Recover From Stuttering - Apply a Growth Mindset

Newsletter 79: September 2016

Mindset is a simple-but-powerful idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, during decades of research on achievement and success. It is a concept that can make all the difference. In her book, ‘Mindset’, she coined the terms ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindset. If you believe that you can’t really change your intelligence level then you have a fixed mindset. If you believe that you can significantly change your intelligence level then you have a growth mindset. Virtually all great people have a growth mindset. They believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work - brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

Believe you can be better at anything. One of the determining factors of a growth mindset is a strong belief that any skill can be learned and improved. In regard to stuttering, applying a growth mindset is paramount. You can learn a new way of speaking that will allow you to communicate fluently. New neural pathways can be developed and set by continuously using your new fluency technique.

People who have a growth mindset do not feel intimidated with tasks that require new skills; they see challenges as opportunities to learn instead of seeing them as beyond their reach.

Question your assumptions about yourself and what you are capable of. Where you are today is not a true determinant of where you will be tomorrow. You will not always stay as you are now. Be aware of the growth you have achieved so far - perhaps you have become a better friend, parent, person. The ability to question your state today and its relevance in where you will be tomorrow is a key attribute to the growth mindset.

Let’s look at Carol Dweck’s 4-step approach to developing a growth mindset:

Step 1. Learn to listen to your fixed mindset voice. We all have an internal voice that limits the way we see the world and, more importantly, ourselves. The voice will say things like, “I told you that you didn’t have it in you!” or “Don’t take a step in that direction, you know you will fail.” When you find yourself being criticised, the voice will say things like, “This is exactly how people see you, you must be a failure.”

These voices usually go unnoticed, they become part of how we operate and the defining factor of how we see ourselves. Step 1 is about being aware of the voice not as you, but as part of you that is separate. When you become aware of the voice, the power it holds over you diminishes. Listen to it with compassion and treat it as if it was a hurting child.

Step 2. Recognise that you have a choice in interpreting a challenge. You can look at it from the fixed mindset and see yourself very limited in your abilities to move forward or you can look at the challenge from the growth mindset and see it as an opportunity to learn, grow and contribute.

Your individual perspective is not a fixed trait, rather it is a conscious choice. Every day, even every minute, you can decide to shift your perspective so it is more aligned with the growth mindset. This recognition of choice is a powerful shift in developing a growth mindset.

Step 3. Talk back to the voice with your growth mindset. Every time you hear it and are aware of it, talk back to it by giving it an alternative. For example, if the voice says, “You stuttered, you really are a failure,” reply to it with the growth mindset answer, “You stuttered, next time prepare what you’re going to say and use your fluency technique that you know works very well.” The more you do this, the more natural it will become. Over time the growth mindset voice will dominate, opening up a world of possibilities rather than limitations.

Step 4. Take the growth mindset action. As your growth voice becomes stronger take action to move boldly in that direction. Information in your head without implementation remains just that - information. As your mindset shifts towards growth, support it with action. At first take baby steps in moving forward and hopefully as you see the rewards of your actions you will move confidently in that direction.

Fostering a growth mindset in regard to stuttering with the step-by-step approach to creating it is a powerful combination in changing the way you speak. It is possible to make a radical shift from a deeply-ingrained fixed mindset where failure and success depends on innate talent and abilities to where you see everything as an opportunity to grow. For a person who stutters, your ability to speak fluently is dependent on consistent action - learning, practising and applying your fluency technique.

Ezy-Speech Affirmation of the Month


I will take action to incorporate a growth mindset in regards to my fluency management.

The Ezy-Speech Team

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