Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Research demonstrates how a Growth Mindset promises to increase motivation and achievement. A Growth Mindset is a belief that our most basic abilities can grow with diligence. Talent without the dedication and hard work will not bring about success. Having a Growth Mindset can enhance your motivation, your productivity…even your relationships.
Here three simple strategies for you to use right away:
Give praise for effort, not for achievement. In one study, a group of 5th graders was divided into two groups. They were all given an easy puzzle task to solve. One group was praised for how smart they were once they completed the puzzle, while the other group was praised for their effort. As time went on, the groups were offered some easy puzzles and some harder puzzles to choose from. Here’s the cool part: The students who were praised for being smart would consistently choose the easier puzzles, while those who were praised for their perseverance found the motivation to tackle the harder tasks. Guess what…a similar test was performed on collegiate students…same result.
Increase awareness of the stereotype threat. We all have stereotypes that we buy into and these can hold us back. For example, some females believe that they are bad at math because females generally have a lower aptitude for math. For starters, research has found this stereotype to be ridiculous. Research also shows that this can increase worry about underperforming. Awareness of where you are buying into a stereotype threat is the first step to breaking free.
Stop comforting yourself and others. That sounds harsh but bear with me. Studies have found that a teacher’s mindset directly effects their students’ academic performance. If the teacher judges a student to have a lower scholastic ability, they may comfort their student about their poor performance. The message is that the student’s inability to succeed is an okay thing. The alternative is to approach the student with strategies to increase their abilities. Guess which one wins out? When we create strategies for success, we increase our expectations of performance and increase our motivation to perform at a high level.
P.S. Take this handy quiz from Mindsetworks to assess your current mindset.