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Have you ever heard the term, “Growth Mindset?” Many people believe that the key to success is hidden in adopting this framework. Growth Mindset is the belief that people’s most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Our brains are adaptable and changeable but only if we consistently challenge ourselves for growth.
Having this mindset creates a resilience that is essential for big accomplishments. For example, take a look at Steve Jobs. He started and failed several businesses before creating Apple. With each failure, came a new creation, and more determination. He worked tirelessly and eventually became a world leader in technology. Lebron James has been known to embrace Growth Mindset stating, “you can’t be afraid to fail. It’s the only way you succeed. You’re not gonna succeed all the time and I know that.”
You might be thinking that this framework is similar to the law of attraction (if you think about it, you will get it.) However, this could not be further from the truth. Having a Growth Mindset means that you are actively working towards your goal every day. Doing the thing that’s going to get you closer. When you fail, you don’t stop and give up. Instead you see failure has a learning curve and embrace the process.
People who do not have a Growth Mindset have what’s called a Fixed Mindset. This mindset prevents change. It keeps you where you are and often protects the person who posses this mentality. Person’s with a fixed mindset say things like “This is who I am and I cannot change.” They see failure has something more permanent.
Needless to say, there actually is science behind the concept of Growth Mindset. It’s rooted in our brains ability to adapt and create new pathways. It’s all about learning! There are many studies about Growth Mindset and children, but obviously, it’s also beneficial when improving your relationships. Instead of saying to partner “I cannot change, you have to accept me the way I am.” Someone with Growth Mindset might say, “I want to do better, help me learn how I can be there for you.”
Do you want a Growth Mindset? Here is a list of 25 things you can start doing today! (Briggs & Saga, 2015)
- Acknowledge and embrace your imperfections; don’t hide from your weaknesses.
- View challenges as opportunities for self-improvement.
- Try different learning tactics and strategies; don’t consider any strategies one-size-fits-all.
- Keep up on the research on brain plasticity to continually encourage the growth mindset.
- Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning” in your vocabulary.
- Stop seeking approval for others, and prioritize learning over approval.
- Value the learning process over the end result.
- Cultivate a sense of purpose, and keep things in perspective.
- Celebrate your growth with others, and celebrate their growth as well.
- Emphasize learning well over learning quickly.
- Reward actions instead of traits.
- Redefine “genius” as hard work plus talent, rather than talent alone.
- Give constructive criticism, and accept criticism of your own work as constructive.
- Disassociate improvement from failure; “room for improvement” does not mean “failure.”
- Reflect on your learning regularly.
- Reward hard work before talent or inherent ability.
- Emphasize the relationship between learning and “brain training;” like any other muscle, the brain can be trained.
- Cultivate your grit (determination and perseverance).
- Abandon the idea of succeeding on talent alone; recognize that it will always take some work as well.
- Use the phrase “not yet” more often, as in, “I haven’t mastered it yet.”
- Learn from the mistakes that others make.
- Make a new goal for every goal you accomplish; never stop striving towards your goals.
- Take risks and be vulnerable with others.
- Think realistically about how much time and effort your goal will take.
- Take ownership of your own attitude, and take pride in your developing growth mindset
Briggs, Saga. (2015). 25 Ways To Develop A Growth Mindset. informED. Retrieved from: https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/develop-a-growth-mindset/.