Advertising
Advertising

Published on February 27, 2020

7 Growth Mindset Dos And Don’ts

7 Growth Mindset Dos And Don’ts

When it comes to the mind, there is so much the average individual doesn’t know. Take the idea of a growth mindset, for example.

Many believe that our own abilities and our intelligence remained fixed after some point in time. Some think this happens at birth, while others may think it’s after college or university.

The reality, however, is that our minds are constantly growing and adapting. How much depends entirely on our view of intelligence and learning.

These ideas came surfaced when Stanford University’s Carol Dweck researched the subject. In her book on the matter, she talks about these notions and also about a solution to the issues of mental stagnation.

That solution is the growth mindset.

I’ve shared information about this before, but for this post, I want to explain some dos and don’ts of nurturing a growth mindset.

After all, one does not simply follow one trail and begin to grow. There are various traps along the way — namely, the false growth mindset.

What Is the False Growth Mindset?

At the start of her research, there were two mindsets that Carol Dweck stumbled upon. These mindsets were the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.

How you determined which mindset you fell into was based on how you faced your failures and challenges.

Advertising

All of these ideas are explored by Dweck through her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. [1]

However, the question of where this false growth mindset comes from was where Dweck returned to in order to further explore this topic.

In 2016, she uncovered something called the false growth mindset. In her words, a false growth mindset is:

“…saying you have a growth mindset when you don’t really have it or you don’t really understand [what it is]. It’s also false in the sense that nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time.” – Carol Dweck [2]

Dweck expands:

“Everyone is a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. You could have a predominant growth mindset in an area but there can still be things that trigger you into a fixed mindset trait… So I think we all, students and adults, have to look for our fixed-mindset triggers and understand when we are falling into that mindset.” [3]

It can be easy to assume you have a growth mindset, simply because you are aware of the concept, but that does not mean you will not stumble along your journey of growth.

Why Is It so Bad?

We can break the problem down into three simple points:

  • First, if you have a false growth mindset, it means you don’t have a grasp of the area you’re trying to improve upon. This, in turn, leads to distorted applications of the growth mindset.
  • Second, improper use of a growth mindset can lead to undeserved praise. Praising someone despite a failure only makes the problems worse, as it’s processed as a consolation prize rather than a reward.
  • Finally, while a growth mindset will encourage us to learn, any other mindset can distort our view of learning. Many fixed mindset individuals don’t bother studying further and improving skills. The same can be true for those with a false growth mindset.

Dos and Don’ts of a Growth Mindset

Fortunately, there are remedies to a false growth mindset. Here are some key dos and don’ts that you can use to ensure that you are developing the proper mindset.

Advertising

1. Do Change How You Praise

Whether it’s to yourself or to someone else, how you phrase praise matters to how others interpret it.

One of the key differences between those with fixed mindsets and growth mindsets is how they’ve been praised.

How you can get a true growth mindset over a false one depends on how you word your praise. So, to help you with praise phrasing, here is a chart that touches on person- and process-praise.[4]

    The key is to focus on praising the process that leads to the outcome. This is a different approach than praising only the outcome or the effort that was put into it.

    This prevents you from a false growth mindset, as most teachers who adopt the false method will focus on praising exclusively effort.

    2. Do Emphasize Learning Goals

    Learning goals are the goals that spark curiosity and push someone forward. You can say these goals are all effort-based, as they require more action.

    The action part is important because learning isn’t all about hitting a certain test score or grade in a class. Learning goals focus on understanding the topic for the sake of it in order to complete a task.

    For this reason, you want to avoid performance-based goals like getting a certain score or achieving a specific grade.

    Advertising

    Of course, we all want to pass, and that’s important, but our focus should be on learning more so than on hitting a specific number.

    3. Don’t Praise Effortless Achievement

    What I mean by this is don’t focus so much on finishing something as quickly as possible. Nor should you dish out praise if something is passed to you in record time.

    If something is obtained without so much as breaking a sweat or learning anything, then it wasn’t time well spent. In those situations, it’s worth looking back at your goals or moving on to something else.

    4. Do Attribute Success to Effort

    While we should be avoiding some effort-based praise, the fact still stands that you need to put in the effort to succeed. If you’re not working hard and smart, then you aren’t going to be able to solve your problems.

    With this in mind, be sure to incorporate strategies, plans, and setting strong goals that will bring you to your version of success.

    5. Don’t Label Yourself or Others as “Smart”

    Yes, people can be intelligent, but there isn’t a need to bring that up. The word “smart” suggests that you or the other person has an innate ability of higher intelligence.

    And while our innate abilities do matter, a lot of us overestimate how important they are on a general scale or in specific subjects.

    Remember that many people stop actively learning once they have a degree. In other words, most people attribute their intelligence to this degree and feel there isn’t a need to learn more, even if that degree was obtained years ago.

    Industries evolve and change every day, and what we learned as recently as two or three years ago may not be relevant today.

    Advertising

    6. Do Accept Mistakes

    Mistakes are part of the process and are needed for us to grow. Again, Dweck’s conclusions stemmed from student’s reactions to problems and mistakes that they made.

    It’s an important criterion and ingredient to determine our mindsets.

    As such, if we want to develop a true growth mindset, we want to embrace our mistakes.

    7. Make Mistakes Part of the Learning Model

    Not only should we accept mistakes, we should also incorporate them into the learning process. You don’t need to be in a school atmosphere to apply this. Some prime examples are at work.

    Say, for instance, that the company brought in a new machine or is introducing new concepts or roles that you’re struggling with. Instead of grumbling about it, take a step back and highlight the specific problems that you have.

    From there, go and look for help. This can be within your own office, or you can turn to the Internet.

    A Growth Mindset Is Within Your Reach

    Now that you have a more refined grasp on the topic, I hope that you understand why it’s so important to ensure you have the right mindset.

    There is more to a growth mindset than understanding a simple explanation or approaching failures and mistakes differently.

    While those are important, you can see already there is more at work here. A growth mindset is well within anyone’s grasp should they devote more time to practicing it the right way.

    More About the Growth Mindset

    Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Indie Bound: Mindset Paperback
    [2] The Atlantic: How Praise Became a Consolation Prize
    [3] The Atlantic: How Praise Became a Consolation Prize
    [4] MindsetKit: Do’s and don’ts of praise

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively and Easily How to Take Advantage of the 80 20 Rule to Succeed in Life How to Set Professional Development Goals for Success Social Learning How Social Learning Helps You Learn Faster and Easier How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

    Trending in Brain

    1 How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways 2 9 Types of Intelligence (And How to Know Your Type) 3 25 Memory Exercises That Actually Help You Remember More 4 What Is Social Intelligence (And How to Increase Yours) 5 How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

    How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways

    Memory plays an integral role in our lives, both in the short and long term. If you’re wondering how to improve memory, I’m here to tell you that there are natural and effective ways to do so.

    Despite what you might think, improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it.

    Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve memory efficiently and reduce the risk of memory loss.

    1. Meditate

    We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts, and figures into our conscious minds.

    Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder, then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

    Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. Research suggests that the more information and distractions you receive, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory[1].

    Fortunately, meditation can help.

    Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which, in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

    While any amount of meditation will do something to help your memory, one study pointed out that “8 but not 4 weeks of brief, daily meditation decreased negative mood state and enhanced attention, working memory, and recognition memory as well as decreased state anxiety scores”[2].

    Therefore, if you’re looking for the most benefits, try sticking with a meditation practice for at least 8 weeks.

    However, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

    2. Get Plenty of Sleep

    If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then it’s likely that you’re not able to remember well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

    If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities, including your memory.

    Advertising

    If you want to learn how to improve memory, how much sleep should you be getting?

    Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation[3], you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things[4].

    If you want to improve memory, get plenty of sleep.

      Maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!), but if you care about improving your long and short term memory, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

      Try these three things to naturally improve your sleep cycle:

      • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
      • Don’t eat too late
      • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

      Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

      However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory.

      3. Challenge Your Brain

      When was the last time you challenged your brain?

      I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or under-sleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and memory games.

      To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

      Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-solving ability, and memory.

      There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

      • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
      • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
      • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

      If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

      Advertising

      Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it; try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

      4. Take More Breaks

      When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctly remember working all the hours under the sun—and many under the moon, too!

      At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat, and tears.

      However, if you want to know how to improve memory, taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative, and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

      Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

      One 2011 study from the University of Illinois concluded that “the brain is built to detect and respond to change…and prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance”[5].

      This is based on something called the “vigilance decrement.” This can be applied to many things. For example, we often don’t notice the feeling of clothing touch our bodies because our brain becomes accustomed to the sensation. However, if you change clothes, you’ll likely notice the difference in texture and temperature for a few minutes.

      When you take a break from memorizing information, it refocuses your attention and energy, leading to increased focus overall.

      It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart, and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

      Basically, make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

      5. Learn a New Skill

      I love this quote, as it’s 100% true but frequently overlooked:

      “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

      From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

      Advertising

      Let me give you an example of this:

      Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day, many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

      Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

      The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you rather than letting you work in your own way.

      Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction into learning a new skill (computer coding).

      It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career, and the ongoing learning made the call center job much more bearable.

      Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus, and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking out new information. When learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly becomes a habit, too.

      If you want to know how to learn something new every day, check out this article.

      6. Start Working out

      If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

      Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory[6].

      Regular physical activities increase blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. A well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

      Even if you don’t have much time, research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines[7].

      Interested in getting started?

      Advertising

      Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

      • Join a gym
      • Join a sports team
      • Buy a bike
      • Take up hiking
      • Dance to your favorite music

      7. Eat Healthier Foods

      I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

      This applies to your brain, too.

      The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health, as well.

      Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery, and dark chocolate. But any fruits, vegetables, or foods high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory. Here’re some ideas: 15 Brain Foods That Will Super Boost Your Brain Power

      Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain, leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

      If you want to improve your mental health, eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

      • Turmeric – Helps new brain cells grown
      • Broccoli – Protects the brain against damage
      • Nuts – Improves memory
      • Green tea – Enhances brain performance, memory and focus[8]
      • Fish oilFish oil supplements can increase your brain power

      Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

      Also, remember that your brain is about 75% water, so dehydration can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions. Stay hydrated if you really want to improve memory!

      Final Thoughts

      I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be helpful for you.

      You don’t need to implement them all, but you can try out the ones that appeal to you.

      But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory and avoiding cognitive decline, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested.

      More on How to Improve Memory

      Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next