What Is a Mindset and Why It Matters

ARTICLES | Why Mindset Matters and What To Do About It

What Is a Mindset and Why It Matters
“»Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’'re probably right.»” —

Henry Ford

What have you always struggled to learn?

Whether you’re a poor writer or can’t handle numbers, you’re no different to everyone else.

We’ve all experienced frustrations with learning.

If only more people knew that the first and most important step to solving these problems is surprisingly simple.

When we struggle to learn, we often put it down to a lack of innate ability.

At some point, we’ve all used explanations the one I told myself at school when wrestling with a hard math problem — “I’m just not good with numbers.”

This perspective frames our capacity to learn as something outside of our control, when in reality it’s influenced heavily by our own beliefs.

If learning is a journey from a place of knowing less to one of knowing more, then trying to learn something when we don’t believe we can do it is trying to drive with the handbrake on.

Unsurprisingly, the idea that we need believe we’re capable to succeed isn’t new and often appears in children’s stories and motivational quotes.

Consider Henry Ford’s old adage “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right” or one of Muhammad Ali’s most cited quotes,“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.”

But there’s more to these statements than great word-smithery.

In fact, the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck suggests that there is scientific substance to the idea that mindset matters — our belief systems directly affect our behaviour, which in turn affects our success in learning.

The Fixed and Growth Mindset

In 20 years of research with children and adults, Dweck placed learners into two categories:

  1. Those with a fixed mindset, who believe their abilities are set in stone.
  2. Those with a growth mindset, who believe their abilities can be developed.

Having a growth mindset doesn’t mean we have to believe that anyone can become the next Einstein, Mozart or Da Vinci.

We only have to acknowledge that our potential to learn is unbounded and that the power to increase our own abilities is within our control.

Approaching things from this perspective creates a real passion for learning, and makes us more ly to apply the grit we need to succeed.

We become less discouraged by failure and more attentive when we’re struggling.

We start to see difficulty as an opportunity to stretch ourselves rather than trying to avoid it.

All these characteristics not only make us more ly to learn new things but they raise our chances of reaching our goals in our careers and personal lives.

The Research on Mindset

Dweck and her colleagues have consistently produced results that prove the positive impact of a growth mindset on learning performance.

In one of her early experiments, outlined in her book, she ran a workshop for a 7th grade class at a New York City junior high school.

Half the students were given a presentation on memory and effective studying, while the other half were introduced to Dweck’s ideas and were told their intelligence largely depended on their own effort.

After the workshop both groups went back to their classrooms, with their teachers unaware of the difference between what they had been taught.

Remarkably, as the school year unfolded, the students from the second group developed a growth mindset and became higher achievers than the students from the first group, who retained a conventional fixed mindset.

Dweck’s team has replicated these results across different locations, age groups and subjects with notable degrees of success.

The Takeaway

Our mindset is fundamental. It’s more important than inherent ability in learning performance and has a huge impact on the other areas of our life such as our career and relationships.

All learning strategies, tools and techniques are almost useless if we don’t combine them with a strong, growth based learning mindset — the simple belief that the power to improve our learning abilities lies in our own hands.

1) Explore and Identify Your Limiting Beliefs

What are your most limiting views about your learning abilities? Write them down in detail and give examples from the past which justify these beliefs.

Be honest with yourself and try to think of all the times in the past when your own beliefs were the major barrier to your learning.

2) Cross Examine Yourself

Now cross-examine these limiting beliefs through the lens of a growth mindset, just as a prosecution lawyer would analyse a defence testimony.

Think of examples in the past where your effort led to progress and ask if those limiting beliefs stand up to the test now.

I’ll be surprised if any do, because the growth mindset encourages you to take responsibility for the results you get, rather than blaming external factors.

3) Practice the Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is something you need to practice consistently over time, anything else.

If your limiting beliefs pop up again in your mind, remind yourself that your ability is under your control.

When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself these three questions:

  • What are the opportunities for learning and growth today?
  • When, where and how will I embark on my plan?
  • When, where and how will I act on my plan?

This exercise is recommended by Dweck herself and reviewing these ideas has been hugely useful in my own learning projects.

The truth is that you’ve already done some of the work by reading this post.

Apparently, the simple act of reading about the research can have a significant and measurable impact on your attitude and learning performance.

So if you’ve reached this far, you can thank me in the comments!

Источник: http://www.metalearn.net/articles/mindset

The Importance of Mindset

What Is a Mindset and Why It Matters
See also: Positive Thinking

Why is it that some people seem to shine in any sphere in which they choose to exert themselves, and others cannot manage even a glimmer despite obvious talent?

Research shows that it’s the way that they think about their ability that really counts.

Most of those who have achieved greatness, to use Shakespeare’s phrase, have worked extremely hard to get there. Many were told that they would never amount to anything. But they believed that they could achieve, and worked hard to do so.

Fixed or Growth Mindset?

There are two ways to view intelligence or ability:

  • Ability it is fixed or ingrained – in other words, we are born with a certain level of ability and we cannot change that. This is called a fixed mindset.
  • We can develop our ability through hard work and effort. This is called a growth mindset.

These two different beliefs lead to different behaviour, and also to different results. For example, students with a growth mindset were shown to increase their grades over time. Those who believed that their intelligence was ingrained did not; in fact, their grades got worse.

Having a growth mindset (the belief that you are in control of your own ability, and can learn and improve) is the key to success.

Yes, hard work, effort, and persistence are all important, but not as important as having that underlying belief that you are in control of your own destiny.

This is why you should never praise children by talking about their ability, but instead describe the effort that they put in, and how much they have learned and developed their ability through the activity.

Don’t say: “Well done. You’re really good at maths.” Do say: “That’s great. You tried really hard, and look how well you’ve done.”

It is important to praise the process, not the talent or ability.

Mindset in Practice

People with these two mindsets actually think differently and also react to information differently.

In particular, they respond differently to information about performance.

  • In people with a fixed mindset, the brain is most active when they are being given information about how well they have done, for example, test results or grades.
  • In people with a growth mindset, the brain is most active when they are being told what they could do to improve.

It’s a very different approach: from ‘How did I do?’ to ‘What can I do better next time?’

One is about how they are perceived, and one is about how they can learn. You can see which one is ly to lead to better results in future.

Dealing with Setbacks

These mindsets also cause people to deal with setbacks differently.

  • People with a fixed mindset are very discouraged by setbacks, because a setback dents their belief in their ability. They tend to become uninterested and give up.
  • People with a growth mindset view a setback as an opportunity to learn. They tend to try harder in an effort to overcome the problem.

“The moment that we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability, we will be brittle in the face of adversity”

Josh Waitzkin — Chess Grandmaster and Martial Artist

Did you know your brain can change?

The good news is that you can change your mindset.

Neuroscience shows that our brains continue to develop and change even as adults. Old dogs really can learn new tricks.

The brain is actually quite plastic, and can be reshaped over time, forming new neural pathways. This has led neuroscientists to call this tendency neuroplasticity.

These neural pathways are developed by doing or thinking particular things. The things that we do or say more often become hard-wired into our brains as habits. These form defined ‘routes’ in our brain, which become easier to use.

But you can still change them. The first step is to realise that you need to, then to train your brain in the new skill. It may help to think about this learning as a cycle, and the competence cycle is described further on our page What is Coaching?.

There are three key things that you can do to develop a growth mindset:

  1. You need to recognise that a growth mindset is not just good, but is also supported by science. In other words, you need to be committed to developing a growth mindset.
  2. You can learn and teach others about how to develop and improve their abilities through adopting a growth mindset. This will help you to take control of your life, which is hugely empowering. Research shows that people who feel in control tend to perform better. It’s a virtuous cycle.
  3. Listen out for your fixed mindset voice. When you hear that little critical voice in your head telling you that you can’t do something, reply with a growth mindset approach and tell it that you can learn.

Mindsets in Life

Mindsets are not just important for learning new skills. They can affect the way that we think about everything.

For example, a growth mindset can help you recover from illness because you believe that you can do something about the illness. They can help you achieve in sport, at work and can also help you grow and develop in relationships.

Cultivating a growth mindset could be the single most important thing you ever do to help you achieve success.

Источник: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/mindsets.html

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