The Four A's for Today's Lifestyles
In past centuries, mastery of the three R's - readin', 'riting,
and 'rithmetic - was commonly viewed as essential to effective
learning and communication. However, the nurturing and building
of the "Four A's" have also become essential to
developing skills relevant to thriving in the 21st Century.
This is true for both students and adults as they share concerns
about finding ways to balance life's demands while keeping
pace with challenging daily schedules.
What are the Four A's?
1. Attitude is how we present ourselves to
Developing the skills to share our sometimes conflicting
opinions in a respectful tone and pleasant manner contributes
to a more balanced environment and easier interactions with
others. Our choices about how to present ourselves will
impact every situation we encounter and everyone we meet.
2. Attention is what we focus on.
What we attend to establishes our priorities. We can easily
feel overwhelmed if our attention is constantly challenged
by competing priorities (e.g., family relationships and
caregiving, financial and physical well-being, professional
development, work or school performance and relationships,
and community). Learning to focus our attention on defined
priorities in different areas of our lives is now an essential
3. Action is the process of doing or moving
toward an outcome.
Rather than only thinking about something, taking some action,
even one step, moves us steadily closer toward a goal. When
our priorities are identified, creating an action plan and
visualizing the outcome helps us to maintain focused attention.
4. Accomplishment is the result of attitude,
attention, and action all working in concert.
It can be a step taken on the way to a larger objective, a
change in health or relationship, or a week of focused attention
on a particular project. Accomplishments demonstrate the results
of our time and energy. Incomplete goals can contribute to
frustration and anxiety.
For many of us, time is the new currency, and learning to
balance competing demands on our time is a daunting challenge.
By being aware of our attitude, attending to defined goals,
and taking the necessary actions, we increase our accomplishments
and establish a sense of balance and direction.
© Copyright 2007, Career Vision / Ball Foundation. Article
may be reprinted with permission.