These days, The Growth Mindset is all the rage as a recipe for success, and for raising successful children. What does it mean?
A Growth Mindset, as discovered by Stanford professor Carol Dweck, is the inner belief that intelligence and talents can grow by effort. A Growth mindset lived out in practice means attributing successes and failures to one’s actions and effort rather than one’s fixed abilities. The opposite would be a fixed mindset. In education, it means praising children for effort rather than ability such as smartness. A child that is praised for effort will invest in effort. A child that is praised for smartness will stagnate and rely on existing abilities only.
What use is this for relationships? Well, I would like to think that a Growth mindset can be applied to about everything. For example, to the extent to which partners are well suited to each other. A fixed mindset would take this as given, a growth mindset would believe that a couple can be well matched today and better matched tomorrow. Personal affinity can grow. So can closeness.
On a sidebar, shhh, it can be a good way to influence your spouse. Praising his or her efforts…
For now, this is all theory. I challenge economists and other empirical researchers to test the effect of a growth mindset on relationships. Let me know what you found.