You’re expected to read this and then all of a sudden feel so inspired that your life will become all sunshine and roses. Unicorns will prance, birds will sing, and all of the world’s problems will be solved in one fell swoop. No more global warming. No more bullies. No more homework! You can just stay in bed all day and play on your devices! Life is good!
If you’re lucky, maybe there will be a motivational quote somewhere in here by someone famous. Maybe Einstein. You can put anything besides a picture of that guy to add credibility. I mean, if he said it (or at least if someone says Einstein said it,) then it must be true.
No, Einstein is too brainy for this kind of thing. We need someone a little brighter and warmer. (See what I did there?) What about that person who plays Anna in Frozen? What’s her name? Kristen Bell? Yeah, we should have a quote from her somewhere in here to motivate us. She’s always smiling. Her life must be so easy!
The reality is that reading one single handout isn’t going to change your life. Making a New Year’s Resolution won’t make a difference. Wanting to be an NBA player, famous influencer, professional video game player, or celebrity doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
(Uh-oh. This sounds dangerously motivational. Don’t worry, it’s not.)
You’re going to be average.
(See? No sneaky pep talk in here. It’s all good – nothing to be suspicious about. Keep reading, or at least pretend to read, so you don’t get in trouble. Stay under the radar, and everything will be alright.)
You’re going to have an average life.
You’ll do what everyone else does. You’ll want things that other people on social media have. Or, you’ll buy the stuff you want but can’t afford, go horribly into debt, and get trapped in a cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
Don’t worry. You’ll be able to flex now and then on social media, so it’s all good. You’ll post smiling pictures of you on vacation and having fun because you’re not going to post pictures when life gets tough. Duh. This is just the way it is. Be average. Don’t change a thing.
How do I know you’re going to be average? Because statistically speaking, most people are average (or in the middle.) Otherwise, it wouldn’t be the middle.
Besides, it’s safer to be in the middle. That way, people won’t make fun of you. After all, that kid in class always points out when you make a mistake. And, for some reason, the negative things can seem so much bigger than the positive stuff, so it’s better not to try.
(The reality, of course, is that haters gonna hate, regardless of where you stand in the line. Apparently, the way to win is to find a way to genuinely enjoy life being your authentic self – but that’s easier said than done.)
Don’t ask questions. Laugh at the same jokes as everyone else. Don’t admit that you secretly like Paw Patrol. (I mean, it’s funny for a kid’s show, but don’t admit that.)
Yup, you should be average. Just keep trusting everything you read. It’ll be okay. It’s written on a handout you got at school, so it must be true.
Wait… Now, this letter almost seems anti-motivational. Are we in a multiverse here? What is this? There must be something positive in here; otherwise, the teacher would never have given this to you.
(Unless your teacher just found this beside the school photocopier, saw the title, and photocopied a class set without fully reading it. I mean, if another teacher used this, it must be okay. Let’s do what everyone else does. There’s safety in numbers. Stay in the herd. Be proud to be a sheep. The nail that sticks out gets hammered.)
I’m just being real. I mean, honestly, do you disagree? Have I said anything that isn’t true?
There’s nothing wrong with being average. By definition, most people have to be. I’m average in most areas of my life. I’m pretty ordinary in most ways, and I’m okay with that. But, I do try to be extra ordinary when I go after my goals. That’s what extraordinary means – to go beyond the ordinary.
My name is Mike Fuchigami.
I used to teach Grade 8 in Ottawa, Canada, but then life happened, and I don’t do that anymore. Now, I spend my time figuring out how to help people turn the worst moment of their lives into the best moment.
I still teach, just not in a classroom right now. I’m rewriting my story as a content creator. I create resources to help teachers empower students to pivot in a changing world. I also coach teacherpreneurs on their journeys toward personal development and financial freedom.
But that doesn’t matter.
You don’t know me. And I don’t know you.
I don’t know who you are or what you’re going through. I don’t know how easy or tough your life is. I don’t know what your family is like. I don’t know what you want or who you want to be secretly, deep down inside.
I probably don’t look like you; we’re definitely not the same age. I might not talk the way you talk. I’m not from your community. I don’t know anything about you. How could I possibly say something that might catch your attention long enough to get you to reflect on your actions?
(I can’t change your life. I can only say something that might shift what you do. That’ll last for a second before you’re distracted by… squirrel!)
I don’t know you. But here’s what I do know.
There are eight billion people in the world. Somewhere out there, there’s someone that you can relate to who has done what you are trying to do.
I don’t know how to help you escape poverty. But I wonder if someone in your community or a similar community has done it? How did they do it? Is that something you can do? Maybe, maybe not. If it is, then use their story as a blueprint. If it’s not, find a different story.
I don’t know how to help you become a millionaire. But is there someone who has done it that you can learn from? Obviously, be careful of internet gurus and text message promises. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Critical thinking is important. Don’t get scammed. But, once you find high-quality information, what can we learn from people who got there before us?
I don’t know how to help you become a better student. But is there someone similar to you who has done it? If not in your class, what about a different class? What about someone in another city? How did they crack the code to success? Are there strategies that might work in your situation? Why or why not?
I don’t know how to help you get through the worst moment of your life. Maybe that moment has already happened. Maybe it’s going to happen in the future. Who knows! Not me.
The only thing I know about is me, and I’m still learning about myself. What I like; what I don’t like. What works for me as a learner; what doesn’t. How I manage my actions; what upsets me.
I know how I’m working through the worst moment of my life (so far.) That’s by reminding myself that 1) I’m not alone, and 2) I’m pretty good at learning and figuring out stuff along the way.
There are billions of other people on this planet. Someone else has gotten through a similar situation, and if they could do it, then it’s proof that it can be done. I just need to learn from their story and see what I can adapt in my life.
Being able to learn is like a superhero power where you can absorb other powers to become stronger and more resilient.
Maybe you can do the same.
Find someone in a similar situation and see how they did it. This person might be sitting right next to you. Or, they might be in a different part of the world. You don’t have to meet them in person or chat with them one-on-one. Many people share their stories and experiences in books, videos, and online. Can you be open to the idea that you can learn something from anyone? Even your nemesis?
Are you feeling tricked? Is this anti-motivational speech actually motivational? Don’t worry; it’s not. If you think I’ll end on a positive note, you’re sadly mistaken. I’m going to end with the truth. Whether that’s positive and inspirational depends entirely on you.
The reality is that most of you, even after reading this letter, will remain average.
Think about how much time you spend watching traditional TV, streaming media, or social media. How many minutes do you spend per day? Then check the “screen time” on your phone.
The average person around the world apparently spends around 7.5 hours per day consuming media. If you want great results in life, you can’t do what everyone else does. How could you create your own results instead of passively sitting there consuming TikTok videos?
There’s an idea floating around that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Who do you spend the most time with? Are they moving in the direction you want to head towards? If not, then find autobiographies, podcasts, and interviews to surround yourself with stories from people who have done what you want to do. Learn how they did it.
But information alone is not enough.
Otherwise, we would all be fit and rich. The average person isn’t willing to put in the consistent work required to achieve greatness. The grind is real.
If you want to be the next Scarlet Witch, find out how Elizabeth Olsen got there. If you want to be the next Kobe Bryant, find out what his work ethic was like. If you want to be average (or even if you don’t want to be average, this is the default position,) do what everyone else does.
Prove me wrong.
SEOT.ca – Get Better: Strategies, Effort, Optimize, Tinker
PS Here’s a quote from Kristen Bell talking about her role as “Anna”:
The second song was incredibly significant to me because it’s called “Do The Next Right Thing,” and that’s actually a mantra that I have with my life when I am anxiety-riddled or get depressed… The only thing you can do is the next right thing – and it’s baby steps for anyone who’s experienced a hardship or trauma or is flat on the floor and feels they can’t pick themselves back up… just do the next right thing. Sometimes that’s just get out of bed, just put your clothes on, just brush your teeth. You only have to do one thing in that moment and it’s sung when Anna is at her absolute lowest. It’s a really sad dark moment of the film and she is reminded of this mantra that will get her back to eventually save the day.Source: Frozen 2: Kristen Bell Behind the Scenes Movie Interview | ScreenSlam – YouTube video
PPS The attached goal-setting handouts are for you to help you go beyond average.
PPPS The attached questions are for your teacher. It’s a chance to demonstrate what you understand from reading this text. (Sorry, I mean, this handout is a school thing. You knew this was coming.)
Reading Comprehension Questions
Question 1. According to this article, what does “average” mean? [RECALL]
Question 2. The author writes, “You’re going to be average,” but does the author actually want you to be average? Explain your thinking. [UNDERSTAND]
Question 3. How could you prove the author wrong? Use evidence from the text combined with your own ideas to come up with a game plan to prove the author wrong. [APPLY]
Question 4. Some people might think this is a motivational text. Other people might think this is anti-motivational. Fill out a Venn diagram to compare and contrast motivational and discouraging elements of this article. Use information from this article and your own ideas to identify how people might interpret the article. [ANALYZE]
Question 5. How effective is this article at motivating “Middle School and High School students”? Use evidence from the text and your own thinking to support your answer. [EVALUATE]
Question 6. Create a better way to motivate Middle School and High School students than this article. (A better way would incorporate the best aspects of this letter and improve upon problem areas that you identified in Questions #4 and #5.) Explain why this is a better way. Identify any potential problems or concerns raised by this new approach. [CREATE]
Critical Thinking – Point of View / Media Literacy Questions
PRO TIP: Although it might look like questions #7, #8, and #9 all have the same answer, go beyond the first idea you come up with. Different people have different goals and points of view.
Question 7. What is the point of this letter? What makes you say that?
Question 8. What do you think was the teacher’s point in giving this letter to you? (I mean, your teacher didn’t have to hand this letter to you. They could have just used the handouts.)
Question 9. What do you think was the author’s intent in writing this letter? Support your idea with evidence from the text combined with your understanding of the world.
Question 10. How might the author benefit if the message in this letter is accepted? How might the teacher benefit? How might you benefit?
Question 11. Who is at a disadvantage or loses out if the message in this letter is accepted? What makes you say that?
Question 12. Think about what your teacher (Question 8) or the author (Question 9) was trying to do with this letter. How effective was this letter in achieving that goal? Explain your thinking.
Question 13. Create a more effective way for either the teacher (Question 8) or the author (Question 9) to achieve their goals. Explain why this is a better way. Identify any potential problems or concerns raised by this new approach.