What is a Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is the belief that a person can develop skills and abilities through practice and perseverance (e.g. studying, setting goals, hard work, and accepting constructive feedback).
The belief that one can grow can spark one’s desire to grow, which subsequently drives motivation and produces results. In truth, our belief about our ability to change and willingness to do so is the key to building our growth mindset muscle. Our willingness allows us to unlock learning and unlock our potential through our actions.
On the contrary, when you are in a fixed mindset, you perceive your skills as innate and abilities as unchangeable. Imagine that you performed poorly on a math test and you don’t believe you can get better at long division. If you don’t believe you can improve, you wouldn’t be motivated at all to try to improve. On the other hand, if you approached this with a growth mindset, you would believe that your skills and abilities are malleable, and you would probably work towards your goals and develop your long division skills by putting in the work.
Mindset Is Fixed Or Growth
Do you know if you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?
A growth mindset is a positive way of thinking that relies on learning and consistency to reach your goals. Although growth can be painful, it’s the key to success.
A fixed mindset, on the other hand, keeps you confined within predetermined limitations. For example, you might often self-reject, telling yourself you’re not skilled enough for that position or this promotion. Although having a fixed mindset can feel safe, it ultimately limits your growth.
Transferrable Growth Mindset Lessons
As you start believing that you can adapt and grow as you learn, you’ll be motivated and able to put more effort into all manners of life, thus making a growth mindset essential to lifelong learning.
When we are in a growth mindset, we’re able to do the following:
Look forward to challenges, even when they’re intimidating
Work towards your goal, no matter how many times it takes
Persist through mistakes and failures, despite how hard it may be
Best Practices for Moving into Growth Mindset
1. Set Clear Goals
Failing to set goals can lead to delays and set you off track from the end result you are working toward. It’s important to set SMART goals, so that you can keep yourself on track for what lies ahead in your learning journey.
2. Focus on Effort and Deliberate Practice
Put in high-quality effort toward your goals. Be intentional, work hard, let motivation fuel your fire, and don’t settle for half-hearted efforts. Deliberately focus on your own learning and growth.
3. Persist Through Mistakes and Failure
Mistakes are inevitable and failure is often unavoidable. It is important that when you fail, you get back up again. However, it’s not just a matter of resilience; you must adapt to not to repeat the same mistakes. Learn from those mistakes and try again. This is persistence in a nutshell.
4. Learn from Other People’s Mistakes
In addition to learning from your own mistakes, you can look to others’ successes as inspiration. Successful people have persevered through mistakes and failure on their journey to achieving their goals. Who better to model mistakes than those who’ve overcome them? Though we can learn a great deal from these people, there’s no need to compare yourself to them.
“Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle, or your middle to someone else's end.” ― Tim Hiller
5. Reflect Often
Self-reflection is essential to learning, because it lets you ask yourself questions, think deeply about your processes, and re-evaluate your strategies. Self-reflection uncovers lessons we can only learn retrospectively and can lead to new positive insights.