On a short visit in Carol's class this past April, I got to participate in an interesting assignment and discussion about knowledge, hard work and attitude.
Carol told her class that she had just read the book, Toilets, Bricks, Fish Hooks, and PRIDE The Peak Performance Toolbox EXPOSED, by Brian Cain. Without explaining too much more, Carol told the class about the really cool thing that she discovered in the book. Although, it is hard to see in this photograph, Carol wrote on the board the following from the book:
"If: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ is represented as: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
K+N+O+W+L+E+D+G+E = 96%
H+A+R+D W+O+R+K = 98%
A+T+T+I+T+U+D+E = 100%
After explaining how the system worked (you know, letters standing for numbers and all that), Carol asked the students to open their journals and write an answer to the question of which is most important to success: knowledge, hard work, or attitude. Being the type of educators who believe that kids should see us write, Carol, the paraprofessional in the room, and I all wrote our response to the prompt. Once the students shared their writing, Carol read hers and then asked the para and me if we wanted to read. We both did. Here is my first, unedited, draft.
Looking at my writing months after the fact, it's clear that this was a journal-write, first draft. The good news is that I still like my thinking from that April day.
While Knowledge, Hard work, and Attitude are all important ingredients to success in all endeavors, attitude is the most important. Without a good attitude, people see right through your efforts. A good attitude is the hardest of the three to teach. We have many ways to gain knowledge. Hard work can be practiced. Attitude comes only from within and as such cannot be easily "given" to someone else. In fact, when I hire, attitude is the most important factor I look for in a candidate.
*Carol is the same pseudonym I used in this post and this one.