Saturday, May 12, 2012

What To Do If You Want To Do Better

The other day I had a conversation with a parent of one of my students. She felt that I was being unfair in my grading and that I should take into consideration that some students struggle more than others. During the conversation she said that her student really wanted a higher grade in my class, which is always nice to hear when students care enough to want to do better. Later, she said that I could go a little easier so that the this student could feel accomplished. We ended agreeing to disagreeing. I didn't feel that I was too hard and she felt that I was.

The entire conversation lingered with me most of the night. I am usually good about leaving problems at work, but there was something that was just bothering me. As I was falling asleep it hit me! The parent said that the student wanted a better grade and I make it easier to get that grade (to be fair, she did not say it exactly like that, but those were her two main points). That was what was bothering me...if someone really wants to do better, then someone else should make it easier to do so.

I just don't believe that that is how it should work. If one of my students wants to do better, then they should work harder. If I lower the standard and make it easier to get a high grade, then the higher grade means less. How can a student be proud of earning a high grade if they didn't really earn it? I understand when kids are little we make sure everyone feels like a winner and you are just as amazing as everyone else. As they get older, we start recognizing them for the things that they do better than others, but make them realize that you can't be good at everything if you don't work really hard.

I can apply this same lesson to anything in life, even my business. I really want to have a successful (by my definition of success) business, but it doesn't happen if I don't make it happen. I also can't be upset that my competition is doing more business than I am if I am putting less work into my business. There are a lot of things I want in life, but I have to work hard to make them happen and I have to have a plan on how to make them happen. Nobody is going to come along and say "You know, I see that you really want these things, so I'm just going to grant all your wishes." I will accomplish some of my goals and some I will not. It all comes down to working hard; I have to focus on what I'm good at and continuously improve on the things I'm not good at.

You don't have to be brilliant to be a straight-A student, you don't have to be a natural athlete to go to the Olympics, you don't have to be naturally good at anything if you are willing to work hard to get better. Although, you may have to work hard than those around you.