Believe in Your Ability to Learn

Resilient people know that mastering something takes practice. They don’t expect themselves to be perfect right from the start. Instead, they believe that with hard work they can learn whatever they put their minds to.

Life is about learning. As babies, we have to learn to walk and talk and feed ourselves. Then we move on to more difficult things like reading, writing, solving math problems and playing sports.
When these early accomplishments come easily to people, they are sometimes told that they are “smart.” But telling a kid they are smart can actually make them feel insecure.* Here's why:
Often, when someone believes they are smart, they think everything should come easily to them. Then, when faced with something more difficult, they think something is wrong with them that it isn't coming easily. They are not used to working hard, asking for help, and persisting until they figure it out, so they get discouraged, worry that maybe they are not actually smart, and give up.
On the other hand, resilient people know that mastering something requires practice. They also know that if they work hard enough, they can figure it out. Instead of saying, “I’m not good at that,” they say, “I haven’t learned that yet," or “I’m working on that.”
So, believe in your ability to learn and there will be nothing you cannot accomplish.

*(Also, if someone tells you that you are not smart, tell them they are wrong, or tell them that you just haven't learned that yet.)

  • What is something you are proud of yourself for learning because it took a lot of work to get good at it?

  • How do you keep yourself from getting discouraged when you are having trouble learning something new?

  • If you want to learn something new or improve something, what can you do to help yourself?

  • Can you name a time when you asked someone to help you learn or improve something?


  • Can you understand why telling someone they are smart could actually make them feel insecure?


The Simpsons © The Walt Disney Company


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