Facilitation takes confidence and the willingness to learn simply by doing, which brings with it the risk of making mistakes in front of those you’re trying to facilitate. But mistakes shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. Indeed, you should seize the opportunity to learn from it, which is part of having a growth mindset. Born from a study over three decades ago into students’ attitudes to failure, the fixed and growth mindset theory still guides many teaching institutions.The initial research led by psychologist Dr Carol Dweck investigated why some students seemed to bounce back after a setback while others appeared devastated by even the smallest failure. From this, Dweck coined the terms fixed and growth mindsets to reflect people’s underlying beliefs about learning and intelligence. And while this was initially a study into students, it applies to us adults as well.
So how do you know what mindset you have?
Those with a fixed mindset believe intelligence is static. This leads to a desire to appear intelligent and therefore leads to a tendency to avoid challenges. Such people fear failure, get defensive or give up easily when obstacles are encountered; they also ignore constructive feedback.
On the other hand, those with a growth mindset believe intelligence can be developed – they have an appetite to learn and continually grow. These people embrace challenges, view mistakes as part of the learning process and persist in the face of setbacks. They see effort as the path to mastery and learn from criticism. As a result they reach ever higher levels of development.
Not quite sure where you fall on the fixed/growth scale? Take this quick test and find out.
The great thing is we can change our beliefs, so if you’re being held back from realising your full potential by a fixed mindset it’s time to train your brain to operate otherwise. Just think what you could achieve!
Top tips for developing a growth mindset
- Acknowledge and embrace imperfections
- View challenges as opportunities
- Try different learning styles
- Swap the word ‘failing’ for ‘learning’
- Stop seeking approval
- See criticism as positive