Our mindset consists of a set of beliefs that guide our understanding of the world and ourselves. It influences how we think, feel, and behave in situations.
Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck says there are two basic mindsets: fixed and growth.
In this blog, we’ll look at what it means to have a growth mindset, how it differs from a fixed mindset and several steps you can take to achieve this powerful mentality. Let’s get to it!
What does it mean to have a growth mindset?
According to Dweck, having a growth mindset means you believe that skills and intelligence can be developed.
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work–brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment,” she says in an opinion piece for the newspaper EducationWeek.
People with a growth mindset are constantly seeking opportunities to learn, gain new skills and enhance existing ones. They believe that hard work, not luck or chance, is the true determining factor of a successful life.
In order to fully understand a growth mindset, it’s necessary we discuss its opposing counterpart: a fixed mindset.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
Contrary to those with a growth mindset, those with a fixed mindset believe that abilities, talents, intelligence, and personality traits are fixed and static.
They believe talent is enough to warrant success and effort to improve on these natural talents isn’t required. People with this type of mindset typically avoid challenges, give up easily and ignore useful criticism.
For instance, someone with a fixed mindset might say “efforts are fruitless, I can achieve what I can achieve” on the other hand, someone with a growth mindset might say, “efforts are a path to mastery.”
Now that we’re clear on what a growth mindset is, let’s take a look at how we can achieve it.
5 Ways to Achieve a Growth Mindset
Understand that challenges represent opportunities
We often run away from tasks we consider difficult. But what if instead, we embraced challenges and began to view them as learning experiences?
A key part of practicing a growth mindset is embracing challenges and persisting through obstacles. In doing so we acknowledge our failures and find the inspiration to keep improving.
So, next time you find yourself squeamish in the face of a challenge, try reframing the situation. Look at the challenge as an opportunity. Shifting your perspective makes facing the challenge a lot easier.
No one is perfect. I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase a million times– make it a million and one– but it couldn’t be closer to the truth.
We all have flaws and peculiarities. These imperfections are what make each of us who we are and acknowledging them is crucial to personal growth.
Welcome lifelong learning
Becoming a lifelong learner is crucial to developing a growth mindset.
As Dr. Seuss once said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
By staying committed to asking questions, reading a variety of literature, and challenging ourselves to understand new topics, we’re able to further expand our minds and reach our fullest potential.
Incorporate the word “yet”
Incorporating the word “yet” into your vocabulary is a simple way you can shift your fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
It suggests you can overcome anything if you give yourself enough time and put in the effort.
So, the next time you catch yourself thinking “I’m not very good at this,” add the word “yet”. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Receiving criticism can be uncomfortable. Who wants to be told they’re wrong or doing something poorly? The thing is, being open to criticism is integral to your success.
If you find criticism to be a bit daunting, remember it’s nothing more than a chance to learn about yourself. Instead of fearing it, welcome it! You might not like what you hear, but you’ll learn what’s needed in order to help you improve and grow.