The Real Costs of Aiming for the Moon – Part Two
[For Part 1 of The Real, Unspoken Costs of Aiming for the Moon, click here.]
Hopefully, you read or listened to my tip called The Powerful Perspective Shift that Dramatically Increases Your Kids’ Success.
In this post, I wanted to focus on another issue with aiming for the moon. It is generally accepted that we all should be aiming as high as possible. Yet there are many reasons why that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Are you aware that gifted people often underperform? If you’d like to know why, and how to avoid this trap, listen to the tip I mention at the start! The fact is, one of the best reasons not to aim for the moon is it leads to underachieving more often than not, as I discuss in that tip.
Also, what does our world really need? Do we need more people striving to be the best in a few narrow fields? We have such a narrow definition of success that the logjam is intense. For example, almost every parent now wants their child to go to an Ivy League school, despite many great reasons to go to other schools, including the child’s interests and the fact that there will be less pressure. Pressure can inspire greatness, but it’s a delicate balance. Too much can kill motivation, erode self-confidence and rob your child of so much joy.
Yes, the world needs leaders and breakthrough movements. But we also need followers of various levels. The line between a leader and a follower isn’t always that clear. First adapters are a great example of people who are providing leadership as well. We need the critical supporters who help build and finesse the vision. We also need leaders at many levels, not just in the top tiers of society.
Don’t you agree that we also need more people who know how to live well in community with others for example? People who are compassionate, caring and have the patience to build towards achievable, meaningful but not necessarily earth-shattering changes? People who can bring new perspectives to problems because of their unique view of the world?
We need people to feel supported in their dreams, regardless of how big or small they are. Although it sounds logical that if we aim higher, we’ll achieve more, that’s not what the studies show happens. If you have any perfectionist beliefs, you’ll recognize that your too high expectations of yourself and others can quickly make life seem undoable. Imagine what it’s doing to our kids?
I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while. We’ve never been in a time when our culture has glorified individual achievement more. As parents, this causes all sorts of stress, as we no longer are expected to JUST raise happy, well-adjusted kids (as if that’s not a huge accomplishment!).
We now have the pressure to make sure we are equipping our kids to be all that they can be in all areas of life. It’s insane, and it’s not resulting in better outcomes. It’s feeding into the insanity that is making parenting harder, and outcomes less certain, than ever before.
To end on a fun note, I’ll leave you with this YouTube video that shows how critical the first adapters, aka followers are, not just the “leader.” Leadership isn’t something that is done by one person in isolation. Without critical support, there is no movement. So let’s focus on raising kids who are as willing and able to support a great idea, as to feel compelled to come up with it and start the movement. Then we can let our kids figure out where they want to fit in the world, at any given time. Everyone flourishes more in an environment that allows for them to be who they are.