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You have the Hardware and the Software but is your WETWARE ready?

Parents and Educators
Teachers encourage, guide and inspire yet students decide how much to motivate themselves!

Daniel Coyle in his New York Times Bestseller Book The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How describes how practice, motivation and attitude are the magic elixir for outstanding achievement in any field. One of the examples he gives is a study done by Gary McPherson on why certain children progress quickly at music lessons and others do not. Was it IQ, aural sensitivity, math skills or sense of rhythm? As it turns out, he was able to confirm their actual proficiency before the students even picked up the instrument of their choice by a simple question... "How long do you think you'll play your new instrument?

Right out of the gate, at age 7-8, children showed a marked difference in their proficiency and by the time they graduated from High School those that had made a long-term commitment were 400% better with the same practice time compared to low commitment students.

Children and young adults begin life full of creativity and energy. For many though, a complacent, compliant or disengaged attitude will surface in time. Individuals without an internal motivational compass that strives to learn, create or question will have limited potential. How can we equip young people for a life of contribution, prosperity and ideally leadership? It requires a triad partnership between the student, the parents and teachers. A student who DESIRES to achieve more and do more on their own will have a tremendous edge in the world economy.

In 2010, America's Teachers on American Schools stated Teachers view 'motivating students' as a challenge and identified it as the single most likely reason that students are unprepared for higher education. In 2005, Achieve in Washington DC noted that 70% of high school graduates surveyed wished they had worked harder and taken more rigorous courses in high school.

Instilling early in young adult development a lifelong Washer mindset that conveys a sense of PURPOSE which will challenge them into engagement instead of compliance; doing, learning and achieving are personal self-discipline objectives. Turn "homework" into "home learning" and "household chores" into "mutual obligations" where family members help each other.

Educational policies, curriculum, facilities and teachers continue to have difficult challenges in overcoming child complacency and the often devastating effects of bullying in our school systems. Addressing these issues early in our children's development cycle fosters a constructive motivation mindset that can overcome detrimental behaviors and yield lifelong benefits. To develop constructive lifelong habits our children need a strong foundation in character. offers some of the following definitions of character:
  • The aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person.
  • Moral or ethical quality
  • Qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity.
Schools aim to give our children a foundation of knowledge which their pupils can use to eventually contribute into society. Knowledge by itself though, without a strong courageous character within the child that is willing to develop the grit to wash away life's obstacles, is a relatively weak position.

All of us want our children to be masters of something. However, is mastery bestowed or is it grown from within? What will motivate our children to be tenacious and become masters in their chosen fields?

Carol Dweck (Psychology Professor at Stanford University who has studied motivation and achievement in children for decades) notes that when it comes to mastery, our internal mindset determines the outcome.* Why do some children have the "stictuitiveness" to overcome challenges, the passion to dream and the will to make their dreams come true?

All too often we set performance-based targets on our children without realizing that these numerical objectives of "good grades" often miss the mark when it comes to lifelong learning-based targets. Getting an 'A' in a French class for example, is a performance goal. Being able to speak French is a learning goal. Adopting a "learning" mindset is mastery based which entails child commitment, dedication and grit. Dweck has proved conclusively that children who employ a 'learning a goal mindset' score significantly higher on challenging tests; they also work longer and try more solutions. Learning goal children don't have to feel that they are already good at something in order to hang on and keep trying. Their goal is to learn, not to prove they are smart.

Dweck's Intelligence and Goal Theories can be summarized as follows:
Intelligence Theories Mindset Children Adopt into Adulthood Goal Theories Path
Entity Finite. Born with it. Need to Prove. Seek easy tasks to show success. Performance Snapshot in Time. Not a very good predictor of creative thinking.
Incremental Limitless. Expansive. Can Master. Requires Effort but Can be Achieved Learning MASTERY

Obviously, an Incremental Intelligence mindset and a Learning Attitude are optimum characteristics. We offer for your consideration a stellar and proven approach, one that focuses on the child's character and motivation to achieve more and do more, independently. This approach instills in each child a fun sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose. A synergistic approach that involves parents and educators with this concept offers tremendous rewards. This team approach can be done with three simple words that are respectful and powerful enough to spur individual action.

The words are Wisher, Washer or Wishy-Washy.

The character our children develop early on determines many of the choices they will make in the future that will shape their life. Will the glass be half full, or half empty? Will they proactively pursue dreams and make a difference, or let life happen?

The W Characters and Wisher Washer, Wishy Washy (for adults) are two books that combine the attributes of strong character and leadership, as a means to develop these attributes. These books help open a healthy dialogue for students, as well as teachers and parents, conveying a message at an early stage that we want learners and leaders who have integrity, and are DOERS!
W Characters Audience
Building a strong character early on is essential. The Washer concept helps instill this positive trait in a fun and educational way. If the child is looking for the easy way out, wishing for something good to happen sometime they are referred to as Wishers. For those that try a little of this, and a little of that, but do not develop the discipline to stick to something they are referred to as Wishy-Washy's. The best though, is to be a doer, a maker, a game changer... a Washer.

Washer Audience
In the adult version, the reader is introduced to the Success Formula that takes into account drive, attitude, talent, network and leverage which is reflected in the following formula:
Life Shaping Factors
I urge you to look at these books and consider adding this concept/book into the reading assignments of your schools so that as our children traverse through life they will have the power to develop a strong character that will overcome culture, environment, peer pressure and the like. Our children need to aspire towards writing their own life story, even better!

Sarah Ruiz, MBA
VP, Marketing

See how kids respond to the Wisher, Washer concept when coupled with academics on the Testimonials page here.

Articles of Interest

*Carol S. Dweck, Self-Theories: There Role in Motivation, Personality and Development (Philadelphia: Psychology Press, 1999) and Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (New York: Riverhead Books, 2009)
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