Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Fixed mindset or Growth mindset?

I've just been reading Carol Dweck book 'Mindset'. According to Carol's research humanity come in two basic flavours - those with a 'fixed mindset' and those with a 'growth mindset'. The fixed mindset is characterised by a limiting belief that that personal abilities are finite or fixed. This shows up as an all consuming goal to prove oneself - every situation calls for a confirmation of intelligence, personality or character. Every situation is evaluated: "Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected?" In contrast the growth mindset is based on belief that your basic qualities can be cultivated with a bit of effort - everyone can change and grow given application and the right experience.
I've often wondered about this - without knowing this research - observing how people respond to being thrown into new situations in the training room. There are those seem to need to be perfect before they even try to develop their skills and reticent to just 'give it a go' in for fear of making mistakes and getting it wrong. Others seem much more able to just pitch in and take the learning, unafraid to hear feedback or reflect on their gaffs. Job one for the facilitator is therefore making it ok to 'fail' and not set expectations of perfection.
Don't you love it when you find an idea that fits observable facts?

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: how you can fulfil your potential London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.

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