What’s your mindset?

Our MISD Leadership Team just completed a two-day informative retreat.  Along with other homework, we read and discussed the book, Mindsetby Carol Dweck.  According to her website, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.  Her research has focused on why people succeed and how to best foster success.  She has held professorships at Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured all over the world, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Obviously, she is an expert in the study of success.

In the book, Dr. Dweck explains through her studies two types of mindsets—a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.  Before reading the book for the first time nearly a year ago (when challenged by my pastor), I took the professor’s online test.  Have you ever tested your mindset?

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 talents instead of developing them even more.  They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.  Dr. Dweck provides some very interesting articles on her theory of fixed mindsets when dealing with our children, using specific examples along the way to illustrate her points.

In a growth mindset, people believe their most basic abilities can always be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.  This view creates a love of lifelong learning and a resilience essential for great accomplishment.  The strongest message here is “failure is a part of growing; we must sometimes fail in order to move forward in necessary growth.”

On both theories, there are powerful messages for parents, businesses, and especially schools.  Mindsets CAN be changed in what Dr. Dweck refers to as four simple steps.  After studying this book at length and enJOYing some intense conversation these past two days, I most definitely appreciate why our mindsets as learners, educators, and parents can affect overall success for everyone!  You are strongly encouraged to pick up a copy (or borrow mine) and read it.  As we get geared up for another school year, here’s a personal challenge for you to study your mindset (and that of your child) today!  🙂

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