The Power of Yet
Let’s play a game. Let’s add the word “yet” at the end of your deepest, most daring, most dazzling dream.
I am not a professional surfer. YET.
I am not a rocket scientist. YET.
I have not eaten fifty two hot dogs in one sitting. YET.
Carol S. Dweck’s evocative TED Talk on the power of “yet” reveals how cultivating a growth mindset can breed not only heartier, grittier students, but individuals primed to succeed in a limitless world of their own making.
There are two different mindsets people have: a growth mindset, and a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is limitless; you believe you can always improve. A fixed mindset is static; you believe you were gifted with certain talents and levels of intelligence, and that cannot change. Dweck describes children exhibiting a fixed mindset thus: “Instead of luxuriating in the power of YET, they were gripped in the tyranny of NOW.”
In a study, scientists measured the brain activity of students. They discovered that students with a fixed mindset had very little brain activity when they came across something they didn’t know; they ran from it. On the other hand, students who’d learned to cultivate a growth mindset had tremendous brain activity upon embarking a challenge, as they tried eagerly to find ways to vault the roadblock. “Their brains,” Dweck professes, “were literally on fire with YET!” Dweck tells us students with a growth mindset “process the error, they learn from it, and they correct it.”
So how can educators and parents teach students how to achieve a growth mindset? Dweck’s answer is “Process Praise.” Praising the process: “their effort, their strategies, their focus, their perseverance, their improvement… creates kids who are hearty and resilient.”
Dreams and success is not just for the lucky or the few. What do you want to do that you haven’t done (yet?!)
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