Wednesday, August 4, 2021

16 Powerful Habits of Mind You Must Know

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priyanka ohri
Ms. Priyanka Ohri is a Human Developmentalist. She is pursuing a master's in Human development from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai and sustains a graduation degree in home science with a specialization in Human development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. She is an empathetic listener and an articulate writer.

Do you know that there are 16 habits of mind that help you confront every problem in life? Habits of mind are crucial for your behavioral and intellectual growth. They are more about intent than behavior.

They play a significant role in the process of acquiring knowledge on any topic. It is in part, the role of a teacher or a mentor to introduce them to the students. Click here to see how a preschool network incorporates habits of mind in children.

They also help you to develop skills to solve complex problems and take tough decisions. Early recognition of the habits of mind allows you to use your intellectual resources cleverly. This, in turn, produces powerful results concerning your ability to think and act. 
Having a good understanding of these 16 habits of mind is highly essential to choose the right one while applying them. Internalizing them will ensure better self-modification to improve your everyday performances.
Learning and Leading with Habits of mind: 16 essential characteristics for success is a useful guide by famous educators Costa and Bena Kallick. It is a compilation of related concepts and strategies to integrate these habits into  learning processes by noteworthy scholars.

5 Dimensions for Developing Habits of Mind

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The following five dimensions are the tools to keep track of your habits of mind growth


It indicates the value you attach to a particular habit of mind. When you choose a specific intellectual behavior to deal with a particular situation, it means you find a particular value in it. A clear knowledge of the pros of each habits can help you with this dimension.

2. Meaning

Meaning refers to the amount of understanding you posses with regard to a particular habit of mind. Each of them mean something to you. It is this dimension which helps you handle the habits. 

3. Sensitivity

Sensitivity is becoming aware of opportunities to implement a series of behavior. It is the ability to choose the right habit of mind at the right moment.

4. Capability

Capability is your ability to internalize the different habits using various strategies. It measures your grasp of basic skills and the capacity to practically apply them.

5. Commitment

Commitment is continuously looking for an opportunity to reflect and work upon mistakes. It marks the amount of effort you take to understand and assess your grip over the habits of mind.

16 Habits of Mind You Must Know

1. Persistence

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Persistence is spotted in people who do not leave a task undone. Such a quality allows the person to face disputable situations.

It moulds you into an effectient problem solver. Such a habit of mind prepares you to tackle different problems systematically by using multiple problem-solving strategies. 

2. Managing Impulsivity 

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Primarily, people implement the first suggestion or idea that comes to their mind to solve a problem. They don’t consider alternatives or worry about unhealthy consequences.

But proper management of impulsivity helps you to think twice before you act. It develops the ability in an individual to consider the problem and weigh the pros and cons.

You get equipped with objectives, goals, and a plan of action in the beginning. Then you build an idea about the problem before tackling it.

This habit of mind allows the person to gather information, reflect, understand the steps to solve the problem and consider alternatives. In addition to being a sign of self-discipline, it is also a feature of effective problem solvers.

3. Listening to Others

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This is one of the complex habits of mind. Understanding and empathy begins with listening. While practising this virtue, one has to put aside their prejudices, opinions, or judgments. 

This habit of mind allows the person to become sensitive towards other’s problems. You try to see and understand others from different perspectives. 

4. Thinking Flexibly 

The human mind is fluid and can modify and repair itself with time. Flexible thinking allows you to have self-control and helps you master the problem-solving skills by engaging and changing your minds periodically. You trust yoir intuition and avoid confusion.

5. Metacognition 

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Metacognition is analysing your own thinking. It is a formal thought which becomes active by age 7. This ability bridges the gap between what you know and what you don’t.

This habit of the brain permits the person to check interpretations, behaviors, perceptions, and decisions. Through metacognition, you become aware of your actions and its impact on others.

It includes editing mental representation to improve performance. Unfortunately, in this bustling and impatient world, not everyone take time to reflect upon their actions.

6. Seeking Accuracy and Precision

People striving for accuracy and precision in every task, review their work from time to time to meet the criteria. Such people enjoy their tasks and take some time to check before submitting. But some others work just to complete the assignment before the deadline without aiming for excellence.

Hence incorporating this habit of mind helps you put your greatest effort into every task and strive for perfection.

7. Questioning and Posing Problems

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Humans have an innate ability to identify problems. They question an issue from different points of view. Sometimes the problems themselves are hypothetical. However, some students accept things as they are as they find it difficult to pose or formulate questions. This means that they lack the skill of searching and finding a solution to problems.

8. Applying Past Knowledge into New Situations

Intelligent beings solve problems by applying the lessons they learnt from past experiences. But some people’s thinking are episodic understadings of reality. This means that they consider each life event as separate and unassociated from the previous ones which hamper their ability to face obstacles.

9. Thinking and Communicating Precisely 

Language and thinking are interconnected. The clarity and accuracy of a language reflects clear thinking. In contrast, vagueness of a speech portrays imprecise thought processes.

People displaying this habit of mind communicate precisely in both the oral and written form. They always support their statements and decisions with clear explanations, examples, and evidences.

10. Gathering Data Through All Senses

All types of data enter our brain through sensory pathways. Successful people absorb information by keeping their sensory pathways open and alert. Hence, employing all the five senses while exploring the world not only helps people to understand better but also to enjoy and remember what they experience. 

11. Creating, Imagining, and Innovating

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Opportunities in life should be created and not found. Creativity allows the person to look for unique solutions to the problem. They tend to take up different roles to reach a solution.

Creative people love to take risks. They are open to criticism. It all starts with imagining and innovating different ideas. 

12. Responding with Wonderment and Awe

Some people look for problems to test themselves. This also gives them enjoyment and an opportunity to learn new things. However, some others prefer to avoid these difficult situations. People think thinking requires effort.

This habit of mind helps the person to feel enthusiastic and interested in learning new things.

13. Taking Responsible Risks

Some people have an uncontrollable desire to go beyond established limits. They take chances to explore a new field of interest, while others break rules to taste adventure.

Trying out new things is a form of learning. This involves responsible risk-taking which is a combination of intuition, application of life lessons, and willingness to set out on new adventures.

One who avoid taking risks misses opportunities in life. Hence, this risk-taking habit increases the prospects of a successful life and career.

14. Finding Humor

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Humor makes life easy-going. It drops the pulse rate, increases oxygen level, and secretes endorphins to get you back on track. Most importantly, people with a great sense of humor take an interesting stance when confronted with problems. However, one should be wary as to when and where to unleash their wacky side.

15. Thinking Interdependently

People share their energies and ideas while working in groups. Being social beings primarily, people tend to be more productive in the presence of company. Moreover, when it comes to problem solving, two heads are better than one. 

Some students have underdeveloped social skills because they spend their time away from social groups. Working interdependently involves developing an open-minded approach i.e. to accept other’s feedback and opinion good-naturedly. This habit of mind embraces the growth of traits like empathy, leadership, and support.

16. Learning Continuously

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People with this habit of mind stay in a continuous learning mode. They are open to improvement and correct themselves readily. The first step to achieve this learning habit is to welcome opportunities with curiosity and not fear. Accepting one’s ignorance is key to develop the urge to learn new things. 

By acquiring these habits of mind, people reflect, evaluate, modify, and apply previous life lessons to future problems. Intelligence is not just the possession of knowledge but also the ability to put it into practical use.

The above 16 Habits of mind are like cable wires. Knit them together every day, and ultimately they become unbreakable. Inculcating them in this way will make you a better person with a strong will.

Click here to know how to learn English by changing your mind.

About the author

Ms. Priyanka Ohri is a Human Developmentalist. She is pursuing a master's in Human development from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai and sustains a graduation degree in home science with a specialization in Human development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. She is an empathetic listener and an articulate writer.

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