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A fixed mindset about ability leads to pessimistic explanations of adversity, and that, in turn, leads to both giving up on challenges and avoiding  them in the first place. In contrast, a growth mindset leads to optimistic ways of explaining adversity, and that, in turn, leads to perseverance and seeking out new challenges that will ultimately make you ever stronger.

Growth Mindset ——— Optimistic Self Talk ———- Perseverance over adversity 

For teaching yourself hope is to take each step in the sequence above and ask, What can I do to boost this one?

The first suggestion in that regards is to update your beliefs about intelligence and talent.

When Carol and her collaborators try to to convince people that intelligence, or any other talent, can improve with effort, she starts by explaining the brain. For instance, she recounts a study published in the top scientific journal Nature that tracked adolescent brain development. Many of the adolescents in this study increased their  I Q scores from age fourteen, when the study started , to age eighteen, when it concluded. This fact – that IQ scores are not entirely fixed  over a person’s life span – usually comes as a surprise. What’s more, Carol continues, these same adolescents showed sizeable changes in brain structure; “Those who got better at math skills strengthened the areas of brain related to math, and the same was true for English skills.”

Carol also explains that the brain is remarkably adaptive, like a muscle that gets stronger with use, the brain changes itself when you struggle to master a new challenge. In fact, there’s never a time in life  when the brain is completely ” fixed”, Instead , all our lives our neurone retain the potential to grow new connections with one another and to strengthen  the ones we already have. What’s more throughout adulthood, we maintain the ability to grow myelin, a sort of insulating sheath that protects neurone and speeds signals traveling between them.

The link between cognitive behaviroul therapy and learned helplessness led to the development of resilience training.” In essence, this interactive curriculum is a preventive dose of cognitive behaviroul therapy. In one study  children wo complete this training showed lower levels of pessimism and developed fewer symptoms of depression over the next two years. In a similar study, pessimistic college students demonstrated less anxiety over the subsequent two years and less depression over three years.

 

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