FLINT, Michigan—The way things are is not the way things have to be. More than 800 students from throughout Genesee County came together for the annual GearUp for Success summit—an opportunity for them to learn more about how their mindset can both limit them or open new doors.
Hosted by GearUp 2 Lead, a local organization that focuses on promoting growth mindset and empowering young people, the daylong event included a series of speakers, lunch, and inspiration.
Returning this year were Trevor Ragan and Travis Thomas, motivational speakers and promoters of growth mindset whose clientele include the nation’s largest industries as well as professional athletes.
“You cannot control what happens to you, but you always 100 percent control how you respond to that,” said Thomas, son of the Halo Burger founder who focuses his message of growth around learning to improvise and being willing to fail. He builds his approach to life around the simple, but transformative, phrase: “Yes, and …,” as a response to people, events and life.
“Our success in life comes with our ability to work with people and their different perspectives and opinions,” Thomas said. “You don’t get good at it without failing. … Failing is a part of becoming an expert. We need to love failing not because we are trying to fail but because we are trying to be awesome.”
Ragan followed with an approach that looks at animal behavior, science, and human nature built on a premise that “our brain is like a muscle.”
Ultimately, we live our lives with a self-fulfilling cycle that flows from believing we can, to taking the actions necessary so that we can, to growing and achieving our goals.
“I’m not saying you have to learn everything, but I am saying you can learn anything you want,” Ragan said.
The biggest barrier is actually believing that we can—and overcoming fears that prevent us from trying.
“Fear robs us of opportunities to grow and get better. Fear robs us of great learning every day,” Ragan said. “That’s the force that’s making lots of decisions for us.”
And, the thing is, it’s impossible to kill fear, he said. However, it is also possible to learn how to deal with and move beyond our fears so that we can and will accomplish our goals.
The featured keynote speaker was Arel Moodie, author of “Your Starting Point for Student Success” and “The Student Success Action Guide.” He also hosts the career podcast “The Art of Likeability.”