We remembered, throughout the month of January, the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. We remembered his actions. We remembered his words. We remembered his mindset.
While there were many individuals and groups fighting to advance equity and inclusion in our nation during the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King’s legacy has been the most celebrated and the most enduring. There are, of course, many explanations for this, ranging from the ideological to the political. But perhaps there is another reason, one linked to the mind.
MLK refused to accept that broken and unjust systems were fixed. He also refused to accept that individuals were powerless to change these systems, just as an individual with a growth mindset refuses to accept that they are not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. Growth Mindsetters, like MLK, keep moving forward and view challenges, setbacks, and feedback as opportunities to change, improve, and eventually succeed. While Martin Luther King Junior worked to change widespread laws and social systems, perhaps one of the largest fixed systems he sought to change was the mindset of a nation. After all, in order for laws and systems to change, people had to first change their minds. In his pursuit of this goal, King was dogged: a pillar of grit and perseverance.
MLK certainly had a growth mindset. But he also had a unique gift for inspiring others to grow their mindsets. This was his genius and his gift: his ability to lift up others and help them to believe that they could be more in the face of those who were determined to make them less, and his commitment to showing others how.
Unfortunately, the fight for equity and inclusion in our country is not over. We have moved forward, but we have not yet reached “the promised land.” Therefore, it is our opportunity and our obligation to continue to move forward, to grow our minds, and to continue to inspire others to do the same. Thank you, Dr. King, for showing us how.
Serendipity School’s September Growth Mindset Motto: “EVERYONE CAN LEARN”
Originally Published September, 2017
Childhood is about constant change. Every second, every minute, children are growing and changing: in stature, in knowledge, and in personal and interpersonal skills and abilities. Ironically, and seemingly in spite of this, children crave stability; they often find it difficult to understand and process change, to be forgiving of themselves as they learn to master new things, to appreciate the power of their own potential. This is why it is so important for us as parents, educators, and mentors to teach and nurture the whole child, and to introduce Growth Mindset thinking at a young age. Growth Mindset is a growth and learning philosophy that states that with the right attitude and approach, EVERYONE CAN.
Growth Mindset is a term coined by Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist and made popular by her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. According to Dweck, mindset is a “self-theory” or a personal perception—it’s how we feel about ourselves. A person with a fixed mindset believes that personal abilities are facts that cannot be changed–they say, “I can’t.” Conversely, says Dweck, people with a growth mindset “believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” A person with a growth mindset says either, “I CAN” or “I can’t… yet, but I will keep working and trying until I CAN.”
When learning to develop a Growth Mindset at any age it is important to understand how the brain works and to be aware that different types of mindsets exist and (most importantly) can be changed. Developing a Growth Mindset becomes increasingly difficult (but is still possible), the more rooted the individual becomes in a fixed mindset. For this reason, it is easier for children to cultivate a Growth Mindset than adults, because their habits have not yet become so ingrained. This means that a child who learns early on to adopt and nurture a Growth Mindset has the potential for incredible growth and success.
Dweck says that these six things can help to guide the individual in the development of a Growth Mindset.
- Be aware of your mindset and when it is challenged
- Push through challenges
- Seek constructive criticism
- Review and learn from mistakes
- Listen to how you talk about yourself
- Work through your feelings
TEST YOUR MINDSET:
EXPLORE GROWTH MINDSET:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Carol Dweck
CHILDREN’S BOOKS THAT TEACH GROWTH MINDSET:
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D.
Making a Splash: A Growth Mindset Children’s Book by Carol E. Reiley
What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett
Thanks for the Feedback, I Think… by Julia Cook
VIDEOS ON GROWTH MINDSET:
Carol Dweck on Growth Mindset
Short Videos on Growth Mindset