I have always prided myself on having a plan B. Whether I would be driving from place A to place Z or starting a business, I always had a plan B. All my life I considered this characteristic to be a positive one and a good success strategy. Having a Plan B sounds like a sensible, intelligent and logical thing to do or at least I thought so.
After reading Kent Thune’s blog: Entrepreneurs: use your delusion sell Illusion, I realised that there is a very dark side to having a plan B. Why do I say this? Well, success at anything requires total commitment, focus and some luck. The funny thing about luck is that you usually get it when you have total commitment and focus but that’s another matter altogether. Plan B’s if done correctly also require commitment and focus, not as much as plan A, but some. If we only have a finite amount of commitment and focus to give, that means we have to share it between plan A and plan B. In so doing we are in fact diluting plan A. It is hard enough to succeed at anything and in order to give ourselves the best chance possible we need to be completely committed and focused on Plan A.
I have also realised that a Plan B provides me with comfort, less stress and renders me emotionally subdued. But to make a plan succeed, you need to be completely invested in it, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, there should be no leftovers. To only have a Plan A requires that you put your all into whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. To be completely committed is a very difficult thing to do but also your best chance at success…
A few weeks ago I rode in a family mountain biking event in Sabie which had many water puddles along the route due to rain the previous day. While riding I noticed that the kids participating always rode through the puddles while adults avoided them like the plague, including myself. I watched the anticipation on the kids faces before steering their bikes straight through the middle of the puddle and thereafter the pure joy in their eyes and grins on their faces. I felt a pinch of jealousy, even some envy, I wanted that feeling, I wanted that grin on my face! I tried in vain to ride through the puddles, all I could think about was all the things that could go wrong and the mess on my clothing and bike that would need to be cleaned. I was overcome with sadness, I had lost my inner child. I was this tight assed killjoy adult. I wanted my inner child back, I wanted that grin on my face!
We spend our whole lives experiencing stuff from which we build little rule engines in our minds which determine our future decisions. We slowly block out the wonder with consequences and fears. We stick with the known and avoid the unknown, we become, dare I say it, killjoy’s. We wonder why we are no longer as happy as we were as children and seek answers in self help books, religion, living through our children and who knows what else. We take comfort in the fact that we are no longer children but mature adults now.
I have never liked the idiom “To have one’s cake and eat it too”, so I for one, would like to be a childult i.e a mature adult who experiences childhood joy. From now on I challenge myself to ride through the puddles.
Unschooling, or my preferred term, Natural Learning is a worldview that life itself is learning and children naturally seek to learn. A parent with a natural learning worldview seeks to provide children with an environment in which they are free to follow their curiosities and discover the world. In doing so children would develop the necessary life skills that they would need on their life journey.
Ellen Galinsky, the author of the book Mind in the Making identifies 7 essential life skills every child needs, namely
- Focus and Self Control
- Perspective Taking
- Making Connections
- Critical Thinking
- Taking on Challenges
- Self Directed, Engaged Learning
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at each skill from an unschooling perspective. This will elaborate further and describe the principles of Natural Learning. It will also illustrate that life skills are a natural outcome of a natural learning environment.
Bye 4 now…..