To understand the concept of growth mindset, it may help to look into the concept itself. In psychological theory and personal development practice, a mindset is a set of mental principles, rules, or beliefs held by one or more individuals or groups of individuals. A mindset can also be viewed as coming from a person’s world view or framework of life or philosophy.
The growth mindset believes that intelligence is the key to overcoming most challenges. Therefore, the goal for each individual is to become smarter, more capable, and better at doing whatever they do. The growth mindset also believes that effort should be directed toward learning, so that lessons learned in one area can be used to improve other areas. It also teaches that personal growth should be a priority, and that if you are not working on your own abilities, then you should find someone who will.
One of the most common examples of the growth mindset in action is when children or adults with a low self-esteem are criticized for even the most seemingly minor flaws. Children, with their parents in the back of their minds, pick up on these negative messages and apply them to their lives. Adults, with their parents by their sides, then try to correct the behavior in hopes of changing the child’s view of the world, which in turn, may cause the adult to focus more on correcting the problem than to appreciate the compliment.
Adults, with a growth mindset, realize that no matter what they accomplish, there is always more to learn and to do. They approach obstacles not as opportunities to stop and start over, but as opportunities to learn more about what needs to be done, and how to complete the task. This ability to focus on the end result, rather than on whether or not something was accomplished, is the basis of the fixed mindset. Those with the fixed mindset don’t focus on setbacks or failures as a negative aspect of life; instead, they look at them as opportunities to learn and grow. Whether they succeed or fail is really no different than any other day.
Adults with growth mindset understand that mistakes are a part of learning. Mistakes can teach us valuable lessons in how to become better people, but they don’t define us. When we make mistakes, we learn from them, move on, and continue to strive for excellence. When someone critiques our attempts at doing or achieving something, however, the criticism can cause the individual to focus not on what he or she did wrong, but on why he or she didn’t get it right.
Adults with growth mindset understand that just because someone struggles with a certain task or faces a setback, this does not mean that person is a bad person, nor does it mean that they cannot achieve the results that they desire. The critique can teach the individual to become more efficient at handling his or her daily responsibilities and to know what to do to avoid future obstacles. This proactive approach helps kids avoid a number of potential setbacks before they happen. Individuals who have a healthy self-esteem and confidence also know that setbacks will help them become stronger and more successful in their endeavors.
Children with growth mindset see the positive qualities in even the ugliest of imperfections. They know that they have the ability to do great things, and that they don’t have to wait for others to give them permission to develop their talents. Individuals with these traits don’t focus on the negatives; instead, they focus on the positives and extoll the worth of their abilities. When kids face challenges, they know that these obstacles can help them to become a stronger person, understand more about themselves, and to develop a stronger sense of self-confidence. In adults, having these attitudes helps us to be successful in every area of our lives.
Parents can help kids develop a growth mindset by praising success and praising their efforts. Praising kids when they take action, accomplish a goal, or create something is an enormous source of motivation. By praising them when they are doing something right, children with this positive thinking process will continue to do things in an effort to please their parents. When kids hear comments like these from their parents, they know that they are doing something right and that they deserve some kind of recognition. Kids with these beliefs are much less likely to accept failure as a fact of life, and they are much more likely to strive for new heights.