I recently wrote a brief blog on another forum on Dr. Carol Dweck’s “Growth Mindset” approach to education. Dweck has spent three decades looking into how a learner’s attitudes about intelligence, effort, and failures, have influenced their outcomes. She has noticed that the attitude to failure in particular has very different impacts on future attainment. Some students rebound from a poor performance, while others give up or become disheartened even by the smallest setbacks. She has found that a learner who believes they can improve – will. It follows that when a performance is weak, it is an opportunity to grow.
Spiritually speaking, this is clearly seen as well. For all too many people, they see their “failures” in life as an obstacle to becoming something more. We see this in Luke 5: 8-10,
“8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”
Many new Christians get discouraged when they fall back into their old ways. This I think comes from a failure to understand that repentance is not an on/off switch. It is a process, the act of taking a different course. Sometimes we stumble along the way, but we can improve. And why? Because we have been shown the way. We have been bought with a price, and we were created to be saved. Yes, it has always been God’s plan for use to become his children, to restore us to the glory of the household of God. How’s that for a growth mindset?