Monday, December 9, 2013

1 Second Slide into Success w/ Action-Focused Mindsets

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm-

Winston Churchill

This statement is a mindset which can be used as a framework for the practice of excelling in rapid time towards short/ long-term goals attainment.

Here is another mindset that parents, teachers, coaches, and even professors can use.

Praise the process, not the end result.

This is the crux of the 'growth-oriented mindset.' It is buttressed by two other flanking mindset that I am identifying; how you say what you say, which is the definition of 'paraverbal skills,' and the second minor-mindset, more aptly called a 'parameter mindset' is ...'kids expect what we  inspect.' This means that kids pick up on what you value and is important to you by what you say and by how you act.

Churchill's comment is an attitude with a goal. It voices strong conviction, and a goal-directed persistence that well not be stopped. Think about it.... 'from one failure to another, without loss of enthusiasm.'  Hmmm.. that takes inner strength. That involves using multiple executive function skills in an overlapping manner over a constant 24/7 period of time. You need emotional control, foresight, goal-directed persistence, sustaining attention ability, focus, time management awareness, strong metacognitive strength, behavior modulation, impulse control, and many other skills.

Here is a secret: The use of this Churchillian mindset upon clearly-stated goals that are sequenced and 'frontloaded-out' on a calendar are the recipe for getting things done and achieving daily small success enroute to complete goal success.

Routinizing the use of this mindset and helping kids/ adolescents/ adults go through the motions ingrains a repeated sense of accomplishment that can never be taken away. In and of itself a liberating incentive that prompts one to have a knack for goal-achievement.

What I mean by kids expect what we inspect...

When I was 10-17 years old, I knew that every time I finished washing the family cars my Father would check the inner door rims and frames for dust/ dirt/ smudge. I also knew he would check under the car seats to see if I vacummed well. Lastly, he'd make a big deal about how clean the bottom siding of the car was. Over time, I was expected to polish the interior. Basically, my Dad wanted a incredible job done. The guy basically would pay me $10 and I would do better than one of these super duper car wash places with their awesomely high prices. The take-a-way point here is that I was taught to be proactive by the consistency in which my Father expected multiple clearly stated parameter to be fulfilled. The money was a great incentive in keeping me receptive to his General-like insistence on car cleanliness specifications. It helped me be more tolerant to how he expected it also. I would eventually do a great job over and over again, and my Dad always praised my attention to detail. I learned the value of focusing from the onset on doing it well, including learning from my mistakes. I learned about the idea of using a framework of parameters to guide and lead me towards high-quality work output. Having parent/ adult support made it all possible.

The inclusion of money as an incentive was a powerful incentive and had influence over my use of my executive function skills. This is evident in my use of foresight to be emotionally-controlled as I sustained my attention for up to 45-60 minutes during the interior/ exterior cleaning/ polishing of each car. Without the money, I would not have been so calm, cool, collected, nor receptive to continuous feedback on 'spots' missed in the cleaning of the cars. In fact, I would have probably put up a fuss, and would not have expanded the work to include my grandparents cars. But the money did help, and I urge parents to teach their kids to be financially literate by having them work towards earning money in the house.

This provides parents instant ideas to create parameters by which they earn their money. Parameter ideas include throwing out garbage. Eventually this task can be stepped up to be more challenging, like throwing out garbage from all home wastebaskets. Other ideas include, room cleanliness, academic planning evidence (to do lists/ desk top calendar long term prep to be ready for quizzes, tests, hand in essays, etc).  What you inspect consistently, they will expect to be checked on. The trick to smoothing the receptivity rails of their mental flexibility (an executive function skill) is the creative use of positive reinforcement tools/ strategies that generate engagement. In the case of children from age of 3 and up, money is a great incentive. Using piggy banks, and role-playing money transaction situations with very young kids by playing 'store' is great too. Kids in first grade can learn about loaning money and getting credit from parents through the use of home chores.  The use of money as a creative incentive supports the dire need to raise a financially literate generation of Americans, and it sets a foundational platform of experience for kids to eventually learn about creating a small-business.

All this done well involves the strenuous use of executive function skills, and that is good for America.

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