Adopting a growth mindset to plunge and stick

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset when it comes to your creativity? Carol S. Dweck’s work on the mindset psychological trait explores the differences:

  • Fixed believes: your basic qualities (intelligence, talent) are fixed traits so talent with no effort creates success
  • Growth believes: your basic qualities can be developed through dedication and work, creating resilience and an enjoyment of learning

In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck explains “When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world—the world of fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other—the world of changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.” With a growth mindset, developing and learning is the goal and talent or natural ability isn’t necessary for success. You don’t even need confidence to start: “In the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence… when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it.”

Plunge and stick. How would your art making practice benefit if you took this approach? Ignore the fear and plunge anyway. Stick to it and commit for the long haul. If you feel your skills aren’t up to scratch, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve over time. Dweck argues “Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training. This is so important, because many, many people with the fixed mindset think that someone’s early performance tells you all you need to know about their talent and their future.”

It’s important not to take the memory of making ‘bad art’ as a child to convince and reinforce the “I’m not creative” identity as an adult. That kind of thinking is a fixed mindset which creates no space for future development and growth. Take the plunge and adopt a growth mindset to gives yourself the permission to create.

“Becoming is better than being.” The fixed mindset does not allow people the luxury of becoming. They have to already be.” – Carol S. Dweck