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  • Nimrod Bar-Levin

How to raise successful people

Like it or not, we all have some image in our heads of how we would like to see our kids turn out (and wonder why they turn out the way they do), or, at the very least, how we don't want them to turn out. We want them to be well-rounded emotionally and financially successful as well, so that their lives will be less difficult than our own.


Figuring out how to have a positive influence in this direction is a minefield, and often our own perspective as parents isn't broad enough or objective enough to do just the right thing as every turn. But there are a few actionable principles to follow that start for me with the book and concept by Esther Wojcicki, "How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results."



Esther's solution is built on five blocks that spell TRICK: trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. Esther specifies how parents should treat our kids (and ourselves...) for each of the five blocks in order to help them get farther in life. Esther's point of view is super interesting as not only does she use stories from her own childhood and her own "TRICK" parenting (she has three girls: the CEO of YouTube, CEO of 23andMe and a professor), but she also uses stories about the many kids she "TRICK" educated for almost 40 years in a Palo Alto high school.


Esther is naturally an advocate of positivity and gladly leading by example as a parent. In a world of smartphones and screens, that means treating our kids more-or-less as equals in the rules and restrictions we set. Obviously not everything can be or will be the same for you and your kids, but the more they see you put down your phone and read a book or take a walk, the more likely they'll feel good and justified about doing that as well.


In the end, success is in the eye of the beholder and as Judith Rich-Harris believes, 50% of a child’s personality is genetic and out of our control. But Esther shows us that influence your child is possible and important.

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