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Effort Over Luck

The Kid’s Corral incorporates the research-based discipline approaches from the Love and Logic programs.  Below is an excellent article from one of theircontributorsJedd Hafer.

Effort Over Luck

Do you know any kids who believe their future depends 100% on luck?

These do not tend to be the kids who work hard at things. It makes sense. If I don’t believe my work will be the thing to produce results, why would I work hard at anything?

I feel sad for these kids (and the adults they become) because they often feel helpless and are heard complaining about how “lucky” other people are while they themselves never seem to catch any breaks.

As Jim Fay says, “We want kids on the ‘Perspiration Plan’ NOT the ‘Las Vegas Plan’ “ (with no disrespect to our friends in the beautiful state of Nevada). In other words, we want them believing that hard work and good decisions will get them where they want to go instead of believing that their success and happiness depend on the unpredictable roll of the dice.

Kids who feel more healthy control over their lives (present and future) tend to be more responsible and make better choices about big-picture issues. It becomes a good cycle: work at something – see results – feel good – work more – see more results.

Kids who believe it’s all about luck don’t get to enjoy this cycle as much. They don’t tend to study very hard, prepare very much or handle adversity very well. As a result, they don’t get the good feeling of seeing their effort pay off. They can become pretty miserable feeling so helpless all the time.

So, what can we do to help steer our kids toward the perspiration plan and away from relying on “luck”?

2 Simple ideas:

  1. Make them earn things
    Instead of handing kids everything they want, give them opportunities to contribute and earn by doing chores, taking care of the items, etc. This could apply to a car, a device, registration for a sport (they are less likely to quit if they have some equity in the activity).
  • Celebrate effort
    When you see young people trying hard and putting forth sincere effort, notice it and celebrate it. Even more than results, we should be paying attention to and praising effort.

These 2 simple strategies can make a huge difference in how kids view their future.

Hafer, Jedd (2019, March 8).  Effort Over Luck (Blog Post). Retrieved from:

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