The neuroscience of growth mindset and intrinsic motivation.
A commitment to learning can be framed via the notion of holding and nurturing our individual growth mindset: an influential sense that our personal abilities, talents, and skills can be improved over time.
Based on the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, this Remarkable Resource reviews current research that explains why people holding growth mindsets tend to sustain higher success, performance, and motivation over time. It is not only that their ways-of-thinking or behaviours change to focus on self-improvement but that functioning from a growth mindset over time actually modifies structures of the brain—rendering the brains of those with more dominant growth mindsets to be more amenable to learning quicker and better over time.
Growth mindsets are associated with positive changes in the structures of the brain linked to higher awareness and attention, better error-monitoring and adaptation, and less defensiveness around behavioural change.
These changes may also increase motivation to learn, making learning more enjoyable and engaging, fostering a greater sense of control, and a higher sense of the intrinsic importance of improvement.
Growth mindsets offer a transformative means to not only perform better over time, but also feel more motivated and less anxious about challenging work and life situations that require us to learn.
- How can you better prioritize daily and or weekly learning on your own or with others? What simple things could you do with the rest of your work to prioritize more regular time for your own learning?
- Differences in mindsets between people in our workplaces contribute to differences in how the “same” situation is perceived, how feedback is given and received, and emotional reactions to challenges. Think of situations in which you have seen different mindsets played out in different people. What do these difference say about the power and influence of our mindsets?
- In relation to your learning in 2021, what single key element of your life or work will you prioritize to learn more around? Set up a plan to make sure you engage in that learning for the rest of the year.