New exponential technologies can fundamentally change our experience of life – ubiquitous data sensors and AI can now give us real time feedback and response cues on our brainwaves, our emotional state, our facial expressions, our blood glucose levels (diabetes), approaching manic episodes (bipolar disease) See Dr Vivienne Ming talk on these topics.


We can also communicate in real time with just about anyone, anywhere, (including with human looking and sounding robots), buy just about anything and have it delivered within a few hours. What we haven’t cracked yet, is how to alter our internal experience and how we filter, assess, interpret and respond with ourselves and others and our dreams for greater happiness and life choices. And yet, so far the greatest predictors of life success, is not grades, schools or scores on standardized tests. The predictors are turning out to be motivation to learn and succeed, growth mindset, and an internal motivation or ability to delay gratification (yes, the old marshmallow experiment still applies!). The ones who are most likely to achieve their goals in the long-term are those that are least sensitive to external incentives.


The most frightening piece of research was that the primary reason for people not taking up opportunities for further education (even when offered sponsorship or free learning programs) is that they don’t believe! They have not been to exposed to life experiences that convince them that it is better to sacrifice short-term highs, social acceptance, fun, immediate gratification (food, drugs, sex etc), etc for a long-term investment in self-development which takes enormous effort, dedication, perseverance and failing many times. There are not enough role models that people can relate to of people who make it out of their circumstances and stay out. Not surprisingly, parent’s attitude to learning, effort, homework, technology and their own growth or fixed mindsets, are fundamental to children’s behaviour.

In a recent study examining adoption rates of new educational technology (EdTech) it was found that the greatest predictor of adoption and use of new educational apps that really do enhance learning, was the growth mindset of the primary parent. We can supply all the latest, user-friendly learning apps or programs or tests, however we need to spend more time, effort and attention on building the underlying belief system that enables continuous learning as a critical path to success. In the working world this is a tougher ask as neural pathways, programs, beliefs and habits are well formed, evidence collected over decades and therefore harder to mould into new possibilities. This is the real challenge – creating transformational experiences that shift beliefs, combined with social support and/or mentoring to make the change stick!