Putting it all together for your son’s or daughter’s success at GCSE and A-level
DAPPS – Desire, Action, Plan (Organised Plan), Persistent and Sixth sense
I’m using the acronym DAPPS to present a few things that need to be in place in order for success to be achieved. For success, the right behaviour needs to be in place and when behaviour turns into habit – a good habit – then success will surely be achieved.
Every achievement starts with a ‘thought’ but that thought needs to be converted into a burning desire. As humans we underestimate how much we can achieve as an individual and the fact is that if we really want something badly enough our thought will be transformed into desire – a burning desire – for which the word will conspire and obstacles will get out of our way in order to achieve that thing we desire highly enough. Having a dialogue with a your teenage son/daughter and trying to establish what they really want and how that will shape or enhance their life in five to ten years time is the start. It could be about the subjects they need to do well in or anything else they want enough to have a really burning desire for it. This will help to motivate them.
Thinking about what you really want is a start and a good start indeed. The reality of life is that we are all dreamers and it is only those people who take action about what they dream of achieving who usually achieve it. Persistent action is the only way in order for any dream to manifest itself into reality. The thing is, there are so many dead people who go to the grave with their thoughts. When someone dreams about something and they do not take action, what happens is that cobwebs gather and they age – remaining in the same position without any progress.
Plan – organised plan
Once the desire for something has been established, the first step of action to take is to put a plan in place – a reasonably well-organised plan. I must stress here that I’m not speaking about an elaborate plan with pages and pages of documents. It must be born in mind that a brilliant plan that is badly executed is useless, whereas an average plan that is well executed is gold. For preparing for an examination the plan needs to take into account other aspects of daily life and how everything fits in. The plan could just be a few action step on one side of A4 paper and there is the need to refer back to it on a daily bases. It can be framed and put in a prominent place to serve as a reminder.
Persistent – having courage at the sticking point
It is all nice and romantic to desire something well enough, start to take action by planning how the dream will become reality. The thing is that something always goes wrong that one is not expecting. One will always hit and obstacle and get stuck somewhere along the way. It’s really having the courage to persevere at the sticking point that distinguishes the men from the boys or the woman from the girls. While it is important not to give up at the first hurdle, it is also vital to keep analysing progress all along the way. A stubborn person will keep doing the same thing the same way despite a lack of success. A wise and courageous person will pause and look for another way of getting things done. Banging your head against the wall is not going to make the wall softer. Perhaps you may want to find a crow bar to attach the wall or find a rope to climb over it or find a path to go round it. I have been lucky enough to have taught Physics to very bright young people at grammar school. What I’ve learnt is that in achieving the top grade, behaviour and character matters more than cleverness.
I’m using the phrase sixth sense in this context to indicate that extra something that one cannot really pin down as being responsible for success. There are all sorts of ways in which that extra thing to stimulate success can be found. For the vast majority of students, they just learn from their teachers, perhaps to the tasks that are set for them and face the examination without any extra support. That’s fine but in reality – like in everything else in life only a small minority of people are really successful and those who are successful often somehow possess something extra. As I indicate in the last paragraph, intelligence itself is not good enough.
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