I guess what I need is a 100% sticker,” Geri said good naturedly. ” Otherwise , Im not sure how I’ll get all this done before Sunday.” “What’s a 100% sticker?” I asked, and then hit the button on the speaker phone because I knew a good story was coming and I’d probably want to make notes.
“Oh, I thought I told you about that – great story,” she added. “It’s about a friend of mine and her daughter Sally Anne’s solution to getting 100% on her FCAT tests.”
Like all elementary school kids in Florida, Sally Anne, who was a third grade student in a school that had an excellent reputation, was struggling with the FCAT’s; a series of tests given to students to help the powers that be determine how well the teachers are doing in getting through to their students. Justified or not, the students really feel the pressure to do well on the tests and it sometimes introduces them to stress at a higher level than they’ve ever experienced before. Sally Anne was doing her best, but her grades always hovered around 80%.
Deciding it was time to talk about the problem, woman to woman, Sally took Sally Ann out to lunch one Saturday and asked her why it was she thought she was stuck with scores of 80% on her FCATs, when Sally was pretty sure that Sally Anne really understood all the material better than that grade would indicate. “I just don’t think it’s possible to get 100%,” Sally Ann said as she chewed thoughtfully on her hamburger. “No one ever does, even though the teacher would like us to, but personally, I just don’t think it’s possible.”
“Well, there you go,” her mother said. “You know all about how it matters what you think – so if you don’t think you can get 100% – then of course you can’t.” Then playing on her daughter’s usual competitive nature she asked, “What do you think you might do to change the way you think about the FCAT’s that would let you be the first person in your class to get 100% on your test?”
“I don’t know,” Sally Anne answered thoughtfully, “but I’ll think about it.” And apparently she did, because pretty soon after that her mother noted her grades inching up and up until she was scoring 100% almost all of the time.
Time for another lunch. “OK, Smarty-pants,” Sally asked, (this time they were having Sally Anne’s favorite pizza), “just what did you do to convince yourself that you could get 100% on your FCAT’s, and don’t spare the details. I have much to learn here.”
Sally Anne grinned as she explained that she began by writing 100% at the top of her test paper before she even began to take the test. “I just visualized the teacher writing another 100% next to mine in her red pencil when she graded it. It didn’t happen all at once,” Sally Anne explained. “I got some more 80’s but then one day I got a 90, and then some more 90’s and finally 100%. I still write 100% on the top of my paper and now the teacher not only writes 100% too, but she puts a smiley face sometimes next to my 100%. And,” she added, “I taught Sarah to do it and now she’s getting 100%, too.”
Changes began for Sally Anne when she changed her mind about what was possible. Changes can begin the same way for you and me, as soon as we begin to expect the best possible results.
I just ordered some stickers that say “100% solution”, to remind me that I’m probably better than I think I am. Is there anything going on in your life right now that could use a 100% solution?
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