Having the right study mindset

Today I am going to move onto probably the most important piece in my Dare to be Bright programme; mindset. Having the right mindset for success is crucial for any student to do well. I also think this is the most difficult for parents to help their child with because we are so invested in the outcome. Sometimes, to help our teen create the right mindset we must allow them to fail, leave them to it, push them until it feels uncomfortable, put clear boundaries in place and sometimes allow them to indulge in some future fantasy that we may not agree with.

A lot of parents tell me that their child has no motivation and that isn’t true; something will motivate them, they may just have not linked that something to the school. Parents seem to expect their child to be motivated at school because they want a “good job”, they want “to do their best”, and in my experience it is very rare to find a teen who is motivated towards these things, particularly in secondary school. They may be more motivated by berating their brother, becoming the best gamer, a certain university, going to America, becoming a millionaire, becoming famous or any other dreams that parents may see as fantasies. They key is to link whatever they are motivated by into school work, not the motivation you think they should have. And that isn’t easy – in fact this is where I spend most of my coaching time, trying to find that young person’s motivational sweet spot.

Everyone will have something that is motivating, even if it is lying in bed and watching TV all day. Our job as the adults is to help them find it.

Here are the five questions that I ask young people, which always get me to their motivation sweet spot and allow my real work to get done.

  1. What do you want to do in the future?
  2. Do you know what it will take to get there? (If not they need to find out)
  3. Knowing what it will do to get there, do you still want to do it? (note that they may say no here, so you would move back to step one)
  4. What do you need to start doing now to get you there?
  5. What do you need to start doing at school to get you there?

These questions require the young person to really be honest with themselves. If they know what it takes but are not willing to do it, then that really shows them something. If they know what they need to do at school but don’t do it, are they really committed?

Other posts that may help you with motivation are below.

I would love to know your thoughts and ideas on motivation and mindset.