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Mindset and honesty in children (DW#382)

family objective parenting May 01, 2018
A core difference between a growth mindset and fixed mindset is how one responds to setbacks and failures. For a person with a fixed mindset, failed attempts are tantamount to shameful failures. Success for a fixed mindset can only happen if one is able to establish their superiority over others by proving how smart one is. A setback equals a label of being not good enough, not measuring up. 

For the growth mindset on the other hand, success comes from working hard to living up to your potential. Setbacks and feedback are experienced as a normal part of learning and as a motivation for working harder.
 
The most unsettling part of Dweck’s research perhaps is what the researchers discovered after the IQ questions were completed. The children who participated in the study were told to write letters to their peers sharing the experience of participating in the study and also reporting their scores on the problems.
 
What they found to their dismay was that forty...
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Can children have fun while learning? (DW#381)

family objective parenting Apr 29, 2018

Do your children enjoy learning? 

During their research on the impact of mindset on children, Dweck and her colleagues found another benefit of having a growth mindset: The researchers found that the kind of mindset the child had not only determined their relationship to failure, but also predicted whether or not they would enjoy learning. 

When the children in the study were given sets of questions to answer, all the children enjoyed the easier round of questions which they could effortlessly answer.
 
As the questions got more challenging however, the children who were praised for ability no longer had any fun, while the children who were praised for working hard not only still enjoyed the problems but even reported that the more challenging the questions became, the more fun they had!
 
The researchers also noticed that the children who were praised for ability improved their performance as the problems got harder while those praised for being smart did...
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Can praise alter your child’s mindset? (DW#380)

family parenting Apr 27, 2018

The findings from Dweck’s mindset studies are especially important for parents and educators. 

In one study of students, Dweck and her colleagues gave students challenging IQ problems. For the results the researchers offered two types of praise: some students were told "Wow, you got [X many] right. That’s a really good score. You must be smart at this," while others were told, "Wow, you got [X many] right. That’s a really good score. You must have worked really hard." In other words, some students were praised for ability and others were praised for effort.

The researchers found that praise which focused on ability or outcome of test pushed students into the fixed mindset, and they showed all the signs of a fixed mindset: when given a choice, they rejected a challenging new task that they could learn from. They didn’t want to do anything that could expose their shortcomings and call into question their talent.

The students who were praised for their effort...

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How does the young person in your life respond to feedback? (DW#379)

While doing research with children, Dweck and her colleagues found that mindset predicted how a child would respond to feedback and correction.

Children displaying a fixed mindset only paid attention to feedback that reflected directly on their present ability. For example, they paid attention and lit up when they were told how smart they were. 

On the other hand, they tuned out or ignored information that would help them learn and improve. The research showed that children with a fixed-mindset showed no interest in learning the right answer when they had gotten a question wrong on a test or a quiz, presumably because they had already filed it away in the failure category. 

Those children with a growth mindset on the other hand, were eager to learn and correct their mistakes. They paid keen attention to information that could help them expand their existing knowledge and skill, regardless of whether they’d gotten the question right or wrong. The researchers concluded...

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Mindsets in children (DW#378)

We have been discussing mindsets and how they manifest themselves from a very early age.

Dweck and her colleagues did some research with four year olds. The researchers gave the four year olds a choice between easy and challenging puzzles. Those with growth mindsets chose the more challenging puzzles whilst the toddlers with a fixed mindset chose the easier and therefore safer puzzles. 

According to the researchers’ conclusion, choosing the easy puzzles was an affirmation of their existing ability and the belief that smart children don’t make mistakes. The children with the growth mindset on the other hand, did not want to do the same puzzle over and over again, preferring to learn something new, even if was more challenging and they may not get it right on the first try. 


The researchers therefore concluded that the fixed-mindset children wanted to make sure they succeeded so that they would appear intelligent, whereas the growth-mindset ones wanted to challenge...

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Express physical affection (DW#345)

Science is making it clear that our brains and our bodies are designed to thrive with affectionate touch from our loved ones.

While we affectionately hug and cuddle young children naturally, this seems to taper off as they grow, although human beings never actually outgrow their need for loving touch.

Various studies have shown that people of all ages experience increases in physical and emotional wellbeing when they experience affectionate and appropriate touch.

Studies have found that when a husband holds his wife's hand during labour, for example, her pain measurably decreases. And interestingly, the more empathy a person feels for the person in pain, the more their brains are synchronized and the feeling of pain diminishes.

Scientists have also found that subliminal touching (touching so subtle that it’s not consciously perceived) dramatically increases a person’s sense of well-being and positive feelings toward the ‘toucher’.

One study found that people...

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10 tools to calm ourselves

 

Let's review the tools we have explored to become less reactive and to develop emotional and mental balance.

Here they are, available as always, in the Daily Wisdom archives

#1 Aim for mental and emotional balance
#2 Develop a mantra
#3 Be like Teflon
#3 Live in a bubble
#4 Don't take it personally
#5 Be an observer
#6 Have an inner smile
#7 Expand your awareness
#8 Notice the gift of the rain puddle
#9 Seek understanding and be curious
#10 Meditate, even a little

Which have you tried? Which ones are working for you?

Do you have others? If so, do share!

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Meditate, even a little

We cannot really talk about calming down and developing emotional balance without mentioning meditation. So today's practice to develop equanimity is: Learn to meditate, even just a little.

Meditation means so many different things to different people and it is such a deep topic that we won't get into details here, but the essence of meditation is training your mind and your attention, disentangling it from thoughts and emotions and observing one's experience as it happens.

Taking just a few minutes a day to become silence, look inward and tune into what is happening in our internal world can foster peace of mind and the perspective needed for equanimity.

Meditation works best if it is consistently practiced in small doses over time. Think of it like a vitamin and not a Tylenol. Just like a vitamin can increase physical wellbeing and immunity over time, meditation gradually increases emotional wellbeing and stamina.

Meditation practiced consistently over time reprograms our brains...

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Be an observer

Social science researchers spend a fair bit of time people watching: observing how people behave and interact with each other teaches them a great deal about human behaviour and relationships even without saying a single word to them.

It can be very easy to see for example, if one spouse in a couple is making attempts to connect with the other spouse who may be distracted by their smart phone. While the other is distracted, observers may be able to notice just a hint of sadness when their bid for connection goes unanswered. While the distracted spouse may not understand why their spouse seems distant and upset for the rest of the evening, the observers can better understand the dynamic from their observations.

It is not difficult to see such interactions in others and understand what is going on. It is much more challenging to become an observer of ourselves in this way and it is a very effective way to develop equanimity.

Try this fun exercise: imagine yourself leaving your body,...

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Don’t take it personally



Salaams and Good Morning !

Here is your daily dose of Wisdom for Living Your Best Self!

A very effective step towards equanimity is to practice taking things less personally.

Let us understand this through a Taoist fable from Chuang-Tzu, which I learnt from one of my teachers, Rick Hanson.

Here is how he tells it:

It is a beautiful day and you are floating in canoe with a friend on a slow-moving river on a beautiful Sunday.

Suddenly there is a loud thump on the side of the canoe, and it rolls over, dumping you and your friend into the cold water. You come up sputtering and realize that somebody swum up to your canoe and tipped it over on purpose, for a joke and is now laughing at how annoyed you and your friend are.

How do you feel when you experience this?

Now let's imagine a slightly different scenario.

The scene is exactly the same: same boat, same river and same beautiful but cold river. Your boat is hit, tipped over and you are cold and wet. Except that when you come up and...

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