Growth Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.
Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships.
When you read Do you know the YETi, you’ll see how this all comes together.
Develop a Growth Mindset
1. Acknowledge and embrace imperfections.
Hiding from your weaknesses means you’ll never overcome them.
2. View challenges as opportunities.
Having a growth mindset means relishing opportunities for self-improvement. Learn how to fail well.
3. Try different learning tactics.
There’s no one-size-fits-all model for learning. What works for one person may not work for you.
4. Follow the research on brain plasticity.
The brain isn’t fixed; the mind shouldn’t be either.
5. Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning.”
When you make a mistake or fall short of a goal, you haven’t failed; you’ve learned.
6. Stop seeking approval.
When you prioritise approval over learning, you sacrifice your own potential for growth.
7. Value the process over the end result.
Intelligent people enjoy the learning process, and don’t mind when it continues beyond an expected time frame.
8. Cultivate a sense of purpose.
Dweck’s research also showed that students with a growth mindset had a greater sense of purpose. Keep the big picture in mind.
9. Celebrate growth with others.
If you truly appreciate growth, you’ll want to share your progress with others.
10. Emphasise growth over speed.
Learning fast isn’t the same as learning well, and learning well sometimes requires allowing time for mistakes.
11. Reward actions, not traits.
Tell students when they’re doing something smart, not just being smart.
12. Redefine “genius.”
The myth’s been busted: geniusrequires hard work, not talent alone.
13. Portray criticism as positive.
You don’t have to used that hackneyed term, “constructive criticism,” but you do have to believe in the concept.
14. Dissassociate improvement from failure.
Stop assuming that “room for improvement” translates into failure.
15. Provide regular opportunities for reflection.
Let students reflect on their learning at least once a day.
16. Place effort before talent.
Hard work should always be rewarded before inherent skill.
17. Highlight the relationship between learning and “brain training.”
The brain is like a muscle that needs to be worked out, just like the body.
18. Cultivate grit.
Students with that extra bit of determination will be more likely to seek approval from themselves rather than others.
19. Abandon the image.
“Naturally smart” sounds just about as believable as “spontaneous generation.” You won’t achieve the image if you’re not ready for the work.
20. Use the word “yet.”
Dweck says “not yet” has become one of her favourite phrases. Whenever you see students struggling with a task, just tell them they haven’t mastered it yet.
21. Learn from other people’s mistakes.
It’s not always wise to compare yourself to others, but it is important to realise that humans share the same weaknesses.
22. Make a new goal for every goal accomplished.
You’ll never be done learning. Just because your midterm exam is over doesn’t mean you should stop being interested in a subject. Growth-minded people know how to constantly create new goals to keep themselves stimulated.
23. Take risks in the company of others.
Stop trying to save face all the time and just let yourself goof up now and then. It will make it easier to take risks in the future.
24. Think realistically about time and effort.
It takes time to learn. Don’t expect to master every topic under the sun in one sitting.
25. Take ownership over your attitude.
Once you develop a growth mindset, own it. Acknowledge yourself as someone who possesses a growth mentality and be proud to let it guide you throughout your educational career.