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At Futures Academy, we are constantly researching and sharing relevant topics that affect our students and families. We also have guest bloggers sharing their research and best practices. Read our blogs to learn more! 

Changing Your Lens: How Optimism Influences Your Reality

Jul 9, 2019

In our current world, pessimism talks to us through our news channels, social media, and even the classroom environment. Students often find themselves bogged down with negativity and consequently their self-esteem and educational success suffer. But in a positive environment, that same depressed student can flourish, even in the midst of hardship or bad grades. Why do optimism and positive thinking play such a crucial role in your teens' success, both in school and as they become active members of society?

In Shawn Achor's poignant TED talk titled "The Happiness Advantage," he delves into the way our reality is shaped, not by reality itself, but by the lens through which our brain views the world around us. When negative influences burden your student, their lens becomes more pessimistic. But if you can change that lens, you can change any educational outcome or hardship that plagues them.

One effective way to change that lens is to change the environment that surrounds them. If someone asks, "how fast can a student learn to read in the classroom," science changes that question to "how fast can the average student learn to read in the classroom" and then the classroom is tailored to that average. If your student falls below that average, they are quickly categorized as depressed or they have a disorder, or both. The focus of professionals is to then make your student normal again. However, normal is just average. What if your student was in a classroom that focused on what made them unique? If your student is above average in sports, academia, music, how they process the world around them...how would they react in an environment that saw those exceptional qualities, and instead of bringing them up to average in areas they struggle in, they brought the entire average up to where you student individually accelerates? (Shawn Achor).

Futures Academy is not your typical classroom environment. With the use of 1:1 instruction and flexible scheduling, your teen is the main focus of their personalized education. Teachers take the time to focus on their unique abilities and build-up their problem areas without damaging their self-esteem. How is this possible? "Pessimistic people tend to view problems as internal, unchangeable, and pervasive, whereas optimistic people are the opposite. Pessimism has been linked with depression, stress, and anxiety (Kamen & Seligman, 1987), whereas optimism has been shown to serve as a protective factor against depression," (Pursuit of Happiness). Essentially, by focusing on positivism in a student's learning environment, a bad grade is simply something that can be changed through some tweaking, and does not reflect on them as a person. Often in a public school environment, struggling students see their grades and challenges in direct correlation to their work ethic, their "smarts," and even their success or failure in the future, leading to low self-esteem, depression, and an "I give up" attitude. 

As your teen moves through school, they are increasingly vulnerable to positive and negative influences around them. Futures Academy surrounds your student with positive thinking, despite struggles or failures they may encounter along the way. Their education is catered to how they prefer to learn. Their teachers exemplify optimism to teach your student how to view the world around them with an optimistic lens. Campus life at Futures Academy creates positive peer-to-peer relationships in various clubs and community outreach opportunities. Visit a campus near you and discover how our mission supports cultivating an optimistic lens through which your student views their ever-developing reality.