It’s that time of year again when fall sports are starting up. Both my boys play soccer on both a club team and their middle school team (yes it’s insanely busy). I have always been a huge fan of what sports teach you and how it’s a lot more than the rules and skills of a particular sport.
This past week both teams coaches gave their “beginning of the season” speeches. One coach said, “Parents now that the boys are getting older, I am looking for effort, the kids that are the superstars at 10 are not the superstars at 16, 17, 18… I have seen it throughout my coaching career, you need more than talent.”
If you could have seen some of the parent’s eyes, it was very clear who believed “you are either born an athlete (or good) or you are not.” And the patents that believe “you can work at something and become good at something.”
This made me thing about the fixed and growth Mindset. Have you ever heard of this? I read this amazing book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. It’s an older book but I would recommend it to everyone. She breaks it up into sections, parenting, business, school, and relationships. To be honest, the parenting section was eye opening, and every parent should read it.
So what is Fixed and Growth Mindset anyway?
Dweck’s definition “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.”
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe if you are not good at it right now you will never be good at it. For example, you are either smart or you’re not, you either understand physics or you don’t, you are either athletic or you’re not. What skills you have is what you have to work with.
Some character traits of a fixed mindset are:
- Avoid challenges, avoid failure
- Believe intelligence and talent are unchanging
- Disregard or ignore feedback from others
- Feel threatened by the success of others
- Give up easy and don’t try again
- Hide weaknesses so as not to be judged
- Believe putting in effort is pointless
- View feedback as personal criticism
- Avoid new things to avoid failure
A growth mindset:
Dweck’s definition, “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. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
With a growth mindset, you believe even if you are not good at something right now, with some focus, hard work and dedication you can be good at it. If you fail, it’s okay, you learn from it and move forward.
Some character traits of a growth mindset are:
- Believe in lifelong learning
- Put in more effort to learn
- Believe effort leads to mastery
- Believe failure is just a short-term setback
- Embrace challenges
- Believe intelligence can be gained
- View others’ success as a source of inspiration
- See feedback as an opportunity to learn
What I learned from the book Mindset was even if you don’t mean to you can push your mindset on to your kids by how you communicate with them. Some of the examples in the book I never would have thought was considered a "fixed mindset”" but they are.
Just a few examples:
- It’s okay kid, I was never good at math either.
- Some people are just naturally athletic, and you can’t compete with them.
- She’s really smart, and that’s why she gets As.
What would you consider yourself to have a fixed or growth mindset?