True, Olympic athletes, all excellent athletes for that matter, have a talent that has been developed and honed to a high competitive level. But it’s not the natural talent that sends Olympians to the games and then to the podium. It is something more. It is a commitment to work hard for a goal.They are motivated to excel, to do what they need to do to achieve such a high level of success. They are willing to do the hard stuff, the boring, repetitive, even painful activities that will help them become stronger and smarter in their sport, those things that will give them a competitive edge.
A recent article in Education Week called “The 5 habits of extreme learners” considers the changing landscape of future careers. With the rapid advances in technology, students today may be doing jobs in the future that don’t even exist yet. It can be hard to help students prepare for that world when we aren’t even sure what it will look like. That’s why we need to encourage students to explore and provide new ways for them to discover and learn. The author Milton Chen said this of these students: “Like extreme athletes, they were passionate and fearless.”
Think of it as encouraging your child to be like an Olympic athlete. Give them opportunities to learn that are outside the typical realm of education. Help them find what motivates them. Encourage them to keep working even when a task becomes challenging.