Archives for: December 2007, 16
I picked up a copy of Scientific American Mind this week, and there was an interesting article about how to prepare children (and any age) for success. When parents praise their children for "being smart" or "being talented" like it is just a born or inherited trait, then that often sets the children up for defeat. School, and life, do become hard, for everyone, and when things are no longer easy, these children think it is hard because they do not have the traits necessary to do it easily. At that point, they give up or lose interest in that which has become hard. It is better to praise a child for how they go about the growth and learning process, and the effort they put into it, or how they get to the end result. They taught a group of students about how the brain forms new connections between the neurons whenever you learn something new, and emphasized that "smart" comes from hard work, and can be built. Often, those who demonstrate the greatest successes are those who don't start out all that smart, but they have a love of learning, and a love of the subject and the work it takes to learn it, and eventually, they make breakthroughs.
You can apply this to everyone, and it's not just the brain that can be changed. We are just beginning to understand epigenetics, but all indications are that we are all much more plastic (changable) than anybody every guessed before. We can turn on good genes and turn off bad genes through diet, how we interact with our environment, how we move, what we learn, etc. etc.
If there's some positive trait you simply think you lack, think again, and work to change it...and you will develop that trait. If you don't want to do the work, or other work that is more important, admit it, and move on, at least you will no longer be holding yourself back through your thinking. "You Are Who You Choose To Be" That's a line from The Iron Giant, a great animated movie. (Yes I take much wisdom from children's films, but it's good that they often have it.)