Back in December, I read Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron. While the book centers on training athletes, a number of the insights that Bergeron shares are relevant to personal improvement. Bergeron also has a regular podcast that you can follow on YouTube or iTunes which digs into some of the topics covered in the book.
In the most recent episode of the podcast, the discussion centered around grit and how we can build resilience. Bergeron shared a story of his brother who earned high marks in school without much effort and discussed how this lack of a challenge does not prepare someone for some of the obstacles that are certain to come in the future.
The quote below is the one that stuck with me.
“People who thrive without a lot of effort sometimes struggle when they hit the wall if they have not learned how to work through struggles and show grit.”
I have a child who had an experience similar to Ben’s brother and earned high marks through high school without extending himself. He was routinely on the high honor roll by working for the A and nothing more. Unfortunately, in some cases, this required very little effort and in most cases, his studies did not lead to any deep learning. We need to work harder in schools to make learning about something more than grades.
I have another child who has also achieved high honors throughout her career by spending a much greater amount of time at her studies. Her results have been very similar, but the effort she has put in is markedly different. Listening to the podcast on grit, I couldn’t help wondering which child would be more adept at handling challenges moving forward.
How can we do a better job in rewarding the effort and not just the results?