I must say that I have seen this particular video a few dozen times and each time I get a new revelation so to speak. If you haven’t watched this video please take 13 minutes and 28 seconds of your life and watch it………………….. Alright; now that you are up to speed, I am more of a House type of giver; anyway let’s press forward!

Usually, when I watch this video I reflect on the type of human I am at work, in my business, in my various health and wellness communities, and even among the people in my church. Not once do I ever watch this video from a perspective of being the CEO-slash-Human Resources Coordinator-slash-Partner in the firm of Casa De BPOZ! I mean what other environment is more relevant to this TED Talk than the work environment within your house.

Let’s analyze this video from a family perspective: Adam discusses 3 types of people

  1. Takers – What Can You Do For Me? This child seems to be the most common at the playground who always takes the toy from another and yells mine even though they have a toy. Or, in my family the older brother who pays his younger brother $1 to do a job I am paying a moderately used IPhone 6 for him to accomplish.
  2. Givers – What Can I do For You? This child doesn’t really exist in real life; only in movies like Matilda or Tiny Tim from A Christmas Story. The closest my children get to being givers is letting the youngest sleep with in their bed because he will bang on the door and/or the walls all night if they don’t.
  3. Matchers – You Do For Me, I’ll Do For You! – This seems to be the most common child within the household environment and possibly the most reinforced by parents. It’s no secret that there are 4 minions that live in my home under the guidance of my wife and I and I have been known to sit my children down and explain that if you don’t; then they won’t. You know; you should learn to share if you want to be shared with.

These 3 types can also be found in parenting. Takers are the parents who push their children to the highest of expectations with no real acknowledgement of accomplishments. Givers are the everyone gets a medal parents. Matchers are a punish and reward according to previously set expectations. (I tend to fall into the latter)

According to Adam Grant the worse performers are the givers and the best performers are the givers. This is true in parenting as well. These findings lead one to believe that balance is the missing ingredient, but it is not balance that is missing it’s having situational awareness.

Situational Awareness is a military term defined as the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event.

Story Time:

My son tried out for the 6th grade basketball team and did not make it. He was crushed; so as a good dad, I took him to Wendy’s and let him cry and sulk for an hour over a Chocolate Frosty. The next year he tried out and did not make the team again; yet this time he did not have the privilege to sulk and cry. This time he had to realize that he didn’t make the team simply because he hadn’t practiced since not making the team the previous year. In 8th grade the same result except this time I just didn’t say anything to him about it. By this time I knew he had an understanding of why he didn’t make the team yet he still was upset with himself. There is no need for me to drive the point home even though it would be validated. I simply gave him a little bit of space and kept people away from him for a few hours. Needless to say he made his High School Freshman Basketball team simply because he was a harder worker than everyone else.

Although I love this particular TED Talk by Adam Grant there is a slight discrepancy between his research and my belief. He mentions a strategy to keep the bad people off the bus in order to weed out the takers in your business. Unfortunately, this is impossible in your families.  Sometimes I wish I could trade my kids in for a newer or even an older classic model that doesn’t rely on SnapChat, Instagram, and Music.ly for social interaction, but I am stuck with what I got. So the only other solution is to teach them how to have Pronoia; a term Adam defines as the delusional belief that other people are plotting your well-being. This is the hardest thing to accomplish but not impossible; and it all starts with you as the parent.

How To Create Pronoia In You Families

  1. Encourage the asking of questions, but avoid the concrete answering of questions. Help them to discover what is right for them and then trust it.
  2. Praise something that doesn’t often get praised. Effort over accomplishment is always a good one.
  3. Use failure as an uplifting moment more often than a teaching moment. Most of the time your child knows where they’ve gone wrong but wants to know that you are still in their corner vs. being upset they didn’t come in first place.
  4. Discourage talking down to each other. I remember my oldest coming in last place at a track meet and my youngest son yells; “Dominick you suck at running!” I quickly informed Gerald that we do not talk about each other like that we help each other we uplift each other. I unsuccessfully refrained from using terms like, “you don’t want him to talk like that if you come in last place do you?” Refraining from commentary such as this would help make this an expectation vs. a cause and effect. I never want him to say, “well Dominick said I sucked” therefore making it ok for him to say it. I failed at that…….  still have a lot to learn in this as well.

As I end this post I want to leave you with one lasting thought. Adam states that he wants to live in a world where givers succeed. In order for that to become a reality we have to first create a world where they not only succeed but are cultivated within their own homes.


For more on Adam Grant visit www.adamgrant.net