What is a Growth Mindset?
So what is a Growth Mindset and how does it work?
Growth Mindset is a term coined by Stanford University Professor, Carol Dweck. She has spent years researching and talking about her fascination with how equally talented people make progress and others do not.
Research spanning over 30 years shows us the brain is more malleable than we ever knew. Studies on the brain – brain plasticity – has shown how connectivity between neurons can change with experience.
With practice, neural networks grow new connections, strengthen existing ones, and build insulation that speeds transmission of impulses. These neuroscientific discoveries have shown us that we can increase our neural growth by the actions we take, such as using good strategies, asking questions, practicing, and following good nutrition and sleep habits.
This fascinating neuroscience discovery then led to the link between mindsets and achievement. The understanding of “If you believe you can, you will.” In short, what Carol Dweck describes in her research are the terms ‘Fixed and Growth Mindset.
Pupils with a Growth Mindset believe that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.
When pupils adopt the belief that their intelligence can be developed, see failure as a learning experience and know that those failures don’t define them. The Growth Mindset attitude and focus creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for accomplishment.
With a Fixed Mindset, pupils believe that we are born with our abilities and these cannot be altered. They see feedback as a criticism, feel threatened by other pupils’ successes and stay in their comfort zones.
The reality is that at various points in life we all switch between the two mindsets. However, when you default to a fixed mindset way of thinking, you become trapped by your limiting beliefs and in many cases this begins to affect your mental health, especially in later life.
Watch these two short videos to learn more:
- Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
There are two types of mindsets we can cultivate. One that embraces problems as opportunities to learn, and one that avoids them, often out of fear of failure. People that avoid conflicts can be described as having a fixed mindset. Those who see problems as interesting challenges have a growth mindset. Sometimes we like to switch from one to the other:
- The Brain Is Like Plastic
Watch this video to discover what happens to our brains during the learning process: