A two-decade study of more than a thousand adolescents revealed focus, self-regulation and delaying self-gratification is a better predictor of someone’s success than IQ and socioeconomic status. Hmm, then why do many parents provide overbearing feedback and take away opportunities to their kid/s to learn from mistakes? For them to only feel better in the moment? It is not the kids’ fault; parents usually do this to make themselves feel better more than anything else. It is hard to see your kid struggle and to make it “better” parents jump in. They want to fix the problem and make the obstacle go away so their child will shine or not be hurt!
When a parent, teacher or coach takes away the chances for the kids to have delayed gratification, they are robbing them of the opportunity to develop focus and determination which are lead factors of current and future successes. When you find yourself wanting to help with homework, solving a dilemma or stop the pain of learning golf, STOP! Let them learn from the moments of focusing and solving the problem for themselves. There is nothing more satisfying than when you are faced with a challenge and you work through it and accomplish a task that took some focus and time. This builds on itself, it gives a student-athlete confidence, which breeds self-efficacy, which breeds willingness to accept more challenges, which brings on growth.
Focus is a great lead to achieving goals, but it does require some self-regulation. This means for the overbearing parent, teacher or coach or the “helpful, just trying to help make it easier for my kid” parent, unless it has to deal with driving, or emotional support, take a step back. Let your child do the work necessary to learn from being patient, allowing the development of essential executive functions of time management, prioritization of tasks, emotional control, and learning how to handle coaching. Back to focus being a predictor of adult success, by allowing your kid the opportunity to build strategies themselves for this, you are helping them more than you know.
Student athletes, it is time to step up! You are the driver of your journey, take responsibility for your actions and thoughts. If you want to achieve your greatness in the classroom, on the golf course and in life, focus on the task in front of you, develop your strategies to work through the problems. In many cases, the easiest way to accomplish something (your audacious dream of being the best player in the world or to play college golf) is through focusing on the small things in front of you. Work through them and do not rely on mom, dad, teacher or coach to give you the answers to the “test,” that is yours to take and work on. Start by working daily on the hard things first, one task at a time and you will be amazed at how much more you will accomplish when you stop thinking you can multi-task! You know, how you play golf, 1 shot at a time and add it up at the end!!
Enjoy Your Journey!