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Opinions of Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Columnist: Appiah-Adjei, Daniel

The Land of No Excuses

ORAL VILLAGE IDEAS

BY

DANIEL APPIAH-ADJEI

The Land of No Excuses

I am on an important mission. I am determined to not just visit, but live in the land of no excuses. I am also completely fired up to do whatever is necessary to support all my friends in living there too. Would you want to join me there? Life is short. And I find myself feeling more and more convicted about having our lives reflect a genuine understanding and respect for this truth.

As a drama coach, one of my core commitments is to hold a huge vision where we are no longer playing small, no longer holding back from expressing our truth, no longer blocking ourselves from the manifestation of our dreams. To make this vision come alive, we must be willing to not only uncover our limiting beliefs and blocks, but be willing to transform them. No more excuses.

Discipline

Discipline demands correct performance of duty. The need for discipline is best inculcated in individual by appealing to his sense of reason. In the few instances where appeal to reason fails, according to Military code of conduct, the use of punishment is effective in causing a recalcitrant individual to conform and perhaps appreciate the need for discipline. Condemnation and earned praise from senior to his subordinate, either individually or collectively, for tasks well done serve to strengthen the disciplinary bonds which bind together the smooth functioning team.

Max Anders says, "Only the disciplined ever get really good at anything." Everything in life requires some sort of discipline. Whether it is hitting a basket-ball, climbing a mountain, playing a musical instrument, making good grades, hunting for rats or brushing your teeth it all comes down to a matter of discipline.

Therefore, this article is a loving challenge to all of us, myself included, to take full responsibility for consciously designing our lives, no matter what, and to allow ourselves to play bigger. It is about getting out of our own way, once and for all. As we explore the territory of our excuses, limiting beliefs and struggles, I request that you be outrageously compassionate AND courageously firm with yourself. Again, the goal is to lovingly release our excuses.

So what might this look like as you move forward? What action or shifts are being called for in the land of no excuses? See below for some tips to play with as you continue your process of personal transformation!
The Child and Discipline
Ideally, discipline is based on appropriate expectations for each child, based on age and stage of development. It should be used to set reasonable limits in a consistent manner while still allowing some choice among acceptable alternatives. Discipline teaches both social and moral standards and should protect children from harm by teaching what is safe. It should also guide children to respect the rights and property of others.
Though there are a variety of ways in which children may be disciplined, there are some guidelines that all parents should follow:
• Discipline must be age appropriate. While reasoning and verbal explanations may be appropriate for the older child, children younger than 18 months are typically unable to comprehend the reasons for punishment.
• Parents should demonstrate a unified front when it comes to discipline. If parents exhibit opposing approaches, children learn to exploit these differences.
• Rules should be few but simple. Punishment should be a logical or natural consequence of the misbehavior.
• Though consistency is important, parents should remember that it is sometimes appropriate to be flexible and allow for some negotiation, especially with older children. Doing so can teach decision-making, enhance children's moral judgment, and reinforce independence.
Disciplinary techniques that are most effective take place in the context of a loving and secure relationship between parent and child. Parents' responses to a child's behavior, whether approving or disapproving, are likely to have a greater effect in a secure, loving environment, because children long for their parents' approval. As children respond to this positive relationship and consistent discipline, the need for negative interaction decreases.
Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement focuses on good behavior rather than on undesirable behavior. Parents should identify appropriate behaviors and give frequent feedback, rewarding good behavior quickly so that the child associates the "prize" with the wanted behavior. A reward can be a word of praise, a special activity, additional privileges, or material items. Many desirable behavioral patterns start to emerge as a part of the child's normal development. The role of parents is to notice these behaviors and provide positive attention to them. Some other desirable behaviors are not part of a child's normal development and need to be modeled and taught by their parents. These behaviors include sharing, good manners, effective study habits, among others. Parents need to identify those skills and behaviors they want their children to demonstrate and then make a concerted effort to teach and strengthen those behaviors. Children who learn through positive reinforcement tend to internalize the newly learned behaviors..
Infancy
Discipline strategies with infants should be passive. The main goal is for parents to generally structure daily routines but to also demonstrate flexibility in meeting infants' emerging needs. As infants become more mobile, parents need to impose some limitations and structure in order to create a safe environment in which the child can play and explore. Parents must protect infants from all potential hazards in the home by instituting childproofing practices. If a child does attempt to play with or approach something dangerous or unacceptable, a firm "No" should suffice, along with either removing the child from the area or by distracting the child with an alternative activity. Parents should not expect that reasoning or reprimands will control the behavior of an infant.
School Age
If rules for behavior have been consistently modeled and expected by the parents, children should exhibit an increased sense of responsibility and self-control when they become school age. Timeouts and consequences continue to be effective disciplinary measures in this age group. As children continue to mature and desire more responsibility and independence, teaching them to deal with the consequences of their behavior is an effective method of discipline. By the time they have become teenagers, children should know what is expected of them and what the potential consequences of misbehavior are. However, discipline remains just as important for teens as it does for younger children. Teens require boundaries. This structure continues to provide order and a sense of security for children until they reach adulthood. When teens do break rules, taking away some of their privileges seems to be the most effective type of disciplinary measure
Step into total self-love and acceptance.

As you move through your life, how much are your decisions being influenced by wanting approval from others? Are you living someone else's vision for your life? If so, it is time for you to be grounded and confident in who you are...to embody unwavering trust in your truth. Furthermore, I urge you to extend that same love, respect and freedom to others. Just imagine how different our world would be if we were all living our most fulfilling lives, overflowing with authenticity and passion.

Stop telling yourself the old stories!

Let's be real. I know that I find my stories to be SO OLD AND BORING! How about you? Refuse to give your limiting beliefs and stories any more power. Instead, hold as sacred the creative power of your thoughts and energy. The Law of Attraction speaks to how like attracts like. Given this reality, what do you want to grow more of with your focus? Your language is important. The way you speak about yourself and the energy you bring to the conversation does matter. In fact, it matters a great deal. Be crystal clear about the new, empowering beliefs that you are now committed to living, and spend an extravagant amount of time magnifying, savoring and declaring those new beliefs.

Avoid the trap of comparing yourself to others.

How often are you obsessing about others and analyzing how they show up in life? And how often does this lead to worries about not doing it "right," not being "ready" or not being "good enough?" Please, no more. I want you to know without a shadow of doubt that you are not alone with your fears, doubts and insecurities. We are all on the journey of being human, each and every one of us, no matter how it may look to you from the outside.

Allow your process to be messy.

How might your life be different if you were totally willing to fumble and fall? This is about tapping in the true cost of staying stuck in your comfort zones, continuing to deny yourself and the world of your vision. I want you to declare that this is no longer okay. The world is waiting for your beautiful and unique imprint. You have a contribution to make. So let go and begin taking action. You might just surprise yourself as you open up to the experience of being "perfectly imperfect."

Release attachment to the idea that it has to be hard.

We tend to have our well-prepared lists of why things are the way they are, as well as a detailed description of the intense challenges or drama associated with making it different. Trust me, I know because I can be the king of making it complicated! Does this way of operating sound familiar to you? Do your habits and patterns convey disbelief that change and growth could be easy? Well, what if it is? What if, bottom line, playing bigger is primarily a matter of simply letting go of the struggle? Maybe all it takes is to absolutely decide that you are going to release what no longer serves and finally get out of your own way. What if? Can you even entertain this idea?

As a final note, I would like to offer the following quote by Mary Oliver for further contemplation. "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"

"Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability." - Roy L. Smith

By His Grace, I shall be back