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"In a growth mindset, you are focused every day by your growth, not deterred by challenges and not overwhelmed by accomplishments--you're just moving on to the next day." -Brad Stevens
Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens is no stranger to success. In 2013, Stevens was named Boston Celtics' head basketball coach, leading one of the most storied franchises in American professional sports. Stevens is an avid proponent of using a growth mindset while coaching his players. About the time Stevens began coaching at Butler University (2007-13), he was given Mindset as a gift. Ever since his initial reading, Stevens says Dr. Carol Dweck's work has influenced him as a coach, a father, and a person. He says, "Regardless of what happens today, [that] should not affect how you approach tomorrow."
"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." - William Bruce Cameron (and on a sign hanging in Albert Einstein's office)
"What is water?" said one fish to the other, illustrating that "the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about" (David Foster Wallace). One of these realities is that we teach competencies that can be easily tested and quantified rather than what is most important. This reality may seem obvious, but why do we keep doing it? If we strive to develop student agency, can we do a better job at taking agency ourselves for what we deem important?
As we navigate through life, we can either travel purposely in our desired direction or we can surrender to the winds like a drunken sailor.
If we simply go with the flow and let the currents take us where they may, we may not like the place where we end up. We may arrive decades from now at a place full of regrets. And if there are important challenges in the way that we, as a society, lead our lives, prepare future generations, and take care of ourselves and loved ones, then going with the flow may not lead us to a place that we like.
Are you letting the wind and currents take you where they may, or do you have a Northern Star?
If students are struggling, we want them to remain motivated, try harder, and stick with it. But what about the saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result"? If a student has tried to learn something, didn't succeed, tried the same thing again and again, and never felt progress, is he likely to think that trying yet again will yield results? And is that motivating or demotivating?
The First Lady visited Savoy Elementary school in May and spoke with the students about the truth about smart and dumb.
"Because the truth is -- and this is important; I want you all to listen up -- no one is born smart. Do you understand that? No one is born smart. No one is born knowing how to read, right? No one is born knowing how to do math, or no one is born knowing how to play the flute -- all of that comes with a lot of hard work. And I know your teachers tell you that all the time."
First Lady Obama went on to talk about the importance of effort in achievement and reminded students that even the president works hard! Her words on mistakes and failure encouraged students that they are "preparing for greatness."
Watch the First Lady's speech, as well as her charming reenactment of freeze tag with the students.
About Mindset Works
Mindset Works was co-founded by one of the world's leading researchers in the field of motivation, Stanford University professor Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. and K-12 mindset expert Lisa S. Blackwell, Ph.D. The Company translates psychological research into practical products and services to help students and educators increase their motivation and achievement. For more information, visit http://www.mindsetworks.com