It used to be enough to go to college, pick up a few skills, and ease onto a career track. But now that information is updated hourly and is available to anyone, anywhere, everyone must keep learning. And one thing we know about learning is that you can’t do it if you aren’t motivated.
Motivation is a battery pack of skills, from passion to perseverance to self-control. Statistically speaking, boys and low-income kids have less of it. But a little-known fact about motivation is that it can be taught. It’s not harder to teach than reading, and it’s probably more important.
Stanford’s Carol Dweck has found that teaching kids that their brains are muscles and get stronger with use significantly boosts perseverance. Meanwhile, training children not only to set a goal, but to devise a plan for overcoming specific, inevitable obstacles to that goal, increases self-control, according to research by the University of Pennsylvania’s Angela Lee Duckworth. These lessons should be the new ABCs: taught from a very young age, repeated often, and made impossible to forget.
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