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  • Writer's pictureAlana Azzouni

'The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts' - Marcus Aurelius

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature. – Marcus Aurelius

This might be one of the most life-changing quotes if you thoroughly take it in and make its teaching one of your core values. Many students are not exposed to notions like this, but it is our students who are placed in a series of vulnerable situations as they face the classroom each day. I see it all too often; students who have been put down before for not getting the answer right or asking a 'silly question' in class. They are left repeating negative self-talk to themselves, which only strengthens this inaccurate belief that they are not good enough. Before you know it, a fixed mindset has developed.

Little do our youngest generation know that it is the words we tell ourselves that matter the most. This self-talk can be the make or break between growth and remaining stagnant. Keep in mind that the 'things' that happen to you don't actually change, but the way in which you respond to these experiences depict the true quality of your life. That's right, I'm saying you actually have a choice to feel happy and fulfilled.

Encouraging positive self-talk fosters a growth mindset. As described by Dr Carol S. Dweck in her book, Mindset, a student with a growth mindset believes that 'human qualities, such as intelligence, can be cultivated' and view challenges as opportunities to grow and learn, rather than a wall that can never be knocked down. They believe that 'a person's true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it's impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.' Based on this, it would come to no surprise that those who go about their day with a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset, are more likely to be successful as their positive self-talk stimulates drive, willingness, and overall foundation of belief to achieve bigger and better outcomes.

What is this telling us? Well, if you are a teacher or a parent, speak encouraging and motivating words to your children and students. They repeat the words you say to them in their own minds, so be mindful. If you are a child yourself, take some time to write some meaningful affirmations down and read them to yourself each night before bed, or each morning before you start your day. Some examples are: 'I am driven', 'I can achieve', 'I embrace challenges'. When faced with a challenge, rather than thinking negative thoughts because you have not yet overcome it, look at it as a learning opportunity, seek support, and don't give up!

Oh, what a wonderful world it would be if we all spent our days responding to life with a growth mindset.

'It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.' - Theodore Roosevelt.

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