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Does your brain lie to you? (6 lessons for students)

Recently I had the opportunity to spend 45 minutes addressing the 10th and 11th grade students at Estill County High School in Irvine, Kentucky. The topic of my address was Does Your Brain Lie to You (and do you believe it)? I thought that some of the ideas from that address might be ideas that teachers could share in their classrooms with students of all ages. While I did this in one day, I would recommend addressing each of the numbered items below on separate days.

1. Blindfolds
We started by watching the following video clip from the movie Facing the Giants:

After watching this clip, I asked the students the following question:

Why did the coach blindfold the football player?

The answer is because the player's brain was going to lie to him. His brain was going to tell him that he could not accomplish the task. His brain was going to limit him. He had to blind himself to the lies that he would see and then believe. Otherwise he would never accomplish his best.
If you share this clip with your students I would recommend asking them the same question. Take time to talk to them about the fact they were each created for a purpose. They were each created for success, but they will each be faced with lies along the way that will stand in their way - IF they choose to believe the lies.
2. Success
The next thing we did was discuss what the word success means. I would recommend asking your students what the word success means to them. After they share their ideas, share with them John Wooden's definition:

"Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."

Ask them who can be a success based on this definition. The answer is that anyone can. So we are all created for success. We are all created to do our best to become our best. It's not about who's the richest or smartest or best looking. You are judged against yourself - no one else.
Remind them again about the lies motif - they will be faced with lies that will prevent them from being a success. They must choose to blindfold themselves.
3. Lie #1 - The Moment

Share the following quote with your students and ask them to react to it:

The reason most people fail instead of succeed is that they trade in what they want most for what they want at the moment.

Our young people are lied to and told that the future doesn't matter - live for the moment. As a result they trade what they want the most - the type of success Wooden describes - for what they want at the moment. Even if the momentary things are good things, it's a poor trade. Blindfold yourself to the lie. Focus on the big picture - on the future - on what you want most.
4. Lie #2 - Chance Not Choice

Life is all about choices. However, our brains listen to the world and then lie to us. They will tell us that due to the CHANCES of our birth - our last names, our parents, our street address, etc. - we cannot have success. This is a lie. While CHANCE will impact us, CHOICE - our own personal choices - is most important.
To illustrate this point I played the following video clip:
After sharing this video clip, share with them the following quote from the video clip:
...You are my son, but you are not my choices. Yes, we are our father's sons and daughters, but we are not their choices...

Make sure they get that point. We are OUR OWN choices! Do not believe the lies. Blindfold yourself to the idea that CHANCE is more important than CHOICE.
5. Lie #3 - Life is too hard

Our brains will believe the lie that life is just too hard. If we don't properly blindfold ourselves, we will end up believing that there are things we cannot overcome. To illustrate the point that you can overcome anything, share the following video clip with your students:
It won't take a lot of explaining for your students to understand why you shared that video. There is nothing you cannot overcome if you blind yourself to the lies and move on toward becoming the best you can be.
6. The Pyramid of Success

Now that you have got kids in your classroom thinking about success and thinking about blinding themselves to things that get in the way, it's time to start talking about a plan for success. Go back to John Wooden. Introduce them to his Pyramid of Success. Here are several ideas Ray Moore has shared for teaching the Pyramid of Success in your classroom:

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Comment by Tracy Wood on September 8, 2015 at 4:01pm

Yes!  Thank you!

Comment by Scott Habeeb on September 8, 2015 at 2:23pm

Tracy - see if they show up now?  They all work on my computer(s).  I had to fix the first.

Comment by Tracy Wood on September 8, 2015 at 1:44pm

The videos are not showing up for me.  Do you know how to access them?  

Great lesson! Thank you!


Comment by stephen owen kitchen on January 29, 2014 at 9:20am

Very nice,  it is human nature for a vast majority of individuals, both young and old , not to strive for success due to the fact that they fear success. With success comes failure, you need to be able to deal with the failures in order to achieve the success that follows.

Comment by Scott Habeeb on May 17, 2010 at 3:41pm
Glad you enjoyed it, Lisa-Marie!
Comment by Lisa-Marie Charland Johnson on May 17, 2010 at 1:04pm

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