Concentration is the ability to focus the mind on one subject, object or thought while simultaneously excluding from the mind all unrelated thoughts, ideas, feelings, and sensations. Achieving any goal requires this ability to focus.
Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori method, was born over 100 years ago and knew this based on her observations of young children. She said:
"An interesting piece of work, freely chosen, which has the virtue of inducing concentration rather than fatigue, adds to the child's energies and mental capacities, and leads him to self-mastery."
"Concentration is the key that opens up to the child the latent treasures within him."
Interestingly, much newer research from Angela Duckworth on a topic called GRIT reinforces what Montessori already knew. Here's the Cliff Notes version:
- Grit is defined as "sticking with things over the very long term until you master them." (Kind of sounds like Grit and Concentration go hand in hand, huh?)
- When it comes to high achievement, grit may be as essential as intelligence.
- Grit is a particularly helpful trait when it comes to challenging experiences.
It’s not just Montessori and Duckworth, either. Daniel Goleman is the Host of First Person Plural: Emotional Intelligence & Beyond and author of the best-selling Emotional Intelligence, as well as many other works in emotional and social intelligence, leadership, and education. He is also a psychologist, former science journalist for the New York Times, and co-director of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. He lectures frequently to professional audiences. Mr. Goleman studied at both Harvard and Yale.
In short, Goleman suggests that kids who learn how to focus do better in school, are better able to manage their emotions, and build lasting relationships.
So, Goleman, Montessori and Duckworth are saying a lot of the same things: kids who can intensely focus on achieving goals, and do so over the long haul are the most likely to tap into their innate talents and to be successful.
Did you hear that?!? This means that:
KIDS WHO CAN CONCENTRATE, AND DO SO FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME, ARE THE MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED!