I first heard about the “growth mindset” in a TED talk shared on Facebook. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before! Though I had heard and read about personal success stories – how confidence, hard work, determination and perseverance led people to their dreams and achieve great success, I had not heard about this psychological aspect of “mindset”. It was encouraging and relieving to know that “talent” and “intelligence” was not quite as finite or inborn as I thought it to be.
Carol Dweck explores the thoughts and effects of a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset” in her book “Mindset: The new Psychology of success”. People with fixed mindset believe that they have a finite level of intelligence and talent and they have a preconceived notion of their capability on every task. When they have it in the limiting sense (as is often the case), they learn less than they actually can. Also, it prevents them from trying things they haven’t ever done and make conclusions very soon – “I just can’t dance”, ” Math is not my thing” etc.
When people have a growth mindset, they believe that talent and intelligence are not finite and that it can be improved by hard work. A person who has a growth mindset will eventually perform much better than a person with a fixed mindset of the same talent because of this ” talent is flexible and can be elongated” belief.
Quoting from Education Reform website :
Students who embrace growth mindsets—the belief that they can learn more or become smarter if they work hard and persevere—may learn more, learn it more quickly, and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills.
To summarize, it doesn’t matter if you were not a born-dancer/actor/singer, you can still be excellent at it through sheer hard work!
For our upcoming Onam program here, I suggested a song that I liked and thought we could do some simple steps. My friend however came up with a YouTube dance video of the song and suggested we do that – my jaw dropped on seeing it – it was a pure classical dance form called Mohiniyaattom. Even when people learn dance, they often start with Bharathanatyam because Mohiniyaattom requires tremendous grace and involves a lot of swaying movements. The steps though not fast has a definite style and the flair is developed only over years of training. My thoughts ranged from ” how am I going to do a decent job on this” to ” what would people think” to ” would trained dancers or art lovers be agitated by our ambitious dance”.
I really don’t think I would have had the confidence to try it as someone not trained in any dance form and only 2 dances old – if not for my knowledge on the growth mindset. It really propels me to give it a shot, no matter what :). So thats what we have been practicing weekly for the last 2 months..hope it comes out well! I am trying my best and going for it because “20 years from now, you will regret more about the things that you did not do rather than the things that you did”.
What are you going to try today?!!
Here is the TEDtalk. Do yourself a favor and watch it!