Over the years the role in which our mind plays in contributing to our overall success in life has become evidently important. Mindsets are the beliefs that we each hold in relation to our abilities. This determines how we view the world around us and ultimately what actions we take and do not take. Carol Dweck, in her studies, identified two types of mindsets, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
She ascertained that people with a fixed mindset believed they were born with certain qualities and abilities. Such people were threatened greatly by failure, feared any form of challenge and believed that they couldn’t expand beyond what they had been given. In contrast, she observed that people who had a growth mindset relished on the idea of progress and embraced challenges. They sought to learn from the people around them and did not fear hard work. They saw obstacles as a learning curve and believed that their abilities and talents could be developed.
For those of us that wish to improve and reach our goals it is clear we need to transition towards this growth mindset. The great news is that we can. Carol Dweck highlighted ways in which we could defeat this fixed mentality and make healthy happy changes in our ways of thinking that would enable us to progress further.
Here’s a list of ways we can start making the shift towards achieving the growth mindset and beat old limiting beliefs that are holding us back…
1) Stop negative talk
This is fundamental. We all have that inner voice that majority of the time is harmless. However sometimes it can be more negative and self-defeating. It is crucial that we change this. By challenging any form of negative self-talk we are in a way defeating it. Questioning it will weaken it. Asking for validity as to why it’s saying we cannot do such a thing or asking why we are not good enough.
Ask this fixed mindset for evidence. Evidence to prove that you cannot do it. Perhaps asking it to consider if there are other alternative conclusions other than the negative one it has just given. Has it looked at all the other possibilities that may exist? Sometimes even asking is this situation really as bad as I am making it out to be. Or will this matter that much in two or three year’s time. What can I do now that will help the situation? What can I do now that will move me closer to achieving my goals? When you realize that your current way of thinking may in fact be holding you back you begin to look at things in a different perspective. So the next time you notice yourself having a negative thought, question it.
2) View challenges as opportunities
The way we view challenges is crucial when we are trying to develop a growth mindset. The fixed mindset will try to hold us back with a belief that challenges should be avoided at all costs but this will limit our improvement and progress. Therefore it is essential that we see every challenge as an opportunity to learn and progress. When you hear that voice asking you if you are sure you can do it, you must simply reply that you can learn with time and effort.
The fixed mindset will question your talents and abilities. It will want you to hide your weaknesses. It will use effort as an indication that you are not good enough but the growth mindset will not care. The growth mindset thrives on challenges and the opportunity to grow and learn. It appreciates the fact that majority fail on their journey to success and victory and if we do not embrace our weaknesses we will never overcome them.
3) Appreciate learning
People with a growth mindset appreciate that the journey is about learning more so than the end result. To move away from any fixed mentality we must view learning as a constant thing that we love to do rather than having a fixed time on how long we learn for. Most people with a growth mindset are constantly learning.
There is no end date. They love learning and constantly seeking new information and knowledge. Therefore it may be useful to replace the word fail with the word learning. Micheal Jordon wasn’t born able to basketball. He developed that skill and his abilities through enormous amounts of effort and practice. Using setback and obstacles as reasons to push harder and learn more.–
4.) Create goals
Creating goals can be a very beneficial and useful way to help move towards the growth mindset. Setting goals and reaching them can help stimulate people and keep them on track. When you hit your targets, set new targets. Set a harder goal that requires more effort. If it is not providing us with a challenge then we are unlikely to learn much from it. The growth mindset appreciates difficulties and obstacles. It thrives on overcoming hard challenges and then welcomes new ones. We all have the ability to learn new things and develop new abilities. It is only a matter of effort and time and saying we can try to that fixed mindset that is constantly telling us that we cannot.
One of the most important elements of the growth mindset comes down to how we view effort. Effort must be acknowledged and rewarded. It must be highlighted more so than the actual achievement of the final result. This is a fundamental part highlighted by Carol Dweck in her studies. From students to managing directors of large corporations, recognition for effort plays a vital role in the development of a growth mindset.
Dweck recognized that often times when managing directors attained their positions they often felt that couldn’t display lack of knowledge about new challenges that may be facing the company. They felt that they now needed to demonstrate constantly to co-workers that they knew everything, which essentially placed them under severe amounts of pressure. In some cases unable to perform the job to the level that they could have had they shifted away from the fixed mindset that is telling them if they had talent they would be finding it easier. We must move away from this way of thinking.
No matter what we do in life there will always be opportunity for us to improve. In every area we can learn from feedback and use setbacks as catapults to succeed in the future. This is why it’s essential to develop a Growth Mindset.