I blog on Brain-Based Learning, Metacognition, EdTech, and Social-Emotional Learning. I am the author of the Crush School Series of Books, which help students understand how their brains process information and learn. I also wrote The Power of Three: How to Simplify Your Life to Amplify Your Personal and Professional Success, but be warned that it's meant for adults who want to thrive and are comfortable with four letter words.

Dent The Egg Because Rules Are Meant To Be Broken

By Oskar Cymerman | @focus2achieve | BAM! Radio Network & Teaching Channel Blogger

Crush School Break Out

Remember Columbus? He "discovered" the Americas while looking for the East Indies and landing on the island of Hispaniola.

Upon coming back to Europe, several Spanish nobles tried to discredit Columbus, by claiming that they could have discovered the New World if they sailed west themselves. As the story goes, the explorer grabbed a few boiled eggs, gave them to the nobles, and asked if they could stand the eggs upright.

Each of the nobles failed miserably of course. 

When his turn came up, Columbus simply dented the egg with a tap on the table and Voila! Upright the egg stood.

The navigator finished the lesson off by asking: If the solution was so simple, why had you not discovered it?


Societies create rules. Throughout history, those in power have created rules. They've had motives for the rules. They've given reasons for the rules.

Some rules are useful. Some are not. All need to be questioned.

One of the main reasons rules were created was to control large groups, the masses if you will. Pervasive, repeated often enough, rules programmed those who followed. Behaviors they evoked became Habitual. Ingrained. Encoded. Eventually, the rules became Limiting, Narrowing, and Distracting.

And here we are...

Fixed Mindset

The truth is that in this day and age we create many rules ourselves. Often, these rules live only in our minds. They're figments...

The Spanish nobles could not solve Columbus' riddle in the 15th Century. How many of our students would have come up with that solution themselves today? 10%? 1 in 5? Half? Certainly not all.

I'd really like to say with confidence that most would think outside the proverbial box and come up with some way to get that egg to stand. Dent it, use a piece of clay, tape it, bite the bottom off, do something! But am I confident they could? Are you?

Fixed mindset is a result of civilization and I'm not knocking organized living here. After all, it's allowed us to put the clubs down, stop the skull fracturing bashing, and led to survival of not just the fittest.

What I am saying is that once the rules were handed down and internalized we became complacent, comfortable, and confined in the box.

So how do we get out?

And how do we help our students get out?

We help them understand how the human mind works. We don't just tell them to think for themselves. We show them how. We help them see that it's okay to break the rules that confine them and create their own rules. We teach them how to become more creative. We help them realize that they CAN dent the egg, because rules are meant to be broken.

And we explain to them that some rules MUST be broken for progress to take place.

"Crush School: Every Student's Guide To Killing It In The Classroom" is a book that breaks the rules.

Crush School Book Cover

First, it was written for Students, Teachers, and Parents is Student language. Take a look:

Crush School Ch 1 Preview

Second, it helps Students, Teachers, and Parents get out of the box. See here:

Crush School Ch 3 Preview

The e-book is available on Amazon for Kindle at $9.99. It's a well worth it investment for back to school!