What’s the No. 1 Skill Children Need to Succeed?

Apr 26 2012 | Tags: Emotional Intelligence

What’s the No. 1 Skill Children Need to Succeed?

By Martyn Newman, PhD

Managing Director, RocheMartin

After you’ve told your children that you love them and they must never doubt the value of their lives, what’s the number one skill they need to succeed? Resilience. The ability to bounce back from setback, heartbreak, injustice, and rise to life’s opportunities is quite simply the one skill that every parent should teach their children.

I’ve just finished watching my 25 years old son, Dylan win his first professional kick-boxing fight. Despite the win, let me tell you watching someone you love go three rounds in the school of hard knocks is never easy. By nature Dylan is a gentle soul, but also a highly trained and skilful athlete. But in the world of martial arts it takes more than skill to succeed, it takes mental toughness to shake off the painful blows and knock downs to bounce back time and time again to stay in the game and succeed.

Dylan has been through some pretty rough periods in his life and he certainly didn’t get the genes for getting up off the canvas from his old man. So, if you think your kids may have been slightly short changed by inheriting your DNA, don’t worry, genes are not destiny.

If you follow a few simple rules for creating the right cultural conditions that celebrates resilience, you can tip the scales in the right direction even if you’re not exactly Mohamed Ali. And, of course, the same rules also work for building cultures of resilient people in your business. As the philosopher, Robert Fulghum said, ‘all I really need to know, I learned in Kindergarten.’ Most of what we need to know about how to live and what to do we learn early; this is especially true of leadership skills.

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