The Mindset That Spoils Everything

19th Sep 2015

12 -13 yrs

I’m talking about the “Maths people” mindset. The wrong way of thinking is concluding or believing that some other people or some other children are “Maths people”. Where did that term come from? There’s no such thing as a Maths person. Everybody learns this skill through practice. I once listened to a brilliant CD titled “Talent is overrated”. The CD talked at length about skill, practice, perseverance, diligent work, getting the right information, and coaching.

That CD sums it all up perfectly. Even for those termed to be born with any talent, they would still not be great at that skill if they didn’t practise diligently, and on purpose. The author talked about Tiger Woods, and all the practice he did and still is doing. He talked about how parents still are the ones who at one time or the other orchestrate the “let’s pay attention to this child learning this skill more” idea. It is parents that either train the child more or get the child a coach or trainer to teach this skill in the correct way. The philosophy is very simple. If someone is very good at something, if someone is particularly talented at something, it is years of practice that did it, not some natural talent. The “natural talent” skill if any, would have had to be honed with constant, on-purpose practice.

I repeat that there is no such thing as a “Maths person”. Maths is only a skill, and any skill needs practice, more practice and more practice. That’s the secret to it. There is no talent from heaven; yes, maybe I have a curiosity thing, maybe an affinity for numbers. Getting good at the skill itself, however, is simply down to proper practice with the right guidance. If I don’t practise any Maths, for a very long time, I will get rusty too. Although that can’t happen, because Maths is compulsorily part of our daily lives and is all around us, it may give you a faint idea what I’m trying to point out. If a footballer doesn’t play football for a while, they will get rusty. It’s just fundamentally the way life works.

I am 100% convinced about this from numerous case studies I have heard or seen, from people who were struggling with Maths and practised, and then got good at it, to people like me who were alright and comfortable with Maths, then got great at it after deliberate practice. By the way, this is all fundamental basic Maths I am taking about. Going on to specialise or take higher Maths after secondary education is just an option a person may or may not take depending on the career path they wish to pursue.

Maths itself is built precept upon precept. To completely “get” each precept right, they need to practise right, be taught how to do it, understand the principles behind it, and do several examples to completely get it. After this can a person then move on to the next.


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