Have you ever though that you were not good at something? It could be sport, art, activities, public speaking, dealing with money.

Truth be told we have all felt this way before and told ourselves stories to prove the thought. Our children do the same.

Sammy comes home and says that she is terrible at maths – you tell her she is great at maths. Does she believe you? Her workbook is showing her the sums she didn’t get correct and your words are telling her otherwise. What would she believe? What would you believe?

The next time Sammy comes home and says she is terrible at maths you may choose to look at this differently. You may agree that maths is sometimes hard but with practice you will get it. Remind her about when she couldn’t ride her bike without training wheels and she practiced so hard that she can now do it without even thinking about it. Everything is like this, most of the time it will take practice to get things right.

You have given her another way of thinking and proof that it works. What a different conversation this was and now she can think of this when she does hard things. The mind is always looking for proof and it will usually find the negative unless you train it to think differently.

Most schools discuss fixed and growth mindset in class which relates to their class activities like english, maths and music but we can also use it at home.

A fixed mindset is to believe that you are born with certain abilities and that they can’t be taught. You must be perfect at something first try or you will never be good at it. You can see that a fixed mindset isn’t going to help you try new things or persevere in difficult things. You are overly hard on yourself and when you fail it is hard.

Growth mindset is to believe that you can do things with practice and persistence. Mistakes are inevitable and a way of learning. A growth mindset gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes as you know that they will happen as you learn, mistakes make you better at things. It also allows you to try new things as mistakes are a part of the course.

Growth mindset cannot be taught as a one-off lesson. It is an everyday occurrence and takes repetition. It is important to experience the negative feeling and allow our brain to process it. This is something we are already doing like getting back on the bike when you fall off, trying that maths problem again, practicing the piano until you can get the piece right.

The brain is learning all of the time and if our children can learn this way of thinking at a young age, it will help them throughout their life. Teaching the brain to think with a growth mindset now will make it natural as they continue to learn and experience new things.

But why is mindset so important?

Being perfect is unrealistic and also damaging to your self esteem. When you are worried about making mistakes because people may think badly of you. Your hairstyle has to be perfect or you must be the best at a certain activity. You are constantly in fear about what people are thinking of you even though most of the time they are too involved in themselves to notice.

If you could spin that around and realise that everyone makes mistakes and it is a way of learning then you will gain better self esteem. You can learn from the mistakes you made to either not repeat it in the future or use the experience as practice. You are more likely to try new things and have new experiences as you are not scared of failure.

No one person is better than anyone else we are all individuals, when we believe this it doesn’t matter what others think of you

Our STRONG programs at Mind Shift Project has a mindset based discussion and activity around a topic of the week. Kids are encouraged to share and discuss their experiences and build collective trust within the group. Once the kids realise that others feel the same way or have experienced things like they have then they realise it is normal and there is nothing wrong in turn building their confidence and self esteem.

For more information on our children’s and adults programs please visit www.mindshiftproject.com.au/programs