What is growth mindset?
In a fixed mindset, people believe that their talents and intelligence are fixed traits that they are born with. They believe that these qualities cannot be altered. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is the belief that talents and intelligence can be developed, nurtured and increased at will through hard work.
The growth mindset is a simple idea that was discovered by a Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck. After a few decades of research on success, Carol made her path-breaking discovery.
A growth mindset can be taught. It increases motivation and makes people more productive. This has been applied and proven consistently in a variety of fields that include sports, education, business, art, and more.
The human brain is malleable
Research over the past few decades reveals that human brain is plastic. So the brain can be molded. We can train our brains to be more and more intelligent.
This is shown by the connections that the nerve cells in the brain make. When we learn something new, that increases our cognitive skills, newer connections are made.
Watch this amazing explainer video by Khan academy on Growth mindset.
And here’s an awe-inspiring animated video showing how paths are established across our brains as we learn something new.
The factors that influence the malleability of brain
Oh yes, the brain can be rewired. But this also means that we have to do what it takes to rewire our brains. Learning something new requires effort, a plan, and help from our environment and people around us. So growth mindset also emphasizes on
- Hard work
- Help from others
Teachers are incorporating these finding into their lesson plans, to help students fill in for the gaps in learning.
Here are some tabulated differences for us to be aware of our thought patterns. These differences help discard the scripted old ideas in our minds to make the way for growth mindset to permeate.
Books on growth mindset
Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Technology of Success (2006)
A masterpiece by the master – world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck. A book that shows how human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. This is based on success in school, work, sports, the arts, and so on.
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Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code: Greatness isn’t born. It’s Grown. Here’s how. (2009)
New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople—and everyone else—with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others.
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: Stories of Success (2008)
Outliers is a stunning work – an intellectual journey through the world of the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful.
Mary Cay Ricci and Margaret Lee, Mindsets for Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids (2016)
This book gives parents and guardians powerful knowledge and methods to help themselves and their children learn to embrace life’s challenges with a growth mindset and an eye toward increasing their effort and success!
TED Talks on growth mindset
Eduardo Briceno – The Power of belief — mindset and success
When we realize that we can change our abilities, we focus on learning-oriented behaviors such as intentional practice and “grit” which enables us to set and achieve bigger and better goals.
Eduardo goes on to say that this belief itself is malleable. We can enable our own selves and people around us.
Angela Lee Duckworth – “Grit”
Drawing from her own career, teaching math 7th graders, and from her deep research, Angela Duckworth gives this mind-stirring talk on the one thing that helps predict success at a young age.
“Grit” she determines from her well-rounded research, is the single best factor that determines the success of people. And the way to develop grit, she advocates is a growth mindset.
Derek Sivers – “Why You Need to Fail to Succeed”
Every one of us has stuff we want to do and some others that we are scared to do. Scared because we fear failure.
The proverbial “No pain, no gain” applies as much to the brain. So to learn more effectively let’s learn to fail as much.
Quiz yourself on your “growth mindset” quotient
Here’s a simple quiz you can take to gauge your level of “growth mindset”. That’s so much fun and reveals quite a bit about you. You can use this to grow your own growth mindset.
Some interesting reads on growth mindset
Here are some blog posts on the subject, that you may like to read.
Sarah Green – The Right Mindset for Success, Harvard Business Review
Marilyn Krakovsky – The Effort Effect, Stanford Magazine
Bill Gates – What You Believe Affects What You Achieve, Gates Notes
Activities that can help build a growth mindset
While the following activities help develop and get better at having a growth mindset, do use your creative calling and define a set of activities and goals for yourself.
- Pick and do a small project from Instructables
Play some mind games on Apple, Android, or Windows apps
Read our blogpost to Teach yourself a new skill – not just to further your professional interests but to build your brain
What can growth mindset do to you?
It takes time, energy, and effort to begin any journey to growth. But as with anything in life, the fruits of labor are sweet. Here are some perceivable benefits you will derive when you embark on your “growth mindset” journey.
- Reduced stress levels. Your brain secretes less of stress hormone: cortisol when it is busy doing what you love
- Just have fun. Laugh at yourself when you are a rookie at trying something new.
- Be more gracious because you know you can get better at everything, including your relationship with yourself and with people around you
- Understand your own strengths and weaknesses and build your dreams for work and life.
- Heal well when life throws an unexpected blow. After all, laughter is the best medicine any day
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