Applying a Growth Mindset: A Recipe for Success
One of my colleagues recently said the following statement which stirred my thinking: “Paul, if you think you can, then you can, but if you think you can’t, then you can’t.”
For a moment, I was taken aback by these words which got me wondering, “am I in a prison of my own identity held captive by my own creation?”
This led me to research more on how we are wired, and what makes some people more successful than others under similar circumstances. I came to a realization that our mindset plays a huge role on how we view our potential and our ability to learn and deal with challenges that we face in our day-to-day lives.
In her book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck defined mindset as a set of beliefs and traits about the human nature. Her decades of research concluded that there are two types of mindsets: growth and fixed.
Let’s now dig deeper on how these two mindsets play out in our lives.
According to Dweck, people with a Growth mindset believe that skills and intelligence can be developed with effort, learning and persistence. They view effort positively because when applied in skills, competencies, and character development, it results in growth. Their passion for learning helps them consider failure as a learning opportunity. Hence, they step out of their comfort zones and take calculated risks.
On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset believe that skills and intelligence are innate and unchangeable. They believe that talent is the main thing that leads to success and therefore if you use effort to develop it, then it means that you’re not good enough. Their focus is to look good and only take on tasks and projects that are easy for them, to avoid failure and looking bad.
According to Simon Sinek, “Some people see the thing they want, and some people see the thing that prevents them from getting what they want.”
So, does it mean that some people have a growth mindset while others have a fixed one?
The answer is absolutely NOT!
The truth is, we all have the two mindsets at play in our lives. Since these mindsets apply to all life’s domains from artistic, emotional, academic, physical and social skills, a person with a growth mindset in one area may hold a fixed mindset in another.
This is summarized by Carol Dweck as follows: “The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”
The big question is, How then do you develop a growth mindset?
- By believing that your skills and talents can be honed, you create a new compelling belief of oneself. Consider failure as an extra effort to significantly improve the current results for the better.
- Enhance your self awareness to fully comprehend your key strengths and weaknesses. This will be possible when you positively take feedback on areas of improvement to better improve your current status.
- Become a curious learner by living in wonderment and discover the beauty of life. Learning different experiences will teach you different lessons. This will help you embrace challenges no matter how insurmountable they look to be, to reach the top.
- Be inspired by others achievements and have a desire to see others achieve their own echelons of success. When this happen, it simply adds fuel to their blazing fire to keep on with the journey.
- Finally, perseverance is an important prerequisite for growth mindset. The feeling of frustration has been cited as the quickest way of giving up long before we should. We are designed to thrive! Don’t focus too much on what is happening to you but rather devote your energy on what’s happening for you.
In conclusion , the aspect of mindset represents a spectrum. That means, in different times and situations, you might be on a growth mindset, while other times you slip into a fixed mindset. It takes your self-awareness to flex back to growth mindset when you slip to a fixed zone. The realization that you are in control of your abilities is the first step to adopting a growth mindset!