Help your kids out of their trap

So when you push your child to get better grades at school you are pushing her to be replaceable. You are teaching her to follow instructions in the best way possible, hoping that she can be one of the last ones to be replaced. But you are conflicted. You don't really want that for her. You want her to stand on her own, to lead, to be a key asset, but... should I tell her to not follow instructions? To disobey?

No. Just push her to think about how can she use what she learned in order to do something interesting, something fun.

School is giving her tools to enable her to do stuff. Grades are simply measuring how familiar is she with those tools, but her work hasn't finished yet. Far from it. Now she should be thinking on ways to apply what she just learned to do something valuable for her.

But our education system and our values do not work that way. We stop pushing half way through! Look at this:

Child A. Learned to write. Learned very quickly. Writes perfectly well. Never misses a letter and writes with perfect calligraphy. Great grades. Proud parents. She's a promising raising star, best of her class.

Child B. Learned to write too. Was slow and clumsy, often mixing letters up and making mistakes. Still room for improvement, but gets home excited because now she can do custom invitations for her birthday party, and so she starts drawing cards and scribbling the names (making mistakes). When she delivers the invitations to her friends they think that was pretty cool and envied her. Now they all want to do custom invitations, even child A! Child A never thought that writing was enabling her to do new stuff, because she was content with all the praise she received for her good work. But actually she stopped half way through!

We should cultivate this mindset in our kids: everything you learn, when combined with what you already know, enables you to do awesome new stuff.

Same for you, following instructions and meeting your objectives at work. What did you learn last year while achieving your goals? Did you grow your network? Did you meet new customers? Have you thought what interesting things can you do with all those new tools and assets you now hold? Or were you just happy enough because you exceeded your goals and received a nice bonus? Check if you're stopping half way through too. Think what can you build with what you already know.