“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ― Henry Ford
Self image. How do we perceive ourselves?
Yesterday I listened to Prof Carol Dewack's lecture on Ted about the power of believing you can improve or I will call it the power of “not yet” regarding children and education and found it inspirational to say the least.
In a nut shell she differentiates between having a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Kids with a fixed mindset believe that you are either good at something or not based on your DNA, so your intelligence or other capabilities are pretty much set. You’re either smart or not, good at math, reading or sports or not.
These children will avoid any challenge they think they can’t succeed at. These can be “A students” afraid they won’t be considered smart any more if they don’t do well in a test or struggling ones not willing to put in the effort and persevere because “they are not good at math anyway, so what’s the point” . Children with a growth mindset, on the other hand, will welcome the challenge, embrace it. They believe a challenge is an opportunity for growth, they believe that they may not be there yet, but they will, if they are willing to put in the time and the effort, ask for help when needed, persevere and try out new strategies.
If we believe that we are all that we can be at this moment, that change is minimal, then we will run away from anything that will hurt our self -image. But the key word should always be: At the moment! Learning is a process, skill is a process.
We should view life as an adventure, we can never dream big if we are not willing to risk getting it wrong sometimes. If we always need to succeed right now, to affirm that we are smart, ultimately to affirm we are worth of love and appreciation, a need I believe we all share.
I think carol Dewack’s ideas and research touched me so much since I recognized my- self with those kids who wouldn’t take on a challenge if they felt they couldn’t succeed in it. For many years I stopped myself from developing and expressing myself fully, choosing the safe path when I was afraid to not do well enough. So I do my best to raise my kids that they will not be afraid of a challenge. I consciously praise and give value to the process, not the end result. In the last years I am trying a different approach with myself as well. This website is proof of that (-:
I took a great course of positive psychology several years ago with Dr Tal Ben Sahar , which had a profound effect on me in many ways, I think one of the seeds for this website is me taking his course. His moto throughout the course was “Learn to fail or fail to learn”. He talked about leaders in all fields of life “failing their way to success”. They failed, learned from it, grew, and tried again.
I would suggest looking at failure as making mistakes, making mistakes is a path to learning what didn’t work before and trying again. Our brains are not set. They are wired to learn and make new connections. This happens especially when we try really hard and persevere with a challenge.
We as parents have a huge impact on how our kids view failure and success. Whether they have a fixed mindset or mindset of growth. Like anything else they look at us and learn. How do we treat our own mistakes or setbacks? Do we take a chances on our dreams? Do we really believe effort and progress are more important than immediate success or are we just saying that? So, like everything else, the change begins with us. Start today :)