Thursday, May 2, 2013

Giving Up

One of the boys is having a hard time with one of his school subjects. He felt he had "blown it" this school and would do a better job next year. Cindy and I told him there was no reason to write the whole school year off (for this subject). There are still seven weeks of classes - which is plenty of time to turn things around. Besides, if he wants to do a better job next year he should start now, so that he starts next year with positive momentum.

In the car I spoke with the boys about when to give up and "write things off" and when to keep trying. We used several sports analogies: a soccer match that is going very poorly. If you have another match afterwards you might want to save some of your energy for the next match, so it might be smart to give up on the first match. But if not, you are probably better off trying your best until the end of the match. Even if the score is desperate, you might learn something or at least change the momentum of the game and end in a good note. This might also be a good situation to try something new, take some risks. Besides, you never know... I recently was in a kite race which seemed hopeless. I considered withdrawing but didn't. Then some of the racers in front of me tangled and I ended up doing well.

We also spoke about arbitrary constraints. For example, deciding to retake your diet "next week" because you already blew it "this week". What do the days of the week have to do with dieting? There is no benefit to wasting additional days and starting again next Monday.

No comments: