The Power of Not Yet

We are looking at the idea of a growth mindset and how that can be such an important characteristic to develop, not only in ourselves, but also in our children. The great news from the research is that you can nurture and encourage a growth mindset even if you are a die-hard fixed mindset kind of person. In the last blog we looked at how to develop a growth mindset in ourselves. Today, we’ll look at another important question: “How do we develop a growth mindset in our children?”

The question of developing a growth mindset in our children leads us to more questions — How are we raising our children? Are we raising them for now or not yet? Are grades their biggest goal in life? Is getting an A the biggest form of validation for them? Do grades establish their self-esteem? Are there things we are doing that actually sabotage a growth mindset without even realizing it? These are important questions for a school to ask but also for us as parents to ask as well.

So, what can we do at school and at home to encourage a growth mindset? Well, much like was stated in the last blog, the first thing you can do is to learn more about it by reading articles and books. Here are some articles that focus specifically on steps to take as parents:

The following are three suggestions from the research that I would like to mention briefly:

  1. Praise Wisely
    1. Praise students for the process, hard work, and effort, not just for the completed project.
    2. If you praise just their talent or intelligence, you will have kids who are afraid of failure.
  2. Reward the answer/attitude “Not Yet”
    1. Help students respond to obstacles and failure with a “not yet” attitude and response.  Encourage and teach them to see the failure or obstacle as simply a “not yet” and not a “no” or an end.
    2. “Not yet” helps them see challenges, setbacks, and obstacles as part of the process and creates resilience and persistence.
  3. Teach Kids About the Brain and Growth Mindset
    1. Help them see the growth process, understand the brain, and explain that the brain can grow and change, that it is not fixed.
    2. Interestingly enough, after testing thousands of students, those who were taught about the brain and growth mindset showed a sharp increase in their grades.


Karl Steinkamp
Blog #32
Day 37


2 thoughts on “The Power of Not Yet

    1. Thanks for the comment and the link to your post. The system right now pushes kids towards extrinsic motivation and we need to redesign it so that it is intrinsic. Love the collaboration and networking that happens through blogging. Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings.


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