Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Successful, Happy Life - It Takes More Than You Think

A successful, happy life. I guess everybody knows it takes more than money and beauty. Just ask Bernie Madoff and Kim Kardashian.

And guess what...It also takes a lot more than a good education and business know-how.

I try to stress this point with parents. Yes, kids need a good education. They need basic language and math skills and they need to understand how the world works. So they should pay attention in school, try to learn and get good grades, so they can get into a good university. And when they enter the workforce, they should try to learn the business from the ground up. Parents who care about their kids know this. Most of them are sacrificing like crazy to help pay for college expenses.

What most of them don't appreciate is that while it helps to get a college degree and land a good job, these aren't the magic keys that unlock the door to a happy, successful life. Parents could make all these sacrifices and years later their child's life could take a downturn. Failed careers, failed marriages, and worse...

It happens all the time.

The reason is simple. To build strong relationships and prevail against adversity, a person needs to develop skills and strengths that are almost never taught in the home or in schools. This model illustrates the areas of ability a person needs to develop:

Copyright © 2011, Performance Support Systems

Life skills - Practical and commonsense know-how, such as cooking, etiquette, using tools and machines, safety, hygiene, health, fitness, maintenance, etc.

Critical thinking skills - The ability to understand why, cause and effect, relationships, the big picture; the ability to envision future consequences, control impulses, create action plans and manage execution. Schools used to do a better job of this; now they focus more on fact memorization to pass state achievement tests.

People skills - Dozens of skills to get along with others, communicate, lead, sell, influence, etc.

Personal strengths - Dozens of behavior patterns that enable a person to do the hard things to deal with challenges and adversity, e.g., patience, perseverance, courage, composure, integrity, optimism, creativity, and many more.

Some bottom lines...
  • The core areas of ability are deal-makers and deal-breakers. They matter far more than an education and business know-how.
  • People don't receive development in these core areas in the classroom. And practically no parents know how to nurture them.
  • Nearly everyone becomes an adult without much conscious guidance and development in the core areas.
  • Some adults sense their inadequacies once they begin raising families and competing in the world of work. Some of them try to play "catch-up" in these areas. We call this "personal development." Most never do catch up.
  • An outside-the-box concept: Teenagers working on personal development. Yes, it adds to their "full plate," but it's important and they can do it. Many of them are intelligent, success-driven and are working on getting smarter. Getting stronger in the core areas of ability will give them a huge edge while in school and especially when they begin facing the challenges of adult life.
This is why we developed ProStar Coach, an unprecedented online virtual coaching service. It's the world's most effective self-development system for working on core strengths.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength .

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