Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset

Hayley Andrews

Year 7, St Phillip's Christian College

When you hear the question “what is worth preserving?”, the first things that come to mind are probably physical things, for example: Reefs, heritage buildings, wildlife and more. However, if you think deeper, you will find a countless number of feelings, mannerisms and ways of thinking that are worth preserving. I will be writing about a very powerful tool called a Growth Mindset. A Growth Mindset is a way of thinking about your talents and abilities, for example, when you experience failure a person with a Growth Mindset would take that as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and do things differently the next time. In contrast, someone with a Fixed Mindset would view failure as permanent, and something that cannot be changed.

Carol Dweck often refers to mindsets as on a continuum. In our world today we are faced with many changes. These range from changes in technology, to changes in how people interact, to changes in the types of jobs we might expect to have when we grow up. These changes are happening around us all the time and present many challenges that mean it is important to accept those failures are a part of learning. Adopting a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed Mindset will impact our choices, our behaviour and our ability to grow and learn from experiences.

A Fixed Mindset affects our choices because of the way it makes you view feedback. When criticism is given, someone with a Fixed Mindset will hear it aa personal attack because they consider abilities and talents as personal characteristics instead of things to be developed. A Fixed Mindset would therefore mean that you will choose easier tasks so that you are less likely to fail. They would also put minimal effort into them rather than trying your best. If you have a Fixed Mindset you are also more likely to give up when you face an obstacle because why try if your talent or ability is already determined. This means you will never know what you could have achieved. Someone with a Fixed Mindset usually focuses on measurable achievements, which involves comparing yourself to others. You are less likely to take creative risks to solve problems. It is easy to see how a Fixed Mindset would limit your possibilities and choices in a rapidly changing world.

A Growth Mindset is a way of thinking that is a really important skill that I think everyone should have. A Growth Mindset also affects your choices and outcomes because of the way you view challenges. When criticism is given to a person with a Growth Mindset, they view the criticism as feedback and as a chance to learn from their mistakes. A person with a Growth Mindset would try to branch out and try new things and grow and develop in their skills. They strive for excellence and choose difficult tasks and try their best to complete them. They view learning as a journey. When they are faced with challenges, they problem solve, they view that as a chance to experiment. This is a useful skill in our ever-changing world.

Now ask yourself, are you a person with a growth mindset?