Dr. Paul Metler
3 Lessons About Change You Can Learn From the Eclipse
If you visit NASA’s total eclipse website you can discover the answers to important questions about the Total Solar Eclipse that is happening on Monday, August 21. Anyone in North America within the path of totality can view the total eclipse. The website provides good information about how to safely view the eclipse and protect your eyes while viewing this incredible phenomenon. As I read about the eclipse, I was intrigued by the basic storyline. Millions will drop everything and pause to watch the moon cover the sun for a brief period of time because most days there is no eclipse. It’s an awe-inspiring change from the norm.
If you are typically not one to get excited about change, then perhaps, there are some lessons to be learned from the eclipse.
Change is an opportunity for learning.
I visited the NASA website because I wanted to learn more about the eclipse. Many schools are going to suspend normal activities and safely observe the eclipse. Educators are seizing the day. The eclipse has become a catalyst for expanding the appetite of learners, both young and old. It’s one thing to declare that science is exciting while standing in a classroom. It’s quite another to gather students for a real-time learning lab. Although the eclipse is a dramatic example, the principle is true for most change experiences. Viewing change as a transformative learning experience can enhance self-motivation to engage, discover and explore. It’s an effective way for you to nourish a growth mindset.
Change fosters questions.
NASA’s website and the abundance of articles about the eclipse are a response to questions. There will be exclamations of amazement and scores of questions during the eclipse. I am anticipating many questions after the eclipse. Transformative experiences bring good questions to the surface. Leaders who are masterful at leading change and cultivating learning environments understand that good questions increase engagement. They affirm the power of critical inquiry. You will learn best when you ask questions and learn together.
Change is uncomfortable.
Uncomfortable is not always bad. Be honest, a total eclipse is a little unnerving. It’s a little spooky. Seriously, the moon is going to cover up the sun and it’s going to get dark when it’s not supposed to get dark. That seems a perfect metaphor for change. Most days, you like to see where you’re going. What makes change uncomfortable? Uncertainty. Often, the most frightening aspect of change is the lack of illumination on the pathway forward. Yet, you are intrigued, even attracted to this exciting departure from your predictable relationship with the sun and moon. The same can be true about change.
You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore. (William Faulkner)
The best learners pursue positive change as a remarkable opportunity for learning. They acknowledge fear, but they refuse to forfeit learning because of it. You can reap the benefits of deep curiosity. Give yourself permission to shed pride, ask questions and learn with others. It’s human to be uncomfortable in the midst of a learning experience.
Engage other learners with the following questions:
What experiences or events are providing you with a rich real-life learning lab? What are you learning about yourself? What are learning from others?
Where are the environments you feel it is most safe to ask questions and learn together with others? How has safety been created?
When was the last time you wanted to ask a question and did not? Why?
What are the most significant positive changes that you are considering in your life today?
To what degree do those positive changes evoke fear in you?
How will you overcome those fears and take your next steps?