Growth Mindset: Not Just for the Classroom

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How This Powerful Concept Can Positively Impact Your Whole Life

What we think of ourselves and how we view our potential shapes the way we lead our lives. Our mindset determines how we will cope with a situation or circumstance and can help determine the outcome.

Do you believe you are dealt your cards for life and can do nothing to change how your game plays out (fixed mindset)? Or do you believe that you can learn, cultivate new skills, improve your situation, your standing, your life (growth mindset)?

Those with a fixed mindset see their skills, abilities, and intelligence as set in stone. They avoid challenges, fear failure, and rarely reach their full potential. But those with a growth mindset know that improvement is always a possibility. They face challenges head on, embrace the opportunity to succeed and fail—and they know that when they do fail, they have the resources to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try, try again!

As a teacher, as an education consultant, as a person who constantly strives for self improvement, I’m all about Growth Mindset!

I’ve taught the concept in so many classrooms, and I’ve seen the difference it can make, empowering teachers, boosting student motivation, and creating opportunities for real achievement. Interestingly, I’ve also found that growth mindset isn’t just a powerful tool for students and teachers, but for every single human being.

Not too long ago I presented my growth mindset training session at a local school, and after the presentation was approached by one of the cross country coaches. He’d listened to what I had to say and realized that growth mindset had many applications outside the classroom. He thought it might be helpful for his runners to hear my presentation, and I enthusiastically agreed!

I spoke to this group of young athletes about how important productive struggle really is, how failure can be used as a springboard to success, and how they have to be willing to have “gaudy goals” (ie., those almost-impossible expectations).

The group was captivated. I’m not sure if they’d ever really thought about how their beliefs about themselves truly impact what they achieve in school, in sports, in life. They were quick to identify areas that they had previously given up on too easily and immediately started making plans for how to improve their running times.

I had told them it was absolutely possible to reach for more—and they jumped at the opportunity!

A growth mindset requires perseverance, grit, resilience, and determination. It encourages you to reflect on your situation and skills, identify where fixed beliefs are holding you back—and then start making the changes that will lead to real success!

Question: As teachers, many of you have used growth mindset in the classroom. But how do you use it OUTSIDE the classroom, in your own life? What was an area of your life that needed improvement? And what steps did you take to make that improvement? Share your story in the comments below.

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