Adopting a growth mindset

Jan 18, 2017 by

Adopting a growth mindset

Today The School Speech Therapist wants to introduce guest blogger Rochel Lieberman MA CCC-SLP who has recently written a children’s book called Pearla and her Unpredictably Perfect Day: A story about how a sprinkling of mistakes can be a recipe for success. Perla is written for children aged 4-12, particularly those who experience anxiety or developmental issues. It demonstrates that you can’t succeed unless you try and that it’s ok to make mistakes. Pearla’s strategies for solving her problems will help children to overcome their own hurdles. Read more about Pearla and the motivation behind this book below. Please consider sharing this book with the children in your life. Teresa

There is a charity bake sale at school. Sara, juggling two jobs while raising her three children does not have the time nor energy to bake a cake for the sale. She thought about putting in the effort, but her previous baking attempts have not been successful. On her way home from work, she picks up a tray of large round cookies at the supermarket. She meets Lisa, her close friend, and they begin with the “mom talk”. Lisa relays that she does not enjoy baking, will probably stay up late to bake a cake anyway, and wonders aloud why she is struggling with herself for this endeavor.

I believe that there are multiple sources for the intense pressure for perfection that is found in both children and adults. Thankfully, there are a great many ways to combat that pressure. While genetics, family of origin, and innate personality can lay the foundation for pressure, there is also a mindset that plays a significant role in how one views perfection.

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset:
Dr. Carol Dweck, a world leading researcher on motivation and success from Stanford University, studied why some people succeed and others do not. What she uncovered was that there are some people who believe in a fixed mindset, that basic traits and talents which you were born or endowed with, like intelligence, are fixed. Others, she found, believe in a growth mindset, where success is attributed to hard work and effort. Individuals with a fixed mindset usually only choose items and activities that they know they’re good at. Individuals with a growth mindset welcome mistakes and accept that it they are part of the path to success, thus increasing their successful opportunities.

In Pearla and Her Unpredictably Perfect Day, Pearla embarks on a journey that begins with a fixed belief that mistakes are “just not okay in Pearla’s perfect world”. In this story we meet other characters who share similar limiting beliefs; we meet Mrs. PeggyOpal and daughter Darla who come from the other side of the river wearing matching sundresses. They travel with a tester, a person to taste each confection before they eat it. Darla and her mother, are horrified to see the mistake cupcakes, and say, “I only eat tall cupcakes with perfect wiggly white cream”. As is typical of those with a fixed mindset, the PeggyOpals leave the store without any cupcakes to take home. While they are stuck in their fixed mindset of success, even proudly displaying their peg-board status on their license plate (“Pego”), Pearla begins to question her beliefs and thinks of a promising plan to deal with her mistake. In doing this, she develops a growth mindset. At the end of the entertaining tale, she learns an important lesson that she will never forget: “Sometimes things don’t go perfectly. By staying calm, we might see that imperfect changes can turn into perfectly perfect plans!”

While the reader can feel empathy for the PeggyOpals, it is important to understand that anyone can adopt a growth mindset. At the end of the story, the PeggyOpals reconsider if they should try the imperfect confections! They can be seen standing outside the bakery with their taster. Although we do not know if they will indeed enter the bakery, this a big step in developing their growth mindset. Individuals with a growth mindset understand that challenges will arise and problem solving will be required. Take one second and ask yourself ask “in what area of my life do I have a fixed mindset?”

To read more about Rochel and to purchase Pearla and Her Unpredictably Perfect Day visit

Note: This information belongs to Rochel Lieberman. In order to forward, edit, or use this information, you must obtain express permission from Rochel Lieberman, via email @


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