The lost summer of 2020: Sam, aka The Progression Coach, explains the benefits of a growth mindset
Over many years, scientists have proven that we are divided into two categories as to how we approach our lives. Some people believe that when we are born we possess a certain level of intelligence and ability that is unchangeable. Alternatively, some people believe the opposite to be true: we can develop our brain’s capacity to grow and therefore increase our learning capabilities as we go through life.
American psychologist Carol Dweck was the first person to formalise these findings following thorough investigation and studies. She devised two labels: fixed mindset and growth mindset. Conducting many years of research led her to conclude that successful people foster a growth mindset.
These individuals benefit from increased self-esteem, never stress about being ‘perfect’, have better relationships and possess greater resilience.
So how easy is it to develop this growth mindset, particularly if we feel we are someone who fits into the fixed mindset sphere?
Here are some recommendations:
1. When faced with a mistake or failure, rather than think ‘I’m so useless at this, I’m going to give up’ try instead ‘What could I do differently next time?’
2. Given options, try to choose the more difficult rather than the easy route. This leads to learning opportunities, a chance to challenge yourself and also promotes fortitude.
3. Ask for feedback. People with a growth mindset will always be looking for feedback to increase their chances of growing and learning. Likewise, if you are asked to give feedback for someone else, doing it positively and praising the request will lead to the process being repeated in the future.
4. Place importance on the learning process rather than the end result.
5. Encourage reflective learning and evaluation.
6. Use the word ‘yet’. Dweck suggests this is important as believing you haven’t mastered something ‘yet’ implies that it is still possible in the future, with more effort and belief.
7. When you achieve one goal, set another one to remain motivated.
The important take-away from this research is to be aware that our brains can change – it’s called neuroplasticity. Choosing to enjoy the process of learning new things rather than focusing on the end result can impact your life in so many ways.
Successful people such as high performing athletes all have this growth mindset – believing that the effort and attitude applied to tasks and goals will make a massive difference to the outcome. Persistence is key as well as the knowledge that mistakes made along the way offer learning opportunities that will ultimately help us to improve and triumph.
Next week: Demystifying the Oxbridge application process
For more advice on progression success head on over to the website: www.theprogressioncoach.com
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