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  • Writer's pictureNick Moskaluk

Redefine Success as Personal Gain: Unlocking the Path to Thriving.

In a world where success is often measured by external factors, such as wealth and recognition, it's time to redefine what it truly means to be successful. Dr. Michelle Borba, an esteemed educational psychologist, and bestselling author, encourages us to shift our perspective and embrace personal gain as the ultimate marker of achievement. In this article, we explore Dr. Borba's insights from the Ready Set Growth podcast, where she reveals how redefining success can empower students, parents, and teachers to unlock their full potential.


Success: A Personal Journey of Growth: Dr. Borba asserts that success should not be measured through comparisons with others or societal standards, but rather as a reflection of personal growth and progress. By focusing on one's own journey and setting individual goals, students can redefine their potential and achieve success on their own terms. The concept of personal gain liberates students from the pressure of external benchmarks, allowing them to embrace their unique abilities and talents.


Escape the Trap of Comparison and Competition: In today's hyperconnected world, where social media and the fear of missing out permeate our lives, the detrimental effects of comparison and competition are amplified. Dr. Borba highlights the importance of acknowledging students' concerns about classroom competition and offers practical solutions. Teachers can foster a supportive environment by avoiding public grading systems and instead encouraging students to uplift one another and celebrate individual achievements. By shifting the focus from rivalry to personal growth, students can thrive without the burden of constant comparison.


Parents as Role Models: Parents play a crucial role in shaping their children's understanding of success. Dr. Borba advises parents to refrain from comparing their children to others and, instead, celebrate their unique accomplishments. By nurturing an environment that prioritizes personal gain and progress, parents can empower their children to define success on their own terms. Through their positive guidance, parents become instrumental in helping children reach their full potential.


Teach Confidence, not Self-Esteem: Dr. Borba's podcast episode titled "Teach confidence, not self-esteem" delves into the significance of cultivating confidence in students rather than simply boosting their self-esteem. Confidence, she argues, forms the bedrock for resilience, peak performance, and mental well-being. Unlike self-esteem, which can rely on empty praise, confidence is a quiet inner understanding of one's strengths and weaknesses, fostering agency and autonomy. Dr. Borba emphasizes the correlation between confidence and autonomy, which is vital for nurturing thriving individuals who can navigate life's challenges.


The Seven Strengths of Thrivers: To promote confidence and resilience, Dr. Borba identifies the seven strengths that constitute thriving individuals: confidence, empathy, self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance, and optimism. These strengths can be nurtured at any age through effective teaching methods. Dr. Borba suggests the incorporation of practices like classroom meetings, restorative justice, and brainstorming to create an environment conducive to the development of these strengths.


Feedback: The Key to Building Confidence and Agency: In the podcast, feedback emerges as a critical element in fostering self-confidence and agency in students. Constructive feedback that highlights strengths and areas for improvement plays a vital role in students' ability to take risks, learn from mistakes, and acquire the skills needed for success. Teachers, as facilitators of growth, have a significant impact on students' self-confidence. By providing appropriate feedback, teachers can help students build a foundation of confidence and agency necessary for their success. Additionally, managing stress and instilling realistic expectations further support students' growth.


Empathy and Optimism: The Building Blocks of Resilience: Empathy and optimism are key factors in cultivating resilience. Dr. Borba highlights the importance of creating a safe and inclusive environment where students can develop empathy


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