How our Mindsets Prime our Brains–for Better or Worse–Part 2

How our Mindsets Prime our Brains–for Better or Worse–Part 2


The Growth Mindset empowers us, helps us live with purpose, and leads us to success and fulfillment. And that helps us have a sense of wellbeing and feel the joy of being alive.

To help our children get to that state we need to embody it. Equally important, we need to let our children fail. We need to let them struggle and work hard over extended periods of time. We even need to let them get hurt.

We need to stop saying how smart they are, how talented they are, or even how lazy they are. Dweck’s research has shown that praising abilities lowers a child’s IQ score.

Instead, children need their growth process praised. Dweck demonstrates what it could look like for different kinds of students:

That homework was so long and involved. I really admire the way you concentrated and finished it.”

“Everyone learns in a different way. Let’s keep trying to find the way that works for you.”

“I know school used to be easy for you and you used to feel like the smart kid all the time. But the truth is that you weren’t using your brain to the fullest. I’m really excited about how you’re stretching yourself now and working to learn new things.”

“You read that sentence in the book — you worked so hard to learn how to do that and now you can! Congratulations!”

What helps me is remembering that hard work and making mistakes is the way we learn. It also stretches our brains, expands the Growth Mindset center and builds confidence.

Let’s help our children embody the Growth Mindset by embodying it in ourselves and communicate in a way that helps our children embody it in themselves.


“How we communicate affects our joy of being alive.” – Linda

Two TED Talks expand on Dweck’s ideas about Mindset:

The Power of Believing You Can Improve– Carol Dweck

The Key to Success–Grit–Angela Lee Duckworth

For more information on how the brain physically changes by how we think, you may want to take a look at We Can Make Our Brains Smarter—at Any Age–Sandra Bond Chapman.

The following books help me talk to children about their brains.

Meet Thotso, your Thought Maker by Rachel Robb Avery, Ph.D.

What is a Thought? (A Thought is a Lot) by Jack Pransky and Amy Kahofer

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain–Stretch It,Shape It by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D.

The Owner’s Manual for Driving your Adolescent Brain by JoAnn Deak and Terrence Deak, Ph.D.

Some of the information has led one of my students and me to work on a play to present to his class. It’s title is: To believe or Not to Believe. It addresses the fact that we have a choice about which thoughts to believe, and our choice can dramatically affect us in all aspects of our lives.



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