Emotion, mindsets, and scheduling

If you made it into college, you can create simple information systems (IS), with the tools we have today. When people have trouble, it’s often because of emotions, mindsets, or poor scheduling.


Computer work is frustrating. F-r-u-s-t-r-a-t-i-n-g. Frustrating. Frustrating. Frustrating. AARRGHHH!

Your emotional state affects learning. Some tips.

Don’t rant, throw things, or otherwise “let off steam.” You’ll feel good for a few minutes, but it makes things worse in the long run. Really. The research is in.

Do have reasonable expectations. Your IS will not work the first time. You’ll need to experiment.

Don’t leave assignments to the last minute. OK, everyone tells you that, but listen this time. Computer work takes longer than you think. Something always goes wrong. That’s normal. If you leave things to the last minute, your head will explode.

Do get help when you’re stuck. Asking for help is Really Hard for some people. (I’m one of them.) Remember, it’s your instructor’s job to help. Your friends can help, too. Meet for coffee every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. You can help them, they can help you.

Do remember your accomplishments. Yes, that assignment was hard, but you did it. If you did that one, you can do the next one, too. Go you!

You rock!

Do take a break. If you’re very frustrated, do something else for an hour. Give your brain time to flush the I’m-as-frustrated-as-a-monkey-who-sees-a-banana-but-can’t-get-to-it chemicals.

Growth mindset

Trina and Ethan flunk a quiz

Here’s Trina.


She took a math quiz last week. She got 5 out of 20. She’s not happy.

Not happy

Here’s Ethan.


He’s in the same class an Trina. He took the same quiz. He got the same score.

On no!

What now?

What they do now depends on why they think they got a low score. Psychologists contrast a fixed mindset with a growth mindset.

Let’s say that Trina has a fixed mindset. She thinks that math ability is something you either have, or you don’t. Her low score tells her that she doesn’t have the math gene, or whatever it is.

What does Trina do? Maybe she gives up. What’s the point of trying if you don’t have the math gene? Or maybe she decides to cheat. Research shows that people with a fixed mindset are more likely to cheat when they fail at something.

Here’s the thing:

Trina is wrong!

Not just a little bit wrong. Totally, completely, utterly wrong.


Study after study shows that there’s no math gene. Math abilities are not fixed. Everyone can improve.

Despite what many people think, IQ isn’t fixed, either. Even this dude…


…didn’t think that IQ was fixed. That’s Alfred Binet, the guy who invented IQ tests. In 1911 he wrote:

With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage … literally to become more intelligent than we were before.

Yes, you can improve your IQ, as well as your math scores. The science is in. There is no doubt.


Ethan has a growth mindset.


He says to himself, “Self, I can do better. I’ll ask the TA to explain things, give me more problems to do. Jimmy will help, too.” (Jimmy is Ethan’s roommate.)

It’s not just studying a lot, but doing the right kind of study. Fact is, many people are doing it wrong. For example, suppose you have to learn to solve two types of math problems. You focus on the first type, until you’ve got it down. Then you do the second type, until you know that. Right?

Wrong! You learn better if you mix it up. Toss a coin. Heads, do the first type. Tails, do the second. Keep tossing. It feels like you’re not progressing fast, but you actually learn better when you mix things up.

Check out this video series on how to study. You’ll be glad you did.

Be Ethanical

Ethanical is a word now. It means to be like Ethan. Learn how to study. Ask people for help.

You’ve got much to gain, and little to lose.

If you want to know more about growth vs. fixed mindsets, Google growth mindset.


You know this already. Keep up with the material.

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll study for the exam the night before.”

Won’t work. This is a doing course. You’ll make things. Takes time. When you start running out of time, you’ll get upset, kick your TV. Then someone else’s TV. Then a car, then a person. You’ll go to jail. You’ll get shanked when you run out of cigarettes. You’ll bleed out. Your last thought,

“I wish I’d scheduled my time better.”


If you made it into college, you can create simple information systems (IS), with the tools we have today. It can be frustrating. Your emotional state affects learning.

With the right kind of studying, you can be better at building IS, math, anything. You can even raise your IQ.

If you don’t schedule your time well, you will die.