Jim Wales' ARENA Process

A professor at Mesa College in San Diego, Jim Wales, has been using my book, Principles for Personal Growth, as one of the textbooks for his class (Personal Growth 140: Life Skills & Personal Adjustment), and he has developed a process to help his students apply the principles (rather than merely reading and understanding them).

He calls the process ARENA, which he refers to as “a method of meta-cognition — or — learning from what you learn.” He uses it as the structure in many of the Discussion Boards for the course.

If you’d like to get college credit for reading this book, you can, no matter where you live. It’s an online course. In a moment I will give you his email address so you can find out more about the class if you want.

But you don’t have to be in a class to use the ARENA process. Once you’ve decided on a principle and acted on it by putting it into practice in your life, you can use the following process — Act, Respond, Evaluate, Notice, Apply (ARENA) — to deepen its impact on your life.

1. Act — describe what occurred when you acted on the principle — when you took action. Examples of questions you can ask are:

What did you notice?

What occurred?

What was accomplished?

What happened?

2. Respond — share your reactions, discuss the importance to you. Examples of questions you can ask are:

What did you learn?

What new insights did you gain?

How did you react?

Was it hard or easy?

3. Evaluate the experience. Examples of questions you can ask are:

What changed as a result?

What helped?

4. Notice your bodily sensations. Examples of questions you can ask are:

What did you feel?

Were your neck muscles relaxed or tense?

How about your stomach? Other?

5. Apply the experience for future consideration. Examples of questions you can ask are:

What are the next steps?

What are helpful recommendations?

How will you use this knowledge?

It’s best to do the ARENA process in writing.

To learn more about Jim Wales’ class or to enroll, email him at jwales@sdccd.edu.

This article was excerpted from the book, Principles For Personal Growth by Adam Khan. Buy it now here.

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