Growth Mindset

August 4, 2014 § 8 Comments

2 TrainsRemember the SAT math problem that starts out something like…

“Two trains are traveling towards each other from two cities 390 miles apart.  Train #1 left it’s city at Noon and travels at a rate of 52 miles an hour……”       For some of us (me included), I get anxious just reading this, and often reflexively think: “I can’t do these!”   What we tell ourselves in the face of challenge, can be categorized into one of two mindsets: Growth or Fixed. Some examples of each:

Fixed Mindset:

  • Failure is a sign of weakness.
  • Anything less than perfect is a failure.
  • Only weak people can’t solve their own problems.
  • I can’t do it (math, finance Tango….).

Growth mindset:

  • Exerting effort is the way to get better.
  • Setbacks are an integral part of learning.
  • I can find help to figure this out.
  • I can’t do it, YET.

Khan Academy Research:

Research was carried out with over 250,000 students taking Khan Academy, online math courses. Some of the students were presented with a message on their study screen that said: “When you learn a new kind of math problem, you grow your math brain!” These students increased their rate of mastery by 3%. Those that received a message that said: “Some of these problems are hard, just do your best,” showed no increase.

Take Away:

You can help your team adopt a Growth Mindset culture by practicing the “Yet” intervention: If one of your colleagues says, “Oh, I just can’t do this budgeting stuff,” all you do is pipe up. Don’t be afraid of an irritable reaction. You are confronting a long held belief, and human nature is to defend the status quo. Just be consistent in your response, and they may very likely catch your disease.   And, by the way, you can do the same for yourself.

For more on growing a positive mindset:

Rodin Thinker

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