If you’ve got primary school-aged children, you will have likely seen the post with the words “I can’t” crossed out and replaced with “I can”, or the word “yet’ added on.  Schools are hot on this topic with increasing concerns about the lack of resilience amongst young people. 

What is a ‘Growth Mindset’?

Research carried out by Carol Dweck, a professor of Psychology at Stanford University,
demonstrated that people who believe that their intelligence can be developed outperform those who believe their intelligence is fixed. When individuals learn that they can “grow their brains” and increase their intellectual abilities, they do better.

Does a Growth Mindset matter?

Its value is indisputable – a meta-analysis of different studies suggests that when employees are happy and confident (whatever other challenges they are facing) they are 31% more productive, make 37% more sales, and are three times as creative.

What’s the difference between a growth and a fixed mindset?

Someone with a growth mindset knows they can learn anything they want; they understand intelligence is not limited to natural abilities.  They know they learn when they make a mistake, and they want to challenge themselves.  They understand that effort and attitude determine everything.  When they are frustrated, they persevere, and they are inspired by the success of others. 

Those with a fixed mindset believe they are either good at something or they aren’t, they don’t enjoy a challenge and when they fail, they feel like a failure.  They give up when frustrated and believe it is purely their abilities that determine their success.

What is resilience?

Resilience is our ability to withstand or recover from difficult situations and get ourselves back on track.  It’s about moving forward and accepting failure and change. It’s an understanding that handling difficult things is a chance to grow.

It isn’t about suppressing the emotions of an event but choosing HOW to let it impact us emotionally.  Resilience does not belittle traumatic events but seeks to find a way to overcome them and not allow such events to drag us down.

Why are they linked together?

Our mindset towards a challenge determines our resilience.  If we have a growth mindset, we naturally develop resilience, seeing challenges as a way to get out of our comfort zone and move forward and learn. 

How can I develop a Growth Mindset and Resilience?

1.     Notice how you speak to yourself and others around you – using words such as ‘I can’t’ or ‘It’s too difficult’ are a red flag.  Consider how you might edit yourself to have a mindset believing in potential.  Pay attention to those around you and seek to develop relationships with others with a growth mindset.

2.     Change your attitude towards failure and understand it is a part of the process of growth.  See challenges as opportunities to overcome and grow.  The more difficult a challenge the greater the opportunity for learning and growth.

3.     Avoid living a life seeking the approval of others.  Approval focuses on being right as the goal, rather than the opportunity to learn and grow.  Take time to celebrate your own successes daily, and to acknowledge the challenges and what you’ve learnt.

4.     Use the word ‘yet’ more when talking about your own challenges – getting your subconscious brain to work with you helps.

5.     Focus on the action of doing not the achievement.  Congratulate yourself on going to the gym as a goal you set, not on the final goal of lifting heavier by a certain date.  The effort rather than the attainment is to be celebrated.

6.     Consider your skills at emotional regulation to allow you to remain calm in the event of adversity.  Allowing yourself a chance to think more clearly and address what’s really going on will pay dividends and give you a chance to see the opportunity for growth.