Master Teacher Reveals Source of Self-Sabotage and How To Overcome It

How do you breakout of your comfort zone? A Master Teacher Reveals it.

It’s embarrassing. You KNOW you can get more done but at the end of the day, you feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface. Your most passionate projects don’t move forward (not fast enough anyway).

It’s not that you’re not working hard but somehow other things pop up and pull you away.

And at the end of the day, if you’re honest, you must admit that you’ve failed to achieve the progress you planned.

I’ve had these horrible feelings too many times. Have you ever felt that way?

It doesn’t have to happen and today you’ll find out why.

If you’ve wondered why your greatest goals don’t get done, then you’ll love today’s lesson. Why? Because it gives you the answer.

The surprising answer reveals what’s really going on and why. Most importantly, it tells you how to overcome it.

It’s a lesson in mastery from a master teacher.

This teacher is a world champion problem solver. The best way to reveal her level of mastery is to take you in her classroom. But let me warn you about these kids.
These kids in her classroom are tough. They have to be because it’s an inner-city public school in the middle of the Chicago Ghetto. She’s teaching kids whose ages range from 6 years old to 6th grade. Their ages vary because her class is filled with the kids who were too much trouble for ‘regular’ teachers. In a tough school, these are the toughest, roughest kids. Some had been suspended for cursing out teachers and fighting. One or two were repeating the 2nd grade.

Only a master teacher could handle such a varied, tough audience. What was she teaching these inner-city kids?

Well, let’s drop in on a reading session of that class. But first, let me ask you a quick question because it’ll give you special insight into this class.

Can you remember or imagine what kids read in the second grade?

Ok, let me take you into Mrs. Collins’ classroom right now. But please be quiet because class is in session…

“Now we are going to read an essay called “Self Reliance.” What is the title?

Mrs. Collins asked a boy in the fifth seat of the third row, who was rubbing his fingers along the edge of the desk. The boy lowered his head.

“What is the title, sweetheart? Don’t just sit there with your mouth shut. If you don’t know, then say, “Mrs. Collins, I don’t know.” Don’t ever be afraid of making a mistake. If you can’t make a mistake, you can’t make anything.”

When the boy didn’t answer, Mrs. Collins asked a girl in the next seat. The young girl answered, “Self Reliance”.

“Very good,” “Tres bien,” “Laudo,” “Sehr gut,” explaining that she was praising them in French, Latin, and German.

“Now,” she said, “self-reliance means to believe in yourself.” The author of ‘self-reliance is Ralph Waldo Emerson.

When Ralph was eight years old, as old as some of you, his father died. The family was so poor that Ralph and his three brothers had to share the same winter coat.”

EXIT the classroom…


From that view into the classroom, you very likely can tell that she wasn’t teaching the finger painting and ‘see spot run’ type of elementary school materials.

Mrs. Collins was successfully teaching inner-city 6-year-old kids Emerson and Shakespeare. Most people, including other teachers and even parents, would tell you that’s impossible but she did it. Surprisingly, her biggest fight was not teaching the kids. Her biggest fight was against all the other people who said it could not be done. That group included other teachers, administrators, parents and even the kids themselves.

She overcame all those negative influences. How did she do it?

This is vitally important, not only because it reveals how the kids learned (against the odds), but it also reveals why you underperform. It also reveals how you can perform at peak levels and get more done. But before we connect the dots, let’s do a quick exercise that’ll give you the exact answers you need to overcome performance problems.

Uncovering the Unconscious Exercise

Let’s do a quick exercise. Pick a goal that you want to achieve. Then list your 3 best qualities that will help you achieve that goal.

Are you a hard worker? Smart? Courageous? Persistent?

  1. _______________________________________
  2. _______________________________________
  3. _______________________________________

Now list the three worst qualities you have that might hurt you when it comes to completing this goal. Procrastinator? Fearful? Introvert? Lazy? Overwhelmed? Quitter? Slow learner?

  1. _______________________________________
  2. _______________________________________
  3. _______________________________________

If you completed the above exercise, then continue below but if you didn’t then please… fill it out before the teacher hits you on the hand with a ruler!!!

We’ll return to this exercise later but now let’s look at …

Labels and expectations…


Marva Collins taught kids the biographies of Mozart, Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci and others but some parents wanted their kids to finger paint. Admittedly, teaching 6-year-old kids to ‘THINK’ and discover the lives, mindsets and personal stories of history’s greatest minds was beyond what people believe is possible.

But Marva Collins created a system that allowed them to flourish beyond what people believed. And still… some parents pulled their kids out of the Marva Collins School. Some parents insisted on water paints. Are you insisting on water paints in your life?

In her outstanding book, “The Marva Collin’s Way”, here’s what Marva Collins said:

“Parents set their own expectations for their children, and they have to decide whether a particular school or teaching method suits their needs.”

Outliving the Limiting Labels

Marva Collins decided that her school would help the kids that needed it most. That’s why she accepted kids who had been diagnosed as ‘unteachable’ and ‘learning disabled’. Other teachers and even psychologists saddled the kids with those labels. By using love, affirmations and pleasant persistence, she removed those saddles and it allowed their inner-genius to roam free.

Her thoughts on labels were clear.

Here’s what she said. “We live in a label-conscious society where people are forever trying to categorize and classify each other. We tend to overuse terms like “learning disability,” “developmental disabilities,” “behavior disorder,” and “hyperactive,” bandying them about until they are stretched beyond validity.”

Why Labels Are a Shortcut to Success or Failure

It’s important to mention that labels only work because people are driven by expectations. Many, many studies have proven that our brains are wired to respond to expectations.

Labels are a set of pre-packaged expectations. If you have the ‘unteachable’ label, what are the expectations?

To see the full impact of negative labels, imagine that you are an 8-year-old kid and you’ve been called ‘unteachable’, then answer the questions below.

If you are ‘unteachable’, can you be taught?

If you are ‘unteachable’, are you very smart?

If you’re ‘unteachable’, are you likely to go to the library?

If you’re ‘unteachable’, are you likely to become a lawyer or a doctor?

Is an ‘unteachable’ child likely to be well-behaved?

Based on the above questions, can you see the pervasive impact of labels? I hope so. And realize that 90% of your thoughts are ‘unconscious’. That means your decisions can be based on labels without your conscious awareness.

Whether you like it or not, labels impact:

  • What you will or will not do
  • Where you will or will not go
  • How you will (or will not) act
  • How you will (or will not) handle problems

Now let’s bring this home for you.

Remember the exercise you did? You did do it right?

If you didn’t do it, then do it now because I don’t want you to miss out.

Ok, let’s proceed and start to connect the dots so you see a surprising picture.

You listed your 3 worst qualities. Now pick the worst of those 3 for this exercise.

What is the worst of the 3 worst qualities? _________________________


Now turn that quality into a label. What is the label: ________________

For example.

If your worst quality is procrastinating, then the label is procrastinator.
If your worst quality is overeating, then the label is overeater.
If your worst quality was sleeping late, then you’re a bum …just kidding. Channeling my mom. Sorry.

Let’s call that label an ‘over sleeper’. Don’t invest too much time in this, keep it simple.

A couple more examples.

If your worst quality is lack of energy, then the label could be ‘low energy person’.
If your worst quality is ‘low attention span’, then the label could be ‘low attention span person’.

You get the idea. Right? Ok. Once you’ve done that, we can get to the good part…

Let’s look at how that bad quality can impact your life. When answering the next questions, be sure to snatch the first answer that enters your mind. For best results, don’t try to edit your answer.

  1. Does someone who is a _________________(bad label), make your goal much easier or much harder to complete (circle best answer)? Easier Harder

If harder, how specifically does it make it harder? ________________


  1. What is the expected performance level of someone who is a _________________(bad label)? _______________

How does that label impact performance? ________________


  1. Are there things that could move you closer to your goal that a person who is a _________________(bad label) will not do or will resist doing?


Did this exercise give you just a bit of insight into your actions?

I’ll be honest with you. The answers to this exercise hit me like a slap in the face.

For me, the bad label was ‘introvert’. Now, introvert isn’t that bad but an introvert hates to connect, communicate or meet with people. Connecting with people can be repulsive to introverts. Well, guess what’s required if you want to build a thriving business that helps tons of people? Do you see how that label conflicts with my major goal of building a thriving business?

Suddenly, so much of my life came into focus.

Honestly, I’ve studied alone for years. Collecting, testing and gathering the best insights from science, psychology and even strategy. But I’ve kept them to myself. Why?

I can give you tons of ‘good excuses’ but what’s ‘interesting is that everything I did follows the path of a stone-cold introvert. Keeping to himself. Not reaching out. Not even publishing. It’s crazy! And worst of all is that if I kept up that nonsense, I’d doom myself.

I believe I deserve better and frankly, you do too!

Would you like to make a breakthrough?

By being totally honest and upfront with YOURSELF, you can reach a new level of performance and productivity. You clear the path for insights that create a breakthrough.

If you’d like to make a breakthrough, then ask yourself one more question…

If you keep being a person who is a _________________(bad label) for 5, 10 or 15 years, how will your life be impacted? What will you miss out on? How will missing out for years and years make you feel? Will you regret all the years that you missed out on so much?

Let those answers bounce around your head for a while. Then decide if you deserve better and act accordingly. I have.

Well, we’ve been going for too long. We used two ways to deal with that bad label. First, awareness alone can be enough to make a change. But the second way to change is to create so much pressure that you’ll break the bad-label’s spell.

Now, Marva Collins overcame those bad labels in yet another way. You get that method in Part 2 of this article. I’ll see you there.


To your habitual success,

Mark Flournoy

P.S. If you enjoyed today’s lesson, if it helped even a tiny bit, then please let me know. Email me at I’d love to hear from you.