Students using wellbeing as a force for good

Ash Buchanan
Benefit Mindset
Published in
4 min readMay 1, 2017


In December 2016, St Frances Xavier College became the first school to run a Benefit Mindset Workshop. 500 beautiful year 8 students completed the program, exploring what it means to bring out the best in each other and be a force for good in their school — and the world.

What is the Benefit Mindset?

The Benefit Mindset describes our everyday leaders who choose to promote wellbeing on both an individual and a collective level.

It builds on Carol Dweck’s pioneering research, on how our beliefs can profoundly shape our ability to learn and grow. This framework takes her Fixed and Growth Mindset to the next level — towards a richer definition of success in school and in life.

How is it different to the Growth Mindset?

The Growth Mindset is based on the belief that with effort, we can learn and grow. The Benefit Mindset goes a step further. It’s based on the belief that with effort, we can use what we have learnt to make a meaningful difference — for ourselves and the world. We can choose to act in a way that brings out the best in each other and do things that really matter.

When we choose to make a meaningful difference, we become an everyday leader. Someone who promotes wellbeing on both an individual and a collective level.

This evolution in thinking is not to suggest concepts like the Growth Mindset are less important. Learning how to grow and differentiate ourselves through deliberate practice is integral to every person’s development. The difference is, students adopting a Benefit Mindset use their development and uniqueness to make valuable contributions to the communities and ecosystems they belong.

A heart-warming example of the Benefit Mindset in action

The workshop

Over the course of one hour, the students brainstormed everyday examples of how a Benefit Mindset shows up in their school. We were blown away with what the student led groups came up with.

Students were then invited to envision a future they would love to live in, and consider how they could contribute something valuable to make it a reality. Something that would make a meaningful difference in their own lives and the school as a whole.

Finally, the students shared their heart felt offers on the wall to show how a diverse ecosystem of contribution can create a culture of wellbeing and human flourishing.

About the program

Overall, this program creates a rich learning and leadership experience on multiple levels:

  • For students — explore what it means to contribute and make an everyday difference.
  • For teachers — gain a richer appreciation of each student’s hopes and dreams for the future.
  • For principals — gain a student-led appreciation of the school’s higher purpose.

The St Frances Xavier College Workshops were facilitated by the amazing Andrea Downie of Project Thrive and myself — Ash Buchanan of Cohere.

A big shout out and thanks to Jack Greig, Michelle Kovacevic and Novi Sutanto for their support in developing the workshop.

If you would like to run a student program and support the Benefit Mindset project, please get in touch.



Ash Buchanan
Benefit Mindset

Benefit Mindset I Wellbeing Design I Regenerative Development