“Choose knowledge for the sake of knowledge over achievement. We are in an achievement-oriented society. We judge and value people based on their achievements. But most of the people who get caught up in that trap – always trying to “get ahead” – their reward for that is almost always high blood pressure, ulcers, early deaths and even things like cancer. Remember, it’s a perfect universe. There’s no stress in it. Only people thinking stressful thoughts.”
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If you’ve read Aesop’s fable, The Crow and the Pitcher, you know that the moral is “Little by little does the trick.” My 5th graders read the fable and then were assigned a response: Give an example from your own life that describes this moral.
Here are a few responses:
- “I got more flexible by stretching every single day, now I can do the full splits!”
- “I practiced drawing every day and now I’m really good.”
- “I saved up for an expensive video game by practicing piano every day (got paid $2 each day).”
- “My mom used to be addicted to soda. Each day, she drank a little less. Now, when she has some, she feels sick.”
- “We planted watermelon seeds and watered it every day. We got a watermelon!”
- “I have played tennis since I was three. I play three to five times a week and I’m really good now.”
- “It’s really hard for me to wake up in the mornings. When my alarm goes off, slowly, inch by inch, I move sideways to the lamp and turn it on and get out of bed.”
When can you do little by little to achieve your goals?
As a teacher, I have many different types of students:
talented, but not diligent,
talented and diligent, and
not naturally so talented, but diligent
I do not have any untalented and non-diligent students.
It is the diligent students who meet the most success. There really is no substitute for hard work, self-discipline and care. With facts and “knowledge” readily available at our fingertips (Internet), it is not “knowing data” that will lead to success, but knowing how to use that data and knowing how to interact with people that will lead to achievement.
Grit is proven day by day, hour by hour, and on a consistent basis.
What will you be dedicated to – every day – in 2018?
Can a single mom with four children, build a house for her family, using YouTube videos?
Yes, she can.
Motivation is tricky. You have to have several factors present, including:
- The belief you can achieve the objective (advancement);
- autonomy (you have free will and the ability to it your way); and
- responsibility (you take on what you need to in order to achieve it)/
What are you motivated to achieve?
My co-workers and I discuss motivation of our students on a daily basis. So-and-So is simply unmotivated…if only he would find his motivation, he’s smart enough to pass, etc. We
teachers agree that we cannot give our students motivation. We can only inspire. But that’s often not enough.
Everyone has experienced the lack of motivation to create or pursue a dream. What is it that creates the “click”? The decision to act and work toward a goal?
Daniel Pink of Drive asserts that our businesses are operating under an outdated and unproductive system of carrots and sticks. Bonuses simply do not work long-term. What works, then? His research shows that there are 3 essential elements for enhancing motivation:
- Autonomy – “the desire to direct our own lives”
- Mastery – “the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters” and
- Purpose – “the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.”
Essentially, extrinsic motivators do not work. Treats or rewards for good grades, reading books, practicing piano…they can actually undermine intrinsic desires.
Tomorrow, I will cover the first of nine strategies Daniel Pink identifies to awaken your motivation.
Tonight, our school, the Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies, will recognize award winners.
Students grades 4 – 8 will receive a plaque or a certificate or a trophy for Perfect Attendance, Honor Roll (GPA) and outstanding work in extracurricular activities.
It’s a night to publicly celebrate hard work and dedication.
Students who earn these awards do so because they push themselves consistently. They work hard every day and they reach their self-made goals because they want to do their best all the time. Some may do it for their parents or for the recognition. Others do it because seeing anything but an “A” on their report card means “all is well” or “I’m OK.”
Recognizing your hard work and appreciating excellent work is important.
However, ribbons, plaques and trophies are extrinsic motivators. Intrinsic rewards are the most powerful and enduring of all motivators. Do it because you love it. Some of our most famous and beloved actors* worked for decades before winning the other Academy Award:
Before, during and after receiving their awards, they worked dutifully to perfect their craft.