Over the next few weeks, Healing Path Counselling Services will highlight mindset, how to become more self-aware, and how to challenge a negative mindset.
In this article – we will be focusing on mindset and the importance it plays with our children and youth right up to adulthood. Quickly defined, mindsets are a series of self perceptions or beliefs people have about themselves. Here we will explore mindsets and how to support children, youth and adults in developing a mindset to improve resilience.
What Are Mindsets?
A mindset is a series of self-perceptions or beliefs people hold about themselves. These determine behaviour, outlook and mental attitude. For example, believing you are either ‘intelligent’ or ‘unintelligent’.
Two mindsets have been identified by Carol Dweck, (Professor of Psychology at Stanford University) – A fixed mindset and a growth mindset (Dweck, C.S. 2006. Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House Inc). People can have both types of mindsets, a growth mindset in some situations (for example, towards academics) and a fixed mindset in others (for example, towards sports).
What is a Growth Mindset?
This mindset is where a person’s self-belief is centred around the notion that, “…their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point.” (Dweck, 2006). A growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure, not as evidence of unintelligence, but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.
What is a Fixed Mindset?
This mindset is where people believe traits, such as intelligence or talent, are seen as fixed traits, set at birth. A person with a fixed mindset lets failure or success define them. Through this fixed mindset, a lot of time is spent by the person documenting their talents and less time working on developing them.
Those with a fixed mindset will often shy away from challenges. When faced with failure or a different obstacle, they will tell themselves and others, ‘they can’t do it’ or will make excuses to rationalise the failure (E.g. ‘I didn’t pass the test as I was too busy doing my homework for another subject’).
Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness. This is where Cognitive Behavioural Therapy assists children, youth and adults in understanding their core beliefs as it relates to them, relationships and the world around them.
Why is a growth mindset important for young people to develop? Or for adults to embrace?
- A growth mindset allows young people to embrace failure and learn from it.
- A growth mindset is critical to adopting learning-oriented behaviour.
- Beliefs held by young people about learning and failure when they begin school have a strong inﬂuence on their achievement over time.
- People who believe that effort matters respond with more positive, sophisticated strategies to tasks and increasing their learning as time goes on.
- Learning from failure causes substantial changes in the brain throughout life and is vital for resilience.
Next week will be highlighted how to become more self-aware.
If mindset is something that you would like to explore please connect at Healing Path Counselling Services.
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