Sunday, September 7, 2014

#Failure is a Pit Stop, Not a Defining Moment: UseYour #ExecutiveFunction Skills

updated 2/7/16

Are you a young professional, a parent, or a student accustomed to uphill progress? How about uphill failure?

It is not uncommon to have children and adults diagnosed with severe cognitive deficits to encounter a sense of repeated failure in their academic performance. Just like a mathematical formula, a repeated sense of failure can have what seems like a compunding effect over time on a growing, developing human being, if not corrected. 

One helpful aid parents can integrate is to give their children strong study skills. Good study skill tool and strategy application can make an incredible difference in grade performance. Emphasizing the use of different study skill tools for your child as part of a home executive function skill program puts more focus on an effective process, or modus operandis, rather than an all-encompassing focus on end results. This shifts the focus into a 'growth-oriented mindset,' or perspective which greatly disallows a situation of repeated failure. The outcome can be diverted, just as a large ship is diverted by a small rudder. These skills can be easily sharpened if you know what you are doing. If you don't, then keep reading. 

By changing your perspective, learning and applying daily routine metrics and having a clear, realistic goal in mind, it is possible to breakaway from these 'sense of failure doldrums.'  Start children as young as you want. It helps the baby to see the four year old sister doing her 30 minutes of planning out activities with the parents and following through. The principles stick with them as they grow up and create a success-based framework based on simple metrics. Starting them young makes it so that it is ingrained in them at a core-level. A one year old may not know what in the world the parent is doing with a planning map that is categorized and prioritized, but the introduction of such actions, if consistent, impinge upon just about everything else in their life. A child with low-functioning autism who is non-verbal may not use the executive function skills vocabuary words (like prioritize and foresight), but can understand the repeated sequence of actions in planning out, prioritizing, starting & following through with goal-directed persistence as time and practice occurs.

Is it because they had fun doing it and felt like they accomplished goals. I think yes.

Think about it..

Eventually, if their is consistency, the three or four years old  will remember how doing the map planning made them feel.. like they accomplished a great deal. Parents can make a special fun event out of map planning, prioritizing and following through that is set to an appropriate amount of time for their age.

Sun Tzu hit on this point in his 2,500 year old book, The Art of War. To paraphrase him, it is by many calculations that victory is attained.

So calculate!

Things to keep in mind:

The executive function skill planning map idea works better with young children and re-routes how information is orchestrated, managed, and manipulated, setting the conditions for successful forward momentum. 

Encountering failure when operating this framework becomes a helpful pit-stop, rather than a defining moment of who the person is at their core.


Coach Bill operates with a select team in Connecticut, New York City metro area, Martha's Vineyard, Boston, and all of Puerto Rico. He works directly with individuals, families, or organizations, and is assisted by a select team of highly-paid professionals.  

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