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Self-Perception

There is another important factor that will affect what and how much you learn: your self-perception. By the time you are an adult, you have formed some strong opinions about yourself. Some of these opinions put you in a positive light: “I’m a good parent,” or “I can be trusted.” Other opinions can limit you, such as: “I’m terrible at math,” “I’m just not creative,” or “I’m too uncoordinated for that.”

While defining and accepting both your strengths and weaknesses can be an asset, beware of negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Many students in math class who have thought “I’m terrible at math” proved themselves right by shutting down at the first challenge presented to them. Frequently, if they do fail, the real reason is not aptitude, but rather that they were not prepared for that particular level of math. Many times adults are not patient enough to start at the level they are ready for and build up to where they want to be. Instead, they expect to compete immediately against golfers who have been playing for years, rebuild a motorcycle engine on the first try or be able to make music on a guitar after a lesson or two.


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