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Personal Best Karate

How to Build the “Dare Greatly” Side of Your Child?

Posted: May 17, 2019

By Master Christopher Rappold

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? If you are like me, the answer may be “More than I am doing right now”. Why is this? As I reflect on it, I think it partly comes from two pains; first, the pain we associate to trying new things; and second, the pain of carrying the memories of falling short and feeling like we lost. Whether it was criticism from another or something else, the not doing is more pleasurable than the potential gain from stepping out of your comfort zone.

Keith Rollag, Babson University professor and author of the book, What to do When You’re New: How To Be Comfortable Confident and Successful In New Situations, suggests the answer might be being less focused on performance and more focused on fun. Let’s face it: when we can help to shape our children’s focus by pointing out the adventure and fun of something, rather than our children sensing they didn’t rise up to our expectations, they are going to be more at ease in trying new activities.

When I teach martial arts classes and I am working with someone whom I sense is nervous about making a mistake, I will often say to them, “Please make as many mistakes as you can. It gives me something to do and helps me to feel important.” At first comes a confused look on their face, then usually a smile and a sense of being at ease. When they relax they always end up performing better.

Finally, take the time to celebrate the win of trying something new. Many people don’t give full credit for having the courage to simply step up and give it a try. Because performance mindset is so ingrained in some, even if they try, if it doesn’t come out perfect they won’t do it again. I have always liked the saying “Every master was once a disaster.”

Celebrate the courage and keep the performance expectations far away until the time it is appropriate. What a gift you can give your child to know that it is OK not to be perfect right out of the gate. This will set a strong foundation for being at ease to be OK with taking risks and daring to be great!

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