• Suzie Newman

Creativity and the Growth Mindset

Ready for a short exercise?

I’m going to ask you a question and then take a minute and pay attention to how you responded to the question… notice your body and internal dialogue as you respond.

Here goes the question…. Are you creative?

Perhaps you are noticing an excited, “Oh yeah!” response or maybe your body caved in and you thought, “no way!” Interestingly, how we respond to this question can inform us about what type of mindset we have in regard to our skills and abilities. Our mindset, or the way we view the world, determines the way we make decisions and live our lives. Our mindset even has an impact on whether we think we are creative or not.

Stanford University Psychologist and author of the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Carol Dweck, identifies that most individuals function from either a fixed or a growth mindset. Having a fixed mindset indicates that a person believes their abilities are fixed and they are unable to change them. On the other hand, a growth mindset suggests that a person believes that their abilities can be developed with time and experience. Research suggests that having a growth mindset has advantages, such as coping better with transition, higher self-regulation, and pro-social behaviors. According to Gaurdian writer Bradley Bush, “There is also evidence suggesting mental health benefits – those with a growth mindset have been found to be less aggressive, with higher self-esteem and fewer symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.”

If you’ve responded earlier that you are not creative, before you get down on yourself I have a few things to share. Did you know that most people operate out of a fixed mindset AND most people feel they have no or limited creative ability? It’s true! Which makes me wonder… what do people think creativity is?

I bet that today you have already engaged in several creative acts, like getting dressed, cooking food, taking a picture or navigating a conversation. With this new perspective, I wonder how you are feeling about that big question I asked before… Are you creative?

If we shifted how we thought about creativity, we might even begin to shift our mindset from fixed to growth. It seems that creativity and the growth mindset go hand in hand, as “Research shows that creative thinking involves making new connections between different regions of the brain, which is accomplished by cultivating divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing ourselves to new experiences and learning.” If you are looking to make changes in your life, try employing a growth mindset and inviting more creativity into your day to day routine!

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