It is critical that you make sure your child understands that people are not born with genius and skills. All your child sees everywhere are the final results of other people's efforts. YouTube videos show amazing athletes perform crazy stunts – on the 50th try - but they don't show the first 49 attempts... to record the video. Not to mention the hours of training.
Your child's friends are getting As and it looks like “they just get it.” No one talks about hours of learning, tutoring and preparation. Why? Because preparation isn't cool. It's way more cool to just show up and rock it, it's not cool to stay at home for hours, beating on your craft.
Key mindsets to drive home:
Geniuses aren't born, they are made – help your child switch the perspective to before the genius arises. Emphasize the cause-effect connection between the learning process and the results.
If someone knows something, they learned it. There is no way around it. - there was time when Einstein did not know physics. It actually – attention please! - took him 10 years to fix all the mistakes in his theory. There was time when Michael Bloomberg hadn't started Bloomberg TV. Everyone put hours of effort to get where they are. Being good at something is not rocket science – you get out of it what you put into it. Even people who look like “they just got it” learned their skills. Your child can get to the wow-level – he or she simply needs to learn and push through the initial resistance.
Help your child focus on what they have - their advantages and resources, and use them – take action. Focusing on what they don't have is a waste of time. Help your child focus on action: shift from “what I don't have” to “what I have and what I can do with it.”
I get it, your son's teacher grades unfairly, your daughter's chemistry class is early in the morning, track takes a lot of time and your teen is tired afterwards.
It is all 100% true. All of this makes it harder to do well.
Of course we all would love for the teacher to be great and for track to be energizing.
But that's not the case.
So now, what do we do about it?
When it gets tough - that's when it counts the most. Everyone can handle easy things. Tough challenges expose real skill. Hard concepts, hard tests, hard games are the opportunity for your child to do their best. See how well they can do. They will do well when it is easy – most people will. But do well when it is hard and leave others behind! When it gets hard - push even harder, try even more.
Your child may often feel like they are slow because learning new things is challenging. They are constantly facing harder and harder challenges. They are light years ahead of what they were learning just 2 weeks ago. Help your child appreciate their progress and understand that learning new things is hard for everyone!
Usain Bolt gets exhausted during his workouts, sometimes throws up – does it mean that he sucks or that he is slow? NO.
So why would he throw up? Because he challenges himself to get better.
That's what makes him the champion!
When your child is learning difficult concepts, they might feel like they are slow. If they are constantly making new mistakes - it may feel as if they are making absolutely no progress.
The opposite is true – when they are making new mistakes, that's the sign that the breakthrough is literally around the corner.
Learning - and improvement in general - is a challenging process. Think about it! If it was easy – everybody would do it. It wouldn't be something your child could be proud of. If it didn't challenge them, it wouldn't change them either. The whole point of learning is to challenge yourself – to figure out more, to understand more. That's how it is suppose to be! Being challenged by learning doesn't mean your child is slow or not talented – it means they are doing it right!
Learn from your mistakes. Mistakes are not there for your child to just make them and cry about it.
Learn from them! "You made a mistake. We all do. It's ok."
What is not ok is leaving it as it is. You already made the mistake.
Encourage your child or help them find it and fix it! "What can you do differently next time?" Help your child figure it out.
Attention please – this is a big one:
New mistakes are a sure sign of progress!
Think about it for a moment.
If your child is making new mistakes, it means they are facing new challenges - they are making progress.
If they made the same mistake over and over – if they kept saying that 5 x 6 = 35, for instance – that would have meant they are not improving.
New mistakes mean they are making progress. It's like puking after you ran a mile in 6 minutes. Puking after you ran a mile in 5 minutes and then in 4 minutes. You are still puking, but your time is getting significantly better!
Key execution point.
Follow through and support your child throughout the process.
It's not enough to share all of this with your child. They will inevitably hit obstacles. They will reverse back to their old habits. They will forget what to do. Or how to do it. You need to be there for them. Redirect them back on the right track. Remind them of the principles. Offer your advice. Remind them of the priorities, the goals and the steps. Help them stay focused on the path.
I know you are now thinking...
“Wow, Amadeus, all this is fantastic and APPLICABLE stuff.” 😉
Yes, and you know what the most important thing is?
Everything I just shared with you is 100% applicable to any endeavor.
Which means that your child can use all of this everywhere – no matter the industry they get into, the job or the environment or even relationships.
It is a lifetime investment – you establish this way of thinking now and it will propel your child forward for the rest of their life.
The mindset of proactive learning and boldly facing challenges is what makes great athletes, CEOs, authors, performers, employees, managers, bosses.
As a matter of fact, people who don't develop the growth mindset, who don't like challenges are easy to spot and usually don't progress much.
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