From the wisdom of Jocko Willinck.
Being prepared is doing the hard work up front.
There are NO shortcuts. What prepares you to succeed is the months and years of constant effort to prepare. Build up your skills, hone them, repeat them, make them second nature.
What prepares you for a challenge is never the few minutes before where you visualise and repeat positive affirmations and listen to inspiring music. No.
Its the daily discipline, preparing yourself for the challenge. Discipline and training .. Being Prepared.
Being prepared is the opposite of winging it. However while winging it is never the first choice, there can be an element of being prepared so that you are better able to wing something.
When I talk about hacks, they are not intended to be on-off tricks that can be implemented on the spot ad-hoc. They need to be practiced, taken on board, ingrained, internalised.
Practice. Be prepared. Do the work to reap the rewards. Success is built long before the challenge is overcome.
Sometimes (very much only sometimes) facebook serves up a really awesome post. As the title of this post states, these items all require no talent. Your kid does not need to be super smart to do any of these. What they do need is some direction. Some coaching. Someone to show them these qualities, and to start experiencing the benefits they can bring.
Here they are:
Bang. What a list.
Make these part of every-day life. Start small. Introduce them in conversation. Be proud when these qualities are being demonstrated.
When you hear the word Retro you are most probably thinking something like Elvis, Beehive haircuts, Mission Brown paint colour. That is not what this is about.
Tell me .. do you think Self Improvement is something that can and should be done as a high priority, with focus and intent? Isn't Self Improvement the one thing that everyone strives for, to be better, to earn more, to love more, to be more generous, to achieve more.
How are you doing with your Self Improvement? How is your child going with that? Is it a purposeful, meaningful activity that is a tight part of your every day activity?
When I say Retro, I mean it as a "Retrospective" .. an activity where you take a moment to reflect on something, assess the good and bad, what went right and wrong.
Who does Retro?
A retro is commonly used as a tool in Business - typically for 'Agile' teams that are working together on a project. A Retro is used to periodically stop, assess your work, your results, your team dynamics, the quality of the work, the happiness of the team/sponsor/customer. The actions that come out of a Retro is supposed to improve the quality of the work, the quality of the result, the happiness of the team etc. By doing Retros quite often (every 2 to 3 weeks, after something is delivered) you build into your practice a feedback loop that should continually help to improve every aspect of the work.
Why do a Retro?
Its so often quoted that I think we tend to just gloss over it now, but if you continue to do things exactly the same way then you are likely to just repeat the same mistakes and achieve pretty much the same outcome. A retro is a chance to stop, assess, congratulate and celebrate the good stuff, modify the bad stuff, take note of things that we are unsure about.
This is really the very essence of self improvement. If you don't stop and take stock, adjust your course, consciously try and do things a little better, stop doing things that arent working, then what chance have you got of achieving the most you can?
How to do a Retro?
The four key questions doing a retro?
- What went Right
- What went Wrong
- What should I do Differently
- What Puzzles me
Some Guiding questions to help your thinking.
When should you do a Retro?
I would suggest the Retro should become part of your kids lives as soon as possible, and be used all the time.
What to do with all your Retros?
After you finish a retro, review your answers. Resolve to take some action on one or more of the most important points that you think need attention.
Definitely review your Retros from time to time. The true power in a Retro is to look back and make sure you are doing the things you thought you needed to keep doing, Make sure you are changing the things that you identified that needed to be changed. Did you really make an effort to find out about the things that Puzzle you?
The more you look back, the more you will take on board - you will just make it a natural part of your day to truly turbo-charge your self improvement.
That is kind of what its all about? Right?
Lets start by not talking about homework. What sets achievers apart?
- their willingness to put in extra effort, when everyone else relaxes, down tools, get distracted, the achiever will relentlessly pursue their goals.
- sheer grit to achieve a result
- the edge you have over other people will be the amount of effort you put into something. If you read more, practice more, reflect more, seek more advice, open yourself to more feedback, open yourself to criticism, learn, adapt, dodge, sprint, selflessly help others - you will slowly tip odds in your favor of achieving your goals.
I'm pretty sure people will argue some of the above points, but if you read enough biographies you will find that successful people do tend to display those qualities.
So how does homework help with this?
- Essential skill to build resilience, determination
- Essential in the formation of a habit that breeds success
- Success is mostly sheer determination, doggedness, willpower, grit.
Homework helps students by complementing and reinforcing classroom learning,
fostering good lifelong learning and study habits, and providing an opportunity for
students to be responsible for their own learning.
Students benefit from completing homework regularly. Homework helps them develop
organizational and time-management skills, self discipline, skills in using out-of-school
resources, and personal responsibility for learning
Note that learning should never stop, and definitely should be on-going all the way through adulthood. The ability to learn new skills, improve current skills, even taking the time to understand a subject in greater depth are core development priorities that adults should practice.
By starting kids with homework and making it a simple habit it will set them on this path.
What types of homework are there?
3 types of homework
How to do homework?
There is literally a metric bucket-load of resources on the net on effective study techniques. Choose some, review them and put together what works for you and your child.
SO what hacks can we start applying?
- Do YOUR homework at the same time as your child. Show a commitment to learning.
- Take a course on how to learn. COURSERA have an awesome free online course.
- Encourage your child to ask the teachers what will be covered next. Read ahead in textbooks, pre-read materials being studied. Pre-read material from multiple sources.
There is an awesome new talk on TED delivered by Judson Brewer about Habits, highlighting a simple and powerful means of breaking the Habit Cycle. It is titled "A simple way to break a bad habit".
Essentially the hack is to be mindful of the bad habit in all three stages of Trigger - Action - Result.
So .. for example if you compulsively get up off the couch in an ad break and head to the refrigerator to look for a snack; Judson's clinical findings are that if you are mindful at each step you have a good chance to help break that habit..
Just this act of thinking about each step of the habit cycle apparently has enormous benefit if you are trying to break a bad habit. initially, don't even try and stop yourself from doing whatever it is you want to stop - the power in this technique is to monitor your thoughts and feelings as you go through the motions of the habit.
I suspect this technique engages the conscious part of your brain and sends signals to the sub-conscious part that you are technically not happy about what it is making you do. By doing this repeatedly it may help to re-wire or short-circuit the auto response from the sub-conscious mind. I will investigate further on this for sure!
There is actually a great playlist of talks all about habits on TED. Check some of them out .. its fascinating stuff.
I will be putting together a complete article on Habits - what they are, how they affect our thinking and actions, how to break habits, how to form good habits.
Of course, there will be some simple but powerful hacks that we can apply to teach our kids.
In the meantime - how about we try this out.
Pick a bad habit and next time you catch yourself (hopefully at the trigger stage) you can think about how you feel as you are going through the process and acting out your habit. Do it every time you are in the grip of the habit and after a week or two see if you are closer to tricking your brain out of the habit.
I'm sure I will write these up in much more detail at some stage. However, for now I want to highlight what I consider the two most fundamentally awesome hacks that we can teach our kids.
Always on the lookout for the ultimate Kid Hacks