Skills for staying positive

Help your young person learn why developing a positive attitude, also known as a ‘growth mindset’, is valuable both now and for the future. The activity below can be carried out with them, or you can ask them to work through the worksheets as independent activities to start recognising strategies for staying positive. Both steps will take around 20 minutes.

A growth mindset is one in which young people:

    • Welcome mistakes and learn from them
    • Have ‘grit’, determination and perseverance, even in the face of challenge
    • Have ‘emotional intelligence’ – i.e. can reflect on feelings and have strategies to control emotional responses to challenging situations

Whether it’s working well independently, performing in an interview or dealing with job rejection, young people need a positive/growth mindset combined with essential skills to help them adapt, both during their studies and in the future.

Being able to develop and demonstrate core transferable skills for the workplace, like resilience and communication, also requires the right mix of behaviours and attitudes; feeling confident to deal with new or challenging situations, willing to make mistakes and learn from them, and understand that there is always room for improvement through practice.

Download full lesson plan pack with all activities



Step one: Transforming mindset 

Together, look through this table of behaviours, some of which describe a growth mindset and some that don’t. To help the discussion, ask:

  • What examples can you give of someone who has a growth mindset?
    • Eg. an athlete has to keep training to improve their personal best, even when they face setbacks and challenges, a small business owner will have to look for new ways to solve problems when something doesn’t go to plan
  • How might you be able to develop a positive attitude?
    • Eg. reflect on what could have gone better, and come up with one or two ways to change things for next time, talk to other people about how they stay positive or look for solutions, keep practising something you want to improve at, set yourself achievable goals
  • Why might a growth mindset be valuable at school, college or in the workplace?
    • Eg. it will help you revise effectively for exams, improve in subjects you aren’t as strong in, help you find new, creative solutions to problems you might face

People with a fixed mindset believe that their qualities are fixed, that they can either do something or they can’t, rather than believing that if they can’t do something now they may be able to in the future. Show them Worksheet 1 and ask them to work independently, if they can, to transform the statements that demonstrate a ‘fixed’ mindset into statements that show a growth mindset. Use the completed table below to talk through some possible answers, although your young person may come up with alternatives.

Step two: Growth mindset case study

This activity will help your young person to see why employers might value those with a growth mindset and a positive attitude, as well as identify important core transferable skills.

Ask your young person to read or listen to one of the real life case studies below. Discuss together how each person’s skills helped them to get a job or get on in the workplace, and then ask your young person to write down what these skills are, using Worksheet 2.Next, ask them to give examples of how the individual demonstrated a positive attitude. For example, Sadiya found a way to overcome a challenge successfully, and Kimberley was able to find the help she needed to take her next step.

Explain and discuss how individuals who demonstrate these skills and attitudes to learning are more likely to succeed in what they want to do because they:

  • Are motivated to learn
  • Improve based on feedback
  • Adapt their skills, behaviours and attitudes
  • Are willing to share their knowledge and help others

Can your young person think of a time they have done one or more of these things?

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