Summer Springboard Success Stories

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

May 3, 2017

If you read our last post, you know that grit is what you need to be successful. To truly be the greatest you can be and reach your highest potential you need to pair your grit with a growth mindset. If you can do that, you will find success in this World.

So let’s find out what kind of mindset you have. Think about these scenarios:

Scenario 1: You walk into day one of your Calculus class a little nervous because math is not your best subject. The teacher drops the syllabus on your desk. It is loaded with tests, due dates, and projects. A jam packed schedule of high level math for the next 9 months.

Scenario 2: You opted out of PE this year and decided to take a study hall instead to get ahead in your SAT prep. But you just found out that the Leadership School you want to attend this summer has a requirement that you pass a physical exam. It consists of swimming the length of a swimming pool, 10 push ups, 20 sit ups, and a shuttle run in under 3 minutes.

Scenario 3: You really want to go to college. You will be the first one in your family to attend a 4 year program. You have ok grades, but they are not stellar. Someone close to you told you just to drop the idea. They said, you didn’t get a high enough score on the SAT and it won’t do any good to take it again. College just isn’t for you.

How did you react to each of these scenarios?

If you have a fixed mindset, you probably reacted with fear or a “give up” attitude. Maybe you thought about how to get out of Calculus?? Is it too late to drop this class? I am not smart enough for this math class! Or in scenario 2, you may have thought, welp, there goes Leadership School. I am never going to be able to swim that lap, so I should just find another place to go this summer. Scenario 3, is the worst place for a fixed mindset to be – with other fixed mindsets. If you think you are not smart enough to do something, than you are not smart enough to do it.

Now, if you have a growth mindset, you would have reacted to each situation very differently. In response to scenario 1, you might have thought: Ok, this is going to be tough, but I can do it! I can get a tutor if I have trouble, or find a friend to study with on the weekends. When learning your leadership school had a fitness test, you may have reacted by rubbing your hands together and thinking I love a challenge! And immediately planning out time to exercise, maybe going to the YMCA afterschool for 30 minutes instead of straight home to study. And for Scenario 3, you would look that person square in the eye and tell them “watch me”. College is something you want, it is something you can have, and something you are totally capable of. Time to go see the counselor and figure out how to up those SAT scores and make a plan for the future.

According the Carol Dweck, a leading psychologist from Stanford University, students with a growth mindset rebound when confronted with setbacks. Those with fixed mindsets shut down and are devastated even after the smallest of setbacks. Her research suggests that you can develop a growth mindset by changing the way you think about yourself. The brain is malleable and can be changed, even by thoughts. The first step towards a growth mindset is to believe that you can get smarter, and to understand that effort makes you better, smarter, and stronger. Therefore if you put in extra time and effort (aka.grit) it will lead to higher achievement and success.
If you are looking to develop your mindset, boost your grit, and create a path to success join us this July at one of our 2 week programs.