Have you heard about Dr. Andrew Huberman? I recently heard a fantastic episode from his podcast, the Huberman Lab Podcast named: How to Enhance Performance & Learning by Applying a Growth Mindset.
If you haven’t heard of Dr. Huberman, he is a tenured professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine. His podcast discusses neuroscience: how our brain and its connections with the organs of our body control our perceptions, behaviors, and health.
The takeaways from his last episode that I found super exciting and relatable to the process of learning a new language as an adult are:
1. A growth mindset involves detaching one's identity from performance and instead attaching it to the effort and enjoyment of learning and improving.
We should reflect on what we have been told or have told ourselves we are good or bad at and why. The feedback we give ourselves needs to be based on effort. This can significantly impact motivation and performance.
2. The importance of using verbs to understand and improve one's abilities. Verbs emphasize the value of focusing on the effort processes and behaviors used to develop skills rather than simply labeling oneself as talented or untalented.
We shouldn’t label ourselves.
3. The concept of stress and how our perception of it can impact our performance. Dr. Huberman explains that the stress response is not inherently good or bad but rather depends on whether we believe the sensations we experience during stress enhance or diminish our performance.
He emphasizes that embracing a stress-enhancing mindset can lead to shorter duration releases of cortisol, increased stroke volume, and greater peripheral blood flow, all of which contribute to improved performance. He suggests that stress is beneficial unless it interferes with our sleep.
4. The analogy that the mind is like a muscle holds some truth but falls short in an important way. The analogy suggests that when we strain to learn something, we should experience a sense of improvement like we do when we train our muscles with resistance. However, Dr. Huberman points out that when we learn something new, we often feel the stress, strain, and disappointment of not performing well initially. It is through this process of experiencing the difficulty and stress that our brain actually learns and grows.
A better analogy would be if, during resistance training, the muscles initially got smaller and then rebounded to be even bigger than before.
The episode was truly exceptional. A final takeaway is that our mindset shapes our beliefs about our abilities. It is influenced by the narratives we hold about ourselves and the feedback we receive from others. We should be careful not to fall into a negative narrative, especially when learning a new language.
Use verbs to give praise to yourself, not labels, even when your effort needs to be greater. Give more cognitive attention to those verbs. Here are some examples:
- I'm proud of the consistent effort I'm putting into my Spanish learning journey.
- I appreciate the dedication I show to my Spanish studies. I take the time to practice regularly.
- I should challenge myself to use Spanish in real-life situation.
- I need to understand this topic better. I’ll ask my instructor about it.
Thank you for reading this blog about growth mindset and how it affects your learning goals.
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