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Growth Mindset: Have You Got One?!

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Among educators, there’s lots of talk these days about twenty-first century skills, and the need to prepare our students for the changing workplace.  You can read about the six “Cs” here on my blog.

Growth mindset is another big topic of conversation.  It’s a simple idea that can make a big difference in young people (and old!)

Teaching and encouraging growth mindset in the classroom creates motivation and productivity, and this can spill over into all aspects of a person’s life.

In Carol Dweck’s book, “Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success,” she delves into the concept of mindset to show how it guides a large part of our lives, and how it permeates every part of our lives.  She insists that whether or not an individual fulfills her potential grows out of mindset.

What is mindset? 

It’s a belief about yourself and your most basic qualities.

Dweck, Ph.D, explains that in a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities (intelligence and talent, for example) are fixed traits.  They think talent alone creates success — without any effort.  Those with a fixed mindset worry about their traits and how adequate they are.  They may “throw in the towel” and never try something new, or push their limits, because of their basic, innate qualities.  Other people with fixed mindset who are very intelligent, for example, may never grow, due to a belief of not needing to push their limits.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can flourish through hard work and dedication, and that talent and “smarts” are just a place from which to start.  Most importantly, one’s starting point for talent is not an end point.  To these people in growth mindset, where you start is not important.  People with growth mindset understand they must work passionately in order to accomplish great things, and they start exactly where they are.  Growth mindset = the ability to learn is not fixed.  To those with growth mindset, one’s ability to learn can change with effort.

Those who adopt a growth mindset will also develop resilience, and a love of learning.  Kids today will find these qualities are also key ingredients for success and accomplishment.

What is your mindset?!  Take this test, and come back with your results!

…Do you have a fixed mindset? 

…Do you want to change your mindset? 

You can do it.  Carol Dweck outlines how to change your mindset in four steps:

  1. Learn to hear your fixed mindset voice.  That’s the negative voice inside your head that says you can’t do something.
  2. Recognize that you have a choice.  You can take on a fixed or growth mindset approach to every task or challenge you face.  Consider both mindsets!  Be conscious and aware.
  3. Talk to the fixed mindset voice with a growth mindset voice.
  4. Take the growth mindset action:  listen to the voice in your head that says you can do it!  Learn from your mistakes and try again.  Hear the negative voice in your head, and act on it in a positive, growth way.  Make the negative voice work for you.

I dare you to start personal work on mindset!  Pay attention to your inner voice(s)!  See what happens if you challenge this voice!

And — set a great example for your children.  Get them into the growth mindset!