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Bio Lab
“I want my child to grow up to be a successful adult.” Sounds familiar?

I am yet to meet a parent who is shy of telling that they want their child to be a successful adult. My question to them as perhaps you can anticipate is – How would you define success? Followed by –

How would you know that your child is successful?

– What would be the measure of that?  

– How would the child himself/herself know s/he is successful?

– What exactly is the right age/stage of life that the child should emerge successful?

– What happens once the criteria of success (qualitatively and quantitatively) is achieved?

These look like a series of trick questions, isn’t it? And while you may be able to answer some or all of them with some degree of ambivalence now, these criteria tend to change as you/they grow older. Please understand that shifting of understanding what is success over time –  is natural. Our expectations from people and situations keep changing depending on where and how we are at that point in time in our lives and our understanding and expectations in context of that specific time period or situation we are personally in.

I have shared these key elements of looking at and at the same time measuring success with parents over the years and they have found it of help.  Being quite timeless, these resonate with most of them. It keeps them moving on the path of supporting their children to be successful adults.

The three key elements of success according to me are:

  1. Motivation

This is the inner passion that ignites us from within. It is also the will power to start working on a goal and to be able to continue on what has been started. This can range from learning a skill like sport, music, art, language, climbing a mountain or keep a diet regime.

  1. Inspiration

This is the idea. The muse. The intellectual ecstasy. The eureka moment. This comes from role models, reading, watching, exposure, travelling, seeking challenges outside of comfort zone.

Both of these are feelings. You feel motivated. You feel inspired. As all other feelings – happy/sad, excited/depressed, angry/calm – they come and go depending upon various external factors which impact the environment you are in at that point in time, besides yourself. Psychologically or physiologically.

  1. Aspiration

This is the hope. Hope to imagine a new self, a new being, a better person. Hope of doing. Hope of achieving. Hope of leaving a mark. Hope of making an impact. When motivations fail, habits break. When rituals no longer motivate. When no one and nothing makes you feel inspired out of your blues. Out of ill health. Out of financial loss. Out of personal loss.  Of a constricting circumstance. When it is dark and gloomy. It is hope that keeps one going. For when hope is lost, all is lost.

Aspire does not mean that you push yourself. It means there’s a pull. It is a pull that is larger than motivation, bigger than inspiration. It feels you are being pulled towards a purpose. It is to dream. To have  faith that can pull people out of despair. It feels that there is a higher purpose that is driving you to do what you can. It is greater than your person. It is so because you can only aspire to do things for others.

I for instance, constantly aspire to write more and better, have more effective sessions of sharing with the learning community. To share my thoughts and experiences with students, colleagues and parents and learn and grow while listening through theirs. I aspire to motivate. I aspire to inspire others not just by explaining what I am thinking or what I have experienced and learned but also by embodying it. I aspire to find ways and means of impacting education and information dissemination. As a scientist earlier then as a journalist and now as an educator.

Teach your child to aspire. It will help them in becoming all that they can dream of becoming and be their best successful version.

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