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Mindset: Ten Transformative Quotes on Teaching Children to Grow

Mindset: Ten Transformative Quotes on Teaching Children to Grow

How to instill real confidence and embrace failure as part of the learning process.


Dr. Carol S. Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford, wrote an inspiring book that changes the way we think about mistakes and obstacles. In Mindset, Dr. Dweck explains that those of us with a fixed mindset believe that our abilities are innate, and that they determine what we are capable of accomplishing; those of us with a growth mindset see our abilities as ever-changing and growing, based on hard work and training.

When we have a fixed mindset, failure is not only frightening, it is a signal to us that we have reached our inherent limits and that we should give up. But with a growth mindset, failure is part of the learning process. It is a signal to us that we are engaged in a dynamic process of growth and figuring out how to improve based on our mistakes.

Teaching ourselves how to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset shows us how to overcome obstacles and encourages us to keep working towards goals that really matter. “This is something I know for a fact,” Carol Dweck said. “You have to work hardest for the things you love the most.” Teaching our children how to develop a growth mindset is one of the most precious gifts we can give them.

Here are ten quotes from Mindset that teach us how to approach our lives as a continuous learning process.

  1. “Becoming is better than being.”

  2. “We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.”

  3. “No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”

  4. “So what should we say when children complete a task- say, math problems- quickly and perfectly? Should we deny them the praise that they have earned? Yes. When this happens, I say: “Whoops. I guess that was too easy. I apologize for wasting your time.”

  5. “Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going.”

  6. “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”

  7. “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

  8. “Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way. When people change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help learn framework.”

  9. “Parents think that they can hand children permanent confidence – like a gift – by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work and in fact has the opposite effect. It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong.”

  10. “John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, says you aren’t a failure until you start to blame. What he means is that you can still be in the process of learning from your mistakes until you deny them.”

December 10, 2016

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