As a teacher, I manage to insert a little something into every class period about how much better (happier, more effective) the students’ lives could be if only they’d take the subject matter seriously and incorporate some of the psychological principles that we discuss into their lives.
This week I told them that their other teachers probably felt the same way. I could just imagine Mrs. Alston telling them that an appreciation of literature would enhance their appreciation of life or Mrs. Dimitriadis attempting to persuade them to look at history to better understand the present. We all think our subject is the one that holds the key to understanding oneself and life’s mysteries.
Then yesterday I got a flash of insight about my own psyche. Someone asked me why I was charging only $5.99 for Crossing the Bridge: Succeeding in a Community College and Beyond. The answer is simple. I want to get it into as many students’ hands and minds as possible, and I know that’s more likely to happen if the price is right.
But what does this have to do with the application of psychology to my life? I realized that I’m working on the generativity part of Erik Erikson’s 7th psychosocial stage, generativity vs. stagnation. You might not find the definition in standard dictionaries, but according to Erikson, generativity involves working on behalf of future generations and/or contributing to society in some way.
The older (er, more mature) person realizes that she isn’t going to live forever, and she either decides to do her part in leaving the world a better place for future generations or she risks becoming self-absorbed and stagnant. To choose the former is the more beneficial choice and can make a positive difference not only in the world of tomorrow but also in the maturing, developing person herself. I want to feel integrity, not despair, in the last stage of life, and choosing generativity now helps to assure that.
All that to say, I’m going for generativity! My purpose in writing this book was not to get wealthy but to help students succeed in college and beyond. When that happens, the students, their families, and the universe benefit.
I believe that learning and applying psychological concepts such as self-efficacy and positive reinforcement can improve a person’s life, and I KNOW that the application of the principles in this book will help the reader to be a more successful student and effective person. That’s what I’m after, success and effectiveness for everyone.