It is silly that children aren’t taught basic psychology at a young age. We want an educated society. There is no basic knowledge that is as practical as the science of motivation. Children who do not understand themselves until it is too late will eventually be tainted by unfair self-loathing. They grow into emerging adults who witness an earth shattering incongruity between the psyche that they have seamlessly been forced to ascribe to, and the psyche that their souls have been unchallengeably striving towards since around early teenhood.
But what is the cure? An early understanding of the self. This can be attained by studying the basic mechanics of the brain and behavior from an early age. How in heaven’s name can we expect a child to be motivated if he himself does not even know what motivation is? How can we expect them to pay attention if the concept of attention is invisible to them? Humans desire to understand things, hands on. If you tell them not to go into a burning hotel, yet they don’t see the fire, they will not learn to see fire. We cannot command children to remain more attentive or motivated if they themselves do not understand the mechanisms of those processes.
How does motivation work? How does attention work? Will you truly claim that robbing the child of the potential to discover these things for themselves is productive? People, in their souls, have a need for personal moral virtue building. I propose that learned people or authority figures should expose children to concepts of motivation, proper habit formation, and basic functions of the brain, and also that they haven’t been doing so enough in the real world. We can solve problems by breaking them down to fathomable and tangible pieces. For example, if we truly wished to do well on an exam, we would not tell ourselves simply to “do well on the exam”. We would analyze what constitutes the behavior of one who would do well on an exam. A person who does well on an exam will study systematically, take the time to go over the questions he has made mistakes on, will understand a concept fully before moving on from it, and he won’t allow his phone to distract him. Only once we succeed at these broken down micro-problems, will we realize that the collection of these problems – the “doing well on the exam” is attainable. Now, does this sound like something you’ve always known yet haven’t actually been aware of? Imagine being told this, and being retold this as a child. I suspect that children do not receive this sort of advice nearly as frequently as they should.
Let’s extend this to a grander scale. Many people in life have no direction. They drag their walking corpse through a series of movements that they may call a routine day, as they curse the world and their unfortunate combination of genes and environments for the constant throbbing pains in the back of their skull. They lack direction. In a university setting, this may be akin to “I have no idea what I want to study so I’m in Film Studies”. Now, how might one find a direction? You may consider figuring out where you want to go, for one. And to figure out where you want to go, you would need to understand why you want to go where you want to go. To understand this, perhaps one must practice being honest with themselves. What does your soul think? If you are in science, and you have always hated science, then there may be an incongruity between what you want, and the actions you are taking to get what you tell yourself you want. If you continue to be ignorant to this deception, you may risk allowing it to grow and consume you. This doesn’t mean drop science, as we can never know what ends up being good or bad for us. It simply means acknowledge the mental and physiological indicators that your body is imposing on you so that you can understand the most productive way to proceed. Acknowledge your every “why” behind being where you are, and make sure you understand it well, or at least are on the way to understanding it. Success at this indicates a success at understanding what motivates you, and more importantly, that you know how to be honest with yourself. This skill will not likely show you a direction. You will likely realize that the new direction was no better. However, mastery of this will at the least help you determine when to change directions, and this is perhaps the true purpose of looking for direction to begin with. Does this also sound like something you know in your core, yet weren’t aware you knew? Now imagine being told this, and being retold this as a child. I suspect that children do not receive this sort of advice nearly as frequently as they should – and I do believe that the role of any great teacher figure in a child’s life is to get them to actively undergo this kind of decision making, so that they may have a chance to refine this fundamental wisdom.
What do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Tell me your thoughts down in the comments below.