A few years ago, I started going to a gym. Being the athlete that I wasn’t, I was seriously sore for about two months straight. Every time I lifted my arm or bent down to pick something up, I would wince. At work, one of my friends asked if I was ok, so I explained my pain. He was an athlete, so he started asking what moves I was doing and giving me tips.
I mentioned one pesky exercise I was struggling with and commented, “I just can’t do it”. His response was “yet”. At that moment I just chuckled, but as the day went on, I kept thinking about that idea, yet.
Students of any topic and at any age are constantly learning and struggling with new ideas. Grit and perseverance, not intelligence, are key characteristics in the ability to master most topics, most skills, most sports, most exercises, most life goals.
At Calculating Minds, we embrace ‘productive struggle’ – a tight-rope balancing act of encouraging and supporting students as they tackle daunting math topics. There are four basic academic mindsets that contribute to a student’s motivation: belief in the student’s own competence; ownership of his or her learning; interest in the subject or at least understanding of the value of learning it; and a feeling of support from parents, teachers and tutors.
In other words: “I believe I have the skill, I have the will and I have the support I need to be successful.”
I use ‘Yet’ all the time in tutoring. Whenever a student says they can’t do something, I say the magic word “yet”. When they scoff, as they often do, I ask them to tell me something they’re good at. Remember the first swing of the baseball bat, the first pluck of the guitar strings, the first goal in soccer, the first time you said hello to your best friend. None of those things were in your life…yet.
At some point, you couldn’t read yet, write yet, multiply yet even walk yet. So everyone just needs to be reminded that with practice, patience and perseverance, we can accomplish more than we realize and we have not reached our full potential….yet.
What is a life goal that you are pursuing? Have you achieved it…. yet?