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“Just Do It” is a slogan, not a strategy

all blogs executive function self-esteem Mar 04, 2021

Today I want to help you appreciate the significant impact Executive Function skills make in your life.

What happens when you really, really want something—you have the best of intentions!—but you don’t have the skills to back up your dreams?

Frustration, stagnation, loss of self-confidence.

But, as you’ve often hear me say… when we’re talking about SKILLS, they can be LEARNED.

It’s a lot like tying your shoes, which is a skill you weren’t born with, but you learned when you were young, and now you do it without thinking.

“Just Do It” is a slogan, not a strategy.

It’s wonderful to tell kids (and adults) that they can be anything they want to be or do anything they want to do. But then, do we ever really teach them how to set a goal and achieve it?

Because it takes more than just a desire to do it. Willpower is not enough. Executive function (EF) skills help us discover the HOW. That’s the missing link between dreaming about something and achieving it.

Don’t misunderstand me. Motivation is critical. Absolutely.

However, all the wanting in the world won’t get you to your dream if you don’t have the skills to back it up.

I recently used the example with my students of setting a one-year goal to buy a house. How many EF skills do you think are required to follow through to the end of that goal?

ALL of them.

Metacognition to see the big picture… Inhibiting so you don’t spend your money on frivolous things… Shifting between all the different parts of the process that need your attention… Initiating so you obtain the documents and fill out the paperwork you need… Organizing and prioritizing what your criteria are… And so much more.

Wouldn’t it be silly to think you could have a house in a year if you “just put your mind to it”?

But that’s the kind of shallow, cheerleader-type mantras we’re raised on. And then when we don’t achieve our goals, we’re left wondering what’s wrong with us?

The answer is nothing. We’re not the screwed up ones, it’s the lack of training that’s all screwed up.

I’ve said many times that if kids were taught—really taught—just one EF skill a year between kindergarten and high school, the world would look like a very different place. We’d have young adults coming out of school with more than head knowledge. They’d have real world capabilities that would skyrocket them to success in whatever path they chose.

That’s the world that I’m striving to create. And for me, I choose to work with adults, because in addition to teaching EF skills, I’m very good at helping people recognize and overcome those limiting beliefs that they’ve unfortunately developed over a lifetime of trying to “just do it.”

My signature program, ADDventures in Achievement Foundational Skills Program, is opening again for enrollment on March 7th. Please feel free to get on the Waitlist if it’s something you’d like to receive updates about. You can add yourself here:

Remember, you’re not alone in this. You have enormous potential! Anything you do to develop your EF skills further is going to make your life easier and more fulfilling.

Keep at it, so that when you do have a big dream, you’ll be able to follow the steps needed to achieve it.