growth mindset vs. fixed mindset

brain changes carol dweck lisa lillibridge

When I read through these traits I was struck by a few things.

1. I’m so grateful to know that a fixed mindset doesn’t have to remain FIXED.  Think about it?  FIXED means unchangeable.  WHO POSSIBLY WANTS TO HAVE A BRAIN THAT IS UNCHANGEABLE?

2. I get really tired of people throwing up their hands and saying, “that’s just the way I am, the way I learn, talk and so on…so get used to it”.  No. I won’t, because it’s untrue.  However, this statement is—we have to believe that change is possible or real growth is way less likely to occur.

Neuroplasticity allows our brains to create new pathways by doing things differently.  It isn’t simple, I understand. However, the good news is that meaningful change in our lives is BOTH very difficult AND very possible.  One of the growth mindset traits: sees effort as necessary.

“Neuroplasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways to adapt, as it needs.”    —http://www.whatisneuroplasticity.com/

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT NEUROPLASTICITY

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile”

― Tal Ben-Shahar

(Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment)

It’s so necessary to feed our brains novel experiences, thoughts and ideas for growth and it sure makes life a helluva lot more interesting.  Don’t you think?

Try something new today.  Your brain will thank you.

This is staggering.

According to Psychology Today, “The average high school kid has the same anxiety level of the average psychiatric patient of the early 1950s”. I just can’t stop thinking about this. As parents we all want the best for our kids but is what we’re doing working if our kids have this much stress and anxiety?  There have always been shifts in parenting styles.  Each generation wants to correct the perceived “wrongs” from how they were parented and it seems like we are at a crucial point of correction…the pendulum in my estimation swung way too far from how we were parented.

lisa lillibridge kindness cooperation

If anxiety is looking forward…what does this say about our generation’s parenting style? Have we modeled adult lives that look appealing?  Are the daunting questions of our day too much for our kids—the environment, money, health, authenticity, meaning and relevance?

I grew up in a small town in South Dakota in the 1970s and 80s.  I could drive at fourteen.  I started working summer jobs at the age of eleven.  I had a lot of independence. My husband and I both grew up in small towns and we had young parents.  I think it had a big impact on our parenting choices.  We wanted to do some things “old school” and not get caught in the trappings of our generation.  However, this is really challenging.

I have made lots and lots of parenting mistakes (as my teenagers will happily discuss with anyone). However, there is a big difference between how we parented our son who is 4.3 years older than his twin sisters.  We hovered more.  We took care of things and pushed about homework, often at the detriment of family life and the harmony of our home.  Sorry Ellis.  We chose not to do this to our girls (at least not as much) and thankfully even in a four year time span there is a lot more being studied about: too much homework, the need for more downtime, the opportunity to daydream, decompress and relax.

I want my children happy AND I believe in pushing them to develop new skills.

It’s those COMPETING COMMITMENTS that trip me up constantly.

I don’t think these things have to be mutually exclusive.

I want to be attentive to the way I push my kids. 

Am I encouraging my kids to do things that make me look good?  YIKES!

Our world needs innovation, kindness, generosity & curiosity.

How do we nurture those skills in a hyper-virtual connectedness, competitive, highly structured environment? 

It can be done. 

We just have to get creative.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anxiety-files/200804/how-big-problem-is-anxiety

summertime…and the feeling ain’t so easy.

do not worry lillibrdge dakota

“I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.
—Ulysses S. Grant
I wish I was one of those moms who just can’t wait for her kids to get out of school.
I am not.
SUMMER 2015
For my 15 year old twin daughters:
—I will try to not be angry when you’re watching reruns of the Kardashians at noon.
(This will last until the 5th of July and then all bets are off on my tolerance level.)
I will pay you to read classic novels and you will thank me, refuse payment and we’ll have dense philosophical conversations about the book late into the night. Hey, a mom can dream, right?
When in doubt, picking up trash is a time honored pastime from my childhood.
—If you make a list of fun things you want do with me, I’ll try to make them happen.
I want to love you more than I’m angry every single day.  Please just pick up your room and do the dishes and don’t leave wet towels everywhere.  My needs are simple. Your life will be much easier if you do these three things.  Have you heard the term, “choosing the path of least resistance”?  Learn it.  Live it.
Here’s to a great summer of 2015!

What are we teaching our kids?

This week has been thematic for me and it started with an On Point/NPR show Monday morning while I was working in my studio.  The show was dedicated to depression, anxiety and suicide clusters among teens in America.  It highlighted the unbelievable pressure put on our teens now.  We’ve created a culture of expectation that we don’t even come close to as the standard for ourselves. We’re also living in a time when we are medicating kids at an alarming rate just to get them through all of these crazy demands. It’s unsustainable and time for a major paradigm shift.

The show highlighted both the pressure of affluent areas with a highly educated population and it discussed the suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota (I’m a South Dakota native).  I found it quite interesting that these two populations on either side of the spectrum share something quite alarming.  Extreme pressure on one end and lack of academic pressure, rigor and opportunity on the other.  The suicide rate on the reservation among teens is 4 times the national statistic.  Devastating.

Here’s the link to the show:

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2015/05/04/teen-suicides-palo-alto-south-dakota-pressure

This got me thinking about my three teenagers (ages 19 and 15 year-old-twins) and my expectations of them. If I was held to the standard that is out there culturally for them I don’t think I would get out of bed.  I want to create an environment that allows a lot of time for discussion about character…there will be resistance but they just might thank me later…maybe in their late 20s.  This photo was the day my girls said goodbye to their college bound big brother.

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Here’s what we’re expecting of our teens:

• Have perfect grades in every subject (not just the classes that really interest them or what courses they possess natural ability).  I basically majored in English in High School.

• Be good athletes (often whether they enjoy the sport or not).

• Be fit and attractive (to take gorgeous selfies).

• Be so passionate about something and develop expertise—distinguishing themselves among their peers.  (This is rare and why we hear these stores on 60 minutes.)

• Play an instrument, a talented vocalist or an actor.

• Volunteer and be dedicated community servants (looks great on college applications).

• Know what career they want (this is crazy to be asking kids—they don’t know about all possibilities out there, let alone should they be expected to share with the world their intentions).

In sixth grade we were suppose to draw a picture of the profession we desired and cut the face out inserting one of our wallet-sized school photos.  I thought it was crazy then and much to my mother and teacher’s chagrin I drew a Skid Row sort of bum.  Sorry, Mrs. Tolstedt and Mom.  My drawing did, however exhibit my artistic ability and smart-ass inclinations (which have mostly served me quite well in my adult life). My drawing was my image in fingerless gloves, a black bowler hat and a bottle in a brown paper bag.  I wish I had it to show you.

I am oddly proud of that drawing because I didn’t know then and still don’t entirely know now what I want to “BE”…and it’s OK.

This morning the other information that popped onto my radar is New York columnist/author, David Brooks’ new book, “The Road to Character”.  His book is about development of our inner lives in a era of heightened competition, sound bites & selfies.

What if our expectations & conversations with our teens focused on their inner lives, manners, kindness, generosity, purpose & empathy?

You can subscribe to David Brooks’ website and become a part of the discussion.

http://theroadtocharacter.com/

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Here is an excerpt from the book.

the road to character

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please leave comments.

Best,

Lisa sig