Success is a skill. Being a great student doesn’t necessarily translate to being a successful adult. So, you’re not off the hook just because your child is doing well in school. The most important things in life aren’t taught in school.
As a parent (or grandparent), you can make up for this oversight and still prepare your child for a successful and fulfilling life.
01) Set goals. Even a child can set goals. A child’s goals might be to get an A on a test, earn a spot on the basketball team, or finish a long book. Learning to set an objective and develop a plan to achieve it are valuable skills for anyone of any age.
02) Work daily toward a purpose. Having a goal and a plan is the easy part. Executing that plan reliably is considerably more challenging. Help your child to put in the time each day to achieve something worthwhile. It might be studying for a big test, exercising each day, or learning how to draw animals. Teach them (by example) to do the hard things first or the things that are most important BEFORE they go out and play.
03) Focus. No one teaches us how to focus. In fact, most of us spend our lives distracting ourselves, which is the opposite of focus. In Nir Eyal's new book, Indistractable, you'll find a ton of ways to kick distractions butt and there's even a part entirely devoted to helping your children! I highly recommend you take a listen (I'm an Audible reader! You can read it if you prefer the print version.) Meditation is one tool for teaching focus but there are many, many more that are way less woo-woo or seemingly complicated. I love meditation and yoga but you can also:
04) Care little what others think. This is a tough one to master at any age, but it’s especially challenging for children. It’s hard to be successful if you’re worried about the opinions of others. Set a good example and show your child what it means to be brave. Teach them to compete only with themselves and their past achievements.
05) Risk failure. The willingness to fail is strongly correlated with success. Successful people fail much more frequently than the average person. The more often you’re willing to fail, the more success you’ll find. Teach this lesson to your children. Again, set a good example.
06) Deal with failure. Once failure has occurred, it’s important to make the most of it. Teach your child that failure is a learning opportunity that makes them stronger and more capable. Remember, you either get the result you wanted or the lesson you needed! Empower your child with this valuable concept so they see failures as much needed LESSONS moving them forward... instead of steps backwards in their progress.
We learn so much from failure. Tell your child stories about failures and setbacks in your life and what you learned from them. Show them examples of others who failed but in the end were great successes, like Michael Jordan and Abraham Lincoln.
07) Deal with uncomfortable feelings. Fear is the greatest blocker to success. The inability to deal with negative feelings, in general, leads to bad habits, such as drinking, using drugs, overeating, and wasting time on stimulating activities with little value. Help your child to deal with uncomfortable feelings in a positive way.
Teach them to recognize that rush of fear in their stomach as a good thing. It represents growth. It's created by adrenaline and it means they are stretching past their comfort zone. Way to go!!
08) Interpersonal skills. It’s not easy to be happy and successful on your own. Relationships are an important part of life. Many children struggle to make friends and "fit in." This can lead to a lot of challenges in childhood and later in life.
Teach your children to think about other people in a way that lets them recognize that people behave in certain ways, do and say certain things, because of their experiences. We have no idea what is happening to them at home: how they are being treated or what they have seen or understand.
09) Time management. Use your time wisely, and you can accomplish anything. Teach your child how to plan and block out part of his day and how to use that time wisely. Procrastination is a success killer. We waste more time being afraid to do something, fearing, and stressing about it than we ultimately spend on doing the actual thing which we feared.
10) Self-care. You can’t be successful if you don’t take care of yourself adequately. Your child needs to know that he has a right and a responsibility to make his own needs a priority if he’s going to be successful.
We’re often taught to put everyone else before ourselves. However, if you look at successful people, most of them don’t operate this way. Teach your child what it means to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
Your child shouldn’t have to figure out everything on their own. They have you to teach them the ropes. Success is a skill that anyone can learn. Teach your child to be successful. You’ll learn more about success in the process and enjoy a greater level of success yourself.
Combined authors with Michelle Russell
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