Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset—are these familiar terms? The concepts and their effects on learning have been an object of discussion for many inside and outside the education community. A growth mindset has been shown to increase learning and success for students, so it’s important to understand what it is, the benefits, and how individuals can develop it.
What is a growth mindset?
A growth mindset consists of believing that intelligence, skills, and abilities can be developed through work, practice, and consistent effort. People with a growth mindset welcome feedback and constructive criticism as a way to see where they can improve and grow. They value the learning process and welcome opportunities for increased development.
By contrast, individuals with a fixed mindset feel that everyone is born with certain traits and skills—people are either good or bad at things. Constructive criticism feels like a personal attack. Failures feel permanent because failing at something demonstrates a lack of ability. Living with a fixed mindset requires proving worth and value over and over again.
There are things that can be mistaken for a growth mindset. A growth mindset is not just applauding effort; progress needs to be made. It’s also not the same as being open-minded or flexible, and it’s not all-or-nothing where someone is either all growth mindset or all fixed mindset. Everyone experiences each at different times and in different areas of their lives.
What are the benefits of a growth mindset?
Developing a growth mindset opens opportunities for people to:
- —Learn and achieve more
- —Rebound faster from setbacks, failures, and disappointments
- —Avoid wasting energy worrying about approval from others
- —Increase collaboration, innovation, and creative risk-taking
- —Sustain personal motivation
- —View difficult tasks as opportunities to expand abilities
- —Perceive challenges as an exciting chance to grow
How to develop a growth mindset?
Since it is so beneficial to have a growth mindset, how is one developed? Here are some strategies we found:
- —Focus on the process that leads to learning, like hard work and trying different strategies
- —View challenges as opportunities instead of obstacles
- —Prioritize learning over seeking approval
- —Reward and praise what people do and how hard they work, instead of individual traits
- —Practice receiving feedback as an opportunity to improve, not as a personal attack
- —Reflect on learning every day
- —Always be working toward some kind of growth and learning goal
- —Give yourself time—learning and growth don’t happen overnight
- —Support others (and yourself) in developing any skill of interest
- —Celebrate the success of others and use it as motivation to work hard and succeed!
Developing a growth mindset is helpful for anyone, at any stage of life. Research shows that it helps people be more successful. What have you done to develop a growth mindset in yourself or others?