It’s Not About Being Good, It’s About Getting Better

I love this Article as it goes to the root of what we talk about here. The concept of Being Good (perfect) and Getting Better (realizing that you are fine the way you are but there is always growing to do) can be the difference between feeling worthless and not enough, which can lead to self abusive behaviors, and feeling some level of peace with who and what you are. If we as women (people) could grasp this concept and rewire ourselves out of this all or nothing , black and white perception that many of us operate out of we could really being to shift into a healthier and more productive space and then- actually get proactive in a healthy way towards—¬≠getting, and being better.

By Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.
Motivational psychologist and author

3 Ways to Show Your Kids That It’s Not About Being Good, It’s About Getting Better

Understanding why some children dig in and work hard when faced with something new and challenging to learn, while others get anxious or give up, has been a focus of research in psychology for decades. Most people assume it has a lot to do with intelligence, but that’s surprisingly wrong. No matter how high your I.Q. is, it says nothing about how you will deal with difficulty when it happens. It says nothing about whether you will be persistent and determined, or feel overwhelmed and helpless.

The goals our kids pursue in the classroom (or on the playing field, or anywhere else, for that matter), actually tell us a lot about how they will cope with difficulty. The biggest differences arise between kids whose goals are about being good versus getting better. Where being good is about proving how smart you already are, getting better is about developing skills and abilities — about getting even smarter.

Studies show that kids who see their goals in terms of getting better — who see a less-than-perfect grade on a math quiz as a signal to try harder, rather than as evidence of “not being good at math” — benefit from this outlook in many ways. They find classroom material more fun and interesting, and process it more deeply. They are less prone to anxiety and depression than their be good peers. They are more motivated, persist longer when the going gets tough, and are much more likely to improve over time.

But as parents and teachers, how can we try to encourage our kids to see challenges in the classroom as opportunities to get better, rather than be good? Most children resist being told outright what their goals should be. Tell a student that she should focus more on learning than proving that she is smart (something I have actually tried as a college professor, by the way) and she will rightly point out that she is being graded for her work, so she has to care about how well she performs.

So it’s often much more effective to take a less direct approach. Using these three proven methods, you can provide the subtle signals and cues that encourage your kids to, often unconsciously, hone in on the right motivation.