Thursday, June 07, 2007


World Class Thinking

I recently read a book that has been on my list of must reads for quite some time. It contained no instructional strategies, no technical know-how, and no educational resources. While it is not a book that is considered to be an education-related book, I quickly became aware how the ideas presented in the book could be used to bring about change in education. I saw similarities to Ruby Payne's work toward closing the achievement gap and the model for adoption and diffusion of innovations of Everett Rogers.

The book is entitled "177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class: The Thought Processes, Habits, and Philosophies of the Great Ones" and was written by Steve Siebold. Siebold's premise is that the underlying cause of problems is how one thinks, therefore if you improve the cause (thinking) the effect (problem) takes care of itself. One of the greats that he quotes is Albert Einstein who said, "A problem can not be solved at the level of consciousness in which it occurs." Siebold describes the 5 major levels of consciousness or awareness: poverty-class, working-class, middle-class, upper class and world class. He details the differences in the ways those at each level of awareness think and act. While there is an implied parallel between income level and and the conciousness level, it is important to note that you can be a middle class wage earner but think like the world class.

As I reflect on the 26 years I spent in public education, I realize that most public education institutions are functioning at the middle and upper class levels of awareness. This mindset clearly contributes to slowing the process of change that must take place in order to improve our schools.

As I was reading, I pondered this question: How can aligning the mindset of key stakeholders with the mindset of the world class improve our schools? I recorded the ideas that relate to education and the process of change. I then arranged those ideas into a spectrum. The intent is that the spectrum will help educators gauge their thinking and actions. The closer that thoughts and actions of key stakeholders are aligned with those of the world class, the better our schools and educational institutions will become. As we strive to improve our schools and prepare our students for the future, perhaps the best place to start is with our thoughts and actions. We live in a global society. Isn't it time for more world-class thinking?

You can download the spectrum, a work in progress, from:

If the ideas presented in the spectrum spark an interest, I highly recommend that you read the entire book.


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