1-Sentence-Summary: Thrivers explores the perspective of a child born in today’s fast-paced, digital era and how the average minor is being educated towards higher-than-usual achievements, being mature, responsible and successful, instead of being happy and focused on their own definition of success.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Today’s kids are smarter, more ambitious, and creative than ever before. The digital era has enabled people from all over the world to connect and share information faster than ever. So once humans were born in this environment, it became inevitable for them to apprehend skills and information faster than average.
Still, every action has a reaction. Children are more driven and clever than their parents. However, this also means that they’re more likely to have depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Nowadays, high performance is a standard that adults teach them to achieve at every cost, including at the cost of their happiness.
Schools measure and monitor their continuously, with their grades and scores. And then skills and jobs later in their life. As this race starts from their first days and doesn’t stop after, the pressure and anxiety build up to a point where some children can’t cope.
Thrivers delves into this particular subject and encourages its readers to gain a deeper understanding of generation Z and their struggles.
Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:
- Exams and scores are important, but emotional literacy is more important.
- We should see kids for who they are, and tailor the educational system to their own talents.
- Creativity declines with age, so nurture it while the mind is still young.
Now, let’s see what it takes for children to grow into happy adults!
Lesson 1: Children should be taught that emotional intelligence is more important than test scores.
Growing up, schools have taught children that test scores measure one’s cognitive capabilities. They also taught them that exams are definitory for their future success. Grades, school merits, and academic success are universal metrics for analyzing pupils and students.
However, this leaves very little time for hobbies, going out with friends, or just being a kid in between. Instead, many of us pressure children into taking part in a highly competitive environment. Environments where they must strive for perfection in all areas of life.
On top of that, the social media influence leaves no room for reality, and it forces teenagers and children to grow up quicker than expected to fit into an adult world. As a result, the new generation is more stressed, anxious, and depressed than ever.
A study conducted on children revealed that we raise them as products rather than humans and that they don’t know how to be empathic, form meaningful relationships or handle mistakes and stress. In other words, they lack basic life skills, and most importantly, they don’t have a character of their own.
The solution is simple: Teaching the new generation emotional literacy and building on their emotional intelligence so that they know how to handle it when they face a challenge in their life. Moreover, we should eliminate the pressure of high academic credentials, as it builds frustration in those who struggle in school.
Lesson 2: A system that can build skills based on one’s talents will create more successful people.
We all have different sets of skills and talents that help us navigate through life. Essentially, that is what helps humanity survive and evolve. Unfortunately, however, it seems that the current educational system fails to adapt to one’s unique characteristics. Therefore, it fails to raise capable people that can hold their own in society.
An American psychologist, Martin Seligman, suggests that the key to happiness is self-confidence. To build it, one has to focus on their unique strengths. As a parent, this should be a priority in the process of educating children. Building the identity of a child based on their native skills and talents will increase self-confidence.
A person who receives assurance that they are good at what they are doing will be more motivated to keep on building their career and life around their skills. This, in fact, is the recipe for happiness.
Sadly, today’s educational system relies too much on memory skills, which is something that not all children possess equally. Then, it measures success based on academic credentials instead of balancing a series of skills, activities, and personal traits that denote emotional intelligence to measure performance.
Lesson 3: An innovative mindset is something specific to children, and it fades rapidly once they grow up.
Children tend to be fascinated by everything they discover. Their curiosity often pushes them to learn more and more every day, get out of their comfort zone and pursue new activities. Essentially, these are some of the most sought-after skills today.
So why do people lose them as they grow up? Psychologists studied how children tend to have their creative skills fade slowly as schools and adults expose them to standardized tests and receiving rewards after successfully completing tasks.
As a result of these practices, we teach children that we don’t appreciate their curiosity and finding new ways to do things. This leads to an unlearning process, where they lose sight of creativity, curiosity, and an open-ended mindset.
Moreover, the rewards that come after completing tasks as they are being told stimulates a cause-and-effect action. Good grades get you to a good college. A good college gets you a good job, and so on. There is no room for interpretation in the life scenarios they are being exposed to, so as an effect, there is no reason to look for newer alternatives.
Thrivers opens up a debate on the highly challenging environment to which today’s children are being exposed constantly. Unfortunately, this builds up frustration, stress, and high-performance anxiety, leaving little to no room to enjoy their childhood and hobbies. This book is a must-read for every concerned parent and citizen who wants to be part of a positive change and become a better role model for their children to help them overcome the demanding digital era.
Who would I recommend the Thrivers summary to?
The concerned 30-year-old parent who wants to see their children be happy and fulfilled, the 45-year-old scientist who wants to better understand the challenges a child faces nowadays, and any teacher who wants to connect with their pupils on a deeper level.