Why would anyone play volleyball without a net? How PEAK performance leads to peak humanity.

Q: What do you get when you play volleyball without a net?

A: Better.

Photo by: Hanna Norlin

I wrote the other day about ThriversEd as “a wide-open volleyball-without-a-net experience.” If you can imagine playing volleyball without a net, what would be the challenge for the players? Not ending the volley, to score a point, but keeping it alive, to score a victory for everyone involved.

Children are cultivated, to the extent they are, in Cautious and Driven displays, especially Ci catalogings of facts: “What does the cow say?” “What does the owl say?” This serves over time to make them competitive and cruel, and it erects the cautious tyranny by which the promise of education is revoked for 98% of everyone. The PEAK scoring matrix leads kids the other way, over time, toward cooperation and kindness – toward peak humanity, for life, for everyone involved.

First the bad news, me from Shyly’s delight:

So: Why did your daughter tell you every week how much she hated piano lessons until she finally dug in her heels and quit, never playing again? It’s because you and her piano teacher entered into an unwitting conspiracy to penalize her incessantly for failing to produce faithful note-for-note mimicry of desiccated sheet music, instead of helping her learn to love music as Shyly would have, if she could have, by living it from the inside out. Technical mastery requires immense motivation, the motivation you killed before it could even take root by insisting that a tiny green shoot is less than nothing if it cannot instantly tower among ancient oaks. If we trained our dogs like this, their spirits – and their tails – would be down all the time, too.

Find the love for life your dog never lives a day without at Amazon.com:

Shyly’s delight: Work, play and love like a Labrador.

And this is all of education, of course. The Cautious students excel academically. Why wouldn’t they? They read all the material, do all the assignments and follow all the rules. They are the perfect pets for a Cautious tyranny. And the Incandescents shine socially, since achieving status in a Cautious tyranny consists entirely of putting the other guy in the wrong. Any wrong will do, since ‘wrong’ in the Cautious morality doesn’t mean harmful or hurtful, it simply means non-compliant.

No one was ever scolded or scorned into good behavior, just a terrified compliance sometimes overlaid with a parody of rebellion, so Cautious management of education is more than usually anti-effective: It not only does not produce educated children, what it produces instead are scared little perpetual puppies whose only hope of ever feeling right with themselves is to join in with some mob scourging some other poor fool for being unwittingly and completely-inconsequentially in the wrong about a matter of absolutely no importance.

Cautious tyranny in education produces a tiny number of Ci intellectualoids surrounded by a vast coterie of scared rabbits – Ic’s and Si’s pretending to be Ci’s, the Harry Potter Brigades. Status is established by going one up on the other guy, typically by putting him one down, and the result is a competitive and cruel culture where each individual child’s upbringing(!!!) is a steady sequence of snide and supercilious put-downs.

Yikes! That seems like a fate worth avoiding. PEAK is how to do it. The secret sauce? Inverting the values hierarchy by which children earn positive attention. Instead of rewarding C’s and D’s for Ci or Dc displays, we quarry their better natures by paying less for abundance and more for scarcity.

Please accord me a moment in which to say: “Ahem.”

The PEAK scoring matrix is weighted like this:

Proficient = 10% of the final score
Efficient = 20% of the final score
Appealing = 30% of the final score
Kind = 40% of the final score

Instead of giving Cautious and Driven children high marks for the things they’re already doing to super-abundant perfection, we’re urging them to pursue perfection with Incandescent and, especially, Sociable displays. They’ll still excel – since the Driven will want to do the whole job and the Cautious will want to follow all the rules – but they will excel at delivering all the goods and not just the stuff they’re already good at.

The Sociables – meat-grinder-fodder in the current educational scheme – will get a big head start, but they will have to work very hard where they are weakest to gain ground. And since every work of the mind subject to a PEAK evaluation is Driven, Cautious and Incandescent for Sociable purposes, the mere fact of PEAK-scored activity will serve, over time, to make all children better-rounded in every corner of the DISC quadrant.

For emphasis: Usus est magister optimus. By participating in PEAK activities all the time – sometimes doing work for evaluation but constantly evaluating other works of the mind – we are reinforcing this values hierarchy all the time. As with DISC, you should PEAK everything. Children who grow up in ThriversEd will PEAK continuously before they can speak reliably.

So: Instead of idealizing Ci nerds and Ic prom kings, we prize Sd companionship and cooperation with a fungible Ds leadership. This will educate every child, not just the apple-polishers, but much more importantly, it will make people happy for life instead of being miserable – for life.

There’s lots more – how to PEAK, who to PEAK, how to PEAK yourself – but the question we’re answering right now is this one:

Why would anyone play volleyball without a net?

Because when someone wins, everyone else loses, but when everyone wins – everyone wins, forever!

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