7 Things to learn from Teenagers doing Homework

We  have 3 teenagers at home and in spite of having all necessary resources to find answers for their homework they are lazy, or maybe they are smart, they look for the shortest, fastest route to the answer. They ask my wife and if she does not have the answer they ask me, and if I don’t have the answer they ask each other.

And only after those unsuccessful attempts to get help they have to do it by themselves and do some research on the internet or books.

When any of them knows the answer he or she gladly helps, they don’t think “this is mine I won’t give it to you”, there is no competition among them when it comes to doing the homework, and on the contrary they know that if they help today they will be helped tomorrow.

But as adults we have been taught to give answers and results and to be self reliant and independent, on top of that we have to come up with new innovative ideas in our jobs to do things. Therefore the last thing on our minds is ask others, we work in the opposite direction than teenagers, we try with no help at all, we research, we struggle with the problems and challenges on our own, and after several unsuccessful attempts to deal with something as a last resource and sometimes out of frustration we ask for help.

We go to others feeling a little embarrassed and thinking our pride will take a hit because we feel we are saying “I am not as good, you are better, I failed tell me how to do it”.

Our competitive nature does not help, because since we make everything a competition we need to be better than the others; and a symbol of that is we know more and have more experience so we are here to give answers not to ask for help. To do that would be a symbol of weakness.

In business it is common to see something that a company is doing better; it can be their advertising, their website, their sales strategy, their planning, and their operations. And when we find that something that could be useful for our company, something we admire, we first think “we need to research about that, or develop our own system, or find out how they are doing it rather than asking them”.

There are 7 things that we can learn from teenager’s laziness or smartness when doing homework:

  1. Forget about pride or competition and find the fastest route, ask how they are doing that? What tools do they use? What was the process? What would they do different? Who was their vendor? How did they find the answers?
  2. Ask your parents. Your last resource is to work on your own, first try with whom you think knows more than you. Like when they ask us thinking we will remember something we saw in school 30 years ago.
  3. Ask your siblings, those coworkers or companies that seem to be at the same level or lower than you might surprise you with their knowledge or experience in something you want to do.
  4. If your siblings don’t know ask your acquaintances. Go to the internet find what you are looking for and ask for help in the thousands of blogs, forums, twitters and resources available. Some of us like to help, you will find answers.
  5. Take breaks with the TV, basketball board or video games. Well not precisely but you got the point, when we take a break for a while and distract ourselves with something else, our mind keeps working and remains attentive for ideas in whatever we do that can help us. That is how those sudden solution and ideas come. Give your mind time to work.
  6. Don’t be selfish with your knowledge or best practices, nobody can copy or implement things in exactly the same way that you do and they have different people executing it. Even if they are a competitor there are enough customers for everybody.
  7. If I help you today you help me tomorrow. Remember to always offer help and advice, even unsolicited, it is a proven rule that you will receive in the same proportion that you give. I even became curious and am attentive to potential improvements in companies and professionals; and whenever possible I share them out loud, you never know when you can help somebody.

September 28, 2011

Guillermo Mendoza guillermo@impactcoachingsolutions.com +1(832)334-3583

Executive Coach, inspirational international speaker, insightful writer, engaging trainer, empowering individuals and organizations to transform getting the results they want faster and better.

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