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Strokes of Resilience: Exploring Growth Mindset through Zentangle

Exploring Growth Mindset through Zentangle

Resilience in the face of challenges, persistence, flexible thinking, and confidence are the hallmarks of what educators have long called a growth mindset. It's a belief that skills, abilities, and intelligences can be developed through dedication and hard work. With a growth mindset, individuals approach challenges with vigor, viewing roadblocks and failures not as a reflection on themselves, but as a natural and expected stepping stone toward mastery.

[Example: “I’m not good at this, so I’ll quit.” (fixed-mindset)  versus “I didn’t do too well at this, so I’ll try again and think about what to do differently.” (growth-mindset)]

As a veteran educator, I've worked to instill a love of learning and belief in oneself in my students for many years. Yet, as a Zentangle teacher, I discovered an unexpected connection between the art form and the growth mindset.

In Zentangle, we embrace unexpected strokes as a natural part of the process. They are not considered mistakes. Unintended lines are an anticipated part of the landscape, so when they happen, we purposefully practice thinking creatively about what to do with the next stroke. This process nurtures curiosity, exploration, and a willingness to take risks. Each stroke becomes an opportunity for experimentation or discovery, shifting the focus from outcome to journey.

 "Anything is possible one stroke at a time." ~Zentangle motto
“No special talents are required.” ~Zentangle adage

Mistakes, regrets, and challenges are inherent in the journey of life and learning. How we approach and navigate them directly influences our levels of success and happiness. It's within this context that Zentangle becomes a canvas for fostering a conviction for creative thinking, bolstering confidence, and believing in the journey.


Are you inspired to cultivate your growth mindset with Zentangle? Here's how you can get started:

  • Practice Mindfulness Daily: Set aside a few moments each day to engage in a mindful process. Pick a time that fits easily into your routine (ie: with morning coffee or before logging into your computer at work). Stop everything, just for a moment. Slow your breath, long breaths out. Simply take notice of your thoughts, the sensations in your body, or the sounds around you. Acknowledge anything, no judgement. That’s it!

  • Learn to Tangle: If you haven’t yet, connect with a CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher) near you or via Zoom, and take an introduction class. Once you have had that, you’ll be able to create a mindful tangle practice of your own. Lucky for you, I am a CZT, so feel free to reach out or register!

  • You’re already a tangler: Remember, it’s Zentangle-practice, not Zentangle-perfect. Every tile won’t be your best. Remember to keep your focus on the way you felt while you were creating it, and on what you discovered that worked or didn’t work.

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