Grit/Growth Mindset

What is Grit?

Angela Duckworth defines grit as, "passion and sustained persistence applied toward long-term achievement, with no particular concern for rewards or recognition along the way. It combines resilience, ambition, and self-control in the pursuit of goals that take months, years, or even decades." You can read her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance or watch this short Ted Talk.

What Is Growth Mindset?

"We all have beliefs about our own abilities and potential. These beliefs are part of our mindset which is so powerful it can fuel our behavior and predict our success. Mindset shapes our everyday lives, helping us interpret our experiences and future possibilities.

In her research at Stanford University, Dr. Carol Dweck identified two different types of mindsets. A growth mindset occurs when we believe our intelligence and abilities can be improved upon with effort and the right strategies.

A willingness to confront challenges, a passion for learning and viewing failure as a springboard for growth are all characteristics associated with a growth mindset. Not surprisingly, this type of mindset is strongly linked to greater happiness and achievement in life.

In contrast, those with a fixed mindset believe their intelligence and abilities cannot be altered in a meaningful way. As a result, mistakes are often seen as failures rather than opportunities to grow and learn. When stuck in a fixed mindset, we may fear new experiences, avoid risks, and feel the need to repeatedly prove ourselves over and over."

-Big Life Journal

Why Are They Important?

Promoting grit and a growth mindset in children instills the idea that it's ok to fail and to look at challenges as opportunities for growth. Children who have both grit and a growth mindset have a higher self-esteem, do better academically, and are less likely to develop anxiety, depression, and aggression.

How Do I Encourage Grit & Growth Mindset?

3 Strategies For Teaching Your Kids Grit

Listen to psychologist Dr. Renee explain her three strategies for encouraging grit in your children: 1) identity, 2) modeling, and 3) empathy.

Watch Video

Big Life Journal: How to Teach Growth Mindset

Verywell family: How (and Why) to Teach Kids to Have More Grit

This article's tips include:

1. Let your child find a passion.

2. Place kids in activities outside of their comfort zone.

3. Let your kid get frustrated.

4. Model a growth mindset.

5. Brainstorm together.

6. Teach that failing is ok.

7. Discuss effort and not accomplishments.

8. Be a gritty parent.

Read Article

Praise & Encourage Effectively

"Praising our children is instinctual, almost a reflex. Any time your child does something wonderful, it seems natural to say, “Great job!”

But we have to think about what we’re really accomplishing with all this praise. Praise can benefit motivation and self-esteem, but these effects aren’t always lasting. Our ultimate goal should be to nurture our child’s intrinsic motivation.

We don’t want our children to become addicted to praise, motivated solely by external approval. As much as possible, we want them to be motivated internally. Our children should want to make an effort, perform well, learn, and grow because it is personally satisfying.

Effective praise, given at the right time, can nurture intrinsic motivation. It can help our children become confident, resilient, and self-directing."

-Big Life Journal

Carol Dweck - A Study on Praise and Mindsets

This short, 5-minute video takes you through an interesting study done by Carol Dweck. It will give you some background information on why the way we encourage matters.

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Big Life Journal: The Ultimate Guide to Praising Your Kids

What makes praise effective? This article discusses:

  1. Praise sparingly.

  2. Praise specifically.

  3. Praise sincerely.

  4. Praise process vs. person.

  5. Avoid giving praise as a reward.

  6. Praise Personal Mastery vs. Comparing to Others

  7. Give Encouragement vs. Evaluation

  8. Set Appropriate Expectations

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For books on growth-mindset and perseverance, go to the "Books" and "Trojan Traits" pages under the Students section.