Turning Point

Transforming problems into opportunities.

How to Get Into a Productive State of Mind

Focus on your purpose to get the results you want.

"How do you mentally prepare to go back to work?" a friend asked me early this morning.

Today I return to Rutgers University in Newark after my sabbatical. I will step into the classroom and meet my new students. Today we kick off the fall semester, and for many of my students it will be the beginning of their college experience. It's an exciting time for them, and for me.

So, how did I prepare mentally to return to campus after my sabbatical? Indeed, preparation is needed. The temptation is to think how great the sabbatical was, how much I enjoyed the time I spent at the New York Public Library to read and to write my book.

The temptation is to moan like the wind when thinking about the administrative side of my work, which can be a great bore.

But giving in to this temptation would lower my energy and put me in an unproductive state of mind. It would do no good neither to myself nor to my students.

So, to prepare myself mentally I need to get into a productive state of mind so that when in the next hour I will step into my first class for this semester, I will be a channel of positive energy and an inspiring educator.

How do I get into the right state of mind? I focus on what my purpose is to be an educator. I think about what motivates me to teach young people. Not only do I think about it but I also try to feel it. It is the purpose to pass on knowledge, to inspire my students, to help them to become more aware of the reality they inhabit and they contribute producing; to teach them notions from the fields of anthropology and peace studies that can help them define and live their life purpose, to develop and to enrich the vision they have for their life. To be a contribution to their life project.

I think about it. I feel it. And now I am ready to step into class, meet my new students and kick off the new semester.

Aldo Civico, Ph.D., is an anthropologist and a conflict resolution expert. He is an anthropology professor at Rutgers University and the founder of The International Institute for Peace.
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