Growth Mindset: The power of "not yet"…

growth mindset

Your teacher's handing back work that they've marked. It might be an essay, some maths problems or a practice exam question. When you get yours back you're disappointed. You haven't met the target grade you've set for yourself.

You feel like giving up. What's the point in keeping on trying when you don't get the grade you want?

Don't! Really, don't give up. Watch this video to see why…

The Power of Yet – Carol Dweck

The Power of ‘Not Yet'…

Now, imagine if that teacher had, instead of writing the mark that you'd earned on that piece of work, had written your target grade and the words ‘not yet'.

Would that feel different?

Then, imagine if they wrote some solid, actionable things you could do to get closer to your target.

I bet that would feel a whole lot more encouraging.

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

You are not that grade on that piece of work. That grade defines nothing about you or your intelligence. It is simply a way-marker on the journey to your improvement.

What does define you is the way you react to that grade. Do you see it as a chance to learn and improve? Or do you see it as a signal of defeat?

You are not that grade on that piece of work. What defines you is the way you react to that grade. Share on X

People with a Fixed Mindset don't believe they can improve.

I saw this tweet the other day and it made me so sad.

To me, it looks like Clare doesn't have any belief that she can improve. Her opinion of her own ability and intelligence is fixed. She has a Fixed Mindset.

I would hate to think that these are the kinds of thoughts you are having today. You need to believe in yourself. You need to decide to succeed and then do everything in your power to improve and grow over the coming weeks. You need a growth mindset.

How to grow your mind and results

The first step to developing your growth mindset for exams is to decide to succeed.

The next step is to focus on these things:

  • The effort that you put in
  • Being positive – always looking for how you can learn and improve
  • Solving problems – find one topic particularly hard? Find a way to make a breakthrough whether that's using a different text book, looking for videos on the subject on YouTube or getting a private tutor.
  • Addressing your weaknesses

Education is not about grades and jobs

I believe passionately that education is about personal growth and understanding. Grades are just there to measure these things. If you put your heart and soul into improving your understanding you will grow as a person and your grades will improve at the same time.

We too often forget what education is for. Too many people think you get an education to get a job. For me, this is completely missing the point. An education expands your mind in ways you can't understand until you're at university. Your mind will develop an agility, creativity and ability to analyse that you currently cannot imagine. Your mind will be set free.

But your education doesn't stop the day you graduate. It goes on, everyday of your life, as you continue to learn and gain new experiences.

Commit yourself to this kind of personal growth today and your mind will expand and your possibilities will grow every day.

My growth mindset journey

When I was at school and working towards fulfilling my ambition of going to Cambridge University unwittingly I developed a growth mindset. Every bad test result made me work harder on that topic so it wouldn't let me down in my final exam. My effort went through the roof. I knew I wasn't the brightest and best of my generation but I had to throw everything I had at my dream to be fair to myself.

In my book The Ten Step Guide to Acing Every Exam You Ever Take I outline the steps I took to get my 5 A Grades at A-Level and achieve my dream. It gives you the detailed how-to of achieving a growth mindset for your exams. I want you to have a copy because I want to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed.

Do you believe in the power of ‘not yet'?

Has this article made an impact on you? Has it adjusted your thinking in any way? Do you believe you can change from a ‘fixed' mindset to a growth ‘mindset'? I'd love to know. Please leave a comment below.

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