We can cultivate two types of mindsets — one that embraces problems as opportunities to learn, and the one that avoids them, often out of fear of failure.
People who 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.
People with a fixed mindset believe that basic qualities, like intelligence or talents, are fixed traits and that these traits are responsible for success. They often like to document past achievements.
With a growth mindset, people believe that they can cultivate new skills and capabilities through practice. This view creates the love for learning that most great leaders, artists, and achievers have in common. For them, life becomes an exciting journey with endless possibilities and opportunities to grow.
How to develop a growth mindset
To develop a growth mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck, the Stanford University professor who coined the term, advises leaders, teachers, and parents to celebrate efforts rather than results. Instead of applauding for receiving an A, we should praise children for their effort and perseverance in working hard for that achievement. In fact, parents should encourage their children to learn any useful skills or pursue their interests, even if they are not related to school. Once children “learn how to learn”, that self-directed learning will cross over to classroom settings.
The science behind the idea
Neuroscientists support the idea. They confirm that the brain grows with training, just like all the other muscles in the body. A study of twins raised by different sets of parents – one with stepparents with higher education levels and another with the biological parents. The study revealed that the adopted twin has a higher intelligence level than the twin sibling who stayed with their biological parents. The greater amount of practice explained the difference – that step-parents put more effort into their child’s education and learning. Though biologically born from the same parents, nurture is more important than nature.
Why you should take this seriously
How a person views and handles a situation defines its outcomes and paves the way to their successes in life. A small mindset shift can make a world of difference.
As the late poet Samuel Beckett once said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”