What Is A Growth Mindset?
Our relationship with success and failure is a difficult one. It's been twisted in such a way that the concepts of winning and losing have become binary, rather than on a sliding scale from which we can learn. Carol Dweck coined the term growth mindset over thirty years ago, and the approach to learning, failure, and success is just as applicable now as it was back then.
A 'Growth Mindset' describes an attitude some people have towards setbacks, the flip side being an approach called a 'Fixed Mindset'. People with fixed mindsets tend to become disheartened by the smallest of setbacks, and often choose to pursue things they know they are good at already, rather than learning to become better at something else. On the other hand, those with a growth mindset persevere, and take hurdles as a learning curve, rather than a hard stop. Ultimately, people with a growth mindset tend to excel in a variety of different skills in the longer term, leaving those with a fixed mindset with a limited and static set of strengths.
Rewire Your Mind
Whilst it may seem like our mindset is simply a by-product of an immutable personality type, research into brain plasticity has shown that we can literally change the way our minds are wired. With practice, our neural networks can grow new connections as well as build strength between existing ones. This suggests that our actions decide our personality, rather than the other way around - and it's good news if we're looking to implement a new habit.
Benefits of a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset can benefit every aspect of your life, whether it's honing a new skill at work, learning to play the piano, or practising yoga in your spare time. The benefits of building a growth mindset include:
Motivation to learn no matter the outcome
Faster adaptation of skills and behaviours
Desire to help others
Huge improvements from start to finish
High levels of achievement in the final outcome
Hunger to learn more
How to Promote a Growth Mindset
Rewiring our habits takes time, but focusing on learning rather than achievement is the best place to begin. If you find yourself nervous about trying something you're unfamiliar with, don't set the bar of achievement with perfecting it the first time round. Whether it's running a marathon or being able to code, change the goal to focus on improvement, rather than perfection.
Changing language around success and failure is also vital to changing a mindset. Rather than beating yourself up about a setback (I'm no good at this) look at it through a different lens of opportunity (what else could I do?). Rather than thinking 'I can't', think 'I haven't yet'.
For more tips on cultivating a growth mindset, take a look at our blog on rewiring our habits to help us grow.
Changing how we behave takes time, so take a growth mindset approach to honing a growth mindset. When you begin to see obstacles in a different light, you'll suddenly find yourself more motivated and eager to learn even more. It's an upward spiral!