Home > Uncategorized > A Lesson On Achieving Goals From My 6 Year Old Teacher

A Lesson On Achieving Goals From My 6 Year Old Teacher

Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. ~Earl Nightingale

My daughter holding the first book she read by herself and the book she is working on now.

My daughter holding the first book she read by herself and the book she is reading now.

Witnessing my 6 year old daughter learning how to read is inspiring.   She’s not discouraged that she’s not the best reader in her class or that she can’t comprehend a Leo Tolstoy novel.  She doesn’t worry about the consequences of not being able to read and she’s not pursuing this skill because she believes it will bring her fame, fortune or an exciting relationship. Her goal is very simple: she wants to read her book and she accomplishes this goal by reading one word at a time.  When that goal is too big, she breaks the word down and sounds out each letter. Sometimes this process is slow and challenging, she gets frustrated (sometimes VERY frustrated) when she comes across a new word that she doesn’t know and has difficulty sounding out, but she’ll either ask for help or eventually figure it out and move on.  At other times, she whips through previously challenging words and sentences and feels rewarded by her accomplishment (if her beaming smile is any indicator).  Having tons of support and encouragement from her family, teachers and school volunteers has gone a long way to help her achieve her goals as well.  It will be a while before my daughter is proficient enough to enjoy Anna Karenina, but every day her efforts bring her closer and closer to mastering her reading skills.  It’s really amazing to see.

I find myself wondering how different my experience would be if I was learning how to read at my current age.  I suspect that my motivation may be different (far more fear and ego to confront for sure), but the fundamental process would remain the same:  I’d start by opening a book, I’d turn to the first page, then take on one word at a time, letter by letter, moment by moment.  Eventually I’d get through the book, and during this process, before I’d even finish the book, I would have become a reader.

You can read. This is no small accomplishment, only one you may have taken for granted.  If you ever doubt that you can master any skill you truly want to master, go read something. Then after you are through telling yourself the story of how you can’t do something, get to the practice of getting it done by breaking the goal down, into very easy, very manageable steps.  For example:  A sedentary individual who dreams of running a marathon may make putting her shoes on the first phase of their training program.  The next phase may be getting outside and walking around for a few minutes, the next phase may mean walking for longer periods of time, in time, she will be able to walk longer distances and at brisker paces until she feels compelled to jog, then run . . .eventually she will be conditioned for a full marathon, but in the meantime, she has already become a runner.

What small step can you take today toward achieving your goal? If you are unmotivated to do it, the step is too big, make it smaller and smaller until you are doing it.  If you are looking for even more tips on getting stuff done check out my post Turn Crappy Into Happy.

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