by Kathie England

Growth Mindset

How can embracing a growth mindset help us pursue the vision of a world that “tilts toward freedom, toward peace, toward an international community capable of rising to the challenges of its time?” That vision was articulated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on September 13. It was the focus of Who We Can Be last month.

Let’s look now at the concept of growth mindset pioneered by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. in her 2006 book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success. A revised version of this book was published in 2012 with the title Mindset, Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential.

Before you read any further, I invite you to watch Dweck’s 2014 TED Talk titled “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve.” (It’s only ten minutes long and I think it might change your life and the lives of others.)

In her TED Talk, Dweck’s first words are “The power of yet…”

She shares about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate, and if they didn’t pass a course, they got the grade “Not Yet.”  Dweck asks about how we are raising our children. She ponders whether we are focusing them on the goal of getting an A or are we teaching them how to dream big?

Dweck shares many examples where the shift to focusing on effort, strategy, and process invites students to develop a sense of adventure – of learning from whatever happens rather than fearing they might make a mistake. This perspective changes the meaning of effort and difficulty.

What if we also embraced this perspective as we strive for a country and a world that tilts toward freedom and peace and an international community capable of rising to the challenges of our time? This is a growth mindset!

How might adopting the language of “not yet” impact us when we are discouraged with the many challenges we face personally and globally? How might we reframe the meaning of effort and difficulty when the “tyranny of now” seems so daunting?

And if you haven’t watched Dweck’s TED Talk, please go back now and invest those ten minutes that might help you develop a growth mindset as a new path to your future.