Having a growth mindset is key to success
Grade 9 students in the Collective Voice program at Aden Bowman Collegiate share their lives and opinions through columns. Selected columns run each Monday in the StarPhoenix.
Two main ingredients to success in life are effort and having a positive attitude.
Maximum effort cannot be reached without a positive attitude. A positive attitude is also usually required for maximum effort.
Carol S. Dweck is a psychologist and educator. She is also a researcher in the field of motivation studies and wrote the book, Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development.
We all have moments when we want to do something, then second thoughts and self-doubt give us a glance at failure. The thought of failure is frightening and leads people to say to themselves, “I can’t do it” or “I’m going to fail.” This mindset is a fixed mindset. Your mind is a powerful thing. The stories you tell yourself and the things you believe can either hold you back or allow positive change and improvement.
To get past the fixed mindset, you first have to realize what’s happening. When a person has a fixed mindset, the effort required to succeed is not automatically present. A fixed mindset means a person is preventing improvement and positive change; it even limits the goals a person sets.
The opposite of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset, when a person has the ability to tell themself positive information, which lets them move forward, try new things and achieve goals. Having this mindset also means the person can set goals that are difficult to achieve and will require a lot of effort. While failure is still a possibility, it does not paralyze the person to the point they won’t try.
We have all had times in our life when we say “I can’t,” or “I won’t be able to,” or maybe even, “I think I’m going to fail.” I will share some of my own experiences in the hopes it will help you become more aware of your own self-talk and work more on developing a growth mindset and recognize when you are suffering from a fixed mindset.
A couple of years ago before soccer games, I would envision a bad game, screwing up, and tell myself I wouldn’t play well, which predetermined how I was going to play. Coaches and sports education helped me realize what I was thinking before games was drastically harming my performance. Once I knew my mind was that powerful, I would envision the opposite — making great plays and having successful games. This led to my confidence increasing dramatically, which greatly improved my performance, more than training seven days a week ever could. If you tell yourself you can and you find a way to believe it, you will.
Discovering how to develop a growth mindset is essential. What worked for me was noticing I had a fixed mindset and how that mindset made me feel approaching games, which was nervous, worried and anxious. I played tentatively and without confidence. When I learned I needed to take note of what I was thinking and adjust, I started to tell myself positive things.
Noticing what you are saying to yourself is key. What you tell yourself and think of yourself is far more important and powerful than what anyone else thinks of you or says to you.