Admittedly, I have a general dislike for buzz words and education fads. That said, I find great value in the idea of having a growth mindset. The old way to think about intelligence was fixed according to a person’s I.Q. This is no longer the dominant paradigm, which is why most of you have probably never been given an I.Q. test. Intelligence, like any type of strength, can be developed, and it all begins with having the proper mindset.
Who you are today does not have to be who you are tomorrow, next week, in month, next year, four years from now, or even a decade from now. You can actually make the decision to be smarter today. How? By focusing on the little behaviors that lead to improvement. What are those behaviors? Well, most of it involves reading, thinking, and communicating, which are the principle skills of our course. Many of you have done well with these exercises. For some of you, your discipline is being tested. Others have yet to begin. I promise you, if you start focusing on the process rather than the test score, your test scores are going to improve. More importantly, you will develop the skills necessary to succeed in academia, and in life.
Think about it as a bow and arrow shooting a target. Of course you want to hit the center of the target, that’s the whole point, but what do you have to do in order to accomplish that? Are your fletchings (feathers) in good shape? What about the arrowhead? Is the bow being pulled back far enough? Is it aimed at the target? Are there any twigs or branches in the way? Hitting a single twig can result in your arrow hitting far off the mark. Did the string release properly? There are many factors in achieving a perfect bullseye.
You are the arrow. Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep eat healthy food to make sure that your mind and body are running at optimum efficiency. Practice critical reading and effective study strategies. Put in the proper effort for the results you want to accomplish. Avoid distractions when you are studying. Maybe even look at the people you surround yourself with. People tend to imitate their environment. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who are motivated, and who are working toward similar goals.
Do you want to know the secret about “smart kids”? They’re not any more intelligent than any of us, they just apply their intelligence to yield the greatest results. It’s not the biology of their brains, it’s the choices they make.
Remember: Excellence isn’t something that just happens. It’s a decision that you have to make every day.
Until next time,
Mr. Geoffrion is a History Teacher, Podcaster, and AP Reader. If you are visiting this site, it is highly likely that you are one of his AP Euro students.