Shifting from a Fixed to a Growth Mindset

May 27, 2022 | Leadership

What you believe is what you will achieve!

This echoes the work of Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, who illustrated how mindsets impact how people see their abilities, talents, and intelligence. Whether conscious or unconscious, mindsets have the power to either encourage or inhibit success. There are two primary types of mindsets: Fixed and Growth.

Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset means that you believe that your intelligence and abilities are static and cannot be advanced. In other words, if you’re not good at something now, in a fixed mindset you believe you’ll never be good at it. Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities and intelligence are set in stone and cannot be further developed or improved upon. As a result, those with a fixed mindset place extreme limits on their potential for achieving success. This mentality promotes negative thinking and makes it difficult to develop, grow, and succeed.

The fixed mindset leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to:

– avoid challenges
– give up easily when faced with obstacles
– see effort as fruitless
– ignore negative feedback
– feel intimidated and threatened by the success of others

As a result, people with a fixed mindset often plateau early and do not achieve their full potential.

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset, on the other hand, means that you believe your intelligence and abilities can be developed and improved over time through continued effort, education, and perseverance. Individuals with this type of mindset realize that they have the potential for greater success and seek out ways to improve. As a result, growth-minded people often reach higher levels of achievement and have great success reaching their set goals. This mentality promotes positive thinking and supports optimal growth and improvement, helping people to achieve and attain their goals.

The growth mindset leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to:

– embrace challenges
– persist in the face of setbacks/obstacles
– see effort as the path to mastery
– learn from mistakes and criticism
– find lessons, inspiration, and motivation in the success of others

As a result, people with a growth mindset often reach higher levels of achievement.

In short, an individual with a fixed mindset might fail at a task and believe it was because they aren’t smart enough to do it. On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset who fails at a task would believe it was because they need more practice. In this way, mindset really does play a key role in success: if you don’t believe it’s possible, then you don’t try, and it never happens! The benefits of a growth mindset are seemingly obvious; however, at times we can all be guilty of having a fixed mindset, especially in certain situations.

The good news is we have the power to change our mindset. By being conscious of these two mindsets and catching ourselves when we begin to exhibit traits of the fixed mindset, we can embrace the characteristics exemplified by the growth mindset instead. To develop and nurture a growth mindset we must: acknowledge that our brains are built to grow and learn; alter thoughts such as ‘I can’t do this’ to ‘I can do this if I keep practicing’; reward our efforts; seek feedback and criticisms as inspiration to improve; seek challenges that will facilitate our growth; and lastly remember that failures and setbacks are all part of the learning process, which brings along with it positive learning opportunities.

With the right mindset, anything is possible, BUT with the wrong one, everything seems impossible!

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