Add Wayfinding to School Curriculums
Philippe Danielides, Esq.
I attended a liberal arts college – its expressed mission was to empower students with a broad knowledge base and intellectual skill set that would prepare us to thrive in the world.
In some ways, it did. I went on to a successful career as a lawyer. But then, more than a decade after graduation, I realized that even though I’d learned the necessary skills to move forward in my career, I’d been heading in the wrong direction and was now far off course.
Do you know the feeling or have a close friend or family member who picked their head up one day and had no clue where they were or how they’d gotten there?
My guess is that you do, and that’s in part because our schools – even among liberal arts institutions that promote intellectual discovery – teach students how to physically move across the terrain of life (communications skills, analytical thinking, etc.) but forget to cover navigation skills.
Wayfinding is the process of orienting oneself in physical space and navigating from place to place, and is a useful metaphor for creating a life that feels the way you want to feel (my definition of success). And we can “find our way” in life by using navigational tools, just as ancient explorers used the stars or a compass.
The problem is that our intellectual mind, which gets most of the attention in school, isn’t a wayfinding tool!
Now don’t get me wrong, the mind is an incredibly powerful instrument – it should be trained and used in service of our goals. Our mistake is thinking that the mind can tell us what our goals are (i.e. which direction to head). In other words, we’ve been asking the mind to do something it wasn’t designed for.
So then, what navigational tools do we possess? Simply put, we have our felt experience – the emotions and physical sensations that arise in response to decisions we make or are contemplating. Our bodies are constantly sending us signals about our true path, and it’s up to our minds to interpret the meaning of these signals and develop effective strategies to implement what we’ve learned.
My advice: teach students how to calibrate and read their internal compass, just as we teach them reading, math or science. It’s a teachable skill, and the information they’ll uncover will become their best and most reliable guide for finding and walking their true path.#
Philippe Danielides, Esq., is a former corporate lawyer and founder of Inner Current Coaching.