What is a Growth Mindset?
A ten-minute read on why it’s important to have a growth vs fixed mindset and how to make sure you have one (well as much as possible!)
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Mindsets – which one do you have?
Being a long time reader of self-help books, I was already aware of the importance of positive thoughts, fiercely believing in my success and visualizing my goals.
However, I discovered a completely new concept about beliefs and mindset when I read Mindset The New Psychology of Success, by psychologist Carol Dweck.
Dweck’s extensive research in psychology showed that people either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. The mindset that we hold of ourselves (whether consciously or subconsciously) is powerful and has the potential to impact every part of our lives:
“Much of what you think of as your personality actually grows out of this ‘mindset’. Much of what may be preventing you from fulfilling your potential grows out of it.”
Got my attention. Maybe this is the missing link? I must have been using the wrong mindset all these years?
So what exactly do they mean?:
A Fixed Mindset Definition
Having a fixed mindset is to believe that your personal qualities (intelligence, personality, character, talents and abilities) are fixed. The ‘hand that you were dealt’ effectively.
People with a fixed mindset tend to be always proving themselves. They are set in their ways and will avoid challenges, give up easily and consider effort as a waste of time (because it won’t change anyway).
A Growth Mindset Definition
Those with a growth mindset however, use this ‘hand they were dealt’ as merely a starting point. They believe that these personal qualities can change and grow through learning, application and experience.
What got my attention, was that the perseverance, resilience and effort shown by those with a growth mindset are essential qualities required for extraordinary success in life.
Related Post: 65 Amazing Growth Mindset Quotes That Will Inspire You
Key Differences Between the Fixed vs Growth Mindsets
Dweck states that “as you begin to understand the fixed vs growth mindsets, you will see exactly how one thing leads to another. How a belief that your qualities are carved in stone OR that your qualities can be cultivated, leads to a host of different thoughts and actions, taking you down an entirely different road”.
Is it possible to be a bit of both?
Yes, you can be a mixture of the two mindsets (and I think I was before reading the book) but you will likely lean to one more than the other. However, Dweck (from her growth mindset of course) believes that your mindset can be changed.
So in order to chase our goals, reach our full potential and become wildly successful, it’s important that we focus on having a growth mindset.
But how do we do this?
5 Ways to Build a Growth Mindset:
Simply learning about the two mindsets can lead to awareness of your own current beliefs. This will allow you to start thinking about the things you can improve on – after all, awareness is often the first step to improvement.
For example, before reading the book, I believed I was a fairly optimistic person who had big goals and unlimited potential. I would have said I, 100% had a growth mindset. However, those with fixed mindsets can be optimistic too, they just think within constrained boundaries.
I recognized that whilst I had a growth mindset about certain aspects of myself (intelligence, character etc), I was actually fairly fixed when it came to my beliefs about my talents and abilities. Therefore I was always limiting myself.
I would set goals, but I subconsciously believed I would never be capable of achieving them. Therefore, giving up easily with every obstacle, criticism etc.
When I became aware of this, it was like getting permission to be able to achieve anything and everything that I wanted. Things that I previously thought of as out of my reach. Powerful.
2. Continual improvement
Look for ways to continually improve yourself and never stop learning: mentally, physically, financially etc.
Are there areas of your life that you previously considered ‘fixed’?
If so, reconsider them again and consider what you could do to expand or improve on.
3. Be willing to put in the effort
Consistently keep putting in the effort and trying.
Think about all the hard work you are putting in as small but important steps on the path to your success.
Persistence pays off!
4. Embrace mistakes & failing
Learn to accept mistakes and criticisms as opportunities to improve in the future.
Ask how you can do it better next time.
Also, learn to embrace the challenges and obstacles that life throws all of us – it’s how you deal with them that makes all the difference!
5. Look for a role model
Think about someone you know who has a growth mindset (it will be clear for you to identify them now) and what they do in certain situations.
What do they do well? Notice how this works out for them? Find inspiration in their success.
“People may start with different temperaments and different aptitudes, but it is clear that experience, training, and personal effort take them the rest of the way.” Carol Dweck.
As far as books on thoughts and beliefs go, Mindset The New Psychology of Success, is a highly valuable and informative read. I liked it so much that I bought it twice – first the eBook and then I just had to purchase the hard copy so that I could highlight and take notes!
- Learning, effort and resilience (produced by the growth mindset) are essential for achieving your goals and success.
- Your IQ, character, talents and abilities are not fixed. They can be changed and improved. Just because you didn’t do well at something when you were a kid doesn’t mean you can’t succeed at it now – if you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn and develop.
- Be open to the idea of unlimited potential. Who knows what can be achieved with consistent effort, learning and passion?
- 65 Amazing Growth Mindset Quotes That Will Inspire You
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