Consider the following situation:
You studied really hard for your most recent test, and started earlier on your preparation than you ever have before. You also took a couple hours yesterday to really drill yourself on vocab, mixing up your flashcards and practicing front to back and back to front. For what it's worth, it’s rainy today, and you love the rain. When you get to class, you finally got your test back and after all of your work and intention you received a C-.
The attitudes we have during obstacle-ridden days are good illustrators of our mindset. Carol Dweck (2006), a professor of psychology whose research specializes in motivation, found two mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. People with fixed mindsets believe that their talents, abilities, and qualities are carved in stone, whereas people with growth mindsets believe that their basic qualities such as talents and intelligence can be cultivated through their efforts (Dweck, 2006). Those with fixed mindsets avoid challenges, give up when obstacles get in their way, ignore criticism, and find the success of others threatening. Those with growth mindsets embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, learn from criticism, and are inspired by the success of others.
With the growth mindset, we can acknowledge our failures and find inspiration to keep improving. For example, getting a C- on a paper is not the end-all of your college career. That C- shows the potential for improvement and learning. The C- might inspire you to work harder and seek out the resources and tools that will help you earn the grade you are capable of achieving. While the grade may be frustrating, your mindset will affect your response to either avoid the challenge or embrace the challenge and improve your work.
Check out these tips to help you engage in your growth mindset path.
Curious to learn more about Growth Mindset? Interested in testing your own mindset? Whatever you learn and find out, be curious: where are you already utilizing a growth mindset in your life, and where might you bring more of this thinking in to play?
Come and see us if you want to talk about this or anything else you might be working on in your academic journey at OSU:
The Academic Success Center | Waldo Hall 125 | success.oregonstate.edu | 541-737-2272