I came across an article through Facebook on the learning mindset that helps children be successful learners. I don’t usually like to publish articles about parenting. I recall bristling at the advice I would get from total strangers in elevators about how to help my baby daughter stop crying.
However, Carol S. Dweck’s article in Scientific American, “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids,” is not only a great read for parents but it touches on a lot of our learning philosophy at CBD — excellence is something learned and practiced daily.
Learning Mindset — Growth vs. Fixed
The article counters the belief that levels of intelligence or ability are fixed and the key to success. In other words, a “fixed mindset” indicates you are born smart or you aren’t; if you are, you are intelligent and will be successful. At CBD, we subscribe to Dweck’s “growth mindset,” which subscribes to a process-based view of learning and improvement. Those people who are most successful see acquiring ability as a learning process and failure is merely a way to get feedback on what not to do. Hard work, determination, and paying attention to the results you get are more important to success and “ability” than what you were given at birth.
Learning Mindset — Key for Adult Swimmers
This idea of a growth learning mindset will help our adult swimmers move beyond that awkward first lesson and the inevitable skill plateaus. Certainly, we are all allotted different degrees of natural talent or intelligence. And, yes, beyond Spud Webb and Mugsy Bogues, not many 5’5″ men make it into the NBA. But Dweck is correct that we all have a huge amount of potential to learn and grow that can be stifled if we have a fixed mindset that we just aren’t good at something. In the last 15 years, we’ve seen great results in our adult and child clients who adopt the growth learning mindset practice the fundamentals mindfully on a daily basis. By “putting on the white belt” as George Leonard describes in his book Mastery, they see huge improvements and love the process.
I hope you enjoy the article and get some distinctions. I picked up Dweck’s book Mindset and have been loving it, too.