Let’s talk about the importance of Self Image for yourself and your kids
I have wanted to write about this video or concept for a while because I believe it truly affects a lot of kids and adults who shared a similar experience in their youth.
- Mom and dad weren’t athletic so you probably won’t be
- My child is not good at academics… it just doesn’t run in the family.
- That temper of his, just like his father…
It is so dangerous to put such hard and fast definitions on kids for very simple reasons…
- Kids will believe them
- The chances of them become a reality increase.
In 5 years teaching children and teens from ages 3- 17. I have not met a single child that could not become:
- Good at Athletics
- Good at Academics
- or Good at Anything they believe they could excel at….
The only exception when kids suffer from physical or mental handicaps.
What I am talking about today is discussed more in depth in a book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, M.D. It is a beautiful story of how a plastic surgeon discovered the amazing power of self image, and it is deeply recommended!
Before ever knowing this book existed, I arrived at these same conclusions. I was amazed how the kids some parents believed not to be good at athletics ended up excelling in our martial arts academy. My wife was one of these kids whose parents thought she will never be good at sports, and she struggled, but she now excels at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? What is the mechanism in place here?
The success of your child in academics, sports, or martial arts is 99 % of the time dependent on the environments they are involved in and not on their genetic background. Some games like basketball, swimming , or football, being a jockey, or Nascar driver have specific requirements that help a certain type of athlete excel more in each type of sport….but athleticism comes in may shapes and forms and I am sure there are more sports that your child could excel at than not.
The same goes with academics subjects, college, medical school, becoming a lawyer or opening a business and being an entrepreneur. It is all about the environment: coaching, teachers, mentors, and so forth.
The reason for this is for the simple fact that such thing as innate talent is overrated, and researchers year after year have deduced that it plays a smaller role in success. This is described in the passage from the book Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
“For almost a generation, psychologists around the world have been engaged in a spirited debate over a question that most of us would consider to have been settled years ago. The question is this: is there such a thing as innate talent? The obvious answer is yes. Not every hockey player born in January ends up playing at the professional level. Only some do – the innately talented ones. Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger role preparation seems to play.” ― Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success
Another Important book that can shed on the light of how much genes have to deal with success in any field and I mean any field is: “Talent is Overrated” by Geoff Colvin. Below are the quotes I really find to shed light on the issue. The ones in bold are my favorites.
“One factor, and only one factor, predicted how musically accomplished the students were, and that was how much they practiced.”
“Over and over, the researchers found few signs of precocious achievement before the individuals started intensive training. “
“IQ is a decent predictor of performance on an unfamiliar task, but once a person has been at a job for a few years, IQ predicts little or nothing about performance.”
“No matter who they were, or what explanation of their performance was being advanced, it always took them many years to become excellent, and if a person achieves elite status only after many years of toil, assigning the principal role in that success to innate gifts becomes problematic, to say the least.”
“In math, science, musical composition, swimming, X-ray diagnosis, tennis, literature – no one, not even the most “talented” performers, became great without at least ten years of very hard preparation.”
“The people who do become top-level achievers are rarely child prodigies.”
I hope by this point in this article I have convinced that the cliché: “Your Child Can Be Anything He Puts His Mind To” …is actually very true.
Nevertheless if A+ B= C then it follows C-B= A. By simple logic, if believing that our kids may not be able to excel in a certain area or field can be destructive and devastating to their self image and success then the same can be said if we from a young age tell them white lies:
It runs in the family that we are good at sports and academics.
We have the gene of hard work in us…Every ______( insert last name here ) loves to work hard and put effort.
For a kid as smart as you nothing but an A+ would do
and so forth …
lets get creative and empower your children by creating the best self image ever!
p.s This article can be applied to adults as well, as long as they adopt the self image that they are flexible, and can learn new ways instead of the old saying : “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks” …Ironic isn’t it?