Created: March 2017
Last Updated: April 2020
This learning experience is part of a playlist — two or more learning experiences focused on specific areas of the digital world. You can find this playlist, Crafting a Successful Resume, here. This particular learning experience is the first in a sequence of six. Learning experiences in a playlist build off of each other, but they were designed so that they can also be completed on their own!
|Group or individual activity:||Individual|
|Ages:||13-18 years old|
|Online / offline elements:||This learning experience contains an offline activity and challenge.|
Main area: Digital Economy
Additional areas: Identity Exploration and Formation
|License:||This learning experience has been created by Youth and Media and is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionShareAlike 4.0 International license. For more information, please visit http://dcrp.berkman.harvard.edu/about|
Identify specific experiences that have shaped who you are today, reflect on how such experiences might be powerful for your future, and consider ways you can create new experiences that help you achieve your goals.
Worksheet: Taking on a New Challenge
Worksheet: My Goal Plan
Computer or mobile device with Internet access
[Optional] Pen or pencil
Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone - by Andy Molinsky (TEDx Talks)
Our individual experiences are what make each of us unique. We all have a diverse set of past experiences — some of which particularly stand out to us. We may call these very important memories “core memories.” They are events that happened in the past that have become central to our identity and personality. For example, maybe you’re really passionate about playing the piano, and one of your core memories is when you first successfully played a really challenging piece. Sometimes, our core memories are happy. Or, they can be sad, silly, or serious — maybe even a combination of these emotions! Regardless of the nature of these experiences, they have caused us to see the world in unique ways. Take a moment to think of one of your “core memories” and how it has shaped who you are today.
While our past experiences impact our identity, depending on the choices we make, we can always create new, exciting experiences — experiencing new adventures and making new connections to people and places. Some of these choices can seem insignificant. But even making small changes in our day-to-day decisions can have a lasting impact.
Say, for instance, you really want to learn the guitar, but are worried you don’t have the time, given school work and other activities outside of school. During the week, you only have about an hour of free time each day, and you spend this time relaxing by watching TV. It is super important to do things that relax us, but what if you took just 15 minutes out of that hour to practice the guitar each day, or every other day? Over time, this would help you get better and better and build your confidence in playing the guitar!
You will choose one medium-sized goal (i.e., a goal that you feel would take you at least several weeks to accomplish) that you’ve always wanted to achieve but have felt was too challenging, and think about how you might accomplish this. This can be anything from exercising regularly to learning about an area you’ve always been curious about. Fill out the Taking on a New Challenge worksheet, which will help you start thinking of the goal you want to achieve and strategies you can use to reach it.
It’s important to keep in mind that when you approach new problems, it’s helpful to consider what is motivating you. Our purpose helps drive us forward when we hit roadblocks as we work towards our goals. It’s also helpful to consider your past experiences. More specifically, think about challenging goals you’ve accomplished in the past and how you achieved those goals. Were there certain strategies you used — maybe based on past experiences — that were really successful? Suppose, for instance, that you have a goal to exercise more frequently. Based on past experiences, you know that you enjoy things the most when you do them with a friend. If your goal is to exercise more often, maybe one strategy could be to exercise together with a friend.
When you think of trying something new, sometimes you can feel held back by fear — fear of not doing or saying the right things or letting others down, and of ultimately not succeeding. But, there are ways to overcome this fear. For example, being able to see a situation in a clearer way can help you adjust how you view the scenario so that certain ways of thinking (like, “I’m too inexperienced to do X!”) don’t get in the way of achieving your goals.
There are a few ways you can develop a clearer way to think about new challenges. One way you can do this is by thinking about what someone else would tell you if you told them what you wanted to achieve. If you told, let’s say, one of your friends about a new challenge you want to take on, what do you think they would say?
[Optional] If you’d like to take what you learned and map out actual first steps you can take to accomplish your goal, feel free to check out this four-week planner. For each week, write down at least two things you can do to work towards the goal you want to achieve. These steps don’t have to be huge — they could take up to just 10 to 15 minutes per week! Think about how, if at all, your past experiences have shaped the steps you plan to take, and write this down in the third column of the planner.
It’s awesome that you completed this challenge! We are sure that others would love to see what you learned! We encourage you to share the goal you’d like to achieve and why it’s important to you with an educator, mentor, or advisor, or a family member or friend. You can also share your goal and why it’s meaningful with the Youth and Media team via email (email@example.com). Please specify the title of the learning experience in the subject line of the email.