Try This Confidence Builder​

Rewriting the stories we tell ourselves can help us succeed and make lasting change, especially when we utilize a growth mindset.


You may have heard of psychologist Carol Dweck and her research on a fixed vs. growth mindset. I wrote about her work back in August. With a growth mindset, we believe we can work hard, push through struggle, and come out the other side successful. 


But all too often, the stories in our minds leave out this growth mindset, and instead we stay in a fixed mindset. "I'll never learn geometry!" or "Writing is too hard for me" are two examples of a fixed mindset. But the good news is, we can learn to rewrite the stories we tell ourselves.


So how can you help your child change her mindset through writing? Using the excellent graphic in this article, you can build a story.


Here is an example:


Whenever I am faced with a hard problem in geometry, I tell myself that I have many tools I can use to tackle it. First, I can ask my teacher for help. Second, I can go online and watch a Khan Academy video about the geometry skill I am trying to do. I can also ask a friend or get help from a tutor or a parent. I keep trying to understand the problem, getting lots of support from others, until it clicks. All the effort I put into figuring out the problem leads to me understanding it. 


Keeping the story in present tense helps. Writing the story in the present tense makes it seem as if it is happening now, which helps students embody the idea. The story doesn't have to be about school; students could make up a story with Star Wars or Minecraft characters. Just the act of writing about perseverance will help students see the steps they can take in their own life.