This is Part 1 in a four part series detailing how students can live an EPIC life following the principles of studying, learning and living at Epic-Mentoring.
Traditionally, an epic is a long poem recounting the adventures of a legendary hero. Today, epic has become slang for something outsized, awesome or amazing. As an adjective, it pulls from its ancient foundations to make a modern description have even more power.
At Epic Mentoring, to live an epic life, means to both honor the virtues of past heroes implied in the old word into your life while simultaneously trying to live your life in an adventurous, inspiring way.
The first step in becoming an EPIC student is through Engagement. With an outdated education system and a record gap between the rich and the poor it’s no wonder many of today’s teens are starting to ask themselves, “What’s the point?”
Which is precisely why engagement is so crucial.Students must learn that by doing more, they will naturally become more. Engaging with the world around you will make you more likely to be a positive player in it.
The goal of education should be positive engagement. Its highest virtue to push society forward, or as the educational reformist Horace Mann once said, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”
If this were to be pledged by students across the country, perhaps a new level of communal civic progress could be attained but the reach of Epic Mentoring starts with one teen. And engagement can mean many things in today’s world.
I implore my students to investigate interests and sign up for unlikely activities. Whether it is taking a photography class with no camera or experience, to joining a car club where you don’t know anyone. These small steps of engagement will lead to overcoming the hesitation of starting and the fear of the unknown.
These acts alone are not the “victory for humanity” that Horace Mann was talking about. However, they are the necessary first steps towards any meaningful progress.
To live an epic life, you must be engaged in what the world has to offer. So how exactly should one engage?
5 Step Guide to Engaging
Develop PresenceWe all understand the concept of presence but rarely live it. It could be called a state of flow or mindfulness but whichever label is placed upon it, at its heart is an acceptance and acknowledgement of the present moment. This sounds really simple, but simple is not easy. We have become so conditioned to inputs that we rarely are left alone with our own thoughts. Instead of racing from one thing to the next, take a moment to acknowledge where you are, what you are feeling, and all the autonomous processes (like breathing) that are occurring. This can be as simple as ten quiet breaths when you feel overwhelmed or developing a meditative practice with the help of a free app like Calm.
Become a Better ListenerBecoming a better listener will help you out for the rest of your life. Your relationships will be richer, your friendships stronger and your school/work-life smoother. To become a better listener, like developing presence, it is important to remove inputs. If you are talking to a friend who is texting on their phone, you feel their lack of attention. They are hearing you only on the most superficial level. The same applies to you, no matter how well you believe you can multitask. Engage with the person you are talking to and remove any input that could distract you (whether it is an open browser, phone or television). This simple act of creating the right space to talk will help you to become a better listener.
Tap Into your CreativityDid you know that you are creative? Everyone is. It just manifests itself in different ways. Some people can draw, paint or dance. The traditional manifestations of the muse, however creativity can shine through in the way your organize your closet or plan a party with friends. Expand your definition of creativity and tap into the well on a regular basis. It will help you learn how to engage with the world in the most meaningful way
Do Good Things for Good Things SakeWe have been conditioned to seek rewards. From gold stars in elementary school to an A+ in high school. This creates a habit of only doing good when it counts for something. However, think about when someone has done something nice for you, expecting nothing in return. Those are the most meaningful acts of kindness and an honest way to engage in the world. Habits can be broken. Pick up trash you see in your school hallway. Help a parent around the house or a sibling with homework expecting nothing in return. In a small way, you are winning a “victory for humanity”.
Learn the Value of DoingRalph Waldo Emerson once said, “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” Reading and watching are important parts of learning and engaging but pale in comparison to getting out there and doing things. Students instinctively know this, as they will always learn more efficiently through action than passive understanding. To become EPIC, learn the value of doing and engage with the world around you.
What if your kid could get great grades without being overly stressed-out all the time? What if they could learn to stop cramming and learn for more than just tomorrow's test? What if, instead of just wishing they would stop procrastinating, you could actually teach them how? Get access to these solutions in our free email mini-course filled with actionable, easy-to-implement tips to help your stressed out teen learn more effectively so they have time to do the things they truly love. Sign up for FREE at Epic-Mentoring.com.