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Brain Structure
Mature Minds
Brain Shapers
Memory Shapers
Brain Prescriptions
Positive Psychology
Mind-Body Connections
Some Key Researchers
Online tests and games
Staying Sharp
In the News

Motivation and Confidence

The reason why most people don't reach their goals is that they don't hold the same core beliefs as people who succeed. Successful people have a whole raft of positive thoughts and self-belief  that sustain them through difficult times. These underlying beliefs programme their minds for ultimate success. Positive beliefs control attitudes and prevent anxiety and fear which strip away courage to try new things.


Two beliefs of a successful learner -

I can stick it out in tough times.

If she can do it, I can.


Two limiting beliefs of unsuccessful learners -
Failure is humiliating.

It’s OK for him because he has four A grades.


Why do some people hang on to these unhelpful beliefs?  Do they serve a purpose? How does someone switch the voice in their head from failure to success?


One way is to turn the unhelpful thought into a PROCESS OF CHANGE.

‘Given enough time at the computer and a good tutor I can learn IT skills.’


'That'll never work.'
Larry Hehn cartoons

OPTIMISM WORKS! It’s a practical, hardheaded, and realistic approach to life. It works better than pessimism. Thinking there’s no hope doesn’t work at all.

People's beliefs about their own intelligence significantly affect whether they use their skills and develop their skills.

Watch video clips of Carol Dweck interviews. Psychologist Carol Dweck focuses on motivation and learning. She explores the differences between people who have a 'fixed' mind-set and those with a 'growth' mind-set and how these different beliefs about intelligence can have a powerful impact on their will to overcome difficulties.

Fixed mindset: These people believe their ability is fixed, probably at birth, and there is very little they can do to improve it. They believe ability comes from innate talent rather than from the gradual development of skills through learning - “they believe It's all in the genes”. Either you can do it with little effort, or you will never be able to do it, so you might as well not try.

Growth mindset : These people believe that ability and success are due to developing understanding, and this requires time and effort. In the case of difficulty you try harder, try another approach, or seek help etc.


1.They are seldom surprised by trouble.

2.They look for partial solutions.

3.They believe they have control over their future.

4.They allow for regular renewal.

5.They interrupt their negative trains of thought.

6.They heighten their power of appreciation.

7.They use their imaginations to rehearse success.

8.They are cheerful even when they can't be happy.

9.They believe they have an almost unlimited capacity for stretching.

10. They build lots of fun into their lives.

11. They like to swap good news.

12. They accept what can't be changed.

Motivation - Clues from the Past

You'll hear people talk about visualisations, affirmations, positive self-talk and other techniques designed to "re-program" your mind so that you're COMPELLED to fulfil your commitment. You'll also hear many people claim that these techniques don't work!
Well, it doesn't matter "what works" - what matters is "what works for YOU".
And what works for you is... WHAT HAS WORKED FOR YOU BEFORE.

You've already committed to achieving goals in the past... and you've achieved those goals.

How did you do it?


Buying books and magazines? Joining groups of like-minded people?


Keeping a diary of steps along the way? Visualising the end result?


Sometimes these are called ‘commitment rituals'?


A ‘commitment ritual’  captures the idea that success leaves clues about how it is achieved. If one person can achieve success in a given area, and if we can identify what worked for them, and do this (or repeat what worked for us previously) we can expect to attain similar success.

"I noticed from my years of work that students who were vulnerable were mired in the issue of intelligence, were obsessed with their intelligence: "Is this going to make me look smart? Did that make me look smart?" And I thought, you know, praise, praising students' intelligence is what people think is the greatest. We'll raise their self- esteem, we'll enhance their intellectual performance. But maybe it could trap them in this system of vulnerability, and that's how we got started on the praise work. " Carol Dweck.