The Key to Human Growth: Understanding Its Nature

The growth mindset is probably the most important, advantageous attitude one can acquire and use not only for educational purposes, but for work and life as well. The best characteristic of the human brain is its malleability; it can be molded (not necessarily physically) because the mindset changes as we experience different events and meet new people. Humans “create” themselves. I’m not referring to the processes that bring them into this world, but the overall mindset and character of humans. Humans are molded by experiences and have the power to make choices, such as who they decide to surround themselves with, who they will allow to influence them, and whether they want to improve in certain areas in academic and social learning. Humans generally endeavor to change and improve themselves every day; the drive to improve simply reveals the consciousness of humankind: we are naturally creative, conscious humans who are aware of ourselves and our own actions.
Now there lays the importance of the growth mindset. A personal fundamental belief is that life is a long road full of challenges and obstacles (and to conform with the metaphor of the road, life is full of sharp turns, steep, bumpy terrain along with smooth pavement, bad and good weather, and traffic lights that cause our cars to accelerate and halt spontaneously). But because of the mixed nature of life, we must learn to persist and work harder everyday to become the best possible form of ourselves. We must eliminate doubts, uncertainty, or fear from our minds: those are terrible toxins that impede our ability to progress effectively. Fear should not drive one’s success; success is strongly determined by attitude. Attitude is everything, especially for capable students. Students who are capable of academic achievement but lack the drive, motivation, or courage fail to succeed in school or meet their maximum potential. The positive or negative attitudes of human beings rub off on other people as well; everyday, we are impacting the lives of others.
The nature of this idea begins in the beliefs emphasized by Immanuel Kant, one of my favorite philosophers. He was this brilliant man who defined enlightenment as “man’s ability to leave a state of immaturity” which implies man’s ability to think for himself and trust his own instincts without guidance from an external force or “guardian.” Kant also emphasized the idea that one who fails to achieve a state of maturity, or the state in which one believes in their judgement and ability to apply knowledge to their daily life, is due to a lack of determination and courage. That further implies a fear of failure, doubt, uncertainty, and a general lack of confidence in personal ability. Kant brings light to a common frailty in human nature; the inability for men to apply knowledge to their daily life out of either fear (as implied by Kant) or an excess presence of knowledge, too much to apply, which leads to confusion as to where to start. Engendered are the ideas that humans must believe in themselves and dream beyond the confines of society. Today, the superficial things that draw attention away from the the true definition of a human, such as grades, acceptance to a college, financial stability, social class, education, etc. remain important, but do not represent the full scope of a human. Anecdotally, students are too often feeling defined by their grades, which causes them to not believe in themselves if the grades are mediocre. The core values of Kant’s teachings are that deep in the realm of human nature lies a determination (or lack of) that drives achievement and growth. With the courage and belief that one can develop intelligence rather than feeling that intelligence is ingrained at birth, one can achieve anything. Just as babies have to learn how to walk, humans have to learn too. That’s why we go to school. Babies are not born into this universe knowing everything the second they let out their first cry. Now, I strongly encourage you to look into the growth mindset and look at how to acquire it and nurture it. It is an idea present in books and on the Internet. Remember, no new skills happen overnight, and none of those skills stay unless you nurture it, utilize them frequently, and practice them. If we want to fulfill our lives as humans, take our jobs seriously, and grow to contribute to society, we ought to do whatever it takes to develop the courage and boldness to face life’s adversities and learn from them as we grow continuously. And what facilitates that? The growth mindset: the idea that intelligence can be developed through hard work, effort and determination. Everyone has gifts, but intelligence is something that is not ingrained in individuals at birth. The ability to work hard and build character, though, definitely is situated at human nature. And we all have the capacity to gather our tools, put ourselves out there, and create a masterpiece.


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