No More Vows

“Research by Peter Gollwitzer and his colleagues shows that vowing, even intense vowing, is often useless. The next day comes and the next day goes. What works is making a vivid, concrete plan.”

-From “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck

In thinking about my summer goal for the Innovation Academy I was reminded of this excerpt from the book “Mindset” This excerpt points to the fact that when we are trying to change something we need to be intentional. We need to move beyond vows, promises and vague ideas to clear and “actionable” steps. In a world of constant connectivity this step is incredibly hard. I often find myself so distracted by technology that I put off sitting down to map out a clear plan for my goals. Immersed in technology and also taking care of day to day errands, I vow to do many things but lack a clear plan for getting them done. My vow often becomes that I will sit down tomorrow and make a clear plan of action. All of this changed with the Innovation Academy summer assigment. By making the change intentional and public, I was forced to sit down and truly think about one habit that I wanted to change.

While I thought of many habits, there was one in particular that stood out to me. I feel that I have come to rely too heavily on the internet for articles and ideas and have lost touch with just simply observing and reflecting on how learning happens in everyday life. It is for this reason that I chose to dedicate my 30 days to reflecting each night on the question of how people learn. During this process, I will be reflecting on my own day to day experiences as well as considering some of the principals that stand out to me from the book “Mindset.”

Ever since I began teaching, I have always been interested in the question of how people learn. Being immersed in the school environment has made me question the traditional mode of learning and seek out other models and other thinkers that have wrestled with this same idea. The problem for me is that I feel like I spend a lot of time consuming information and not as much time reflecting on and absorbing the information.

The timing of this challenge could not be better, as I am both beginning a new phase in my teaching career with the Innovation Academy, as well a starting a new life in Lima, Peru. Both opportunities lend themselves well to reflecting on how people learn and thinking about how mindsets impact learning. In “Mindset,” Dweck focuses on the idea that “the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.” In future posts my plan is to explore this idea as it relates to learning new things and stepping out of your comfort zone.


2 thoughts on “No More Vows

  1. I feel the same way: “”The problem for me is that I feel like I spend a lot of time consuming information and not as much time reflecting on and absorbing the information.”

    While our intuition is the result of reading a variety of books, articles, and even blogs, there’s no denying the importance of first-hand experience and reflection. Your blog makes me want to get off the computer right now…which is definitely a good thing.

    • I agree Corey, it is a tough balance as we are where we are as a result of all of the things we read. I guess I just want to slow down my reading and take the time to process, as I often feel like I need to rush through all of the articles I encounter. I am also excited that we will be able to finally reflect and process in person soon!

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