A Healthy Mindset

Spoke on a healthy mindset at the online webinar conducted by Metamorphosis on 19th May, 2023.

Let me start with an anecdote:

Once a young man was sitting at the beach very upset in life. It looked like he was planning to end his life. Just then he heard a voice come on just one more time. He turned around and saw a group of athletes getting trained. A young boy was trying to reach a mark but failed multiple times. But his coach wouldn’t give up. After almost 18 attempts he did it. The young man smiled and cheered along with the other onlookers. He then went to the coach and asked him how he stayed so calm and kept cheering. The coach said let me finish my session I have the answer to your question. Soon the coach and the young man started walking together. The coach then asked –  Did you know that lions only succeed in a quarter of their hunting attempts — This means they fail in 75% of their attempts & succeed in only 25% of them. Despite this small percentage shared by most predators, they don’t despair in their pursuit and hunting attempts. The main reason for this is not because of hunger as some might think but it is the understanding of the “ Law of Wasted Efforts ” that have been instinctively built into animals, a law in which nature is governed. Half of the eggs of fish are eaten. Half of the baby bears die before puberty. Most of the world’s rains fall in oceans. And most of the seeds of trees are eaten by birds. Scientists have found that animals, trees, & other forces of nature are more receptive to the law of “wasted efforts”.  Only humans think that the lack of success in a few attempts is failure. How to deal with failure is not taught i school.

What kind of a mindset did the young man and the coach have?

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but ground breaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavour can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.

These two mindsets have led to the formation of many more. Scout mindset, entrepreneurial mindset, Self-trust mindset, Goal-setting mindset, Patient mindset., Courageous mindset, Focused mindset, Positive mindset, Learning mindset and so on…


What is a mindset?

Mindset is a set of beliefs that shape how you make sense of the world and yourself. It influences how you think, feel, and behave in any given situation. It means that what you believe about yourself impacts your success or failure.

How is Mindset Formed?

Dweck’s research reveals two primary sources: praising and labeling, both of which occur in early childhood.

The Impact of Praise

In a series of experiments, Dweck and her colleagues found that kids behaved very differently depending on the type of praise they received. They found that personal praise, or praising a child’s talents or labeling them as “smart,” promotes a fixed mindset. It sends a message to a child that they either have an ability or they don’t, and that there is nothing they can do to change that fact.

Process praise, on the other hand, emphasizes the effort a person puts in to accomplish a task. It implies their success is due to the effort and the strategy they used, both of which they can control and improve over time.

One of the best examples is Sachin Tendulkar. At the young age of 15, he played 55 matches back to back. He would practice 2 hours and then play for 6 hours and practice 2 hours again. He would reach home and fall asleep at the dining table. His coach would keep coins on the stumps. He focussed on the process of the game.

The Impact of Labels

Labelling, which involves assigning people characteristics based on stereotypes or associations with different groups, can also lead to the development of fixed or growth mindsets. A person who holds a stereotype that girls are bad at math or that boys are bad at reading may form a fixed mindset about their own abilities in those specific domains.

The Impact of Mindset

Your mindset plays a critical role in how you cope with life’s challenges. When a child has a growth mindset, they tend to have a hunger for learning and a desire to work hard and discover new things. This often translates into academic achievement.

How to Unfix a Fixed Mindset

While people with a fixed mindset might not agree, Dweck suggests that people are capable of changing their mindsets. Here’s how.

  • Focus on the journey. An important factor when building a growth mindset is seeing the value in your journey. When you’re fixated on the end result, you miss out on all the things you could be learning along the way.
  • Incorporate “yet.” If you’re struggling with a task, remind yourself that you just haven’t mastered it “yet.” Integrating this word into your vocabulary signals that despite any struggles, you can overcome anything.
  • Pay attention to your words and thoughts. Replace negative thoughts with more positive ones to build a growth mindset. Having a positive state of mind can improve your sense of well-being, and your ability to function confidently in everyday life, especially when a challenge arises.
  • Take on challenges. Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn. So, instead of shying away from challenges, embrace them.
  • Accept yourself for who you are

Many people struggle with the concept of self-love.  It can be hard to have self-love when we are constantly comparing ourselves to others.

·      Make healthy food choices 

A healthy, balanced approach to eating is actually sustainable for the long-term, and can make you feel so much better in your everyday life!

·      Appreciate the little things

Our lives can be so hectic, and many of us have to balance demands from different areas in our lives — work, friends and family

·      Find a hobby

Starting a new hobby is also a great way to be productive with your free time, or for you to meet like-minded people and expand your networks beyond your usual social circle.

·      Give back to others

Being part of a community and offering support to others is a part of maintaining healthy relationships.

·      Talk about your feelings

Many of us keep a lot of our feelings in, whether that be sadness, anger or disappointment.

It might be that you don’t talk about your feelings because you don’t want to “bother” people with your problems. However, talking about what you are feeling can help to process your thoughts and feelings, and move on from them.

·      Review your life regularly

Time is so precious, and it seems to be going by faster and faster each year. You may have goals in mind that you would like to achieve. Every few months track them.

·      Focus on what you can control

Many of us spend a lot of time worrying about things we can’t control, but ultimately this can cause further stress.

·      Use failure to encourage success

Instead, focus your efforts on problems you CAN control, and if these seem enormous, break them down into smaller problems and tasks.

A Few more mindsets

Dr. Harish Shetty mentioned in his post a few days ago that after his session he received 3 chits of paper saying ‘I want to die’. He immediately contacted the school and asked them to compare the handwriting in order to identify the students. They identified two and search is on for third one. Depressed mind set.   Such cases cannot be ignored.

Two teachers of Rhymes n Rumbles preschool in Mumbai were arrested for mistreating, hitting and pinching toddlers after video footage was provided by parents.

I would say that teachers should cater to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs before teaching Bloom’s taxonomy.

If the teacher is herself / himself going through a dark phase it would be difficult to deal with the problem on hand. Counsel the teachers and get her / him to think positive, find personal strength, thankful for what he / she  has, discover new meaning in life, when one door closes god opens a window – new possibilities open up.

Help the teacher to de-catastrophise the issue on hand. Counsellors should be able to do this.

As a colleague you could empathise, and give a shoulder to lean on.

In the movie ‘Man called Otto’, it is shown that Otto is a cantankerous old widower, who pines for his wife. He is depressed, wanted to end his life. But the bubbly neighbour imbued in him a sense of belongingness and transformed the cantankerous, disgruntled old man into a caring old man.   Share love, compassion and care.

Published by Dr. Pramila Kudva

I am a teacher educator currently worrking as a Principal of a reputed school in North Mumbai, have more than 30 years of experience, with several publications to my credit and have authored a book -"From chalk to Talk The Art of Teaching.

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