Earlier this year, I was hanging out with a friend and asked about a mutual acquaintance.  His response was as perplexing as it was concise.  He said, “They’re sticky.  They have a stickiness problem.”  I took the bait and asked for clarification.  My friend explained that negativity begets negativity until one simply expects bad things to happen.  When you put out a welcome mat for life’s maladies they will enter without knocking, drink from the milk carton and ask if they can crash for the night.  My friend further explained that the elixir for stickiness wasn’t  as simple as thinking optimistically.  Stickiness can only be combated through a mindset of positivity, determination and grit.  Bad things happen to everyone, but successful people view these setbacks as temporary challenges to overcome.

Three months later I read a blog by George Couros entitled Stuck in Your Head and Heart.  Couros’ use of the term “stickiness” carries a positive connotation.  He states we must connect to the heart if we hope to make a connection to the mind.  To create meaningful learning opportunities, we must first build relationships with students.  This emotional connection will enhance their desire to learn and will allow key concepts to “stick’ with our students.    

I find this juxtaposition of stickiness to be intriguing.  My friend uses the term negatively, while Couros describes stickiness as a positive attribute.  I believe they are both correct. You must avoid stickiness if you hope to create stickiness.   If you build positive experiences for yourself, you will intuitively replicate these experiences for your students. I recently heard Dave Burgess present, and during his presentation he shared a quote from Maya Angelou who said,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

 Pay attention to how and what you feel if you hope to lead, inspire and motivate others. How you make others feel may stick with them forever……  

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