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Category: Sunday quote

How to Make Your Ideas Stick

‘We began to see the same themes, the same attributes, reflected in a wide range of successful ideas. What we found based on Chip’s research – and by reviewing the research of dozens of folklorists, psychologists, educational researchers, political scientists, and proverb-hunters – was that sticky ideas shared certain key traits. There is no “formula” for a sticky idea – we don’t want to overstate the case. But sticky ideas do draw from a common set of traits, which make them more likely to succeed. It’s like discussing the attributes of a great basketball player. You can be pretty sure…

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It’s All About the Reading

‘The behavioural neurologist Norman Geschwind suggested that for most children myelination of the angular gyrus region was not sufficiently developed till school age – that is, between five and seven years. Geschwind also hypothesised that myelination in these critical cortical regions develops more slowly in some boys; this might be one reason why more boys are slower to read fluently than girls. To be sure, our own research on language finds that girls are faster than boys until around age eight on many timed naming tasks. Geschwind’s conclusions about when a child’s brain is sufficiently developed to read received support…

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Letting Go As Children Grow

‘My first daughter taught me a necessary lesson: she is able to signal when I am becoming over-involved in any aspect of her life, protect herself from my undue desire to control, and emerge with the skills she herself wants to pursue. She teaches me constantly that we are really on the same side. She wants to strike forward in life and fulfil herself, just as I would wish her to do, but she will move in her own time and from her own initiative. These days I try not to define success (or failure) in terms of the behavioural…

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The Power of a Growth Mindset

‘There’s another mindset in which … the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way – in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience. Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable);…

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Babies Really Don’t Sleep

‘The adult brain shuts down nightly, like an office block, for routine maintenance. In the newborn, the cleaners are wandering around all day long. The supervisor has gone missing. The technicians are reinstalling software and upgrading the phone system even as a poor drone is trying to work. For the neonate, this means that, whatever kind of consciousness she has, it is maintained more or less around the clock. As a result, her sleeping brain is very far from being cut off from what is going on around it. EEG studies have shown that newborns’ brains, unlike adults’, remain active…

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Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

‘Most of us assume that there exists a single thing called “motivation,” which people can have a lot of, a little of, or none of. Naturally, we want our kids to possess copious quantities of it, which is to say, we want them to be highly motivated to do their homework, to act responsible, and so forth. The trouble, though, is that there are actually different kinds of motivation. Most psychologists distinguish between the intrinsic kind and the extrinsic kind. Intrinsic motivation basically means that you like what you’re doing for it’s own sake, whereas extrinsic motivation means you do something as a…

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How experience changes the structure of the brain

‘A massive proliferation of synapses occurs during the first years of life. These connections are shaped by genes and chance as well as experience, with some aspects of ourselves being less amenable to the influence of experience than others. Our temperament, for example, has a nonexperiential basis; it is determined in large part by genes and by chance. For instance, we may have a robust approach to novelty and love to explore new things, or we may tend to hang back in response to new situations, needing to “warm up” before we can overcome our initial shyness. Such neural propensities…

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The Classic View of Learning

‘The classic view of learning is encapsulated in seven words familiar to every speaker of English: You learn from the company you keep. You don’t learn by consciously modelling yourself on the company you keep, or by deliberately imitating other people. You become like them.  We all know this and organise our lives accordingly. I have found a similar proverb or saying in every language I have encountered. We take it for granted that the people around us influence the way we are. That is why the point of view is classic – we rarely think about the continual learning that…

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Spirit of Adventure

‘For curiosity, interest, and a longing to know more and more types of experience are the qualities that stimulate a desire to know about life and to understand it. They provide the zest that makes it possible to meet any situation as an adventure. Without that spirit of adventure, life can be a dull business. With it, there is no situation, however limiting, physically or economically, which cannot be filled to the brim with interest. Indeed, without interest, it is almost impossible to continue to learn; certainly, it is impossible to continue to grow. Now and then, I am surprised…

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How You Made Them Feel

‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.’ This is widely attributed to Maya Angelou, though a bit of research suggests this is a misattribution, and actually it’s closest to something originally written by Carl Buehner. Either way, it isn’t hard to think of someone close to you and immediately conjure up the feeling of being with them, for good or ill. It succinctly reminds us of the way relationships and emotion colour every interaction we have.

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