Blueprint to Unlock your Growth Mindset

Snakes learn faster than human newborns on multiple counts.

For example, almost instantaneously after birth, a newborn garter snake can elegantly slither off on its own.

selective focus photography of red snake
Photo by Pravin Bagde on Unsplash

In contrast, as neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett observes: human newborns take months to gain reasonable control of their own limbs.

a baby eating food
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

“Why are we so slow at learning new skills?” That’s not a helpful question.

A more strength-based question is: “what are the advantages of slow learning?”

What does it mean to have a growth mindset?

A ten year old boy yelled out - “I love a challenge”.

This attitude epitomises what Professor Carol Dweck coined as a growth mindset.

“A growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure, not as evidence of unintelligence, but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.” — Carol Dweck (Professor of Psychology at Stanford University )

How to unlock your growth mindset?

Tuning (defn.) is a brain process that involves slowly learning new behaviours in different contexts and life situations;

Pruning (defn.) is the process of letting go of existing behaviours to make space for new ones.

Here are the secrets you need to know about tuning in and pruning out.

a. The slower you learn, the more adaptable you become in new environments. Consequently, this enables you to learn what behaviours are most relevant for a specific situation.

Pruning is the neurobiological equivalent of ‘use it or lose it’ as eloquently summarised by neuroscientist and author Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett

b. Because humans possess more connections than they will ultimately require, under utilised connections organically wither away.

c. Initially the surplus of connections help us adapt to new life situations. But later on, it becomes metabolically burdensome and consumes unnecessary energy.

d. Trimming these extraneous connections not only conserves energy — but also opens up space for experimenting with new ones.

Tuning in during my beach run (Location: Wellington, New Zealand)

Pause and Reflect.

Tuning = Experimenting with new behaviours that help us to thrive;

Pruning = Unlearning existing behaviours that do not help us survive.

Both tuning and pruning contribute to the development of a growth mindset. Ask yourself these questions to harness this secret blueprint from your brain.

1. How can you embrace curiosity through slow learning?

2. How do you tune into your emotions when trying a new behaviours?

3. Which repeated patterns should you unlearn to make space for new behaviours?

4. What strategies from psychology can you employ to prune out unhelpful habits and replace them with beneficial ones?

5. How can you create a supportive environment that encourages experimenting with new behaviours?

This blueprint is inspired from the book Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Dr Lisa Feldman Barrett.

Choose what lessons you need, when you need it, to unleash your growth mindset !

Keep learning insights from behavioural science

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Learn something new every month. We deliver behavioural insights straight to your inbox.