Keeping a positive attitude, having perseverance and staying motivated while attending school is paramount to achieving educational success. However, what if I told you there is an idea more powerful than any of these notions, one that is a game changer, both academically and in life, AND that we are in complete control of it. This idea is how we perceive our brains and whether our intelligence is something that is fixed or something that can grow and change.
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.” A person having a fixed mindset also perceives effort and learning as something that isn’t required – if you have to work hard for something, this means it doesn’t come naturally. The less effort that is put in, the more setbacks you incur and, “those with a fixed mindset were more likely to say that they would feel dumb, would study less, and seriously consider cheating.”
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.” People with a growth mindset see challenges, obstacles, mistakes or failures as ways of becoming smarter as you learn from each and every one of them. The harder you work and the more effort you put forth, the more you grow. Specifically, when students face a setback in school, they would study more or maybe in a different style instead of giving up. Students with growth mindset see their education and life as something to conquer, that learning is something you have to work at and that you get what you put into it – education, and life, is not handed to you.
I believe that anyone, including someone with a fixed mindset, can develop a growth mindset. All it takes is the right person with the right influence- whether it be a math teacher and an article he hands out on the first day of class. Or maybe it’s a basketball coach who instills in a player that practice makes perfect and ensures him that success isn’t handed to anyone; even Michael Jordan had to work hard. I, myself, have a growth mindset. Over the last 3-4 years I have made major changes in my life, both spiritually and physically- including going back to school (not only to get a degree but to learn and soak up all the information). I believe having a growth mindset affects me in nothing but positive ways. I see failures and set backs as learning opportunities and remind myself that practice makes perfect. One of my favorite quotes that relate to the growth mindset, “I remind myself that Oak trees grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”