## Growth Mindset

August 4, 2014 § 8 Comments

Remember 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:

Nice one Allen!

Michele

Hey Michelle. Glad you liked it. As you and I have discussed, that self-talk is powerful!

Always worth the read – thanks Allen!

Chris Love

Thanks Chris. Hope you continue to use it in your work – and life!

I love this research on growth mindset. It’s exciting that we can practice simple (and free) ways of thinking and talking to help bump up our game a bit.

Keep the great stuff coming, Allen.

Thanks Bob. Yes, it IS simple, and as you know so well, the trick is in creating the habit.

I agree. I somehow adopted the “I can’t, or you can’t do this YET ” phrase a few years ago. What a huge difference it made in my outlook and my students confidence.

As I just made a career change that has a few obstacles. I am embracing this 100%.

Thanks Amy…and good luck with the next move on the chessboard!