Recognizing fixed- and growth-mindset perspectives
What is a fixed-mindset? It is a mindset where people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are pre-determined and can not be changed.
What is a growth-mindset? It is the opposite of a fixed mindset. This is where people believe there traits and intelligence are developed and learned through different life experiences.
According to Robert Sternberg, author of Successful Intelligence having a fixed-mindset can hold back human potential.
Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
Identifying Three Different Inner Voices
Sometimes our inner voices can hold us back from having a growth mindset.
Here are a few of my real life examples of fixed vs growth-mindset and how to overcome them.
1. Inner Critic: “My major is to hard; that’s why I can’t do it.”
• Definition: The Inner Critic judges self, blames self, complains about self, and demeans self. Its positive intention is to protect self from failure, but the actual result is either a partial attempt or no attempt at all.
• Identify: Due to an architecture project that took me until 4 am to finish I am exhausted and do not want to go to English at 9 am. Architecture is too time consuming and does not give anytime for other courses.
• Revise: Architecture is hard but I have made it this far. Half of the kids from freshman year have dropped and I am still here. I must be doing something right.
2. Inner Defender: “I would’ve done my homework if my English professor told us to do it!”
• Definition: The Inner Defender judges others, then blames them before self-assessment takes place. Once blaming an external takes place, complaining about the external and demeaning the external replaces problem-solving and escape occurs. Its positive
intention seems to be fending off criticism and punishment from others.
• Identify: After just returning home from an architecture review I was planning on sitting down and relaxing. As I was getting in bed I wanted to check on a grade that just posted. That is when I realized from the To Do list that I had to read 100 pages by tomorrow morning.
• Revise: I can read half of the 100 pages before I sleep and wake up a little early to finish the rest.
3. Inner Guide: “This is my project and I need to get it done.”
• Definition: The Inner Guide offers an objective and wise perspective about ourselves and others. It doesn’t self-demean; it doesn’t attack. Our inner guide tells us the absolute truth and allows us to be more conscious of reality, other people, and ourselves.
• Identify: It is 11 pm in studio and I just finished my architecture project. Now I have to put that aside and begin to study for Spanish.
• Don’t Revise! Instead, reflect on how this type of self-talk resulted in positive behaviors and outcomes.
At the time I was just feeling somewhat relieved to finish a weeklong project and did not want to dive right into a new subject. Once I settled down I began to realize that I did not have to wake up early the next day and I could put in a good hours worth of studying before catching a few winks of sleep. The thought that there may come a time where I truly will not have enough time to finish a project came to my head. I did not want one poor grade to become 2 just because I was lazy. In addition I had already been previously studying so it was more like a review that I felt very comfortable with. I ended up receiving a 95% on my Spanish quiz and was told by my professor that that was one of the highest grades in the class. A momentary feeling of exhaustion could have easily cost me a full letter grade in the course. This taught me to not worsen that feeling by sitting there and staring at my work rather getting up finding a quiet location and just doing it. I know it sounds like a NIKE add but it truly helped me.