The Growth Mindset for Personal Success: An Introduction is about how you can use your current skills and knowledge to get prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.
It is no secret that the internet has been changing the way we think and act, but it is also changing the way we live. The availability of information online has made us think we know more than we really do. It has also made many of us complacent because it is easy to find a solution to any problem online.
The growth mindset is a concept that has been gaining momentum in recent years and has been explored in various fields of study. The term refers to the way people view intelligence and personal abilities. The growth mindset creates an environment where individuals are open to change, constantly seeking new, challenging opportunities, and believing that they can improve with effort.
The concept of having a growth mindset is interesting, and has been around for quite some time. The term itself was coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck in the late 1990s, and she described it as a person’s belief about abilities and learning ability. If a person has a fixed mindset, they believe that their abilities are simply a set amount, and that there is no way to develop more of these abilities. They may also believe that they are born with these abilities, and can’t be taught or developed.
This article offers practical tips for implementing a growth mindset to achieve personal success.
What is Growth Mindset?
Growth mindset is the belief that our natural abilities and talents can be developed through education and training.
Growth mindset is not about believing you are better than others, it is simply about believing that you can get better at something. It is a realistic approach that takes into account the possibility of challenges and failures.
When someone is open to the idea that intelligence can be developed with effort and practice, that’s growth mindset. They see failure as an opportunity for growth and success.
This mindset is opposed to a fixed mindset which believes that intelligence cannot change. A growth mindset encourages personal success in work or academics because it takes into account individual strengths, weaknesses, effort, and persistence in order to achieve desired outcomes.
Now that I’ve mentioned about ‘growth mindset’, let’s also briefly look at ‘what is fixed mindset?’. This will better understand the difference between both mindsets.
What is Fixed Mindset?
An individual with a fixed mindset sees intelligence and other personal qualities as unchangeable, which can lead to unsatisfactory results in work or academics. Fixed mindset is the belief that the person is either born smart or not, and this limits their ability to learn new skills or use different approaches.
Now that we are introduced with growth and fixed mindset, let’s move our focus on growth mindset.
To start, a growth mindset should be continuously evaluated and improved, as an individual’s circumstances change over time. The growth mindset is about adapting to the environment in order to thrive.
The following are some practical tips for implementing a growth mindset:
- Believe that you can always improve and show this belief to others as well. This will allow yourself and others to grow. We are not perfect. We have to know our limitations but also be aware of our talents and use them to their full potential. We should always be striving for self-improvement and show the same belief in others. We should never be satisfied with the way we are and always think that we can improve, even if it’s just a small bit. Whenever we are talking to other people, it is important to show them that we believe this too. This will create a positive environment for the conversation and give them the same feeling of wanting to grow. It is important to keep in mind that this does not mean you need to constantly be dissatisfied with yourself but instead ask yourself “How can I be a better version of myself?”. This belief is the key to success. There is always room for improvement, and embracing this fact can help you to achieve your goals. Sometimes it’s as simple as being more confident in yourself or asking for help.
- Identify the fixed mindset triggers. This can be a challenge because a growth mindset can’t happened 100% of the time. There will be instances that we defaulted back towards the fixed mindset. An example could be, after presenting a proposal you’ve work so hard on rewriting, rewriting and finally completing, you get a feedback that says “the presentation was awful”. It pulled you down and you think “Yeah, that’s right” and the following presentation, you don’t feel like doing it anymore. Capture this as a fixed mindset trigger and…(next tip).
- Ask for feedback…Learn AND apply the positives. Ken Blanchard said, “Feedback is the breakfast of Champions”. When you are presenting a proposal, having an interview or even baking a cheesecake, ask for feedback. In order to become better, feedback is what you need. Feedback can be on how you are doing the task, your skillsets, or your ideas. Although it might be uncomfortable to receive feedback at first, you will eventually get used to it and find it helpful in the long run. Feedback is a key ingredient for success because without it you cannot grow as a person, and without growing as a person, you cannot grow as an individual. Once you receive feedback, learn from it. Not every feedback may resonate to you. So, take in the positives and work on the area that will make your proposal better, ace that next interview or turning your cheesecake into a masterpiece. Asking for feedback raises the question of “What are the areas of improvements?”.
- Keep learning and exploring new things in different areas of life, instead of sticking with what you know. Going back to the proposal presentation example. Apart from getting feedback, keep learning on new techniques or technology used in presentation. There’s always something to learn. It not only improves your knowledge or skills, but it also trains your mindset to a growth mindset. It is important not to fear failure, it’s part of the process of trying new things and growing as an individual.
- Acknowledge your successes without comparing them with other people’s successes or failures. This can sometimes, or most of the time, be a deterrent to growth; comparison. Everyone’s different. Everyone is at a level of their own. Everyone’s growth or pace or goals are different. When you compare your success, your fixed mindset may pop-in and says “You can’t match their success” or “Their successes are better than you”. This is where it can pull you down. Instead of looking at the comparison as something that pulls you down, flip the script and look at it as an inspiration to move you forward in your own growth.
- Reflection. At the end of the day, apart from getting feedback or learning something new, we got to spend some time on reflection. Moving into a growth mindset, or even maintaining a growth mindset requires exercise. Exercise in the form of strengthening the mind with positivity. Few questions to start with are “What have I done great today?” and “What can I do better?”.
Practice these tips often in order for them to work effectively for you!
We often forget that we can always improve. We stop asking for feedback and stop pushing ourselves to learn new skills. This attitude is dangerous because it prevents us from reaching our full potential in life and work.
We should always have that mindset of growth, “How can I be a better version of myself?”, “What new things shall I learn today?”. With it, we should remember that this improvement process is ongoing. Instead of thinking, “I’m done.”, think of “I’m energized”.