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A growth mindset

I started working on an article for the newsletter and realized that there was a mindset issue I wanted to discuss in relation to that topic. But then the more I started writing about the mindset issue, the more I realized that it was a whole topic by itself. So instead of trying to fit it into another article, I wanted to give this topic its own article (and I'll save the other idea for the next newsletter).

Psychology professor Carol Dweck wrote a book called Mindset, in which she describes two different types of mindsets: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. In essence, someone with a fixed mindset believes that talent and intelligence are something that each of us is born with and that is just the way things are; if you were born with the talent, you are successful and if you weren't born with the talent, you're out of luck. Whereas, someone with a growth mindset believes that through work and dedication, you can develop talents and, well, grow. She explains that people with a growth mindset are more likely to be successful and helps people move away from a fixed mindset to one of growth.

I think this is something that can apply in all areas of our lives, but I've found that to be especially poignant for our crafting. I often see people say things like: "This pattern does things that I don't know how to do, so I can't make it." or "Does this pattern match my skill set?" I always wonder how they are ever going to develop their skill set if they just stick to doing only the things they currently know how to do.

Think about your own mindset. Have you ever said any of these or similar things?

  • I'm terrible at matching up yarn to patterns and none of my projects ever look good.
  • I just don't have an eye for color. I can't figure out which colors look good together.
  • I just can't brioche. (Or knit cables. Or crochet. Or knit lace. Or... or... or...)
  • She just has a natural talent for knitting so of course she's good at it. I don't have that talent so I'll never be as good.

Guess what? If that sounds like something you've told yourself, you just might have a fixed mindset when it comes to your crafting. And I want to encourage you to develop more of a growth mindset when it comes to knitting and crochet.

How can you do that? Well, the first thing you need to do is stop saying the above statements. Seriously. Just stop it. Anytime you start to say something like that, stop yourself. (If you hear someone else say it, stop them, too. Let's hold one another accountable and help change our mindsets together.) If you tell yourself something often enough, your brain believes it. So if you continue to tell yourself that you don't have an eye for color, for example, you're never going to feel like you can develop an eye for color. Start telling yourself that you can develop an eye for color.

Now, it's not going to be enough to just say it. You're going to have to work on developing that skill. But getting your mind to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is half the battle. Because you'll be more likely to want to do the work to develop the skill if you feel like you truly can get better at that skill.

If you need a little more help on changing your mindset (because it can be challenging to do so), go ahead and read Dweck's book or at least go to her website where she outlines 4 steps to help change to a growth mindset.

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