My 17-year-old son has gotten into spray paint art over the last year or so and he creates some really beautiful pieces. When you look at his work today, you would never know that when he was about 10, he couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler and swore he had no artistic talent at all.
What helped him become the talented young artist he is now? A growth mindset. I didn’t let him believe that he had no artistic talent. I encouraged him to realize there were many kinds of artistic talent and he just needed to find the one he clicked with. I also encouraged him to understand that everyone is “bad” at things when they’re new to it but with practice and determination, he could improve.
I made sure that both he and his brother didn’t grow up with a fixed mindset because I knew they could do so much more in life with a growth mindset.
Fixed mindset vs. growth mindset
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe your intelligence, talents, and basic abilities are fixed. You’re born with this basic set of abilities, talents, and level of intelligence and there’s nothing you can do to change them. And this belief holds you back because you believe you’re stuck as you are.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, you understand that you can improve your abilities and talents through dedication and hard work. You might have a basic set you were born with, but you can add to them, much like you can buy a basic toolkit at a hardware store and add additional tools you know you’ll use to it.
The interesting thing is that we aren’t born with a fixed mindset. If we were, babies would never learn to crawl or walk. They’d think all they were capable of was lying around babbling. Yet we see it everyday as babies try over and over to crawl or walk until they finally get it.
So where does that fixed mindset come from then?