This morning as we got settled in the car for the ride to day care, my older daughter lost it and went into a near-nuclear meltdown. She wasn’t spitting, but was spitting upset that I wouldn’t ask my wife to come back to the car to say “goodbye” one more time.
We were already late, for the second or third time this week, so I opted to press on and depart without further delay.
As I drove down street and my daughter’s voice became more shrill, her breathing more guttural, her sense of urgency increasing, I thought, “I need to anticipate better.” That was the germ for today’s post.
The ability to anticipate serves us well across the board, in a variety of life settings: relationships, games/competitions, business dealings, conflicts, you name it. If you anticipate you’re not surprised. If you anticipate you have an idea of what might be coming next, and you can be ready. If you anticipate you keep your mind sharp.
So why doesn’t everyone anticipate effectively, consistently? Why are people caught off-guard, surprised at reactions, situations, etc. that play out. Why does the defensive back get burned by the long ball? Anticipation is difficult sometimes. It requires mental effort, sometimes over a sustained period of time. One has to think deeper to anticipate better, one has to be paying attention. Often folks just aren’t willing to do so, or they miscalculate, or they get lazy.
To take it back to my example, if I had anticipated my daughter’s meltdown on the way to daycare — which has happened before — I might have had a better set of phrases, and certainly been less irritated, that it was happening. Less irritation would have meant a better, more soothing, helpful tone as I tried to calm her down.
Improving one’s ability to anticipate results in less stress, better planning, better reaction, better outcomes.
I would further offer that this is one of those life skills that parents would do well to develop with their kids. Being able to anticipate is an abstract idea, but it’s nonetheless an idea that we would do well to teach children.
As I mentioned, it’s applicable in so many areas of our lives, and there are thus so many opportunities to use as “teaching moments”, that we would be remiss if we didn’t help our kids learn this lesson, and work at honing the ability to anticipate, as early as they’re able to grasp the concept.
As I thought about the ability to anticipate, it also occurred to me that it’s something everyone can improve and something we ourselves can control. That makes it an even more important skill to encourage our children to develop. And that’s where the idea of “hustle” comes in.
Hustle is really a magic, personal trait. It’s an inner motivation, an ability to persevere, an underlier that makes things possible that would not otherwise be so. Hustle is also something that EVERYONE can have in their quiver of life skills, and should, to realize one’s greatest potential.
Hustle makes up for other shortcomings, it makes others want to work harder, keep trying, stay after their goals, finish their tasks, see their efforts through to the end. Hustle provides the spark for the person who’s hustling, but also for those around her. Hustle makes up for natural abilities that might be lacking. And each of us can decide to hustle a bit more when necessary.
This attribute is another one that we would all do well to share with our kids. Hustle can make a tangible, measurable difference in their lives. Not only that, it will also foster other related life skills that will serve them well as the navigate the waters from childhood to adulthood, searching for fulfillment and happiness.
Learn to anticipate, learn to hustle. Stay after them both. Teach your kids. You’ll be better off, and so will they.