Sometimes we don’t unlearn the patterns we learn as kids.
I can remember comparing myself to others as a kid and choosing not to like things (even worse not to try at others) because I wasn’t as good at it as [insert name]. Now though, I can see how that patterns of thinking can become habitual and that unrecognized habits can be detrimental. I discuss this idea of stop stopping ourselves or getting out of our own way often with my team.
The following is part of a lesson plan I wrote for a group of 3rd and 4th graders during a unit on the power of exercise on the mind and body. After re-reading it, I thought it may actually resonate with some of us!
Raise your hand if you think that you will never enjoy vegetables?
Raise your hand if you think you will never get better a certain sport?
Raise your hand if you think you will never “get” (understand) math, or science, or any other class that you might struggle with?
This type of thinking is called a “fixed” mindset. It says, “I am not good at this OR I will never be good at this OR something like it.”
There is another type of mindset. It’s called “plasticity”. Plasticity says, “I am able to learn new things when I work at them.”
Have you ever said this to yourself?
Did you know that your brain – the actual organ in your head – has plasticity. No, its not made of plastic. This means that whether you know it or not…it is always learning new things – new words, new behaviors, new smells, new names, new movements, new recipes, new information. Even when we tell ourselves things like, “I am not good at this.”
The Lesson: Trust that your body (and brain!) know what they’re doing and pay attention to what you tell yourself (even when no one is looking). If you get out of your own way or don’t put limits on yourself – you may be surprised at what you can learn or do.