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Encouraging Risk Taking

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.” —Neil Gaiman

Individuals with a fixed mindset often believe that failure is a sign of intellectual inferiority or weakness, making risk taking a high-stakes endeavor where failure can be crushing. Yet learning and growth require intellectual risk taking. Avoiding risk limits opportunities to learn, grow, and innovate in ways that will help students and a school achieve designated goals. Schools and leaders that do not embrace risk can find themselves in danger of stagnating and making little progress toward achieving the school’s vision. School leaders have an obligation to model a growth mindset for students, teachers, and other staff members by taking risks that demonstrate a willingness to learn and grow from both successes and failures.