A mentorship and personal development program directed by: Alexander Knox
I have a story. Not only do I want to share it, but I want to use its lessons to ignite inspiration, action, and hope within individuals all over the world. Today I took the first step in achieving this by launching “Wisdom Hours” , a project done in Santa Monica, California. I was able to recruit five talented local high school student-athletes to join me. Through an intense week of exercises, I challenged the boys to grow an every facet of their life. See for yourself how I was able to empower the boys to broaden each of their perspectives and take action on the most important things in their life.
Jason, Vincent, Sebastian, Manny and Aidan. It was an honor and a pleasure. I hope you enjoyed the experience.
This is Wisdom Hours:
I introduced myself to them as we met inside a local coffee shop. I told them my intention. I explained to them that this week could encapsulate profound value, if they brought their total undivided attention and focus.
Without too much introduction, I threw them into their first task. I presented three fundamental questions :
What do you look up to?
What do you look forward to?
What are you chasing?
I challenged them to think through their answers and provide depth to their responses. This is what a couple of junior and senior high school students said:
Jason: “I look up to accomplishing my goals. I look forward to making a difference in the world. I chase a better lifestyle, to be more grounded, peaceful with myself and others”
Vincent: “I look up to controlling my destiny. I look forward to making more of my own decisions. I chase my dream”
Sebastian: “I look up to becoming a better player and person”. He’s unsure of what he looks forward to. And the one thing in life he is chasing, is the playoffs for his high school soccer team this fall.
Manny: “I look up to people who have strong work ethic. I look forward to college, and to become more independent. I chase my future career”. He mentioned something about potentially following in his mom’s footsteps in the biomedical field.
Aidan: “I look up to Darren Till and Steven Gerrard because they come from the same city as where my family comes from, and they have both made it out and have become very successful”. Aidan knows this because, as of recent he’s noticed that being more of an observant individual, allows him to more clearly see the little things that make a difference. Thus, he’s got the ability to be inspired and to be equipped with others’ experience that can in turn help him with his experiences. “I look forward to helping the community. I am chasing myself to become a better leader”.
Their Responses Analyzed Categorically — Qualitative Data
What is the purpose of doing this exercise?
One of the main purposes of this introductory exercise was to get a feel for where these young men are at in life. The goal was to gather their current perspective in terms of where they are and where they want to go, without asking the direct question, “where are you in terms of your overall goal in life?”. My initial hypothesis, given their age (16, 17 and 18) was confirmed when the results came back. The results of their answers yielded semi-specific answers at best, with uncertainty and vague undertones. The broadness and vagueness of their answers mostly dealt with the questions regarding each of their futures, which is again, expected. So I ask the question what answers were specific, if any? The qualitative data shows that the most specific answers pertained to improvement of self. Each of them, regardless of their background, shared a commonality of wanting to extend a little more specificity to “what it is they look up to?”; which they’ve collectively unanimously answered: self-improvement.
Having their attention and focus, I moved on seemlessly to self-improvement and its meaning. I initiated this by tapping into more of each individuals character. I asked them what they would be doing if they weren’t playing soccer today. Some answered they would be “avoiding the gutter”, others answered they’d be focusing on academics for the purpose of higher education, others said they’d find another sport, or even one kid said he’d be a farmer in South America. Their response indicated to me the profound presence and impact of soccer in their lives(I kept note of this— as it becomes integral when I get to Quantum Breakthrough). What I noticed is that soccer thus far has been a common language that they’ve communicated in. It has been the language that’s binded them together as friends, but has also communicated life lessons to them. Thus far, It has been their main source of acquiring wisdom, and they don’t even know. Moving on, I next introduced them to Quantum Breakthrough— a program of mine that runs a personal analysis on your most recent or most grand failure thus far in life. The purpose of this? I’ve theorized that, in the if you look close enough within the failure, you can flip the failure and its negative association on its head, to gain the lesson, therefore reap the benefit of a new found breakthrough. This is is not a necessarily straight forward process even though it sounds as such. The biggest obstacle of this challenge is willingness to dig deep and take responsibility. Taking responsibility is taking your power back, but in order to take your responsibility you must be utmost accountable. This is where will power comes in. The ego must be swallowed or set free, and one must come to terms with whatever they’ve failed at. There is strength in this process, but again, it first takes the strong willingness to dive to the depths of self to meet accountability, honesty and integrity. I gave the boys some time to think and write, this is what they came back to me with, this was each of their Quantum Breakthroughs:
Got cut form the Santa Monica High School Soccer Team
1. His breakthrough lied in discovering the art of maneuvering “they” , the haters, the naysayers. This art was brought about by him increasing his sense of humor and awareness of the bigger picture, not just the immediate one. To find more pleasure in the journey rather than the destination.
2. He found that Communication as it pertains to perception is important. Just simply their association is important. He found this to be important because he understood that if wanted a message to come across to a particular individual, he would have to architect the right delivery, as the delivery would be just as important, if not more important than the message itself. He found this breakthrough only after discovering the egotistical driven response from his coach when he voiced his concerns about the style of training.
He failed Spanish class for the majority of the semester, and because of that he couldn’t play on the high school soccer team and he felt he disappointed his mother.
1. He found the importance of Focus, and he found the association of this importance as it pertains to answering his “Why”… aka the fire within him that pushes him when he feels he can’t give anymore.
2. He found that there exist a power dynamic between him and his superiors— coach or teacher. The control to give an F or sit a player on the bench, one in and of the same. Even though his awareness of this obvious fact is not new, what is new is his recognition of this power dynamic in terms of how it shouldn’t have an effect on his ability to rise as he follows his own journey. As this power dynamic affects most, it will not affect him because he knows that he is on a path, his own path, for which he can make his own decisions and choices for, not somebody else.
He couldn’t pass the fitness test for his high school soccer team, because he was fat. In result of this, he would be benched for the majority of the season.
1. After contemplating if he should quit the team, he found that the fear of returning to Columbia would supersede any fitness test or weight problem. He wrestled with his fear until he managed to use his fear to work on his side, to propel him towards his ultimate success.
Quantum Failure: He got benched all season in high school. He let his emotions get the best of him, during this time period.
1. He found that letting emotions get the best of him, was not beneficial for the pursuit of his goals, actually it was the opposite. He no longer wanted to fight himself. If any negative emotion would come his way on his pursuit to his goals, he would find a way to use it to help propel him further faster.
2. His breakthrough was that in tough times, faith is a necessity. He finds it to be a necessity because faith is belief, and no one can take that away from you.
Quantum Failure: He had a bad high school soccer season. In result of his poor performances, he let his emotion and frustration take his wheel.
Quantum Breakthrough: 1. He took back control of his own wheel by getting out of his own way. He found and is currently finding ways to use his emotions as a tool to help him perform better.