Forgot Password? / Help

Tag: mindset


Mindset for the New Year

I have a growth mindset– anyway, that’s what I thought. I believe that anyone can grow and change. I learned that the brain is plastic — they call it neuroplasticity. That means you can change your brain. In reading, Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset” people have either a growth or a fixed mindset. Dweck states that everyone is born with a growth mindset and potential to do whatever they want to do. Fixed mindsets happen from experiences and relationships that keep them from believing in themselves. They might give up easily because, for some reason, they don’t think they can do it.

In an interview on Education World, Dweck discusses mastery-oriented qualities.

“There is no relation between students’ abilities or intelligence and the development of mastery-oriented qualities. Some of the very brightest students avoid challenges, dislike effort, and wilt in the face of difficulty. And some of the less bright students are real go-getters, thriving on challenge, persisting intensely when things get difficult, and accomplishing more than you expected.


This is something that really intrigued me from the beginning. It shows that being mastery-oriented is about having the right mind-set. It is not about how smart you are. However, having the mastery-oriented mind-set will help students become more able over time.”

I just read George Couros’ great posts More Mindset than Skill Set and More about Mindset and Learning where he shares stories about an 82 year old woman who wanted to learn how to play the cello so she took lessons. It didn’t matter that she was 82. She knew she could learn something she always wanted to do. He shared about his father who had a limited formal education, but was willing to learn new things. George showed his father using an iPad to communicate with his grandchildren. If you want to do something and you have a growth mindset, you can do it. It really is not about talent. All of us have some talents, but if we don’t believe we can do something or don’t believe in ourselves, we might not take the risks to change.

So why did I ask about having both mindsets? I am usually very optimistic with a glass more than half full. Sometimes the glass is running over. I read Public Agenda file: a Mission of the Heart: What Does it Take to Transform a School? that talked about “transformers” and “copers.”  This is about leaders either being one or the other. Transformers have an explicit vision of what their school might be like and bring a “can do” attitude to their job. Copers are typically struggling to avoid being overwhelmed. They don’t have the time or freedom, or for some perhaps, the inclination to do more than try to manage their situation.

Growth mindset = transformer. Or does it? What if you have a “can do” attitude and believe that anything can be done, but feel overwhelmed with your situation. The situation may make you question if you can “do” something especially during a stressful time.  I know administrators that are very optimistic with most activities, but have trouble coping with or managing specific situations.

I believe I have a growth mindset and so do so many teachers I work with. However, some may have trouble coping in specific situations. Teachers have so much on their plates. Some days, they are overwhelmed, because there is just not enough time in the day to do everything. That’s how I feel some days. It doesn’t mean that I have a fixed mindset, but I may have a situational “mindset.” I want to do something about this. I like that I am optimistic. I always believed I had a growth mindset, but wasn’t sure what it was called before. I want to be able to handle most situations and continue to be optimistic.

So instead of resolutions for the New Year, I’m looking at setting my mindset to a growth mindset. If I get overwhelmed with any situation, I’m going to pause and reflect on how I feel. I just have to focus and believe in myself.

What about you? What is your mindset? Why not make 2013 the year that you can do anything you put your mind to do?


Think as an Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur takes a different mindset. Most of us have been taught to take orders, follow the rules, think in the box… When someone breaks out of the box and comes up with what they think is a crazy idea, their colleagues just shake their heads and wait for their friend to come to their senses.  That is until the economy changed everything and the consequences for following rules doesn’t mean you keep your job anymore. There is no security and the rules have all changed.

With good jobs going away, middle class downsizes. Jobs that pay well are going away and are not being replaced by similar jobs. The middle class is shrinking. Corporations are cutting back on their work force and continue to send jobs oversees. Some of the jobs that are being cut are accounting, good-paying union jobs, and technology jobs. When you are out of work and there are no jobs, no unemployment benefits, you take any job — even a low-paying job. With little money, people are barely making it by, losing their homes, and not spending money. This is the trickle down effect people were talking about.

What happens to our communities? to the families? Houses go into foreclosure, people don’t spend money so stores go under, people move and take their children out of school. Without enough students, schools close or teachers are laid off. This is that trickle down effect but not the way we were thinking it would go.

You can feel sorry for yourself or you can take control of your life. What if you could make another $500+ a month? Could that help you? I just read “Put more Cash in Your Pocket” by Loral Langemeir who I met at the Make Mine a Millionaire $ Business Conference.

Loral writes about taking the skills you already have and make a business venture using those skills. This is not the idea of starting a new business around something you have no experience. Did you ever sell lemonade in front your house? It’s the same idea. Just make some extra money to pay off some bills or save for something you really want. Loral provides a long list of possible ventures. Here’s a few off that list and a few I added:

  • Tutoring
  • Web site design
  • Scrapbooking
  • Dog Walking
  • Calligraphy
  • Quilting
  • Gardening
  • Music Lessons
  • Organizing Closets
  • Personal Shopper
  • Setting up Home Theaters

What do you like to do? What are your skills? Do you have any hobbies you wouldn’t mind doing more and making money off of them?

Change how you think and think like an entrepreneur. You can make extra money  while you have a job. If you don’t have a job and are on unemployment, try your hand at doing something you love and see what it feels like to make money off of it.  Interested in learning more? Buy Loral’s book and take a chance.


Are we growing less creative?

Creative childrenCare2′s article Are American children growing less creative? shared Tests since 1990 show a steady decline in the creativity levels of American children, despite the fact that IQ tests indicate they are getting smarter.

The focus for the last 9 years has been on increasing student achievement based on standardized tests. Maybe our children are learning how to memorize facts and increasingly doing better on spelling tests and Jeopardy games. Even the TV show “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” encourages students to recall facts. There is no problem-solving, critical thinking or creativity involved in these activities. The 5th graders on this show are stoked when they get the answer right but there is only one right answer.

Life doesn’t always work that way. What we need are students who come up with the questions and are able to take some risks, find multiple ways to answer any of the questions or solve problems. They need to be able to think on their feet and jump in with new innovative ideas. Who knew even five years ago that people would be listening to mp3 files with an iPod or that cell phones could access the Internet. Email is old school. Now people text, use Facebook and Twitter to communicate. Traditional schools are closing because of so many reasons and, in my opinion, we need to rethink what a school is and redesign our learning environments if we want our students to be productive 21st century citizens.