Conation has been derived from a Latin word- conatus which refers to an impulse or reflexive action towards an effort. Our mind consists of three parts- cognitive, affective and conative.
Conation is the sum of one’s cognitive and affective tendencies. It is the ability that drives one to act when interacting with knowledge, environment, and people.
Conative skills include:
- Ability to read and Interpret situations
- Having a growth mindset
- Being resilient
- Having a positive outlook
- Being able to look at the broader picture
- Having good interpersonal skills
- Ability to handle controversy and resolve conflicts
Conative skills in psychological parlance are resilience or grit. The ability to be self-motivated and push on despite seeming hardships. It’s these skills, which really determine whether a person will be successful in life.
As a parent how do you develop strong conative skills in your child?
Attachment, Support & Safety
The core of a child’s personality development is linked to stable, positive attachment with his primary caregiver. If one does not feel secure in his attachment, his feelings of safety will be undermined. This, in turn, affects his drive to explore and learn things. A fearful child will never be able to go out and do the things he wants to do.
Space, Exploration & Play
Instead of pushing your child to perform and compete give him the space to be himself. Keep different toys, games, no TV, take him out, travel, explore things. Spend time together, without you constantly directing things. Let them figure out things and intervene only when asked or when they may be in danger. Playing is as vital to your child’s well-being. During play, the creative right brain is engaged and the mind is open to thinking in new, innovative ways.
Imitation & Stick-to-itiveness
Babies as young as 13-months learn the value of persistence by watching grownups stick with a challenge. They learn that effort is valuable after watching just two examples of an adult working hard and succeeding. It is challenging for parents to keep up a positive outlook and work at resolving things. Your child learns from observation, not from your lecturing. Modeling stick-to-itiveness will show your kid how to delay gratification i.e. suppress the impulse to eat that tasty marshmallow in order to reach their goal
Deliberate Practise & Dreaming Big
True grit is the ability to persist in doing and completing a job. It is the ability to delay gratification. However, these attitudes can be developed when we as parents can show the bigger picture. That hardship has its rewards. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell states that you need to have practiced/ apprenticed, for 10,000 hours before you get good and not just mindless practice. The key is deliberate practice.
However, as a parent one has to determine what exactly are your child’s innate abilities. People at the top of any competitive field are both well-suited and well-trained. To maximize your child’s potential, you need to supplement his natural skills with deliberate practice while inspiring them with real-life success stories.
Affective+ Cognitive = Conative Skills
In short, the cognitive part of the brain has to do with intelligence, the affective deals with emotions and the conative drives how one acts on those thoughts and feelings.
A secure base gives your child the confidence to explore and take risks. Once free of fear, he can focus his mind on learning and picking up skills. This translates into developing good conative skills
Yes, you can enhance your child’s chances for success by improving his conative skills i.e. by syncing his cognitive and emotional faculties.
Over the Top: Moving from Survival to Stability, from Stability to Success, from Success to Significance by Zig Ziglar