Determination begins with the growth mindset

What achievements have meant the most to you? The achievements that mean the most to us many times come after we have worked hard, overcome challenges, even failures to reach our goal. To have that kind of determination requires that we have a “growth mindset” as researched and written about by Carol Dweck of Stanford University.

With a growth mindset we believe that even if I am not able to do something at this time, I can develop the intelligence or skill to do so at a later date. The words we use are, “ I don’t know that YET”.  The belief that we can develop the skills or intelligence leads to the desire to improve and learn.

Self-image is not tied to our success or how you look to others. A failure is an opportunity to learn. So no matter the outcome of our efforts we are on our way to mastering the skill or knowledge we desire. We are on our way to succeeding.

Would it not be great if our children developed that mindset?  They can, and the language we use in praise of them or in correcting them have an impact from a very early age that determines if they will develop a growth mindset or if they believe that what they have is all they will ever have, and there is no growth possible.

Speaking the language of the virtues is a positive way of developing the character in our children that allows them to see their strengths and areas of growth. Would you like to learn more about The Virtues Project? Contact me for an Introduction to Speaking the Language of the Virtues.  Please share with parents and teachers.

Goal setting and determination for children

Determination begins with having a purpose or a goal in mind that we feel connected to make sure it gets accomplished. Teaching our children to set specific goals and to work towards achieving them is a first step in helping them to get to know themselves.  What is it they want to achieve?

With young children, we will need to educate them about the necessity of reaching individual goals. We will need to help them to see the benefits of education and help them to develop a growth mindset, so they have the joy of learning. Later they will be able to establish goals for themselves that will reflect their interests and what they want to accomplish. When they do set a goal, we want to encourage them to use their determination to achieve their goal.

Teaching our children how to set goals and learning to see themselves succeed and believe that they can reach it by staying determined is one of the most important skills we can give our children. We can Speak the Language of the Virtues to keep them on track and help them see that they already have Determination inside themselves to achieve anything they are willing to put the effort and work to accomplish.

What Gives Determination To Succeed?

Determination begins with having a goal, purpose or mission. When we want something very much we can use determination to keep our eyes on the outcome we desire. Our outcome is what matters to us, so we use the ABC’s of determination.  We Act, Believe, and Commit.   We transform fears about not being able to accomplish our goal by using our courage.

With determination, we do not allow excuses or our fears to get in the way of pressing forward. We take Action because we Believe in ourselves and our mission.  We are committed to seeing our mission accomplished. But what is it that determined people know or have that is different from others that back away when things get tough?

Determined people know they will make mistakes. Determined people know they may not succeed the first time. Determined people have the courage to look for new ways of approaching their goal. They keep one phrase in their mind that helps them get through those times of failure. That phrase is “ I have not succeeded YET!” They believe in that word “YET”, knowing that it is just a matter of time, practice and determination before we are successful.  There is no fear of failure.

What goals do you have that require determination? Do you have a larger purpose or mission in life that you are willing to ACT on, BELIEVE in and COMMIT too?  Are you prepared to see some failures without giving up?

As I write this post I have to think about the commitment needed for parenting. What are you willing to do? Begin with considering what the purpose of your family is, what is your family mission? Determination does not have to be just about getting through the day.  In fact, when the whole family is on the same mission – family life is the best!

Coming soon is my book, “In our house we…”, a story about a family who learned to articulate their mission and how to get all the kids on board.

Gifts of Character: Determination – The Definition

Each month we will discuss one gift of character with all of our students. This month the word is Determination. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students: Determination means: I’ve got a “no-quit-go-for-it” attitude!

Older students: Determination means: The firm purpose and necessary drive to go after a goal until it is achieved.

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers and students to reach that goal.

If you would like to see Joe Van Deuren and Balanced Life Skills at work, TRY CLASSES FOR FREE for 2 weeks.

How Determination Grows Confidence

confidence-2If there is one universal quality that all parents want their children to have as they go into the world, it would be confidence. While confidence is a very complex subject it is interesting to see how determination plays a role in gaining confidence and confidence in determination.

Confidence requires that we try new skills and have the determination to stick with it till we have the skill. Imagine saying that we want to learn to play the piano, we will not have the confidence to play at a recital if we have not practiced. Practice requires determination to stay focused on our goal of learning our music and performing well.

Confidence requires that we do hard things. If we only take part in activities that come easily to us we will never work the muscles to make us feel confident. When we attempt a new activity that is hard for us to do, we need determination to stick with it until it is complete. We also learn to ask for help when required, but we are determined not to give up.

Confidence is easier when we are healthy physically which leads to good mental health too. If our bodies feel good and we know we are taking care of ourselves, our mind will tell us we can do things that may seem impossible if we are not making healthy choices. This is true of kids and adults.

Confidence grows when we are contributing to the good of others. When we take our mind off of ourselves and appreciate the good in others, our confidence feels much stronger. All humans have a need to do good for others and our determination to do so contributes to our confidence.

Confidence / Determination or Determination / Confidence. I am not sure which one comes first but they certainly compliment each other as we grow in our life.

Three Tips For Parents To Teach Determination

As parents we know how important it is for our children to develop the quality of determination. It could be said that it is the difference between success and failure. It is also the difference between them learning to value themselves for what they have earned and not expecting everything to just be given to them.

 Here are three points that will help us parent our children to having determination.jumpingropeboy

  1. Teach them that little steps on a consistent basis often leads to accomplishment of your goal. Both children and many adults believe that those that are the best at an activity are just natural achievers. The fact is though that with consistent effort that we continue to improve. A great example in our Kindergarten / First Grade classes we ask the children to learn to jump rope. This is a monumental task for that age group. We are working on coordination as well as focus, determination, perseverance. What we have found is that those that will practice jumping rope for 5 minutes a day consistently over a few weeks soon become the best at this task.
  2. Teach children to deal with obstacles. We can have many different kinds of obstacles blocking us from reaching a goal that we have set out to achieve. But many of them are self inflicted, including the way we talk to ourselves, being a perfectionist, or resisting success with procrastination. Helping our children to learn about obstacles, being able to Know it, Name it and then How to move past it and continue on to success, is part of demonstrating determination.
  3. Both of the prior steps are best implemented by putting our children into learning environments where determination is a part of the lessons being taught. When this is done in a way that values staying the course and celebrating the results, soon our children will be able to apply this to all different aspects of their life.


All individuals have special gifts or strengths. So if our child is really gifted athletically then something else is going to be more of a test and learning experience for them. If we only practice or play at what we are good at – if we have to win all of the time or if as a parent we do not allow our children to fail, they may never learn this most valuable lesson of determination.