Posts Tagged ‘growth-mindset’

Adopting a Growth Mindset

Posted on: July 10th, 2020 by jmbroekman No Comments
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Developing a Growth Mindset

I am recalibrating my vocabulary and learing to turn the word failure into the phrase ‘not yet’. I recently heard a TED Talk by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck in which she talked about a school in Chicago, where the grading system was “pass/not yet”. There is no failing grade. The result of this simple change is that the students are developing a growth rather than a fixed mindset. With a growth mindset comes curiosity and the willingness to try again, or explore a different approach. With a fixed mindset, you decide you aren’t good at something and don’t even try to improve. The students at this school are developing a growth mindset, they don’t give up easily and are thus more engaged in their learning.

Dweck (who wrote Mindset about this concept) posits that your mindset actually changes what you strive for and how you define success and failure. Maria Popova of Brainpickings, wrote a great piece about thisif you’d like to learn more.

Not Yet

I have that mindset when I am making books – I make a lot of not-yets along the way to the final successful book. I’m not bothered by the wrong turns, I learn something each time. Somehow with my paintings I have a much harder time. The not yet stages always feel like complete and utter failures; which in turn sends me down a rabbit hole of despair. I am trying to learn to trust all those not yet stages. To that end I’ve enrolled in a ten-week painting course with Louise Fletcher – an artist in the UK. It started this week, and already it’s opening up my mind to a lot of possibilities. She is showing me many ways I need to change my mindset. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m ready to try.

The images above are 3 stages of a painting that is clearly still a not-yet. Initially it was a quick oil sketch of some early spring flowers. It was light and airy, maybe OK. But something inside me said, nah, not yet. The last image is the most recent iteration – and it was a response to an exercise from the class this week. I’m pretty sure it’s still a not-yet painting.

But for the first time in a long time, I’m OK with that.