My daughter is a focused little nugget. I like to believe that she was blessed with my inclination toward curiosity and creativity. Unfortunately, she also received a pure form of impatience from me. It’s this lethal mixture that has me deeply committed to raising her with a growth mindset. We’ve started with a simple mantra. We use it when things are easy and we remind ourselves of it when things are difficult.
“When things get tough, I try harder.”
This concept of mindsets comes from a fantastic book by Carol Dweck called, appropriately, Mindset. The basic premise is that individuals develop established mindsets as children, either fixed or growth, that impact their tolerance for challenge, risk and success.
A fixed mindset dictates that talents are set and unable to be improved. You’re born with it or you’re not. Every situation validates whether you have the gift or not. You avoid challenges out of fear of failure. Your worth is dictated by your latest success…or disappointment.
A growth mindset suggests that abilities can be improved through hard work and resilience. There are not failures, only opportunities to improve. When they find challenges, they rise to meet them. They exhibit this resiliency in relationships, work, and play.
The silver lining of Dweck’s book is that you can change your mindset at any age. I’d suggest starting with Em’s mantra.
So, which mindset are you? Are people born smart or creative or inspiring? Can you learn these skills and abilities? I’d love to hear your perspective.