Creating Connected Relationships

Growth Mindset

“There is a difference between not knowing and not knowing yet.” Sheila Tobias

Growth mindset could be defined as one’s ability to believe in themselves, to grow and develop through dedication and hard work. Some people may have had an experience or been told something in their past and then started to take this into their future. They may start to create a future that is determined by their past. For example, I remember from a young age that I was always good at maths, so I took this belief and made it fit my future. On the other hand, I remember believing that I was not a very good reader at school. I have a memory of reading with an older child in school, named Michael. From that day on, I believed that I was not good at reading. I took my past and made it my future.

However, with growth mindset, it is said that people can change this view. I can’t remember consciously changing my view of my reading skill through dedication and hard work, but I now know that I’m not a bad reader, whatever that means anyway. Some say that adding the word ‘yet’ to the end of the sentence could change the whole meaning. For example, “I’m not very good at tennis,” could create a future where there is little or no possibility of growth. “I’m not very good at tennis yet,” may imply that improvement is not only possible, but probable in the future. Some benefits of practising growth mindset could be that we have an increase in self-esteem, particularly when learning something new. It may also help us to see setbacks or mistakes as a positive experience. Practising growth mindset could also help us to reduce stress levels as we may be less concerned about being perfect.

Here are a few things to try together to help foster a growth mindset. Choose one and give it a go this week, or change it to suit your family.

  • Discuss and reflect on what you learned today. What about this week?
  • What mistakes have you made lately? What did you learn from making those mistakes? Discuss.
  • Talk about what you haven’t learned ‘yet’.
  • What is a challenge that you plan to face this week? Discuss.
  • Discuss what you have been working hard on lately. How have you improved since you started?
  • What are you better at now than you were last year? What have you done to improve?
  • Some people say that the brain is like a muscle – the more you work your brain, the stronger it will be and the better it will perform. What do you think about this? Talk about how you might exercise your brain. What have you done lately to make yourself smarter?
  • Talk about what you are not perfect at. What are your imperfections? Are any of your imperfections similar to others in your family? Are your imperfections perfect imperfections?
  • Is there a time when you achieved something, but you didn’t look for anyone’s approval? Talk about times when you look for the approval of others.
  • What is failure? Talk about a time when you worked really hard at something, but did not achieve your final goal. What did you learn on your journey? What successes came out of your failure to achieve your goal?

I met my wife, Sandi, in London. At the time, she was working various jobs, earning enough money to get by. We cycled together around Europe, worked some more in London and then travelled back to Australia via the Trans-Siberian railway. When we returned, Sandi studied tourism. During her studies, she worked various jobs, including managing an art?house cinema in Melbourne. As time went by, Sandi returned to study. This time, she undertook an Arts Degree, which she had always wanted to complete. We moved to Tasmania for some time, which interrupted her studies while she worked in tourism. We moved back to the mainland where Sandi continued her studies in Bendigo before gaining her degree with honours. She also graduated with a teaching degree. After doing some part-time relief teaching, Sandi gained employment working in various libraries around Geelong. Once again, Sandi returned to study – this time a Master’s Degree in Information Services, which would give her professional qualifications as a librarian. Sandi currently works as a Children’s and Youth Librarian at one of the branches in Geelong. I can’t imagine the day when Sandi is not learning.

“What can I learn from this? What will I do next time I’m in this situation?” – Carol Dweck.

Leave a Comment