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Learning is Worth the Effort

“Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. Infants stretch their skills daily. Not just ordinary skills, but the most difficult tasks of a lifetime, like learning to walk and talk. They never decide it’s too hard or not worth the effort. Babies don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves. They walk, they fall, they get up. They just barge forward. What could put an end to this exuberant learning? The fixed mindset. As soon as children become able to evaluate themselves, some of them become afraid of challenges. They become afraid of not being smart.” - Carol Dweck

As a father of 14 month twins, I am an eye witness to these events everyday. My son and daughter are constantly falling and getting up. Saying new words and absorbing countless sounds around them (e.g. "What does a sheep say? What does a cow say? What does an elephant say?") The learning is rapid!

As an elementary school teacher, I am also keenly aware that this desire to learn can be stifled so quickly by a fixed mindset. The idea that I am either good at something or bad at something - period. The idea that no matter what I do, I can't get better and it's not really worth trying.

Thank goodness this is not true! Thank goodness there are people like Carol Dweck who are pushing back against this kind of mindset. Thank goodness that this desire to learn can be nurtured throughout a person's life.

A few thoughts on the matter:

1. Try to do one hard thing a day. Something that doesn't come easy to you. Over time, you will get better but it will require awkwardness, frustration and many attempts.

2. Celebrate small wins. Don't focus on the end goal. Focus instead on tiny victories that add up over time. In my opinion, process triumphs product in the majority of cases.

3. Try not to compare yourself to others. The statement: "Comparison is the thief of joy" is so true, isn't it? Keep your eyes on your own paper and if you do compare, let it be with yourself. Try to get a little better each day and when you look back, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how far you've come.

What do you think?

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