Brand new Growth mindset and Deliberate practice poster

I love this poster and it still holds true. I decided to redraw this poster and make it available as a digital download.

"Deliberate practice always follows the same pattern: break the overall process down into parts, identify your weaknesses, test new strategies for each section, and then integrate your learning into the overall process."

A few years ago I connected the dots about my own art practice and ideas behind learning in general. The revelation was the culmination of reading about three distinct learning principles:

  1. Growth mindset (What Growth Mindset Actually means)
  2. Deliberate practice
  3. Grit

It felt like the concept of a growth mindset and grit were connected by the concept of deliberate practice*. In the illustration I tried to map out the connection between the three concepts.

It goes like this:

1-When you have a growth mindset, the belief that you can grow and learn and that nothing is inherent, you are able to take on challenges. It's thinking, "I'm not currently good at this but with effort I'm sure I can get better…" compared to, "I was born bad at this, so I shouldn't bother trying..."

2-Challenge is important, it's the sweet spot between being too easy (the comfort zone) and too hard (the panic zone).

Challenges can be confronting and terrifying! You are facing gaps in your knowledge, skill and abilities. Painfully stretching the upper limits of what you can currently do. It can feel like your getting nowhere, it's frustrating, you're making mistakes and trying not to feel silly.

4-Your 'grit' factor determines how much of this feeling of inadequacy and frustration you can put up with. The more grit you have, the more you will be able to persevere through challenges and more often than not come out the other side better for it. For most of us when we start to feel the rising feelings of difficulty we tend to revert back to our fixed mindset, the mindset that tells us "See you're no good at this, you'll never learn it, you should probably give up now before anyone notices…"

However, this is only my personal take on how I think these concepts work together and how you can use them to push what you're doing. I highly recommend reading up on these concepts in more detail, or better still going to read the books themselves. For me one of the challenges I have found is the difficulty in figuring out what I should be practising more of. We tend to have blind spots of our own shortcomings. I think this is where a teacher or mentor really comes into play. The other area this has really helped is differentiating between drawing for fun and drawing to push my abilities. When you are entering into deliberate practice it's not necessarily fun. The after effects can be rewarding but facing your own gaps can be draining. interestingly, educators are often trying to make learning fun, but what if real learning is essentially not fun?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

'Growth mindset' is from the excellent book Mindset by Carol Dweck, this book in itself was a great revelation, something I kind of knew and had heard about in little bits and pieces over the years, but the book really solidified the idea for me.

The concept of 'deliberate practice' came from Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin, (the idea of deliberate practice originally came from the work of Anders Erikson, he has also released a book called Peak).

The concept of 'Grit' is from the book Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth, again an interesting look at being determined to stick something out until the end.


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