By Hannah Slattery, LPC, NCC
Think about your relationship with failure. Now, think about what it means to be resilient. Is there a way that both can work together? Over 30 years ago Dr. Carol Dweck noticed differences in how her students were impacted by their academic failure experiences. Some would be completely devastated, which would then negatively impact their entire academic career, others acknowledged the experience but rebounded rather quickly. These noticeable differences initiated her interest in people’s underlying beliefs about learning and intelligence. She then coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset.
Fixed and Growth Mindsets
In a fixed mindset, people believe their qualities are fixed traits and therefore cannot change. These people document their intelligence and talents rather than working to develop and improve them. A fixed mindset individual continues to strive for success but steers away from failure at all costs. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset have an underlying belief that their learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. When people believe they can become smarter, they realize that their effort affects their success, so they put in extra time, leading to higher achievement.
Our mindset is developed from an early age and can be based on socioeconomic status,
religion, cultural factors, and more. The relationship that we build with success and failure will ultimately be our guiding factor for the rest of our lives. Dr. Dweck found profound data from her research stating, “ For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life? Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.”
Instead of approval
We are so eager to prove ourselves in this world. The way we think about ourselves and the
relationship with have with failure and success can either put us in a position of power over ourselves or the idea that we can only use what we have been given. One of the most important components that Dr. Dweck reports on is that instead of working through life in search of approval, we should seek a life full of new information and experiences.
Want to develop a growth mindset and feel more successful? Call us today to schedule an appointment!