i recently came across an article about a book called mind in the making which is all about life skills that children should have. I read a short article by the author in one of the blogs in nytimes and she says that one of her aims in writing the book is so that parents dont feel guilty all the time. And I thought, well, that would be me. 

http://mindinthemaking.org/article/category/focus_and_self_control/

So anyways just for fun i thought i would rate myself on those life skills. After all how can i teach my son those skills if i am not so sure i have it myself. (see there goes the guilt again) 

So the first skill is 

Focus and self control: which can be broken down into four components: focus, cognitive flexibility, working memory, and inhibitory control.

Focus: Researchers talk about young children being “alert” and about “orienting” (being able to focus on achieving what they want to achieve) — think of a fourteen-month-old trying to get Cheerios onto a spoon in order to feed herself or himself). For older children and adults, focus includes those two  aspects, plus being able to concentrate.

1) Get so absorbed in what i am doing that i stay with it for a long time: Well this is somewhat me, when i am doing some things like reading a book or trying to solve a particular problem or puzzle or writing. However in my day job – i work at the computer where i have to often wait for something to get done, before i move on to something else. And that interim period of time is when I lose that absorption. so i would score myself 3 on this. (somewhat like me) 

2) Easily distracted: Not so easily but refer to 1. Score:3 

3) Hard time keeping my mind on things. Score:3 

4) Keep my energy at just the right level so i can concentrate when I need to. Score:2 

Overall score: 11. Sounds like I could use some work on this skill. 

Cognitive Flexibility: the ability to flexibly switch perspectives or change the focus of attention; and flexibly adjust to changed demands or priorities.
1) When I try something that doesnt work, I find it hard to give up and try another solution. Given that i just spent the last 3 mins trying to get the font right on the above, I would say thats me. Score 1.
2) I adapt to change pretty easily: Not so easily, but i do adapt. Score:4 
3) When i cant convince someone of my pov, i can usually understand why not: Score 5 – exactly like me. 
4) not very quick to take on new ideas: Not at all like me. Score 5 

Overall:15 (rate high) 

 Working Memory: enables you to hold information in your mind while mentally working with it or updating it. For example, you need working memory in order to relate what you’re reading now to what you just read a minute ago.

1) I can hold a couple of ideas in my mind at the same time. Score 3, somewhat like me.

2) If I’m reading, it’s hard for me to remember what I have just read. Score 4: (not much like me)

3) I can add large numbers in my head. (Score 2)

4) I don’t always remember what I plan to do first and then second. Score 3

 Overall score: 12 – right in the middle category. 

Inhibitory control: involves the ability to resist a strong inclination to do one thing and instead do what is most appropriate. Inhibitory control involves controlling your attention, your emotions, and your behavior to achieve a goal. 

1. If I’m in a noisy room, I can still pay attention to the person I’m talking to. Score 4

2. I have trouble screening out things that are going on around me. Score 4

3. When I’m interrupted by someone who needs me—at work or at home— I can switch gears and pay attention. Score 5

4. I tend to blurt out what I’m thinking, even if it might hurt someone else.Score 5

5. If others are having dessert, I usually have on too, even when I want to lose weight. Score 4

6. I stick to what I need to do, even when I’m not successful right away and i want to give up. Score 3

Overall score: 25 (rate high on inhibitory control)

So overall i would say, in the first skill I would need work in Focus and working memory. The other categories seem to be good enough!

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