If Disney Could Fail Like He Did and It Brought Him to His Greatest Success...The Rest of Us Should Always Value the Lessons Of Failure and Never Let It Be an End Point!
We have all heard, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." What happens when you don't succeed, though? Do you really try again? Or do you give up?
A new study by French researchers found that children who were told learning can be difficult, and that failing is a natural part of the learning process, actually performed better on tests than kids not given such reassurances.
As a Psychologist who works with success and the benefits of failure every day, I believe there is no better way to take the punch out of failure and keep a kid going on work than to train them to fail with grace.
In the study, they focused on a widespread cultural belief that equates academic success with a high level of competence and failure with intellectual inferiority.
We place so much emphasis on being first or being the best and the fastest. The truth is that most of the kids I have met throughout the years didn't have academic problems and didn't have intelligence problems, although they presented as though they did, and their school reports said as much. Their main problem was that they did not know how to keep going once they did something wrong, so they would give it up, become frustrated and then try to do anything and everything else but the work. At the end of the day, they would miss out on material because of that avoidance. Work avoidance, lost homework, hidden homework. All of these are common problems, but the underlying issue is not always about academics.
Most parents bring their kids in for help because they either refuse to work or seem to have a learning problem. After years of watching what fear of failure does to kids, I believe that practicing the process of how to fail with grace, taking the emotion out of it and getting right back to the work is the key to doing well. If frustration has the ability to take a child away from work and make him never want to go back, then it is my job to help him learn how to tolerate the frustration and move on. Teaching them to get back in the "game" after failing or making a mistake is an important psychological part of helping them succeed. Over time, doing that takes the emotional punch out of failing and helps kids learn that it is a natural part of learning. Without it, they don't stay with the process of learning. It's not something to run away from but something to be embraced and taken on. Once they learn how to just go back and try again automatically, they can begin to do that on everything they take on because it can become habit.
While working with the academics, one must also make sure to pay attention to the psychological patterns and expectations or you could see no movement at all.
"By being obsessed with success, students are afraid to fail, so they are reluctant to take difficult steps to master new material" says Frederique Autin, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Poitiers and the author of the study published in the American Psychological Association. "Instead, acknowledging that difficulty is an important part of growing intellectually and mastering new skills, could stop a vicious circle in which difficulty creates feelings of incompetence that in turn disrupts learning," Autin added. An understanding that all things will not be an immediate success and that learning will take time and involve some mistakes, can help to keep a child's expectations at a realistic place and keep them working after setbacks.
Failure can be motivating. Keep in mind that some of the most famous, wealthy, successful people we have known have all failed at one time in their lives, including: Henry Ford, R.H. Macy, F.W. Woolworth, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Harrison Ford, Jerry Seinfeld and Albert Einstein. Walt Disney was actually told that "he lacked imagination and had no good ideas" by a newspaper editor. How's that for a perspective changer? Just imagine if these people had stopped trying! The failure was a gift -- shaping them into what they were really supposed to be doing.
We were awe inspired by The Hollywood Studios "One Man's Dream" This is the story of Walt Disney as told by a museum timeline complete with the facts and items he used to make the magic happen. It is followed by a 15 minute movie using mostly his voice to tell his story. It brought me to tears in parts and gave me good chills in other parts. All of it inspired me. Being trained as a Child and Family Psychologist, I can't help but seeing these things and trying to help others see it as well, because it can help everyone.
What did I learn? Amazing things that everyone should hear and read...
*When you see that even Disney is human enough to fail over and over again and then inspiration comes on a train in one moment and one thought and one drawing, you know that anyone can do well if they don't give up!
*When you let your mind be peaceful, creativity comes to you and so do the answers you need. Also, just because someone took something from you. does not mean that something better isn't coming around the corner. Sometimes what we are not supposed to be doing needs to be cleared before the thing we are supposed to be doing can happen. Walt was on a train from New York to California after having what he considered one of his biggest failures and having someone steal his first animation project. As he was sitting on the train, a mouse popped into his head and he sketched it and the rest is history.
*Sometimes the most inspired ideas come out of the smallest start.
*Nothing is insignificant when it comes to creativity.
*Running out of money as Walt did several times, does not equal running out of creativity.
*Starting poor and without anything, does not equate with where you will end up or how much you will have. Walt shared the story of his brother Roy and how, even though the family had nothing, and Walt had to work at 9 years old on a paper route, Roy would be the one to make sure that Walt and his sister Ruth had a toy for Christmas. Walt came from nothing monetarily and he built something that has touch millions of people. He may have gotten "rich" from his ideas, but I think the richness was in his soul and his desire to share with others.
*Focusing on your failures and working there is the exact wrong way to do things. Letting your mind open up and be creative after the failure is where the inspiration lives!
*Wanting to do for others is the true root of all inspiration. Walt's main motivation in Disney was not profit and mountains of money. His inspiration came when he took his 2 beloved daughters out to go ride the merry go rounds at the carnivals nearby. While he sat there watching his kids ride, he felt that there should be a place where the parents could ride with their kids and then put his whole soul into that. It was for his kids. My Dad used to tell me that if you love what you do and you want to do it for others, the money will come, but if you do things for just the money, you will hate what you do and never be successful. I have always lived my life by this philosophy and I believe that Walt Disney also did and it looks like my Dad's advice to me, worked for him as well.
*Family first. Walt's whole inspiration was for his daughters and for families to be together. I can't speak for all families, but I know that we get our strength and inspiration from each other and I like to help teach people how to get there too. There is so much other noise around all of us that can get in the way and distract us from what is really important. Blocking the noise and making sure you keep your family connected is where magic comes from.
*Do you know that the first time Walt tried to submit his ideas to a newspaper, he got rejected. the reason the editor gave him was that his ideas were not creative enough! Never stop dreaming and never let anyone tell you that your dreams can't happen.
We did not get to spend enough time there as we were trying to get to the Jack Sparrow attraction and we were the last showing of that for the night. I can promise that we will be going back to see One Man's Dream again and take our time to go through slowly and absorb the brilliance and inspiration and magic that came from one man who wanted to be able to ride with his daughters.
One of the things I constantly struggle with as a homeschool mom, is how much should be required that is strict curriculum and how much leeway I should give for creativity. I had such a proud mom moment a few days ago that supported the creativity side big time and it will be one of those moments that glows forever!
A little background....I have always cherished my time reading with our kids before bedtime. Since the 1st day of bringing our 1st baby home, every night was cuddling up breastfeeding and reading those wonderful little books with the cute, colorful drawings. We had and have quite the library and some of my favs still get read to this day. Through all 3 kids, every night, with only a few exceptions has had our cozy, warm, reading time. I am thrilled to say that even though they are 13, 11 and 8 at this point, they still love to gather round and do this with me, although now, even though still reading, it is an exercise in humor a lot bc I will spice things up and change words mad lib style to make sure they are paying attention and to get a laugh out of them. Or I might make the sound of something like a car instead of saying car and they and I have a laugh riot. It is a boatload of fun. The lexile ranges our kids have makes me proud of this happy habit and memory. I knew I was on the right track when our daughter's 4th grade testing came out at College age lexile range and the challenge became finding books that would match her range but be appropriate in content for a 9 year old.
Ok so, more of the background...when I had our second child, a nurse was not exactly used to a woman who had no epidural and did childbirth naturally as I did. She got kind of nervous and over exuberant and pushed my neck too hard during labor. Needless to say, she caused a nerve problem that made my mouth go numb, caused fear of a stroke and sadly, got in the way of my nightly reading for our second child. The only period of time I lost the every night marathon. The nerve healed eventually and thankfully all was ok, but the time lost with that reading always made me sad. We have more than caught up now, but I think that different beginning for our 2nd child, made the love of reading that our first child thrived on and thrives on, a lesser force for our second.
So my way of approaching this for him was to not be forceful about it trying to be respectful of that different beginning and honoring and celebrating the wonderful differences in our kids. While our 1st is very strong with reading and writing, our second is super strong with math and science. Not that I don't want them to learn all of it and they do. While our first born is already blogging, writing fan fictions and setting up websites at 13 years old with lots of followers, our 2nd has never been much of a writer or comfortable with creative writing but is amazing with building things. Everyone has their own wonderful strengths. A little humorous side note, our 3rd who is named Trace, was amazing with picking up Spanish when he was only 1. One of our friends made the comment that this made sense since he was our 3rd child and named Trace (Tres). We got a good laugh out of that for sure!
So the other day when our 2nd came to me to share with me the stories he has started writing, mind you, with no force or pressure from us to do so, that he is making into a serial fan fiction of his own, my heart swelled with so much pride it nearly burst! Huge hugs and happy support and interest were easy! He had watched both myself and his older sister writing a lot on PC, telling stories, writing articles and blogging. OF course theses kids had grown up with a newspaper columnist mother for most of their lives, so the idea of writing was never a stranger in our house, but to see him so excited and proud of his new story about crazy cows, which made me laugh out loud, was an awesome addition to any day.
I have always been a proud and strong advocate for allowing kids to find what they love to learn about and to write about, to get that kind of experience. I have seen so many kids be forced into writing bc it is supposed to make them learn to love it or experience it when it is meaningless to them, to find out if they do. My theory was supported in this experience, that forcing someone to do something that is not in them at the time, will not force a love of it. The person has to be ready to love it in their own creative way and once they do, it means something to them.
Yep! That was a great day!! Have you had one like that?
8 Things that Can Interrupt or Help for Better School/Work Days & Better Attention, Behavior & Learning
This can be causing a lot of your homeschool behavior, attention and learning problems. Can be easier to change than you think.
FACT: Any light in the room while sleeping will produce sleep problems. Our eyes and brain are designed to respond to light. To the brain, light means day and dark means night. Light means awake and dark means asleep. Your brain produces Melatonin in response to darkness to create sleep. Any light interfering with that will stop the creation of Melatonin. One of the first things I ask any parent who works with me about attention, behavior or processing problems, is what the child’s room looks like at night. The majority of them tell me that there is always some form of light in the room.
2) Are Sleep Clothes Interfering in Your Child’s Sleep?
SLEEP TIP: What does your child wear to bed? Is it too hot? Too cold? Does it have tags that scratch? If your child is being bothered by clothing at night, you can bet he or she is not getting enough deep sleep. The best way to find out is to ask the child about what his clothing at night feels like. What he likes and what he does not like.
3) Room Temperature
SLEEP TIP: Room temperature. A room that is too hot or too cold can interrupt sleep.
4) Electronic Gadgets
Do you allow your kids or yourself to use your hand held electronic, tablet or laptop right up until sleep? If you do, you should not question why it is hard for you to get to sleep and why it might be hard for you to wake up rested and ready to go the next morning.
The bright light on those gadgets tells your brain that it is daytime and time to be wide awake and alert. It competes with Melatonin production and keeps you awake. It can take hours for that process to stop and Melatonin to begin production. I find it interesting that insomnia is such a common complaint these days as our computers have become small enough to take into our beds with us.
5) Allergies and breathing problems
Our daughter had a sleepover party for her birthday and 1 of her friends that came to be part of the party clearly had a problem. When the festivities had died down and girls were drifting off, I heard a loud, grating sound from the room in which they were sleeping. I went in there to find our cousin snoring so loud she could be taking the paint off the walls. We mentioned it to her mom and a short time later, tonsils and adenoids out and problem solved.
My point here is that if a child cannot breath right while sleeping, deep sleep is impossible.
6) Natural sunlight during the day
In order for our brains to produce the Melatonin we need for good sleep in a natural way, we need bright sunlight for part of that day. Dr. Joseph Mercola says, "Make sure you get BRIGHT sun exposure regularly. Your pineal gland produces Melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. If you are in darkness all day long, it can’t appreciate he difference and will not optimize your Melatonin production."
Additionally, indoor lighting like fluorescent can also decrease your Melatonin production and interfere with sleep.
Dr. Mercola says, "Exposure to Outdoor Light Is Critical for Maintaining Your Master Clock
Most people in Western societies spend the larger portion of each day indoors, which essentially puts you in a state of "light deficiency." In terms of light intensity, outdoor light is far more intense than indoor light. Light intensity is measured in lux units, and on any given day, the outdoor lux units will be around 100,000 at noon. Indoors, the typical average is somewhere between 100 to 2,000 lux units—basically two orders of magnitude less.
"We're not getting enough bright light exposure during the day, and then in the evening, we're getting too much artificial light exposure. Both of those have the consequence of causing our rhythms to get out of sync," Pardi says."
7) Exercise during the day
It makes sense to me that if your exercise during the day, you tire yourself out so you sleep better at night. Turns out, I am right about it, but it actually goes further than that. The moderate physical activity actually creates the Melatonin needed to sleep and also may be protective against breast cancer.
According to Science Daily: "Moderate physical activity, which is believed to help reduce the risk of breast cancer, may do so because it increases production of a hormone believed to have protective effects against the disease, a Canadian research team has learned.
Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital's Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto have completed a study of how light and other factors, such as physical activity, influence the production of melatonin -- a hormone released mainly at night in the absence of light and believed to protect against breast cancer. The findings of the study have been published in the December 1, 2005 edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology."
8) Foods that produce Melatonin
If you want Melatonin, probably a good idea to stay away from high sugar drinks and energy food at night.
My grandmother used to make us cups of heated milk before bed. It is a great memory, but as I look back with the knowledge I have gathered, I realize she had a motive. Heated milk creates Tryptophan in the milk which creates Melatonin and sleep. Thus a peaceful night for Grandma and good sleep for the youngins!
An unusual drink that packs a sleep punch…
Have you ever tried Kefir? I have to admit that I have not drank it up until recently and once I did, I was hooked. It is a fermented dairy drink that comes in strawberry, strawberry banana, blueberry, raspberry and plain. Think yogurt, but like a smoothie milkshake with 10 cultures in it so it is probiotic and good for digestion.
The hard learning part for me, though was that I started drinking it in the morning. For about 2 weeks, I thought I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I ate breakfast and could not see straight for the rest of the day. I felt so tired. So I looked it up, thinking that maybe I had an allergy to it or something. Turns out that the cultures feed on the sugar or lactose and the by product is Melatonin. So, I switched to drinking it as my before bed snack and wow, what a great thing! Like slipping ya a Mickey at the end of the night. Perfect blend of carbs, fat and protein along with probiotic cultures and Melatonin. Slept like a baby and all refreshed in the morning.
The company that produces this product is called Lifeway and they also have kid oriented products as well, although our kids do drink Kefir. If you have a milk allergy, ask your Doc before doing this, but for us, it was a nice way to end the day and make sure that sleep was deep so the next day could be a good one. I also read that the probiotics digest the milk sugar and leave behind Tryptophan which is our natural sleep neurotransmitter. This process also breaks down the lactose so it is usually not an issue. but check with Doc anyway if you have a concern.
So you see that there are a lot of things you can do to improve your own natural Melatonin production and through that, improve lots of things in your life: your learning, attention, behavior, mood, success level, productivity, health and longevity.
Let me know how it goes for you if you make any of these changes. or if you want some extra help to bring attention, behavior and/or learning on track before the next school year. Contact Dr. Sherri
Have you ever had a moment where you did something with your child and right afterwards, you sat down and a moment from your own childhood started to play that wasn't exactly positive? I just had that moment. My son came into my office as I am sitting here intensely trying to unlock severe writer's block and trying to find anything online to move me forward. He asked me to come with him. I asked him if it was important because I was trying to work. He told me it was game related so it was not important and he didn't even wait for me to get to the end of my sentence before he said it and started to walk away. When I originally asked my son if it was important, the never ending truth that everything about him and what he enjoyed was and will and should always be important, should have been evident to me first and I knew that as the glancing blow of guilt grazed across my nose when I first said it to him. At some level, I knew that it was the wrong thing to say, but the driven part of me that supports the same son as well as my whole family came out as the victor in the battle of the internal wills.
I still went to see what he wanted me to see, because the guilt was motivating, but my response remained in my work and in getting back to it as fast as I could, so my responses to him were less than interested. I did go back to my, for today, non productive chair and started to scroll through the landing page website I was studying. Suddenly, I was 10 and my dad was just home from a 14 hour day of work and I tried to ask something and got pushed aside. Not physically as my dad did not ever become physical. Not even maliciously, because there was never a more hard working man committed to taking care of his family, but still enough that you knew that his head was still in work and the problems of the day and what you had to say could not be as important at the moment. So I sat in that millisecond of a moment and started to feel ill. I had done the same thing to my son in that moment and now he was sitting there feeling unimportant and certainly less important than my work.
Yes I am human and yes I know that we all do it from time to time, but I was not going to be that kind of parent. It was time to prioritize the right way. So I got up and walked over to him and told him out loud that I was sorry for acting that way and that what was important to him IS always important to me and I am interested in what he likes to do and that he should show me and not be worried about coming to show me things, even when I am working. I kissed him on the head, told him I love him and he said he understood. I went back to work in my office and my writer's block lifted like a foggy morning goes away in the light of the sun. I had taken a ghost of the past and righted it for me and for him.
The moral of the story for you and for me: there is never a moment lost that you cannot get back by doing the right thing and saying the right words. The kids come first and with that, the creativity will follow. Our kids are my life force.
Now get up from your addictive screen and go hug and kiss your kids!
Dr. Sherri's 2 cents
This blog will be for my writings and inspiration as a homeschool mom. Disney and other Central Fla attractions are our gym and physical ed/exercise, an educational world and a place to be inspired and together. We feel blessed to have that. Also being a trainer and teacher of natural solutions to attention, behavior and learning problems, and being around these places all the time with families with kids, I find there is a lot to say, a lot to share and a lot to teach and network about. This blog is where I will do that. Please be patient as it will take some time to get this set up and moving on a regular basis.