It’s not just a trend that’s used in classrooms! It’s something you can teach your kids and yourself … and SO worthwhile.
The term Growth Mindset was first coined by Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck in 2012.
It describes the idea that our skills and ability can constantly grow as we practice and gain more experience.
Kids are Learning About This!
I remember learning about the growth mindset in middle school. We were handed two brains, one with a big lock on it and the other with a plant inside, like the picture above. We wrote in different words that described each, such as “locked,” “improvement,” “progress,” and “stuck.” After writing in several words, we colored the fixed mindset exactly how the picture looked, and the growth one we got to draw however we wanted.
The point? To demonstrate that a growth mindset has room for what WE wanted. When we have a growth mindset, we have a say in where we end up. It is in our control, and we realize that.
The second we give up control (known in psychology as an external locus of control), we naturally grow.
The irony is that initially, it is in our control. We have a choice: do we believe in ourselves enough to grow, or will we place the blame on external factors and be fixed where we are: literally and figuratively?
Much of this is based on the Neuroscience ideas of Neuroplasticity, as mentioned in our recent blog and instagram posts. With experiences our brains undergo change at the cellular level, and neuronal pathways are built and strengthened. As our brains change, we change of course, so we can grow with experience.
How Can We Incorporate The Growth Mindset Into Our Lives?
It can be challenging sometimes. There’s this idea of cognitive flexibility or rigidity. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes thinking flexibly is challenging. And even when it’s easy to be flexible in general, sometimes we’re so hard on ourselves that it’s harder to be flexible and understand ourselves than other people and scenarios.
However! There are things we can do. Having a growth mindset requires a growth mindset. It takes time to get there, and even when you feel you’re there, you can always grow more to gain more perspective toward a growth mindset :) I see growth mindsets as a spectrum. Make sense? So basically, even having a growth mindset requires a growth mindset - as does everything else!
Acquiring a growth mindset requires a lot of introspection and metacognition. Where are we now, and where do we want to be? We must be friendly and kind to ourselves and remind ourselves that misteaks mistakes are okay - as long as we learn from them 🤪 Seeking feedback can be super helpful, as how we view ourselves may be different than how others do! They might be able to help guide us toward a growth mindset. We must focus on ourselves and think about how we view ourselves as what’s most important. We can get closer and closer to a growth mindset as we foster growth!
You got this! With some reflection on where you are and your values, you can reach that growth mindset!