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Janet’s Toolbox Tip: Changing Attitudes

…because you can never have enough tools in your toolbox.

Changing Attitudes


Here’s a little peek into the human mind and how you can actually help yourself or your child experience a complete attitude shift.

“I can’t do it.”

“It can’t be done.”

“No way!”

Do you answer with, “Of course you can!” “Just give it a try!”

How does THAT work out?
When a human brain hears a question – no matter how unthinkable or impossible – it automatically imagines an answer.

Try it for yourself. Imagine something you don’t think you can do…then ask yourself: “What would it be like if I could do ______ really well?”

Your brain automatically imagines it.  It can’t help it!

Here’s the thing: It moves your mind from the frozen “impossible” position to, “Hmm…what would it be like if I could??”

So, by asking a question, you are pointing your child’s mind towards imagining an answer. We’re WIRED to notice questions and imagine answers.

It also loosens up attitudes that seem to be stuck. “Yeah, I know it’s impossible. Of course you can’t. But I was just wondering, what would it be like if you could _________?”

So rather than start off contradicting your child – and locking him into his attitude – here’s what to do:

1. Agree with them that they can’t, or it’s impossible, whatever the limitation is.

2. Ask, “But what would it be like if you could?”

Try it out.  Let me know what happens.

Adapted from NLP Comprehensive, 2006.


FOR MORE POSITIVE LANGUAGE try these from @sylviaduckworth:

10 Growth Mindset Statements: What Can I Say to Myself?

I’m not good at this.  TRY: What am I missing?

I’m awesome at this. TRY: I’m on the right track.

I give up. TRY: I’ll use some of the strategies we’ve learned.

This is too hard. TRY: This may take some time and effort.

I can’t make this any better. TRY: I can always improve so I’ll keep trying.

I just can’t do Math. TRY: I’m going to train my brain in Math.

I made a mistake. TRY: Mistakes help me to learn better.

She’s so smart. I’ll never be that smart. TRY: I’m going to figure out how she does it.

It’s good enough. TRY: Is it really my best work?

Plan “A” didn’t work. TRY: Good thing the alphabet has 25 more letters!


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