Focusing on what works


This post from Dan Heath was like a sudden ray of light for me. It amazing that something so fundamental and seemingly obvious, has slipped by me for so long. Rather than focusing on our weaknesses and trying to figure out why we can’t do something right, or why we seem to always fail at something, we should look at what IS working and why its working for us. Then, we can take those practices and lessons and attempt to apply them to what isn’t working.

Now you might say, ‘Well, I do that already!” I seriously doubt it, this is something that is so fundamental to human nature we don’t even think about it. Think about school (for some of us it is further back than others), when you got your marking card, did you look for bad grades? I bet you did. I know I did. Its natural for us to do this. Dan’s advice is to look at the good grades and analyze what worked with those classes.

This idea seems both fundamentally sound, but also terrifically difficult to implement. In my mind I can see two scenarios why something would work for me.

  1. I found the subject fascinating and working on it didn’t feel like work so I was inclined to be far more receptive when dealing with it
  2. The subject was simple, or it required little brain power to achieve great results

How then would I apply the ease of art class to the calculus class that nearly ended my sanity? I really have no idea. Calculus required an enormous amount of time for me to get below average marks, art on the other hand, required me to show up. Maybe its just a bad example but I think the idea has a lot of merit in specific situations.

Comments are closed.