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Mindset of Success

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Mindset of Success

Have you ever found yourself taking time out of your busy schedule to help your child with homework only to find he or she simply won’t pay attention? Their focus seems to be on everything except what it should be? Or they simply don’t seem interested in finding out how to improve?

For years parents and teachers have struggled to help these types of students -– often thinking they are simply lazy, unmotivated, or perhaps suffering from some form of attention-deficit disorder. While there can be many reasons for this type of behaviour, there may be one you have never considered before -– their mindsets.

Simply put, mindsets are the beliefs people hold true about themselves, and research has shown that these views can have profound effects on how we approach our lives. Carol S. Dweck Ph.D, a leading researcher in this field, believes there are two main mindsets from which people operate – a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence and basic qualities can be developed with effort and time. If these people do poorly on a math test or recognize they are weak in a subject, they might think, “OK, I’m not very good at this, but if I work at it and get some help, I know I can do better.”

However, people with a generally fixed mindset believe that their qualities and strengths are carved in stone, and that no amount of effort will really make a difference.

Therefore, if they believe they’re no good in math, they might think, “Why bother studying. It won’t make any difference.” They believe, “If at first you don’t succeed, you probably don’t have the ability.”

People with fixed mindsets are also usually only interested in feedback that directly relates to their performance -– finding out if they were right or wrong. Unfortunately, after that they simply stop paying attention -– even when given strategies on how to improve or get the right answers the next time. This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. If you believe you only have a limited capacity or talent which cannot be improved, why bother listening or trying?

How can you tell which mindset you generally have? Dr. Dweck, in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, suggests we look at how we would answer the question, “When do you feel smart?”

Answers that reflect a desire for immediate perfection (no mistakes, finish quickly and perfectly, or if something is easy) are typical of a fixed mindset.

Answers that reflect effort or learning over time (working on something challenging and finally get it) are more typical of a growth mindset.

The good news is that people can shift and strengthen their mindsets -– moving from fixed to growth. There are several strategies, which can include learning about: the two mindsets, how the brain works (stores and retrieves information), new and effective study skills and working with professionals such as therapists and certified youth coaches.

Interested in more support or having Rob Stringer speak at your child’s school? Visit for more information.