By Joshua AWESOME, PhD
“Energy understood can be best unlocked” – Joshua AWESOME
Coaching psychologist, executive coach & New York Times best selling author
In the 1980s, psychologist Carol Dweck looked at how bright 5th graders handled an assignment that was too difficult for them. She found that bright girls were quick to give up. The higher the IQ, the more likely they were to give up. Bright boys, on the other hand, found the difficult material to be a challenge. They found it energizing. They were more likely to redouble their efforts.
Most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure. We’re taught to smile pretty, play it safe, get all A’s. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play rough, swing high, crawl to the top of the monkey bars and then just jump off headfirst. And by the time they’re adults and whether they’re negotiating a raise or even asking a girl out on a date, they’re habituated to take risk after risk. They are rewarded for it.
The University of Columbia has a professor named Lev Brie who teaches ‘Intro to Java’, and he shared an experience about his office hours with computer science students. When the guys are struggling with an assignment, they’ll come in and they’ll say, “Professor, there’s something wrong with my code.” The girls on the other hand come in and say, “Professor, something’s wrong with me.”
What’s going on? Well, at the 5th grade level, girls routinely outperform boys in every subject, including math and science, so it’s not a question of ability. The difference is in how boys and girls approach a challenge, and it doesn’t just end in fifth grade. An HP report found that men will apply for a job if they meet only 60% of the qualifications. But women? Women will apply only if they meet 100% of the qualifications.
In other words, we’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave.
The bravery deficit is why women are underrepresented in STEM, in C-suites, in boardrooms, in Parliament or Congress, and pretty much everywhere you look.
We must socialize our girls to be comfortable with imperfection, and we’ve got to start it now. We must teach them to be brave in schools and early in their careers, when it has the most potential to impact their lives and the lives of others, and we must show them that they will be loved and accepted not for being perfect, but for being courageous.
Some four decades plus ago, a baby boy was born at an Island hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Incidentally, he was the “one and only” boy born that day and the entire week; it was recorded that every other baby born was a girl. Furthermore, in his family he also emerged as the only boy from his father, with his siblings showing up as girls, allowing this “one and only” boy born into his family and also at the hospital he was born birth within him, a perspective and life lenses: seeing, sensing, feeling and focusing deeper than normal.
For example his sense-abilities (taste, smell, hearing, sight and touch are at an ultra-high state). But could it be that the journey ahead holds bumps on the road, raft down river(s), or hiking gear, boots, harnesses for the mountainous peaks and valley surfaces, simply because the compass and map that will make it possible to encounter every unavoidable turns and twists are all available?
How will you uncover route(s) to be able to travel the challenging distance? Perhaps you would engage the support of more experienced mountaineers, rafters, or road users (driving instructors/drivers) or rely on the companionship of trusted friends along the way. You possibly may pack an extra life jacket/down jacket, double layer plastic boots for the higher altitude mountain range or consider using a stronger raft.
The right tools tied into the right kind of support, surely – you, me; we will only make it through high altitude, rough road or challenging river adventure, enabling you to emerge a more confident driver, rafter and or courageous adventurer.
Remember the “One and Only” boy?
Well, he is today owner of a “Switzerland Patented Health and Wellbeing Organisation” that has its African headquarters in Sandton City, South Africa, and an American Psychological Association (APA) Member; Board Member, African Board for Coaching, Consulting and Coaching Psychology (ABCCCP); registered as “Awesome One Holdings & Dr Awesome Holdings Europe”, and the first Nigerian to successfully summit Kilimanjaro with the Nigerian flag.
Joshua Awesome is a Coaching Psychologist/Executive and Business Performance Coach who has supported over 100,000 professionals across Africa and the globe. He can be reached via: Joshua@theawesomecoach.com
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