I could not resist the desire to post an essay written by Blyss. She asked me to read it and I was blown away. The content was so relevant to many conversations I've had lately with friends and colleagues. So, here is her unedited grade 6 English LA essay, I hope it makes you stop and think about the importance of our mindset.
Grade 6, for me so far, has been a pretty good year learning wise; I am a grade 6 student in French immersion and I am 10 years old. I am the youngest in my class but it doesn’t impact me in a bad way, in fact, I use being the youngest in class as an advantage. My advantage is that I will almost always push myself to work as hard as or even harder than my older classmates. In this unit, we learned about different mindsets like growth and fixed. We also learned about our mindset and the brain. We learned about how a growth mindset and a fixed mindset affects what people say, do, and how they act. We have also learned about growing a healthy mindset and the steps to having a stronger brain.
What do you know about the brain? Did you know that your brain contains many, MANY neurons even when you are little and don’t even know how to talk? Isn’t that amazing! Your brain is a muscle so like all muscles you can make it stronger. You can grow your “brain muscle” by practising math, science, or even spelling. Learning new words can help grow your vocabulary and your brain. Your brain even has enough electricity to power a 20 watt lightbulb! Your brain controls your feelings and your actions. Depending on what food you eat, you will feel different emotions and I found that quite interesting. It is not as easy to focus when you are stressed, worried, sad, or angry. It is easiest to focus and learn when you are relaxed or happy or even both! I learned these brain facts from some videos we watched and articles we read in class.
There are 2 types of mindsets and they are called fixed mindset and growth mindset; throughout these past 3 months, we have been talking about them, and I’m here to educate you on the 2 of them but first I will talk about growth mindset. Growth mindset people are resilient. For example, if they failed a class they would work harder until they understand it, or if they failed a test they would study more they wouldn’t give up. They also think that their intelligence is malleable and if you try, you can become smarter and you can develop your intelligence. They also think it is more important to learn than look smart, they would rather learn than simply get the highest grades. Another thing, they believe that effort is positive and that the harder you work at something the better you’ll become at it.
Now, I will talk about fixed mindset. Fixed mindset people are helpless. For example, if they failed on a test they would cheat or fake on the next test and if they failed a subject they would spend less time on that subject or avoid it instead of trying harder. They also think that intelligence is a fixed trait and can not be changed. They say that you remain as dumb as you were when you were born, if that was true no one would be smart. To all the fixed mindset people that read this, by the way, you CAN teach old dogs new tricks! Fixed mindset people say that looking smart is most important and that the main thing they want to do when they do work, is to show how good they are at it. Last but not least, they think that effort is negative and they think if they have to work hard, it means they are not smart or it makes them feel stupid.
Here are some of the things I found interesting that we learned in class. People said that Thomas Edison was “too stupid” yet he invented something people all around the world use on a day to day basis and if you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s the light bulb, which is CRAZY! Abraham Lincoln lost 8 elections yet he became one of the most important and memorable men in history. Michael Jordan was cut from his highschool basketball team and then locked himself in his room and bawled his eyes out and now he is the world’s greatest basketball player. People told Walt Disney that he lacked imagination and couldn’t do cartoons because of it. You can be like them, it wouldn’t be easy, but if you want it super bad, and you work for it, you will succeed. Life equals risks because if you’ve never failed you’ve never lived. Michael Jordan said “ I’ve failed over and over again and that’s why I succeed.” All these amazing people are great examples of growth mindset people.
Now, I’m going to tell you about my mindset and how I know what my mindset is. First, I’ll tell you about how I found out my mindset. Our class did a test to test our mindsets by using multiple choice. My test results were all growth mindset, but I know that sometimes I don’t really demonstrate growth mindset. The way I know I’m mostly growth mindset is that most of the time when I fail I try to learn from my mistakes and try harder even though sometimes that can be really hard. I think it is much, MUCH more important to learn than look smart. The way I know that I have a bit of fixed is sometimes I give up or quit, but I think that I’m still more growth mindset than fixed mindset but I know I can work on that.
Are you fixed mindset but want to grow a healthy mindset to become growth mindset? Because right now I’m going to tell you the 4 steps to growing a healthy mindset.
Step 1: learn, learn, learn, you need to learn and I can tell you this for a fact, learning is definitely NOT easy!
Step 2: Hard work is key, if you have a choice don’t always chose the easy work even if the hard work is quite hard, if the work is hard it’s a good thing so don’t give up, and no one will work as hard for yourself as you.
Step 3: Face your failures, if you never fail you will never succeed, don’t give up if you fail just try harder!
Step 4: You have to believe in yourself you can’t give up.
Here are some ways I will use this information in the future. I will never forget to try harder if I fail and I will try to maintain a healthy mindset by using the 4 steps I’ve learned. I will also not forget this quote “If you’ve never failed you’ve never lived.”