By James Anderson
Last week, I spoke about the first of two crucial points that must be understood about the Growth Mindset that allow us to respond thoughtfully to current criticisms. That is, the Growth Mindset is not growth – it is simply the understanding that growth is possible.
The second point we need to understand to set the record straight is this:
The Growth Mindset existed before Professor Carol Dweck.
Dweck did not invent the Growth Mindset. She observed it, often in people who had achieved great growth.
Growth Mindsets existed well before the current “hype” and will endure regardless of whether the term survives the present wave of excitement. Growth Mindsets are real.
The fact is, many people understand they are capable of changing their most basic characteristics and they act accordingly. They understand it because their lived experience has been one of growth – they don’t need Dweck or their classroom teacher to tell them they are capable of growth!
George Bernard Shaw, who died in 1950, perfectly captured the Growth Mindset when he said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” I’m sure if Dweck could apply her Growth Mindset tests to Shaw, she’d quickly recognise he had a Growth Mindset!
So, for me, the interesting question is: How did Shaw and countless others develop their Growth Mindset before the term had even been coined? What type of “intervention” resulted in their Growth Mindset?