The opportunities of the future lie with those who have the confidence to spot them and the daring to pursue them. “Today the shift from ‘I have a great idea’ to ‘I run a billion dollar business’ is happening faster than ever,” as Peter Diamandis put it. It starts with a growth mindset, and growth mindsets are developed in childhood. The underutilized potential exists in adults everywhere you look, but we can help kids get off to a good start by being intentional.
David C Hall is committed to the success of future generations. Hall is Managing Director of Potentially unlocked tuition fees, a UK-based training company that creates ‘fulfilled, successful and transformed lives’. Her team has helped thousands of struggling children in school feel in control, confident and happy. Hall wrote the bestselling book, The empowering parent, and advises government and educational institutions on how to unlock the potential of children.
I interviewed Hall on how parents can prepare their children for a happy and prosperous future by nurturing a growing mindset.
Create an empowering house
A child spends most of their time at home, so it is crucial that this forms the basis of a growing mindset. “Home should be a nice, happy place where we live, laugh and learn,” Hall explained. His work has shown that “parents who provide a warm and responsive family environment that encourages exploration accelerate the intellectual development of their children.”
A young person who feels calm and relaxed at home, before and after school, is more likely to develop their interests or to feel confident to experiment or express themselves. A home filled with anger and anguish means suppressed emotions and suppressed potential. “Children need a stable and supportive home environment to improve their cognitive, emotional and physical well-being,” added Hall, who urges parents to think about “all the human and material resources in the home that affect the life of the child “. These include ‘socialization facilities available in the house; how well it is set up for conversation and play. It also understands parent stress level, health and state of mind. Happy parents make happy children, and happy children learn and grow at an accelerated rate.
Fixed routines may seem like the paradox of a growth mindset, which evokes fluidity, but structure can empower and provide the springboard for possibility. “Empowering family routines gives the family environment a predictable structure that creates a stable emotional climate,” Hall explained. This will “support the development of the child and his academic success.”
After working with parents, educators and policy makers to enable young people to “lead passionate careers and be positive contributors to society,” Hall created three main strategies for developing empowering family routines. The first is awareness. “Keep a journal for a month, noting what time you do specific activities, including what time you and your child wake up in the morning, when you eat, when you study. The awareness, Hall said, helps “identify wasted time and crippling routines” that lead to long-standing habits that are hard to break.
The second is intention, where you plan and create your routine together based on your priorities. “Planning activities within a structure requires less conscious thinking. This means that the default is you create and explore, not just turn on the TV. This could mean that the default is that you cook healthy foods together, not something greasy in a hurry. Planning avoids leaving a stimulating routine to chance. Finally, Hall advised to “get ahead of obstacles to your day-to-day priorities and activities and plan for potential solutions.” What if the alarm clock doesn’t ring? What if something happens? What if you didn’t feel like taking that swimming lesson? Discussing, in advance, how you are going to deal with obstacles can develop the ability to visualize and plan, which are key elements of a growth mindset.
Work with the school
A child who does well in school thrives not only academically, but also in confidence. Having a positive school experience leads to an increase in their intrinsic motivation and their desire to grow. Hall explained that “improving relationships between teachers and students as well as between groups of students” can “positively influence their cognitive development and socialization.” Unlocking the potential of a child requires “a relationship of collaboration and cooperation between the school and the parents”. Teamwork is at the origin of a dream job.
Seeing school as a fun place, with a world of opportunities, is to talk about it positively. See the good in teachers and classmates. Seeking opportunities to learn and be enthusiastic about the schedule. “The way a parent talks about a school will be subconsciously passed on to their children,” Hall added. “Complaining about teachers or facilities catches a child’s attention somewhere they might not have noticed otherwise. Only comments about the good can train a young’s mind to see the possibility rather than the fault. Undermining school processes can be tempting, but it can hamper a young person’s growth mindset. Better than complaining are better questions. “Who can you talk to today? “,” How can you make the most of your day at school? “
Talking about career differently
Hall explained that there are two ways of talking about a career. One is the professional paradigm, “Concerned with the choice of a career path influenced by social status, circumstances and remuneration”. The other is the professional paradigm, derived from the Latin word “vocare” which means “to call”. “A career based on the vocation paradigm leads to a fulfilling and transformed life because someone’s work is aligned with their purpose. “
It means a much better question than: “What do you want?” to be when you grow up? “is” what do you want to do when you grow up? ”Or better,“ What do you like to do now? Encouraging someone to explore their “unique mix of gifts and talents” is, according to Hall, what leads to a future happy that has a tangible impact on the world. Rather than following a certain path based on an arbitrary job title, a young person thinks according to his skills and interests. Rather than “I want to be an electrician” is “I like fixing things. I’m good at problem-solving. Once these interests are developed they can be applied anywhere, no one is doomed to a fixed path.”
Make and monitor progress
Hall is dyslexic and grew up being referred to as an “underachiever” whose ability was four years behind his peers. Rather than accept this prognosis of his potential, Hall created strategies to improve his academic performance. These strategies allowed her to achieve GCSEs five grades above what her teachers had predicted. Hall’s work now identifies flaws in the developmental chain to create a new and improved learning system unique to each child.
“Every time a child is late, there is a system malfunction. The job of parents and educators is to identify the failing learning system and replace it with a more efficient one, ”Hall explained. “It will strengthen a child’s intrinsic motivation, so that they can get the grades they are capable of. According to Hall, three elements underpin an effective learning system: “a positive mindset, a learning journal, and effective strategies for remembering and applying concepts.”
The development of a growth mindset in a young person can be helped along the way by interventions. An empowering home with established and empowering routines, coupled with working in partnership with the school, can prepare someone for success and means they are motivated to give their best. Talking about a career in terms of vocation rather than occupation, as well as making and monitoring progress, can start someone’s trajectory in a positive way, ensuring that they create habits that will serve their future.