Letting Succeed

Success is made of two things – one, to find what is one’s strength . Two, to strengthen those strengths continuously.

This article is a sequel to the article “letting Grow“. It is advisable to go through the previous article before you read this one to get the most out of this one.

On Nov.18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight. After he walks painfully, yet majestically, to his chair, he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward.

When he finished playing the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. One thinks that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage – to either find another violin or else find another string. But he didn’t. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then he played from where he had left off. Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. But that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.

Perlman is a living example of the greatest secret of success – your strengths: he didn’t worry about his polio inflicted body, he just played violin. He didn’t worry about all the pain, he just played violin. He didn’t worry about the loss of one string, he just played violin.

Perlman also redefined disability – is it about not having an ability or is it about not using our greatest abilities, not exploiting our strengths, not harnessing our potential?

If you want to select a high jump team will you train one who can jump three feet or train three who can jump one feet each? Then why is it as parents we are constantly harping on correcting child’s weaknesses? Isn’t it logical that we can only succeed on our strengths. The people who succeeded didn’t do that because they were nurturing their weaknesses. They almost ignored their weaknesses and nurtured their strengths.

If your child gets his report card and it says English 95, Mathematics 65. what will you work on? will you give him coaching in English so that he becomes a great writer or would you tutor him in Math so that he becomes an average somebody. Too many parents come to GenieKids asking for “developing” the child’s “weak” areas. Tell me what he is and I will make him more of that! It’s not about ironing out the wrinkles; it’s about forming peaks, success peaks.

What if I were to define raising successful children as the task of finding out, and then nurturing the natural talent your child is born with. What a society it will become if each child started pursuing his strengths. I am not trying to say that one should leave everything else. I am not trying to say that we should ignore weaknesses. I am trying to say that we should focus, and stay focused on strengths. I am trying to say that our strengths are where we should be spending maximum time, energy and effort. I am trying to say that if you are Perlman you should just play violin!

Business coach Dan Sullivan said, “If you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, all you end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses.”

In this whole effort of making children get a worthy career, more talents are sidelined, more strengths are quashed, more weakness are highlighted, more disability is endowed on children. There are too many average engineers, doctors and managers who would have rather become a great painter or a great explorer or a great athlete, or a great dancer!

Letting successful is all about letting it come, not through the drain of weakness, but from the well of strength.

See if you find value in this six point plan to raise a success individual:

1. Make a list of top three skills your child possesses and excels in without too much effort, preparation or sweat. Add to this three top qualities that your child has, like patience, courage, sensitivity, energetic, thinking etc.

(Ensure that you do not build your expectation into this. This is about him or her, not you)

2. Communicate to your child daily that these are her strengths. (Spend less energy on what she should be improving –spelling, saying thank you, sitting properly etc. (When we are told we are good, we tend to become better – affirm it)

3. Spend 80% of your time everyday on building these! (Find books, toys, resources, classes, coaching anything and build on it)

4. Keep away some money every day to create a resource to feed these strengths later. (This may sound strange but we can’t let money become a barrier when it would matter)

5. Start identifying and meeting people who have excelled in that field. Make your child meet them (Role models are amazing!)

6. Finally keep telling your child (and yourself) and the highest octane fuel in this world is passion – Picasso’s mother told him, “Son, if you get into navy, become the admiral, if you get into politics, become the president”; He got into painting and he became Picasso.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs? Ask yourself what makes you come alive. Then go and do that.Because what the world needs are people who have come alive!

By Ratnesh & Aditi Mathur