In management theory and creative systems thinking, a growth mindset is an assortment of psychological attitudes, strategies, or habits held by a single person or group of individuals. A mindset can also sometimes be viewed as stemming from a person’s world view or philosophy of living. It is basically a way of perceiving the world around them and evaluating how it relates to their core values. Just as management theories, management practices, and leadership styles need to be examined and evaluated on their own merits, a change in mindset needs to be grounded in some core beliefs of the individual.
A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence can be improved through hard work. This is similar to the belief in evolution that humans are one of many species that improve through natural selection. In fact, we all possess the intelligence to increase our productivity, given enough time and the right tools. It is up to each of us to find the right way to channel our energies. Intelligence isn’t something that can be taken away lightly, but luckily there are plenty of ways to get the maximum return on our efforts.
Many who seek to improve in their chosen field often feel threatened by the perceived failure of others. They try to emulate those whom they believe to have achieved success without really looking at what made those individuals successful. The growth mindset encourages self-evaluation and an assessment of one’s own performance. By constantly monitoring your own performances along with those of others, you can see where you need to improve. This process provides motivation, and the ability to face new challenges with a clear mind rather than one filled with anxiety and fear.
Those who seek to increase their intelligence will often tell you that the road to increased intelligence can only be obtained through hard work. While this may be true, there is much to be said for adopting a growth mindset that will help propel you forward. Intelligence is more than simply being able to work harder. Indeed, intelligence is nothing more than the ability to learn new skills. And while it is important to continually learn new skills throughout one’s lifetime, it is also crucial to take advantage of new opportunities offered by previous experience.
One reason that new opportunities are available is because previous experiences have shown us what does and doesn’t work. It’s not necessary to make the same mistakes over again. As we continually learn from past mistakes, it becomes possible to avoid making the same ones again. A growth mindset also provides a positive view on any difficulties that we might face in attempting to get better, which in turn helps us avoid taking unnecessary risks.
A fixed mindset means that you are convinced that whatever you focus on will always work. So when challenges arise, you are not distracted by the idea that you might fail or become discouraged. You also know that even when things don’t work out exactly as planned, you are okay. A growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that whatever your efforts yields is actually an asset that can be leveraged for greater success. Therefore, you aren’t focused on the setback but what you can learn from it, and you aren’t worried about failing.
Just think about the people who succeed despite setbacks in their lives. They didn’t allow fear of failure or rejection to stop them. Rather, they used their knowledge and skills to get better. If you learn from setbacks, you can use that information to do even better the next time. So, a growth mindset gives kids a huge advantage when it comes to overcoming obstacles.
Lastly, a growth mindset encourages students to see positive results instead of negative ones. Kids who approach any challenge with an open mind and the willingness to look at all options to view failure as a learning opportunity. Instead of focusing on how bad the situation is, they view it as an opportunity to get better.