Sunday, December 7, 2008


What does it take to succeed?  Of course, that depends on how you choose to define success.  

So, how do we keep our own baggage from interfering with our children?  Do we have the discipline to let our children discover what success means to them?

Here are some resources for perspective:

1) Malcolm Gladwell's November 10 New Yorker article "The Uses of Adversity" opens with the rags-to-riches review of Sidney Weinberg who - as Gladwell states - was Goldman Sachs.  

2) Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick and Fame and Fortune.  If you have not discovered the Alger experience, take a weekend and grab on to one of his  wonderful, turn-of-the-century novels.

3) Frank Loesser's famous "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play from the same bootstraps vintage.  Remember how actor Robert Morse plays J. Pierrepont Finch and works his way from window cleaner to the top of the company?


Tamar Chansky said...

I think it is important to raise that question, and raise parent's awareness that they hold the key in many ways to how children view success and failure. If from an early age children learn to fear failure and dread disappointment, life will be a mission to avoid those experiences and play it safe. If instead, parents instill the idea right from the start that disappointment is uncomfortable but manageable, and failure is an opportunity to learn, kids will be more sure-footed as they step out in the world. This leaves them free to define their own terms for success.

I write about these issues in my new book, Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking: Powerful, Practical Strategies to Build a Lifetime of Resilience, Flexibility and Happiness.I devote an entire chapter to the issue of overcoming failure, destigmatizing it, making use of it and redefining it as a step on the way to success.

If you're interested in seeing an excerpt, please go to:

Tamar Chansky

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