The Growth Mindset

            Your brain is a powerful tool, nobody will deny that. Every thought, action, and decision is formed in this one place in your body. Our mental state, or mindset, controls every action we take, and every thought we have. When we are faced with certain situations, our brain can choose to perceive it in a way that benefits our mental health, or in a way that is damaging. According to Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University, there are two mindsets that people may possess- and each one has a large impact on how we live our day to day lives.

            Some people have a growth mindset. They view themselves as changeable and forever developing into a better version of themselves. The sky is the limit for people with this mindset, as they have higher self-esteem and believe in their own ability to grow. These people believe that with effort and practice they can master anything. When faced with a set-back, such as failing an exam, they are driven to work hard and trust that they can do better on the next test. Their failure is not attributed to a negative personal quality, but rather to an external event that can be improved to allow them to succeed in the future.

           Those with a fixed mindset will attribute failing an exam to an internal quality that they believe is unchangeable and will forever be a part of them. They will believe they failed a Calculus exam because they are bad at math, and have no faith in their ability to become better in the subject. They believe their intelligence, skills, and personality are fixed, and will never grow and develop. They may view themselves as shy, or lazy, and believe that those characteristics are permanent to who they are.

            Having a fixed mindset is damaging to mental health. Attributing all your failures to being internal issues that can never be changed diminishes self-esteem and holds you back from the effort you need to put in in order to better yourself. With this mindset, failures seem detrimental and earth shattering because you don’t see yourself ever being able to improve in order to achieve success. You feel that your failure defines who you are.

            Failure does not define a person with a growth mindset. Failure is just a stepping stone in a process of learning. Failure means you have to do better and put in the effort.

            Developing a growth mindset from a fixed mindset is difficult and requires daily effort. You have change your thoughts about yourself. Every time a voice in your head tells you that you’re just not good at something, or that you can’t do it, you have to turn it off. You have to learn from failures, and remember that you aren’t fixed and unchangeable. You are capable of growth and development and you can gain new skills and attributes for the rest of your life. As you develop more of a growth mindset, you will start to see improvements in many aspects of your life.