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.

What changed?

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.

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