What’s in Your… Head?

by: Mike Murphy, Headmaster
Jennifer Garner has made the phrase, “What’s in your wallet?” one of the most memorable expressions for an ad since “Can you hear me now?” While the advertising world has found memorable questions and witty characters like the Geico Gecko to remind us to buy a certain product, people concerned with human motivation have found that affirmations can set the tone for achievement.

During a recent training with our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, the administrative team engaged in a discussion about what is in our heads when we wake up in the morning. For some people, the preoccupation with day to day responsibilities consumes morning thoughts. Getting the kids up, taking the dog out, preparing breakfast, dressing for work, and making sure the drop-off and pick-up plan for after school activities is clear, can be enough to the fill the brain for even the most organized parent.

One of our Upper School students may wake up totally preoccupied with the tests and papers that are coming today, the list of clubs and activities they may need to attend, and what has been posted in social media messages overnight. As important as all these activities are, none are very inspirational.

There are people who wake up and pray. Some meditate. Others wake up and their mind goes to affirmations or vision statements that set the tone for behavior.
  • “Today, I will make a positive difference in the life of someone who does not expect it to come from me.”  
  • “Today, I will meet five new people.”  
  • “Today, I will listen.”
  • “Today, I will make strengthening relationships my priority.”
  • “Today, I will start an exercise routine.”
  • “Today, I will do something to improve my professional skills.”
  • “I have the ability to overcome challenges.”
  • “I have been blessed with talents. I will develop them today.”
One of my favorites is from Muhammad Ali. Many of you already know it because he said it all the time, ”I am the greatest.”

Whether one prays, meditates, or uses affirmations as a way to be thoughtful about how to use our time, there is little doubt that we are well served by taking time to realize our strengths and potential and commit to developing. There are clearly many ways to motivate people. Affirmations are one of many ways to encourage self-motivation.

It is important that all of our children wake up knowing that they have promising days and promising futures ahead of them. Teaching them how to be mindful of the path they will take is a skill and mindset that will serve a lifetime.


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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.