I happened to read this book at the end of 2012. November was the right time to read it as I was about to consider what I wanted to spend 2013 on. It set me up to make good choices as I PCSed and started filling in my new calendar.
I understand that I’m posting this in March when most people are done with their New Year’s Resolutions and their goals are a distant memory. The reason I believe many people don’t make it past March is because they set goals without creating a plan. They didn’t pause, set their aim well, and map out how they want to get to where they want to go.
There are four things that make people successful and, while I’d love to break it down for you, I’d have to basically re-write the book. I don’t have permission to do that, so either buy it or check the book out at the library and find out what these four things are. I will say that the fourth element is my favorite. (100 bonus points to the first person who reads the book and can tell me what this one is.)
Love this: “Focus your year on things that matter to you, on things that have specific meaning to you.”
Chapter 17 was huge for me. As an educator, it really struck a chord with me. I am telling you, it put into words my educational philosophy.
It’s all in your head.
If you believe that your talents are inborn or fixed, then you will try to avoid failure at all costs because failure is proof of your limitation. People with a fixed mindset like to solve the same problems over and over again It reinforces their sense of competence.
Children with fixed mindsets would rather redo an easy jigsaw puzzle rather than try a harder one. Students with fixed mindsets would rather not learn new languages.
CEOs with fixed mindsets will surround themselves with people who agree with them. They feel smart when they get it right.
BUT – if you believe your talent grows with persistence and effort, then you seek failure as an opportunity to improve. People with a growth mindset feel smart when they’re learning, not when they’re flawless.
This is amazing stuff here! Are you catching this?!? (Have you figured out yet whether you are a person with a fixed or growth mindset?) The author continues…
Children trained to view themselves as capable of growing their intelligence… worked harder, more persistently, and with greater success on math problems that they had previously abandoned as unsolvable.
As a teacher I want to…
Give them tasks above their abilities. They don’t think they can do it? Tell them you expect them to work at it for a while, struggle with it. That it will take more time than the tasks they’re used to doing. That you expect they’ll make some mistakes along the way. But you know they can do it.
Seriously. Two of my boys have recently hit challenging problems in Math. Up until now their school work has been easy and fluid. When they began finding some difficulty in it, I started seeing frustration in their eyes.
Because of what I read in this book, I told the boys, “Guys, this is great! You have reached the point in your math education where you are really going to start growing your intellect. You have thus far been showing me how smart you already are. Now you’re going to start getting smarter!”
I told them that they were to expect the math to get harder as it stretched their minds and, so far, they have been able to calm their frustrations and seem to be trucking right along, even in the more difficult problems.
I want my children to have the “growth mindsets” Bregman talks about and not the “fixed mindsets.” How sad to be stuck in that rut. The same goes for myself. I don’t want to assume I’m as smart as I can be and continually do the same things over and over. I want to grow, stretch, and reach the destination I’ve selected with purpose, and the only way to get where I want to go is to map out the way. I must be intentional about this. I want this to be the way I see failure:
Failure is inevitable, useful, and educational. Just don’t give up – stay focused over the year and it will pay off.
Yesterday as I ran I listened to a podcast by a fellow homeschooling mom (with double the number of children I have). The episode was titled “Never Stop Learning” and I was astounded by the number of ideas we share in common. Even down to what we’re choosing to read! She’s reading something on my “to-read” list as well as going back to her high-school favorites to reread those, something I’m also currently doing. I encourage you to check out her podcast. There is great information to be learned there.
So, what is your 2013 about? What are you going to learn this year? What do you want to change in your life? Pause, decide where you want to go, set a goal and make a map, and attempt something you might just fail at, growing in the process.