(BLOG 14) Other People’s Opinions (OPOs)

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Another reason students and adults stay in their comfort zones is due to the heavy influence of Other People’s Opinions (OPOs). Last week we discussed the Fear of Failure (blog 13) as a reason for a lot of students to not try. Let’s look at the impact of OPOs.

As we mentioned last week, we are big fans of Comfort Zones for students. It’s essential; however, we are also very clear on the fact that it is a reality that BIG LEARNING happens OUTSIDE of our comfort zones. When students are outside of their comfort zones and they fail or hear a less-than-flattering opinion about themselves, they run back to their comfort zones. It makes sense; there’s nothing wrong with that.

So, if BIG LEARNING happens outside of students’ comfort zones, we need to find ways to strengthen students’ ability to navigate their world better. Last week, in blog 13, we discussed how to battle the Fear of Failure. That’s one tool for continuing on the road to BIG LEARNING. This week we need to talk about how to battle the very real weight OPOs have on students. In our book Why Students Disengage in American Schools and What We Can Do About It, we make the statement that for 13 years, school is a place where students are compared and judged on a daily basis. Think about it. Other People’s Opinions fly at students from every angle: how they dress, their cell phone, their cell phone plan, their grades, their car, their friends, the size of their muscles, their height, their weight, and the list could go on and on. It’s a reality of these 13 years.

With that in mind, we need caring and loving adults (teachers, coaches, parents, etc.) in their lives to help them understand the following: “Other People’s Opinions of me are None of MY business, unless they are in my best interest.” That needs to be students’ mantra. It needs to be their Inner Voice. They need to let that sentence play in their head ANY time an opinion of them is thrown their way. Opinions are what they are,…an opinion. Opinions ARE NOT something that can or should govern their lives. Without an intentional dedication to combating this notion, opinions have the potential to govern lives.

Model and remind students that OPOs are none of their business! Make it intentional.

Contact us to hear how we can open up this topic further with your students, faculty/staff, or business: