Distinguished psychologist Carol Dweck has identified two kinds of mindsets in humans—growth and fixed. While people with a fixed mindset believe their abilities are set for life and determine their achievements, people with a growth mindset love to learn and develop their talents through hard work and perseverance. Having a growth mindset is important for becoming well-rounded and successful.
The key to the growth mindset is the view that growth is ongoing and never stops. People with this mindset realize their current levels of knowledge and talent, and they know they can keep increasing their abilities by putting in the necessary time and effort. They also believe that failures are opportunities to learn from their mistakes and become stronger.
The growth mindset has real effects in the classroom and in life. Here are 5 reasons why a growth mindset is important:
Having a growth mindset literally grows your brain. Neuroscientists have discovered that healthy habits and challenging experiences cause the development and fortification of neural pathways and an increase in the insulation that ensures rapid neural communication. This will improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills over time.
A growth mindset reduces the anxiety and stress that comes with perfectionism. Those with growth mindsets see the big picture and realize they can always get better. They focus on expanding their minds and learning from adversity. In contrast, people with fixed mindsets hold themselves to certain standards and feel that one mistake will define them for years to come. They prioritize perfection over learning and development and hinder their progress as a result.
People who have growth mindsets see family, friends, and colleagues as teachers. They know they can be challenged by them, receive valuable feedback, and learn from their actions. Everyone works as a team to better themselves as individuals and as a whole. In contrast, people with fixed mindsets view others as competition, or they shut others out to avoid hearing criticism. It is harder to develop meaningful relationships with a fixed mindset.
People who have growth mindsets are more concerned about broadening their horizons than they are about making mistakes. As a result, they are open to trying new things and testing different solutions to problems. People with fixed mindsets tend to concentrate on perfection, so they hold back from trying something new to prevent themselves from messing up. They might avoid errors, but they will not have the variety of experiences those with growth mindsets will have.
Part of a growth mindset is owning your actions and learning from them. People with this mindset may feel bad about their mistakes, but they know what they can improve on. They recognize what happened and why, and then they move on. In contrast, people with fixed mindsets want to avoid taking responsibility in order to maintain high self-esteem and an error-free record, so they often make excuses and find scapegoats. This will help them feel better in the moment, but it is harmful to them in the long term.
At Best in Class Education Center, we recognize the importance of a growth mindset for students and teachers, which is why we provide enriching educational opportunities outside of the classroom. Contact us for more information.