Ok, it's not everyone's goal to raise the next Tiger Woods or Serena Williams. But we all want our children to find their secret talent. With talent comes pride and the confidence that with hard work, they can overcome life's obstacles. And let's face it, there will be many of them.
According to Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, you can unleash your child's secret talent by understanding that talent isn't given, it's nurtured. Here are his six strategies to help your child discover, and realize their potential.
LOOK FOR TINY MOMENTS OF IGNITION
Let's face it, practicing a skill can be tedious. To practice deeply requires more than just self-disciple and dedication. It requires love of what's being studied. When a child's identity becomes intertwined with the goal of becoming great at something, they're much more likely to succeed. Child musicians who see themselves as adult musicians learn 400 percent faster than kids who did not. In other words, to achieve greatness, it has to be their goal, not yours.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SLOW PRACTICE
This technique is applicable to learning all sorts of skills. When you practice slowly, it's easier to sense and fix errors. With repetition, our body's muscle memory takes over. One classical music school says you should play slow enough so that an ordinary person would have no idea what song you're playing. To go fast, you must first go even slower. Very zen.
NOT ALL PRACTICE IS THE SAME
Coyle talks about something known as "deep practice." It's when we operate at the limits of our capabilities... making errors and adjusting for them. It's important that our children push themselves to failure. Kids who see errors not as failure, but as an opportunity to improve, are the ones who make the greatest strides forward.
PRAISE EFFORT, NOT RESULTS
When we praise their effort, children become more inclined to take risks, make mistakes, and improve from them. Don't tell your daughter how proud you are for the award she won. Tell her you're proud because of how hard she worked to achieve it.
Vividly imaging yourself perfecting a skill is often a crucial step towards actually improving. It's no wonder this technique is used by so many professional athletes. Don't close your eyes to make a wish. Close them to visualize.
Try these techniques. Even if you're child doesn't win Olympic gold, they can take away something even better: happiness.
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