If you are interested in the neuroscience of high performance and positively lining up your kid’s thinking and outcomes for massive success in their lives read on.
We are all trying really hard as parents to get our kids to learn how to succeed with things like school work and sports, and extracurricular activities so that we can show them that hard work, discipline, stick-to-it-tive-ness, and other qualities become engrained as habits for them. We love helping them strive to make the “A” teams they are trying to make. In fact many of us may be obsessed although we don’t realize it is an obsession because we think we are helping them.
The other day, I was ashamed of myself regarding my parenting skills. I had fallen precipitously into parental …..‘make the “A” team’-behavior’ with my son and his attempts to make the local “A” soccer team. I was not pleased with my thinking during the process and I was not happy with what was coming out of my mouth to him after his tryouts.
I felt this intense guilt. I know how to guide him through this I pondered, why am I slipping into this nonsense. It was almost like I was hi-jacked without even being aware of it. …..<I do know better>
I caught myself quickly, and stopped. This is very good. To observe myself while in the middle of what I didn’t want was excellent. This awareness was critical.
I finally decided enough was enough and I was going to start teaching my son what I have been studying for the past 20 years. One of the ways of doing this is to compliment your children. I find that it takes amazing courage to actually look for reasons to compliment your children. To really dig down to find what they did correctly is hard. It may be easy for one game or two, but to do it each and every time takes courage.
I have a deep respect for these emotions that well up during games and practices.
Over the years I have looked into my own ways of increasing personal performance and I seem to run into what is called an ingrained ‘negativity bias’. Even though you think that you are helping them by spending time trying to post-game coach them through their mistakes, the neuroscience of high performance points in the opposite direction. Neurons that fire together wire together. You want strong bonds in your kids brain around those areas that you notice them achieving in. This enhances the bond in the brain around this behavior.
I am not talking about pandering to children or giving them ‘participation awards’. I am also not talking about kids who break parenting boundaries. This is a different issue altogether. What I am referring to is creating a ‘highlight’ real of what your kids are doing correctly.
My son went to this tryout for an Elite team. I decided to create a highlight film of his best efforts and successes during the tryout. I showed it to him afterwards. Here it is.
When he saw the footage, his eyes lit up watching himself and hearing the honest and positive feedback I gave him. There was plenty of advice I could have given him with, “correct this or correct that”, but I wanted his brain firing on what he did right. The world is designed to pull him down….all of us down. I need to teach him how think and how to ‘feel’ in intense tryout situations. Sports is simply a metaphor for life. There are many many more areas that he will want to excel in. It is imperative I teach him how to think and ‘self-manage’ his internal thinking. He now has a highlight reel. He can use it as a life skill.
We were on the way to practice just today and he was not feeling keen about going. Sometimes kids feel this way about commitment. I get it. We all have times we want to bail out and not do something, but I used this time to play his personal highlight reel on his phone and I could see him light right up. It was fun to see. I did not need to give him some pump up speech. I just needed to show him his best self in motion and action.
I was thinking of other ways that I can use this approach with him. Here are some ideas that I am using that you can use yourself to create highlights for your own kids.
- My son had an amazing turn around in school last semester as well. I can use this easy tool as well to re-enforce his goals, and help him remember how he really had to dig deep to turn bad grades into good grades
- So many things today can be achieved with no effort. When your kids achieve something that takes effort, planning, this can be emphasized.
- Teach them that you are proud of their effort by vocalizing this.
- That you are proud of the hustle versus outcome.
The important thing is to highlight behavior and outcomes that are largely controllable because life is so capricious and unpredictable. The more you can highlight the best you see in your kids the more likely they will start to think in their own brains that you are right about them.
You might be wondering if he made the “A” team. As of the writing of this I don’t know, but it also doesn’t matter. The point is what is he is learning how to think. He is learning that excellence takes effort and he is learning how to create his own awareness and perception of his world.
The tools I use to edit video are listed below
- PC laptop – I know these tools exist for Macs too so this is not a big issue
- Handheld Video Camera – Any
- Camtasia – Video editing software
- Imtoo – needed in case your camera does not kick out the correct file type. This software will convert it into the correct .avi, mpeg, etc format for Camptasia to be able to import
No Limits Life is a show containing a mix of interviews with people who inspire me with their heroic Journeys, their fearless approach to living a ‘no limits’ life, and a commitment to integrating all aspects of their life into inner and outer success.
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