Is there really a huge difference between weak and strong, smart and dumb? In a study of an average class of 10-year-olds, equality between the students became the result. They learned the power of a growth mindset and became the best class of their grade.
I was listening to the researcher Carol Dweck, talking about a high school in Chicago where they got the grades yet or not yet. these grades propelled the kids to dive deeper and thereby embracing a “learning in process mindset”, also called a growth mindset. It is your effort in the process of learning that is rewarded, not the end result.
Carol started a study with ten-year-old kids. They were given a problem to solve, that was a bit too hard for them. She found that there were two groups of students.
Growth vs fixed mindset
One group was excited to be challenged and dove in to find out what they needed to learn to solve the problem. They had the power of yet. Their brains were engaging with the problem and lit up on the test, to show how the neurons were exploding inside their brains.
The other group were discarded and sad and said that it was to difficult and gave up before they started. The first group already had a growth mindset, whilst the other group had a fixed mindset and was experiencing the tyranny of now. Their intelligence had been up for judgment and they had failed. They would go on to cheating and find friends that did worse then they did to make them feel better. Their minds had no activity. They did not engage in the problem in front of them and ran from it instead.
From rewarding results to rewarding process
They changed the grading system to start rewarding effort (yet and not yet) instead of final results and became one of the best classes in the country. One 13-year-old student explained that he had used the power of effort not only in his school work but also in relations to his family and friends at school and had gotten great results all over.
Rewarding effort strategy process and engagement, the kids became eager to learn and develop new skills. They were told that every time they push themselves out of the comfort zone the neurons in their brains would create new stronger connections and patterns that made them smarter.
From stupid or smart to equality
The result of the tests was that in the classes that rewarded a growth mindset – equality happened. The weak students that had been condemned as stupid ended up being just as smart as the best students. Because they used their effort to overcome difficulty their brains neurons connected in new ways and made them smarter.
Mindset is everything
Mindset is everything. It is never too late to embrace a growth mindset. If we do there is no end result, only yet or not yet. There is no giving up, only speed bumps along the road to where we want to be. A road where learning and developing skills to get to our destinations are the essence of life.
Like the 13-year-old boy said; he used the mindset to get better relationships with his family and friends as well as in his school work. There is no limit to what we can do if we adopt a growth mindset. Failure in that sense is just another learning experience on the way to where we want to be. We take responsibility for the relationships we wish to have in life and stop blaming others.
The power of believing that you can improve is a critical path to the rest of our life’s. I have certainly experienced that going through tough times. going from a job with a bully boss to traveling the world, to learning a new trade online. It is all about attitude and the process of learning.