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The Mindset Invitation: The New Psychology of Success
Students who wish to make all A’s and B’s should give their first attention to developing a Growth Mindset. This applies to all students, from first year to graduate level.
The idea that people’s intelligence and abilities are largely inherited and/or set from birth was long a fixture of psychology. Statements such as the following were once widely accepted:
You can’t really change how intelligent you are.
You can learn new things, but you can’t really increase your basic intelligence.
You have a certain amount of talent, and you can’t do much to change it.
Do you believe such things? You may have heard them said over and over.
At one time, such ideas were held by the majority of psychologists and educators, and even moms and dads. Since the 1990s, however, psychologists and neuroscientists have shown that this view is a tremendous mistake.
The discovery of neuroplasticity has shown that the brain has the ability to grow and change and adapt, with no limits, other than those that may result from brain trauma. Thousands of clinical experiments have verified the fact of neuroplasticity. This means that your intellectual and emotional potential is what you choose to make it.
Your potential follows the tendencies of the ways you think and feel, known as your mindset. A person’s mindset is basically their attitude towards themselves and towards their abilities. Mindset studies were pioneered in the 1990s by psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck at Stanford University. Here is an overview from the academic journal Forum (for full article click here):
“Carol Dweck summarized key findings from her research on the nature and impact of different mindsets. [Her] book quickly became a New York Times best-seller, a BBC news headliner, and was translated into more than 20 languages.
“In it, Dweck summarized her evidence from decades of research with differently-aged subjects showing that when students develop what she has called a ‘growth mindset’ then they believe that intelligence and ‘smartness’ can be learned, and that the brain can grow from exercise.
“The implications of this mindset are profound — students with a growth mindset work and learn more effectively, displaying a desire for challenge and resilience in the face of failure.
“On the other hand, those with a ‘fixed mindset’ believe that you are either smart or you are not. When students with a fixed mindset fail or make a mistake, they believe that they are just not smart and give up. Such students frequently avoid challenge, preferring instead to complete easier work on which they know they will succeed.”
In the U.K., more so than in the U.S., students have long been grouped in classrooms by their so-called ability level. Dr. Dweck and her team have demonstrated that —
Any type of ability grouping cheats students and deceives them about their potential.
In the UK, where ability grouping was prevalent, Dweck’s work is up-ending long established practices. When students with a fixed mindset fail or make a mistake, they believe that they are just not smart and give up. The growth mindset is learnable if you don’t have it.
If you seek to learn deeply and take significant action in favor of your own life and for the betterment of the world, you need to do three things:
Understand and remember that the fact you can become what you seek through Mindset is science-based and proven.
Accept and embrace a positive self-image.
Make concentrated effort in the studies where you choose to excel.
Self-image combined with strong effort creates an unstoppable force.
Internet searches for neuroplasticity and mindset bring up scores of articles and videos illustrating the concepts and its successful applications. Dr. Dweck’s brief videos are among the best explanations. Among many examples of her team’s accomplishments:
enabling every student in a class of high school students to become adept at calculus
helping teachers and students in a Native American elementary school on a poverty-stricken reservation skyrocket their performance and test scores. The school reached the top levels for Washington state, above the wealthy schools in Seattle suburbs.
View this Ted Talk by educator and financial professional Eduardo Briceno for an overview.
Any college student owes it to herself/himself to start practicing the mindset techniques. They can expand your abilities dramatically. Mindset methods are making people smarter everywhere, from jails to ghettos, from universities to corporations. Share these methods with others, and you’ll help create a better world.
Remind yourself many times a day that you’re a positive and smart person.
If you can’t do something, add the word “Yet”- “I can’t do it YET.”
When you work and study, Focus. DO NOT look at your phone AT ALL. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes at a time, FOCUS.
Your new and better mindset can improve every day if you give it your attention.