Cultivating a Growth Mindset

It was a privilege and a pleasure addressing the Sunday School kids on the opening Sunday of 2020. I had been reflecting for some time on some of my most impactful learning’s which I oftentimes wish I had learnt more about as a kid. Of these, one that stood out for me was the impact of cultivating the right mindset. Our mindset is a type of blueprint for success in life. Without the right mindset, nothing is possible. But with the right mindset, everything is possible. For this Sunday, I chose to share with the kids about the importance of cultivating a growth mindset.

What is a growth mindset? : In a growth 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.

The research: Over 30 years ago, Carol Dweck and her colleagues became interested in students’ attitudes about failure. They noticed that some students rebounded while other students seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks.After studying the behavior of thousands of children, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.

Brain plasticity: Recent advances in neuroscience have shown us that the brain is far more malleable than we ever knew. Research on brain plasticity has shown how connectivity between neurons can change with experience. These neuroscientific discoveries have shown us that we can increase our neural growth by the actions we take, such as using good strategies, asking questions, practicing, and following good nutrition and sleep habits.

Use it or lose it!: Referring to the Parable of the Talents from the book of Mathew,we talked about how the mindset of each of the servants affected them.

“For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an
abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away”.

– Matthew 25 : 29.

The servant who was entrusted with five talents brought another five back. He was able to achieve this because he had a growth mindset that enabled him to try and learn and overcome impediments which may have come his way. On the other hand, the servant entrusted with one talent chose not to even try. He had made his peace with the fact that his master was a diffi cult man and that he would not be able to gain anything in the ordeal. In other words, he was limited by his limiting beliefs and a fixed mindset.

How does this story apply to our lives? Scientific studies on neurogenesis reveal that our brains can grow new neurons throughout our lives. A person in their eighties still grows new neurons. But to harness the potential of these newborn cells, we need to keep challenging ourselves, explore new things, exercise, and see the proverbial cup, not as half empty, but as half full. In other words, use it or lose it!

The power of ‘yet’ : The kids then did some activities focused on the power of the word “yet”. The older kids identified areas in their lives where they can build their muscles and become stronger.

The younger ones made a chart about the things they couldn’t do yet: The tiny word ‘yet’, is one of the most important and powerful words in the English language. When people view their situation as a condition, rather than a problem, they treat it passively and tend not to make any effort to change things. Conditions are lived with, managed or coped with whereas a problem is something to solve. The word ‘yet’ influences our attitude about issues we face in life and helps us realize that we have agency and the power to effect meaningful change in our lives.

IMP UPDATE: Regular Services will be conducted Every Sunday @ 8:15AM and 10am, at both the Church & Online