Last week we looked at the Fixed Mindset and how that might be tripping you up in life. Speaking personally, I can say that a lifetime of Fixed Mindset has contributed to years of frustration and self-criticism. The brain isn’t static, though, so thankfully that can be changed (an issue we will address soon).
On the other side of the coin we have the Growth Mindset, a mentality that leads itself to growth, learning and increased satisfaction.
In her book, Mindset (a must read, in my opinion), world renowned psychologist Carol Dweck describes the Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset in detail.
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. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.
Examples of the Growth Mindset in action include:
“I can learn anything I want to.” (I’m not limited by innate intellect or ‘smarts’)
“When I’m frustrated, I perservere.” (I don’t consider roadblocks to be failures, I consider them challenges to be overcome)
“I want to challenge myself.” (I know that challenge provides growth and growth provides fulfillment)
“When I fail, I learn.” (Failure isn’t something I AM, it’s something I DO, and it presents an opportunity for breakthrough)
“Tell me I try hard.” (I’m not the sum total of my talents, I can accomplish anything with effort)
“If you succeed, I’m inspired.” (Your wins motivate me to seek new levels of growth)
“My effort and attitude determine everything.” (I am not a static, fixed creature; with the right mentality and application of effort I can accomplish anything)
A Growth Mindset is developed through an upbringing in an environment that encourages learning. As opposed to the Fixed Mindset, which emphasizes talent over learning, a Growth Mindset environment is one in which success is attributed to hard work, application of effort and willingness to apply oneself to a challenge. This fosters the notion that effort prevails over talent and cultivates an attitude in which “failure” isn’t an end but rather a challenge one can overcome with effort and study.
The good news is that you aren’t doomed to a Fixed Mindset if you don’t want to be. You can change, and that’s what we’ll dive into next.
If you missed last week’s post on Fixed Mindset characteristics you can visit it here.