Wondering what it is?
Believe it or not, the word is ‘YET’.
Well, it’s ONE of the most powerful words!
From my years of NLP training I already understood how we can reprogram neural pathways by saying one of 3 phrases at the end or beginning of statements I would hear coming out of my mouth and they were – ‘in the past’, ‘up till now’ and ‘yet’!
What I didn’t know was that this simple word or activity trains your mind to have a growth mindset.
Why does that matter?
Well, it seems from Professor Carol Dweck’s research that it is the secret to resilience, persistence, engagement and better academic performance for children at the many schools in which she has conducted her research. Have a look at her excellent short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X0mgOOSpLU for a summary and then you can delve in deeper if you wish.
If you have children, grandchildren or know any children, you need to know this stuff so you can foster growth mindsets in everyone you know!
If you are an adult human you need to know this stuff as well! LOL So you can reprogram your own neural pathways and develop your own growth mindset, if you don’t already have one.
I have had a growth mindset forever although I may not have realised it! I was always wanting to learn and develop (inherently we all do – it gives us a sense of meaning in life and purpose); I didn’t see ‘failure’ – I saw mistakes as learning; I would seek out others who did things better than I did and learn from them; once I learned NLP, I would catch myself saying things like ‘I can’t write well’ or ‘I am no good at finances’ or ‘I find this very challenging’ and immediately say OUT LOUD afterwards ‘yet’ or ‘in the past’ or ‘up till now’.
Listen to the difference – and this works at a deep neural level as Professor Dweck has shown – between
‘I can’t write well’ and ‘I can’t write well – yet’
‘I am no good at finances’ and ‘I am no good at finances – up till now’
‘I find this very challenging’ and ‘Up till now, I find this very challenging’
It may not make grammatical sense all the time but in your brain, it’s transforming the way your mindset is formed! It’s allowing your brain to see a way that improvement is possible.
Mind you – when I say the words yet, up till now or in the past – I do believe that I can grow and develop! And I am not just telling my neurones again and again that I can’t do something or I am lousy at something. Instead, I am reinforcing that I can develop skills in those areas.
She says that praise is critical – BUT to praise the PROCESS – not smartness/talent or intelligence! Praise the effort, strategy and the engagement, and you will see their focus, persistence, resilience and perseverance improve. Using the word ‘yet’ gave children more confidence and a path into the future.
Here is another fascinating research finding from Professor Dweck.
A powerful way to build persistence, resilience and engagement in children and adults is to re-frame effort and challenge. Helping children (and grown ups!) understand that ‘re-wiring the brain requires effort and challenge’, and teaching them that when they feel they are challenged or have to make an effort to complete some task or activity, they are actually creating stronger connections between neurones – they are literally making themselves smarter!
Just having this information has had profound results on the students she has worked with in terms of their future academic performance, engagement and persistence.
These simple steps can transform the meaning of effort, difficulty and challenge in a child’s mind – and consequently their performance, resilience and capacity.
WE ARE THE SAME!
Adults are the same as children – only our fixed mindsets might be more fixed!!
Start to observe your thoughts – repeated thoughts become beliefs which become stories which are collated in the mind to form a mindset!!
Once you become more aware of what you are telling yourself in your head – you can challenge it – or add the words yet’, ‘in the past’ or ‘up till now’.
Then become aware of what comes out of your mouth – are there any words or stories you want to lose to have a more flexible mindset? If so – do the same exercise – add the same words to the end of those sentences, stories or words!
Yet’ is a small but VERY powerful word! Try it and see how you go!
PS. If you are doing this with a friend or family member – and you hear them saying something that might not be fostering a growth mindset – you can say ‘if you say so’ to them! If someone repeatedly says they are stupid or clumsy or silly or any other negative thought – you can look at them and say ‘if you say so’! It’s very interesting to see the response! LOL!