Two mindsets that can change a child’s life

Source: The Local

Thomas Edison once said, “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. His perseverance in the face of repeated failure eventually led to the invention of the light bulb. Edison wasn’t ashamed to admit his discovery didn’t come to him in a light bulb moment. With each failure, he said, he simply found another way that didn’t work and persisted until one did. Had he shrugged his shoulders and admitted defeat after 9,999 attempts, we may all still be living by gas lamp!Edison didn’t think he was either capable or incapable of inventing the light bulb. Instead, he believed that if he put in the hard work he would eventually achieve his goal. The belief that our basic qualities, like talent and intelligence, are firmly set traits is known as a ‘fixed mindset’ — when someone decides they are either able to do something or they are not — and it can result in a quickness to abandon tasks perceived as out of one’s natural ability. The term was coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, who argues we encounter and adopt this unproductive belief in childhood. Dweck suggests that, however well-meaning, the praise children receive contributes to this unproductive mindset. But before we blame the parents, it’s not just their responsibility to steer children away from a ‘fixed mindset’. Teachers, too, play a pivotal role in imparting what Dweck calls a ‘growth mindset’, or the idea that the brain, like a muscle, grows stronger through hard work.

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