Why Developing a Growth Mindset is Vital to Your Academic Success

Have you ever seen someone else’s success and thought to yourself: “Why can’t I do the same?” What was your thought process like? Perhaps you believed you lacked some innate quality. Or did you think you could have achieved the same thing if you had put in enough effort?

The picture shows the definition of a mindset.

The difference in these attitudes is defined by two distinct mindsets—growth or fixed. You will read all about them in this article by Custom-Writing.org. You’ll also learn 15 guaranteed ways of developing a growth mindset, which is instrumental to your mental health and academic success.

🤯 What Is a Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset?

The idea of differing mindsets was first introduced by Carol Dweck, a scientist from Stanford University. The two mindsets refer to the ways in which people view their intelligence:

  • People who have a growth mindset believe that their intelligence and talents can evolve and be cultivated.
  • People with a fixed mindset consider their abilities to be set in stone, impossible to change. 

As stated in the research, mindsets develop in childhood according to the kind of praise and labeling a person receives. Children praised for their efforts often develop a growth mindset, while those praised for simply being smart or gifted are inclined to develop a fixed mindset. Most people possess traits from both attitudes, but only one is dominant. Want to find out which side you are on? Keep reading!

Fixed Mindset Characteristics

As you might have guessed from the name, people with a fixed mindset believe that personal traits, intelligence, and talents are fixed. They see their mistakes and shortcomings as something they can’t change, which prevents them from developing their skills. Here are a few other things that characterize people with this mindset:

💢 They’re envious of other people’s success. When you believe you can’t achieve the same level of mastery as someone else, there’s only room for envy.
🏆 They’re hungry for approval. Often, it doesn’t even have to be well-deserved approval; any will do. 
They have a negative attitude towards critical feedback. They view criticism as an attack rather than an opportunity to improve. 
🧐 They want to appear intelligent and successful. But it’s all about looking smart, not being smart. They want to show everyone how special they are (even if they’re not) because there’s nothing more shameful than letting their undesirable traits be seen. 
💤 They have little or no desire for personal growth and learning. If you have already been dealt all the intelligence you can hope for, striving for more can feel pointless and downright foolish.  
🙅 They avoid challenges and risks. Those can bring failure, which is perceived as a shameful outcome. 

These beliefs encourage people with a fixed mindset to give up easily, which is unfortunate because they probably are capable of achieving their desired goal.

The picture shows the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

Growth Mindset Characteristics

Unlike people with a fixed mindset, those with a growth mindset think they can change for the better and develop their skills if they devote enough effort to the task at hand. They’re characterized by the following beliefs:

They see other people’s success as inspiration. Comparing yourself with someone else makes you want to grow and get better instead of thinking less of yourself.
💪 They want to learn and develop better skills. Their belief that progress is possible inspires them. 
🏅 They’re persistent in achieving their goals. Working hard for something is not a sign of weakness but an opportunity to succeed.
📈 They believe that failures are temporary. Mistakes can be a valuable source of ideas about getting better at what you do.
📝 They see criticism as an opportunity to learn. They understand that feedback is not a personal attack but a call to action.
🏋️ They embrace challenges and risks. They don’t resist a challenge because they’re not afraid of failure. A person with a growth mindset might not believe success is guaranteed, but they’re going to try anyway. 

This attitude towards yourself and your mistakes allows you to reach your goals and constantly develop as a person.

What Is a False Growth Mindset?

It’s no surprise that when the concept of fixed vs. growth mindset gained popularity, millions of people started to apply the growth mindset principles. However, they often misinterpret and misuse Carol Dweck’s ideas about a growth mindset.

  • For example, it’s been widely used to praise employees or students for their effort, even if they have been unproductive. But there is no value in praise for the sake of praise, according to Professor Dweck. Praising the process that yields bad results leads to nothing but more bad results. What has to be commended is the process that leads to progress and improvement.  
  • People might also confuse certain qualities with a growth mindset. Being positive is not the main idea of a growth mindset. Having those qualities doesn’t mean having a 100% growth mindset. In fact, everyone has a mix of the two mindsets. 

As a result, Dweck suggested the concept of a false growth mindset. It is a simplified version of the actual growth mindset, which is ineffective and may even be harmful.

🌟 Benefits of a Growth Mindset

As you have seen, a growth mindset helps us become successful and constantly learn new things, but that’s not all. You’ll be surprised to learn that such an attitude has numerous benefits in virtually all spheres of our lives. Check them out:

The infographic shows various benefits of a growth mindset.

Benefits of a Growth Mindset for Your Academic Success

Developing a growth mindset is especially important for students. Recent studies have demonstrated improved learning ability, motivation, and grades in students with a growth mindset. This attitude also reduces the likelihood of procrastination because it changes a person’s attitude towards failure and boosts their confidence. 

A growth mindset helps you understand that skills and talents can be developed, which increases your appetite for knowledge. You learn to focus on the process rather than the result and be less fearful of challenges. 

[Students with a growth mindset] don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.

Carol Dweck

The study published on Nature.com shows that a growth mindset increases motivation and improves academic performance, especially in math, science, and languages. Experiments show that students at schools where a growth mindset was implemented were more successful than others. Teachers across the USA are taught to use this mindset in the teaching process. Here’s how it can be done:

  • Through praise. Appropriate praise for persistence and hard work is one of the cornerstones of encouraging such a mindset in students. In other words, perseverance should be more commendable than “natural talent.”
  • Through not letting failures discourage students from striving for success but instead inspiring them to learn from mistakes and improve.

Growth Mindset and Job Performance

Even though Professor Dweck’s research started as a study into an individual’s mindset, it has evolved into something that can be applied to entire companies. Benefits can be seen in the performance of a company as a whole and the performance of each employee.

A survey by Carol Dweck and her colleagues shows that the companies where CEOs practice the growth mindset principles are 49% more open to innovation. Their workers are more creative and willing to cooperate, as there’s no competition between them. It turns out that competition, often spurred by the fixed mindset environment, is not the way to success. It’s better to opt for a growth mindset instead.

All in all, it seems that companies with a growth mindset seem to be more willing to risk and innovate. Perhaps even more importantly, employees of these companies are more satisfied with their work. They feel more confident and supported by their superiors.

Growth Mindset and Mental Health

We have touched on many benefits to a growth mindset, but there’s even more! It is also great for your everyday life and health, including mental health. Here’s what happens when you use a growth mindset:

  • You no longer worry about failures and mistakes, which makes you more resistant to stress and depression. It can also prevent burnout.
  • Your confidence is boosted because you believe in yourself and enjoy what you do.
  • You no longer need to prove your worth to everyone around you since you don’t crave approval so much.
  • The desire for perfection doesn’t nibble away at your self-esteem. You simply don’t need to be perfect at everything anymore.
  • You don’t let stereotypes define who you are. You are in charge.
  • You can genuinely and fearlessly enjoy whatever you’ve set out to do, even if you’ve never done it before. With this comes openness to new experiences and opportunities to grow.
  • You are more inclined to stick to a healthy lifestyle when you have a growth mindset.

Growth Mindset’s Benefits for Your Brain

If you are still skeptical about a growth mindset, neuroscience has come to the rescue. It teaches us that our brain is way less rigid than we might think. In reality, it is malleable and adaptable. Allow us to introduce you to the concept of neuroplasticity.

It turns out that we can train the brain through effort and hard work. When we practice the desired skill, it encourages neural growth, which develops our talents and potentially makes us smarter. Kids, adults, and the elderly can benefit from this. Actual science says the growth mindset is the way to go: you better believe it!

If you have faith in your brain’s abilities, put in enough work, and try to follow a healthier lifestyle, the growth mindset will benefit you greatly. Your behaviors will change, and your motivation will almost certainly grow, along with your achievements. Eventually, learning itself—the process that a growth mindset encourages—will become easier. And this is simply because you firmly believe that your intelligence is not unchangeable but rather a flexible and responsive instrument that you can improve over time. 

On the contrary, if you do not believe that, you are more likely to be set in your ways. There is so much potential in you that you waste if you deny your brain the opportunity to create new connections and develop.          

🎯 15 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset  

Don’t worry if you see yourself reflected in the description of a fixed mindset and desperately want to change it to a growth mindset. The good news is that there are ways to do that. We’ll tell you all about them right now:

  1. Embrace the flaws in yourself and others. Don’t be limited by your idea of perfection. If you let that go, you can grow and expand your horizons.
  2. Look at the positive side of things. Negativity only causes more negativity, and it doesn’t help you focus and put in the effort. Didn’t succeed at something? That’s not a reason to feel bad about yourself. Instead, give yourself permission to be happy that you’ve tried and summon the will to try again.
  3. Practice mindfulness. Train yourself to stay present in the moment and be aware of everything around you.
  4. Learn to see constructive feedback as encouragement instead of criticism. If you have a growth mindset brain, you should know better than to pout whenever someone comments on your performance. See what you can do better and use it to your advantage. 
  5. Set realistic goals. Once you have your intention in mind, you can plan the steps you need to reach it. Make the purpose measurable and straightforward.
  6. Learn to appreciate the process and not just the end result. Part of a growth mindset involves focusing on the journey, not the destination.   
  7. Allow yourself to make mistakes and take risks. Here lies a huge difference between a growth and fixed mindset: losing your fear of mistakes and accepting that they are not shameful. Mistakes are a gateway to knowledge and experience.  
  8. Learn to love yourself instead of looking for appreciation from others. There is no one more important on this journey than you, and you need approval only from yourself. 
  9. Say “not yet” instead of “never.” If you haven’t mastered something yet, it is okay. The trick is to understand that just because you can’t do something now, it doesn’t mean that you will never be able to do it. 
  10. Train your brain by learning and practicing new things. Your brain can develop, and with it develops your ability to learn and acquire new skills and talents.
  11. Stay curious. Curiosity may have killed the cat, we know. But it won’t kill you. Think about all the things you don’t know yet, and get excited to learn about them!  
  12. Reflect regularly on what you learn and achieve. Take note of what you have already achieved, pat yourself on the back, and say, “Well done!”
  13. Learn from others instead of comparing yourself to them. You can learn from someone else’s experiences, not just your own.
  14. Recognize that you’re responsible for your progress. Unless you allow yourself to grow, nothing will happen.
  15. Believe in yourself. Push your boundaries, get uncomfortable, make mistakes and correct them, and don’t forget that you are doing a fantastic job throughout the process. Believing that nothing is impossible is the most significant step in the right direction.  

These are some of the essential ideas that you need to internalize as you start on the path of growth. Trust the science and be ready to welcome the changes that will come with adopting a growth mindset! Which of these steps are you going to take first? Let us know in the comments!

🔍 References

This article was developed by the editorial team of Custom-Writing.org, a professional writing service with 3-hour delivery.
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