The importance of our mindset in our learning process

American psychologist Carol Dweck (2006), affiliated with Stanford University, spent decades researching why some people are successful in life and continue to develop, while others who are equally talented dwell. She discovered that people’s mindset plays a crucial role in their learning process. Carol Dweck discovered two types of mindsets (ways of thinking); the fixed mindset and the growth mindset (fixed and growth mindset).

A mindset is a way of thinking that determines how you look at yourself, your qualities and your skills.

A growth mindset assumes that you can develop your intelligence, qualities and skills.

Someone with a growth-oriented thinking style is committed to practice and perseveres in the event of adversity. Someone with a growth mindset is open to feedback. Feedback is interpreted as an evaluation and a learning moment. When others are successful, it is experienced as a learning and inspirational moment.

A person with a fixed mindset assumes that intelligence, qualities and skills are innate and cannot be changed, so that practice makes no sense.

Someone with a fixed thinking style may be afraid to appear stupid, make mistakes and try to avoid these mistakes. Feedback is mainly ignored and interpreted as criticism and threat.

Everyone has both a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck’s work shows that these two mindsets have a profound impact on people’s ability to learn and develop. People who use their growth mindset can grow more and achieve more in less time than people with a fixed mindset.

Let’s make this concrete.

What does your fixed mindset say when you are learning a new skill?
“I’m not good at this”, “I’m giving up, this is too difficult”, “This is going to take too long”, “I have already made 2 mistakes”, “Plan A did not work”, etc.

What does your growth mindset say when you are learning a new skill?
“What do I want to do to get better?”, “I’m going to try one of the strategies we’ve learned,” “This will take time and effort, but I’m going to do it,” “What can I learn from my mistakes?” , “Plan A doesn’t work, luckily the alphabet has 26 letters”, etc.

Some tips to boost your growth mindset:

  • Focus on your learning process by drawing up a step-by-step plan and celebrating successes;
  • Focus on your efforts and compliment yourself;
  • Focus on believing in your growth opportunities by continuously developing new skills;
  • Focus on the exciting journey you take on when you learn something new that challenges your perseverance;
  • Focus on learning from the mistakes you make while trying new solutions;

And above all… become aware of the mindset you are in when starting your development; your fixed mindset or your growth mindset? Do you want to learn and develop yourself? Then only use your growth mindset to find motivation and achieve results.

Source:  Dr. Carol Dweck, “Changing the way you think to fulfill your potential”

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