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Growth Mindset Continuum

Carol Dweck's studies on motivation and success have changed the face of psychology and education. The concepts of Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset have applications for all of us. They have certainly influenced how I show up in the classroom.

These concepts shift the paradigm from a belief that talent is naturally occurring to the idea that it can be developed through practice, persistence and feedback.

The moment I learned that success is a series of missteps with a highly integrated feedback loop, the game changed.

Growth and Fixed mindsets are two opposite ends of a spectrum. Most of us fall somewhere in between on any given day. Delineating what the journey of thought leadership looks like through creative practice can give youth a big leg up in this rapidly changing world.

While differentiating these two mindsets has been a cornerstone of the Elements of heART program, I have since come to recognize how a surface level introduction to these mindsets can in fact breed fearful thoughts in learners, which creates a slippery slope into fixed thinking.

The work of James Anderson builds on Dweck's research to create a continuum. This helps us identify black and white thinking and see that our experiences are constantly shaping us.

When I first read Dweck's book Mindset, I experienced a lot "oh no, I have a fixed mindset" moments. True to fixed mindset, I thought that this meant I was stuck there. The desire to shift my thinking was a seed of change.

The continuum was a trellis. Boatloads of research in neuroscience (by scientists like Caroline Leaf, Tara Swart, and more) became the nutrients I needed to reframe my thinking.

Ongoing creative practice and a whole lot of failure has helped me cultivate more growth oriented perspectives.

I have felt called to integrate this work into my teaching and consulting work over the past decade.

Time away from in-person teaching has reframed some of the ways that I was living up to this well and ways I can improve when we return in the fall. Currently, I'm holding the question of how to share the idea of this continuum with students in digestible and unique ways.

Remembering that our thoughts are fluid has power. We may find ourselves responding with a fixed mindset in one scenario, but we can inch our way towards mixed and growth mindsets as we develop greater awareness and habits.

It's not all or nothing. It's moment by moment.

For me and hundreds of CosmicKIDS, creativity is the key to unlocking a growth mindset with joy and wonder.

Grow on!

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