The Teacher is Talking: Goals…the rewards of higher Education

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By Leslie Lindsay

 
Remember this poster from Deck the Walls, that print store that one could find in just about every mall across the country in the late 1980’s and 1990’s?  I don’t think we ever had this poster in our home, but my dad would point it out to me every time we were in that store, “And this is why you need to study hard and go to college.” 
 
And speaking of malls… how about those kiosks that cluttered the “mall hall” with cheesy inspirational sayings?  Yep–I’m talking “Succesories” here (http://www.successories.com).  Seems they had a plaque or poster or something for everything “important” in life” success, goal-setting, teamwork, creativity…
 
Bear with me, I am getting to something. 

Last week, we talked a little about the idea that failure may be the best antidote for success… and today, I present a little blurb about goal setting.  That’s right:  those goofy little benchmarks we give ourselves to see if we are measuring up.  Or, maybe it’s not a ‘measuring up’ thing at all–but more of a personal goal, to get where we want to go. So, let’s just shift gears a minute and think about just that:  mindsets…

I ask you this again:  is a goal something you want to accomplish, or is it simply something you feel you have to accomplish based on some external motivation (i.e., your friends, neighbors, what you think oughtto happen).  That would be your mindset. 

For example, in Carol Dweck’s book, Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success,she describes two mindsets, the growth mindset on the one hand and the fixed mindset on the other. Here’s a chart that will remind you of these two ways of understanding one’s potential in the world.potential in the world.

I happen to love this concept!!  How great that we can teach our children to shift their mindsets so they can start to make changes in how they perceive themselves and their world.  While the idea of having a ‘growth’ mindset may–at first glance–seem a bit, well soft, it is not. To have a growth mindset, we must realistically assess the obstacles and develop strategies that will help us deal with them.  When we help our children deal with mindsets and set-backs, we are in essence giving them something solid to work with: themselves. 
 
So when you think about those cars that line up all parked and pretty in the 5-car garage,  think not what you don’t have, but think about what you do have:  the ability to make goals and the mindset to grow. 
 
[And now for my mindset adjustment:  you can write a novel.  You do have goals to get it finished.  Or, as my writing partner said to me in an earlier critique, “It’s not about satisying me, silly.  It’s about writing well.”]
 
This post inspired by a talk at Mary I Country Day School (MICDS) located in St. Louis, MO in August 2012.  No compensation was received for this post. 

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