The Infection I’m Glad I Caught

“The point isn’t to get it all right away. The point is to grow your understanding, step by step. What can you try next?”

I never tell my students that they tried their hardest, so it is ok.

Patrick and I never want to tell our son that he is smart, and that is why he is learning so much.

When I am frustrated about work, I don’t tell myself that I just don’t get it.

Instead, the Tobiasson family approaches things with a growth mindset.

This is what Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success encourages teachers to tell their students, colleagues and children.

In her numerous research studies through Standford University, Dweck found conclusive evidence that the way that people think about learning and problem solving is a determining factor in the success that they find in life. Things like sports, algebra, reading comprehension and learning new product sales strategies are different learning activities that are more successful when approached from a growth mindset.

Dweck found that it is important for people, of all ages and abilities, to consider how they approach problem solving. In short, she found that instead of thinking of things as easy or hard, people should approach all of life as a challenge to find the greatest success. Dweck found that offering praise for “intelliegence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment but may actually jeopardize success.”

Think about it: What if you thought that you were a really terrific writer. Your whole life, teachers, friends and your parents praised your writing skill. Then you go to Stanford, and fail Writing 101. How do you feel? Would you want to keep writing? Or try something else?

At some point, everyone faces challenges.

But successful people, like Tom Brady, have a growth mindset. They know that they have to keep trying new strategies, continually practice, and never give up.

In the education world, the philosophy of the growth mindset is spreading through schools like margarine flows across Wonderbread. Teachers are watching videos, reading required books, and attending workshops about how to talk to students to help them change their inner monologues to reflect the growth mindset.

My favorite one is “The Power of Belief.” 

Here, Eduardo Bricino talks about the importance of not telling yourself that you can’t do something, but instead thinking “I’m not there, yet.”

It isn’t easy to keep up the growth mindset. Everyone has roadblocks, and things that make them want to give up.

I’m lucky enough to have a guy at home with me, reminding me about the importance of not yet

Yesterday, at a stop light, Patrick caught me praising Jasper for being smart.

“He keeps learning and growing!” Patrick reminded me.

Yes. 

 

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