ReadOasis Step 2
What is a growth mindset? It is a powerful idea from Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck. She says a growth mindset is “the idea that abilities can be developed.”
This is different from the idea of talent. Sure, Michael Jordan had talent. But more than anything, he worked to improve his talent. He practiced. He learned from mistakes. He kept practicing and growing.
A growth mindset is not just for sports. We can have a growth mindset for anything. Junko is a young woman trying to learn English, and she says, “I’m not good at learning English. I’m not good at languages.”
But that’s not a growth mindset. Junko can change her mindset. She can think, “Up to now, I have not been so good at language learning. But I can change. I can work and become good at language learning!”
We can have a growth mindset in relationships, too. Ken is a young man who wants to get married. He says, “I’m shy, and I’m not good at relationships with women.”
But that is not a growth mindset. Ken can change his mindset, too. He can think, “Up to now, I have been shy, and I have not had good relationships with women. But I can change and grow. I can learn how to communicate and get along well with women.”
The power of a growth mindset is this. It works! Carol Dweck’s research shows that people can change their abilities. They can grow their talents. They can improve their skills in relationships, language learning, music, and sports. They can even grow their IQs.
But there is one big problem. It is called the fixed mindset. The fixed mindset is the opposite of a growth mindset. The fixed mindset believes in ability more than practice. The fixed mindset believes in natural talent more than effort.
But the fixed mindset is false. And it is a liar. David is a very smart man. He believes in his talent. He believes that he was born with it. But he is afraid of challenges. He doesn’t like to do new things. Why is this?
If he fails at a challenge, then this proves that he is not talented. If he makes a mistake, then he stops believing in his talent. He finds it hard to learn from mistakes. Mistakes show him that he is not as talented as he thought.
Be careful of the fixed mindset. It says, “Look you made a stupid mistake. You are stupid!” “Oh, you failed the test? Then you are bad at languages!” “You missed the shot? You are bad at sports.” “Your girlfriend left you? You must be a bad person!!!”
Notice what the fixed mindset does. It stops you from changing. It stops you from learning from mistakes. It focuses on natural talent and forgets about practice and hard work. The fixed mindset is not a good way to think about learning and growing.
A growth mindset is much better. But a growth mindset is not just positive thinking. It’s not just believing, “You can do it!” The growth mindset is much more than that. It is truthful thinking. It is correct thinking about how to learn and grow.
In her research, Carol Dweck has shown this. People with a growth mindset . . .