How Setting Long-Term Goals Led One Kumon Student to Big Achievements
Waiting has become nearly obsolete in today’s connected world. Gone are the days of bringing your film to the store to get developed. Even the satisfying shake of a Polaroid would feel like forever compared to the instant gratification of a cell phone selfie. When you can receive an immediate answer to a burning question simply by asking a device on your countertop, next week’s exam feels like a lifetime away. For today’s youth, planning long-term seems like an impossible task.
That’s how Inara felt when she started Kumon as an 8-year-old struggling with math. She would sit in class, working on simple subtraction, and peek at the work the students next to her were completing. Overwhelmed, she couldn’t imagine herself ever being able to tackle the complex algebraic equations she saw on their worksheets. However, she soon realized that by learning the basics first and progressing step-by-step, what at one time seemed impossible was now achievable.
Inara started setting long-term goals for Kumon, with smaller goals to work toward along the way. First, she aspired to finish all 200 worksheets in the level. Next, she planned to reach Level G and earn her yellow Kumon bag. Finally, she would complete the reading program.Kumon helped Inara learn the importance of working methodically to achieve long-term goals, but it wasn’t her first experience setting lofty expectations.
When Inara was 5, she joined Scouts, where she started off conservatively. Her first camping experience was inside a building, using a box for a tent. She progressed to more difficult camping trips as she got older, honing her skills and developing independence. After years of practice, her hard work paid off with a life-changing experience. Inara joined her fellow Scouts on a back country camping trip, completing an arduous four day hike up a mountain over tough terrain. It was challenging but thrilling, and only possible because she had set ambitious goals and worked toward them for years.
Balancing Kumon, Scouting, and school was difficult for Inara. There were many times when she thought she wouldn’t be able to continue, but she persisted. Every time she struggled, she looked at her peers completing higher level work and pictured herself in their place. Program completion seemed unattainable to 8-year-old Inara, but by setting benchmarks along the way and keeping a clear goal in mind, she ultimately achieved it.
We’ll leave you with the story of Inara’s journey in her own words. Perhaps the best part of accomplishing a goal is recounting everything it took to get to that point.
“When I started the program, I didn’t really know what I was getting into,” said Inara. “On my very last day, I just remember feeling so accomplished that I get to walk out of here. I was looking at everyone else sitting in those desks thinking, they’re still going through the program, but I finished it. It was a great feeling to be able to do that.”