Class Speech: A Growth Mindset & Positivity as seen by my 12 year old

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This is my 12 year old son Dillon. He is in his last year of Junior School and as an assessment, his grade was required to present a 3 minute speech to their class on a topic of their choice. The top 8 were then asked to present to both Years 5 & 6. Thinking his speech would be about basketball, his first love, I was surprised to hear he had decided to talk about success.

And even though he asked me to read over it, I was very conscious to not contribute as I didn't want to get in the way of his thoughts and his words, plus I was quietly fascinated to know what he would come up with. Although he was nervous up there, the content was a stand out amongst speeches about the weather or being a famous soccer player and he was asked if he would next share his speech to the entire staff at his K-12 College. I also asked if I could share it, so this is his speech, unedited and reproduced with his permission.

How do you know when you succeed? Is it the feeling? Is it when you accomplish? Is it when you help others? Is it when you bring joy? Or do you just know? The dictionary gives us the definition of success as .. The accomplishment of your aim or purpose, but it can be much, much more than that. To succeed, you must know two very important elements, having a Growth Mindset and Positivity. Having these two elements can change the way that you look at succeeding and at yourself in the future.

A simple explanation of having a Growth Mindset is that with lots of effort you can train your brain to get smarter and you believe all things are possible. You understand that effort is important and that working your brain can actually make it grow bigger and heavier. Having a Growth Mindset means you are curious. You have a knowing that your basic abilities can be developed from practice and learning. A Growth Mindset looks at setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow and is essential towards the way you look on success and how it impacts your future.

Having the wrong type of mindset can lead to being afraid of setbacks, challenges and effort which stops you from succeeding. You are afraid of and avoid making mistakes so as to not look dumb. Having a fixed mindset is when you think that how you are now and all your personality traits and skills are all you will have. Looking at yourself as nothing and not as talented as others can change the way you feel about yourself and who you will be in the future. It also can lead to depression.

Thinking a task is impossible and too hard can change the way you think about Positivity. Being negative can lead to problems in the mind and in the heart. Believing work and tasks are too difficult can take away the way you see yourself and how you succeed. Changing your attitude and thoughts into a positive way can make challenges easier and simpler. Giving a positive attitude towards work can help your mindset to function positive and preserve it in the future, as never giving up and always believing in yourself that you can do anything. As you think positive when working, it also makes it easier to produce quality work than when you are negative.

Here are 3 ways you can move towards having a Positive Growth Mindset:

  1. Find the positives in every situation, even the negatives ones. When you are in stormy and gloomy situations, try to find the rainbow and light. 

  2. Focus on what you want to happen, not what you do not want to happen.

  3. Always be grateful for every person or situation that comes to you. Remember, the wins are to be celebrated and the losses are lessons and opportunities to learn and grow.

The effects of having a fixed mindset and negativity can cause you not to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

On the other hand, having a Growth Mindset and being positive can result in success in your own eyes and feeling that you have accomplished your goal.

Some people think that success is if you are famous or have lots of money but you can think of success as accomplishing whatever it is that you want for yourself. So if for example, Olympians have to know what success is to them, for them to reach their goal. For example, many Olympians don’t see success as winning gold or coming first, more say success is reaching what they wanted, even coming last and completing the race can be success in their eyes.

Success is when you know how to have a Growth Mindset and Positivity, it is when you persevere through the tangled and tough times, being successful doesn’t come easy it takes a lot of faith, hard work, dedication, focus, and sacrifices like waking up early, but what is success?… Well it’s not up to me, what do you think success really is and how will you change your future?