What I've Been Thinking About...
Napolean once said, "All men are enamored with decorations...they positively hunger for them". The decorations he speaks of are awards, medals, badges, etc., that not only recognizes their work, but also gave the soldier something to be proud of. It was a nice little boost to the ego for the men putting their life on the line. Napolean understood the role this played in regards to morale with his troops and wanted to keep them in good spirits. As Frederick the Great observed, defeat is often a result of discouragement rather than casualties.
Last weekend I was visiting a friend and there, he was sharing a story about his daughter placing third in a mini-triathlon hosted at a local school. She received a trophy for her accomplishment and was extremely proud of that. We talked about where her trophy was (on her dresser) and if she was going to keep it shiny (which she said yes!). As I saw the joy in her face I started to think about the Napolean quote. It seemed that what he realized 200+ years ago still rings true today. People love getting things, especially if it is a reward for their hard work!
In my opinion, these rewards are best served when they are novel. If given too frequently, the sense of joy and pride will diminish with each recognition. The individual may start to expect it and realize they may not have to work as hard because they will most likely get rewarded anyway. The inverse is also true. All work with no recognition will eventually lead to disgruntled individuals who, through their frustration, don't give the effort needed. They throw up their hands in frustration and give up. There is a certain sweet spot in regards to this subject. If I had to guess the proper amount, I would say just enough but not too much.
Fitness Tip of the Week
Sleep better. That is all.
At a time where my sleep has not been ideal, I came across this article, You're Not Getting Enough Sleep - and It's Killing You and it was a big wake up call! In the article, the journalist rattles off a laundry list of things that sleep loss is doing to your health. Some of which are the following: "it makes you dumber, more forgetful, unable to learn new things, more vulnerable to dementia, more likely to die of a heart attack, less able to fend off sickness with a strong immune system, more likely to get cancer, and it makes your body literally hurt more. Lack of sleep distorts your genes, and increases your risk of death generally, he said. It disrupts the creation of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and leads to premature aging." All of those things sound absolutely terrible!
I have a device that tracks sleep and gives a score for each night of rest. So far this month, I have slept 7+ hours only six times in the first 28 days of the month. That doesn't seem too good. As a result, I have made an effort to stay in bed a little later and attempt to sneak in a nap or two each week.
Thoughts from a Parent
The British Journal of Psychology identified something that led students to have a 4.5 times greater likelihood of being in the top 20% of their class, 11% more likely to occupy leadership roles in their school, a 20% reduction in counseling for academic or behavioral issues, a 50% reduction in being identified as having ADHD by their teachers, and the increased likelihood of making it to professional sports. Do you want to know what that is?
It is being the old kid in class!
This concept is known as the Relative Age Effect. This effect is defined as your age relevant to your peers in the same cohort (school, team, club, etc.). Think about school for example. Every grade has a student that is the youngest and one who is the oldest. In most cases, the oldest student is nearly one full year older than the youngest. The younger the kids, the bigger the gap is as development occurs at such an exponential rates in the early years. I think back to what my daughter was like at the beginning of her pre-school year and who she is now and it is night and day!
How do the older kids get such an advantage? Because of their development, they may be identified as having a special gift or deemed "talented". The "talented" kids get into better classes, get more attention, feel more confident, and get more resources. The talent identification system is flawed as it only promotes early talent, not innate potential. Because of this process, a self-fullfilling prophecy occurs where "a false definition in the beginning, evokes a new behavior which makes the original conception come true". Telling a kid they have a gift early on leads to them being treated like they have one, which may increase the likelihood that they fulfill the "gifted" criteria.
What I've Been Reading...
Zealot by Reza Aslan
A few weeks ago Marisa and I went to a book sale that was practically a free-for-all. There were tens of thousands of books scattered amongst a pole barn and over the course of two days, I came home with 60+ books, Marisa another 60+, and Emilia 20+. We may have spent $100 for all of it. It was the best!
While there, I came across the book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth written by Reza Aslan. The author of this book sorts through thousands of years of stories and myth-making to create a somewhat biographical book of the man known as Jesus Christ. Even after reading this, there are still many unanswered questions in my mind. There are so many inconsistencies with what I may have learned growing up and what scholars cited in this book unanimously agree on. Why is there such a disconnect with some of this material? I don't have the answer to that but this book may have opened up an unexpected rabbit hole!
Quote of the Week
"If you tend to a flower, it will bloom, no matter how many weeds surround it" -- Matshona Dhliwayo
I hope you all have an awesome week!