On my first day of school, before the bell even rang, I got into a fight.
It was the first of many.
I was in detention so often that my parents thought school finished at almost 5pm.
By the time I was forced to switch schools two and a half years later, I had racked up 386 incident slips.
I remember the number because I was competing with another kid who got kicked out before I did.
Ultimately, a streak as a practical joker and serial disruptor was something everyone around me obsessed over, and ultimately it didn’t really matter.
A year later, I was in a gifted program at a new school. I’d won several “best orator” awards on a touring debate team and had been invited to attend the Model United Nations in The Hague.
It turns out the most powerful course correction was a tiny one.
It was the first parent’s evening at my new school.
I was 13 and it had only been a few weeks since I’d been caught running across the school rooftops as a bet to make some money.
My parents and I sat before a physics teacher whose classes I knew I frequently disrupted.
I was white-knuckling my chair, waiting for him to rip into me.
He didn't mention a word of it.
He spent 15 minutes gushing about my abilities and potential (although he did note I should make some new friends).
Two weeks later I scored 100% on a physics test.
In retrospect, I have never seen a more powerful Jedi mind trick.
Many of the things we obsess over ultimately have little long-term impact.
The energy we expend interrupting evolving behaviour patterns can simply make things worse.
Sometimes all you need is a change of narrative.
Once you reframe the problem, results become effortless.