The Covid 19 Pandemic has caused everyone to pause and consider their personal ability to cope. Individuals are seeing within themselves thoughts and behaviors that are new to them and sometimes unsettling.
Researchers are curious to see if theories of mindsets and mental health held up to this global challenge.
Resilient people have resilient mindsets. The more resilient people there are in a society, the more resilient the society becomes. The good news is that individuals can learn how to have a resilient mindset and, in times of adversity, like now, individuals can practice the skills of resilience.
For people with a growth mindset, failure is a learning opportunity. A failing grade or a lost job is a nudge to study harder or to use a different strategy to find and keep a new job. Failure invites the resolve to do better. Individuals with growth mindsets embrace the failure as an impersonal and impermanent part of the growth process even though it is a painful and upsetting experience.
People with growth mindsets believe and experience that success grows out of a commitment to take on new risks and challenges, to learn, and to maximize their personal potential.
Collectively, this “can do” mindset can create economic and social successes for individuals, civil society organizations, businesses, and government entities, and consequently, for societies.
In contrast, people with fixed mindsets magnify see every failure as a part of their identity. Every failure is seen as a negative reflection on their intelligence. Their first reaction to failure is to brush it aside and try to forget it because they do not want to try again and risk confronting their weakness. Consequently, people with fixed mindsets avoid challenges because they think that if they fail, it is because they are not smart enough. There is also the fixed mindset behavior of over-compensating by transferring blame to others for the failure to others, again to protect their measure of competence and worth.
Unfortunately, this individual fixed mindset can permeate a community by projecting low expectation of the educational system, the workforce, and the economic and social capacities of a society. A fixed mindset is a threat to resilience of people, place, knowledge, and leadership.
Research is clear: A growth mindset is a core characteristic of a resilient person. And resilient people make up resilient and prosperous societies that will recovery more quickly from the pandemic.
Societies should do whatever they can to promote and teach mindset so that their people can thrive.