Daily Quote: “Becoming is better than being… never stop growing and believing in your potential to become a fully functioning person.”” Carl Rogers
Back in 1973 almost 41 years to the date, I made a critical decision that changed my professional life. I decided that I loved to teach and facilitate other people’s growth and development and that being an Administrator in Higher Education was to reactive and mundane for my liking. When you have a potential mindset, you can better understand that many things in live remain fixed until we see them with the new eyes of positive change and personal growth. For example, IQ, EQ, and other skills like presentations, listening and leadership can be developed. When we learn to focus on improvement and the processes of self-development instead of being concerned about whether we are talented in some activity or do we have the talent to perform. When people work hard to bring about their best through deliberative practice, effort and hard work we see improvement toward their goal to what ever it is. All of sudden they become better or seem to smarter at the activity they are trying to perfect. Based on years of research by Stanford University’s Dr. Dweck, Lisa Blackwell Ph.D., and their colleagues, we know that students who learn this mindset show greater motivation in school, better grades, and higher test scores.
What does research say about the relationship between growth mindset and fixed mindset on performance? Your belief (self-efficacy) in your self and the possibilities and potential for change have a high positive relationship to improved performance.
Mindsets Predict Motivation and Achievement
In one study, Blackwell and her colleagues “ followed hundreds of students making the transition to 7th grade. They found that students with a growth mindset were more motivated to learn and exert effort, and outperformed those with a fixed mindset in math—a gap that continued to increase over the two-year period. Those with the two mindsets had entered 7th grade with similar past achievement, but because of their different mindsets their math grades pulled apart during this challenging time. (Blackwell, L.S., Trzesniewski, K.H., & Dweck, C.S. (2007). In another study, also with adolescents, Blackwell and her colleagues divided students into two groups for a workshop on the brain and study skills. Half of them, the control group, were taught about the stages of memory; the other half received training in the growth and potential mindset (how the brain grows with learning to make you smarter) and how to apply this idea to their academic schoolwork”.
Summary: the growth mindset group outperformed the control group by a level of three times better and their practice, effort and engagement was significantly higher than the fixed mindset group. Even after training was over the growth potential-mindset group showed a clear improvement in their grades.
Bottom line is that the potential and belief mindset increased achievement scores, effort expended on improvement (increased practice time), as well as greater resilience to snap-back after failures and setbacks and overall increased life satisfaction scores.
Research shows that the Brain is Malleable
Cognitive psychology and neuroscience research supports the hypothesis that positive change on mental set from fixed to a growth mindset is possible because the brain is malleable and demonstrates plasticity.
For example, neuroscientists tracked students during their teenage years. For many students, they found substantial changes in performance on verbal and non-verbal IQ tests. Using neuro-imaging, they found corresponding changes in the density of neurons in the relevant brain areas for these students. In other words, an increase in neuronal connections in the brain accompanied an increase in IQ-test performance, while a decrease in neuronal connections in the brain accompanied a decrease in IQ-test performance. If you want to learn more about this breakthrough research and how to apply the findings with your kids checkout Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking software product and book Mindset: The New Psychologyof Success.