How does fixed and growth mindsets influence your learning?
Mindset: menestymisen psykologia
Carol S. Dweck
As I have started the Bachelor’s Degree Programme in Entrepreneurship and Team Leadership in Proakatemia, I have grown to see how the power of mindset is significantly essential in student’s learning. Unfortunately, students often struggle when it comes to school. While some will blame themselves or their professor for their failure, other students will embrace failure and see it as an opportunity to improve
Your mind is a powerful thing. The stories you tell yourself and the things you believe about yourself can either prevent change from happening or allow new skills to blossom. Much of who you are on a day to day basis comes from your mindset.
Carol S. Dweck, a professor at Stanford University who studies human motivation, examines how the significance of an attitude can determine one’s outlook on life through her book, Mindset (2012). She spends her days dividing into why people succeed (or don’t) and what’s within our control to achieve success. Mindset according to Dweck “is a collection of thought and beliefs that affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do”. In this post, we explore how to develop the right mindset for improving your intelligence and learning.
The two mindsets
Believing that you are either “intelligent” or “unintelligent” is a simple example of a mindset. The two basic mindset that shape the way people think and live are: the fixed and the growth mindset.
The growth mindset students, as Dweck explains embrace making mistakes and look for ways to improve while its counterpart, the fixed mindset students run away from making mistakes and care about being judged. The benefits of a growth mindset might seem obvious, but most of us are guilty of having a fixed mindset in certain situations. That can be dangerous because a fixed mindset can often prevent important skill development and growth, which could sabotage your health and happiness down the line.
For example, if you say, “I’m not a math person” then that belief acts as an easy excuse to avoid practicing math. The fixed mindset prevents you from failing in the short run, but in the long run it prevents your ability to learn, grow, and develop new skills. Meanwhile, someone with a growth mindset would be willing to try math problems even if they failed at first. They see failure and setbacks as an indication that they should continue developing their skills rather than a signal that indicates, “This is something I’m not good at”.
As a result, people who have a growth mindset are more likely maximize their potential. They tend to learn from criticism rather than ignoring it, to overcome challenges rather than avoiding them, and to find inspiration in the success of others rather than feeling threatened. Also, having a growth mindset doesn’t mean you have to be working hard all the time. It just means you can develop whatever skills you want to put the time and effort into.
The following image, created by Nigel Holmes, and found near the end of the book, is a great summary of the key ideas in Mindset, and how it affects your life. It shows the difference between the two mindsets, and why the growth mindset is better. Remember that all of these behaviors stem from the very simple beliefs you have about your own abilities to change and improve. Being aware of your own mindset will be key to changing it, as we’ll see in a future post.
For now, think about which side of this image better represents your beliefs about intelligence, and your resulting behavior. How about for creativity, or technical skills, or speaking abilities, or school skills, or social skills, or any other life skill and ability?What kind of mindset have you had from childhood to this day? How has it changed? What is the reason behind it? Could you possibly gain a growth mindset?
Think deeply. Take notes to yourself.
Dweck, C. 2012. Mindset: menestymisen psykologia. Robinson