In recent weeks, we have talked about various topics from digital technology to artificial intelligence to, in the words of Henry Ford, fearing the competitor that “goes on making his own business better all the time.” There is a common theme that can be applied to each of these topics. One that encompasses the ability to be nimble in a changing business environment or to step up and face obstacles to future advancements. It all comes down to mindset.
The mind is our greatest resource. Not only does it spark life changing ideas and innovations, but it is the most impactful resource we have that can either hold us back or catapult us forward. According to Carol Dweck, a well-known American psychologist, a person’s mindset can make all the difference.
In her research, Dweck found that individuals can be placed on a continuum between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset,” according to their implicit views on the source of ability, particularly in one’s ability to face and cope with challenges.
Would you say you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?
Learn more about:
- The Difference Between Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset
- How Your Mindset Can Affect Your Success
- Steps You Can Take to Change Your Mindset
1. The Difference Between Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset
People with a fixed mindset believe that character, intelligence, and talent are innate, qualities that you either born with or not. They often interpret failure as the lack of necessary basic skills and view effort as a sign of weakness. As a result, they may avoid challenging tasks that could risk revealing their weaknesses and are often offended by constructive criticism.
In contrast, a growth mindset is the belief that you can develop your individual abilities through hard work and dedication and that change is always possible. They exhibit a love of learning, are not afraid to try new things, and are open to feedback from others. More importantly, they are willing to change course and try new strategies and techniques when needed to achieve their goals. Even in failure, they are resilient, able to learn, grow and adjust their approach, then try again.
2. How Your Mindset Can Affect Your Success
In the face of a challenge, the person with a fixed mindset will typically recruit someone else to do the hardest part of a job out of fear of failure, while one with a growth mindset will forge ahead. They expect to put in the effort needed and view challenges as an opportunity to learn and develop.
Ultimately, a growth mindset:
- generates an internal energy and drive to solve problems, tackle adversity, and overcome obstacles.
- propels people to continue working hard despite setbacks.
- allows one to believe that they can acquire any given ability through effort, good teaching, and persistence.
- fosters a willingness to ask for help, understanding that there is no shame in not being able to do something well from the start.
It is important to note that a growth mindset does not negate the natural strengths and tendencies of an individual. Instead, it simply focuses on the thought that everyone can develop, improve, and accomplish more if they work at it.
3. Steps You Can Take to Change Your Mindset
Fortunately, as well as confirming the benefits of a growth mindset, Dweck’s research shows that it is possible to change one’s mindset. It starts with first accepting that growth is possible and understanding that the human brain continues to learn and make connections throughout our lives. Here are some steps you can take to transform your mindset:
- Accept your imperfections. Everyone has flaws and limitations, so be honest with yourself. Once you can identify your imperfections, you can take action to overcome them.
- Reframe the situation. When facing a serious challenge, reframe it in your mind from an obstacle to an opportunity. Explore tactics from seeking an outside perspective or learning a new skill to building new relationships and taking a different path through the problem.
- Learn from the miscues of others. You can learn not only from your own mistakes, but others as well. Discuss their experiences with them, insights they may have, and any lessons learned.
- Use criticism as a motivator. Instead of taking feedback personally, consider it an opportunity for improvement. Open your mind to hearing suggestions and expanding your viewpoint.
In short, people with a growth mindset take on challenges and know they can learn, change, and grow. Their belief that change is always possible allows them to take risks, make mistakes, listen to feedback, and learn from others. These are exactly the strategies that lead to success in every aspect of life.
Yousefi, H., & Khalkhali, V. (2020). The Effects of Mastery Versus Social-Comparison Praise on Students’ Persistence: A Role of Fixed Versus Growth Mindset. Education Sciences & Psychology, 55(1), 3-9.Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff (accessed March, 2022). Growth Mindset, Psychology Today. Url: www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/growth-mindset.