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“Renewal is the principle – and the process – that empowers us to move on in an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.” Stephen R Covey

I am now involved in the provision of a new Third Resolution ‘service’, having qualified (a loose term) as an Institute of Advanced Motorists Local Observer. This means I get to tell other people, with a level of authority, what I think of their driving. That is something I missed from my days as a uniformed copper. Although unlike then, those people will have paid to be told and they won’t argue (much) about my being right.

Yesterday, I attended a training session and was slightly taken aback to learn that for every 100 people who start training as advanced drivers, as many as 60% plus elect NOT to take the test at the end of the programme. Just as we say ‘You’ll pass the test!’, they decide that they don’t want to be tested. They’re good enough, the ‘authority’ tells them so, and they demur.

This is not like school, where you take an exam at the end of a school year, ready or not. These are people who have been prepared for, and told they can pass.

And I am astounded. I have spent my entire life testing myself against higher standards. I have sought out education and gained qualifications. Occasionally I have failed, only to revisit that failure and again take on that challenge, only to succeed. That doesn’t mean I am ecstatic when I approach an exam or assessment. I am nervous about the result. But I welcome the challenge because if I come through, I have proved to myself I am better than I was before.

So when I read that ‘our children are being stressed out through tests’ I think to myself, “Why are we telling our children to fear assessment? What numpty decided that being properly prepared for the challenges that will face us can only be overcome when they face us, and that we should not test ourselves in anticipation of that test.

Fortunately – and here’s the paradox – not one of us would want to be diagnosed by an unqualified doctor, have our accounts done by someone who can’t prove they are qualified (or at least have a Maths GCSE), or use a Uber driver who hasn’t passed his driving test. We absolutely insist that those who provide our services are qualified – trained and assessed – to do so. And yet some twits have decided that asking a teenager to take an exam in a peaceful, quiet room is stressful.

Life is a test. It tests our ability to cope, it tests our ability to overcome, it tests our ability to live a life of meaning. It wants us to be better, to find something about which we can be passionate.

Getting trained and independently assessed in those areas about which we are passionate and which serve our sense of meaning is a discipline (First Resolution), provides competence and builds our character (Second Resolution), and inevitably encourages us to start providing excellence in service when we manifest our training through employment or hobbies (Third Resolution).

And if your training and assessment is connected to your vision/mission/purpose – what the hell is there to get stressed about?

This week I encourage all readers to identify a mission- or passion-related qualification and go and sign up for the course that will demonstrate to others that you aren’t just interested – you are qualified.

For more on The Three Resolutions, go HERE to Amazon to get the Kindle version of the book, or HERE for a Paperback edition.