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Mindsets Workshop

Session 3 Excerpt 

Practicing Our Tools 


Excerpt from Session #3 


Alejandro: (Reading aloud) Repeat positive thoughts - Because neurons that fire together, wire together.  


Me: Thank you, Alejandro. This is the key. Whatever neurons fire together, hardwire together. They make a path, and it gets bigger and deeper the more we think about it. It can work for us, and it can also work against us.


This is why I have had students in the past who used to get so scared before taking tests. And it was almost always the same students. They had already made the pathway; they had had those thoughts, felt them deeply, and hardwired them. So every time there was a test, this is what they felt come up inside. So we spent a lot of time before and after tests retraining that wiring, writing down our thoughts.


As a teacher I would ask students to work in small groups. To be successful, we need to develop the ability to work with everyone, not just our close friends. Often, they would have a similar reaction. “No way. Please put me in a different group!” There was so much anxiety in the classroom at the start of the year as I would pull names to make groups. Yet it wasn’t just the prospect of challenging partners making them react that way, but how they had hardwired themselves in the past to have this fear.


The thing is, no one can unwire it but you. No on else can get in there and pull it out.


Alejandro: You have to do it yourself.


Me: Yes!


Gabriela: Tool #4: I can replace a negative thought with a positive thought.


Me: You can either delete it and move on, or you can replace it with a positive thought of your own choosing. So instead of, “I don’t get this. I am so dumb!” You could replace it with, “All it takes is a bit more effort. I can get this if I stick with it!” And it creates a totally different experience for us.


Actually, let’s try this right now. Right now in your mind, think this thought. Say silently to yourself, I don’t get this. I’m a failure. It’s too hard. Repeat it silently in your head at least three times, and feel how it feels inside before you open your eyes.


Do you feel that? It feels heavy, doesn’t it? Now, “delete” it. And in the space where it was, put this thought. If I put in the effort, I can learn it. I just haven’t learned it, YET. But I can learn it. Repeat that three times in your head, and feel how it feels.


Was the feeling different?


All: Yes.


Me: This is what we do to ourselves all the time. It’s crazy, but WE do it to OURSELVES.


Gabriela: When I was using it, it was kind of like putting the bad thought in a jail cell. They want to get out, but you just don’t have time to think about it because you’re too busy thinking about other things.

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