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Before you go for your next training course...

The Growth Mindset is the prerequisite for learning success

I would like to introduce you to Dr Carol Dweck of Stanford University. She wrote a phenomenal book entitled, "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success". It is subtitled, "How we can learn to fulfill our potential." I strongly recommend that you purchase this book because it contains real research on how the two mindsets impact our learning, and therefore, our growth.

Before I go on, take this assessment which is taken from Dr Dweck's book:

Read each statement and decide whether you mostly agree with, or disagree with it:

1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can't change very much.

2. You can learn new things, but you can't really change how intelligent you are.

3. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.

4. You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.


If you mostly agreed with Questions 1 and 3, you have the tendency to be a fixed mindset person. If you mostly agreed with Questions 2 and 4, you are likely to be a growth-mindset person. If you mostly agreed (or disagreed) with all of them, then you're probably not thinking hard enough - although there are people who tended to look at the world in both fixed and growth mindset lenses. But ultimately, there are not many of them like that, and I bet you have one or the other mindset tendency.

So why is this so important in learning, and why should one develop the growth mindset first?

Basically, the growth mindset is one which embraces learning by doing, and while it forms an opinion about matters, it is not fixated by it and it will do experiments to uncover more information about it. As such, the growth mindset is a pre-requisite for learning. Afterall, if one does not think that intelligence will change with learning, then no learning will take place.

I am reminded of the time when I was in the Army - many years ago. As a "scholar", I have viewed my intellect with some pride. Being in an office that develops policy that impacts 350,000 people, I felt that there was nothing someone could teach me about decision-making and problem solving. (Especially not since I have a degree in engineering!)

But there I was, sitting in a decision-making class with fellow officers listening to some trainer whom I quickly dismissed as not being able to teach me anything I didn't already know.

Guess what? I didn't learn anything from the class. In fact, it convinced me that I should not attend any more training, and - more importantly - I should NEVER be a trainer.

Are you surprised by this? I don't think so. Afterall, it was my arrogance, and my self-assuredness that fixed me in a mindset that says that I could not learn anything. And I didn't.

But fast-forward 20 years. I am now a corporate trainer, teaching people that their intelligence can increase over time, and that there is no limit to how much we can learn. In fact, I have since personally experienced that, no matter how elementary a training programme is, no matter how rudimentary the concepts are, if I embraced an openness to learning, I will certainly learn something new. It was not my intellect that stopped me from learning that day, it was my mindset.

So before you go for your next corporate training programme, train your growth mindset first. You will gain 10x times more this way.

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