Thank you to all the readers who have made September the most viewed month in HHN history. Glad to see I have a decent following in St. Louis. Every day I get a notification saying “stats are booming!” Let’s keep it up! Okay back to the essays.
I have spent the last year and a half on an “adventure of making.” By this, I mean that I have focused my time and energy on things that I build from scratch, not things which creations precede me. I dropped out of Speech and Debate team. I dropped out of the school newspaper. I dropped out of various clubs and organizations, and I discontinued other school leadership projects such as running assemblies or other in school events. I turned my focus to Hey Hank News, Cards Cook, and the Entrepreneurship class. All of these things have one major element in common: none of them work if I don’t work.
With Speech and Debate and other forums that others create, if I don’t do the work that is needed, the events still take place. If the amount of work you put in has little effect on the outcome, then your value to that project is small. That is why my projects have felt the most valuable to me. If I don’t write an article for Hey Hank, no one visit the site. If I don’t write up menus for Cards Cook and gather people to attend the cookings, then Cards Cook doesn’t take place. If I don’t come up with a lesson plan, than 20 students have a free period.
This is a small metaphor for an important lesson in the real world. So many people want to be a part of something because there is a high ratio of glory to work. If you are in student leadership and you help run an assembly, you may put in two hours of work and you will still get so much praise for the job you completed with forty other people. When you work on a self motivated project, it takes so much more work to get to a place where others will recognize you. That is why with the class that I am teaching I am trying to look out for the students who are team members and those who are self motivators. You need both to run an organization, the crucial factor is figuring out who is who and getting them in the right positions.
The more I have watched these students work, the better I am able to discover what it is that sets the two groups apart. The leading difference between these two kinds of people is their attention span. It is not that one can pay attention better or concentrate harder than the other, it is simply the length for which either group can withstand a level of focus. The pack leaders can stay motivated on a project far longer then the team players. The best way to look at the two is to give out an assignment on the first week, then another on the second, third, fourth, fifth, twentieth week and see how the quality has evolved. The team player’s quality will be sinusoidal every week. One week excellent, second week mediocre and so on. The leader’s work will have a consistent quality throughout the time. They are better able to stay focused on the mission, and complete the tasks required to achieve the goals.
I was talking about this very topic with a friend of mine who runs a clothing company in Portland. We agreed that the technology in this world has made it very hard for students to stay focused. However, in doing this, the team player’s quality has dropped to an all time low as the loss of focus is so high. This makes it even easier to spot where one’s role in the company falls, allowing a trained eye to pick up on cues and place people in the best angles of success.