In my many years as coach or consultant, I’ve come across just about every psychological, motivational, or educational system on the market. Intellectual ones, zen ones; some born from research, some from life experience; some from trained experts, some from random dudes on social media. All of them well-meaning, most carefully considered, and some really good.
Here’s the thing, though, absent of a specific tidbit of universal knowledge—the foundation—even the shrewdest of systems will lack effectiveness. And sadly, in schools, books, lectures, and workshops all over the world, this foundation is missing.
What is this foundation?
That no matter how much it looks otherwise, the feelings of human beings are not the result of environment, the past, the actions of others, or anything on the outside. What human beings feel comes from thought. Today, the world is trapped in the misunderstanding, or illusion, that things on the outside do cause feelings. And this misunderstanding is drastically stunting our growth.
To illustrate, there are thousands of educational “foundations” across the globe. They provide funding for schools, supplies, teachers, coaches, even nourishment. However, most actually fail at a foundational level. That is, in order to bring out their best, young people must first grasp what they’re not being taught: that their best rests within them, only. Shiny new schools are valuable. But they don’t cause resilience. Or excellence. Or love. In fact, inadvertently, these kids are being pointed outside for answers. This requires a ton of intellectual analysis and effort—jamming the mind, obstructing realization, and, as I said, stunting growth.
The bottom line is that with any structure or process, a just foundation must be the starting point. That’s why, when it comes to psychology, motivation, or education, the foundation must be the thought-feeling connection—and the potent reminder that a circumstance-feeling connection doesn’t truly exist. Without this universal knowledge (and in spite of the best efforts of many), living up to potential will continue for human beings as a complete shot in the dark.