Willpower

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Delayed gratification is defined as the ability to resist the temptation of an immediate reward and wait for a later  reward ( Wikipedia).

As children strengten their willpower, they need to learn when not to rely on it. In the Marshmallow experiment, many children tried to resist the temptation by staring at the marshmallow and willing to be strong. Staring at it weakened the willpower, they gave in and ate it. The ones that resisted for fifteen minutes tipically made it by finding something distracting. They turned around, covered their eyes, played with their clothes or sang a song. A few videos like this will reveal adorable children facing temptation.

Controlling attention is important. But the most important is that you need willpower to control attention ( Baumeister and Tierney, 2012)

Mihaela’s challenge: wait 15 minutes to get a second marshmallow if you don’t eat the one you have on the plate. Alex’s challenge: wait 15 minutes without eating the chocolate bar. If you resist temptation, you get 3 bars. In a week time.

Refining the basics of self-control involves setting clear and realistic goals, providing quick feedback, and offering encouragement to keep practicing and improving. Succes is within your reach if you build on the discipline to try, try, try again. (Baumeister and Tierney, 2012).

As intelligence is not a sure predictor of success, we can exercise self-control and resilience with rewards at the end of the day, breaking big projects into chunks, writing goals down and making them visible or even cross-country events that may increase the appreciation of long term rewards.

“Willpower is to the mind like a strong blind man who carries on his shoulders a lame man who can see.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

References:

Baumeister, F. and Tierney, J. 2012. Willpower: Why Self-Control is the Secret of Success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Level of Thinking

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Our character is a big mix of habits. “We are what we repeatedly do”, as Aristotl said. Breaking a powerful habit is an expression of our strong character, takes discipline and it can’t be obtained easily. The truth is that as long as we learn them, they can be unlearned, too. Start small, see how it works and then build up!

For one day a week, choose to focus on your students and your colleagues first, then your family and yourself, second. Start the day with a book related to your profession that helps you connect to other educators. If it’s not a book it can be an inspirational video or a lesson provocation. Maybe an early workout? You are shaping your day, remember!

Read and reply school e-mails first. As a rule of thumb if someone has something important to communicate, they will plan it and do it early in the day. For this day try to keep aside social media and personal e-mails. It’s a good exercise to practice control over things that are meaningless and eat up a lot of your quality time. Prioritize your growth mindset and do things that are challenging you! Don’t worry if you’re falling behind with what’s happening in the world! If there’s fire on your hair someone will stop and tell you!

So, what do you do differently? What are the outcomes? Do they bring more efficacy in your professional and personal life?

Prioritize the most important task. Today I finished working on a summative assessment for grade 5. They have to use their knowledge and skills to adapt movements and create a gymnastic routine with a twist of Parkour elements. It took me quite long but I am happy with the results. While teaching this grade, my student Catherine told me that she wanted to be acknowledged. She made me smile so she shared her routine accompanied by another colleague in front of the entire class.

Increase your student contact time. In grade 2, Joe told me that he aims to bat the ball where there are less fielders. He would swing his arm horizontally taking it back to produce more power. A few grade three students designed their own rules before starting a modified volleyball game. It was tempting to join them, seeing them having fun, although their idea didn’t sound amazing at first. We had time to inquire about the purpose of the game’s structure or rules and great answers were revealed there.

Pay attention to details and take decisions. The basketball practice was interesting since Saturday we have a game and our point guard will miss it. Thomas has never been a leader. He was surprised to learn that he is going to have different responsibilities and leading the team is one of them. For the whole session his positive attitude helped him to produce an energising atmosphere.
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Establish greatness. I left the school with a good vibe, as no media impacted my performance, and it was time to meet my kids. If you are a single educator, you might have friends awaiting for you and I suggest do not waste your time! Take them out of their comfort zone for one day. Be a game changer!

With my daughter, Mihaela, who’s 3, I have learned that for a mouse the forest is the perfect home. The mouse loves to eat the seeds that fall from the trees. I read the book 4 times for her and I had to role play all the animals. Try this, please. You will laugh for sure. If curious, you can find more information in the book Baby Animals In the Forest.

Since she was late to bed for an afternoon nap, I have managed to squeeze in a workout using just dumbbells and stretching bands. This activity came at the right moment and energised me.

It felt good to be flooded with serotonine. Enough to have a new start with my son, Alex. He is 7 and he woke up with refilled energy. The skateboard and the wave board were our favourite tools for the next 45 minutes in the park. We took a different route when returning and we have learned that big trees grow powerful roots that can even break the concrete. Did you know that? Alex also talked about a Spanish game. He read about it in a Romanian book and I thought this was a great idea to be shaped for my grade 3’s in the net/wall unit.

Tap your potential. Our left hemisphere is logical while the right hemisphere is more creative. We use both sides of the brain but one tends to be dominant. It will be great to dominate with both and shift anytime between them according to our needs. But we love to stay within the habit of the dominant one. Unfortunately this is a left-brain-world we live in. This is a hardwired problem with our brains. We will naturally gravitate towards easy ideas (even if they are stupid), despite the fact that a better option may exist, but that takes a little more effort to search out and comprehend.
The take here is to be aware of our potential and consciously use our minds to become more effective in using our strengths to meet various needs.

I went to sleep early and luckily there was time to read. E-mails and social tech can wait until tomorrow while I am re-charging and being productive looking back at this day. It is possible that next days will be difficult ones, but it is very important that I can find the essence of my profession when I want to tap into it.

Expand your perspectives What is important for you? Why are you doing what you are doing? How will you shape your personal and professional life? What one thing could you do that would make a huge positive difference for you?

Start with a new level of thinking. Compare yourself to no one and turn a new page in your life.