Last week our daughter Daniela met with her teacher to discuss a zero grade that was not deserved for a homework assignment. The teacher’s attitude was not welcoming and was not willing to listen. She said there are no exceptions!
I thought, what a vain and unrealistic view of life for an educator and a defeating attitude for kids.
During my school years, I was never studious, but I was always sharp and a determined kid. As an old man, I realized that my success was not a result of my Intelligence Quotient “IQ”, but a result of my Emotional Intelligence “EQ.”
EQ is a relatively recent behavioral concept that people are just beginning to acknowledge. It is defined as "the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions."
EQ was raised to prominence with Daniel Goleman's book “Emotional Intelligence.” Goleman in his book identified the five ‘domains’ of EQ as: self-awareness, mood management, self-motivation, empathy and managing relationships.
The traditional notion that IQ contributes to success is too narrow of a tool to really measure success. Success is measured more accurately with EQ, which takes into account character and behavior.
Success does not come by just possessing a high IQ or by being theoretical. In his book, Goleman explains that IQ only contributes to 20% of "factors that determine life success," and assures that EQ accounts for the other 80%. We all have met people with very high IQ’s and have PHD’s but are socially awkward and are uncomfortable in a group setting.
The old model of learning was based on memorizing disseminated information. The new model of learning is based on motivation, understanding oneself, setting goals, intentions, responses, and understanding others and their feelings. Unfortunately this model is almost nonexistent! At school, work or at home!
A good teacher is the one that is there to nurture growth and improvement allowing kids to fail but enable them to attest themselves. Those are the teachers we remember all our life!
The old method of hammering students down like a nail along with the philosophy of punitive behavioral change no longer works.
Dominic Randolph a great educator that focuses on character development, and positive psychology points out that, “The push on tests is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.” And he believes that “Emotional Intelligence breeds success, because it keeps failure in perspective, and allows children to begin to think of themselves as successful in overcoming adversity.”
Children who learn how to deal with failure and gain knowledge from each failure tend to be emotionally intelligent. A child who fears failure will lack the ability to overcome adverse scenarios in their life. A child that is fragile and fails will view him or herself as a failure.
This is why standardized testing is so misleading. Children who are pushed for test results are not passionate about “achievement” and their curiosity is discouraged. They are not provided with the opportunity to gain the skills needed to overcome difficult situations.
Success is not the result of high-test scores but of people that have developed Emotional Intelligence, have passion and determination.
Although Daniela was not able to get the teacher to review her grade, she was determined to let the teacher know that she did not agree with her decision. She knows that this grade would not affect her life, but it is unfair and most importantly, Daniela was willing to challenge it…
Here is great link about the importance of keeping failure in perspective and allowing children to begin to think of themselves as victorious. "John Merrow, Paul Tough, Dave Levin and Dominic Randolph..."
I always had an ability to recover quickly from a failure, defeat, or disappointment. This great ability to recover after a hard hit is called RESILIANCE.
The dictionary defines resilience as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.
Every person has to deal with failures or losses, they are an inevitable part of life. These setbacks may be minor or dreadful. The result and psychological impact depends on how we deal with these misfortunes not knowing where it will end. Resilient people don't avoid life's hard knocks; they confront and bounce back, survive and flourish.
Why am I so resilient? I have analyzed myself, even though I am not a sociologist … how am I able to get so many hits and bounce back over and over… I do believe, your environment makes you resilient.
Thinking about my past I realized that my experiences as a child were diminutive in comparison to the stories that I have encountered in my adulthood. However, I would like to share what I believe is one of the reasons.
As a result of a small accident, when I was 8 years old I lost movement of my right elbow. I had several surgeries but was never able to regain complete extension. As result I was left with a "frankenstein" looking arm.
At the age of 10 here I am, my body has no balance and looks more like a crab with one small and one large claw. At this point I had two options on how to react to my new reality, either hiding and becoming an introvert or come out stronger saying this will not impact who I am. So I chose to become more of an extrovert and laugh at my situation as opposed to being teased at.
An incredible person that I admire is Nick Vujicic, he was born without arms and legs but did not allow that to stop him from becoming an author, motivational speaker, music producer, entrepreneur and more. This is a part of his bio from LIFE WITHOUT LIMBS: Throughout his childhood, Nick dealt not only with the typical challenges of school and adolescence such as bullying and self-esteem issues; but also struggled with depression and loneliness. He constantly questioned why he was different than all the other kids surrounding him; why he was the one born without arms and legs. He wondered what the purpose behind his life was, or if he even had a purpose. According to Nick, the victory over his struggles throughout his journey, as well as the strength and passion he has for life can be credited to his faith in God. His family, friends and the many people he has encountered along the way have also encouraged him… there is a purpose in each of the struggles we each encounter in our lives, and that our attitude towards those struggles, along with our faith and trust in the Lord can be the keys to overcoming the challenges we face.
Nick has an incredible attitude, resilience and self-esteem, and has a great mantra… "If I fail I try again, again and again and it is not the end. What matters is how you are going to finish… are you going to finish strong?
Resilience is the ability to confront stressful, difficult and sometimes devastating situations by attacking the adversity head on! To have the strength to pull oneself together to overcome the unimaginable! Resilience seems to be related to confidence, independence, flexibility and optimism.
At the age of 10, I decided to become a person with a great confidence and attitude and tell the world here I am. Individual resilience is closely related to our personal sense of security or how comfortable we feel about ourselves.
At the end many people never realized that I could not move my arm, my attitude and resilience overpowered my problem.
Why was I so concerned?
Everyday, as a family, we have breakfast and dinner together. In the morning everyone is fresh and we talk about our schedule for the day. In the evening we discuss what we did in school, business, horseback riding, friends and so on... Normally, it tends to be the best time of the day.
A few nights ago, dinner was not that pleasant… I had just returned from a meeting and was excited to share the results with my family. When we sat at the dinner table there were 10 different arguments, criticisms, complaints, taking place at the same time. At the end I lost my temper and yelled at everyone! Dinner was over and everyone left the table irritated. When I went to bed, I thought to myself what happened? How can an opportunity to have a great moment with my family become such a FAILURE?
Something that we are doing is wrong and we need to change it! We need to reinvent our gatherings as a family!
The dictionary defines to reinvent as to do something again, from the beginning, especially in a needless or inefficient effort, to transform, to arrive at a fresh phase.
If you do not like something, you have to change it! In order to change something you must first ask yourself, “Why am I allowing this to happen? What am I doing that is not working?”
I came across this article 5 Stepts to Reinvent Yourself: “Change means reinvention. Each time a major shift happens in our lives—leaving a job or a relationship, moving, losing a loved one—we have to take control of who we will become or risk never reaching our full potential”
As I was writing this blog a friend of mine called me for advice. He wants to make a major change in his life but he is hesitant. Two years ago he got involved in a business that he thought would thrive and unfortunately has just been one headache after another.
I have been telling him to cut his losses, get out and make a drastic change. He has a lot going for him, smart, young and energetic. His current business is sucking the air out him and if he does not change it will get worse. A change of scenery, a new market and he will regain all his excitement once more!
Personally, I had been in similar business situations myself. I made the mistake of staying too long in a business that was not going to improve. Despite the fact that I saw there was no light at the end of the tunnel. It is important to be consistent and have the perseverance to make something work, but as important know when to move on and cut your losses.
Successful people do not complain instead they take action and adjust! When they see something is not working they reinvent themselves fast.
So I needed to reinvent our dinner hour fast! I created a card game from post its. Each member of our family gets a card; all the cards direct you to do something. The statements on the cards are; Do not complain, control your temper, give a complement, do not criticize, talk about your day, share a new idea, sing a song, what are your dreams…
Yesterday, at dinner we talked about our “dinner game”, my kids made fun of me but we had a great time… no fights, criticisms or complaints. If we continue playing this game first, we will have fun, second, with time, these thoughts will become part of our daily habits.
"People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out." Warren G. Bennis
Who I am today as a person is largely due to my failures!