The theme of the workshop was Effective Stress Management. The lessons shared by the TLC team of Nelson Allan, Alwyn Lau and Alex Wan were essentially a re-emphasis of the Stephen Covey’s Habit #1of highly effective people (i.e. being proactive) and Habit #7 (i.e. sharpening the saw). The students were taught the importance of:
a. Controlling their emotions – students were helped to recognize when bad emotions are emerging and learn how to change one’s physiology to attain empowering emotions. This also involved the starter activity where the students were grouped into six teams to challenge one another on a group version of ‘Scissors-Paper-Stone’;
b. Replacing self-defeating talk with positive talk – students were told to stop repeating negative words to themselves as these would feed into their actions and behaviours. Instead they were encouraged to always think about what they can do, see the bright side in situations and look for solutions. The trainers listed down ‘reactive’ words on the screen and the students were told to replace them with their proactive counter-part (e.g. “I don’t know how” would be changed to “I can learn”, etc.)
c. Working within their Circle of Influence – students were asked to write down issues they were concerned about but had no influence over versus issues they could influence. For this activity, the were given the simple ‘doughnut’ shape dual-circle presented in Stephen Covey’s book. They were then instructed to keep their attention and focus on those issues they could positively influence and recognize how their ‘circle of influence’ will gradually grow. Students were also warned that should they make it a habit to complain about the items outside their circle of influence, this circle would shrink, resulting in more stress and diminishing control over their own lives.
d. Working well as a team – students were involved in two exciting activities to learn about teamwork in a fun and competitive manner:
- Straight Talking: Students were told to stand in a straight line and later to arrange themselves (according to height, month of birth, etc.) without setting foot outside the line. The challenge was to communicate and manouvre effectively out of a difficult situation into an acceptable one
- Clog Walking: Students were required to get across from one end of the hall to another by stepping on only three clogs and moving in pairs. The challenge was to work in pairs to balance and move on the clogs without getting distracted by the referee from the other team
Overall, the workshop touched on the need to be in command of one’s emotions and to fully utilize the power of teamwork and synergy (Habit #6) to work through the issues faced everyday. This workshop certainly demonstrated that Sri KDU students have a commendable propensity for being focused, imaginative, thoughtful and even playful in a healthy way.