In the final instalment of May’s mindset month, I couldn’t ignore writing about the growth mindset, something that is really popular in the education world and is being adopted more and more in businesses too.
In 1988, Dr. Carol Dweck and colleagues studied students' attitudes on failure. They noticed that some students rebounded quickly while other students seemed knocked by even the smallest setbacks. After studying thousands of children’s behaviour, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can become smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore, they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement. Those who believe their abilities are flexible are more likely to embrace challenges and persist despite failure. This model of the fixed vs growth mindset shows how cognitive, affective, and behavioural features are linked to one’s beliefs about the malleability of our intelligence.
Of course, some of this needs to be taken with a pinch of reality salt. I relate it to my desire to be one of Justin Timberlake’s backing dancers or one of Aretha Franklin’s backing singers. No matter how much effort I put in and how much I believe I can become one of these esteemed performers, it’s not realistic and isn’t going to happen. However, the notion of believing that I can achieve something realisable and that my brain is not a fixed state is the point: and perhaps it’s more about feeling that something is achievable than being able to achieve it whatever.
How can you help your mindset grow? Embrace challenges rather than avoid them. Keep trying, even in the face of setbacks, rather than giving up easily. Learn from criticism rather than ignore useful feedback. And, instead of feeling threatened by other people’s success, be inspired by them. This will lead to having a greater sense of free will and the ability to reach higher levels of achievement, not a deterministic view of the world.
If you’re curious about your mindset, have a look at this: http://blog.mindsetworks.com/what-s-my-mindset.
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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