Why All Teens Need A Growth Mindset

There are 2 extreme circumstances in which we humans tend to self destruct - when we have it all and when we have nothing. But, since it is our emotions that govern our actions, this is also the case when we simply feel like we have it all or nothing, or that we are something or nothing. At one extreme, low self esteem and limiting beliefs threaten our potential, and at the other, hubris is the likely catalyst of demise. However, there have been many people throughout history that have managed to pull themselves out of seemingly hopeless situations and maximize their potential, and many powerful people that have remained humble enough to avoid self sabotage. These are people with the mental strength of a Growth Mindset.

A Growth Mindset is a sort of armor for the mind that resists the downward pull of the environment.

According to Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, “In a (learner's) mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

Imagine our thoughts to be like a dropdown menu, where we are presented with numerous choices of interpretations of an event. The logic behind our selection can be thought of as a mindset. When we select thoughts based on our feelings, our emotions are choosing our mindset, but when we have the mindset first, then the emotion is a byproduct, not an ingredient. A growth mindset, also often referred to as learner's mindset, sho shin, and various other names, is a way of thinking that promotes perseverance and resilience in the face of all adversity. People with a learner's mindset are often motivated by curiosity, creativity, self expression and purpose. These motives also correspond with the highest level on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, self actualization. As such, these individuals take full responsibility for themselves and hold themselves accountable for their actions.

Although anyone can benefit from adopting it, a growth mindset is a tremendous anchor for kids and much easier to instill while their minds are developing.

As they navigate through the often cruel social media world that we live in, they are constantly receiving messages about who they should be and how they should act. Kids that are equipped with this strong mindset have the emotional awareness and control to know what feedback they should ignore and what feedback they should accept. By changing the habits of their thought selection, they can be taught to avoid the pitfalls of the 2 extreme circumstances.

In the absence of a growth mindset and emotional control, a wide range of relational and mental health problems can ensue. This can be seen on the larger scale, with issues like teen suicide rates at a highest since 2000. Ingratiating a learner's mindset into kids is more necessary now than ever.

Changing someone's thought patterns requires their cooperation, which requires their consent, and a sympathetic approach throughout the process.

3 Elements Needed To Instill A Growth Mindset In Teens

When trying to persuade teens, us adults tend to use rationality but our rationality is often returned with placating responses, and sometimes no responses. If rationality worked, we would never find ourselves baffled with their logic. Even when we are able to read their emotions correctly, telling someone not to feel the way they are feeling is rarely effective.

Persuading them to think a certain way will require depth. Here are 3 elements that are needed to instill a growth mindset in teens:

1. Trust

To change a person's way of thinking, trust is a critical element. The person must trust in the accuracy of the information that's being conveyed to them, and they must trust that the intention of the source is in their best interest. Gaining trust requires a sympathetic approach, so that they are assured that their perspective has been understood.

2. Information articulated in a way that suits them

This first includes knowing the information that needs to be conveyed, and then conveying it in a way that leads to them accepting it. For a psychological change, such as the changing of a mindset, an awareness of the triggers and tendencies, and the short term and long term benefits and consequences of each thought path will need to be communicated. For the efforts to really be effective, they should be thought provoking.

3. Consistency

Changing any habit requires consistency: consistency in the length of time it is practiced before it becomes automatic, consistency in the environment while the new patterns are still being learned, and consistency in the message.

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