What is a Growth Mindset?
The growth mindset concept was originally introduced by Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck. She demonstrated how people can be divided into two groups. There are those who have a growth mindset and those who have a fixed mindset.
- The growth mindset definition is: People with growth mindsets believe that skill and intelligence are something that people can develop. They believe that while people have inherent qualities and traits, success comes from constant personal development.
- The fixed mindset definition is: People with fixed mindsets believe that talent and intelligence are something you either have or you don’t.
13 Tips to develop a Growth Mindset
Here are seven steps you can take right now to develop a growth mindset:
1. Determine where you sit now
Do you consider yourself more or less in the growth mindset pool, and you’re looking to make sure you stay that way? Or would you describe yourself as having a fixed mindset?
Knowing where you stand to begin with is the first phase. You can’t tell where to go if you don’t know where you are.
2. Explore why you want to develop a growth mindset
What is it about the growth mindset that motivates you to change? What benefits do you see a growth mindset bringing to your life?
Understanding this will give you purpose during the difficult stages of developing this worldview.
3. Find examples of others who have developed a growth mindset
Start talking to your friends, family, and colleagues about the growth mindset. See if anyone you know has also been working on developing one. They might be able to provide some valuable insights.
4. Change your perspective on failure
Start viewing failure not as a sign of inability but as part of the process of learning.
Nobody starts out on any endeavor being the perfect example of the goal. Even the world’s greatest athletes, artists, and business magnates started out as kids with little talent or expertise.
5. Understand your own limitations
Recognize that some things will be beyond what you can achieve. This helps you to set realistic goals. It will help you understand that some endeavors (such as the ones that your genetic makeup is less suited for) will require even more effort.
6. Notice how you speak and act
Notice how you talk about talent and skill. Do you find yourself saying things like, “I’m no good at this” or “She’s just naturally talented”?
Swap those phrases out for “I’m not great at this yet.” and “She’s clearly put in a lot of effort to become so talented.”
Notice how others around you speak and act, and then seek out those who have growth mindsets and foster your relationships with them.
7. Learn about brain plasticity
If you're the kind of person who loves learning about how the human brain works, then consider diving into the world of neuroplasticity. This will give you a neat physiological perspective on how the growth mindset actually works.
Start cultivating and developing a growth mindset
Once you’ve mastered the above seven steps, it’s time to start adding these growth mindset actions to your repertoire.
1. See your challenges as opportunities
Life will always find a way to throw something difficult at you. Try not to see these challenges as obstacles or setbacks that you dread.
Rather, try to view them more positively. Try to view them as opportunities to overcome something difficult and grow as a result. The more difficult the challenge, the greater the opportunity for learning and growth.
2. Reflect each day on what you’ve failed at (and learned from)
Many of us spend some time at the end of the day reflecting on our successes. While this is a valuable habit, try adding a couple of minutes to reflect on the areas where things didn’t go as well. What did you learn from that experience? The point isn't to dwell or beat yourself up but to recognize and lock in the learning.
3. Stop seeking approval from others
When we seek the approval of others, we take on the wrong objective. We start taking being right as our goal, rather than learning and growing. Become aware of the difference. Pause to recognize when you are pursuing approval rather than growth and remind yourself, kindly, to stop seeking approval from others. You’ll find that you become more comfortable with the daily failures that come with stretching.
4. Identify opportunities to celebrate the success of others
When others around you succeed, celebrate! More than this, get curious about what made them successful. Even better, ask them. Connect with others to understand what actions they took and how they approached the challenge to get there.
5. Focus on rewarding actions, not traits
You can help others develop a growth mindset, too, by praising their efforts and actions rather than their inherent traits.
For example, if your child brings home a stellar result on their pop quiz, appropriate praise would sound like, “Wow, you did so well, you must have put a lot of effort into studying,” rather than, “Wow, you did so well, you must be very smart.”
6. Start using the word "yet" more often
This is a simple one. Whenever you catch yourself thinking “I’m not very good at this,” add the word "yet":
“I’m not very good at this yet.”
Source: Maggie Wool, betterup.com