Saturday, January 14, 2017

Secret to Success: Learn it from a Grade 5 Student

The video above was posted yesterday. The individual in the video is a student in my class. We were wrapping up gym class and he asked if he could shoot some hoops. As I was putting away some of the equipment we were using he asked me if we could make a deal. I said sure. He said, "if I make a shot from half court, can I get something?". I responded by saying, "sure, the whole class can have an extra 10 minutes of activity time but you can only have one shot". 

As I put the equipment away he took a couple of shots and when I was done with the equipment I told him he could take a "practice shot". By this point he has probably taken 3 half court shots. When it was time for him to make his official attempt, I pulled out my iPhone to record his shot. Well, what do you know, he sank the shot! The class erupted in happiness and we were all feeling really good about what just happened. It was pretty cool to see it live and he felt like a million bucks.

Later in the day I tweeted the video out. I got a response from one of my colleagues about the video (thanks +Michael Leonard). His son had asked him how many attempts he made before sinking the basket. 

Great question. It reminded me to think about everything we don't see when something awesome like this happens. I thought about this student and what I know about him and his love for basketball. I thought about his story and what he has had to do to be able to successfully make that shot. I then tweeted about that.

In order for him to sink that shot he would need to practice, a lot. He would need to learn to deal with missing, a lot. We can call that failure.

He would need keep trying after failing. We can call that resilience.

He would need to stay positive, and have a growth mindset.

He would need to learn to adjust his shot based on his last shot. We can call that iteration.

He would need to have some hope, faith, and some success every now and again so that he would be motivated to keep working at it.

He would need to start small by shooting hoops from close range and backing up step by step to continue to challenge himself.

He would need to spend his time practicing and not doing other things. We can call that sacrifice.

He feels good about his abilities and is open to challenges. We can call that confidence.

He plays organized basketball, his parents support him by spending their time and money so he can play the game with others and learn from a coach. We can call that support. 

There is always a story to go along with the video. I know that this student loves basketball. He takes great pride in learning how to play and he challenges himself to become better everyday. He is passionate about, and loves, the game. It brings him joy and has allowed him to achieve a level of skill that gives him confidence.

We can learn a lot from people like this. The next time you see something awesome and are inspired by it, I encourage you to reach out and talk to the individual who is doing awesome things. Find out about what has led then to success. I have a feeling you will hear the same types of things that I have written about here.

The secret to success is really not a secret. Hard work, making mistakes, continued attempts, support, and a bit of luck will lead you to success.