The Power of a Growth Mindset
There I was in my 3rd year, sitting in the dental clinical skills laboratory struggling in making a perfect crown form on a plastic tooth. For all those non-teeth lovers out there, a crown is a cap placed on the tooth. In order for the cap to slide over the tooth smoothly, adjustments need to be made on the tooth.
Time and time again, I kept finding flaws in my preparations and with much frustration I would feel disheartened in being unable to create a crown fit for a queen. I was beginning to feel as if crowns and I were never meant to be the best of friends. It was in this moment when I picked a dental instrument up, I began to realise that the problem didn’t lie with my tools but with my mindset.
The human brain contains approximately one hundred billion neurons. This is equivalent to the number of stars in the milky way galaxy.
How amazing is it to think that these neurons can work at a magnificent speed of up 250mph, relaying information rapidly to one another? Crazy to think, one single negative thought can have an amplitude effect on those connecting billions of neurons.
A “fixed mindset” makes the assumption that character, intellect and creative ability are personality traits which are unable to be changed. The most damaging effect of a fixed mindset is that it tricks the person to believe that growth is impossible and developing oneself is limited. In this circumstance, having a fixed mindset made me believe that I would never be amazing at creating dental crowns and through not creating the “perfect” crown reaffirmed this belief. Being in this mindset, meant that I was stuck in a place where I could not escape. No matter how hard I tried to succeed, the odds were against me.
On the flip side of this, is where great power lies: A “growth mindset”. So, I may not be good at crowns yet. The tiny simple word yet changes the meaning of this concept from “fixed” to “growth” mindset. It acknowledges that, yes, I am struggling but I will eventually get there through seeking help and trying harder. In this way, with my constant evolving ability, I will look those crowns in the eye and say, “okay cool I tried but what part of this can I improve on?” instead of thinking “Oh god, this is rubbish!”.
With Learn and Discover being 1 of the 6 ways to wellbeing, I encourage you to improve on your existing skill set. Whether that be, improving in your subject area or trying something completely new. We are all beginners at something at one point so don’t be afraid of the challenge. You can start small, envisage your goals in your mind and be easy on yourself.
Here is a picture of me 1 year on, improving at my skill and looking back at the journey smiling.
Written by Wellbeing Champion Amber Ahmed