What is the real reason we send our kids to college?

What if we could be limitless?

 

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?  

 

What projects would you work on?  Where would you go? Would you still be doing the work you do now?

 

In the film Limitless, a pill gives one human the power of all knowledge, and unlimited confidence.  In other words, all knowledge is available and failure impossible.

 

“Not many of us know what it’s like to become the perfect version of ourselves.”

– Eddie Mora, played by Bradley Cooper in the film Limitless

 

It’s a fun idea.  

 

As parents, isn’t this what we want for our kids?  Not with the pill, I mean. But, to be limitless?

 

My son Alejandro turned 17 a few weeks ago.

 

We’ve been touring colleges for almost two years now and I started thinking. Why are we doing this?

 

Everyone knows the stories about billionaire college dropouts like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and others.

 

There’s been a lot of talk in the media about whether college costs are worth it? With some tuition over $70,000 per year and rising student debt that can never be refinanced or forgiven, there is good reason to pause. Especially in the fields of study where jobs are not readily available or not particularly high paying like education, and the arts and humanities.

 

Plus, you can learn all the same skills and use all the same textbooks at your local community college or even just the public library. There’s even free courses from the very same Ivy League colleges and universities online 24/7.

 

So, why do we all strive to send our kids to the same 100 or so colleges? Why have parents committed crimes to get them in?

 

The answer dawned on me as I sat in a recent presentation for Stanford University which I attended with my son.

 

There were wonderful slides and a nice introduction by the Dean of Admissions.  But then, they introduced a panel of recent grads. Not only were they poised and well-spoken, but the sense of confidence without arrogance was palpable.  Here were five twenty-somethings who carried themselves as if they were decades more experienced and were already directors of teams and managing projects spread across the globe.  And they all exuded this single quality…limitless.

 

Going to a good school is not just about the curriculum.

 

It’s more than that. College is an experience. It’s a 4-year version of that Limitless pill. It’s about transformation.

 

As a coach and mentor to other business owners and educators, I’ve discovered growth is more mental than physical. In fact, it’s 80% mental and 20% physical.

 

When I say mental, I mean mindset:  the thoughts and feelings you experience on a daily basis. 

 

The college experience is about transforming what you thought was impossible in yourself and in the world.

 

By surrounding yourself with other like-minded people, you share similar expectations and shift beliefs to  what is possible.

 

You are held accountable for your actions.  

 

That’s the real reason we want the best schools for our kids.  It’s four years of breaking and rebuilding beliefs and lifting each other up.

 

“If you want a new outcome, you will have to break the habit of being yourself, and reinvent a new self.

– Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself, By Dr. Joe Dispenza

 

Education, and all experience, is a path to becoming. If we view all life as this path, we can make better choices. Everything is an opportunity for reinvention. But, only if one is aware of this power. We are all authors and composers of our lives.

 

It’s why we enroll our kids in activities like sports, language and music lessons. It’s why we “make memories” with them every time we take them on a family trip.

 

“…your familiar memories related to your known world ‘re-mind’ you to reproduce the same experiences…the way you think and feel – and then see how the external environment is altered by your efforts…”

– Dr. Joe Dispenza

 

We are the heroes of our children’s lives. We have the power to give this gift of possibility. And it doesn’t require a pill. It only takes a shift in mindset.

 

So, take an interest in your children’s hopes and dreams. Give them opportunities to soar.   Invest in your own coaching and model the limitless mindset.

Feel free to share this with your friends.

What is the most destructive question that everyone asks themselves?

What is the most destructive question everyone asks themselves? And how to ask a better one.

And how to ask a better question

“What’s in it for me?”

This is the underlying question almost everyone has running in the back of their minds. Someone makes you an offer and you automatically ask it.

“What’s in it for me?”

Parents ask a variation, “What’s in it for my child, my family?”

It’s perfectly normal and most everyone does it.

 

So why is this question a problem?

Because this question reveals a mindset of lack.

“Gimme, gimme, gimme.”

“Take, take, take.”

It’s the voice of the ego based on fear, insecurity, and a lack of abundance.

 

Victim Mindset

It’s victim thinking, not a hero.

I experienced this growing up.

It was like life was an all you can eat buffet.

But “You better get your money’s worth.”

It’s why cruise ship guests put on their “buffet pants.”

Or the advice of some who say, “don’t fill your plate with the cheap stuff, grab the good stuff.”

Now, what if we could shift this to the opposite?

What if we could change the question?

Not

“What’s in it for me?”

But rather

“How can I help?”

By asking this new question, there is an assumption of abundance. This question assumes you have the power, capacity, and ability to help. It’s a powerful question. You are tapping into your true gifts. It comes from a deeply spiritual place, not your ego. There is more than enough to share.

We’ve all had ups and downs in our lives. I personally experienced many magical miracles. And then flipped to complete despair.

What I’ve noticed is the presence of the first question and not the latter. Mindset is the key.

 

So what is mindset?

A mentor of mine recently gave me an amazingly simple definition:

“Mindset is the voice(s) in your head.”

That’s so true. I hear my parents, teachers, and even people I don’t care for speaking in my head.

 

Who put these voices in our heads?

They get installed automatically throughout life. Parents. Teachers. Relatives. Caregivers. Friends. Facebook. The media…

The thing is, unless you are aware, you are being programmed all the time. If you let it wash over you daily without consciousness, you are installing these voices. The prevailing mindset of lack, poverty, and despair.

The good news is, you can reinstall new voices. It’s like upgrading your internal operating system to the latest, greatest version. You choose your own voice.

Ask Better Questions

Tomorrow, my son turns sixteen. Sixteen! We’re about to start visiting colleges. Think about focus of study. Plan out a course for life.

What I want most for him is to flip the questions. Ask more empowering ones.

 

“How can I help?”

“What can I offer the world?

What was I born to do?

What are my gifts?

What makes me the only one?”

Of course, questioning goes on for a lifetime.

 

We never completely know

We are always discovering.

The journey of life and success IS the journey of discovering the answers to this question. Life is self-discovery. And this question can change your life.

How can I help?

I hope this awakens something inside of you. New voices = new life. This goes beyond parenting, music, education, business, whatever. This is for you. And through you, you will light up the world.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and place it under a basket, but place it on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine, so that they may see your good works…” – Matthew 5:14. the Bible

 

Teaching Strategies For Growth Mindset

What is the most important factor in a student? Many people would say it’s talent, or effort, or persistence, or luck or some combination of these.

Behind all of this is something that is more important – the proper mindset. Recent research (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007) has shown that there are two different mindsets among students:
1) intelligence as a fixed, static trait or you got what you got
2) intelligence is a changeable, flowing trait, in other words:  you can learn whatever you put focus and effort to

Most of my music students do have a growth mindset, but may need some extra encouragement.   To do this I need to use a specific way of communicating.

The Dangers of Praise and How To Do It Right

Researchers have discovered that if you just praise the intelligence of the child, there are negative consequences.  So just being positive and saying “Good job!” is actually detrimental and has a backlash because given a new challenge, the child would rather not participate (quit) in order to “save face” and live up to the expected standard.  Rather if the child was praised for their effort, the next harder challenge was met with more effort.

Communicating Learning Goals

Almost daily I have a student who complains
“That’s too hard! I want to just stay on the same song!”

Here’s some things I say and you can too in your classroom, studio or with your own children.  Though I’ve made these specific to music, you can apply a variation of these to any subject.

  • Learning music is like playing a video game. Once you achieved the last challenge, we’re on to the next level.
  • You’re not supposed to know this already, this is brand new.

High Expectations For Forward Motion

  • I KNOW that you can do this, that’s why I’m showing you this.
  • This will be challenging, but I’ve seen you do amazing work before.
  • Remember how hard _____ piece was? And now you can play it so well. This is like that one only better.

Struggling Even With Effort

  • You are not there…YET (emphasis on the yet)
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just remind yourself that you can’t do it…YET.
  • Let’s take a break and come back to this tomorrow.
  • I admire your persistence.
  • I appreciate your effort and focus on this.
  • I love how you never gave up on that last piece. Let’s do it here too.

Struggling But May Need Help With Strategy

  • Let’s work on just the one spot giving you trouble
  • What part is giving you trouble? Let’s just look at that.
  • How about we make a plan to learn this piece? You can do section A today and then section B tomorrow and then back to A…

By setting the proper belief system in place at an early age, we can guide our children to future success in music, and in life.

For more information, read this excellent article from Prinicipal Leadership, a magazine aimed at school principals.

For a free download on Growth Mindset Framing. You’ll have to register but it’s free and you can download a pdf.