Benefit Mindset 101: A Simple Explanation for a Simply Beautiful Concept

The benefit mindset is thinking caring thoughts about all people and the whole planet. But living the benefit mindset doesn’t remain only in our minds. We can actually do things that help others and protect nature. These acts of kindness create a better world for everyone.


The benefit mindset asks each person to share what we know, what we can do, and what we can give. We don’t have to know or give everything in order to help others or to make positive change. We don’t even have to be experts to begin helping and adding to the wellbeing of others.


We also don’t have to do it all because if each person regularly does their part to make the world a happier, healthier place, then all those small impacts will add up to real and lasting improvement in a variety of important ways.


But the benefit mindset is not only about others. When we help to make someone else’s life better, we automatically feel good, special, and useful. Both the giver and the receiver always equally benefit from acts of kindness and support.

The benefit mindset adds purpose and meaning to our lives because we feel more connected to others. We also feel like our lives matter and that we truly make a difference.


Learning and living are often very self-centered activities as we mostly concentrate on our personal growth, happiness, and success. A growth mindset focuses on our self-confidence and self-improvement, and there is nothing wrong with believing in ourselves and getting better. In fact, we each must have strong confidence and capabilities, or else how can we actually be of benefit to others?

Therefore, the benefit mindset is a natural extension of the growth mindset.


There is always room and reason to include others as a way of showing gratitude, goodwill, and giving back.


Figuring out how best for each person to volunteer, donate, or be kind can become a way of expressing ourselves and finding our true selves. When we focus on using what we are already interested in and what we are good at, we discover how we can make the most impact while having a genuinely good time!

Living the benefit mindset should be a joyful experience. This way, we are much more likely to make helping others a happy habit.


Another advantage of living the benefit mindset is that when we surround ourselves with people who enjoy what we enjoy and who are interested in what we are interested in, we find a new sense of belonging and fellowship. Also, being around others who are good at what we are good at helps everyone in the room sharpen their skills. The benefit mindset truly improves the whole person: socially, emotionally, soulfully, and skillfully!

Also read how the benefit mindset can be used for genius hour projects here.


Besides asking ourselves, “What lights me up?” we can also ask, “What breaks my heart?”  Our answers to the last question can lead us to practice the benefit mindset, not only by focusing on what brings us joy, but by also working toward righting the wrongs that concern each of us the most.


These can be the concerns that have affected ourselves or our family and friends, or they can be the concerns that affect people near and far who we don’t even know. They can even be the concerns we have about our planet and all of its diverse life forms.

Either way, our efforts to remedy any form of pain, injustice, and harm can have wide reaching impacts that make the world safer, more peaceful, and more prosperous for all.


Whether it’s called teaching children compassion, volunteerism, service learning, character development, prosocial behavior, soft skills, gratitude, wellbeing, mindfulness, resiliency, or leadership skills, the scientific research on cultivating these habits is overwhelming. The benefit mindset is simply a much-needed umbrella term for infusing learning with the needs of the common good.


Teaching the Benefit Mindset is Amazon’s #1 New Book Release in Experimental Teaching Methods. Now let’s transform this educational “experiment” into a daily teaching practice!


For a list of all of Robert Ward’s articles about the benefit mindset, including a wealth of practical strategies for implementing the benefit mindset in every grade level, click here.

39 thoughts on “Benefit Mindset 101: A Simple Explanation for a Simply Beautiful Concept

  1. Here’s why I love this…it’s not another “thing.” As Robert said, this is a “natural extension” of the growth mindset. Much like we encourage our students to be critical thinkers, Robert is encouraging us to dig deeper within ourselves and be the best we can be; and to help those around us become the best they can be. None of this is another thing; rather, is encouragement and inspiration to be the very best global family we can be. Thank you, Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your eloquence, Peg. I love the term “global family.” Today more than ever, we all– but children especially– crave connection and meaning in our lives.

    You’re right; the benefit mindset isn’t another “thing.” It’s THE thing that brings deep joy and belonging into our lives.


  3. I appreciate your extraordinary kindness, Robert. Reading your work always brings me into a place or calmness and reflection. You have a way of boldly standing your ground and encouraging us to do the same but always from a place of humility and love.
    Your quote “equity creates a level playing field, but the benefit mindset puts us on the same same team” is one that I will refer back to often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting to see the progress from growth to benefit mindset….I am wondering if it will be a smooth transition for teachers and students….a reflective environment needs to be created to enable the success of this positive growth… An excellent read

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your comments. Because the benefit mindset is the natural extension of a growth mindset, I hope the transition you speak of is indeed smooth. My goal is to transform acts of empathy, inclusion, and altruism into an everyday, joyous habit!


  4. Like

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