World renowned theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, once modestly said that, ‘it’s not that I am so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.’ For such a man with a remarkable brain and all sorts of amazing facts to prove it, we would be wise to borrow a leaf from this brilliant insight.
In this dot com era where everything happens at the touch of a button or even faster—like the swipe of a screen—developing the patience to go through a process until its logical end is becoming a much forgotten phenomenon. Is it any wonder then that the children we teach cannot sit still for more than five short minutes before their brain wanders off into what they were watching on television before, which definitely seems more exciting and engaging than some abstract math concept?
On the contrary, to the modern day methods of thinking and the “do it now and do it fast” mantra, history reveals that explorers that conquered the great wilderness and started new civilisations from scratch, and inventors who tirelessly experimented with different seemingly ridiculous ideas to come up with what the modern day gadgets have been built on, laboured on for months and years before they could say “eureka”. None of this came up in a flash, perhaps the idea, yes, but not the process. Some processes of invention or research take several months, years and even decades to materialise into something solid.
Clearly, if we are expecting more discoveries and inventions that will continue to improve our experiences while on this planet, one of the very fundamental changes we must address is developing the right attitude to work. This predominately includes the creation of perseverance which must be deeply imbedded in our students and children under our care. How? Generally speaking, they must not be let off the task unless they finish it first. They must learn right from an early age to start a task and finish it if they are to be successful. In the face of all the distractions such as television, radio, social media and the ever increasing entertainment options, managing a task is increasingly becoming challenging but not impossible. So they must have one plan, which is to complete the task. With this discipline of self, we can begin to see a future where students are ready to create various initiatives and develop the character muscle it takes to see them to their logical conclusions.