We all know the famous Nike slogan, just do it. This slogan has been able to endure for decades because it is referencing something that is important not just to our ability to achieve a goal such as running a marathon or reaching a milestone as an athlete. Initiative, or the ability to see a problem and take action, is also part of the process of resilience.
Think about it, there are a lot of people who have great ideas. However, people who take action and put those ideas into motion are the ones who accomplish their goals. Whether these goals are career oriented, or they involve the ability to overcome a challenge one faces, cultivating the ability for your students to see a problem and take action can build up their ongoing capacity for initiative.
When I think about someone who epitomizes resiliency and whose story highlights the importance of initiative, Anthony Robles comes to mind. Anthony was born with one leg and admits that at times, he struggled to deal with this reality in his childhood. However, he reached an important turning point in his childhood when he fell in love with wrestling.
Anthony tried out for the wrestling team in high school and decided he would do all he could to become the best. He went from being last in the city to finishing his junior and senior years at Mesa High School with a 96-0 record, becoming a high school National Champion. He then moved onto the wrestling team at ASU and became a two-time Arizona State Champion. In 2012, Anthony was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
I can’t think of a better example of how initiative as evidenced by hard work and diligence led to incredible success. Anthony has accomplished a great deal professionally and personally. He is someone who takes action and that initiative and success started back in middle school, a pathway that his teachers and coaches helped put into motion.
For this week’s story from the field, we would like you to watch this 4 minute video highlighting Anthony Robles and you will see how the protective factor of initiative can cause a young person to become “unstoppable”.
Think about what you could do as a teacher or other school professional to activate the protective factor of initiative in your students.
Help your students move from thinking to doing, from dreaming to believing, and let’s build up the capacity for initiative in this next generation!