The brain is a funny thing, working in mysterious ways. It controls not only our movements but also every decision we make. However, although many things we do are dictated by outside forces, the way in which we choose to react is up to us. This is our ‘mind set’. Your mind set plays a major role in your attitudes, belief and confidence. It is now thought that mind sets can either create, or get in the way of, success.
Mind sets are spilt into two categories: a fixed mind set and the new theory of the growth mind set. It is believed that if you have a growing mind set, you always focus on improvement instead of worrying. You always work hard to learn more and improve as you see negative responses as positive ‘feedback’. People with the fixed mind set do the opposite; they believe their intelligence or qualities are fixed traits and view negative responses as something they have got wrong rather than an opportunity to change and improve.
Blackwell (2007) conducted a study to show how these different mind sets affect children’s success. Following 100s of students they found that those with a growth mind set had more motivation to learn and exert effort. The result? They outperformed those with a fixed mind set.
Other studies have found similar results from different experiments. Does this mean that for the success all students must have a growth mind set? Not necessarily, as people with fixed mind sets are still intelligent and capable. The question to be asked is ‘how much more would they achieve by adopting a growth mind set?’
Many do believe that it is possible to change your mind set by exercising your brain in certain ways. Instead of thinking I can’t do it, you need to believe that you just can’t do it yet! However, if it was that simple then wouldn’t everyone have a growth mind set? Here are a few ideas that can help you change your mind set:
- Stay positive. Instead of believing something is too difficult for you or is out of your reach, keep yourself feeling positive and that there is a chance you can do it.
- Take things stage by stage and look at the parts you can do. The rest are parts you can’t do YET.
- Don’t let making mistakes stop you. Mistakes are opportunities to gain feedback. We learn from our mistakes, carry on trying.
- Asking for help. If you do find something difficult and what you already know isn’t helping you, find someone to help you. Whether it’s a teacher, parent or friend there will always be people out there who are happy to help.
- On your journey, look at the progress you have made rather than the mountain still to climb.
- Finally, always try your best even when you find something difficult and challenging. Trying your best will help you more than you may believe. At least then if it doesn't work out for you at that moment in time you know that you’ve done your best and you should still be proud of your achievement.